Sunday, October 29, 2006

I just sat down and read a page or two in a book I'm reading, Releasing Kings for Ministry in the Marketplace co-written by John S. Garfield and Harold R. Eberle. The gist of the book is finding your 'calling' when it's not a 'church-calling'. In other words, the title. This chapter deals with the Strengths of Kings (those not called into church ministry); their desires, visions, and passions. We so often think we have to be without desires or passions, in order to serve God well. This page is amazing! He quotes a John Elridge "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you fully alive, because the world needs you fully alive." Garfield & Eberle go on to explain that they're not teaching unbridled enthusiasm, but they are

teaching ehthusiasm. Passion is your friend. It is God-given. He put it in your nature...Does God really want you to live this way? Let me boldly declare to you that this is the only path to holiness (wow, think on that for a minute!). Traditionally, holiness is defined as the absence of sin, which really is more a byproduct of holiness. Real holiness springs out of the passion and fruit that go with the positive things we naturally and passionately desire to do; things that match the heart of God. This means that to attain holiness, we cannot focus solely on sin and be sucessful. In a sin-oriented theology, we force ourselves into a discipline of religious obedience, integrity, perseverance in trials, faithfulness, serving in another person's vision, learning authority and submission - all things we can try to generate in our own strength without God. ... I want you to do your own thing - because your thing is God's thing! Too extreme? God created you with desires and passions we need to pursui in His way. But they must be pursued. They reflect His heart. you are an expression of God's heart.

(Ok, this is not part of the quote (neither is the above parentheses) but the durn blogger won't let me out of it. ) Isn't it amazing? Whether you serve in the church as a pastor, teacher, evangelist, apostle, prophet or outside it as a businessman, teacher, politician, doctor, broadcaster, artist, farmer, parent, etc, this is so freeing! I'm sure I'm not the only one who constantly second-guesses my motives or directions or decisions, and this is a wonderful reminder of how much love and interest my Lord has for me. It's not some big cosmic game of God instilling us all with passions and desires only to sit back and see if we can manage to 'overcome' them. Obviously I'm not trying to advocate sin in any form. And we certainly all need to be praying about the paths we take. But I firmly believe that God lays before us many options... and many of them are equally good. Trust me, he will use any and all choice we make to bring us closer to Him (ok, quit thinking of trials and suffering here). That's an interesting rabbit trail... as a parent, I know that my pride and approval in my children brings them closer to me than does their sin and guilt. Hearts are knit when a warm smile of love and acceptance is shared. I bet God is the same. He will let us fall on our faces when we are disobedient (selfish, etc), to teach us the folly of our ways, but he would much rather see us overcome (give, love) and draw closer to Him in it.

For me this means so much. Sometimes I think I'm a bit schitzophrenic in my 'passions'. Reading up on this, doing that, learning all I can about one project or another (and then undertaking it). Is this ok? Am I some black hole of attention deficit, always devouring the next thing? Perhaps it is ok. Perhaps being a Jack (Jacqueline?) Of All Trades is part of what makes me tick. *I* think it is.

May you be blessed in your undertakings, in your passions and in discovering your true self, your calling.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Upper Body Workout? For sure. Today I "churned" butter. I acquired some delicious organic cream last week and I've been churning it ever since. I've been using a large (costco size) plastic mayonnaise jar and 2 small steelies (like in the magnetix set). I put them in the freezer for a few minutes, then fill it 1/3 or so with cream. Then I shake it. And shake it. And shake it more. And roll it down the stairs. And shake it. Eventually I noticed it made butter! Well, not exactly that simple. I noticed it was ... different! Grainy instead of smooth, and tinged with yellow. After that I put it in a bowl and start pressing out the buttermilk; eventually rinsing it with cool water, adding salt, and putting it in a plastic-wrap-lined mini-bread-loaf-pan. This goes into the freezer. Today I thought I'd try to do a larger quantity with less bicep-pain. Which was an interesting endeavor, at first. I set up my mayonnaise jar as usual, but this time I wrapped a cushy baby quilt around the jar and tied it with some jute. THEN I put it in the dryer on air-fluff. Hehe! Aside from the loud thumping, it might've worked. Just not very quickly. So I abandoned that and shoved the blanket-clad jar between the footrails on the spring-hung rocking horse. I tied a rope to it's 'reins' and that had potential too. I took a break to pour some cream in the KitchenAid. Eventually I abandoned the rocking horse, dryer, and all jar-shaking. The Kitchenaid did a fair job of churning it, but working and rinsing that butter is a lot of work in itself. I've done about a gallon and a half of cream, and have ended up with 5 or 6 of these little loaf-sized butters. SOooo yummy.

Also today, we got our chicks! Nothing like brooding chicks in October, I tell ya. Thankfully they didn't come yesterday in our snowstorm and 60mph winds. I thought maybe my chicken coop wouldn't survive after all, but it held! The post office called at about 10 min. to 7 this morning and I ran over and could hear the peeping in the entire PO lobby! 15 Barred Rocks, 15 Rhode Island Reds, and 1 "Rare Chick". I think that will be it's name. One of those free samples, you know. We have no idea if it's male or female, or what breed it might be. It's certainly cute, though. They seem like they're doing well. Eating and drinking, though it's hard to tell if all 31 are managing it. Just doing my egg-shopping extra early!

What does "aspiring to simplicity" actually mean?

Well, it meant the whole thing I wrote before Hubby crashed the computer and lost it...

It means I must consciously make decisions towards simplicity in my daily life. Uncomplication. It means not being absorbed by the latest tv drama or Hollywood fashions. It means I must take responsibility for myself and my family. It doesn't mean I'm giving up electricity or never shopping at costco again.

But it can seem paradoxical. We might think it is simple to pick up a dozen eggs at the store. But for me right now, raising chicks to have laying hens while I teach my girls about responsibility, nutrition, caretaking, creation, God, and biology is simpler. Fighting traffic, tired kids, carseats, parking lots, long grocery lines, tired kids, carseats, parking lots, and traffic is not simple. It does not afford as much time of teaching and parenting as raising these chickens does. And I think I will be a better mother for reducing my traffic-fighting time.

This blog will serve to keep record of the projects we are undertaking for this purpose. I hope we who read it are blessed.