Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Berry Update

Last week my sister and her husband visited for a few days. It was great fun to hang out with them and I talked them into berry -picking with me. Actually it wasn't terribly difficult since my sis loves berries as much as I do. Wednesday we dropped Love Bug & Bright One off to VBS and headed north to a pick your own farm I knew of. Their strawberries were finished but we could pick black and red raspberries! Oh Goodness... The berries were not free but they were plentiful and big. Best of all.... NO 'SQUITOS! There was a breeze blowing and while I did get scratched up by the brambles i really didn't get many bites. Thank you Jesus!  My freezer is FULL of red and black raspberries! The pic shows what we picked on Wednesday and we went back on Thursday and picked some more. I am happy camper until the blueberries are ripe! Then we will go and pick some more!

Monday, June 28, 2010

My True Self

My true self....

What does that mean?!?!? I have been wrestling with this phrase. Why? you ask. Because I think I live behind a facade of what I think will impress, please, or generally appear "good" to those around me. I do not intentionally lie about who I am. I think everyone has a marketing imp in their mind who says " no! no! you aren't disorganized - you're creative"  and puts positive spin on life. Does this mean we lie to ourselves? Sometimes I think I do. Sometimes I think I believe the lies the evil one plants in my mind. Lies about my value, my worthiness, my abilities - lies to break down my confidence by zeroing in on my weaknesses and making them seem so much bigger than reality. Whatever the root of the lies they lead to my true self hiding again behind the wall praying that the people around me don't see that I am faking my way through.

But do I really live behind the facade or does the 'true self' stand forward and say "here I am"? I think we all do, to some extent, live in a way that hides what we view as our own imperfections. Looking back over the last months I find that I don't hide as much as I once did. In the past few month I have spent more time focused outward and less worrying about not being perfect or imperfect. Faking it? More like on the job training. News Flash.... I am imperfect!  I can only work to excel at what I am good at and improve where I am weak. A relative said to me a week or so ago" I wish you would stop saying you aren't patient with your kids! I cannot believe how patient you are! " I was shocked. Because I feel like I am frequently impatient and grumpy with my kids. But apparently others see it differently. I set my shoulders and said to myself..." I am going to stop being impatient with me." This is a viewpoint change for me. A moment where my true self stepped out from behind the curtain and stood tall.

The identity of 'my true self' came into question one Sunday in church as we sang a song about it (life - i presume) being all about God. As I sang God whispered "Do you mean it?" I stopped cold for a minute. "Do I mean it? mean what? Oh. The song... " After several seconds passed in which I drew a complete blank, I said " I am trying mean it, Lord."  Service went on and ended and we came home. I was studying later that day thinking on that moment. I keep thinking... Do I mean it? Is my life really all about God? About His will? His directive? His plan?.  Am I willing that my true self to be completely given over to God. That I may not worry about my imperfections because God will use them? Am I willing to tear down the facade, not just stand in front of it? Am I willing to face humiliation to be my true self? Am I willing to accept that my true self is not mine at all, but HIS.  Are you?

Daddy God - I want it to be all about you. I want my focus to be on you. Lord teach me to be me. Just me - not who I think I should be, but me working to grow into what you have planned for me.  Caite Girl

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NO! No! No! no! NO! no!

   Bright One is trying to define her role. Love Bug is always calling ALL the shots when they play make up games. Bright One wants to participate in the creation of the game so much. It causes a near constant tension between them. The tension thickens even more when Bright One decides "No, no, no! I'm not doing it your way!" Her sister gets frustrated and whines "I never get my way!" At which point I come unglued and send them to their respective corners with orders to do something NON- interactive.
    The truth is Love Bug usually does get her way, Bright is usually very compliant and they are both in the wrong. I remember being the rotten, selfish, big sister, always conniving to get my own way. I do not like the reflection of myself in my children. I wish I knew how to teach the gift of playing together with out controlling one another. It frustrates  me that I do not know how to instill an innate love of others that spills into play. What joy they could experience if they would loose that need to control every aspect of the game.
    But then again, is this season something that must also be endured? Do they need to go through this to grow them up into empathetic women, conscious of others? I don't know the answer, In the meantime I am praying that they find a way to play on equal footing, jointly designing the games.

Lord God, Give me wisdom to be a good Momma and the knowledge to guide these girls to grow up compassionate women!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Berries & 'Squitos

  I love berry season! I love the sweet, tangy, tart, bursts of flavor. Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Black Raspberries, Blackberries - I love preserving the summery goodness to provide hiatus to the winter blahs. Berries in my freezer, like my own private pirate treasure, hidden away in the dark, awaiting the moment I decide to make shakes or smoothies or some other fruited treasure. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmy! I revel in the bags of frozen goodness and containers of freezer jam.
   I do NOT like mosquitoes. One must brave the biting hordes if one desires to add black raspberries to ones treasure stash. Yesterday, I made my way with a friend to a black raspberry patch off the beaten path. After about 5 minutes I realized I had come to the battle unarmed as mosquitoes swarmed over us and made it difficult to even think about berries. We retreated to the van and ran back to the house for bug spray. Rinsing our selves off and quickly spraying down with bad smelling bug stuff. We went back to the berry patch and waded in. We picked doggedly for about 40 minutes, swatting each other as the pesky critters bit even through our clothes. It was better ... sort of. After many bites and several scratches I have approximately 1.5 cups of black raspberries. We conceded the battle but not the war. I am headed back today to see if perhaps I can come out victorious with enough precious tarts to save for winter. If not...I'll make a cobbler and call it good. I will again enter the fray in a week or so when the blueberries are ripe.

      I did a little better with the strawberries. I am thinking that perhaps I will try one more day to get some red goodness. Last week I obtained enough berries to make 14 pints of strawberry and 2 pints of triple berry freezer jam. Its wonderful flavor a bright and cheery note at breakfast or on ice cream. My sister is visiting perhaps I will shanghai her to help me. Of course this whole process is a labor of love... because once you pick the berries you must clean and process them as soon as possible so as to preserve as much as possible from rot. This is a whole day process then - the picking and preserving.  I love the process though it is tiring and I enjoy the products. The work is something so different from my daily life. It makes me stop and think and wonder at all the bounty God has given.

Lord, Thank you for your bounty and for the challenge to take time and enjoy the process. Thank you for a flash of summer in wintertime through the labors of today!  Caite girl

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Success

    ... Defined as meeting ones objective.
Hmm, So often I look at what I've done and question whether this project  or that endeavor was a success. Frequently my objectives (read dreams or visions) are so much more than the final reality. Yet others come and tell me how wonderful, how terrific or whatever the event was. So do their accolades make the event a success? I have started to revise my view a bit. Perhaps my dreams of an event are just that, dreams. Perhaps I need to listen more closely to what the Lord's objectives are for my projects. I strive to pay attention to God for IF I should do a given project. But often I do not listen so well to the HOW it should be done or the goals God has planned for an event or happening. I have suddenly realized this makes me a wide open target for the devil to whisper "You failed" "You never do anything right!" "Boy was that mediocre." I catch myself believing these lies of the evil one because I wasn't sure of where I was supposed to go in the first place.
       This is an example of Lordship and Leadership. As children of the living God we should desire to know Him so closely that His desires are our desires. Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."  A few years ago I heard a sermon that radically changed my view on this passage. "delight yourself..." This means to be so in love with our God that you are so excited about Him that you desire to work constantly to get closer to Him and His desires for you. "...he will give you the desires of your heart." God will show you what to be passionate about, what to desire. This verse doesn't say God will give what ever whim pops into your head. It tells us that he will teach us what to treasure what to desire. He will lead us.
       Will I follow? I want to. I want to give Him the most honored place in my life. I think I do. Often my actions don't bear this out.  I do it my way. I do not seek him. I want to change this. I want to work to change. He says He will lead me. I can trust Him. I cannot promise I will always have realistic goals. I cannot say every endeavor will be a practice in obedience. But I am working to be more focused on giving God Lordship & Leadership in my life.

Lord - Guide me. Help me to let you lead me. Help me to keep you as Lord of my life.


    Into every life some relaxation must come. I hope. The last months in our home have been busy. Many obligations and many happenings made me feel like I was treading hard and working to keep my head above water. Now that I have survived the storm and have my feet on land again I am looking back at the recent past wondering if it is possible to avoid such a glut of activity in the future. Do I want to avoid it? Should I avoid it? Is this plethora of commitments just a season that the Lord has brought about for a reason? Or is it my own failure to say "NO." to some things.
     I do not have the answers to these things. I think perhaps this massive busyness comes from a vast collection of varied interests. This makes me think of the scripture that says " No man can serve 2 masters..."  Is that what I am trying to do? Serve multiple masters? I am not sure but I am looking at it. So over the last months I have been prepping for the new re-enacting season. This includes letting out seams on little girl's dresses, making replacements for things that have worn out, planning meal's etc. I have also been volunteering nearly full time at my children's school. This came about as a result of financial difficulties. I started out co-coordinating volunteers, which I enjoy doing. However by the year's end I was coordinating the last three weeks of projects. In hindsight ...I am glad we did the last three weeks. Would I do it again? Only if God was VERY clear that I should. This process wore me out and left me feeling that I had neglected my family. Families were very thankful. They expressed their appreciation of me and the myriad of others who helped in abundance. I am grateful for that appreciation. It always feels good to be appreciated. However this didn't change that I feel like I let my family down during the last month.  Other things found their way into the time cracks that were left and at the end I felt a bit like a dish rag wrung out over and over again.
   So now I am a week away from the end of school. My wonderful, tired girls went and spent 3 days with their wonderful Busia and Grandpa. I had a blissful 3 days to putter around and be alone. I had rather grand plans for these days of all I would get done. For the record - I didn't do the plans. I am sure few of you are shocked by this. I did spend time with Abba God. I did pick berries and make jam- because I wanted to. I did spend LOTS of quality time with the Admiral. This was good. These days of no plans have rejuvenated me a bit. I am still tired. Mentally rebuilding. I am looking back and evaluating myself. The thing is I like to do lots of things. I like having lots of interests. I even like being busy. So why do i feel so drained?

Daddy - God...
Wrap me up in your peace and comfort. Thank you for being a God of second chances. Thank you for loving me through my busy-ness. Please give me wisdom in the future to know what to focus on and what to let go. Please help me to be content with those decisions and not to regret that which I let go.    Caite- girl

Thursday, June 17, 2010


In college we were required as freshman to read a little booklet called "tyranny of the urgent" by Charles E.  Hummel. When I say little ...I mean it. It sells on Amazon in a five pack. That is confidence! "Take 5 they're small!" I think the purpose was that we would learn to be better students as result of the lessons this book taught. I don't think I learned the lesson then.

 Anyway... I've been thinking about that phrase. Tyranny is defined as "oppressive power" and ": a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force". Urgent is defined  "calling for immediate attention".

Our lives are chock full of urgent things. Mine is no exception. There is something every moment of every day that will require immediate attention.  We think. I have come to believe it truly goes back to the old saying " failure to plan on your part does not constitute a crisis on mine." So frequently I find myself running ragged to complete something because of someone else's perceived emergency. Just as often I find myself neglecting my own things because I have given time to something urgent. I find there are things that are not urgent that feel urgent. I am finding myself drawn in and overwhelmed by the myriad of details. Frequently the urgent time thing is my own given in to when i should be paying attention to something else. This is not to say the urgent things have no value. Often they do have value. But perhaps they are not the most valuable thing now.  I have run into this repeatedly over the past months of blogging silence. The needing to decide what has the greatest urgency and value - It overwhelms me.

I tend to be an immediate person. If it effects the next 3 minutes, 2 hours, 24 hours... I am working vigorously on it. When the task is further out.... my attitude is lackadaisical "oh I'll get to that... there is time."  Then a mass sewing frenzy in the 2 nights before a living history event, or a madly cleaning berries to get them put away because the whim took me to go and pick them TODAY. Berries were urgent - " the season is almost over I must go get them NOW!" Never mind that I should have been cleaning out a room to prepare for the impending project in there.

Today I think of the blur that life becomes when I allow myself to be yanked this way and that with the tide of thought and "urgency" and I feel convicted. Perhaps there is a difference between living flexible and living blurry. Time spent daily with the Father has been not so intentional lately. I feel the effects of my lack of focus on Him as the tide of the urgent sweeps me away. That moment has come where I realize I must allow Him to define what is urgent and what is not, what should be planned ahead for and what can be done later.

Lord, Here is my day. Direct my waywardness to the tasks that you define as important. Draw me into your will, your path, your intent, that I may be used by you to accomplish your plan.      Caite girl