slowing down

slowing down

Several years ago, when Caleb was in seventh grade, I had carpool duty two afternoons each week. I usually arrived early enough to relax post-work by reading, listening to music, or a podcast. One afternoon, as the group loaded their belongings into the cargo part of the car, I hadn’t turned off my music selection which was my habit. 

I started to switch the music off when in unison, everyone except Caleb(who is his mother’s frequent passenger), yelled “Hamilton! Turn it up!” I obliged and drove the next 30 minutes to a unique rendition of the musical Hamilton which repeated for several weeks until one carpool member urged for a new music selection. 

This will always be an indelible memory of how art can bridge the seemingly wide chasm between people. 

My original five watched the movie version of Hamilton at exactly midnight the moment it premiered. This might seem like overkill but we are trying to make a celebration out of anything these days, especially when we can do it in our own home.   What a treat to see the music we have loved and couldn’t get out of our heads jump to life before our eyes. 

Even my next sentence echoes Eliza’s words to Alexander (“Take a break.”) but I am going to heed them better than he did.

I am taking a break from writing on the blog for at least the rest of July. Normally, I wouldn’t make any fuss about it but so many of you dear friends wondered where Monday’s post was last week. Thanks for missing the post. 

I’ve written a lot of words since the first Monday in January. I love a good streak and I have only missed two Mondays in the past seven months. But alas, I am not meant to be a machine. We all need to remember this for ourselves and sanity.

January was the month I decided to return to writing regularly on this blog and gather words about what I was learning about slow living. “Slow” was the word I picked at the end of August as my word for my birthday year. 

I realized last Monday, my birthday was only 50 days away. What a lot of living over the course of this year and what a lot of slowing down in the second quarter of 2020.  It’s time for me to consider a new word for my upcoming birthday and continue to hold tightly to the goodness of the word “slow”. I hope to spend time journaling and fleshing out new thoughts. There is an avalanche of words out in the world right this moment, I want my words to be ones of hope, encouragement, and life-giving. 

It’s summertime. Time for a rest, lots of iced tea, and books.

The best way to know when I have returned to posting is to be subscribed to my blog. Sign-up information is found on the sidebar, thanks for your readership.

So Jesus said to his disciples, “Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where you can rest awhile.” 

Mark 6: 31 (TPT)

That sounds mighty nice.

 

*****

 

May this summer bring gifts beyond measure.

May you find joy in the midst of disappointment from abandoned plans.

May you revel in offering the gift of safety to others by wearing a mask.

May God grant you health and wellness during this time of mounting statistics.

May rest and recreation hold hands with one another during this season of sunshine.

May you allow yourself to take a break.

 

sabbath moments

sabbath moments

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Each week, we travel our way through a tangled network of iron and steel.

The Sabbath is your opportunity to joyfully take the off ramp marked detour.

Sleep.

Play.

Laugh.

Just Be.

May the Lord whisper His blessed reminder, it’s just you and Him.

The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace

Numbers 6: 24-26

 

 

 

 

 

when sabbath looks like a puppy

when sabbath looks like a puppy

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We abandoned our plates of steaming mixed-up eggs

and puckered ribbons of turkey bacon when the first speckled

puppy came into view.

At first we peered through our window as if we 

were puppies in a pet shop begging for an owner.

Then we opened our front door and ran down the

stairs as fast as our stocking feet would carry us.

A small crowd descended from all directions of

our neighborhood and cars carrying smiling passengers would slow

but continue to their destination.

Eye contact was fleeting as none of us were the main attraction.

Our attention was firmly placed on wobbly paws and enchanting eyes.

Oh the licks and the pretend bites and the tunnels they

made of our legs compelled us to attempt to contain their wiggling

skin in our arms.

Play fighting and the hazards of curbs created

their own brand of peril.

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We call out our favorites which change with each a flick of a

tail or a blue-eyed gaze imparted.

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Time  evaporated.

The to-do list can wait.

The time for eating has lost its turn.

Puppies play.

We are entranced.

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An under-the-weather boy regained his strength.

Sometimes the Sabbath looks like a puppy.

You might feel you are peering through a window with your nose

pressed upon it hoping that you can summon yourself to leave

the familiar constraints of busyness.

Why does rest seem inconceivable when it should be second nature?

The Sabbath invites us to draw back the curtains allowing the

rising and setting sun to warm our faces.

It’s a gift to close a door on the other six days and

prop open a screen door for play to visit for one day.

It’s not designed to enhance our attachment to watches

or cell phones.

It’s a call to sharing a meal and sometimes

even letting the contents of the plate grow cold

because your heart beckons you to more satisfying feast.

Why not put the car in park for a while?

It’s about losing time yet gaining your soul.

It’s being reminded we are all God’s favorite and He won’t

ever change His mind.

He has issued an invitation to seek rest and delight

and let work simply cease.

How often we forget that God enjoys

seeing His children tumble into the

warm sweet spot of joy.

Some days it is all about getting your face licked by

a creature with fur whose chief delight is to play.

May your Sabbath look just like a puppy.

May you take one day each week to rest

and play with great abandon.

***My dear dad had such perfect timing
sending me a guide for the Sabbath
and play given 
during a church’s sermon.
You will find it under  A Helping Hand
under the menu at the top of the blog.

Thanks Dad!

more random madness

more random madness

I had every intention of writing this week.

I think the previous week’s high from attending the writers

conference was replaced by a bit of a dip.

The blinking cursor seemed extra bold and although

I had a list of post topics, it just didn’t happen.

If you think I abandoned my recap of the conference,

I decided to add the last bits and pieces to the end of the

post titled agendas.

I just forgot to let you know. Check it out.

Also, sometimes you take a step outside of your own

world and attempt to view someone else’s reality and

it can make writing a random post seem a bit insignificant.

If you would be so kind to lift a prayer for Steve Stern and the

Stern family.

You can read more of their story here.

I innocently left the house yesterday to meet a friend for breakfast which

could have turned into a late lunch due to our lengthy chatting.

When I returned home, I found my March Madness bracket all in

disarray.

All I can say is as long as Michigan State wins it all, my beat up and bruised

bracket will be somehow be redeemed.

Spring break is upon us and I will probably only be watching basketball with

one eye now that the upsets are happening.

I thought I would share a few books I have read and what is on my list

to read in the weeks to come.

I set a ridiculously high reading challenge goal on good reads and

I need to pick up the pace.

A few books I have enjoyed since the beginning of the year:

Product Details

Pursue The Intentional Life

Such a tender and wise book about numbering our days right.

…a book to help me live my highest until the Lord calls me home.
I long to see Christ’s life formed in me. I want to become the person
God had in mind when He created me. I yearn to touch the world
for God’s glory and advance His kingdom. The substance of this 
book represents my earnest desire to “number [my] days…that
[I] may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Product Details

Made to Crave

I have circled this book for quite a while.
I finally took a chapter a day and finished it.
Great wisdom and spiritual help for food issues.

I underlined quite a number of passages but this

verse was the gold I mined from this book:

“You have circled this mountain long enough.
Now turn north.”
Deuteronomy 2: 3

Leaving Church

Barbara Brown Taylor wrote a book on my top ten list,

An Altar in the World.

Leaving Church chronicles the season in her life as an

Episcopal priest and her decision to leave the pulpit.

This  is not the life I planned or the life I recommend to others.
But it is the life that has turned out to be mine, and the central
revelation in it for me–that the call to serve God is first and last
the call to be human–seems important enough to witness to on paper.
This book is my attempt to do that.
Like every believer I know, my search for real life has led me through
at least three distinct seasons of faith, not once or twice but over
and over again. Jesus called them finding life, losing life and 
finding life again, with the paradoxical promise that finders will be
losers while those who lose their lives for his sake will wind up
finding them again.

The Invisible Girls

Sarah Thebarge spoke at the writers conference

and I found her book at the library.

Our public library has what are called Lucky Day books.

They are high demand books which you can check out only for

one cycle. They must be completed in 3 weeks and cannot be

renewed.

It was a lucky day to find The Invisible Girls waiting for me and it

took me 2 days to read it. If life could have stopped it would have been

a few hours.

This book is brilliant and heart wrenching and redemptive.

Go back to the agendas post and re-read what I wrote about Sarah’s

talk.

God is writing your story.

Definitely one of my favorite reads of the year.

On the teetering stack now.
For some reason, my book cover images
don’t want to cooperate so click on the
links.
It’s Friday…perhaps the blog is
ready for the weekend or just plain
rebellious.

The Memoir Project

Truth & Beauty

Let Your Life Speak

Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred
Rhythm of Rest and Delight

Divergent

Tattoos on the Heart

What are you reading?