Blessings this Week: 10.28.2016 Edition

It's been quite a week- to the extent that it feels like I've lived a month in the span of these seven days. But in the middle of all the change, finding those blessings- noticing and expressing gratitude to God- gives me a firm foundation.

The view from my backyard... and beautiful sunny days.

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Holding the Handfuls

I looked up from the screen warming my lap, out the window to cows grazing just beyond the thin wire fence, mountains stretching high behind them.

As the beauty filled my eyes, my lungs expanded in a deep, restful breath.

There's been a lot of talk of simplicity in many Christian circles. Of rest, paring down.

I was a big proponent of all that, myself. In fact, the idea of a more restful existence was one of the reasons we decided to move out here in the first place.

But this change of job and geographical location and pace has its own stress, its own hectic chaos. For one thing, we have internet at home now, and I just got upgraded to a smartphone. There are always (always!) ninety million things I could be doing, and it is proving very easy to lose myself down the rabbit hole called the world-wide-web.


Tennis Shoes : how identity affects small choices

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I was that kid.

You know, the one who faked ankle injuries out on the kickball field. The one who somehow made it to the end of the line when it was time for my team to bat in Whiffle Ball. I failed every Presidential Fitness challenge, with the exception of the flexibility test.

Those days out on the elementary school field, with its dying scratchy grass and occasional patch of dandelions, firmly solidified my identity in my mind. I was not an athlete.

I didn't run, didn't catch, didn't throw, didn't kick. And I certainly didn't sweat.

Bookish and smart, I didn't need any of that, anyway. And my fast little metabolism worked overtime but kept me healthy and trim.

This image of myself as a non-athlete was so ingrained in my being that I bowed out of rec classes, never tried out for an inter-mural team in college, and poked fun at myself for being out of breath on those rare occasions that my roommate took me out salsa dancing.

It was a mantra- part of who I was. I don't exercise.


Blessings these Weeks: 10.14.2016 and 10.21.2016

Change creeps up on us, sometimes. Like the sudden shift that brings down the leaves and laces the ground with frost, my life seems... surprising.

But somehow, in the middle of the surprises is where the most beauty is found. I just have to learn to lean into it, to allow the change to happen- even when it's not the way I thought it would be. That's where I find the biggest blessings.


How Should a Christian Vote? : part 4

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I remember one of the first times I was made fun of in school.

I wasn't the most fashionable girl in the grade (not by a long shot!), and honestly, I didn't really even care that much. I loved school, and the learning always took precedence over what I was wearing. Most of the time I just didn't even pay attention.

But it was second grade, and apparently this was the age in which all the little girls learned what was cool and what was not. And I was certainly not. I wore one of my favorite outfits that day- complete with really stellar hand-me-down bib-overall shorts.

Which, I suppose, was the wrong thing to wear.

They were mean and teased me, and while I laughed along on the outside, I went home that day with two big lessons burned into my mind. Never wear those shorts again... and Being made fun of is pretty terrible. 



Living in rural Iowa means that we have very few neighbors.

In fact, our closest neighbors happen to be these guys.

(So, then, does that make them "moo-bors?" Get it? Get it?)

As far as neighbors go, they're not so bad. 
I mean, they smell a little, but they're not big on loud parties. They never borrow tools without returning them, and their strangest hobby seems to be standing in the mud for hours on end. 
There are several little ones, but they seem pretty well-behaved. 

They aren't super polite, though. They kind of... stare.

Especially this lovely white-faced mama.

Every time I walk past their yard, she's watching.


Plastic earrings dangling in the wind.

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How Should a Christian Vote? : part 3

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"It's just ridiculous," she said, exasperation lacing her voice. "It's choosing the lesser of two evils, at this point. I'm seriously thinking about not even going to the polls this year. "

Besides the "moving to Canada" thing, this is the most common feeling I've heard expressed in my (admittedly limited) circle of influence.

And in my opinion, it's pretty sad.

It's no secret that the two major party candidates this election year aren't very popular. There really doesn't seem to be a clear cut "right" choice for president- and that can feel overwhelming.

But I don't think that not voting is the answer.


Blessings this Week: 10.07.2016

It's officially Fall, now, this wonderful season of colors and crispness.

Here in Iowa, Fall is the in-between time.

A few short weeks (if we're lucky) of respite from the soggy, thick summer heat before the blasting, icy cold of the winter begins. It's in the in-between time that we get the colors, the coolness, the warm sunshine.



There is a heron in this picture. You just can't see it, because it's impossible to get a picture of these herons. Christian devotions, free online devotions, devotional thoughts, short devotions, online daily devotional

There are three great blue herons living near my house.

For months now, I've seen them daily. They flap their enormous wings and take off into the sky as I walk the dog past the creek, making a lazy circle and landing back in the muddy creek bottom as we pass. They drift across the cornfield to the south of my house, heading to their favorite frog-hunting ground- my pond.

I watch for them.

And for months now, I've carried my camera on every walk we take, keep it handy when I head outside in the evening, leave it sitting in the entryway, waiting.

Because I'm determined to show you these herons.


How Should a Christian Vote? : part 2

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About a week ago, I watched the dissolution of a friendship.

Social media is weird like that- allowing a bystander (like me) to see all the details, all the comments, that resulted in the death of a relationship.

It started out civil, just one political viewpoint, and a friend who disagreed politely. But soon the conversation turned from political standpoints and policy decisions to name calling and blaming, and right there, in black and white letters on the computer screen, their friendship was over.

And it got me thinking.

Because in this political season, the country is so... divided. And we're not really even that pleasant about it. The candidates are yelling and calling names, and we're following right along with them.