sacred soil….

////

(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…)

////

IMG_1169

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.

IMG_1192

IMG_1168

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.

IMG_1198

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’.

IMG_1193

IMG_1177

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.

IMG_1205

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.

IMG_1181

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

 

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.

////++++////

 

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.

IMG_0769IMG_0773

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.

IMG_0805IMG_0818IMG_0816

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:

IMG_0824

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

////++++////

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?

IMG_0221

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?

IMG_0201

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.

IMG_0003

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.

IMG_0663

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.

IMG_0453

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.

IMG_0447

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.

IMG_0317

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.

IMG_0676

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.

IMG_9997

to 2016!

love,

Rachel

 

 

growing and changing…

it seems like i say this all the time; ‘my kids are all just growing and changing so much these days!’

and, it’s so true.

our lives have been drastically redefined since we moved here to Kansas in March of 2014, and while i’m sporting a few more grey hairs and wrinkles than when we first came here, i think that my kids have had the most changes.

they’ve all made new friends, grown to love their family out here and they have just CHANGED.

i think about it when i look at each one of them, but in different ways.

with my oldest i especially think of what a great, great young man he is becoming.

IMG_9024

i know he’s going to tell the story of life pre and post Kansas differently than what i will, and i’m okay with that.  as i’ve seen him go through all these changes, it’s been hard to watch at times. hard because i couldn’t ‘fix’ it and the hard times were caused by the decisions his father and i have made.

he’s dealt with things in his own way and his own time.

he’s spent lots of time outside with his dog and his gun.

and, a few weeks ago, i decided i wanted to go out with him and get some pictures of him going about his favorite activity.

IMG_9018IMG_9021IMG_9026IMG_9029

he spends hours out in the pasture with his pellet gun and his dog.

he’s a great shot with that gun and his dog is quite loyal toward his loving master.

IMG_9037IMG_9039IMG_9041IMG_9042IMG_9047

it’s been so great to watch him become a ‘farm boy’. he has enthusiastically embraced the outdoors and the cowboy boots and hats and the bill caps and ripped up jeans.

IMG_9048IMG_9052IMG_9055IMG_9060IMG_9065IMG_9072

none of us wants to be one of those parents who are nonstop bragging and boasting about their kids, so it’s a fine line to talk about my kids in a gushing way….but, i look at this oldest son of mine and just feel so grateful that God put him in our family. i feel so glad that i get the chance to be his mom. i feel so grateful for the young man he is becoming and i pray every day that God will continue to lead and direct in his life so that he grows up to be a man after God’s heart. the thing about growing and changing is it’s not just a physical thing; i see God growing and changing my son and that, is the most exciting growth and change that a mom’s heart could ask for.

IMG_9079

♥~R

 

 

 

 

today….

 

since i’m resolved to get in more blogging over the next couple of slower months here, i thought i would try a new (to me) format/journal idea. i’ve always enjoyed the ‘daybook’ format in the past and yet, it can get a little redundant. so….

IMG_9386IMG_9388

What is the first thing that i did this morning.

coffee. no question. every morning i am lucky enough to wake up to coffee already brewed thanks to my dear husband who faithfully readies the coffee pot the night before. and since he gets up before me, i come downstairs and it’s like a magnetic fields surrounds that corner of my kitchen and i stumble there without even thinking. i drink from the same mug with the same creamer in the same spot and it just starts my day off right to have a brief period of time where i can drink in both the coffee and the quiet before the kids are all up and about their days.

IMG_9391IMG_9394

One challenge i’ve faced today.

hmmm…well, to be honest; muscle cramps in my leg. trivial really, but frustrating. i put Kate in the jogging stroller and we walked to and from my parents so that i could get in some kind of low-key work out and while it’s still not right, i think it’s loosened up the muscles some.

IMG_9395IMG_9397

One accomplishment for today.

10 loaves of bread baked for our family. last week i had a BIG baking day on Thursday and it kind of did me in for wanting to be in the kitchen any more than i had to, but the kids kept complaining about the menagerie of food i was throwing together for their lunches because we were out of bread, so i baked again today. ten loaves will usually last us right at two weeks and i try to plan out when i bake around what other things i have going on in my weeks. the weather was lovely today too for bread baking, so that was the perfect thing for this Thursday morning.

IMG_9399IMG_9400IMG_9402

One thing i’ve learned today.

this lesson is actually more from yesterday, but tis fresh on my mind today too…this thing of how every day is a gift. it’s not a new lesson, but it seems God brings reminders that jolt me back to the reality that nothing, noone should ever be taken for granted. going on that walk with Kate this afternoon and listening to her cheerful voice singing to her baby the whole way to grandma’s house and i just wanted to pause time and her and my other kids too….sometimes when i look at how blessed i am i could just cry. life is such a gift.

IMG_9404IMG_9405IMG_9406

One tasty thing i ate today.

apple pie, and cheese. that’s actually two things, i know, but two of my favorites. we’re going out for supper tonight, so i expect there will be more tasty things to consume, so it’s good i limited my caloric intake to just a sliver of pie, right?! 😉

IMG_9410

til next time,

R.

 

 

random retrospect…

you know what they say….’hindsight is always 20/20′.

but, what i’d like to know is this: when is it that we really come to the place of hindsight?

i tend to think that it varies.

i’m ruminating on these sort of things because it’s been a year of living in Kansas for our family, and there are some things i see clearer than i did one year ago, but i can’t say that everything is 20/20.

i think i can see a lot of the answers to why we are not where we were, but maybe the answers to why we are here seem blurry still.

i’m truly okay with that.

it’s a funny thing to look back on this past year of Major Change.

in some ways it feels like such a short span of time, and then in others ways, it doesn’t.

2-2014-09-18 03.32.04

(^^a picture i took of my sister and her family)

two things that stand out to me about this past year are lessons of trust and grace.

trust in that there were (and still are) days where the questions are clearer than the answers for a lot of the why’s of our being here…

trust in that we’ve had to tell our children to trust us when this experience has been HARD on them and even as we tell them that we quake within ourselves because we don’t really know what we are asking of them in that…

trust in that i know it is a Great God who knows all of our days and He has ordained them all and in that i can find rest even on the days when i fear the unknowns…

grace in that i have had, and most definitely am still learning how, to give myself grace when everything in me wants to strive for something else…

grace in that i’ve had to learn how to extend that in new ways toward others that relate and are different than i…

grace in that we’ve had to learn how to give that to each other as we have all gone thru this change and have been affected in just as many different ways…

grace in that i have had to accept that from the Lord as i have wondered what my, our place is here and He is, ironically, again, asking for trust.

the two undoubtedly go hand in hand.

i’m not sure if you can have grace without trust, or if trust can take root in a heart without grace…

either way.

retrospect is to look back on, contemplation.

our lives are defined by events that change our course.

for the good or the bad.

how the events of my life change me for the good or the bad….again, grace.

and, when i think about it like that, it is so what i want to extend toward others.

because, really, we are all on a life-changing journey every day.

the events may seem small and insignificant, and some are, but they all add up to a life lived.

1-IMG_4772

(^^last summers blood moon.)

moving on to other things about the change of life…

life in Kansas is vastly different than life in Pennsylvania was.

things are much slower here.

there are way less people.

making a living thru agriculture is the norm here.

those three things i absolutely LOVE.

IMG_5052

we live on a dirt road that sees so little traffic.

truth be told, i would say that there are more pieces of farm equipment driven past our house than there are vehicles.

our children are learning that you tell directions not by turning left or right, but by going east or west.

on our 7 acres we have more outbuildings than i ever dreamed we could have.

our children literally spend entire days outside in imaginary play.

IMG_4973

i now see the need for each of them to own a decent pair of cowboy boots as more practical than a decent pair of sneakers.

instead of planning and caring for a large flower garden as i did in PA, i am now planning and starting a large vegetable garden in our back yard.

i ordered seeds from a catalog for the first time in my life and am so anxious to get them all started.

Processed with VSCOcam with t2 preset

we built a cold-frame two weeks ago for the purpose of starting vegetables and i’m excited to see how it will also serve me year round here.

IMG_5053

we spend our weekends working around our homestead….with all our outbuildings and pasture, there is much that can be done.

one thing that i have realized i’ve let go of since moving onto our homestead is that i take less pictures.

which, i really do not like.

this is most definitely a stage and time in our families life that i want to remember, and i am going to have to purpose to get out my big camera more. it takes time and effort for me because i can always be busy and about something here, but in the midst of that, there are many things i want to document and remember thru my camera.

i MUST do better in that.

our home is a continual work in progress.

we kind of hit the brakes after we moved in here last October.

we recently started scheming and dreaming about how to update the bathrooms.

i’m not even kidding when i say they are tiny and FAR from what would be ideal.

they work, and i’ve had worse.

but, still.

they leave a lot to be desired.

it all takes time and money, and sometimes you just come up short on both, ya know?!

i’ve  recently become obsessed familiar with Joanna Gaines and her HGTV show Fixer Upper, and her blog Magnolia Homes. watching her show has encouraged me to think outside of the box even more. and, i LOVE her style in her Texas farmhouse. it’s a bit too white on white for me, but the overall style i really find inspiring.

i wish i could pick her brain on our bathroom situations.

but, in the meantime, i guess i’ll keep watching her transform homes and draw inspiration from that.

anyhow…

this week our kids have spring break and it’s so awesome to have a more relaxed way of starting out the mornings.

today the kids are going to have chores to do around here so that we can do some other things the rest of the week.

work first, play later.

IMG_5087

 

i better scoot along.

thanks for stopping by, and skimming thru this random post.

i hope to be back soon.

love,

Rachel

 

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.

IMG_4975

IMG_4976

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

///

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

she was totally into it.

02-IMG_6606

01-IMG_6605

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.

IMG_4947

it was the cutest thing.

///

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

this girl….

04-IMG_6627

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

05-IMG_6633

06-IMG_6643

13-IMG_671714-IMG_671915-IMG_6723

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

03-IMG_6614

yes.

definitely matches her personality.

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

07-IMG_665112-IMG_669511-IMG_669108-IMG_6661

///

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

16-IMG_6789

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.

///

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

1-IMG_6619

///

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

10-IMG_668409-IMG_6655

see the beauty in the grey days.

enjoy!

love,

Rachel