>On My Porch Today

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I had just sat down to my lunch when I heard a rumble of thunder. It has been a while since I have heard any thunder, and during this intermission, I have attained an entirely new front porch – the perfect venue to take in God’s beautiful way of watering His garden! So, I grabbed my bag of apple slices, headed out the front door, and snagged a front row seat. By the time I sat down, sheets of gray had already begun to roll in from the north, telling me that the sun shining through the slats in the railing would be soon departing.
Then, my wind chimes quietly informed me that they would be narrating this particular performance, standing as interpreters between Mother Nature and myself. They conferred with each other in hushed tones as the sky rumbled and forewarned. Then they began to sing to me. It was a Gentle and Sweet sort of a song and the trees bowed in agreement with their interpretation of the scene.
This went on for quite some time, and I deeply appreciated the romantic sensibilities of the song. But, after much discussion among themselves, the copper tubes decided it was necessary to change their song. It became a Gusty and Excited sort of a song and the trees agreed even more strongly.
They were soon joined by the percussive thumps of fat raindrops on the wide, green leaves of the hibiscus to my left. This began slowly and loudly, but as they were joined by more and more drops of rain. In their excitement, they began to take over the song.
The wind chimes conceded, fading into the background, agreeing with each other that this Thunderstorm sort of song was even more magic than theirs.
My nose was forced to accept the sting of wet dirt and grass, and the chimes sang only when they felt they had something important to say. Soon, though, the performance became so exuberant that my jeans were quite damp, from the ankles to the knees, and I knew it was time to come back inside so that the rain could feel comfortable doing whatever it wanted to do, without fear of offending me by soaking my new porch.

<3 Christy

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>Vashti… my Heroine!!

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Ok. Everybody knows the story of Esther, right? I’ve known it since I was a kid, but I’ve never thought about Esther’s predecessor much until the last couple of days. Vashti was queen before Esther. She got stripped of her royal title and banished from the kings presence as punishment for her refusal to appear before him so that he could show her off during a drunken party. I’ve never noticed before how her stand caused such great fear among the men. They were afraid her refusal would inspire other women to do the same.

Esther is often praised for her courageous act of approaching the king to intercede for her people, but no one mentions Vashti and the courage it must have taken for her to refuse the kings command in the way she did. She had to have known there could be severe consequences for her actions. Yet, she still stood against the king’s lewd command. Her stance was a threat to the men. They were frightened by her assertion of control, fearing that she would remove control from them.

Vashti lost her royal title as a consequence for refusal to obey the king. I wonder if she felt alone, afraid, or even regretted her unpopular stance. It’s not easy to live an inspiring, passionate life, unapologetic about your beliefs. Sometimes, owning your passion and going for your calling can be a lonely thing to do. So, hey Vashti, thanks for going for it!!!

So just for fun, here’s a pic of my latest accessory! Another ear piercing! With my short hair, I’m havin’ fun bedazzling my ears!

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>Magic Happens

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Today is a big day for me.
Today is a day that I celebrate life.
This the anniversary of magical and miraculous happenings.
Six years ago, on this date, I nearly lost my own life bringing a tiny new life into this world.
My baby daughter was born six years ago today. Birth is such a safe event anymore that we tend to treat it mundanely. But this particular birth was an entrance befitting the daring and dramatic soul of my little one! She comes from a long line of dramatic women, so I should not have expected less. We have come to refer to this day as “The Day That Emma Happened.” People that don’t know any better call her an old soul. She’s just that kind of person.
So, we had a pixies and ponies party in our back yard with real ponies and three tiny little girl pixies running about with flowered wings and crystal crowns. It was a lovely evening, made even more splendid because it coincided with a beautiful harvest moon glowing in a cloudless sky. Breathtaking.
So, I’m happy to be alive today. I’m rejoicing in life today. I’m tearfully grateful for my incredible daughter. Breathtaking.
Those of you who know my heart, and those of you whose hearts are like mine will understand when I simply say that real magic can only happen because of real work. But it’s ALWAYS worth it!
DAILY BLISS: Real ponies in my back yard!!! Hee hee!!
– Christy
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>Ohboyohboyohboyohboy!

>This is me playing with paint colors for my house:

You can see that I’m very excited about all of this. That’s a light green on the left, and the beige for trim on the right. The middle green will be kind of like the house’s eyeliner. It will just go around the window sashes. I tried out the paint scheme tonight. Being the smart consumer, I purchased quart-sized samples of my top candidates and painted a big splotch on the front of my house. I’m sure that my neighbors will really love this, because, if previous do-it-yourself projects are any indication, it will be at least seven years before the house actually gets painted. Ah well…..I can revel in the knowledge of fresh paint anyway.
I really like to paint things. It feels so fresh and clean every time! You know, even if you can’t seem to scrub all the dirt out of that one corner above the baseboards in the bathroom, you can always seal it in with a fresh coat of paint. That’s my kind of housework!

DAILY BLISS:
DH on the floor doing math homework with the boy and the little curls that fall out of my little girl’s braids.

<3 Christy

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>That’s A Good Question

>I made a late-night coffee run last night. I actually ended up with apple cider, which was a good thing, since I have a hard enough time sleeping as it is. I love reading the little quotes on the Starbucks cups – you know, “The Way I See It #(insert random number)?” Anyway, I’m driving, it’s dark, and I glance at my cup. I’ve gotten this one before. It’s a question about why my opinions are less and less strong as I grow older. (BTW, I threw away the cup and can’t find the quote on their website. If I find it, I’ll post it.) I stop and think – this is a profound question. It’s true for me – I am certainly less dogmatic than I was at eighteen or so. And I wonder why that is? The author of the quote offered a multiple choice answer. All of the answers could have been my own. I pondered this as I hit the red light next to my street. Then, the real question hit me: Why are coffee cups the deepest, most thought-provoking thing I’m reading lately? Could it be that:
A) I’ve gotten too lazy to look for good reading material
B) I’m only reading at 10:00 in the evening
C) Starbucks philosophy is just that good!

DAILY BLISS:
Picking out a novel in the bookstore for my son’s book report. It’s really great to pass on my love of books – oh wait! Maybe I just answered my own question. I’m spending too much time in the children’s book section!

<3 Christy

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>Tears of Joy

>So….I guess I’m the photo queen, but I’m wordy enough and a picture’s worth a thousand words. Pictures actually save me some space.
I pulled up to my house today after running errands, and caught sight of a vision that sent tears jumping out of the corners of my eyes!! Take a look at my porch today:


It is JUST how I have imagined it and it isn’t even done yet!!! You can see where the steps have yet to be poured in the front, but you get the idea. It’s finally coming together. It’s going to be even more fabulous after I paint, and I’ll try really hard not to post more pictures until that point in time…..just to avoid overexposure!
Anyway – that’s all for today. Nothing profound, nothing thought-provoking. Just tears over my porch, I guess.

DAILY BLISS: Pumpkin spice lattes made with soy milk and Halloween costumes.

<3 Christy

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>Becky’s Mind Candy

>I love to read! I read for fun, for relaxation, and of course to attempt to appease my insatiable knowledge cravings. Being in full time seminary class, much of my reading time is occupied with the knowledge part. But today…. today I decided it was high time I pick up a little of what I call “mind candy.” So I headed into the campus bookstore and found a great sale on some deliciously enjoyable fiction novels. I splurged.

In my attempt to treat myself to the escape of a good book, I picked up an intriguing story called Mozart’s Sister. Did you know that Mozart had a sister who was equally as talented as he? Her name was Nannerl Mozart. Author Nancy Moser has done an incredible job of telling her story in a beautifully written, well researched historical fiction novel based on Nannerl’s life! Nannerl Mozart was denied the prestigious opportunities that Wolfgang had because she was a girl. But more than a statement about inequality among the sexes, Mozart’s Sister is a thought provoking story that is challenging me to think about my purpose, my calling, and my gifts. In the dedication, Moser writes something I think is incredibly profound:

“To all who live in this amazing age of opportunity. Waste no chance to carry out your God-given purpose. Too many have not had the luxury of CHOICE.”

So here’s to you, Nannerl Mozart! And here’s to God for the purpose He’s woven into my being. I determine to faithfully live out that purpose no matter how it scares me. How dare I do any less in light of those like Nannerl who had no opportunity to do so!

So much for Mind Candy!!! This is something to chew on!!!

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>Porch Progress

>I have posted before that I have an older house that’s slowly being renovated. We are finally working on the porch! We have lived here for three years, and I bought this darling house, knowing that I would tear down the dismal room that served as a porch and open it up into a real, live, southern-style front porch! So…..here’s what it looked like before:

I mean, it’s OK, but it just isn’t my dream house, you know? I love porches. I even have a book about porches. I dream of sitting on my porch with a mug of hot cider on a cold night with a blanket and a book. I dream of hanging patriotic bunting from my porch rail in the summertime. I dream of having a hammock even – but this may be far-reaching.
At any rate, I have spent hours and hours with graph paper and issues of magazines like Country Living, Country Home, Cottage Style and Bungalow Style dreaming, designing and planning. And finally, my day has come. My porch is now under construction. Here’s what it looked like after the first day – Demolition Day:


That’s my sweet hubby on the left, surveying the damage. We paid somebody else to do it so he wouldn’t have to. And that’s my friend that I’m paying to do the porch on the right.

So, here’s what the porch looked like yesterday with my fat craftsman-esque columns basically constructed:

Anyway, I suppose there is a universal appeal to a front-porch lifestyle. I’m expecting that having a front porch will be life-changing. Well, maybe not expecting, but hoping. Well, maybe not life-changing, but life-slowing. Not that it will reduce the number of ballet practices or after-school clubs my kids are involved in, and not that it will turn off the noise of modern family life, but I guess that I hope I will hear it calling my name in the middle of my life, and that the call will lure me outside to have a cup of tea, and for five mintues now and again, make me feel like my life has slowed down. I guess that’s kind of how dreams are – they’re things you shoot for even if you never get that far.

So, now that the silly dreams of my own mind are out there in public, I’ll bid you farewell. More updates will come – there are lots of beautiful details being added to my columns today, front steps are being poured out of concrete, and railings will be added between the columns. And when that’s done – PAINT!! Yahoo!!

DAILY BLISS: Chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven, made with my kids’ help!

– Christy

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>Happy Autumnal Equinox!

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So…..I’m a total freak. I’m sure you’ve already guessed that if you’ve read any of my blog at all. But, I really love autumn. I spent my childhood in Minnesota, and it was always so beautiful when the weather turned cool and the leaves turned colorful. Then we moved to Florida. The most colorful season we have is the muted green of spring. I say muted green, because it’s never even that beautiful bright green that comes after everything dies for the winter and comes back to life in the spring. We just don’t have much in the way of seasons here.
But I celebrate the change of seasons with my family anyway. I think it’s important that my children are aware of God’s earth – how its seasons are metaphoric for the seasons in our lives, how there is a constant cycle of death and birth….you know….all that deep, poetic stuff that only nerds and poets think about.
We have our rituals for every season, but fall is my favorite! Every year, I hold out the hope that by tossing silk leaves about and serving apple cider and cinnamon-laced desserts, somehow Autumn will hear me calling her and come to visit me here in Florida. She never does, but that hope never seems to die.
This year, we hosted a dinner. I’ve done this before, but it’s been a couple of years. I’ve spent two days baking and cutting up squash and sweet potatoes! Yummy! Here’s a photo of the table in my backyard:
We gathered so many of our dear ones together and everyone enjoyed a bountiful feast! I know that everyone is going to think that I’m crazy now. But here’s the thing – I’m not all about being Martha. The dinner was forty-five minutes late getting to the table. Everyone was hot and sweaty, since apparently Miss Autumn didn’t hear me calling. It wasn’t perfect. But it was so beautiful! Looking down that long table and seeing the ones I love – my friends AND my family all in one place – my grandma, my mom and dad, my friends and some of their parents, my friends and their babies, my brothers and sisters-in-law. What a beautiful reminder of God’s Earth and its seasons, and of His people and their seasons.
(sigh) Let me wipe that little tiny tear out of the corner of my eye. I’m headed to the kitchen to find some leftover apple spice cake for breakfast.

 

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