Archive for Whole Life Crafting

Substantial Fiction

Okay, I promise I won’t entitle every blog post this year “Substantial,” but I did think it was appropriate to use it at least one more time. I find that if I am reading a work of fiction, it helps keep my mind in an active, positive state. I am usually reading one of Terry Pratchett’s books. Right now, it’s Moving Pictures. Does this qualify as “substantial”? I would actually say it does since most of Pratchett’s books make a social commentary while they are making me laugh.

I am also re-reading C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra. Oh, how I love this man’s writing. Substantial? Most definitely.

What are you reading?

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So Much to Say

I have had to triage all of my tasks, mandatory and optional, for the last several months. Obviously, one of the tasks “left for dead” in this accident-scene-known-as-my-life is blogging. However, even though I do not assign time and energy to blogging right now, my mind is constantly writing blog posts. And I’ve been thinking about that.

When I read THIS and THIS today, I thought about how bloggers have influenced me with their words and how I am glad that they take the time to write. I also thought about the comment that there are so many young bloggers out there. These two ideas have been floating around in my non-blogging brain for weeks, anyway.

First, I am truly grateful for the bloggers who are brave enough to write honestly and vulnerably. I think of THIS BLOGGER and THIS ONE and THIS ONE, for example, who seem to be willing to write about deep, meaningful or painful personal subjects without fear. I wish I were one of them. (Even using the triage analogy at the beginning of this post took convincing myself that if someone reading it had some judgmental thought about my life’s “not being so bad as all that,” that I would just be brave and be true to my own experiences.) I wish I were one of them because when they courageously and honestly share their struggles or challenges or doubts or fears, I am encouraged that I am not alone. And I would like to provide that encouragement to others who are trudging down this path of life. Which brings me to:

Second, I am not a young blogger. Consequently, I have had a few years of life experiences from which God has taught me a lot about myself, Himself, my relationship to Him, my relationships with others, how to clean my house, how to rear children who are delightful adults, etc., etc., etc. I actually have meaningful things to say that might help someone else along the way. But, owing to the bravery issue, I hesitate.

So, there you have it. I am musing about blogging today. I hope that God eventually allows me the time and energy to blog regularly again. And the bravery.

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Margin

Do you have a “word” for the year? Many bloggers do. I guess I am not one of them, BUT I think God has given me a “word”, anyway. He keeps impressing on my mind and heart the concept of margin.

If my fuzzy memory recalls correctly, the concept of margin buzzed around a few years ago. Well, it’s definitely buzzing around again–in my brain. So, I have been asking God what He wants me to contemplate with respect to margin. Here is what I am considering so far:

1. He grants margin. It is from Him. I cannot force margin into my life;

2. When He grants it, I am praying that He allows me to recognize it;

3. When He grants it, I am praying that He shows me how to be a good steward of it, to cherish and protect it.

My life has been without much margin for so long, that I am wondering what it might look like. In my case, I think it might have something to do with continuing to be very intentional with time and resources. We have been forced by circumstances to be intentional with time and resources and I think God wants us to continue in that.

I’m pondering allowing adequate, realistic amounts of time to accomplish my responsibilities. I’m thinking about very intentionally directing any excess resources. I’m contemplating rest as a non-negotiable component of our lives.

So, God, You have me getting ready for some margin. Bring it on!

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A Little Wedding Prep

A few weeks ago, we had one of those wonderfully relaxed Sunday afternoons. Rachel let me try a Pinterest-inspired hair-do on her.

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Then we just kind of eased into working on some of the wedding items. Clara and Levi brought a box of bottles over to cover with twine and lace.

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Rachel and Eleanor worked on these groovy burlap cones.

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Amelia whipped up a prototype bridesmaid dress.

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What a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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Happy Birthday to My Sweetie

Everyone else may be thinking about the elections today. At our house, we are thinking about a birthday! Happy Birthday to my True Love!

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Acting the Miracle, Part 2

The second day of the Desiring God National Conference was filled to the brim with amazing speakers: Kevin DeYoung, Ed Welch, Jarvis Williams, John Piper and Russell Moore. The panel discussion with these five men was especially encouraging as they spoke informally and candidly about the practical aspects of sanctification in their own personal experiences. And Russell Moore’s “Acting the Miracle Together: Corporate Dynamics in Christian Sanctification” covered a topic I really appreciated.

Now, all of this fabulousness took place indoors, of course. Staying indoors is not usually what Tim does when he travels. But, I have to say, Tim was a pretty good sport about not insisting that we try to bird at every possible break in the schedule. Consequently, I like to think that this was a little “gift” for his good attitude:

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What is this? A little feather. A little feather that floated down out of nowhere right into Tim’s hand while we were outside eating lunch. True story.

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After lunch, we saw this:

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Not quite as cool as a feather floating into my hand, but….

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Tim not only attracted feathers. He also located more delicious food for us. This restaurant was a block from our hotel.

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The third day of the conference was the highlight for me. John Piper’s message, “Act the Miracle: Future Grace, the Word of the Cross, and the Purifying Power of God’s Promises” was utterly, utterly hope-giving. I am confident that this message will remain one of my top favorites of all time. Please hit the link and listen to this if you haven’t already, or even if you have!

Then, suddenly, it was all over! We managed to take a few more food photos in beautiful downtown Minneapolis.

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After lunch, Tim discovered that a most coveted, hard-to-find, excessively expensive bird guide of New Guinea was physically available to him in the downtown branch of the Minneapolis Public Library. What else could we do?

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Plus, I got the thrill of actually running these stacks. Yeah. Remember the comment on my last post about living rurally?

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Finally, we rode the bus back to the hotel.

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Took one last photo of the beautiful trees.

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And headed home. I am happily, hopefully, permanently, positively influenced by our experiences at the 2012 Desiring God Conference. I am excessively grateful for the inspiring, practical men of the Word who took (and take) time to share their insights and music. I am grateful for the kids at home who kept everything running smoothly. Once again, words are sounding shallow….

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Acting the Miracle, Part 1

In the midst of what has seemed to be non-stop life, we were, amazingly, allowed the opportunity to step away for a weekend. Through the generosity of the big kids in taking over our responsibilities, Joey, Tim and I were able to attend the Desiring God National Conference in Minneapolis. This year’s conference was Acting the Miracle: God’s Work and Ours in the Mystery of Sanctification. And just as my attending The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference earlier this year was a life-altering experience, so was attending this conference.

I don’t want to minimize the impact attending the conference had on us by posting “vacation shots” of some of our experiences. Yet, the “vacation” aspect of this weekend was a vastly important component of it. I mentioned to Joey and Tim that the fact that the three of us, the three people who run the bakery, could get away together was, itself, a miracle!

So…before the conference registration opened, we found some lunch at Key’s. Eating out was definitely a highlight of our trip because usually when we travel, we take most of our food and only eat out a couple of times. (For example, when all nine of us went to Florida to get Lydia in 2003, Amelia made and froze casseroles which we heated up in our motel rooms in our roaster every night. And Jacob-the-dog-grooming-competitor long ago invested in a plug-in travel refrigerator for his competition trips. See why we photographed our meals in Minneapolis?)

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After lunch, we made a loop around downtown so I could take a photo of this statue:

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(Since I had to explain the significance of the statue to the kids, I thought it was high time that we watched some episodes of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” We’ve watched two seasons in the past month.)

We made it to the first session and had a fantastic afternoon listening to David Mathis, Kevin DeYoung, Sally Lloyd-Jones and R W Glenn.

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And THEN…

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Eeps! It was time for the session with Fernando Ortega. What can we say about how God has used this man’s music in our lives? We cannot say enough. Any words sound shallow. And we got to sing with him!

Then, it was back to earth and time for some supper. We ate at the Convention Center and I had the hugest serving of hummus I have ever seen. Yum!

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After supper, we listened to John Piper delve into the conference’s theme of sanctification and, then, more Fernando Ortega. I’ve already said it, and I’ll say it again and again: during the most challenging of times, God has used the words coming out of these men’s mouths as lifelines for Joey and me–and our whole family. God has used their gifts to help us plumb the depths of our souls. Okay, see, any words I use sound shallow…. Anyway, this moment was very meaningful for us because Joey got to thank Fernando Ortega for his music:

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(And, right after this moment, Joey and I had a fabulous chat with Cameron Stone, who plays cello with Fernando Ortega. He gave us his email address in case our cellists had any cello questions! I only have a blurry photo of him though:)

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Since I’m sharing blurry photos, I might as well show this one:

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That was a blurry photo from our room on the 24th floor of our hotel I was trying to photograph the eight (nine?) police vehicles surrounding the entrance to a nearby apartment building. Zooming in didn’t help.

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The point? As much as I enjoy visiting cities, I am content to live rather uneventfully in my rural home. Now, stay tuned for more on the conference….

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