Monday, April 14, 2014

Propitiation Has Nothing To Do With Bunnies

  It has been a rather challenging week. Although my daughter is doing quite well in her Lyme treatment, she has had some struggles. We hit a more difficult bout of insomnia and a few bumps with problems concentrating. Schoolwork has been a challenge this year more than any other and a talk with a teacher of an outside class was frustrating. Lyme does not make life easy and it does not help that it is not well understood. Beating myself up for being a slouchy home school mom crossed my mind but then I remembered Resurrection Day is coming and there is too much awe for wallowing. 

 This time of year is perfect for using my favorite word, "propitiation." The days are breaking open with new life and seem to proclaim the theme of restoration and renewal. Where there was death, there is now life. Oak trees drop their brown leaves and sprigs of chartreuse are peeking out. All of nature proclaims that there is redemption. It is marvelous. 

  Now I agree that we should celebrate and worship but how do a junk-food-delivering bunny, colored eggs, and marshmallow chickens factor in? Of course, I would agree that chocolate is great for any occasion BUT being removed from under the wrath of God makes even chocolate lose its appeal. My tongue feels too unworthy of reveling in sweet, melting confections. The love of God extends beyond the sentence against my rebellion to the point of offering His own Son in my place. Whenever I try to contemplate it in some way that is comprehensible, I end up feeling a great weight because it is really a terrible trade. The perfect Son of God for the girl who shook her fist at God and declared that she would only read the Bible to find ways to transgress against Him. The Righteous Lamb for the rebel who had a hard, vicious heart and wanted to self-destruct. Why? That is all I can ask. How can I hold my head up? 

 The answer comes loudly in the picture of Spring's reborn life. The propitiation through Christ was redeeming. Death was conquered. Sin was triumphed over. I have been made alive, justified, and made new. This hymn I think puts it best:

   When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.
    Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
    Save in the death of Christ my God!
    All the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to His blood.
    See from His head, His hands, His feet,
    Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
    Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    That were a present far too small;
    Love so amazing, so divine,

    Demands my soul, my life, my all.

 Kind of makes bunnies and eggs seem ridiculous, don't you think?

Monday, April 7, 2014

When You Can't Fix It

  Nothing is more dreadful than watching your child suffer and you cannot do anything to help. This is my reality having a daughter with Lyme/Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Most days I have learned to keep going, trusting God for each step. It has gotten easier since she is feeling somewhat better but there are days where the unknown drags in dark clouds and I cannot contain my anxiety. 

  The difficulty is compounded by the fact that we live in an area that is not very "lyme-friendly." What I mean by that is doctors do not like to diagnosis lyme, consider lyme, or want to hear you say the word "lyme." We do have a wonderful doctor that is over an hour away and I know you are probably tired of hearing me sing his praise but, come on, it is justified (you rock Dr C!!!). This means that if my daughter gets sick and we cannot get to Dr. C, we have to go to a lyme-unfriendly doctor and the experience is not pleasant. You have to wrestle with keeping quiet about the lyme or listening to the comments that make you feel like a psycho parent.

  The crazy symptoms of Lyme are enough to deal with day in and day out. Sometimes it is a roller coaster. Knee pain today, splitting headache yesterday. Sinking feeling and weakness on the weekend, burning feet and memory problems during the weekdays. Severe stomach issues at night, anxiety and crying spells all day. Don't forget to throw in the random rash and hormonal problems. To top it off, all I can do is say, "It's the Lyme, honey. We're working on it as best we can. Now take the nasty tasting drops and handfuls of pills." Even worse than that is knowing that sometimes I am sure she does not like me at all. All the mom-ness in me wants to fix it and make it go away but I can't. 
   I do the only things I can do. I research, read, and probe every avenue for answers. I make foods that are nutrient-dense and vitamin-packed by very carefully stuffing them with things like chia seeds, hemp seeds and avocados. I mean, you have to be careful because people get suspicious when the mashed potatoes are green.

  But, at the end of the day, when you have failed to fix the insomnia or you cannot stop the joint pain, a little bit of your heart crushes. Caregiver failure. I am not enough but there is hope.

  Lord, strengthen me. Uphold me so that I might overcome and be able to glorify you. Most of all, Lord, adjust me so that it is not my will but Yours.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Stinky Ducks and Flunkin' Donuts

  In my long absence from the blog, this little piggy has been at work and sometimes just wallowing. Once again, God has vividly reminded me that He is in control and I do not have to be anxious over anything.

 The "farm" is growing. We lost one chicken this winter to a hawk, we think. We lost some trees in a hard freeze but we also planted 2 more apple trees, a plum tree, 2 blueberry bushes, and ordered bees that we will pick up in April. This month we also acquired 3 ducklings. It seemed like a good idea. They eat lots of bugs and lay lots of eggs but, right at this moment, their benefits seem less valuable in light of their aroma and mess. I am counting down the days until they can go outside. God made ducks to be in the great outdoors for sure.

  In my herb searching, many nifty and cheap ideas for cleaning have come across my path. Vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide are my new found cleaning weapons. Black tea and orange essential oil are the go-to for wood floor cleaning. Vinegar and tea tree oil are knocking out the mold that was pre-existing in our shower when we moved in. I made my own little piggy labels for the bottles of my creations. It is exciting to see something you made work and do the job really well. Of course, all credited goes to God because essentially, He made the tea, baking soda, and well...everything.

  I have this very vague idea of somehow incorporating all this into my study on Proverbs for women. It is fueled by my passion for Titus 2, of course. Spring is more than just cleaning my house. It really is more of determining how God wants to use me and preparing myself to be used. Examining our hearts is much more profitable than dusting the fan blades and washing the drapes (although do not neglect these chores too long). There is nothing more important than spreading God's glory and it should consume us.

  If you are interested in spreading God's glory to women you come across, try teaching some skill you have or sharing some talent. Women today, particularly younger women, need older women to come along side them, encourage them, and teach them. Meal planning and living on a budget are two things that younger women get really excited about least the women I have come across do.  In my next posts I will share some of my new secrets and you can share them with someone else. 

  Please do NOT think that I am super Susie Homemaker, far from it. Sometimes I do things and they do not go so well and when I fail, it is always giant. Take for instance this morning. My daughter is up at 7:30...never happens. She wants donuts and not just any donuts but donuts like Krispy Kreme. This is no easy feat in gluten-free form. We found a recipe guaranteed to work and it was intense. It took lots of our gluten-free mix and 2 hours of rising. Two hours later though they had only risen a tiny bit but we tossed them in the oil with high hopes. Nope. What came out looked like deep-fried pineapple rings and they tasted (oh yes, we did try to eat them anyway) like glazed rocks. Not particularly what I wanted with my cup of coffee. Needless to say, my daughter was unsatisfied as well and reminded me that she had not a real donut in over a year. Poor kid.

   Yes, I have gotten on this soapbox before but it is sooooo important. If you do not believe that this is your job just read Titus 2 or look at the story of Ruth and Naomi. Some things men are just not experienced at because God made them different, i.e. birthing children, breastfeeding, how to be a wife. In our culture today, these skills are not being taught a lot of times. 

  Step up ladies. Sure you may have things in your life that aren't so pretty, like stinky ducks and failed donuts, but use it for the glory of God. What can be gained from someone thinking you have a perfect life. Women need to know how to deal with life's situations in a Christ-like manner. Live out your relationship with Christ for all to see. It can be done.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Are Unicorns Easily Domesticated & Other Non-Sensical Things in the World of Plants

  Soooo...anyone dabbled in the realm of herbs lately? 'Cuz I have and let me just say, "Wow." You want to jump right into the vat of false religion and silliness, just start researching herbs. Whew, my mind was blown. 

  Recently, my husband said, "Hey, what are you going to do with your time since your only child left at home doesn't really need you?" Ow, ouch, ow-wee!  He did apologize and reword his question once he saw my protruding, quivering bottom lip but his point was that my life has growing gaps of time. His concern was that I would be bored or feel empty. I understand where he's coming from and with all the changes in my life this past year, I have lost a lot - no teaching Sunday School, no regular meeting with my younger lady friends, no church activities. Sounds sad, doesn't it? Oh yes, I wallowed. 

  Thankfully, I am now in a church plant with some of my sweet brothers and sisters that I have known for years. Once it gets going, there will be more opportunities but I am treading carefully because in the time of loss, God opened my eyes once again. He faithfully showed me that He is ALL I need. Yes, you are required to be part of a church but God is ALL you need. He is sufficient and His Word is sufficient. But, what does this have to do with herbs? At the foundation, it has everything to do with it but specifically,well...I'll move on.

  In this time of much downtime, I started reading about herbs. I LOVE plants, I LOVE gardens, and I LOVE that our Christian doctor treats my daughter's Lyme Disease with natural treatments that work. Praise God, she went from almost bed-ridden to running  several times a week and working as a waitress in 6 months. It just seemed logical to learn more about God's creation by way of herbs. I have turned myself into an experimental guinea pig with all my new-found knowledge. The problem is that there is some strange stuff out there. And when I say strange, I mean like flying on a unicorn over the rainbow strange...just out there, made-up, fairy tales. 

  Trying to find out if you can make a lotion that helps dry skin will lead you to all kinds of weird and deceptive thinking. How do people who are truly honest with themselves believe some of this stuff? And more importantly, how come God is not enough? 

  Maybe it is like unicorns. We think we need something more, something we invent so we can control it and manipulate it. I don't know. I just want to know how God made such awesome things like plants that have the ability to nourish us and even heal things like itchy bug bites. 

  How does Echinacea work? I have no clue but I know that it helped clear up a nasty infection I had (I'll spare you the details). And, chamomile, it's not just a delicious tea. It is also a natural antihistamine. Do not even get me talking about garlic! I just cannot wrap my brain around how God packs so much into little tiny seeds. 

   You want to enlighten yourself, it does not take sitting like a twisted pretzel, humming like a washing machine. Open God's Word and read about the Creator of the universe. The awesomeness of a holy God who continues to pour out blessings on a world that does not acknowledge Him, is truly beyond our ability to fully grasp. Why do we still want the unicorns?

  All the mystical blather almost discourages my curiosity...almost. The challenge to reclaim herbs as the Lord's seems to drive me on, like a friend of mine's mother who decided to reclaim the rainbow because "it was God's creation first." I do not want to come across any more forums where people have to ask if Christians should study about herbs. Of course, you can! They are not evil inherently. Just apply discernment if you research them and keep yourself rooted in Truth. If it looks like nonsense, run! If it leads you to an understanding of something God created, praise the Lord in worship of Him as a magnificent Creator! I will be if this bug spray I made with geranium oil and catnip tea works. If it does I'll post the recipe so you can as well.

*Disclaimer: the author of this blog does not believe in least not since 1982. Yes, she is that close-minded. Also, do not just jump into taking herbs because she thinks they are great. Read for yourself first before you swallow things.