3.31.2014

Spring Beauty.




 “The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.” ― C.S. LewisTill We Have Faces
“Death opens a door out of a little, dark room (that's all the life we have known before it) into a great, real place where the true sun shines and we shall meet.” 
― C.S. LewisTill We Have Faces


"We do not want merely to see beauty….we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it."  C.S. Lewis


Saturday found me wandering in this sanctuary of a garden called The Grotto a mile up the road.  It sits on a cliff, looking out toward Washington…..surrounded by city life and busy roads…..but like an enormous, peaceful, hidden gem.  

At first, it rained, and I went undercover….spying a rainbow land right in the Columbia River for a long spell.  When it disappeared in the sunlight, I walked the garden. 

I thought about this magical wonderland God made and listened to the gospel proclaimed endlessly in my ear (thank you, Elyse Fitzpatrick). 

I thought about how this beauty grips us….and why?
I thought about how all beauty is from Him and of Him. 
And how He made us this way to worship….Him.

How unworthy we are, like the lowest citizens….wiping His feet with our tears….and getting it all wrong….and how He delights in us, a like a treasured possession….just inviting us in to sit with Him in all our weak moments.

And how one day all of it will be written on my heart forever. No more of the striving and the forgetting. Forever.

"The heavens declare the glory of the God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth"  Ps 19:1-4

"Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Ps 96:6

"Every experience of beauty points us to infinity." -Balthasar

3.26.2014

Two Years at Home.

It's a little hard to believe, but as of yesterday, we have lived in our home for two years.  Time moves slowly while you meander through it and many times this 'settling in' process has felt like walking upstream.  There's so many little paint jobs left, little things that have broken before the newness even wore off….and yet memories are being made, the walls are filling up, and the joy having a warm place to watch the evergreens toss in the wind and rain is nothing short of wonderful.  I really love it here….creaks and faulty doorknobs, mail slots and laundry shoots and all….

I've been thinking a lot lately about beauty. Not physical-human-beauty so much as the experience of wonder we daily encounter with a good meal, a budding tree, a kind word, a view of the ocean, a song that continually brings me to tears (or….a clean, decorated home:).  I'm reading a book right now called "Eyes Wide Open" by Steven DeWitt about God's purpose for stirring our hearts so often in these ways…..and it has been so marvelous to think of God's great kindness to draw us to Himself in these ways. Not only are these all ways to enter into worship, but they are also meant to stir us to imitate & create.

It's almost too much.  

Of course, the standard for all beauty is God and ultimate beauty is found in Christ Himself, who laid down His life for us.  To think that the very nature of spending eternity with the One who made us will be exponentially greater than our mini-wonder-experiences here….

Again, almost too much.

I have more thoughts on the subject, but before I get too windy on a house post….I'll just share some pictures:).

I will say that owning this home and having any resources available to put time, energy, and money here has been in and of itself like a walking alongside the goodness of God….not so much because of the resources (they are quite finite and could disappear in an instant), but because He gives at all.

A few before + afters:):










  


For a more complete (but older) tour, you can click here.




2.10.2014

SNOW.














I haven't left the house for days, and this magical little wonderland of a neighborhood, covered in white, has been the sweetest wintry respite.

I was *more than a little nervous* for Dave's long & late commute home Thursday.  This blizzard-display can only make you feel your small-ness and His great-ness.  I am so much more dependent than I think to recall…..such tiny, powerless little people.

And then we were all together to settle in for warm food and warm blankets (and a drippy roof, that showed a little weakness with all that ice on top…we couldn't blame him:).

When the snow stops falling, everything is whispery quiet.
But Friday morning held the perfect-thick-powder for sledding….
and scads of neighbors were everywhere with sleds and snowboards and cross-country skis.

The kids proved another year older.  They wanted to sled alone and (almost) never broke a tear.  I mostly just got pictures of June because the other two wouldn't stop much to breathe it all in:).

So far, we've only really run out of coffee, and Dave marched the few city-blocks for two fresh cups.

The things is, it's been really beautiful.  But there has also been the usual work of life, the bickering, the lots-of-entertaining of the kids.  And the milk will run out, and the snow will get melty-messy, and life will go on.
And these patterns become more endearing to me as the years go on.  Because the contrast of life is incessant.  I write a blog like this because I tend not to give much attention to the beautiful without stopping to really peer into it.  But the beauty abounds.  And the messes mount again.  And it's all good, because it all leads back to Him, the source of all beauty and the redeemer of messy.
I'd be lost without Him, idolizing the wonderful (and being failed again by it)…..and crumbling under the life-messes.  He brings sustaining power to beauty and hope to mess.
And, Oh!……how we need Him.

So it's Monday.  And Dave's at work and the laundry has mounted and the leaky-roof-water-bucket needs to be cleaned up.
So here's to another *wonderful* *beautiful* day…..


1.21.2014

January.









I have been fearful of January for months.  I schemed a plan to fight January blues with fresh flowers, no Facebook, a knitting project, healthier(-ish;) eating, and plenty of good reads on hand. This weekend we got some fresh air with a night away and a walk in the woods. As it turns out, this has been a pretty refreshing month.  I love January for the way it directs us toward learning from the past and hoping for the future.

For all the thoughts of change that flood my mind this time of year….I am enjoying this succinct and wonderful perspective:

'I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; 
but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am."
-John Newton

1.07.2014

Moments.



After a wonderful, wonderful holiday, our little family has been creeping into the new year at a sheepish pace….think: medicine galore, doctor visits, sleepless nights, & lots of family time.

I found some moments to put together a little look into our 2013 and thought I would share.  Chaff and grain abound, but these photos help me remember that there are things that will pass away and things that will last forever….a million ordinary moments, a God that is working something eternal.

Here's to another wonderful, ordinary year…..



11.07.2013

Autumn Burned Brightly.












"Autumn burned brightly,
a running flame through the mountains,
a torch flung to the trees"
-Faith Baldwin

Although the rain has picked up and the leaves are all half-fallen, autumn has taken its sweet time here lately, rekindling my trust that it truly is the most gorgeous times of year….
The sun has started to hide its face more than not, but today I finally got the kids outside to take a few portraits while the colors remain. Truly, I even changed June into her dress and bonnet simply because I've wanted to photograph her in that bonnet for over a year now!  It is already quite small on her….
Her grandma made it for her last winter and I just love it.

But, anyway, because there so many (who knew?) wonderful quotes I've run across just lately (thank you, Pinterest)…..here's a few more.

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
― L.M. Montgomery


“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” 
― Albert Camus


“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” 
― George Eliot


“Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile.” 
― William Cullen Bryant