sacred soil….

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(i’ve not written like this in quite some time and as i type the lines, i wonder whether i’ll make sense to anyone but myself…i wonder if i’ll sound as though the west has gotten the better of me…and, maybe i won’t, and maybe it has. either way, i feel a need to write the things that my heart has been pondering this past week…)

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the tractor pulled up to the edge of the brown, barren ground and the farmer surveyed the stakes that marked the perimeter of our intended new garden plot. he slowly drove forward and lowered the tiller attachment he pulled into the ground and proceeded forward. the earth spun, and gave way under the moving blades to reveal rich, fertile soil.

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i stood nearby and watched the blades churning along, watched the farmer drive forward along the lines we’d made. one swipe forward, and then he turned around and made pass after pass. the first sweep of the entire space was uneventful, but on the second round,  his tractor abruptly shut off after hitting an old plowshare that had been buried for who-knows-how-many years. he got off the tractor seat, surveyed the culprit and tossed it to the side, no damage done. the farmer finished two more rounds of tilling up the space and we looked at it together and both proclaimed it very good. i wrote him a check for his services and thanked him, and he loaded up the equipment and went on his way. i went back into the house, but not before going over and picking up a handful of the dirt.

i knelt down to look closer, felt the cool, fresh earth in my hand, smelled the scent of fertile soil. and, as i did, i felt this overwhelming sense that this is something sacred.

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i’ve always loved gardening, and even from a child i would involve myself as much as i was allowed to in the gardens. of course over the span of my life my feelings have varied from the youthful days of ‘why do we have to have this big of a garden with so many weeds’ to my current status of ‘let’s make the garden bigger this year’.

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Monday as i surveyed this new plot and felt the rawness of the freshly turned soil, i sensed God’s presence and His purpose for gardening in new and deeper ways. i’ve long believed that gardening is clearly a God-ordained work, but maybe i’m now realizing it’s not just because he made man to tend to plants in the beginning of time. maybe i’m now realizing that the process of gardening is a process that deepens my knowledge of God’s holiness and sovereignty over me and my little life.

in gardening i’ve found so much fulfillment as i’ve watched plants grow from miniscule seeds to tall and flourishing plants. i’ve walked in the coolness of the morning as the plants were wet with dew and found refreshment and renewed vision for the daily task of watering and weed pulling.

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but, as i’ve thought more about this sacredness of tending to a garden i’ve come to see that God can and does use this work in my life to meet needs aside from the physical. tending to a garden is a sacred privilege for me that comes with responsibility. privilege in that as i tend to the soil, as i watch the plants grow i get to be a part of something that has been around since the dawn of time. responsibility in that i cannot take for granted that God has me at a place in time where gardening is such a big part of my life and a true joy. privilege in that as i go through the process of working this hard work, i sense Him refining me and drawing me to His holiness.

as i’ve started things in little trays, as i’ve put seeds into the ground this year, i’ve felt not just joy and excitement. i’ve also felt sobered by the fact that i can do everything ‘right’ and by the books, but it is truly God who gives the increase. i don’t know what tomorrow may hold; the tornado season is just upon us and while i cannot live in fear of the unknown, i feel the weight of it. i’ll do all i can to ensure that the soil is well watered and fertilized, but i cannot control the bugs and the winds and the hail and the rains that may not come. but, as i tend to the earth and do my best to grow things, i will pray for God’s protection and increase, and trust Him in this sacred work.

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truly these things apply to all of life; none of our days or our purposes should be taken for granted. whether your purpose is office work, or gardening, child-rearing or caring for the elderly, construction or sewing, these things are all very important and purposeful…none being more sacred than another. the sacredness comes not from trying to spiritualize every second of every day, but instead from recognizing that all of these things, all of these purposes, they are all in fact sacred moments and meanings and we must trust Him to make us holy through the process.

what if we all pressed on to find the ‘sacred soil’ God is giving us to work…

~Rachel

 

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Miscellaneous Monday

this is what happens when you have too many things going on in a week.

i wrote the words below last Wednesday, and then life took over and i never got the chance to post it.

i said to my husband on Friday of last week that i am so glad most of my weeks and days are not like they were last week. i felt like i was going in 100 different directions on Friday and it was all good and great and i don’t regret any of it. but, truth be told, i don’t ENJOY the busy-ness of life when it’s too much. when i’m home only long enough to grab something and get right back out the door to the next thing. when i’m buzzing from one thing to the next and feeling like i barely give my best efforts to anything.

this week looks much more manageable in most respects and for that i am glad.

i guess the too-busy weeks help me appreciate the ones that tend to be more even keeled.

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i was supposed to be over at the children’s school this afternoon, but i’ve been coughing my head off today, and i’m pretty sure none of the school kids were going to learn anything from that, so i stayed home.

Kate is down for her nap, not sleeping yet, but in bed.

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the sun is shining so beautifully, and i would really love to be outside, but (see first paragraph about coughing my head off all day.)

i cleaned the boys room this morning. i certainly should have documented that occasion with a photo. but, no worries. i will surely be cleaning it again all too soon.

i baked three quiche this morning too. we all love quiche and it makes the best grab-and-go breakfasts for our before school mornings that are less than calm and serene.

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i ordered 16 boxes of tissues online and they came today. if i was going to hashtag that moment it would most definitely be #idespiserunningoutoftissues

the floor was just mopped and i’ve long been justifying my having to sit down in the living room by starting to mop the floor at the other side of the room and then i am forced to take a break. from the chair i’m sitting in, this is the exact view at the moment:

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i also ordered a new, 8 quart crock pot from Amazon and it came yesterday. it’s currently cooking two pork roasts for supper.

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and, a two random things that are speaking to me right now…

this song:

these words:

“Prayer is not an escape from responsibility; it is our response to God’s ability.”

//hope your week gets off to a great start and that you can enjoy whatever each day holds.//

R

 

 

 

shifting seasons…

am i the only one who can hardly believe that this is the last day of the year 2015?! time just goes fast and faster, doesn’t it?

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although the days and weeks and months and years march on, there is a constant pulling within my heart to seek out what God would have for me in each and every new day. some days, some weeks, this seems easier to discern than others. of course the demands and needs of my family determine a lot of my time and i know this is God’s plan for my life. some days, in all honesty, i’m more okay with that truth than i am on other days. 😉 i guess that would be a bit of growing weary in well-doing, right?

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i’ve been thinking so often the last while of the seasons of life. how i’ve been in so many different seasons in the course of my life and how in some respects they are the same from year to year, but in other respects they are very, very different.

some seasons of my life have been longer than others. some have been more intense, some a little less.

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it seems i was JUST in the season of newborn babies and changing diapers and nursing and no sleep. (truthfully i’m still in the season of little sleep, but that’s irrelevant.)

and, it seems like yesterday that we were in the season of being ‘new’ to Kansas and now, almost two years have gone by since we moved here.

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i’ve been in seasons of  ‘pastors wife’ in years past, i’ve been in seasons of ‘familiar’ with friendships established and comfortable.

maybe it’s because i’m in a ‘season’ of unknown and unsure in so many ways, and trying to find my place as an almost 40 year old that these thoughts are forefront in my mind.

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or, maybe it’s because the reality of seasons hits me anew because i’m taking a break from gardening which is one of my favorite pastimes.

i’m so enamored with how gardening is so seasonal, and how times of rest and reprieve are crucial to the whole process of gardening and growing.

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i coaxed lettuce and kale along in my garden until well into the month of December and then suddenly it dawned on me that i needed a break from this thing that i love so much.

i needed to step back so that i wouldn’t become burnt out on something that i love.

i needed to step back so that i could plan and regroup for the next spring season.

i needed to give the earth pause so that it refreshes and renews.

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it gives me pause to see how God has so divinely orchestrated each of the seasons of nature and how the seasons of my own life are not that different from this divine appointment.

while none of my seasons are as predictable as the way our four seasons run, they are in fact as real to me.

as we enter this new year of 2016, i am so excited to see where God takes me.

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there are some big milestones on the calendar for me, for our marriage, and our family… and while those numbers make me feel a tad ‘old’ i’m more grateful and hopeful than anything.

i’m excited about some experiences we have planned, some travel we look forward to and i’m even very excited about the common and ordinary things that we will be doing in each of the coming seasons.

and, while i still wonder where and what God has for me as i try to find my way in this ‘season’ of life, i know i can trust Him with it.

because He is faithful.

so graciously faithful.

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to 2016!

love,

Rachel

 

 

hashtag: follow Friday…

so, i’m going to piggy-back off of Instagram today and do a #followfriday.

instagram is, hands down, my favorite social media outlet.

it’s a place where i can land my phone pictures that capture quick and or meaningful moments from my days.

it’s a place where i can follow others on adventures i will never get the chance to have and in my seeing the world through their eyes, i feel inspired to better capture the little world i live in now.

it’s a place where i can get ideas for anything from home and gardening, to travel and sightseeing, and so very much more.

it can be tricky though too, just like any social media outlet.

in those little square frames where i am free to like or comment, i have to realize i’m seeing only a small frame of what may be a completely different reality.

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(^^our cherry trees yielded well this year and thanks to a friend loaning me their cherry stoner, we made quick work of several gallon for the freezer.)

for me, when i don’t like something or don’t have anything to say, i walk away.

and, that’s how i treat instagram.

my real life has enough real life drama that i don’t feel the need to enter into more drama through social media in any way shape or form.

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sure, there are things i see there that bother me, but it’s not my reality and it’s not my place to enter in and try to rectify a wrong i’m not (in real life) a part of.

so, these are just a few of the things i like about instagram style of social media.

it works for me.

and, i really didn’t intend for this to be a rant about instagram, but there you have it nonetheless.

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(^^new potatoes from the garden for supper the other night. YUM!)

back to #followfriday.

when i first entered the blogging world some 8 years ago, i spent more time reading other blogs than i do now.

i still have a small handful that i really love and those i am going to share here today.

(i will say right off the bat, that i do not completely agree with some of these bloggers and or their ways of life, and that is mine and your free choice(s). my likes and dislikes for these spaces are obviously based on what i see thru images and words framed and filtered for social media and i am well aware these are not the whole of their reality. just like there is much more going on in my life than what i post here, i am sure the same can be said for these.)

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Kelle Hampton is still one of my most favorite bloggers.

i love how she captures moments, how she writes with a wide range of emotions, and how she has stayed the course with her blog and continued to be the blogger i first followed several years back.

her photos are, as she put it, ‘organic’.

i love that about her blog space; photos that are not perfect, and more importantly, not photo-shopped beyond reality.

of course it’s small frames and maybe not all of her reality, but i’m not going to keep giving that disclaimer.

you know what i mean.

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Grace Lee Cottage is a space i enjoy for home inspiration and DIY ideas galore.

 

to me, seeing her transform her kitchen space especially with easy, cost-effective steps is inspirational.

beings we are in that state of DIY here in our old farmhouse, blogs like hers are a breath of fresh air.

the post on her kitchen counter top paint job gives me hope for our nasty white counter tops to someday have a new life. 😉

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Yan Palmer.

i follow her instagram feed and sometimes i’m like ‘nah, that’s not going to cut it’ and then other times, most times, i just get a kick out of her work.

her blog is sporadically updated and she’s into film images, but i just like how she captures the everyday, the unstaged and the (sometimes) ugly truth.

her words are sometimes shallow and sometimes deep.

i think you either like her style or you don’t.

for now, i like it.

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now, for Elizabeth Marie, i can say that i have met her and her reality and it’s the real deal.

she has the cutest family, the most doting husband, and she herself is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.

if only the distance were not so great between her state and mine, i am just sure we would do a lot of things with her and her family.

one time they came to visit us when we lived in Pennsylvania, and my husband and i often talk about that weekend and how much we all loved them.

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(^^if it looks like i have chickens everywhere, it’s because, well…i do. )

i’ve met other bloggers in real life that i could also endorse as being the real deal.

this old world is actually not just full of people that are not what they say they are.

there are some, yes, but as my brother in law once put it to me, ‘there’s actually a lot of good people out there.’

and, with these words, i am going to wrap it up.

i hear the kids waking up and tromping downstairs and within moments, i am going to be hit with a barrage of ‘what’s for breakfast?’ and truth be told, we’re getting company for the weekend, so i need to get back to the old list of things to do.

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have a lovely weekend, friends!

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♥~R

 

 

 

 

 

 

on rain and knowing your place….

truth be told, i could tell you more about rain than i could knowing your place.

although both subjects are close to my heart right now, talking about rain is easier.

because, sometimes knowing your place takes a lot more time and effort than you (i) want to put into it.

but, strangely enough, i feel like the two subjects go together for me right now.

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you see, out here, rain and weather and the skies are a big deal.

when a storm is in the forecast, you sit up and take notice.

you watch the clouds, you notice the wind direction, and; you pray.

when we were at a recent community gathering, i sat back deep in thought as the speaker made an announcement about the dire forecasts for the afternoon, and how that could affect the events planned.

it was with a sense of reverence that every head was bowed and the prayer of ‘protect us from harmful weather’ was agreed upon.

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while it may not affect others in this way, and maybe it’s just where i’m at in life right now, but it moves me deeply to come together in prayer and recognize God’s control and sovereignty over our lives as we ask Him to protect us from danger from the skies above.

maybe it’s just this thing of how the weather it is a common bond that unites us whether we want it to or not.

or, maybe it is a thing of recognizing that our place here on earth is only as God sees fit and in our recognizing His control over the weather, we in turn submit to Him for our very existence.

i think it’s both actually.

it brings me to a place of reverence and awe to hear people praying to God about the weather and the rains.

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i haven’t lived here long enough to feel like i know my place in every area, but i’m starting to see that maybe, we are bound by elements as simple or as complex as the weather and in that, we truly find our place.

because i haven’t lived here long, i feel like i need to earn my right to pray for God’s protection from harmful weather and yet i know i don’t.

God hears me from any place i’m in and for that i am grateful.

His grace is not dependent upon my knowing exactly what my place is.

and, His mercy is new for each day of pleasant or harmful weather.

maybe it’s ‘out there’ to think of being reverent and awed by the weather to you.

it’s mystifying for sure.

but, when you’ve sat there and watched heads bow and know that many of those heads have seen things from the skies that i have not, and that many of those heads bowed have a livelihood that depends upon what God gives thru the weather, it is humbling.

it calls me to respect the Giver of rain and storms and to respect the years of experience that call upon a Mighty God to protect us from harmful weather.

the rains have been coming and watering the earth here and in turn we thank God for his provision.

and, so, as we do thank Him for providing, it seems to me that it helps us, me, find a place.

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a place of belonging to a God who made not only heaven and earth, but each one of us.

may we ever know His sovereignty and greatness as we see Him not only in the sunshine but in the rains too.

He is indeed a God of wonders.

 

 

 

 

 

Miscellaneous Monday…

it’s been a long time since i’ve done Miscellaneous Monday, so, yay me.

it’s actually Monday and i’m pulling it off.

….

i’ll start with a weather report from the plains:

it was 75° here yesterday with clear blue skies and very little wind.

in other words; perfection for February 8.

today started out sunny and crisp, and it was the strangest thing; around 8:45 am, fog rolled in and it was unreal. visibility was less than a quarter mile, but it was so pretty.

i actually like the grey, foggy, and dreary days.

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i think there’s so much beauty in the midst of the grey.

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Ava’s class had a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ thing at school two weeks ago.

she was totally into it.

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we kept the whole thing pretty simple really; a pair of leather, lace-up shoes, a vintage apron and sunbonnet paired with a rag doll, braids and a basket instead of her usual lunchbox.

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it was the cutest thing.

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not to be left out, the littlest sister took her turn with the bonnet.

this girl….

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you just can’t imagine how much personality she has.

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her outfit the afternoon we were snapping these pictures was…colorful?

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yes.

definitely matches her personality.

but, as i said before, i see so much beauty in the grey too…

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Seth was super excited about last weeks ‘crazy hair day’ in his class.

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seeing him be into the spirit of this day was such a big moment for me.

to see him ‘find his place’ brings happy, grateful tears to my eyes.

he is such a great kid.

and, next week he turns 11???

slow down time, slow down.

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along with these recent days of warm weather, there’s been much outdoor play happening here.

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the kids are home from school and i really need to start supper.

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see the beauty in the grey days.

enjoy!

love,

Rachel

 

 

 

a little bedroom redo…

first of all.

there is no perfection in our home.

period.

we live very much within our means.

and, i try really hard to make do with what we have.

it’s not what everyone would love, and it’s not what they have to love.

but, i for one, love making something out of what is not much.

and, the something i make out of things is most likely not the same something you would make of it.

this, to me, is what makes us all unique and gives us the opportunity to bring out our various talents and ‘styles.’

my style will always be a love for the old, the real wood, the mix of ‘junk’ with treasure, the neutral tones and the earthy colors.

i also have a lot of things in my home that have sentimental value to me.

they have a story that goes with them, and to me, that is kind of a big deal.

i could probably tell you a story about nearly every piece of furniture that we have in this house.

the stories might bore you to tears, but they mean something to me.

i think that’s part of what draws me to the things i like; the stories that go with them.

anyhow.

last week, three days before Christmas, i decided to tackle the bedroom redo for our (master) bedroom.

when we first moved into our homestead, we put our bedroom downstairs where the previous occupants had had theirs. i was not thrilled with it, but it was what we went with for the time being.

we do have a ‘someday’ plan for the space that is now our bedroom, and i guess when we first moved here, we figured we would just go with the bedroom downstairs until the ‘someday’ plan could be fulfilled.

well.

if we always wait til everything is as we hope it will be ‘someday’ we will not enjoy what there is to be enjoyed in the meantime.

that’s how i see it anyhow.

so, we measured the space of our downstairs bedroom and the room upstairs that we wanted to make into our room.

the space was within a square foot of being the same, but the layout is SO much better in this upstairs bedroom.

this room is not big, but, it’s not tiny either.

the walls in our house are all plaster walls, and most of them are not in really great shape.

the one wall in our bedroom in particular is really pretty bad. as in: a large crack the entire width of the wall, plus a couple of decent sized holes.

as i was looking at this room and trying to get the vision for what i wanted it to be, i remembered the little ‘book page’ wall i had back at our other house, and bingo!

i had a vision for the room!

the walls that are not as badly in need of repair i decided to just paint, because, me and stenciled butterflies in the master bedroom…nah.

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(obviously, i’m big into selfies. or, not.)

two coats of paint, two old books, and three rolls of scotch tape later:

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^^ this picture is taken from the corner where the book page wall is. the door on the left side of the picture, beside of the dresser goes into a large room that is now storage. ‘someday’ this room will become an extension of this room and will include a walk-in closet, bathroom and sitting area. the door with the ‘love’ sign is our closet.

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i’ve not painted the closet yet, obviously. but, i am kind of pleased with the arrangement that it is for now. we took two tension rods and hung them above the pegboard ledge that is mounted around the perimeter of the closet. we each have a side for our clothes and, plenty of floor space for shoes.

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i’m pretty practical when it comes to the functionality of our bedroom. this antique clothes-tree that i bought for $5 at a yard sale is draped with things like sweatshirts and pj’s.

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i’m always going to love the practicality that my Longaberger baskets provide throughout our home. that, and they are from Ohio, and so am i deep down in my heart, so they remind me of where i come from.

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the floor in this room is hardwood. but, it is not in the best of shape. this sisal rug that i purchased at an Etc. Shoppe here in Kansas covers up some of it’s ugliness, and, adds a warm, earthy tone to the room that i really love.

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this is the wall that the doorway into the room from the hall is on, and our bed is along the wall to the left of the doorway. Tim’s dresser is behind the door, and across from the dresser is a mirror and our clothes hamper. isn’t the corner trim amazing?!

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little bits of detail:

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^^a little winter vignette inside of my huge Pottery Barn lantern that sits on my dresser.

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^^we were just KIDS when we got married!!!

and, that’s about all.

it’s so, so much better than the room that we had been in.

there are still things i want to do in the room, like an actual curtain instead of just a piece of cloth draped over the rod…the bed needs new pillows and a cover for the box spring…the walls are void of much decor…a nightstand for both sides of the bed would be nice…matching lampshades are on my ‘watch for’ list…and so on.

but.

maybe, just maybe, you seeing how we live with what is reasonable and practical in our now will encourage you in how your home comes together.

THAT is my hope for this little post.

with love,

Rachel