Tag Archives: rest

Mercies Anew

I’m thankful today for mercies anew.

Yesterday started off rough and continued in off mode all day long.

There was nothing in particular to pin it on other than a disrupted morning routine, dealing with the unexpected, and interacting in the usual ways with the usual suspects.

It was just a really hard day.

Even though I left work early.

Even though I took a nap.

Even though there were no outside obligations last night.

Some days are just like that.

Which is why I am thankful for a new start today!

Sweet-Smelling Fragrance

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. . .

Today seemed a good one to talk about fall scent, or in the words of my son, foul stenchBoth are correct, actually.

But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom.
But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.
And who is adequate for such a task as this?
2 Corinthians 2:15,16

The recipe for Fall Scent is found on one of those lost plastic pages in my virtuous cookbook of yore. It involves simmering good-smelling things in a pot on the stove, being careful not to burn all of the water away, thus crusting everything to the bottom of the pot and filling the house with a stench.

It’s a great use for those lemons or oranges or other citrus fruits or even apples that are going bad in the fruit bin. One step ahead of the compost pile.

Fall Scent
1 lemon, cut in half or quartered
1 orange, same
some whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
A bay leaf or two

Squeeze the juice of the lemon and orange into a 2qt pot, dropping the rind in, as well.
Add the other ingredients and fill with water.
Bring the whole thing to a rolling boil, and then reduce to simmer.
Enjoy the scent, adding water as it evaporates.

VERY IMPORTANT! Do not leave unattended. If you smell a delightfully strong scent while you are in another part of the house, RUN to add more water, because the water is almost gone. If you have OCD tendencies, you might want to stick with something safer like diffusing essential oils, because it will drive you crazy wondering if you turned off the stove when you leave the house. Or come up with a ritual for signalling to yourself you have removed the pot from the top of the stove.

Trust me on this one.

I sometimes add apple bits, peppercorns, or other interesting spices to mix it up a bit. This mixture will keep in the fridge for a week or so.

The backstory to fall scent is that when we purchased our yellow house eleven years ago, it was rather run-down and ramshackle. Everything was filthy and old and broken, and the eight appliances that conveyed were from the 50’s.

That’s another story.

There was basic work to be done like updating the wiring and waterproofing the basement and refinishing the floors and cleaning. Oh my, the cleaning.

We would come over to work, and I would brew a pot of fall scent to mask the musty smell and try to make it seem home-y.

The following fall when we were more settled and had lived in the house for several months, I put a pot of fall scent on the stove. My then-little bigs got home from school one afternoon and the first thing child 3 asked was, Are there workers here?

The scent was associated with the work being done on the house. And now you know. . .

. . .the rest of the story.

I’m off to parent four more not-so-littles and move on through the day.

And who is adequate for such a task as this?

Enjoy your fall day, Friends!

My Restful Porch

This morning Steve and I sat on the porch drinking coffee and eating Honey Nut Cheerios. There were a few moments of peace before a minivan passed.

Was that (insert name of band parent here)? Is there band today? Is our son awake?

Peace interruptus ensued as Steve ran inside and upstairs to wake teenage boy. A friend who drives pulled up, and we waved him along.

We’ll drive him in. He just woke up. Thanks!

Risky move there on our part. That usually means said teenager will come running out of the house, fully ready to leave, fully annoyed with us for taking matters into our own hands and cramping his style.

It worked. This time. Small graces.

We sat together a few minutes longer, waiting for our boy to be ready. A neighbor walked by with her dog.

I’ve been meaning to tell you how nice the porch looks! So relaxing and restful.

In that instant, I tried to view through those eyes, because, honestly, life has been neither relaxing nor restful, lately. Writing is my outlet, and you see how much of that has been happening!

Seasons are changing again.

Returning to the present, I realized that for a few more minutes, my luvvah and I could drink coffee and eat cereal before the rest of the day took over. That moment was both relaxing and restful, and I chose to embrace it.

Embrace. I remember that word!

Finding Treasures

Looking below the surface of our porch not only revealed items that no longer served us or assuaged our fears of the worst. It also revealed treasures that we didn’t know were there or that we had forgotten or lost.

When exploring what lies beneath the surface of your heart, prepare to be surprised by what you find. Sure, there may be the scary, unknown, painful, fearful parts, but there might also be hidden treasures, forgotten dreams, lost gifts.

Items that had fallen through the cracks were small kids’ toys and such. There were cries of excitement as panda and leopard were pulled from the debris and returned to their rightful toy bins.

What about yourself have you lost? Be curious about those pieces that feel missing or out of order. When you find them again, it’s exciting to sort them out into the places they belong.

Two large rocks were waiting to be removed and relocated to a more prominent place in the landscaping. Rocks are important to us, and this discovery was meaningful and worth the extra effort it took to dislodge them.

Maybe there are big parts of yourself waiting to be uncovered, dislodged, and put out there for people to see. Maybe there are large gifts hidden inside of you, waiting to be discovered and put on display with some extra effort and work.

The best treasure of all was a tiny glass bottle, half buried in the dirt. It cleaned up beautifully to make a vase for small sprigs of lavender. This, again, was meaningful, as I have an affinity for tiny things.

tiny bottle

Sometimes in the midst of the big mess and destruction, a tiny gift emerges, encouraging you to keep on going. You just have to be willing to look honestly and be open to what surfaces.

Much more can be said about going beneath the surface and doing heart work. It’s challenging, scary, messy, uncomfortable, ugly, and worth it.

For now, I leave you with the hope of treasures to be found before beginning the recovery process.

More to come. Always more.

Until then, rest in the mess.

the mess

Hello, June!

You have arrived, bringing with you pause from the school year and wedding planning and preparation for summer and all that it holds.

I hope to enjoy you, and the moments you bring.

I tend to stress out.

You bring my birthday, and that of Little Mae.

Preparation for camp.

Stephen Ministry teaching, recruiting, and leadership preparation.

Catching up on things around the house.

Revamping the porch.

Caring for my children.

Scheduling appointments.

Writing.

Resting.

The resting is the hard part. There will always be more doing.

I begin this month curious as to where it will take me and what I will learn from it. Feel free to join me and to share where you are and what you are learning, as well. Life is a journey, Friends. Let’s try to enjoy it!

Goodness in Restorative Rest

When I make wise bedtime choices like avoiding snacks, embracing hot tea, and retiring at a decent hour, I feel it in the morning.

I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and wonder if it’s even worth it.

I’m sure that it is.

I’m sure that my body is soaking up every bit of care I can give it and trying to make up for lost time.

So I will try it again tonight.

I’m grateful for the feeling of restorative rest.

Resting and Writing

Comfort Food and Cozy Covers

It has been a long week.

I have had a deep longing to do nothing other than hunker down under my favorite purple throw and write, but there have been other pressing needs and responsibilities.

I have shed many tears, both happy and sad.

I have rejoiced and grieved.

I have plunged toilets and mopped floors and investigated strange smells.

I have mediated conflict and engaged in conflict and run from conflict and embraced conflict.

I have shut my office door and cried.

I have listed out the graces of each day.

Then cried some more.

I have marveled at kindness and wallowed in discouragement.

And at the end of this week, when all is said and done, and the babysitter procured for an evening out with my husband at the game, I find my longing for rest and writing met in the form of sickness.

When I am crying at Chick-fil-A, it’s not a good sign.

So I leave Daddy and the littles and drive home to hunker down under cozy purple throw to sleep and cry and sleep some more.

I wake to spring rolls and Tom Yum Goong soup from Taste of Thai ~ ultimate comfort food, and time to rest and write and heal my body, and maybe a little bit of my heart.

Endurance

Running with endurance the race set before me has been on my mind a lot. I wrote about in this post. A friend commented with her perspective, which caused me to think on it even more.

My mind landed on the place that the race I need to run is my own. It’s the one that God set out before me. It is so easy to look at the journey of others and begin to compare. I have been given every gift that I need to do my job well. What others are doing or what others think should be doing are not my concern.

And on good days that brings me comfort. On hard days I appreciate the reminder.

Pick Your Episode

There is this activity at our house called Episode Pick in which each child, in predetermined order, selects one cartoon episode from Netflix for everyone to watch. It’s like Saturday morning cartoons without the commercials or the Saturday morning constraint. It lasts long enough for an adult to balance the checkbook or work on some laundry or organize a closet or write a blogpost in peace.

Generally, it’s a Saturday morning activity, allowing the adults in the house a few extra minutes of sleep or a cup of coffee on the porch.

This morning, as Steve left for work, I hopped in the shower to get ready for my day. It is a season of great transition around here, and I am feeling it in my exhausted bones.

I ventured from my lair to the sound of cheering that a sibling had finally woken up. Yay! Kirkle! You’re finally awake! (Awww… look at how much they love each other. I am such a good mom to have trained them to rejoice when they see one another! Let me get started on that post about sibling love…) You get to lead us in EPISODE PICK! (What! Wait! There’s no episode pick right now.)

Insert sweetest child voice you have ever heard here courtesy of Coco…

Actually, yes there is. Dad said that when Kirkle woke up, he could lead us in an episode pick. He must REALLY love you and want you to rest this morning.

Sigh…