Wednesday, April 28, 2021

your Father knows

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 7:25-34

I typed all those words out and as I did, each one went through my mind as the rinse cycle on my dishwasher goes through all of my silverware.  Reading aloud or copying words is allowing the words to wash over you and to bring clarity to familiar words or phrases. As much as we crave new ideas to consider and solve, it is the comfort of the familiar and known that we also need. Each day we are given opportunities to have both in our waking hours. 

I keep several notebooks serving different purposes. In one, I copy down Bible readings and thoughts, quotes from books or articles I'm reading or my own thoughts and opinions on current events or topics. Some refer to this as a commonplace notebook. I've done this as long as long as I can remember so I didn't know it had a name until a few years ago.

In another notebook, I write down projects and household responsibilities along with titles of books, music or films and names of people, groups or topics I want to investigate further whenever I make time. It's a messy record of my mind and would be of little value to anyone but me. Two years ago, I started keeping a page for each week of notes and by the end of the year, I could trace origins of things that started earlier in the year and wound their way into various ideas and recommendations found elsewhere. Sometimes I allow myself a quiet bragging moment where someone I learned about or started following in some manner later showed up as being recommended by others. Or something that captured my imagination in one area proved to be interesting in another application or experience and seeing the connection brought a warm feeling of delight and recognition.

Wherever my mind goes, so does my hope. When I am fretting, I see very little reason to truly hope. I hold back in an attempt to protect my heart from hurting with disappointment. But when I take time to soak in the words of Life and other truths I encounter, my hope is refreshed and my thinking is rinsed with the words of the Holy Spirit. As I move through my day, I can see how my mind is affected by worries and concerns, old and new. So the battle to guide and replenish the mind with comfort and truth is constant. 

I started to write a separate post about a quote from a thick novel I am slowly working through by Catholic writer, Michael O'Brien entitled The Island of the World, but I am going to end this post with it instead. I see it as a reminder of what hope looks like and why believing in the ultimate success of Christ's ever-growing Kingdom is relevant to my life and those around me.

"Well, we have enough evil right now. It looks as if they will never lose power."
"Yes," she nods, musing, "it looks that way. But we can still live as if their days are numbered."

Saturday, April 24, 2021

spring at last

This was originally written before we went under another Stay-at-Home order in Ontario after the second week of April. It's hard to describe how demoralizing this is. But I want to keep recording here even with all the gaps in my postings. 

It's the early days of April and I feel like I finally have some life stories to write about other than the same routine of housework and schoolwork mixed with reading and getting groceries. I mean, I can tell you, we've all had haircuts after they reopened the salons and teeth cleanings in late February. Riveting. 

And then there's the weather. March gave us some windy warm days and some windy cold days. Days with sunshine but chilly cold and overcast rainy days that were mild. But to have sunshine and warm breezes is what I've been dreaming of. Some of our trails and walking paths are still muddy but the snow and ice is gone so we walk carefully through the boggy parts and clean up our shoes when we get home. Just being out and then coming home is such a change after having many days in a row where there was no where to go so we didn't with the exception of Seth going to work at Tim Horton's several days a week.

In mid-February, our pastor suggested that we put together some activity kits from our church for school-age children to enjoy on their school breaks. So a few weeks later, several of us met one evening at the church office and we brainstormed ideas and hatched a plan for advertising, registration and contents and distribution. This was the perfect project for me to get me out of my winter isolation slump so I gave myself plenty of time to look for projects and printables that we could include in our Easter themed activity kit. Between emails, the small team made suggestions, shared ideas and asked questions to iron out all the details. And then on the night before Good Friday, a few of us gathered to assemble all of our offerings into a bag for each registered family. It was a great project for me to be part of and helped put the wind back into my sail. 

In addition to working on this for our church, I also volunteered to take over the homeschooling co-op that we were part of for the last couple years. Right now, it's only my girls and one other family with five children who run their own livestock farm. We keep it very informal, but I do make a list of my plans on an index card each week so I stay on pace and don't forget to do something. We start off in their living room with singing and usually a Bible reading. Then I read a picture book aloud and we discuss the story a little and sing some folk songs. Then I've been working on teaching one main component of study each week that is more enjoyable with a small group rather than one on one.

We celebrated Easter at home with Sunday breakfast and hidden eggs for the girls while Seth went to work and then an angel food cake for dessert. 

Then the next two weeks we attended our church's outdoor service even though it was a bit windy and cool. We sat together in our chairs and then visited with church family afterwards before returning home.