Category Archives: Sabbath

Sabbathing the Plants

I offered my plants rest today from the work they have been doing trying to grow in pots that are too small. All of the striving and pushing against and reaching for sun was exhausting them, causing drooping, yellowing, and general plant malaise.

Dumping the plant that hangs in my room to transfer it to a larger container, I almost heard an audible sigh as the roots loosened and stems separated from each other, stretching. Some of them asked to be moved to a completely different pot, and I obliged.

This is the plant in its larger hanging basket.

hanging plant

The plant in the bathroom needed some additional soil to cover exposed roots and invited one of the extra cuttings from my bedroom plant to come and reside with it.

bathroom plant

The rubber plant was bound in the pot that it came in last year. After searching around the yard, I found an empty container for its new home.

Much better.

rubber plant

Sabbathing the plants sabbathed my heart, as well, offering rest and refreshment on the heels of a busy, full season that doesn’t seem to want to slow down.

As I worked the song Healing Begins was running through my head. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s because my plants needed attention, maybe it’s because my heart needed attention, maybe it’s because I’ve been walking through so much brokenness with so many of my loves, lately.

For whatever reason, I thought I would share, because maybe you need to hear these words, Dear Reader.

We’re here now.

Seeds of Hope

They may be buried deep. Lying dormant. Hidden away in a dry, dark place.

Refuse of the heart, mixed with words of truth, can be sprinkled on those seeds and help hope begin to sprout. To grow.

I found a new favorite Dan Allender quote in his book Sabbath. 

The truest fruit of repentance is always hope, even in the face of overwhelming and unrelenting dour circumstances. Hope is not mere optimism; rather it is moving forward in anticipation of redemption in spite of the improbability of rescue. (185)

Those overwhelming and unrelenting dour circumstances look different for everyone. Whatever you feel a need to be rescued from is your overwhelming circumstance.

What does it look like to move forward, anticipating redemption, in the midst of the dour?

Whatever your circumstance this season, I pray this for you. I pray this for me, as well.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13

Outside is Calling

It brings a hopeful feeling after a long, cold winter, cooped up inside with lots of snow surrounding everything, to venture outside.

Last night, my luvvvah and I took our first evening walk of the season, thanks to my mother’s willingness to sit with the kids after they were in bed. We return to a chapter of life where we can’t just up and go, trusting that there will be an older sibling around to hold down the fort.

The littles are now middles with loud opinions and many needs, and the youngest of the oldest, who is the oldest in the house right now, often has a life. Once everyone is in bed, there isn’t a guarantee that they will stay, and it’s best to have an adult present who can be the boss of them, should they need one.

Non-adult-siblings aren’t the best in the role of official boss of everyone else.

When the adults are home, it’s a different story, but then we want to spend time here with them. Things always change. Isn’t that the constant?

So yesterday’s outside for me was a walk. For the kids it was the hauling out of scooters and bikes and the playing on the porch.

Today, it was being invited by my love to spend half-an-hour in the yard together puttering around, picking up, and lopping off bits dead plant remains to reveal the green shoots underneath. It was nothing strenuous and certainly blustery, but it was earthy and grounding at a time when I desperately need that.

new growth

I need to discover the green under all of the dead brown; to snap off stalks and crunch dry leaves and grab handfuls of dirt, just because. I need time in the brisk sunshine.

And to stop. I need that, too. It’s hard to stop in the midst. To rest.

The hibiscus is in the shower, drip drying after a soak. A damp, loamy smell greets me each time I walk into my bathroom. I know it’s not time to put the plant outside. Soon, though.

Through my bedroom window I see little girls galloping down the sidewalk towards home. They have been up the street playing in a friend’s yard. I have seized the moment to rest and write.

Spring is coming. I am ready. Outside is calling. I am listening.

Stringwa’s Sabbath

Even a stringwa needs space to Sabbath, and this one was found in her quiet place.

It’s a gentle reminder that sometimes there is sweetness in the midst of the Sunday struggles.

You can learn a lot from Stringwa. Or maybe Stringwa is learning a lot from Roo who just might be learning a lot herself from the big people in her life, even as she teaches them.

Sabbath shalom. Seizing the sweetness.

Rest Awhile

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them,
Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest awhile.
For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
Mark 6:30, 31

I know the feeling of many coming and going with no leisure even to eat.

I was given that leisure and space this weekend with the offer of respite at my friend Angela’s house. From Friday to Saturday evening there was space and quiet and time to think and read and write. And watch a bluray movie on her massive TV.

I slept. I read an entire book. All the way through. I wrote. I rested. I listed. I sat by the fire. I listened to music.

It was a gift.

The disciples ended up being followed and recognized in their desolate place, leaving them with 5,000 hungry people to feed. Jesus worked the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes and then put them in the boat.

Soon I will get back into my boat and be launched out onto the water of a new week.

In that launching I will try to hold onto grace and peace and gratefulness for the time I was able to rest awhile.

Rest Came

Rest came today in breakfast in bed, provided by Coco, Collie, and Roo. Delicious scrambled eggs and buttered toast were served for two on a tray.

Rest came today in first service and Sunday School being cancelled at church. No morning nursery duty for me and Coco, our once-a-month date with each other and little walkers.

Rest came today in a freshly-plowed street that firmly packed our cars in, causing the digging-out process to take longer than expected. No making it out in time for the 11:15 service.

Rest came today in cinnamon rolls for lunch, courtesy of Steve’s Costco run on Friday. No preparation on my part required.

Rest came today in actual sleep. A much-need, deep-sleeping nap under a fluffy lamb blanket with lots of vivid dreaming.

Rest came today in laughter with my luvvvah, the deep, belly-laughing kind about secrets we share.

Rest came today in an early supper, easy to prepare, ingredients already on hand, a glass of beer to accompany it.

Rest came rushing to me in the mess, inviting me to slow down and receive it.

So I did, and I will continue to do so for a few more hours until day is done and a new week begins, refueled and refreshed by the rest that came.

It Begins

Ash Wednesday. 

It begins. The forty day season of Lent that is a part of my story, and thus, meaningful to me.

It is arrogant to ignore the past and its gift of tradition; it is foolish to embrace past symbols as our own if they don’t, at some point, bear lavish meaning. (Dan Allender, Sabbath, 156)

Its meaning isn’t found in the placing of ashes on my forehead. It’s not in the doing of penance or purging of soul. It’s not even found in the choice of what to lay aside for the next 40 days.

It’s not about me.

It is about what God is doing in me in whatever season I am found. It is about the rhythm of days and the church calendar and the story of redemption and where God is growing me and what Christ has done for me.

Last year found me here.

This year looks different, yet strangely similar.

My observance is more structured, intentional, mindful. There is a specific place in my life that God is speaking to. It is a place where I am currently replacing intentional movement toward disruption and discomfort with comfortable escape from both.

I am reminded of Christ and how he chose to leave comfort and move toward messy. How he asked to have the cup removed if it was his father’s will. How he chose to remain present in all that was painful for the sake of redemption. How he even asked, My God, my God, WHY have you forsaken me?

I am aware that fasting is to be done in secret. That there is no time frame or right way other than Jesus’ command in Matthew 6.

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

I will still be anointing my head with coconut oil and washing my face each morning. If my countenance appears disfigured, it is because it reveals what is in my heart, not my choice of what to fast from. There are a few dear and close to me who know what I am giving up. 

I am choosing to keep that part off of the blog as I ponder where God is taking me and what he is doing in this season, as it begins.

Respite

It was a sweet time and not long enough.

It’s never long enough.

But it was a gift.

The gift of space. Of rest.

It was a hard time coming. My turn around time is slow, and my plan to arrive at noon was delayed by five hours.

I arrived at five.

guest room

My parents graciously opened their guest room so that I could have space away from my home responsibilities.

hospitality

This lovely tray greeted me with all kinds of treats.

I put down my suitcase and set a timer to just rest. To be.

It was wonderful.

Dinner with my mom and dad. Laughter and memories. Then space to adjourn to my room upstairs with no expectations other than those that I place on myself.

They are too many!

I lit a candle and put up my feet and did nothing.

I rested.