Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tying Strings and other Musings on the Prairie












Last Friday, I was inspired to do something we haven't done in quite awhile.  I set aside my plans for the day, loaded the kids into the car, and paid a visit to a little nature preserve not two minutes from our house.

It couldn't have been a more perfect afternoon for a nature walk - warm and sunny with a nice cool breeze...and let me tell you, it was just the thing we needed.






We thoroughly enjoy all of the wildlife we've discovered right in our backyard...but there is just something therapeutic about being out in nature that has been left untouched.  Uncultivated.  Where the terrain still bears the original thoughts and designs of the Artist Who created it.

It clears the mind.  Speaks to the heart.  Nourishes the soul.







It really wasn't on my agenda to do this, last Friday.  In fact, I started out our morning with an ambitious list of things I wanted to accomplish before the weekend - lots of cleaning, several projects that needed to be finished, menu planning.....nothing out of the ordinary.  Mostly things that need to be done.



These incredibly colorful Tiger Beetles were busy hopping all over the foot paths.  I was lucky enough to sneak up on this one, and snap a picture before he jumped away again!  Little Monkey, General and Rose had a lot of fun chasing them....



But sometimes, when the smiles and bright eyes begin to grow a little dull....when the conversation stops and the bickering begins....when little hearts begin to close up just a wee bit and grumpiness and frustration take over....

 Mama knows it is time to slow down a bit.  To DEschedule our days.  Say no to some things - whether those things are activities outside our home, projects at home....or even just my own never-ending list of plans and ideas.

It's time to tie a few heart-strings.



....but Peanut wasn't so sure he liked having these guys hopping around his feet. :)



"The world is so full of a number of things, I think we should all be as happy as kings."
~ R.L. Stevenson

I learned this little poem as a girl - and it has always been one of my favorites!  And these words could not be any truer for this little family of mine.  There is no end to the number of wonderful activities and pursuits "out there" to keep my children's - and my! - hands and minds busy.  Enough for a lifetime!

BUT.  As it is with everything in this world.  Too much of even the good things....really isn't such a good thing.



This was my view for most of the afternoon....and I really couldn't get enough pics of them all walking together. :)





There was a brand new pavilion right at the top of a little hill - we will have to put this to good use in the future, and bring our lunches!


A few months ago, on one of those unusually warm - and beautiful - Sunday afternoons, that we had in the very beginning of this Spring.  Chris & I had some time to just sit outside and talk for awhile, as the little ones were napping after church...and we ended up having what I like to think of as a "milestone" conversation.  You know, the kind that happen every once in awhile, and that you just "know" isn't an accident - you can sense God's hand in it.  A defining moment, I guess.

That afternoon, we ended up defining a little vision of what we believe our home needs to be, in this new season of family life that we're entering into.  It was something that brought me peace and clarity.  A specific direction for me to focus all my homemaking, homeschooling and mothering efforts - everything working together with my husband's goals for his family.

And our aim is this - very simply, a joyful home.







One that has order and rhythm - a predictable flow of mealtimes and sleep times.  Times of work and times of play.  Times of prayer.  Times of fellowship.

One that has balance - where each necessary aspect of our family life is thoughtfully grown - or pruned - to fit the amount of time and energy we are able to devote to it....and without it taking away from any other necessary thing.

And one that has relationship - laughter.  Conversation.  Strings being tied between hearts.  Love for God being taught in the midst of daily life.





It's a simple goal.....but a lofty one, too!

As I watched my children run & explore with delight on the prairie, last Friday, I said a little prayer for strength and for grace.  And mercy.

Because this "simple" little task seems to take all of my time, energy and strength to make it happen!

 And then consolation was Graciously given, as clear and bright as the blue prairie sky.


Not sure exactly which wildflower this one is...I'll have to bring our field guide next time, too!  But I'm really looking forward to coming back each week and watching the seasons of the prairie unfold.  Prairie Roses should be blooming soon...one of my favorites!  I haven't seen any of those since we moved from our last house, which had a "prairie" for a backyard (on account of not mowing often enough, lol!).



What is it that will make my home peaceful and joyful?

It is time.  Unscripted, unscheduled, unallocated.

Saying no to too many things, whatever they may be.  Activities, outings, projects....even things done at home can be too much.

Remembering that my number one priority as a Mama (and wife), everyday, is nurturing souls.


~ :: ~


And......just as Jesus promised....His yoke is, indeed, easy and His burden is light:

All I have to do to make this happen, is -

Stop.


~ :: ~


Because time is short.

And it can't be created.

But it can be...redeemed.



The mown path made a sharp bend toward the treeline and everyone wanted to race to the end....even Peanut, who got off to a good start, until he had some wardrobe difficulties... :)


"There were endless demands on Jesus' time....Yet, He took time to rest, withdrawing to the hills to pray alone...  Still He was able to make that amazing claim, 'I have finished the work You gave me to do.'  This was not the same as saying He had finished everything He could possibly think of to do or that He had done everything others had asked.  He made no claim to have done what He wanted to do.  The claim was that He had done what he had been given.
This is an important clue for us.  The work of God is appointed.  What was given to the Son to do was the will of the Father.  What is given to us to do is also His will. 
"There is always enough time to do the will of God.  For that we can never say, 'I don't have time.'  When we find ourselves frantic and frustrated, harried and harassed and 'hassled,' it is a sign that we are running on our own schedule, not on God's."
~ from, Discipline by Elisabeth Elliot


...much better!  Meanwhile, the other three discovered their "best nature find" of the day....a dead garter snake, probably caught by the mower.  Ew!  Which explained why we had previously seen so many vultures circling overhead.




The past couple weeks, I've been reading another book by Elisabeth Elliot - The Shaping of a Christian Family.  Her words have always been a source of blessing and encouragement to me!  I thought I'd leave you, today, with a quote that brought peace to my heart...maybe it will bless you, too. :)


"God knows the feelings of discouragement, inadequacy, and failure which conscientious parents feel.  But it was His idea to make them parents and to give them this particular set of children.  He knew they would not do a perfect job.  He is Father to the parents, and promises every kind of help they need.  He stands beside them in every situation, ready to give wisdom as needed and grace to help in time of need if only they will turn to Him and ask for it.  He teaches them (see 1 Cor. 13) how to love these children: 
Love is patient.  Love is kind.  It is not easily angered.  It keeps no record of wrongs.  It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.  Love never gives up. 
It is a supernatural love.  It is beyond our powers to love in this way, but it is not beyond His."  (excerpt from page 146)
.....

Isn't it comforting to know that  God is right there -  ready to give us the strength and the grace to finish this work He has given us to do?


The true mark of a successful outing....one big, hearty yawn.  Mission completed.

Sharing a Mama's heart, today. :)


Wishing you a beautiful, peaceful and joy-filled Wednesday!
Maybe you will find a few minutes in your day to slow down a bit...and tie a few strings, too!
Blessings,

10 comments:

  1. There is always enough time to do the will of God. For that we can never say, 'I don't have time.' When we find ourselves frantic and frustrated, harried and harassed and 'hassled,' it is a sign that we are running on our own schedule, not on God's."
    ~ from, Discipline by Elisabeth Elliot

    Wow!! thanks for posting that. I followed you over from Artful Homemaking...since our names rhyme and all...hee hee.

    I really needed that post right now.

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  2. My goodness.

    I

    I read this last night. Had to, come back today. So much to sink in.

    Good, good stuff.
    this task of motherhood seems like a simple task, but your right!, it takes all of my time and energy too. so well said.

    "As it is with everything in this world. Too much of even the good things....really isn't such a good thing"

    you've said it so well Collette!

    I enjoy reading anything from Elisabeth Elliott.
    I'm going to check into that book too.

    I enjoyed reading what you shared about the moment that you and Chris had about the vision of your home. It's so, so true for me. We have those moments too and I walk away feeling refreshed and most importantly thankful for a Godly husband who has convictions and a heart for a Godly home. ...sounds like you do too;)

    You completely brought something to light for me this morning...

    "time is short. YES.
    and while it can't be created...

    IT CAN BE REDEEMED!

    I'm making that my mission today..a day of time redemption;-)!!!

    love in christ

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  3. Collette you have such a gift! Thanks for sharing and inspiring, great pics too! :)

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  4. The photo captures of the kids are just too precious. So beautiful. "Behold how pleasant and good it is for brethren to dwell in unity; for there the Lord commands His blessing, life forever more." You're doing a awesome work in your family!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Karen!! :0) God is so good, and faithful, to guide us through it all. :)

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  5. Welcome, Josette! (Love your name :0) Glad you stopped by!


    Amanda - You know it's funny...the first time I tried reading Shaping Christian Family (years ago) I couldn't get into the book because Elliot has woven all of her teaching into a story of her family's history - almost (but not quite) like a biography. THIS time around, however, I am LOVING it because it reads so much like a blog! Truths mixed with narratives. Very neat book!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Then I'm certain it's for me!

    Funny how certain things speak to us in certain times of our lives...

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  7. Colette,
    I do believe this is the best post I have ever read!!!!
    It spoke to me on so many levels!!!
    Truly a gift to us from your heart, thank you.
    Beautiful pictures.

    So much more I want to say about it, but Amanda covered it all really good, so I think I'll just side with her if she doesn't mind me sharing her thoughts???!!! :-)

    have a blessed day.
    Love Carissa

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  8. Dearest Collette...
    I read this post the other day. And I needed it so. Then Amanda, told me to come read it, if I hadn't already. So I came back again. This is one of THOSE posts. You said it all so well. I could relate to your words on every level. And my husband and I have such a vision for our home as well.
    I love how these posts and comments are becoming so intimate that they are sharpening us, you know what I mean?

    How lucky we all are to have found such kindred spirits.

    Truly!

    I loved this and thanked God for your message to me.

    XO

    ReplyDelete
  9. these posts...they are sharpening us.

    RIGHT!!!!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! Things are pretty busy around our house, so I can't always leave as many replies as I would like to. But please know that I look forward to reading every note you send my way - they brighten my day! Blessings,Collette

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