Mar 22, 2014

The Horse Whisperer

Our family saw something captivating tonight. Breathtaking, paradigm-shifting, heart-opening. My words won't do justice of what I saw and how my heart has been captured all over again. My aunt and uncle invited us up to their home for a cookout with live entertainment, and a "horse whisperer." Sounded fun to us! But what we didn't expect was to drive back home with a fresh revelation of  Father's loving pursuit and agape for us. We saw a man "break" a horse and God broke hearts. Some of us didn't know what to expect from a "horse whisperer", myself included. For instance, towards the end of the presentation, Zeke asked me, "When is he going to whisper to it? I thought he was going to break the horse in two..." Kids keep you laughing.

 The horse whisperer man wasn't just a man, he was a cowboy. A legit cowboy. Zeke thought he was really cool even if he couldn't break one horse into two. His name is Todd Pierce. He and his family live in Idaho where they lead Riding High Ministries. The horse he worked with tonight was from the Inman, SC area and had never been ridden or trained AT ALL. In fact they had a real time getting the horse from the trailer into the training ring. He was stubborn and a little wild around the edges, the horse that is, not the cowboy. 


The cowboy was so gentle with the horse, he never backed the horse into a corner or used aggresive body language with the horse. While all the "whispering" was going on, the cowboy spoke to us, the audience of about 100, paralleling the Gospel to what he was physically doing with the horse. He worked with the horse effortlessly. I didn't know WHAT to expect, you know? Would he have a special whip wherein he cracks it 2 and a half times in conjunction with a high pitch whinny would the horse shake off his wild stallion habits? Silly, I know. 

 From the beginning the cowboy told us that he represented God the Father and the horse represented humanity. The way Father deals with us is the opposite of how many our spiritual mindsets think they should go. God is truly so humble, Self-sacrificing, and constantly gets on our level. I loved how the cowboy said from the beginning, "this is going to be the opposite of how many of us expect God to be." I mean, this is true, the Pharisees expected something entirely different than the humble, mind-blowing Jesus. God is so kind and yet He isn't just here for our pleasure, to bless us, for us to walk in the cool of the day and be stroked and looked upon as His beautiful creature, just like the wild horse. We have purpose when we walk with Him, when we let Him lead us and love us.

In the beginning the horse was frantic, searching for a way out of the ring. He avoided the cowboy earnestly while neighing and snorting in defiance of his pursuer. But, before we knew it, the cowboy's gentle and never-giving-up pursuit granted him the right to kneel before the horse. The horse had stopped it's wild running and whinnying and was bending low to breathe in the cowboy's scent. Walls broken. The cowboy was unpredictable, but he was good and the horse began to trust. 

 The cowboy began to ride the horse bareback and once the horse received that lesson, the cowboy brought out the saddle and the bit. The cowboy paralleled them to spiritual gifts. That Father wants to use them through us to love others. They can feel awkward and uncomfortable at times, but Father wants to use spiritual gifts to bring love, comfort, and glory. There was more resistance to this, but the horse reluctantly at first but willingly in the end received the saddle and the rider. A shift took place with the horse. His ears no longer laid back in fear, his tail gently swooshed, he leaned into the cowboy's affectionate strokes. The cowboy could be trusted.

 There is only one other illustration of the Gospel that has raptured my heart more than this and that is adoption. The tangible example of His intense love and grace for us, in the form of wild horse and a persistent cowboy have swollen my heart once more. Not to mention the scenery was gorgeous. He woos me with His gentleness AND through His Blue Ridge Mountains.


Mar 2, 2014

Victorian Therapy

Lately I have been swept away by this:
I was trying to describe it to a friend the other day and could only compare it to "Little House on the Prarie", but then it hit me last night and I realized just why it has swept me up. It speaks to me in the same way "Anne of Green Gables" does. Sigh. I do love Anne. And Gilbert. And Diana. And Matthew Cuthbert. And I could keep on, but I won't.

 They both speak of a less hurried life with a heap of love triangles; there is drama, but nothing compared to the likes of "Twisted." Jane Austen's works do the same for me. I just finished Northanger Abbey and I was caught up in it, just as I was with her other beautifully provoking novels. 

I find myself getting caught up in these beautiful stories, they soothe my soul, give me comfort, stir my brain to think of another time and way of life. However, if I'm not very careful I begin to shame myself for sitting and watching an episode instead of scrubbing the floor, making clothes, and foraging for dinner, but then I remember I live in 2014, not 1880 and times have changed. There is something to this for me though. Thankfully for my mind, the something is swathed in grace and does not say to stop watching TV or reading good books. It just reminds me to get lost in His Love too. He reminds me to remember how simple and good He is. How deep His affirmation of me is, because I'm clothed in His righteousness. I can let these books and series soothe my mind and stay in a place of peace as long as I am mindful that His peace is the one that sustains and won't give up on me. I'm thankful for these sweet stories and little joys that bring life and love out of me, but today I'm also thankful He has used them to remind me of the present day simple, yet complex, never stopping, never giving up radical love story He invited me into. And now that I've released that dear revelation, back to Episode 8!
Feb 21, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I know, I know, it's not Thursday, but it sounds better than Thankful Friday, so there. It would be nice to write a Thankful Thursday post each Thursday if I can remember to do so. We shall see. I make no promises. My brain is overloaded these days. The past year happens to be one of the most trying ones of my life so we're lucky if the house is standing aright with all five family members accounted for at the end of the day. So, without further ado, let me be thankful. Sometimes the Lord feels too far away and other times He overflows me with so much love that it makes my heart flutter. It's the little moments and joys that I am learning to smile with and embrace that can make this heart full of life again. Want to know what made my heart flutter today? It was this:

I know. Maybe it's not for the coffee purists and scoff at me you may. I do not care.

 See, I just dropped off the younger two children with my sweet mom because she insists it is her therapy to have the grands spend time with she and my dad. I was on my way to sit in carline to get Zeke and the afternoon sleepies hit, but I knew CMize would not want me dropping $5 on Starpennies and I don't think it's all that awesome anyways. Gasp. Yes, I just said that. I'm a regular coffee heretic. So, with much spontaneity I swerve into the Spinx gas station and thought, they will have coffee and it will be budget friendly. It was more than that. I walked in and didn't smell tobacco. I walked to the coffee area and I might have heard an angel heralding. Hazelnut, Dark Midnight Blue Roast, House Blend, White Chocolate Mocha, the options! And what lay behind me was the best of all. A coffee bar with creamers chilling in an ice chest, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon, whipping cream. I happily gasped when I saw this, my favorite of all...

 I mean truly. The bottle says it all: Delight. So now, I have my perfect hot cup of coffee and i walk up to pay. The kind clerk adds to my delight when she tells me my blissful moment only costs $1.50, but what happens next is what really did me in. The clerk says, "It's on us." Maybe her watching me make coffee with the enthusiasm of a kid in a candy store was entertainment enough for her, but I am deeply blessed none the less. Sweet moments. I then go to pick up Zeke and have a half hour to just sit and read, car off, without the sounds of Doc McStuffin or Frozen. Just me, my coffee, and the rejuvenating therapy of a practically cloudless 63 degree atmosphere. My heart is full and I am mindful that I am loved. Let me be thankful.

Feb 19, 2014

snow much snow

 They promised us snow, and it came to pass. It's hard to believe. Usually down here, they say it's gonna "winter mix", or ice, or "dust" the ground, but this time they said, "Buckle down, flood to the nearest grocery store and empty the refrigerated departments! The snow is coming!" We should have known it might just really happen with the Polar Vortex and all freezing the south this winter. The first snow was beautiful. It caught me off guard, that's for sure. I didn't think it would really do anything at all, but it did of course, and school was cancelled for THE WHOLE WEEK. Goodness gracious. But the snow that came a week and a half later was just wonderful! I was prepared and how could I not be with Dale and John reminding us over and over again every Olympic commercial break that we could prepare to see up to a foot or more of snow! By the time the second snow fall came we were all in the right spirits to enjoy being cooped up in the house for a solid week...and now for the pictures to prove it.

 Hb might have enjoyed the first round of snow more than the second. Something about her fingers being sooooo cold and she JUST couldn't take any more frozen fingertips!

 Don't mistake the snow for gray hair, I pay money for you not to make that mistake

 The Moose's first snow experience. His face cracks me up. He was walking around saying, "oooh!" and making his face shake like he was trembling from cold. Or his face might HAVE been trembling from legitimate cold. 

 Zeke finally decided to come out and enjoy some fun...he was pretty grumpy the first snow go round, it might have had to do with the fact that the snow MELTED by the second day and yet they still cancelled three days of school. 

 This is when he just couldn't take it anymore. He and Hb are much the same. A switch goes off inside them and they realize that THEIR FINGERS ARE FREEZING and it's like a life alert inside them goes haywire or something. Shrills from Hb and headbutts from the Moose come directly after the alert has sounded. 

 Mmmmm, snow cream. Regardless of what falls down from the sky with the snow, it makes a mean snow cream. The moment we see the first flakes start to fall we try to get our snow cream bowl outside. When it's got enough to work with we mix fresh sweetened whipped cream and vanilla with the white stuff. That's fun. 

 Here we have three happy kids who have woken up to school cancellations and white snow all over the ground. The third kid is me. 

 First snowman of the season

 Dance party!

 Sad. But see, buddy, I remember those head butts from the last time I let you out there. I just don't think you can handle frozen digits again. Not without Dad home to help. Sorry.

 Excitement in unison.

 Snuggly movie time. Seriously, this snow break was dreamy and there were minimal bickerings! It was like Christmas break or something!

 Fine. You win. So cute. 

 Going to sled. Thank you Heritage Lakes. 

 See those puffy lips and rosy cheeks on that little man-child? His inner life alert is jussst about to sound off.

 Excitement over snowman #2. He wasn't just ANY snowman....

He's Olaf! Yeah, Dad!

So much snow. And where are we just one week later? 74 degrees and sunny. Classic South Carolina.
Jan 22, 2014

signs of life

 Signs of life...the little moments filling my days, which can threaten my joy yet remind me that life is all around me. They are the moments that bring me to a crossroad: milk spills on the floor I blow a gasket and let her have it or do I get some rags and get to cleaning with her? Legos all over the kitchen I lose it because little things are always all over everything and everywhere or do I thank the Lord for the hands that push the Legos together. Dozens of cookie cutters littering the galley kitchen floor as I attempt to make breakfast...I can let out a roar of irritation or laugh at the Happy Moose who made the obstacle course. Well, since I'm no superhuman, I do both. I have a natural bend toward doing more of the exploding, but I am learning, slowly but surely, these "signs of life" are the things the Lord can use to let me ooze joy and let my loud, boisterous laugh ring out. I am learning that the signs of life, the messes and evidence of life happening around me, are gifts and joys, and if I stop and close my eyes for a moment, my perspective shifts and I can laugh instead of cry, and thank the Lord He is working on this sheep girl one sign at a time!

 Skating for Hb=running as fast as you can on shoes with wheels. It's pretty impressive really. 

 This flooded front yard was too good to resist and I can still say it was a good decision after purging the washing machine and dryer of winter grass shreds.

 It felt good to realize this was a "signs of life" moment and let them go crazy in a puddle in the front yard. It felt like a personal victory to let them run free in mud, grass, ankle deep January rain water.

 She doesn't always want to pretend to be a ballerina, but when she does, she goes all out. She might  have springs in her feet, for real. cute. This afternoon was an afternoon of mommy bliss. Drawing bows and hearts on a rocket ship she named. Sitting, watching her leap around to the "Ensemble" Dish Network Station. This particular afternoon was like what I imagined parenting was going to be like before I had kids, when parenting was extremely romanticized and filled with crafts and teachable moments.

She even wanted to PLAY, gasp!, with the happy moose and made a box train out of all those Aldi and Costco boxes littering the kitchen. It was amazing and filled my heart right up!

Until next time...

Jan 13, 2014

Yes, I understand You.

I'm always amazed with how the Lord speaks directly to me in my mothering moments of correction. Duhn duhn duhn duhnnn. It sounds so serious, I know. Just hear me out. Honestly it makes me smile a little as I hear Him echoing, "Yes, yes child." For instance, dear little fragile hearted energizer bunny, Hb, she is not a baby loving kind of 5 year old thus her adorable and mischievous 17 month old brother, the Moose, is quickly under her skin, most of the time. He attempts to pull her puff, she screams bloody murder. He grabs a Doc McStuffin reflex hammer, turns running and she falls in a heap of tears on the floor. This goes on all day. So, with a firm yet kind tone (it's still early in the day so I am feeling patient) I remind her..."Hannah. He is a baby. He is young. He doesn't know what he is doing. You have to be patient with him. Try to understand he is not out to get you. He is not trying to hurt your feelings. Try to stay calm." 
As the sentences are coming out of my mouth, I can hear Him agreeing and saying "Yes. Yes child." and I know He is reminding me my little babes, in my seeming never ending moments of frustration shepherding these ruffians, need a lot of patience and understanding. They are not out to get me! Ha! Because sometimes it seems like they are! Sometimes I just need a moment, a simple moment, to remember and refocus. He parents me as I parent them and I understand Him. Thankful for these humorous and humbling moments and for My patient and understanding Father.

Jan 9, 2014

The Journey Continues

Boy, has it been a while! This girl has finally ventured out of her cave and decided to start typing again. It's been quite a year and I can say I am pleased to see a new one ahead and I am praying it is a year of peace for me and for you as well. Here's to 2014: fresh starts, family, abounding grace, and joy!