Monday, July 21, 2014

Randomness with Pictures

That is what I'm hoping for from our garden. It is looking pretty good this year, with our fence staying charged (despite huge branches landing on it during the recent windy storm), but sometimes things aren't always as good as they appear, eh? So, we shall see.

But, if you have the typical abundance of garden zucchini and you are ready to hand it out to everyone you meet, here's a fun and amazingly tasty way to use up those green lovelies.

Zucchini pickles are a wonderful mix of tangy, spicy and sweet, and they go great with everything. And don't let not liking dill pickles scare you away, because these are not traditional tasting at all. Check out the Cooking Light recipe and give it a go. You won't be sorry.

My oldest daughter is very artistic. When our dog chewed the foot off of one of her My Little Pony toys from long ago, she didn't want me to throw it away. Instead, she free-handed a new "cutie" mark on its hip and renamed the pony "Miss Handicap."

Speaking of my oldest, here is her hair done in a Celtic Knot. She hates for anything to be done to her hair, so this was done under duress.

I was cutting some melon balls for fruit salad, when I noticed this little watermelon critter...

My Mother's Day present from Glen, new patio cushions from Pier 1. Very comfy and beautiful. Picture taken before the death the flowers, which crisped in the blazing sun.

And my amazing Mother's Day banner that my Campbell kids made for me (which was Sara's idea).

Grandpa Campbell came to visit from Ohio, which was a nice surprise after not seeing him for almost three years.

Sara is making fun of my tears (right now) by saying (cue dramatic voice), "My little girl went away to camp and my heart was broken open wide..." I did count down the days until she returned.

 Some pictures we took for Sara to take to camp with her (and I forgot to print before we left but probably would have made her more homesick, so maybe a good thing).

Siblings trying desperately to hold back their emotions at the thought of their sister leaving for a whole week.

Getting ready to board the bus.

Picture of license plate. Just in case I needed to track down the bus that took off with my baby girl.

Sara at camp with her camp counselor, Emily. Such a wonderful young lady. I felt much better knowing Sara was with her.

 More pictures later...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Bloom

Today is Friday and I am joining others in writing, even though I don't feel like it. But that's the beauty of this group of spontaneous writers. We are doing it just for the sake of it. No worries about what or why or how. Just putting down what comes to mind when we read the prompt.

Check it out for yourself, here.

The prompt for today is BLOOM


I haven't written for a while because I've been too annoyed at myself. At all that whining and grumbling and feeling sorry for myself.

Ever heard someone say or have you read where someone got "blooming" angry?

Flowers naturally bloom after they've been planted and nurtured to the point where they can open up in their full glory. But unlike flowers, my anger and frustration weren't so pretty. Or encouraging, etc.

And having emptied out a bunch of the yuck in a very painful process of prayer and counseling and wisdom gleaning from scripture and other helpful sources, I feel less angry. But I feel tired. And empty.

Maybe like some freshly plowed ground?

Now I need to plant something good and nurture it, so I can get some Philippians 4:8 things to bloom in my heart and mind.

Linking with others for
Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On Being a Mother and a Daughter

I believe that being a mother and a daughter is a great paradox. Especially when you don't have a good relationship with your mother. Because on the one hand you want to be gracious to your children, and to get grace from them; and on the other hand you are reluctant to give to your mother the very thing you need so badly to have from both her and your children, being tempted to rationalize or excuse your own behavior.

I'm wondering whether my mother felt this way when her mother was alive and needed care. My mother didn't have a great relationship with her mother, either. She full bore resented caring for my grandmother, and she made sure that we three girls knew it.

But I've been the same way. And I have to face the fact that I really don't know my mother's heart, just like she doesn't know mine. Assumptions and presumptions and offenses and reactions are the walls that keep us from knowing and understanding each other.

God is calling me to tear down the walls.

I know I have to answer that call, if I want to heal; if I want to break this generational tradition of hating on oneself and taking it out on one's children. I feel like a failure, even though my relationship with my children is a miracle compared to anything before me, and I know that to not do what God asks me to do will only have painful consequences further reaching than I can fathom.

This experience has become more about letting God heal the hidden hurting places in me, than about how my mother acts. It's about bending my will to His, instead of indulging mine.

Although God is with me, will never leave me or forsake me, and He equips me to do what He calls me to do, the choice is mine

And I am feeling raw right now.

Linking up with others for:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Don't Run, P.U.S.H. Through

"'For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,' says the LORD who has compassion on you," (Isaiah 54:10 NASB).

I am going through a tough time right now.

In the last four years, my mother has broken both hips and had partial replacements, broken her pelvis, and she just had surgery for a broken wrist (which happened on Easter Sunday).

Even though I am very busy with my family and homeschooling, and driving to my mom's house to care for her and take her to the doctor, that is not the only thing that is wearing me out.

I keep running.

I took up actual running over eighteen years ago, and I quickly became addicted to the "runner's high." That is the euphoria that comes upon you when you run for a certain length of time, and it gives you the most amazing sense of well-being.

My inner being didn't feel well, so I physically ran. A lot.

Fast forward to today, and I don't pound the pavement much now; but I do find myself running from feelings again. And I am worn out.

God is calling me to stop running. 

My mother and I had a horrible relationship when I lived at home, and it wasn't much better when I left. It has been better over the last fifteen years that I have been married to Glen, mostly because it has been superficial. (And because I've not spent much time with her.)

That has all changed now. God has my number and He keeps calling on me to lay down my flesh and its selfish desires, and I keep yelling that it isn't fair and I don't want to. (Yes, there have been tears and whining.)

I bought a book called, "Ambushed By Grace," by Shelly Beach, which is subtitled," Help and Hope on the Caregiving Journey."

My buying this book was a God thing. I am only in the second chapter, and it is full of wonderful encouragement. For example, looking at caregiving as a gift from God designed to cause me to draw more tightly to Him.

It didn't occur to me to look at caring for my mother as a gift from God. (I was looking at it more as being visited by a plague.) But then I read this statement on page 23:
"It is a glorious call to be conformed to the image of Christ and to join the God of the universe in ministering grace and mercy to one of His image bearers."
 Just thinking of my mother as an "image bearer" of the God that set the universe in order, instead of looking at her through my eyes of deep disappointment and unfulfilled expectations, causes me to feel more compassion for her than I thought possible.

The beauty of this is that the lessons I learn will benefit my husband and my children, because I am giving care to them, as well. And I have been feeling rather dry and used up for some time now, so for me to add caring for my mother to the mix is more than I can imagine being up to.

But, God knew this time would come, and He appointed the perfect moment for it to happen. My job is to bathe myself in His presence and in His Word, learning more and more about His character and allowing His Spirit to fill me up and make me able.

And so, I will P.U.S.H. through:  Pray Until Something Happens. What will that something be? Only God knows, but I am going to stick closely to His side until it does.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia {or The Things a Mom Does for Her Children}

Today we learned that there is an Avian Conservation Center in Morgantown, which is based out of the Cheat Lake Animal Hospital. This center is dedicated to the rehabilitation of birds, so they can be released back into the wild.

Our faux-Lab (being as real Labs are not supposed to hurt birds), Daisy, brought this Mourning Dove to the attention of my children, who all were shedding copious volumes of crocodile tears while relaying the story.

(Yes, she is alive in this picture, poor thing)

Iain has been longing to shoot something for a while, but I think his taste for killing an animal has been tamed after shooting a mole that Daisy recently wounded. He had no interest in wringing the dove's neck or using his new machete to chop its head off. (Not that I did either, mind you; I just didn't want it to suffer.) So, I called the DNR and they told me about the conservatory.

It was 3:30ish when we left for the Animal Hospital, which is roughly 20 miles away. I had to get there, drop off the bird, and get back home in time to cook dinner and take my son 20 miles the other direction to be at a ballgame at 5:30.

Let's just say I'm glad I didn't see any police officers.

When we got back from the game, we had a message from the vet at the center, telling us the poor dove was too damaged to ever make it in the wild, so they put her down. But my kids were glad we took her there.

All in a day's work for a mom, eh?

Linking with others at:

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Glue

Do you know what today is?

This is the Saturday before the Sunday where we celebrate the wonder of what our Savior did.

That thing that He did to save us, to keep us from being lost forever. To keep us from being alone forever.

He died.

But death could not hold Him.

The glorious truth of Easter is that Jesus is the glue that fixed the broken pieces in our relationship with God.

It is so simple, yet profoundly profound.

So easy that we don't appreciate it like we should.

So amazing that we can't understand the fullness of it.

But we will one day! One day, we will be changed and we will be like Him!

Because Jesus did what no one else could do, even though it cost Him so much, WE get to be with Him forever.

One day, it will all make sense. We will be with Him, and we will see the cracks that have been healed by the glue, the Supernatural glue that will never break.

We will be with Him and we will be like Him.

All because He is Risen! Hallelujah!

"But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive," (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).

Linking with others for:
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Making Me New

My devotional for today, Maundy Thursday, is very encouraging.

The title is, "Prayer in the Hour of Despair," and it talks of Jesus' time in the garden of Gethsemane before His arrest and crucifixion.

The author, Winn Collier, points out that Jesus was in a garden, just like Adam and Eve were. But unlike they, He did not bow to temptation. He overcame. He pressed on and did what God told Him to do. He did not fail.

Yet, in spite of His glorious obedience, Jesus felt despair.

Despair doesn't mean failure.

I needed to know that today. I needed to be reminded that He knows exactly how I feel. Just like Hebrews 4:15 says: "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin," (Hebrews 4:15 NASB).

 Jesus did what needed to be done, in order to make all things new. Including me.

And in doing so, he went through things that make Him an expert on despair and suffering and abandonment. He can relate to any hurt you are feeling.

If you are hurting, reach out to Him.

He is making me new. And He'll do the same for you.

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