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,ย  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.//

โ™ฅ

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ofย  ‘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

 

 

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.

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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.ย  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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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โ™ฅ~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….

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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til next time,

R.

 

 

a little life here…

right now, there’s mac-n-cheese about to be done in the oven, the kids are watching a movie, and the husband is out hunting. the days are getting shorter and shorter. i’m looking forward to the time change on Sunday so that we get some earlier light in the mornings, but blah on the even shorter evenings. except that for real; i’m looking forward to the rest of the fall and winter and the chance to get some things done inside and enjoy homemaking with more purpose again.

our summer was full and went fast. i love every season, and more and more i enjoy all the different aspects of each seasons change. summer was full of work and more work, but it was also full of lots of time as a family here on our homestead. i wish i would have done a better job of blogging over the last months, but time seriously did not allow. i’ve thought time and time again that i’m going to blog, but there were just way too many other things taking precedence on a daily basis. i’ve kept up my instagram pretty faithfully and i do love that, but i’ve missed the chance to come here and dump photos and words. so, i’m starting to see that maybe blogging, just like being a better homemaker, is a seasonal thing for me in this stage of life. there’s just so many things constantly requiring attention and energy, and obviously, we all have to prioritize. getting to the place where i’m okay with having to prioritize in different ways is a learning process for me. if you bear with me, that’ll be great. ๐Ÿ˜‰

over the summer months, there was so much work to do in the garden and with that came canning and putting food by. i still dream of having a summer kitchen in our little house out back, but for this summer, productivity carried on inside the farmhouse kitchen. it is certainly a lot of work to can, but it is so rewarding to me. and, to know where our food comes from, and what is in it; love that.

last week we dug the sweet potatoes, and that wrapped up the garden for the summer of 2015. i expect i’ll be taking sweet potato souffle to every carry-in at church from now til the next decade. well, maybe not quite that long, but it was a good crop and although not all the little people in this house enjoy them as much as Tim and i do, i’ll keep fixing them and hoping for the best.

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Tim’s parents came for a visit earlier this month and it was great to see them again. we did a little sight-seeing with them and tried to show them a good time here in our world.

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my kids; they have been growing like weeds. i guess it’s all the fresh air and outside play and non-stop eating of everything in sight.

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time has past by here this evening and, the mac-n-cheese was delicious, the dishes are done and hopefully the husband will be home soon from his hunt.

til next time…

Rachel

 

 

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.