Freedom, Christmas and Holiday Ramblings…

wrapping

 

It is the week before Thanksgiving and I cant stop thinking about Christmas! Currently the Country Classic Christmas tunes are playing in the background and I purchased my first  holiday investment… a hot glue gun for crafts!

Is it just me but this year…. I’m just so excited for this holiday season.

This year will be our 3rd Christmas at out little ranch and it feels about time to make some “traditions” dog-on-it!

What are yours???

…. it will be our last Christmas as just the two of us… perhaps that is why I am feeling especially nostalgic….or my favorite scapegoat #pregnancyhormones

This year scheduling has worked itself out, don’t you love it when that happens? The juggling of two large extended families can get sticky but thankfully with my fellas new work schedule and flexible family ,we are making it work.

Insert no segway

A dear friend of my mine asked me a question that keeps reeling in my head… “Who am I in Christ?” ” Who does God say that I am?”  Much of this year after reading over some dated posts have been me working out this question.

Here is what I have concluded: If you have chosen to have a relationship with Christ then you are..

A Daughter of the King… Gal 3:26

Redeemed … Eph 1:7

Beautiful … Psalm 139:13-16

Worthy.. Prov 31:10

More than externally beautiful… 1 Peter 3:3-4

Victorious… Phil 4:13

Joyful… John 15:11

Transformed … Rom 12:2

and perhaps my favorite ….

Free … John 8:36

” So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”

freedom

I am learning that my emotions are not a reliable indicator of current reality anymore. Perhaps its because they are so labile but perhaps a lesson. What if we defined our world by Truth instead of our emotional state? Is this possible?

What if we let an eternally verified document define us instead of perception? … oh  what freedom on the other side of that …

A recent ladies retreat has me grateful for my little home, my fella and a God who has bared much grief from me. Nothing like getting away from home and in a beautiful environment to remind you of the good stuff . Perhaps in Voskampesque structure.

#1 Puppies… because lets me honest, that make the world a better place

#2 An excellent cup of coffee.. preferred in bed surrounded by said pups

#3 An intellectual debate between my fella and I. May I never take for granted his keen mind and may I always respect his giftedness.

#4 God’s word: its so compact and complete. Thank you for all the people who have spent the oodles of hours translating.

#5 THIS TIME OF YEAR! The pumpkins, cranberries, warm beverages, shopping, gathering, love, charity, giving, remembering, hoping, twinkly lights, crafts, hugs and peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Birthday!

birthday

Today I turn 28 and also 20 weeks. Half way there.

I will no long mourn change …What if praise were a sacrifice ?

I praise the Father for 28 pretty incredible years.

I say thank you to the mother who birthed me, this day, a Monday too.

I say thank you for the home that raised me and all those the leaf piles that I remember needing diving into once i hopped off the yellow school bus.

For my mother making me feel so special on my birthdays. When I was tiny… and yesterday.

For the way she would let me eat birthday cake for breakfast.

For the birthday parties that became all night adventures that included “camping” in an old 1950s pop up camper… with endless go fish games….

 

camper

For all those boxes of love shipped to me on my birthday when i lived too far….

Perhaps its the hormones, they have me feeling all of life these days on ” broil” instead of the steady “simmer” i remember not so long ago… but this birthday, feels a little different.

No special number, nothing particular…. except that it is this day that changed my mother’s life. It made her a mother…. and my world changing is approaching too.

I now wonder how she might have felt. Excited? Scared? What would i look like? Could she actually do this? …. it was this day… those expectations were met with reality.

My parents drove 3 hours each way to have lunch with me yesterday. They hardly left the driveway before I wept. Feeling so humbled by them giving their love so freely.

I praise the Father for the gifts he gives us on earth to remind us of the joy to come.

This season, I have not been particularly “good”  — or up to — “doing lots of good things”

… o that works based theology is a hard bed mate to kick.

sins

BUT,  this season I have felt so deeply loved. Loved by my darling husband, friends, family and my Father. Imagine that, that we can’t do enough good things to impress the God of the Universe, but rather are loved mercifully in spite of ourselves.

Today… this day.. one woman’s world changed and she has not stopped loving me to best of her ability since…

Today… i am reminded that this woman’s life is changed when the Father reminds you of how loved feels..

May you, birthday or not, feel loved and appreciate the gifts that make your world sparkle.

 

 

 

 

 

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On Purpose

 

imagesOZGH7PDT

Those weeks where its just hum drum… rise, work, dine, rest, repeat.. what do we make of these?

Can the extraordinary happen in these long, often laborious, days? Can we see a glimpse of the eternal, Light, supernatural beauty in the midst of alarm clocks, laundry and crocklightpot dinners….

 

Where is the space for such abundance?  Can we only catch a fleeting glance in the deep woods, on mountaintops, cushioned retreats?

If the majority of our life is spent in these work-rest-repeat cycles… how do get to LIVING?

How to do make the most of our vapor days while having to drive miles to work, fold towels and vacuum endless puppy fur?

Here are my ideas:

  • The dearly loved, what I will call the ” Voskamp Method” where we get to listing! Listing the big and tiny things we are grateful for, all the things that are our gifts.
  • Pray for awareness of the Holy Spirit and His work in those in front of you.
  • Carve out time to break up the routine: turn off our gadgets, read a real book, walk around your neighborhood.. maybe even talk to your neighbors.  py
  • Being interruptible.  As we search for the eternal, may we also let it happen to us. Answer that coffee date request, that friend who brought back your clean pyrex bowl just may need to linger.. they may just need ears to hear them. May I welcome those unplanned instances
  • Remembering that the season you and I are in are just that…. seasons, not endless. Our work may look the same for years to come but YOU will be different in those years. You will bring different skills and offerings to the table. I choose to believe that we are where we are for a reason and that it is….. only for season. Maybe knowing my current reality wont be forever is helpful to remedy the mundaneness
  • Reminding myself that to compare is to rob myself of joy. May the Father help us to bolster, bring up and raise up women who work to love– not compare and steal–the joy of the Father’s unique giftings.

I certainly do not have this figured out, but when my gyspy soul gets anxious and seeks novelty and adventure ( not that there is anything inherently wrong with these things) that maybe its a call to stillness. A call to stop distracting myself, the ways we numb our broken dreams, yea I went there.

May when those little pinpricks of ” is this all there is?” come loud overhead, may we choose to hear a different caller.

May we choose that our life is ON PURPOSE and that if we just sit still and be present in it then maybe it wont be so…. insert your adjective here.

 

gyp

As someone who has one foot in a familiar world ( Christian, PA, wife, crazy dog lady) and the other foot into a world that *cough* no one has any trouble telling me how “I don’t know what is coming.” A world where I will wear a new name, new life, new routine, newness… you can imagine these worlds are tricky to straddle. Maybe this is why we are pregnant for 9 months… to get used to this idea of the cosmic shift happening around us.

As I feel the yearning to meet my little girl but also for her to stay inside of me forever, I am reminded that in some ways this is how we who are believers feel about the world. We want it, want to experience, see, love, do it all— but we also have a yearning to be nestled into the safety of our Father’s arms in His house where Peace reigns.

May I remember that I am where I am for a reason and only for a season ( disregard the cheeseball rhyme)

May I remember that I will always feel conflicted about my state here on this side of eternity.. because well… its not eternity

May I remember that my Father is good and the gifts he has given to me should be celebrated and written down..

May I remember that there may not be simple answers to these soul hole kind of questions but there are still things I can do to be grounded and rooted in my claundryurrent reality.

May you be grounded and start to see the veil lifted in your world this week perhaps…. as you do your laundry 🙂

 

 

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Breezy

kitchen

Boone this weekend. Old friends packed into a old townhouse kitchen. Coffee and rice crispy treats kept passing round. Laughter and old jokes.. timelessness in the air.

These people have walked through the awkward times, the scary times, broken times and now new times.

What joy in being known.preg

Driving fast round’ mountain curves, that I knew so well, while being in a place that is growing and changing. It was a blessing to be back where I once was in a new place in both mind and body.. even Spirit.breeze

Change… for once… feels like a autumn breeze instead of lightening storm.  Goodnight.

 

 

 

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San Isabel and Becoming.

 

CO

San Isabel National Forest, CO.

 

Spent this Labor day in Colorado, Reconnecting and Reclaiming.

Big sky, the night sky is cold, crisp, makes your nose run but then you take that biting air deep into your lungs and you look up. You see the expansive abyss and enjoy the tiny… you being the tiny in a timeless state.  The cold now less biting but rather the blanket of landscape.

The fire crackles and sways… reds, oranges and blues… the smell of burning birch. The aspens leaves turning gold. Witnessing the season change makes me get a little silly happy. The leaves making their departure from their more original purpose before serving a new one as a coating for the tundra floor.

aspen

You cant help but get a dial reset when you experience the Colorado landscape. Sunflowers growing on the side of the roads, the running of the Arkansas beneath my toes and post-card worthy mountains in every backdrop.

This weekend was rugged, exhausting, simple and reminded me of what seems like a lifetime ago when I called my little “pumpkin” tent more than an occasional visitor.  It felt good, like going home to your childhood home and kicking off your shoes good, but different.

tent

I make the mistake that you can capture moments and seasons twice, and this time in the backcountry of San Isabel National forest I did feel the familiar nostalgia of a season passed but with a new feeling….  gratitude for my current season and its complexity.

My pregnancy has not been what I thought it would be thus far. No warm fuzzies or cooing over tiny shoes. Rather, growing this tiny girl,  has been the greatest act of willpower I have had to date. To muster the energy to wake, shower and get my self dressed for work has felt momentous.  Sickness, fear, depression, loneliness and trepidation has been my salty reality for the last several months.

I needed this weekend to remember the gal I once was. To have dirt under her nails, pee outside and pitch a tent in the cold rain. To climb mountains and have a sore body from the work I asked of it. To feel capable and competent.

This wild merger of who I once was and who I was becoming came to clarity this weekend.

My heart is shifting from the suck-the-marrow out of life because you never know when it will be stripped from you perspective ( this fact is still constant and a driving force of my worldview) to something entirely different.

It wasen’t about my esoteric identity crisis I have from time to time but rather about my DAUGHTER.
daughere

I wanted to teach her to make a fire… much better than the boys I watched silently do a sub par job.

To show her the creation that connects me with the creator and I pray will  her too…

To teach her to be brave

To teach her that she can strong and vulnerable.

To stand up against wrong

To value the timelessness of our world and the ever constant that its also slipping from out hands…

To be a woman who is both physically and spiritually strong. Resistant to schemes of the attackers…

This labor day, I reconnected with a woman who was and who is becoming, both in my soul and my womb.

I remembered that you can not live seasons twice and perhaps this is God’s gift and reminder of our mortal pilgrimage.

What beauty of wildness of the wilderness. What equal beauty in becoming.

Psalm 127:3-4
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. 
   Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

 

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Vines, Roots and the Vine Dresser..

Centered in Christ…. what does this mean?

vine

Much fruit…

..Love… Joy..Peace.. Forbearance.. Kindness.. Gentleness and Self control.

Do I muster these ? Will these into being? Just try a little harder….

No these come by the Power of the Spirit…

How do we know the will of the Spirit… know the Spirit Maker

He says he is…

I am the true vine :: John 15:1-5
I am the way, the truth, and the life:: John 14:6

I am the door of the sheep:: John 10:7
I am the good shepherd:: John 10:11-14

I am the light of the world:: John 9:5, John 8:12
I am the bread of life:: John 6:35-48

Maybe we are to be reminded of the  I AM…

The vine dresser.. he is our vine dresser… “A person who prunes, trains, and cultivates vines.” 

I am being pruned, reminded of my filth, my vine branches that are loose, that are hanging on by tethers, that are not rooted deep… roots

 Lord, speak into the darkness, into the silence into the place of too many words…
To abide in you I must know you.
To follow you I must know you.
To be obedient I know know you.
To know you.. I must pray. I must read your word. I must yield to my sin nature.
To yield I must be equipped and empowered by YOU.
I need YOU for each of these these. To know YOU I need YOU.
Perhaps this is the heart of the gospel…
Perhaps the vinedresser is the planter, pruner, pressure-washer, picker, purchaser, Prince and path maker.
Where are you my sweet friends? Are you experiencing the WATERING needed for your roots to go deep, are you rusty edges getting cut off? Are you in a season of parched perseverance? Where is YOUR heart?
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Freedom

fire

Time outside resets the dials. My fella and I spent some time in a National Forest that was near my job… it by the grace of God was not on fire. We passeled up the pups, went for a little walk, grilled out, sipped on bourbon and celebrated freedom.

celebrating freedom…

For me that looks like being out of cell service range, the dogs off the leash, no bed time or wake up call, some sort of deep acoustic melody in the background and something warm in a mug….

what is your freedom? what freedoms do we sweep neatly under the rug…

……

My fella is beginning the job hunt after many thousands of hours in the books… he is ironing suits, haircuts, shining shoes… the freedom to pursue.. to not have to settle…to go after it…

The paradox of my life’s little flame and those who call Sudan, Bloemfontein, Hong Kong… home….

I want. I prepare. I choose. I.. I… I…..

What if by God’s still-just plan, we were born somewhere that freedom of everything was not a mouse click away? What if we given little to no choice at all? What if we depended on the Father for our actual daily bread.. not the whispers in a prayer.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often brimming in my periphery.. what if we were born in a place and time that self discovery, pursuit of happiness, jean size and family size were not even on our radar.

Often pining for a simpler life, reminiscing of times when my backpack or Dora the Explorer ( yes I anthropomorphized my old SUV, don’t judge me) were all that I had. A camp stove and clean socks were just enough. My day would revolve around miles hiked, miles paddled and what I would be making for dinner…

How do we reconcile living the suburban life with endless choices  that many of us are called to and still practice a simple, grateful and brave life. A life that sings freedom’s song.

How do I wring out the white guilt, the what ifs, the you shoulds of being a young woman, a wife, a Christ- follower, a lover and discerner.

scarley

The notion that having a fenced in yard isn’t the antithesis of freedom, that the life we are called for may look like the one of our dreams or for me.. absolutely nothing. Im thankful that my dreams aren’t coming true these days… I am thankful for an Author who is into freedom paving..

To be free in the whirls of screens, to be free with recurring bills and financial planning…

Shame on me for having such a narrow view of what freedom is…

Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

1 Peter 2:16-17 “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  Honor everyone.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the emperor.”

He gives us the freedom to choose..

freedom

 

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