Friday, June 27, 2014

nourishing the soul through work and rest

I spent two days this week in my parents' storage area/attic working at clearing out stuff and cleaning up unwanted or broken items. It was hot, humid and dirty both days and by the time dinner was over, it was all I could do to get my three kids ready for bed before collapsing into my bed myself with little motivation to think real hard.  By the end of the second day of hard, dirty work, surrounded by piles of sorted stuff, I felt a bit out of sorts. As if the reward of all this clearing out had come at a personal cost to me, one that cost me something that I felt I needed. It dawned on me very soon, I was parched.  My soul, the real me was feeling parched. While I was thankful to have accomplished much for my parents' sake, I felt that I had neglected something very necessary to my state of joy and wonder in my soul. For two days, I had not taken time to enjoy the beauty of the summer day on my parents' beautiful property, capturing with my camera and my own eye the glorious aspects of God's creation. I had drained myself in my work and had not taken time to walk around and notice beauty. I was simply too weary to motivate myself to get out there and enjoy anything.  And it only took two days of missing this important time before I felt the neglect in my own spirit.

I am so happy to be accomplishing something helpful to my parents. I am thrilled that they can let go of things, especially the hard things like my brother Tim's clothes and personal effects. They are not seeking comfort in his things, they seek comfort from God's kindness to them.  I am excited that there will be more space to store the necessary items in a more organized and functional way. It is rewarding to work and accomplish a goal.
It is also necessary to take time to read, meditate and enjoy the goodness, truth and beauty around us. And then to be able to record what the eyes see, the mind thinks, and the soul rejoices over is a gift from our Creator.  To pray for the persecuted church while one boxes up old Bibles for charity, to remember God's faithfulness to our family in having this home together, for enjoying the memories of years gone by, to be free from needing the stuff around us to give us contentment and to remember with hope of seeing our loved ones again in the new heavens and the new earth.  All this is a gracious gift, but for me also taking time to enjoy God's creation is what further nourishes my soul and gives new life to my spirit and cannot suffer neglect.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

affection for knowledge

"This is a time for gathering first-hand knowledge, developing relationships with every area of learning, and establishing that affection for knowledge that is the foundation for what Charlotte Mason tells us is the vital question about education--not "how much does the youth know?" but "how much does he care?" 

After he has learned to care, his maturer mind is ready to analyze what he knows.  For most educators in the 21st century, analysis is the first object, and we expect children to analyze what they learn as soon as they trot off to kindergarten.  Charlotte Mason understood that analysis was the work of a mind "thoroughly furnished" with much knowledge, and the first stage of education--a long one, allowing plenty of time for relationships to develop--was a time to synthesize knowledge." ~Karen Glass

As I read this short article by Karen Glass, a hope welled within me, that perhaps my inability to analyze much of my reading is because my education was so stunted that I am only now beginning to "thoroughly furnish" my mind with knowledge and see connections and that once my mind is furnished, I will be able to engage in a more fruitful analysis of what I read and hear.  It is a worthy goal, I believe and commendable as the people of God called to study to show ourselves approved as Paul tells Timothy. (2 Timothy 2:15)

And from my earlier reading today comes some practical help in furnishing the mind.

"Call it serendipity, but if our ears and eyes are open to the vast world of events and ideas, we will find that what we need is available. I call this mechanism the writer's or artist's antenna. And our recording device, our handy journal, allows us to capture this fleeting idea and pin it to the page."~ Luci Shaw, The Writer's Notebook, quoted in The Living Page, by Laurie Bestvater

So I continue to gather first-hand knowledge when I pick up my camera, my field guide, my pen, my atlas, my notebook, my dictionary, my Bible, my drawing pad, my books and on and on it goes.  In all of it, I am finding much to marvel over and praise God for both His ordered world and His revelation to us. It all is a wonderful gift to read and study and think and it is my hope that I never lose the joy of it all.

Friday, June 06, 2014

According to their kinds

It's that time of year when I cannot get enough of God's creation. It calls to me to come rejoice over every intricate detail and marvelous design. I feel compelled to be like Adam and to name each one, poring over my tree and plant guides, searching on the pages for what my eyes see in front of me. 

Reading the details about each variety and kind brings me right back to the first chapter of Genesis. According to their kinds.
Not just one kind of spruce, one kind of lilac or one kind of oak. But multiple various kinds.  I've been cataloging some of these kinds for my own studies, to name and to know what my God has created. Here are some of His works:

Scotch Pine

Eastern White Pine

Eastern White Pine 

Red Spruce (I think)

possible Swamp White Oak

possible Windflower

flower of Red Osier Dogwood


Ostrich Fern (Pteris pennsylvanica)

Solomon's Seal


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

thoughts for the soul

"If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things. It is we, of course, to whom things look "little" or "big".
Amy Carmichael wrote:
'There is no great with Thee, there is no small,
 For Thou art all, and fillest all in all.'"
Let Me Be a Woman, Elisabeth Elliot

Tuesday, June 03, 2014