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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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

 

 

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.

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(^^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.

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(^^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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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i better scoot along.

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

i hope to be back soon.

love,

Rachel