Accountability Week 2, Day 5

University Lake. Taken at 4:32 p.m. #nofilter

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.

    The world and all its people belong to him.

For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas

    and built it on the ocean depths.

Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?

    Who may stand in his holy place?

Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,

    who do not worship idols

    and never tell lies.

They will receive the Lord’s blessing

    and have a right relationship with God their Savior.

Such people may seek you

    and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.

Psalm 24:1-6

“Having a right relationship with God their Savior”…that is my prayer for us, our children, our communities, our world. We are His and everything on the earth. This upward focus can lead to a right relationship with our Father and our fellow man. When I know that my children are His, I will esteem them better. When I think about the postal worker who was so rude to our family in light of God’s position, I look at him with compassion. When I think about God’s tender mercies toward every human and creature of this world, I can see His heart that draws all to himself through kindness because He is Love. And love has boundaries. The oceans have boundaries. The earth’s foundations have boundaries. Our atmosphere has boundaries. How does that tie into a God who has no limits? I’m not sure, but I’m keenly aware that He set limits for our benefit.

Again, we went to bed pretty late last night as we were hosting a home group meeting. I’m so happy about these relationships we have been building. It’s been my prayer that we would all have a community of Jesus-loving followers to encourage along the way, like Brother Andrew did while he was being called into ministry by God to share His word behind the iron curtain. I don’t know where my children will go or where we will be after this home educating adventure is over. But wherever they are called, I pray for close friends to help them along the way.

This morning I didn’t wake up until 8:45. I could make excuses like – Lizzy woke up several times last night from bad dreams, we all went to bed around 1 a.m., Fridays are a slower day for us and Gregg has the day off, everyone is tired. But, I won’t let it stop me from doing the next thing which was to get dressed and pray/journal. So hooray, we did it!

  1. Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. Meeting with Dr. Brock today and we will see where the Spirit leads in the conversation. Having a counselor who says he is not smart enough to figure this all out but inviting the Spirit to lead and show us what lies we are believing is amazing. God really does speak to us. Certainly God speaks to me on my own as well but having another person who is separate from the emotions of the situations helps with clarity.
  2. Reading two books a month and not grazing over 2 and never finishing a book. Today is the 24th and I’m only a quarter of the way through each book. I’ve been taking my time note taking and letting things sink in as I read. So if I’m not finished this month I’ll just keep going. No pressure to perform here, just leaning into the insights.
  3. Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. Yes! This is going well! It feels so good to see how this year is going in this area. I think using a paper journal has helped me alot. For some reason using a computer software program or excel seemed more tedious so I wouldn’t do it for a week and then felt overwhelmed trying to in put a week’s worth of data. Oh First-World problems! Ha!

Well that is it for today’s blog. It’s later than I care to admit, but I’m thankful for the progress and encouragement to keep going. Morning times on Fridays are different and less intensive. We take the day to watch an episode of “Drive Through History” and we are going through The Gospels. These videos are very engaging, rich in history and the arts.

Keep a goin!

Accountability Week 2, Day 4

(Colossians 3:12 – 13) Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Colossians 4:16 – 17) After you read this letter, pass it onto the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And say to Archippus, “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you”.

Being reminded again and again to be tender and forgive. We are reminded who God is, that Christ is in us, and that we have this common language of healing woven throughout our whole history as people on this planet. We all have our unique calling and ministry to carry out. Read the letters, share the messages, set our sights on the realities of heaven where Christ sits at God’s right hand.

As a parent, I can get bombarded with varying and conflicting suggestions on the optimum way to rear children – free range, classical, Charlotte Mason, private, public, co-ops. Each of these styles seem to focus either exclusively on the child or the teacher/author. But ultimately it comes down to each child realizing they are here for a purpose. God has fashioned them with unique gifts and bends. Let us find our reason and purpose in Him and loving others. Let the word of the Lord ring out from us to people everywhere. We are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven – Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. We can pray for this, press into this, trust God for this for ourselves, our children, and our world.

This desire has urged me onto the step up to the 31-day challenge. I was up at 6:40 which is a bit later than I had planned, which in the past would have derailed me, but I got up and started in on the rhythms of the day. Got dressed. Lit some candles. Prayed and journaled for the first early hour of the day. Tried not to get lost in the vortex of the internet. No perfection needed, just stepping in with tenderness. Focusing on these three areas are hopefully helping me to align my values with my actions:

  1. Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. This ties in closely with my second challenge of reading two books. “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and “Try Softer” by Aundi Kolber are turning my world upside down. I really had no idea that I was living life so backward for so many years. Being honest with myself and being myself was suppressed because of fear. “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph. 5:13 – 14) I can really say that I’ve suppressed living because of fear of failure or rejection that I’ve felt dead. It’s time to wake up and come alive.
  2. Reading two books a month and not grazing over 2 and never finishing a book. I’m still reading through those books but also slid in “Persuasion” as well to add fiction and delight.
  3. Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. Well, so far so good. I cannot believe it is January 23 and I’m still using the budget and still on target. So many years have passed where I just dropped off doing this about week two because I felt that if I didn’t do it exactly right then I’d failed and so I would quit. Holding onto perfection, hiding away when all things seem to fall apart, expecting too much of myself or others – these are habits that need to go. Starting up new healthy habits is startling. Which reminds me, I need to add “drink 75 oz water a day.”

Wow, this was longer than I expected to go today. It’s already 8:00 a.m. so time to get going on the day. How is your 31-day challenge going? It’s never to late to join in.

Accountability Week 2, Day 3

So this morning when I finally rolled out of bed at 7:00 – an hour later than I planned but it was a late night. Sitting down at my table with the candles flickering, I felt compelled to read from Isaiah again. Flipped open to Isaiah 40:28 – 31. “God never grows weak or weary, He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless, trusting in Him will give new strength.” Jesus spoke words very similar to Isaiah in Matthew 11:28 – 30. “Come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. I AM humble and gentle at heart.”

Since today is January 22, I read from Psalm 22. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” This cry for help culminates in David declaring that “even future generations will head about the wonder of the Lord and His rightenous acts will be told to those not yet born.” Psalm 23 follows and reassures the psalmist of the previous chapter that “The Lord is our sphepherd and we have all that we need.” Jesus spoke the first lines of those psalms at his death. All those in the area who heard him would have known those two son

I love seeing that golden thread woven through thousands of years showing that suffering can lead us to trust in God. These words were spoken by Isaiah, David, Jesus and now flowing through me, then through my children, and someday through their children. These words of praise and trust are an inheritance, a treasure. This rich history reminds us to Trust in The One who made this universe or time and space. Relax into “Tenderness”.

Working on the 31-day challenge and here is the progress:

1. Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. Meeting with Dr. Brock this Friday. On a day-to-day basis, I’m recognizing my anger and the need to let some things go. Trying to live a life of “nice little box with a pretty little bow on top” isn’t serving me well. It’s actually an idol. Instead of worshiping Jesus I can end up worshiping peace and calm and flip out when life is not feeling tidied up.

2. Reading two books a month and not grazing over 20 and never finishing a book. This month the books are “Try Softer” by Aundi Kolber and “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud. These are amazing books. There are also YouTube videos with Dr. Cloud speaking about boundaries. Got a little side tracked – I also picked up reading “Persuasion” by Jane Austin but I also wanted to add some fiction into my life. Reading only non-fiction can make me way too cerebral and not connect to imagination and whimsey.

3. Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. Surprisingly, this area of my life is actually the easiest part of the challenge this month. Maybe because it’s something quite tangible that can give me a sense of control. When I’m stressed or sad I retreat to cleaning and organizing. So keeping a budget and working plans feels comforting to me right now.

Well it’s about time to start breakfast and get this day going. I hope your intentions are helping to lighten your load from heavy distractions and misplaced focus. It’s already the 22nd and it feels good to see progress in 2020!

Accountability Week 2, Day 2

Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness and honor.

Proverbs 21:21

Today is January 21 so I was reading in Proverbs 21. Verse 21 spoke loudly to me so I guess today is the day of 21!

I woke up at 6 a.m., prayer and journaled in the dark of the morning, inspired by candles and hot tea and now some soaking music is awakening the house.

So let’s jump into my three top priorities for this 31-day challenge:

1. Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. I’m so thankful this year’s word is “Tenderness”. My usual method of dealing with hard things in life was to create a hard outer shell. Well now I’m being reminded to stay tender and soft. Trust God with my heart and emotions. By the way, made another appointment with my counselor. Good things happen in counseling. I have some new things to cast off and pray through.

2. Reading two books a month and not grazing over 20 and never finishing a book. This month the books are “Try Softer” by Aundi Kolber and “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud. Again, these books come at an amazing time. When difficult situations come up with other people’s demands of me I was living out of fear of losing love, fear of someone’s anger, fear of loneliness, fear of not being accepted. That is not love. Love is being honest and setting healthy boundaries. Love is also trusting in the only One who brings true Freedom and that is in Christ. Anyone who expects me to keep them happy will be sadly disappointed (and vice versa). And that has happened many times. It used to rip me to shreds and make me think that I was not enough, bad, unworthy. But I’m learning that is putting expectations in the wrong place. I’ve allowed myself to hide for too long. I can actually be honest and fully present and don’t need to fear being abandoned. Because I never will be abandoned. You will never be abandoned. God is love and He is with us.

3. Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. I’ve been recording our expenses each night which actually feels amazing. When I’m tempted with lazy or procrastinating feelings I just recognize it and tell it “No” and go do it! What a relief. As for grocery shopping, it’s been very busy and eratic around here with unexpected visits and holidays. I do have a menu and stop at the store to grab only what is needed for those meals. But I’ve yet to make one big haul for the week. But at least we have a plan and I’m sticking with it. Not having to think about the plan is half the battle. I think I’ll need to go Wednesday night for a thorough grocery visit because tonight the family will be at a basketball game and I’m at CPC.

So there we go! Into the third week of January and actually sticking to some rhythms and habits that I really want to take root this year. Hope you’re January is off to a good start. It’s never too late to start. You can start right now! What habits are you planting?

Accountability Week 2, Day 1

So this weekend was painful. Emotional wreckage is what I’m talking about. It started with a trip to the post office for passports and then climaxed with a phone call to a family member. Searing. Surprising. Ouch.

Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.

Proverbs 20:22

I think it’s funny that I’m still referring to Proverbs after I shared with the kids this Sunday about Solomon’s short-lived wisdom. Amazingly, before many lessons I listen to Ravi Zacharius and he has something profound to say on the topic of the Sunday lesson. So I shared with the K – 5 grades how the life of Solomon contrasts vividly with the life of William Wilberforce. Solomon squandered his life on distractions whereas the diminutive William used his life to stop slave trade. Amazing. So I’ll still refer to the words of Solomon but pray that our lives reflect more the actions of William.

And that is exactly what I saw playing out this weekend with the trials that came into our lives. We may know the Truth, but do we walk in it? Is the Truth simply swimming around in our heads or did it sink it’s way down into the roots of our soul and heart? I’m so thankful that God brought into my life the book “Boundaries”. He knew what was coming.

Ears to hear and eyes to see – both are gifts from the Lord.

Proverbs 20:12

I’m so excited that today is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s day of remembrance. Not suprising the Lord had me share about William WIlberforce and slavery yesterday. How amazing is His timing? We will watch Dr. King’s speech again today and be inspired by his words. And most importantly we will be inspired to walk in The Way by bringing freedom to all captives, and even captive places within our own hearts.

So onto today’s schedule. I woke up a little later than planned – 7:30. Had my prayer/journaling time and read through Psalm 20 and Proverbs 20 since today in January 20. On our agenda today is morning time, the Paino Man is coming to tune our piano, and the girls are going to a sign language class today.

1. Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. After this weekend’s events I’m more raw then ever, and this situations did not only affect me but my sweet children. With this new testing and suffering, I have the choice to remain tender and open or withdraw into a hardened shell. My prayer has been that we will be like Hananiah (Yah is gracious), Mishael (Who is what El is), and Azariah (Yah has helped) who did not even smell of smoke when they were brought out of the fiery furnace.

2. Reading two books a month and not grazing over 20 and never finishing a book. This month the books are “Try Softer” by Aundi Kolber and “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud. I’m continually grateful for these books in this time of my life. It is truly divine timing.

3. Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. Well, um, I need to work on logging some expenses over the weekend but we did create a menu plan for the week. Today I’ll stop by the grocery store.

Time to get going. I pray that you are finding the will to show up each new day, no matter the trials, and trust God for the outcome. I have to admit I’ve been trying to make excuses why I’m too hurt and sad to keep pressing into this month’s challenge, but look, here it is and I’m still showing up. You can too.

Accountability 2020 – Day 4

Woke up a little late this morning. We had a wonderful time with our homegroup family and didn’t seem to want to leave, and not just because it was so cold outside. Started my morning at 7 a.m. and jumped into prayer/journaling. Almost fully ready for the day and just need to start breakfast and wake up the kids.

So I’ll just jump in today with the new progress:

1. Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. Finally called Dr. Brock and have an appointment to meet with him this morning! Whew hew! Today will be a life-school day because we have passport pictures and applications to submit (that trip to England is coming up soon), a counselor to meet, and new running shoes to find for my eldest daughter. She is taller than me now and I think she wears my size shoes!

2. Reading two books a month and not grazing over 20 and never finishing a book. This month the books are “Try Softer” by Aundi Kolber and “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud. I so appreciate these two books. As a parent I feel so guilty that I’ve done anything to hurt my children but realize I could not be nor was I expected to be perfect. We just keep praying and bringing our little loaves of bread and fish (and make needed appointments with solid biblical counselors).

3. Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. We did meet for morning time and breakfast yesterday morning at 9:30 and had a surprise visit from my Dad. He is in town because the pipes froze and burst in his home (not fun) but it is enjoyable having him in town for a week. Input our spending from yesterday and now it’s time to tighten the belt and use what is in the pantry and fridge. Man that money gets used up quickly! I wonder if next month I’ll withdraw cash for the eating out portion of the budget. That might slow us down in that area.

And as a sign off for today I’ll include a wonderful verse to memorize. This gives me hope for my children who suffer from my parenting fumbles and gives me hope as a child myself.

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
Lizzy reading to me “Squirrel Nutkin” while I laid in her bed and enjoyed the amazing view out her window.

Accountability 2020 – Day 3

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

Checking in this morning with thoughts from The Word. I’m learning to “ruleth my spirit” and go to God for His complete wisdom. And I think that learning to manage resources is huge in turning my attention toward Him and considering the big picture of being here on this planet at this point in time. So that being said, roll out of bed at 6 a.m. for an inspiring time of prayer/journaling. I started typing up this blog post at 7 a.m. I’m about to start getting ready for the day, which means reviewing my calender and creating a to do list, fixing my hair, making breakfast, etc.

As for my core values and acting on those beliefs:

1. Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. STILL need to call Dr. Brock today to set up my appointment. I don’t know why I keep procrastinating on this one – well, maybe I do know why.

2. Reading through two books a month. This month the books are “Try Softer” by Aundi Kolber and “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud. Still reading through a few pages a day of each book. These books are so revolutionary to me. It’s as though I knew in my soul that these truths ring true but I needed to see it in writing. Amazing the power of the written word. Is this why God gave us His written word in the Bible because simply hearing it wasn’t enough? I don’t know. Just a question.

3. Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. Updated the fresh new page of the spending log last night. Went through my pockets this morning and realized I had a receipt for an item we purchased in Hawaii that I need to reimburse back to my dad! Oops! So this new system of keeping receipts and logging them in the expense journal each day is proving to be so helpful. As far as time habits – we did get off to a good start yesterday with morning time starting at around 9 a.m. But I see the need to set up a specific block of time for screen time (can become easy to be distracted with YouTube, FB, shopping, searching – how I can expect my children to have healthy habits with responsibility and free time when I do not “ruleth my spirit”?) Morning studies do include online math, foreign language, and watching a Shakespeare play but we are lookng for wisdom and the will to stay off media until our work is finished.

Still need to make that one-week menu plan and shop once a week for it all. I need to see which day of the week has the best deals at our grocery store. Buy-one-get-one-free meat day is always a huge savings for us and I think I usually see that on Monday. But again, I can’t use trying to “get it right” stop me from “getting it done”. Having any plan and doing the shopping will save me much more time and money than doing nothing and just going out to eat or ordering in.

I wonder how you are managing your time this week? Any breakthroughs or challenges you’re working through?

Picture taken my Rachel. One of the stunning sights from below freezing temps.

Got distracted looking up the definition of Hoar Frost and Rime Frost. Apparently we have Hoar Frost on our trees. Maybe? Done with today’s post at 7:30 a.m. Time to get this day rolling!

Accountability in 2020 – Day 2

Oh no! Everything I typed for the last 10 minutes vanished! Well, take 2 of day 2. This will make me be brief for sure!

1. Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. Going to call Dr. Brock today to set up my appointment. Along those lines I’m still reading the books mentioned below.

2. Reading two books a month and not grazing over 20 and never finishing a book. This month the books are “Try Softer” by Aundi Kolber and “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud. Several people have mentioned that they are going to be reading “Boundaries” or have just started it. Apparently the book is free on Kindle right now!

3. Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. Last night I updated my spending log with totals for the midway point of the month. Now I have a good idea of what we have to work with for the remaninder of January.

I was up at 6 a.m. for prayer/journaling, started typing this blog at 7 a.m. and am going to get fully dressed and put together before wake up time at 8 a.m. Still need to come up with a menu plan for the rest of the week. I’ve just been using what’s in the pantry and fridge or going to Subway (wink).

As for today’s schedule, we are going to do our Chemistry 101 course video with homeschool friends, need to mail a package, pick up my son’s suit from the tailor, and grab some books from the library for my middle daughter. Since I was up so early and getting things done I think we might be able to get it all done today!

Hope your day is off to an empowering start! These verses spoke to me today. I wonder what encouraged you this morning?

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord.

Psalm 40:1 – 3
Baby it’s cold outside!!!
-15F when this picture was taken last week. Now it’s up to a balmy +0F

Accountability in 2020

A wise woman builds her home,

but a foolish woman tears it down with

her own hands.

Proverbs 14:1

Since the beginning of the year I’ve felt nudges to start an accountability journal – a daily journal that I will post to remind myself of The Plan and the documentation of The Action. I’ve been struggling year after year with great intnetions at the beginning of the year followed by the emotional currents of: “I don’t feel like it, I’m too tired, it doesn’t really matter”. Specifically I’m working on:

1. Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries.

2. Reading two books a month and not grazing over 20 and never finishing a book. This month the books are “Try Softer” by Aundi Kolber and “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud.

3. Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. We have had a budget for years and I imagine staying in those borders. I also have a lovely schedule of rhythms for the day but have not set down a specific time to start all those lovely rhythms. And I cannot forget to mention how I get side tracked by beautiful distractions and savoring quiet mornings alone.

So I could get all tied up trying to find the perfect format, perfect place, perfect time but that never seemed to work. So I’ll just show up as I am, here, quietly typing away but feeling a sense of “I can do this and you can too!”

In addition, I’d like to give a shout out to two women – both named Cindy – who have taken the time to mentor women across the world. So these two ladies have been obedient to pray, listen to God and trust Him with their ministries. I’m inspired by their faithfulness and joy in the Lord.

Cindy Rushton is championing a Jumpstart 2020 challenge to get women engaged with their missions in life. It’s time to step out, stretch, challenge ourselves to be fully expectant that God will dream impossible dreams for us and lead us into those paths.

Cindy Rollins is mentoring a group of women through her Patreon site and encourages us with her Saturdays with Cindy sessions as well as educational practices based on the Charlotte Mason approach. We are reading through beautiful poetry and books that help to educate the mom’s heart and mind. Cindy Rollins is also leading a group of ladies to an educational retreat in Ambleside, England in April, which miraculously and through the grace of God I will be able to attend. (God answers prayers – especially the ones He places in our hearts before we even made any plans.) My family will also be joining me and we will turn it into a European vacation. Thank you Father!

Now that I’ve procrastinated long enough, this is the part where I start to squirm – stating what I have done in alignment with the plan. (See how I love to plan but the putting into action has become sticky?)

Wake up and pray/journal: 6 a.m. (I woke up at 7 a.m.)

Start breakfast and start morning time with kids: 8:30 a.m. (It’s already 9!)

Keep a daily log of all expenditures: I’ve done this each day this month and only need to add up the columns. I tried doing this online with excel but going to paper is much eaier for me and I don’t liek the idea of putting my financialy into on a budgeting service site.

Menu plan for the week: I still need to do this and will this evening with my husband and kids.

Becoming emotionally healthy: Well this is a lifelong process but I will be calling to set up an appointment with my counselor, Dr. Brock, and will continue to read the two books on my focused list.

Whew! Well that wasn’t too painful. I think I can do this! And you can too. I wonder what you’d like to plan and take action on this month?

Here is my Vision Board for 2020. My work for the year is Tenderness.

Tree of Life

My brave husband and I are embarking on a 21-day sugar fast. For a few years I’ve been mentored by Alisha Keeton at Revelation Wellness. Hers is a fanastic ministry that blends spiriutual growth and physical movement. The podcast is a perfect walking/running/hiking/meditating companion. Well this is our 7th day on our sugar fast and I’m quickly realizing I need to find some new reciepies. Simply eating meat and some veggies is getting a little boring. I’m not craving any carbs or sugar just yet but my hubby is very tired of this bland and monotonous diet I’ve spread for us. It does not have to be so boring. I guess I’ve simply not taken the time to look up and try the delicious recipies that are available online. My reason for the 21-day fast is to take the time to ask – what is good for my body right now? And this can lead to ask deeper questions like – Holy Spirit, what are you inviting me into this day or this moment?

So with this first week of being sugar free living under our belt, I’m not taking lightly the opportunities to be encouraged from several diverse venues. While creating this blog post I was listening to a Spotify playlist titled “Top 100 of the Most Beautiful Songs from Reddit”. Moonlight Sonata was played and I remember being a young teen playing the piece with ease. I also used to be able to do the splits and front flips with ease but at 47, not so much. I spent about 30 minutes practicing the first sheet of music and after writing down some of the notes as guides on the musical staff I was able to stumble through it. But it brought me so much joy. I think I might try to add “Comptine d’un autre été: l’après-midi” which looks more like playing the harp on the piano.

As expected, this week has been filed with ups and downs. I’ve slumped into sadness, feeling as though I’m not enough and failing, to reaching for love and forgiveness and bouncing back with even more freedom. I’m not sure if that is typical for a cleansing fast but I’ve been asking for the breaking of strongholds and chains – couldn’t expect that to come easy breezy.

Last night we watched “Tree of Life” and the experience exemplifies the week of high and lows. I loved it and heard wonderful reviews for it. That said, this movie was not a cup of tea for my family (which made me feel a little disappointed that they did not love it like I did), but I was swept away by the aesthetically gripping story of a family being mangled by fear, anger, and emptiness. It spoke so deeply to me that I had a visceral reaction to the movie and experiencing a severe headache and nausea. I took a remedy of Nux Vomica and two advil (which I try not to ever use but I was hurting so badly I didnt’ want to take the time to find the right homeopathic). The father figure was so consumed by the desire to “be something” or “prove his worth” that his family, particularly his oldest son took the brunt of his fear of insignificance acted out in aggression.

Eventually the story of redemption pours out of the screen. There was amazing visualization of the vastness of the planetary universe contrasted with the enormity of the microscopic universe, which we are sandwiched in between. Throughout the movie, characters wrestle with God, asking Him “Are you there?” “Why did you allow this to happen?” “Do you see me?” “Do you care?” The family individually and collectively pursue a connection with God and seek to understand His interaction with those which they love and hold onto dreams they hold dear. I was so moved by the deep fear and passion depicted on the screen. I truly was reliving parts of my childhood and unfortunately seeing myself personified in the role of controlling father, voiceless mother, hungry-for-love son. Actually, they were all hungry for love and seeking fulfilment in their masked identify. Mercifully, my heart was put at rest and ease at the end when redemption was so clearly projected – redemption for the family, its members, and other travelers on this life-supporting speck of dirt as we spiral hurdling through space. I loved “Tree of Life.” I also have a fascination with all Biblical reverences to trees in general and any symbolism I come across is exhilarating.

Joy Clarkson who hosts the podcast “Speaking with Joy“, recommended this movie. Her resources are always so fresh and rejuvenating. I am living vicariously through this young lady’s PhD educational adventures at St. Andrews in Scotland. We will be visiting England/Scotland in April so I’m even more swept away when Joy drops a secret podcast on her Patreon that deals with living on that history-filled island. We are supporters of her Patreon because we love to see young people pursuing their purpose.

Next week I’d like to continue my conversation while sharing some resources on taking good care of our world. And because I cannot wait to share, have you seen “The Biggest Little Farm”? It is amazing and I think you will love it and be encouraged to see redemption of our dirt.

The lake where I walk our Corgi each day – rain or shine, snow or sleet.

Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.