Have you ever looked at yourself and seen that you were so focused on everyone else that you were neglecting yourself?
I don't mean the good kind of focusing either, I mean the kind that finds all kinds of faults, all kinds of reason why to not do something; all kinds of reasons why that person isn't doing this and this person isn't doing that... Making sure every dot and tittle is in place and every dot and tittle is seen for everyone; everyone but yourself. Yeah, that's me....too busy observing others to see myself.
Those things are hard to come to grips with, but even harder to admit or try to overcome. I admit it.
1Peter 1:22 states, "Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another fromthe heart." When I look to make sure you are doing what's right all the time, neglecting my own actions, am I doing this is love? Nope. I can call it lots of things, but I can't pull the wool over God's eyes.
We need to remember that we can only see one side, or what someone is showing the world, we cant see their inner most fears. in 1 Samuel the word says, "God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” How often, as we search for all the wrong that a person might be doing, do we neglect to witness? How many times have our own actions been a stumbling block to someone? We can only judge the fruits. We can only judge the fruits that are shown to us. Too often we put our own spin on things and are left wanting.
Dots and Tittles
Looking to make sure that everyone else is doing their job or what we think they should be doing isn't the actions of a woman after God's heart. Its not the actions of the woman my husband chose to marry, its not the actions of a good mother, or daughter, and it certainly isn't the actions of a child of the King.
Its the actions of a woman with no purpose or goal. Its the actions of a woman that has too much on her plate and not enough time. Its the actions of a woman whose walk with Christ has not been what it should be. And that has to change. I want my God focus back. I want my directional pointer to be centered on God and I want to be the woman he wants me to be.
So that's where I am. Bearing it all open and pealing back the layers I try to hide behind. I am not put together, I am hurting, I am seeking, and I am a child of the King. Because I am a child of the King, I have hope. I was given a road map, and all I have to do is open it and ask for directions.
My prayer needs this week:
To re-establish a prayer life. I have been nagged by this lately. I seem to find lots of little excuses to not spend the time talking with God that I should. This MUST change. Thank you for your prayers!
Our community has quite the active little sustainability experiment going on. The Buy Nothing Project (Google it and check to see if there is a chapter in your area) is large and active here on the Key Peninsula. As you know, I am a big supporter of keeping it local and using bartering as a means to people equitable trading resources and needs.
I have given countless items, many times at the Junk in the Trunk/Bread Day event that happens weekly (though not an official Buy Nothing event), but also at other times. I have shared things I would have likely ended up tossing because Free-cycle is too hard. I have gotten many needs and wants met as well, including--but not limited to-- art paper and clay for Bear, plants for the yard, clothing for Bear, clothing for myself, trays for animal feed, and did I mention toilet paper rolls?
A recent acquisition at JitT was a child's size table. No one else was wanting it and the fellow JitT'er was loading up to go home and I asked her what her plans were for this table..... she said it was mine if I wanted it. SCORE! I knew exactly what I would be able to use the table for.
Thus a Literacy Table was born!
A Literacy Table for when I go to booths and some parties! Yes, something for children color, draw, and enjoy, while encouraging a love for books and learning!
The supplies I needed I had on hand. This table cost me NOTHING but time! And it will give back to my community in so many ways! I am excited to put this to use!
Chalk Board Paint (I had bought some last year for a project and never did it, so I used it for this instead)
Chalk Board eraser or old soft cloth
A warm day
And the proof of its enjoyability and appeal to the youngest among us is apparent.... Bear quickly placed her mark on the little table.
and that is the goal right there, for children to read books and find that one book that captures their heart and their imagination!
Our chickens number seven and our geese number two. This doesn't seem like a huge amount, right? I thought the portable yard I made them in mid-June would be great until I could get their more permanent yard and Hen Spa built. I was wrong. These guys are growing little weeds. They love to forage and would rather scratch and dig around in the dirt and grass than much else.
Another interesting thing is that the hens must be near the poor geese. I'm not 100% convinced that the feeling is mutual for the geese, but suffice it to say that the geese and chickens are forever friends and likely roommates. Time will tell how long this lasts. I'm not sure how it will go when the hen house is built and winter sets in.
The first hen yard was built out of reclaimed/repurposed products (minus the nails and wire) and it went together pretty well. I picked up a chop/miter saw used and it made the work much more simple than using a hand saw or even my skil saw. I was really hopeful time would pan out and they would be able to be in that little pen until late summer or even fall. It was easy enough to move with two people or even one adult and a child. But the birds have grown bigger than I expected at a faster rate.
One day the hubs was reading in a library book about livestock pens and houses and happened upon a portable solution that we could still transport fairly easily from spot to spot and not be hard to make or expensive. It was a PVC yard. At first I was entirely incredulous, and laughed when my poor husband showed me the plans.
BUT, as sometimes is the case, minds work and think and then you begin to say, "Why not?" I know one thing was for certain, the birds could not be in the same yard for even one more week. This was a solution that we could do, for not too much, that would satisfy the need and even some wants.
So I set about gathering supplies. I was not sure how to attach wire, and the wire was still too big that we had; we had spent weeks of the chickens periodically escaping through the chicken wire, and I knew that what I wanted was a smaller wire. So off to the hardware box store. There I discovered a solution that was both lightweight, economical, and small enough for me and one other person to lift and move without too much difficulty and a lot less often. The old one needed moved daily.
I set to work on deciding how tall I could make it, how long and wide I could go, and how to attach the wire I found that would suit my needs. I had forgotten to tell my husband that I was now going ahead full steam on his plan and that may have been a mistake. I am 100% certain he would have been able to stem the flow of mishaps, but he works and is gone so much that I didn't want to add more to his plate.
But that didn't go as I planned.....
Just after we dropped Bear off at Vacation Bible school this happened as my husband was helping me cut the zip ties.... we were in a hurry because we had a long list of things to get done, and BAM..... God has a way of making you slow down... (I will post the directions to our PVC chicken yard later this week so look for that post!)
We did get the yard done, but not on the day we hopped. The injury to my dear hubs hand was not planned on at all, but it caused us to spend a little more time at home visiting with a long time family friend instead. So I say we got a WIN from it, despite the injury. God knew we would need to be more quiet and he made us do it with no regrets! The chicken yard got done and the girls and geese are OVER JOYED! It got done in GOD's TIME.
Its a way to record what we see, and how we see it.
Of course there are experts as in all things. One web site describes a nature journal in this way:
Like a personal journal or diary, a nature journal is a place to
record our observations and to reflect on them, but unlike a diary, a
nature journal is used specifically to record our observations of, and
thoughts on, nature. Take up nature journaling and you can end up
learning more about nature and about yourself.
They used a lot more prettier words, but in essence the same
philosophy. We have played at Nature Journaling for a year in a half.
We still haven't fully arrived, but I think this year might be the year
that it makes sense. Bear is attempting to draw and record what she sees
in nature. What she sees and picks up on may not be what I see and
pick up on, but in my humble opinion, that's 100% ok. In fact, I love
that she is drawing something different from what I am. We
are journaling together you see. What I draw is from my eye and
standpoint what she draws is from her's and that is as it should be.
You can make a Nature Journal very simply, or you can make it a
complicated project in itself. We tend to fall in the more simple
lines. For really young children I love the hard cardboard composition
books that you can buy for under a dollar. If you want to get a bit
more fancy you can buy a non-lined sketch pad or book for under $10 (or
more! the sky--if you let it--could be the limit). Its up to you
what you do, and you can base it on the age of your child. Get
creative, make your own (gotta love pinterest!).... But make it
something you will use. The best Nature Journal is the one that gets
As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature-diary is a source of delight to a child.
What do you have for journaling?
In our nature journal stash I have included pencils, erasers, chalk
pastels, crayons (broken ones work great for rubbings), water colors,
and colored pencils. We often include the things that we have in our
nature bags as well. This can include a ruler, magnifying glass, our
loops, nature identifier books, clear bags, clear specimen cups, etc.
Let your nature bag help you if you want! You can make your journal
stash simple or more expanded, its really up to you and what you want. A
new item we will be adding soon is a backpack easel to encourage more
art as well. Plus it gives mom a place to stash supplies! *smile*
Again, only have what you use and let your own needs be your guide.
Your journaling experience should be uniquely you.
Grab a camera as well. I am convinced that if Charlotte Mason
were alive today that she would embrace digital photography. I have
plans to one day include photographs in my journal. Nature journals are
all about learning about the natural world that God created and
enjoying it. Through our desire to enjoy it, we will care for it as we
are commanded as Christians.
Children should be made early intimate with the trees, too;
should pick out half a dozen trees, oak, elm, ash, beech, in their
winter nakedness, and take these to be their year-long friends. ~~~
Charlotte Mason (Vol 1, II, Out-Of-Door Life For The Children, p.52)
Embrace the freedom of time. Being in nature takes time. Take the time
that is needed to really examine the natural world. So many times we
rush through walks and this does a disservice to our children as well as
our own beings. We need to connect just as much as our
children do. At one time this connection was a given, but today we call
playing outside a sterile playground where children play surrounded by
dotting parents carrying hand sanitizer!
your child is older, try something I call Square Foot Nature
Journaling. I have heard it called other things as well, but the basic
premise is that one take small natural stakes, jute twine, and measure
off roughly one square foot of space and observe it for a period of
time, recording in the journal what is seen and ones experiences. I
can't wait to try this.
In your journal you will want to be sure to include the date, time, and location of where and what you are observing.
You might even wish to include the weather to help you record your
observations. Don't wait until the next day to journal about what you
have seen, do it right away.
Remember that your journal doesn't have to be perfect, just perfectly
you! Let it express you. One mother expressed to me that she enjoyed
going back over the years and seeing the growth she has made as well as
the growth her children have made through the art of "journaling."
Charlotte Mason had this to say about children in nature and embracing nature; its worth pondering as parents, "every
child has a natural interest in the living things about him which it is
the business of his parents to encourage; for, but few children are
equal to holding their own in the face of public opinion; and if they
see that the things which interest them are indifferent or disgusting to
you, their pleasure in them vanishes, and that chapter in the book of
Nature is closed to them." Do you allow the wonder to infect them or do you look with scorn on dirty fingers and dangling worms?
Get out there and have some fun and enjoy nature. God created it for us
to love and enjoy. If we do this we will take care of it and make sure
our own children will be able to love and enjoy it as well. Encourage
and embrace the mess of being out doors.
On this day we celebrate our nations claim to independence. It was the day that an idea born in the hearts of men, took wings and was given flight.
This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith. ~Lyndon B. Johnson
I found this time line of American Independence here.
Sept 5-Oct 26 1774: First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia. There were 56 delegates representing each colony except Georgia.
Feb 1: In Cambridge, MA John Hancock and Joseph Warren begin to prepare for war.
Feb. 9: English Parliament declares MA in a state of rebellion.
March 23: Patrick Henry delivers his famous speech where he states, "Give me liberty or give me death." "It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, “Peace! Peace!”—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"
March 30: King George again oversteps and the New England Restraining Act is born.
April: MA appointed Kings Governor Gage is ordered to suppress open rebellion by colonist using whatever force was necessary.
April 18: Gage orders 700 British soldiers to Concord to destroy any weapons the colonist may have in a depot there. This is the night of the now famous midnight ride of Paul Revere and William Dawes.
Dawn April 19: About 70 armed MA militiamen stand on the village green and thus begins the revolutionary war with the "shot heard around the world" and so it was...
April 23: Provincial Congress in MA orders almost 14,000 American troops mobilized.
May 10: Fort Ticonderoga in New York captured for the colonist. On this day the second continental Congress also convenes, John Hancock was elected president.
May 15: Congress places the colonies in a state of defense.
June 15: George Washington appointed general and commander-in-chief of the newly formed Continental Army.
June 17: The Battle of Bunker Hill.
June 5: Congress adopts the Olive Branch Petition. This was later refused by King George III.
July 6: Continental Congress issues a declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms and states the Americans are "resolved to die free men rather than live as slaves." 1776
Jan. 5: New Hampshire state Assembly adopts the first American state constitution.
March 4-17: British evacuate Boston and sail for Halifax. Washington goes to New York.
May 2: King Louis XVI of France offers support in the tune of 1 million dollars. Spain steps in as well.
June 7: Richard Henry Lee of VA presents a formal resolution calling for America to declare her independence.
June 11: Congress appoints a committee to draft a declaration. The drafters are Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Livingston, and Roger Sherman.
July 4:Congress formally endorses the declaration. Actual signing occurred on August 2.
And so it goes..... you can read about the many battles and hardships faced from this moment forward as men and women (of all colors) fought for independence. A dream borne by men enslaved by a tyrannical government gave birth to a nation. In our hearts that same blood flows. While we may celebrate with hot dogs, apple pie, and homemade ice-cream today, we also remember all those that had a dream long ago and what that dream meant and still means today.
So here I am. On the grey dog speeding across the vastness we call America. My heart is struck by the enormity of our nation and how few have experienced her beauty. We live in a beautiful land and it makes me appreciate my own little corner of it more.
This week seen our family grow by nine. We added seven chickens (future hens) and two gooslings to the farm. Yes, we are now a few steps closer to our dream. The only thing purchased new for their new abode was the chicken wire. Their home is made entirely of repurposed products. I have to say, it doesn't look half bad for the work of an amature.
Recently I discovered something new about the word amature. An amature is someone that does something for the love of something. Yes, I am an amature. I am on our little farm doing the best I can because of love. A love for my family, my God, and a hope and dream for tomorrow. This framework is being built by amatures. We have these dreams because we love something greater than us.
But all this is zipping through my brain as we zoom 75 miles an hour across the sea of grassland that makes up the vast majority of our nation. It's on the way to another dream which still is in the hatchling stages. This is where my thoughts take me at three in the morning. Yes, much like that sea of grass before me, so must we remain. We must be open to what God has in store for us and we need to be happy. Dare I even say content?
Even the sea of grass has beauty. We just need to open our minds to it and recognize it for the gift it truly is.
As one friend prepares for her families departure into the sea of unknowns, it's my prayer that love and grace follows them. Their path has been forged by God, and while it's new and somewhat scary, it is a path that God has placed them on. My heart sorrows for a friend moving away, but it also rejoices for her. God bless you my friend.