My Country Quest

Follow along our journey back to the land. This is where we will record our thoughts, musings and dealings with terrible dragons right here for your viewing pleasure.

My Photo
Location: Missouri, United States

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Life of a Boy

catching fishes and frog legs
.22 shells and powder kegs...
this is the life of a boy

dirty grins and jars of bugs
sneaking cookies and rootbeer mugs...
this is the life of a boy

having a rabbit's foot for luck
grown-up playthings and buying a truck
this is the life of a boy

favorite jeans and going to proms
killing the big buck and driving to Mom's
this is the life of a boy

admitting he's wrong and making a show
kissing the girl or letting her go
this is the life of a boy

working hard and being a slob
best friends and bass boats ~ that first great job
this is the life of a boy

swimming in summer and playing in snow
shaving his whiskers and letting them grow
this is the life of a boy

knowing he's worth all of his pay
finding arrowheads and a wife someday
this is the life of a boy.

Mother's Manifesto

Always smile and be impressed when your son brings you wildflowers.
Blame the sneeze on the neighbors cat.
Never make a joke about his accomplishments - keep his bragging rights intact.
Gently rebuke him if he uses a bad word, reminding him that his speech is a large part of how the world will measure him.
Give him a hammer and nails, cardboard and glue, a hole punch and stapler - and take pictures of whatever he builds.
Never lie to him, no matter how hard the truth is.
Always trust him with the biggest responsibility he can handle.
Challenge him, encourage him, cheer him on.
Reward him openly for a job well done.
Read to him the most exciting, most adventurous stories you can find, and encourage him to live life BIG when he grows up.
Tell him Bible stories, but leave the "moral lessons" for the Holy Spirit to teach.
Just excite him with the reality of life with Jesus.
Be a living example of the qualities you wish to teach him.
Work hard, tell the truth, keep your word, be noble and trustworthy.
Be the woman you want him to find for a wife someday.
Let your daughter be everything God created her to be.
If it's a scientist or a pianist or a mother of many sons, let her BE.
Tell her she's pretty at least once a day.
And make sure she has at least one dress she LOVES to wear.
Teach her to cook whatever she wants.
A souffle' is NOT too hard for an 8 year old to make.
Let it be her specialty.
Make matching aprons and sundresses, and cloud paint with her in the summer time while you lie in the summer grass.
Teach her to dream big, hold her hand when she jumps and when she falls, then help her get up and try again.
Hang out laundry together, listening to her chatter about her latest project, latest picture, latest best friend, and babydolls.
Never say she talks too much.
A girl has thousand's of words to speak everyday.
Just like a woman does. Be there to listen.
Trust her with a lion's share of responsibility and chores. She will be a mother someday.
Teach her to love Jesus, not because she SHOULD but because she sees you contentedly loving Him.
Be the wife, mother, sister, friend, neighbor that you wish her to be when she grows up. Let her see it in you.
Don't preach, nag, whine, threaten or guilt-trip to try to illicit good behavior from them.
Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
Smile alot. Remember what it feels like to be a child.

Friday, April 20, 2007


I know I have spoken of this often on here - or at least eluded to it - but the most difficult lesson for me to learn has been that of surrender. Not surrender as in a battleground surrender. Not one of defeat or a melancholy loss. But a surrender like that kind you feel when you're in a hot tub. The "every muscle relaxed" kind of surrender. Let the current in that river take you where it will and determine to enjoy the view along the way - that kind of surrender.

I remember last summer quite vividly when things were not going well in my marriage. We had tried everything, I had tried everything, I had sought counsel to no avail, nothing was working. I was hopeless. I sat in the back yard, crying my eyes out over the pain of it all, and I had a vision. Now I know, some people don't believe in visions and such, and that's fine. I still know I had one. :-) It lasted only a second. I was up to my neck in a river. The white-water kind of river with my body flailing out behind me as the water tried to pull me in. I saw my terrified face as I grasped to the stony edge. I heard the Lord say, "Let go."

"But I'll drown! This river will kill me!"

"Let go."

"But I can't! The kids need me! I won't give up Lord! I can't!"

"Just let go."

So I did, and instantly the water calmed and I saw myself floating peacefully down a strong current still, but now on my back staring up into the blue blue summer sky, enjoying the clouds as they floated by above me. I was at peace, I was relaxed. I let go. I surrendered. I awoke in my Adarondak chair a bit later still in my backyard, the summer sun smiling down on me. And BOY has it been a RIDE since I surrendered! But it's the kind I want to buy a t-shirt for to remember the occasion! Exhilerating! Scary! Take-my-breath-away shocking at times. But surrendered.

God does not call us to commit emotional suicide in the name of "Christianity" or "being a good wife" or even "being a good mother". He calls us to surrender those emotions. Stop fighting them. They are there. Accept them. Look at them. Taste them, touch them, accept them, understand why they are there. Often they are there as weapons of warfare. Meant to cause our demise or at least wound us. When I let go and look them full in the face I can see them for what they are. Kindof like that shadow on the wall at midnight that looks JUST like a crouching thief but when investigated turns out to be nothing more than a sofa cushion? Yeah. Like that.
So pick up that fear, that pain, that depression. Pick it up like a rock you stubbed your toe on. Taste it. Smell it. Shine the Light on it. Then let go and float on down your river. I promise you ~ the ride will be more than you ever dreamed it could be.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Joy In This Morning

“Joy comes in the morning” the old hymn says. And it certainly has today. It’s 7:12 am and I feel as though I am weightless. Completely carried by something bigger than myself.

You know those little girls you see... every spring? Holding hands and wearing bracelets and wreaths of dandelions all over them? And they dance and sing in a circle until they all fall down? Giggling?

That’s me. It’s a beautiful day because I’m alive. I need no other reason to find my joy today.

Speaking of dandelions, the bane of any yard manicurist’s existence, I love them. They are “weeds” by all accounts and purposes. Yet they shoot up, defying someone to spray them dead or perhaps knowing they will be and choosing to shine out their goldenness anyway. If you look at them though, in-depth like I am prone to, you see that they have an amazing ability to bloom where they AREN’T planted. They bloom wherever they take a notion to! Of course they come from seeds, but no purpose-ness has chosen to place them right THERE or over HERE other than the whim of the wind. And if anyone takes the time to really see them it is noticed that they are quite tasty deep fried in a batter like fried green tomatoes! Lots of nutrients in them, the “hairy” factor goes away in the grease. And you remember don’t you? Picking up that dandelion seed head thingy (sorry for such an unscientific name) and smiling, making a wish and BLOOOOOWING? Watching until you can’t see the little umbrellas anymore as they make their way across the world? Even in their demise, whether it be in a pot of bubbling grease or on the wind as a puff-ball of seeds, they spread joy.

Lord, let me be a dandelion today. :-)


this simple life - the life of ease
floats all about me on the breeze

like maple seeds in early spring
just let go and see 'em take wing

What Does God Require?

About a year ago I came across a list of the 49 commands of Christ. I thought, ‘Wow! That’s awesome! Now I can know exactly what it is that God requires, and I can teach it to my children!’ Yes. It is an awesome resource, and I am amazed that even though I came to know the Lord at 7 years old, I was unaware of some of them. So I’ve learned a lot. But I am in a new season now - one of complete dependence, of SIMPLICITY, of ease?, of trust, of LETTING GO. Because my human-ness is such a dead-weight. My personality is contrary to this "surrendered life". (More on that below). Then a month ago the Lord led me to this verse in my time with Him. And it sums up what it is He wants me to “know” in my head about serving Him.

What can we bring to the Lord? What kind of offerings should we give Him?
Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves?
Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins?
No, O people, The LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
~Micah 6:8

Some might say (and I did) that to “do what is right” we must be in the Word, digging it out, charting our course, planning against attack, etc. etc. Yes and no. Yes because the Word of God is a living 2-edged sword, one we need to be fully capable of wielding during a time of spiritual attack as well as during the daily mundane. No, because the life He calls us to, or at least the one He has called me to, is one of surrender. Complete reliance everyday on Him. Even in knowing what it is that is “right”. And for me, my head gets in the way of doing that. My personality is to research, to dig, to plan, to prioritize, to HUMANIZE the whole process of following after God.

A friend shared a testimony she heard of a woman who recently passed on. She said, “You know, I get up every day and say, ‘Lord, this is Harriet. What are we going to do today?’ “ That’s what I want to say. Every day. That is “doing what is right”. Not offering blood sacrifices or offering up my firstborn children’s lives, or any of the other self-pleasing methods I have employed in the past in my endeavor to “serve God”.

And oh how I love mercy! One reason is because I need it so desperately! There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t mess up ROYALLY and need pardoned. I frequently echo the words “Be merciful unto me O God, a vile sinner.” Mercy is one of my favorite attributes of God! It is something I truly seek to offer others too, probably too often as I tend to overlook faults to the point of idiocy (some would say) ! But I don’t share that sentiment. Mercy is something one can never have too much of. Of course knowing that mercy doesn’t always mean handing out a “Get Out of Jail Free” card helps temper my understand of what mercy IS and how to walk that out.

As for walking humbly with my God - goodness, how could I walk any other way? Yet I know, just by really believing that I am walking humbly before God means I’m probably NOT. Hehehe That statement “I AM humble” generally signals a splinter of pride digging in somewhere. So I won’t say “I’ve got this one down. Look at my life!! How could I NOT be humble?” I will say rather that I TRY to get this one down. Everyday.

This verse reminds me so much of the other scriptures in the New Testament where Jesus really brings it home for us. It’s like he’s saying, “Keep it simple, Stupid. Don’t try to create a methodology out of it. Don’t try to create a program. Just keep it simple. Because it is. If it weren’t we’d still be doing the blood sacrifice/priests in fancy robes/thick curtains/keeping you from Me routine.”

Ok. I think I get it now. Goodness, God is working on me. I have the shavings lying about at my feet to prove it. :-)


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Perfection Revealed

Human perfection is, by it's very nature, base and defiled. It stands in the limelight of idoltry's glow and says, "I did it. I arrived. Look at me. Aren't I great? Aren't you proud of me?" And despite the fact that it doesn't even exist, it puffs itself up with each pat on the back. "I worked very hard at achieving this." it says.

Achieving what?

For where is perfection apart from Christ?

And where is success except at the foot of the Cross?

All of my "accomplishments" (and I am hard pressed to think of ANY at the moment) are dust rags. You know the kind? The old socks that are stained and full of holes and otherwise usless for anything but picking up dust? My very best is only "good" on the surface. Look deeper and you'll find something lacking. No doubt. And it is only visibly "good" because of the grace of God towards me, a vile sinner. I AM NOTHING in myself, but through the amazing love of God, I AM EVERYTHING He wants me to be.

Because you see, and I am learning, I have alot to offer the world. I have alot to offer my family, my friends, my grocery check-out lady, my postman, my neighbor. I have alot to offer BECAUSE I AM HERE. God PUT me here, so I must have something to give. And I am resolved and SURE, for the first time in my life, that the people who know my will be glad they do someday. Granted, it takes a special type of person to be touched by me and not repulsed or shocked or otherwise appalled by me sometimes, lol. Because it is surely not because of what I can do or can't do, regardless of my "accomplishments" or "achievements" but for the simple fact that Jesus reached down, picked the dirtiest, most hole-filled sock in the pile and decided to use it. And when He picks something up to use, you can be sure that He will "accomplish that good work" which He begins.


I can't wait to see what He does with me.

Resurrection Sunday

It was 6:10 am as I sat down in the back row at my brother and sister-in-law's church Easter Sunday morning. It had been quite an ordeal getting everyone ready and there even close to "on time". Abby lost a shoe, Austin couldn't find his church shirt, etc. When I woke my 6 year old up he said, rather gruffly, "What are we doin'?"

"We are going to chuch honey. Remember?"

"This is crazy. It's still dark outside. God's not up yet."

Hmmm... point taken. hehehehe

We all shuffled into the over 100 year old building, sat down in the back row and began singing along with the hymns. Several things struck me, the chief being the timelessness of Sunday morning Easter services. Everybody is in their "best", little girls hair is curled, flowers poking out of buns, little white gloves on some of them. The boys shuffling and pulling on ties, the women breathing shallow because of girdles and being self-concious as the first of spring dresses show their winter "stores". The men, some still vaugely sleeping, trying to be interested, some obviously moved by the importance of the day, the teens looking for counterparts through sideways glances and blushing cheeks as one and all try to keep their minds on the sermon.

I tried to picture the church 100 years ago. About 1907, in this farming community there would have been horses and wagons hitched and waiting on the post that still stands there for the job. Our cars waited and steamed after being driven just as the horses sides would have been heaving from their work. There was a cold draft at our feet in this old building just like there would have been 100 years ago. I pictured a wood stove in the corner pumping out heat while the older folks and babies were seated closest to it. The thermostat was mounted on the wall taking it's place, doing the same thing. I saw the preacher, then in the formal "preaching" clothes of a Methodist minister, now in a suit and tie. Different, yet the same. I saw the wooden cross that had been erected in the front yard for the occasion, which wore a purple drape of fabric on Friday, now cloaked in shining white. The belfry stood shiny white in the backdrop - the same as it had 100 years ago. The wooden pews and stained glass windows were shiny then as now, and an obvious pride in their community and their faith was on all their faces. I began to take note of the year the hymns were written, and I saw that most of them were "new" 100 years ago but were obviously classics immediately as their message spoke so eloquently of the Cross and it's work.

I watched as the mother in front of me tried to quietly evoke a smile out of her 3 year old as he reeeeally wanted to go to the bathroom or some such thing. Anything to get him out of that hard pew for a moment. She succeeed, as countless mothers have in years past. I saw an older man reach for his wife's hand during a special song, The Lord's prayer was recited, prayer requests and updates of people in the community were shared and prayed over. The same. Just the same.

There is a timelessness to the Gospel that continually amazes me. It's easy to see that basically, it has remained unchanged throughout the centuries. The message is still the same at it's core. Theologically speaking nothing has changed. The Cross is still the Gospel. But it is amazing to me too that the method of the message, at the heart is still the same as well in some churches. Community, caring, pulling together, formalities that may or may not have anything to do with pleasing God come into play ~ dependent on the culture of the people worshipping together. It amazed and humbled me to realize - to really take in and accept, that we are worshipping today much the same as the 1st century believers did. Based on community and local culture, all done through their very real faith and love of God. I could tell, then as now, that if one of those people needed anything, anytime, that group of believers would be there. Quietly, inobtrusively, they would be there for each other.
That sack of groceries would show up just in time with a note saying "God loves you." and be otherwise unsigned. The house that was hit by a tornado would be quickly covered by tarps and immediate needs of food and shelter met. The hard-working and until now self-sufficient old farmer down the road that had heart surgery last week would have his cattle fed without anyone injuring his pride by making a big "project" out of it. The new baby born a few days back would recieve gifts of blankets and rattles and tiny hair brushes. The new mother would find several casseroles on her countertop after the visiting ladies left the house. The newly widowed woman that lives next door to the church would recieve phone calls when she would rather not talk to anyone, all in the name of love. Of community, of Christ. And she would feel better. Comforted. Not alone.
Isn't that the message of the Cross? I think so.
I think so.