Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Such Small Seeds!

Over the years, we have planted the tiniest seeds for projects during our home school time, some the size of a mustard seed or even smaller.  We also have a tradition of planting marigold flowers and saving the small seeds every autumn from them so that we don’t have to buy more in the early spring.  We have done that for years and I inwardly hope that my daughters will go on sharing in this little tradition with one another into adulthood.  I marvel at the smallest of herb seeds and at times feel like those seeds, just so small and unable to do great things for the Lord.  Certainly not with my own strength.

Although we used to keep a big garden at one time, now these little projects take their place.  Along with that I realize that even a small and weaker seed can grow under favorable circumstances such as rich soil, a nice amount of sunlight and the appropriate amount of water.


God does supply what they need each year as well as what I need.  There are reminders all around of his faithfulness.  The last of the marigolds blooming, the green vine hanging in a pot in our living room is surviving, and the terrarium project that is taking over the container it is in.  There are reminders for my own life as well that I have been looking over lately in my journal I see small things that have kept me thriving, promises kept through God’s Living Word, a table full of food and family around it, and all our needs met.


I can count on God’s supply whether suffering a new diagnosis or feeling small in a world with so many needs.  God uses those small seeds and together uses all we do and connects our efforts to other small seeds and the gift of life goes on. It is sufficient.   However small we feel, we are part of that bigger, though some times mysterious plan and we are never alone.


“It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground.  Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in it’s shade.”  Mark 4:31-32


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Note to "Normals"

These thoughts came about from interacting with the Chronically ill for many years. I thought I’d share them here in preparation for Invisible Illness Awareness week. I’ve entitled this post affectionately "Note to Normals". However, they are really ten thoughts to keep in mind when relating to the chronically ill, though sincerely acknowledging every ill person has different wishes. With God present in all our lives, there is much hope!  Here goes:

1. The best gift you can give someone is to listen to him or her. It tells them you value them. Try to keep quick fixes and advice to yourself unless it is asked for. Ten to one, they’ve tried it or have been told it several times.

2. Try hard to remember that what one could do yesterday may not be able to do today. Levels of ability within illness and energy vary widely.

3. Chronically ill people may spend a lot of time at home and some are even housebound. Consider that this does not mean the CI person is available at any time.  It may be a day of rest in order to attend an appointment, a day of necessary recovery or an unforeseen flare. Consider many lead rich, productive lives at home, involving their own plans too.

4. CI love their children as much as “normals”. They are super creative people who strive to meet all their children’s needs, including social needs. Some times just joining in with them and being flexible, especially during holiday or vacation times rather than removing the children from the home, helps everyone make special memories while they still can.

5. Even if your CI relative or friend loves the scriptures, be cautious about pasting on a scripture verse as an answer to their troubles. An ill-timed verse out of context may cause more harm than good. Rest assured God will continue to be their Living Word. On the other hand, some CI would just love an invitation to read a book or scripture concurrently and chat over the phone, during a short visit or by e-mail. Listen carefully and find out. Know the answer has much to do with their energy or pain level.

6. CI people are constantly adjusting to physical limitations. When they face a hard truth and need to let go of an activity, social engagement, or job they love, try not to assume they are giving up. They may be gracefully surrendering the old to make room for the new that God is doing in their lives and even be at peace about it.

7. Many CI people believe and take great comfort in the power of prayer. Please remember, though, to communicate about their wishes before placing the details of their situations on any prayer chain or to any religious group. Some like their circle large and some smaller.  God hears our prayers!

8. Try creating new traditions that include the CI person in a realistic manner. Holding tight may exclude them from your life. This may cause you pain and to wonder why. Example: A lupus patient should not be in the sun. Try to accept this. They did. Don’t give up your life, but consider a change in routine once in a while if you still want them in your life. CI people are not bad people. They desire their family and friends to be very happy still.

9. Remember God is a big God. He does not wish us to suffer. He may use suffering and pain for a purpose or one not fully known yet. He never leaves us to walk alone and because we are not healed surely does not mean he does not love us. Healing comes in many forms.

10. And CI people: try to have patience. Remember above all to go gently on “normals”. They have no experience with what you are facing. Every single person’s reality is different. Consider “normals” are working from a place of love for you!

Monday, September 3, 2012

An Update

“I will not die but live, and tell of the works of the Lord.” ~Psalm 118:17

I have many favorite scripture verses, but I just love this verse! It is an affirmation I have said to myself upon waking every morning for a long time. I truly believe that it is not our time to leave this earth until what we are meant to do and say here are completed. Each precious person has purpose and meaning to offer and I’ve spent the past year connecting and being taught by some of the kindest Sisters, teachers, speakers, mentors and directors I could ever imagine. I thank God for that, knowing he placed my sensitive soul in the hands of such love to learn more along this never-ending spiritual journey. God has also given me the huge help of my family along the way. I would have never dreamed this possible upon my last diagnosis, but I believe God had other plans.

Though there were unexpected bends along my path since my absense here, there were just as many joys. The biggest perhaps was graduating my Spiritual Formation Program and being given the designation of a professional Spiritual Director back in May. It is a humbling privilege to hold that and it was not quite real to me until I had the certificate in my hand. This was definitely a work of the Lord. It involved many hours per week pushing through my worsening dry eyes in class and that made writing long hours on the screen difficult. I was always given strength in the moment and even enough for me to not to miss one day of my internship.  My peers have teased me on this one, but I still like the name of spiritual friend or mentor, rather than spiritual director. After all, isn’t the Holy Spirit is the true director of us all?

Since I wrote last, the Spirit has been teaching our family more about adjusting. Isn’t much of life like that? Smaller hands help much more in the kitchen, bigger ones push the vacuum and a faithful husband tends to oversee much more at home as well as our doctor’s appointments. Between my one daughter and I, we keep the calendar quite full of them. God is good to place us in families and to teach us how to jump these hurdles that some times get rearranged or come a bit faster in life.

Other than that, we are entering into our twelfth year of home educating here which is another God story of it’s own. Oh, and to add more laughter to life and keep us close to creation, we have added three new friends to our petting zoo: Nigerian goats! They are entertaining and I sure don’t lack for a dull moment…

So, I decided a while back, God was not done with me yet.  I’m curious upon waking, what each new day will hold and how God will make his presence known in it. While I don’t know how much writing I’ll be doing here, I want it to be about real life, the ups and downs. No perfect blog here, friends! However, I hope to continue to tell more of the works of the Lord.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Goodbye Summer, Hello School

Walking away from summer is oh so hard to do. We won't pass this way again, this same summer, these same ages and giggles and me filled with awe watching the grace-filled moments. 
And then those times I ache at the reality that I am not the best spectator, sitting and watching from the side lines, but still learning it's all good, it's ok and that really every thing is still a miracle. Each day like a present to unwrap, one at a time.  And each one a gift to give back in some way.
Might I even whisper here that I was down right scared to start school this year?
I was, but it was good and I join in continuing with my own studies tomorrow and we will do the days together and give thanks and live life as a prayer.
Lord, teach us to number our days so that we may present to thee a heart of wisdom.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quaker Quotes

"A Friends' meeting, however silent, is at the very lowest a witness that worship is something other and deeper than words, and that it is to the unseen and eternal things that we desire to give the first place in our lives.  And when the meeting, whether silent or not, is awake, and looking upwards, there is much more in it than this.  In the united stillness....there is a power known only by experience, and mysterious even when the most familiar."      ~Caroline E. Stephen, 1908

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Quaker Attender?

“It is not in differing from one another
that disunity arises-
it is in not listening to God
and each other.”

`Kenneth Sutton 1989

Recently I’ve had a lot of questions about being a Quaker Attender. People want to know what being a Quaker means and they want to know why it is worth it to me to split our time as a family between church and Quaker meeting. I think if you asked one hundred Friends, you may get one hundred answers about the meaning of being Quaker. It has been a good challenge for me to ponder the question personally.

To me, a Quaker is one who is always seeking God and God’s voice, however one best does that. It is recognizing, and opening my heart to God in me and acknowledging God within others no matter how different they are from me. It is about listening and receiving ministry from God while loving others and at times sharing of myself too. For me, it is about accepting, not rejecting. It is about making one’s circle bigger, not narrower and allowing yourself to listen for truth in that bigger circle. It is about loving, caring and finding peace within yourself so that you might share big portions of that healing presence with others, no matter what “religious language” they speak.

So, why do I attend? Because unprogrammed Quaker worship touches my heart in a way no other form of worship does. Because I yearn for contemplative time and it is not available at church and I go because it is anything but silent. The time is filled with prayer, waiting eagerly on God and renewing my spirit. The practice of listening is sacred to me and I want time to share what I strive to do individually throughout the week together with others. I also want to my children to learn to still and experience that not every moment in life needs to be filled with fast action and entertainment. Then I want to sit back and grant them the freedom and experience the joy in watching them grow wherever they choose to plant themselves.

I go because I love attempting to live out the testimonies daily and though I am at times very slow to speak, I believe that God gives greatly in the unselfing- the shedding our masks and allowing ourselves to be known. He reminds us to attend to ourselves so that we may better honor others and in turn offer them what we have to give. It is in this willing spirit, I remember I am connected to what is much larger than myself and that we are all more alike than not. I am also reminded God loves us all and is pleased when we are in unity.

Likewise, I am pleased when I find unity and love amongst the congregation at church. I think that began for me more when I had peace within myself, knowing I am never out of the presence of God in any context. I enjoy seeing action lived out of strong convictions there. I love to hear the ministry and I enjoy seeing the praise. Any enthusiastic invitations I once perceived as pressure, I have come to see as pure love. I also admit that I like hearing my husband sing and seeing him very happy. There is some thing very special to worship alongside of the one you love dearly.

All people matter so very much to God. My prayer is that God would continue to grow us all as a people together in the larger community of the body of Christ.  In that manner, we would be united in Love with less denominational boundary lines drawn in the larger church including Friends. May I be patient, listen more and talk less and may my heart be in my ears.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Well Watered Garden

In a well watered garden,
Sun scorched flowers flowed forth
Faces reaching out toward the sun
Washed by streams of pure water
As we too are washed
By the Living Word.
Ever open to receive
New Light.
Living, pouring out
We are watered
When we water others.