short thought // long marathon

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Hebrews 12:1

“Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

Joshua 1:8

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

***

I’ve heard it said that the Christian journey is similar to a marathon. The older I become, the more I accept this as a very accurate analogy. You begin excited and ready to implement your training. It’s new and (of course) difficult but your ambitious. Halfway in (mile 12 or so), you feel fatigue but find encouragement from small truth-tellers (those handing out water and oranges). Enough to sustain you. You catch second-winds occasionally and are motivated by others at the same pace.

However, you inevitably approach the dreaded “wall” around mile 20. Your legs cramp; you can’t do it. You’re weary and exhaustion has taken over, and while the end is somewhat in site, you have much farther to go – over six miles to be exact.

I’ve begun to realize that while I’m not at the end of my life (Lord willing) I’m no longer at the beginning of my Christian journey, either – wearing rose-colored glasses and being able to find strength through self-help evangelical jargon or sermon podcasts has come to an end.

I’m nearer to mile 20. I’m tired and exhausted and also more experienced and wise than when I began. I have miles to go before I’m complete but I can also see the finish line – where I end, desiring to devote my life to thoughtfulness, faithfulness and courage in the service of the Lord and His Kingdom. Mile 20 can be gruesome – marked with pain and suffering and truth that you had willingly set aside during the earlier miles.

But! Mile 20 is also a sanctifying marker in the race. You are ready for what is coming. You possess abounding faith. You laugh at the days to come because you have been there and you know who owns the clock.

A marathon is a good analogy for the journey which all Christ-believers find themselves on. May we run with diligence, perseverance and undaunted joy.

home // swept away

We are currently in the throws of some home reconstruction, which is wonderful and also chaotic. (see also: the reason I haven’t been writing regularly)

Sleeping on mattresses in empty rooms, our entire house packed. Only finding one shoe and never quite locating that piece of clothing you need. Six weeks of eating out and splinters in my heel from all the sanding, painting and work work work.

My daughter looked at me, with tears in her eyes, the other night. We were at her favorite restaurant and she said plainly, “I want to leave mommy. I just want to go home.”

But we don’t have a “home” right now. Not in the sense that she means. With candles lit, couch fluffed, and comfort waiting. We have walls but not the things that make you feel at ease. Our house is empty.

It’s been within the past few weeks, watching the outcome of hurricanes and wildfires, that my heart truly breaks for those who will always have that longing which my daughter expressed.

We have a home we will soon return to. They do not. I can not imagine their heartache.

May God give them peace and may He give us abundant gratefulness for all we have.

(please consider giving generously here)

Rome // America // Victory

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I just finished my second course in my Masters program. During the course I researched the decline of the Roman Empire, and boy if it didn’t ring some bells and set off some alarms.

From Edward Gibbons book, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon’s observed, “The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.”

I will spare you the numerous thoughts I have about the current state of our nation – I’m sure that you, much like myself, don’t need another voice in your ear. We all have too many. And I think that’s one of the problems. Our society has grown so accustomed to being told what to think, believe, advocate for, stand on and yell about, that we aren’t sure the truth anymore. We’ve descended into a people that argues to argue, hates simply because we disagree and shuts other opinions down because we no longer have the ability to properly frame an argument. Additionally, I truly believe that most people don’t have contextual historical understanding so they are blind leading blind. Like the quote regarding Rome – there are so many things to worship and everyone wants their way to be the truth.

If this sounds very judgemental, I might have apologized in the past, but I’m not certain I’m stating anything other than fact. In my humble assertion, it seems we might all do better to step back, learn a bit more and THEN choose our platforms a bit more carefully. I see many people jumping on bandwagon social movements without any research into the backgrounds of these organizations……wait. I’m going down a rabbit hole.

That was not the intention of this post. I will stop before I hit the “Rachel point of no return” and write for six hours about all of the woes of American culture in 2017.

The real reason I wrote this post is because my heart is heavy each day for our country and the hate, anger and ignorance that seems to be on full display.

My prayer is that before we lock arms with any social justice campaign, politician, church or leader, we first set our eyes on the only victor in this fight.

Jesus Christ. He and He alone are the only way that we will feel vindicated, satisfied, loved, cherished, whole and valued.

He is the only chance for national restoration and peace.

this season // learning.

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This particular season of life I find myself chin-deep in learning.

Learning about myself, learning about others, and learning with my children. There has been no other period in my 37 years where I have been so forced to face clear realities – both carefree and dismal – as much as I have in this past year.

Things I had once tried ardently (often to a fault) to adjust or change, I learned were not pliable and I needed to allow them to be.

Things I had routinely worked hard to hold on to, I learned would always be there for me, even if I let go.

Things I assumed would be lifelong bedrocks, I learned aren’t always going to be steady.

Things I thought might never become reality, I learned can occur overnight, and without my provocation.

I’m learning very much and it’s astonishing (in a good way, I’m thankful to grow) that God is allowing all of this learning to occur. I know I’ve alluded to the current time in my life as a bizarre circus of emotions. This isn’t to be intentionally vague, I simply don’t have enough time to adequately share it all. Additionally, in the interest of some things remaining private in a very public world, I’ll keep much to myself. But yes, It’s been a year of learning and stretching and growing and I desire for this to continue.

Of course, during all of these sizable changes that are happening for Sean and I, there are normal seasons we are passing through, just like every other adult.

Parenting seasons – our youngest child, out of diapers and weening her from pacifiers. Our middle child, learning to read and developing her own intense interests. Our eldest daughter becoming more sensitive to life cycles and cultural occurrences. Her mind maturing, but her heart strongly desiring to stay little. Us watching her feel these things and giving her all the space in the world to play, discover and feel peace in the aging.

Personal seasons – watching dreams deferred become possible life changes and movements. Celebrating 15 years married and hugging goodbye as he walks out the door to work each day – becoming more and more in demand at a job we once questioned even saw his worth. Growing with friends and community. Growing in wisdom but laughing at our immaturity. With one another, more each day.

School seasons – starting school for myself. Trying to champion education for my girls and seeing that I learn more teaching them than I ever will in a college class. Filling our days with reading, answering questions and struggling with new concepts, hard concepts, exciting concepts. Teaching them that character counts more than grades ever will.

I feel like I’ve aged 25 years in the past 12 months. The weight of everything can often leave me wanting to go collapse into bed and not get up for 3 days. But you soldier on, just like every other person.

Life is good and change is coming. There is hope in the seasons.

Not simply hope that they will end quickly, but rather hope that you will leave them stronger and more equipped for what God has next.

words from Bert // slipping like sand

I’ve often been questioned why my favorite movie is Mary Poppins. People have bizarrely given reasons why it’s not as fantastic as I believe it to be.

For starters, it’s a childrens movie (or is it?)

It’s old (how is that even a reason to disqualify a film?)

The storyline is too simplistic and predictable (no.)

They mix barnyard animal cartoons and real life people in that one scene (I kinda get that one…)

In the end, I believe the profound bits of PL Travers unique tale wait for those who seek it out. Read any of her books, (or her biography) and you’ll find there’s much more than meets the eye.

Every time I see the following scene, it’s like a gut punch. As easily as Mr. Banks might be criticized for having his priorities out of line, if you’ve seen the film, we might all agree there are moments we are a bit too much like him.

There’s no time for that.

Childhood, like sand, is slipping.

old school // new school

Take a trip with me.


We’re headed down memory lane….back, back, back to the old days of blogging. When people had blog rolls and commented. They lingered long enough (on one page) to actually read the entire post. We learned about one another and made cross-continent friends. We enjoyed checking in on the daily activities of others and attended blogging conferences to finally meet someone in real life. It sounds similar to modern-day Instagram or FaceBook, but it was so much different.

I’m not sure why it was, but it was. And I enjoyed that sort of sharing. I miss it. I miss reading the thoughts of others without all of the monetization and blinking ads. All those sponsored posts make it hard to know what someone is really thinking.

I’m waxing nostalgic, I know. There’s always an element of forgetfulness when we look backwards but I still maintain that the purity of that old school platform and I suppose I’m doing my part to usher it back.

Let’s bring back the golden age of blogging, shall we?

 

igniting our minds // homeschool curriculum

When it comes to the subject of education, my favorite quote is the following, attributed to William Butler Yeats:

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

As a homeschooling mother of three daughters, I often refer back to this quote. It seems to be in direct opposition to the educational philosophies, paradigms and structures, presented in most modern day educational settings. In fact, I’d go out on a limb and say that you could flip that quote and it would be much more appropriate when describing a majority of school settings, in our country.

I’m not saying anything revolutionary, actually. It’s simple fact that schools are tasked with teaching a set of standards and “filling a pail”, so that upon graduation, students have acquired a uniform amount of information. It’s been this way for decades. It won’t change unless there is significant educational reform, and many would argue there is no need for it to be changed. That’s why school choice In America is such a lovely freedom – because we don’t all view education, and its importance, through the same lens or worldview.

Along with the mentioned quote, I also have a educational mantra I repeat to myself almost daily. It keeps me going when I feel the fatigue of non-existant alone time and mounting lists of tasks to accomplish. I was once sent a note, from a much wiser mother and home-educating veteran. She told me, “Rachel, think with the end in mind.” That one quote has sustained me through the last three years of homeschooling, and hopefully many more years to come.

You see, we have a vision of what we would like our children to be equipped with, once they fly the nest. The knowledge, empathy, compassion, respect, love for all things beautiful, virtuous and good. When I’ve written this list down, the aspects that pertain to character far outweigh what textbooks can teach them. Obviously, I care deeply about them obtaining a robust and (at times) rigorous academic backdrop. After all, they will be students, sent into the world to light it on fire with both wit and wisdom (hopefully), all to the glory of Christ.

However, as much as I want them to excel in Latin, literature and liturgy, I also desire something much deeper, which is why I struggled with the idea of sending them to someone else, for the majority of their days. We desire to mold, shape and carefully guide them as small Christ-followers. Am I guaranteed that all of my children will accept the gift of salvation, freely, and hand over their life to the Lord, to be used however He calls? No, I am not. If I’m honest, that lack of control is difficult for me, (see previous post for background on several of my control-issues) but I’m certainly not going to ignore this call from the Lord. Homeschooling is total-life education, in my estimation. I don’t want to simply fill up a their “pail” with information, that is void of context. I want to ignite my children’s minds and hearts, to be attuned to the colorful world we have been gifted, and inspire them to learn because they love learning. To learn with a Christian worldview so they understand the importance of learning.

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With all that being said, I’m often asked what we use for curriculum. Again, the above sentiments should certainly not give the impression that I’m not strict with our curriculum selections. Ask any of my close friends and they’ll tell you I’m a bit of a drill sergeant. I’ve definitely become more flexible in the past few years (a necessity if you’re going into this line of work) but I do have high educational expectations for my girls, as well as myself. While I do not believe there is one specific way that all home educators can best teach, I do subscribe to an educational philosophy that works best for our family and for which I have extensively researched. The Classical style of education is such a beautiful form for learning and offers your children many gifts – academic, personal, emotional and spiritual. I’m not here to talk you into it but if you would like to learn more about Classical education, I would start here, here and here. After you buy one of those wonderful overviews, this website has been such a gift to me, along with other websites that are too many to share here. Perhaps that’s another post, altogether!

At any rate, the photo above shows the books we are currently working through. My eldest daughter is now in 4th grade (although I think grade levels are rather arbitrary and somewhat pointless), my youngest is in 1st and I also have a toddler who is almost three.

I will link to all of the curriculum resources below, and several which are not pictured. Almost all of these texts have been used by our family for over two years – when I find a quality curriculum I like, I stick with it! You’ll see an art book that we use, but that is only for images which can be printed for home use. I write my own art curriculum, as well as my own science/nature study. Of course, I couldn’t include all of the many read-alouds our family has enjoyed of the free-reads my eldest daughter has worked through, so I just included our current one (which we love but have yet to finish. There are follow up books as well, and I can already tell that Jackson’s writings will go down as a family favorite!) We also have a daily communal meeting called, “Fireside”, where we light a candle and cover the following subjects: Bible, Catechism, Poetry, Shakespeare, Read-Alouds, Scripture memorization and composer study. Our daily meeting was inspired by this lovely lady – her podcast and website have been very helpful and if you are lost with where to begin with a daily ritual, she has pre-made plans ready to go!

I hope this short list might send you on some exciting rabbit hold adventures – finding what resources work best for you and your children. I’d love to do some posts in the near future with our favorite family books, art supplies (we do art projects almost daily and that was never my intention – God works in mysterious ways!) and my favorite choices for encouraging adult books. Let me know which you would most like to see and feel free to pass this post along to anyone who might need a homeschool hug from a fellow mom-in-the-trenches.

Where God has called us, He will equip us!

Curriculum 2017/2018:

The Story of the World

A four year program that covers Ancient Times-Modern Day. As a history lover, I’m critical of almost every curriculum I’ve come across but I truly believe this program is second to none. It is extensive, chronological and offers a huge selection of crafts, additional reading and ideas. It’s my favorite part of the day. Even if you love to read your history lessons, please buy the Audio CDs with Jim Weiss. He’s amazing.

Rod & Staff

We have used Rod & Staff for a variety of subjects but If I had to recommend one, it would be their “English Series”. We also use it for Spelling work. The information it covers for English is comprehensive and complete. It’s a Christian curriculum and it’s goodness and innocence is perfect. We plan to use the English series all the way through the girls education.

How to Teach Your Child Shakespeare

This year we are learning the Bard. It’s been such fun and we owe much of our excitement (at least I do) to Ken Ludwig. Get this book and look up his great website.

Math U See

Our favorite math curriculum. We’ve also tried Saxon Math and Horizons but this has worked the best for our family. It is perfect for my learners who like to see/touch. You use manipulative and watch a video and then do your lesson. They both enjoy it greatly.

Now We Are Six (our current poetry book, but we also love this and this and this book)

We are currently working our way through several poetry books. We adore so many and would recommend starting small and working your way up. We love E.E Cummings, Frost, Alingham, Longfellow, Silverstein, and Carrol. One of the first poems we ever learned together was, “Maggie and Milly and Molly and May” but Cummings. It will always have a special place in my heart.

The Child’s Story Bible

We read a chapter a day. The girls each have a spiral notebook that they use to depict what they are hearing. They color it in, label it and it serves as a sweet memento of our Bible learning.

120 Great Impressionists

This includes downloadable images to use during your art study. We study one artist a week and this year we are focusing on the Impressionists.

Westminster Catechism

We learn and recite these questions daily – storing the truths of Christ, His kingdom and His love in our hearts.

Handwriting Without Tears

We use HWOT for cursive (my eldest) and writing practice (for my middle daughter).

Latin For Children

Following in the Classical tradition, we are going to begin our study of the Latin language, this year. Stay tuned for an update on how that goes. I’m nervous!

Maestro Classics

A engaging way to introduce your children classical music, while also exposing them to poetry, theatre and more. Our favorites are “Casey at the Bat”, “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker”.

I hope this list has proved helpful – please let me know if you have any thoughts or questions. I’d love to connect with you!

traveling Europe in 2025 // gratification delayed

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I’m always telling my children to be patient.

“You don’t need that this very moment! STOP DEMANDING EVERYTHING THE SECOND YOU WANT IT!”

Funny though, I only learned the true beauty of delayed gratification about 5 years ago, at the age of 32. I lost approxiamtely sixty pounds over a course of some time through delaying what usually feels like something I deserve: comfort. I had never had to delay myself before, intentionally. I rarely had to hold back in situations when I could freely take/consume or get something I desired in that moment. Through a journey with my health, I learned that just because I can, doesn’t mean I should. I learned that I’m inherently selfish (aren’t we all?) and I want what I want, when I want it. It took re-training my eye to recognize it because I actually thought, as many of us do, that I wasn’t selfish. We give to others, open our home, are kind with our time. But I recognized that when it comets patience, I was selfish. I wanted the things I wanted, when I wanted them. I knew nothing of delayed gratification. I didn’t understand why it was important to have.

I then was forced (by order of a doctor who knew I wanted to get pregnant again), to lose weight. I was at an unhealthy point in my life, and I had gained unwanted pounds, during a bizarre life season. It took hard work and being very cautious with my choices. For the first time in my life, I was denying myself things I wanted (or thought I wanted) in order to reach some illusive goal. I didn’t know where I was going but I was mad about it most of the time. I was having to deny myself! I was having to say no to things I should be able to enjoy and have! It seems silly now, but I was very much in that place.

A year later, sixty pounds lighter, I got it. I had delayed gratification because I was reaching for something more important. And once I felt that ridiculously satisfying feeling, it’s been more difficult to stomach when my selfishness and impatience has reared its ugly head, in the past few years.

It has been a gift to clearly observe my lack of patience in many areas – my parenting, our educating the girls at home (this one is really hard at times, because the delayed gratification is quite a ways off, to some degree), my mental and emotional health, and most importantly, my walk with the Lord. After a spiritual dry spell, I will sit down with my Bible and expect the Lord to speak loudly into my ears and tell me all the things I need and must do. It’s ludicrous, impatient and selfish, and yet I’ll do it over and over again. Just like my children. When will I really grow up?

But I’m getting better.

And that’s where the “Europe 2025” jar serves as a handy daily reminder.

We often think about taking our girls (and ourselves) on a several week European vacation. We have many places we’ve studied and learned about and are chomping at the bit to see many historical locations. We talk about walking down cobblestone streets, enjoying gelato, and flying on jet planes. Of course, every family must decide when it is best and wisest to make this huge investment and for us, a trip of that grandeur seems to be a bit of a ways off. To the tune of almost a decade or so. And that’s fine. More than fine actually. Many people have never been to Europe and many will never go – I’m well aware of the privilege that accompanies even being able to dream of this possibility. However, with air travel as accessible as it is these days, it seems be at our fingertips, doesn’t it? (We can fool ourselves into thinking anything is normal, can’t we?)

But. Delayed gratification. It’s good for me. For all of us. Patience and watching the Lord move in His timing is a constant reminder that we are not in control. For people like myself, that reminder is very healthy and needed. I can always do with being brought down a few rungs – I generally find pleasure in having my ducks in a row, so the Lord gently (and sometimes not so) show me that He has ultimate say in my life, is a very good thing.

So, our family has the “Europe Jar”. It sits in our laundry room and has been there for years. We’ve filled it up twice already. We save every spare coin we come across. Literally, my girls will run across the street to grab a penny on the ground! And we throw it in the jar, reminded that we don’t get everything we want, when we want it. It’s been a good lesson for my girls, also. Who knows, maybe a huge family emergency will arise and the Europe Jar will end up going towards something much more worthwhile. That would be another wonderful lesson, wouldn’t it? For now, my girls are seeing that you don’t get everything you want, the moment you want it. Or even a year after you want it. Often, you wait. Through the waiting, you can either grind your teeth and be bitter at what others have that you don’t, OR you can cultivate a grateful and patient heart.

I want the latter for my girls (and myself) much, much more than I could ever want a trip to Europe.

Changes // Chesterton

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*This post was penned while I was cozily tucked in a mountain cabin. I had no knowledge of the events in Charlottesville, until we were were back in the city and I scrolled Twitter. My heart is grieved over the evil I saw. Our country is broken, in many ways, and I continue to pray for the love of Christ to sweep through the streets and homes of all citizens. 

***

Change is often good, healthy in fact. I’ve heard this for many years and have had to acclimate my mind to it, not being a person that immediately feels excitement, at the onset of conditions bending. I began feeling more familiar with change, in varying degrees, once I hit my thirties – reluctant, yet still attempting (and often succeeding) to not completely come unhinged. I’d like to think this acceptance was due to maturation, but I must confess it’s likely due to having multiple children and little sleep. No energy to argue with circumstance.

Small changes don’t deeply bother me – adjusting dates or expectations of events. Even what might seem to be a sizable change like deciding to educate our children at home, or contemplating a fresh career opportunity, are met with anticipation. Despite what some might know of me, I can actually be rather pliable. What has taken a period of adjustment, is acclimating to multiple series of substantial changes, and watching them manifest as new realities, rather than small adjustments. This has proven to be my current millstone. Sometimes I feel like I relate to Jacob Marley, drudging around with chains and key-locks. Perhaps that’s dramatic, but often I feel weighed down by constant transitions.

Without displaying the details, the last few years have left me feeling like I’m on a local, county fair roller coaster. Sometimes exhilarated by the impending unknown, but (more often) fearful and dizzy from what I have not yet experienced, and what might be on the horizon. Changes have rolled in like tidal waves and they haven’t always been welcomed. Life marches on, however, and there’s no halting it. And life is beautiful and overwhelming and vibrant. The good certainly and always outweighs the difficult.

But changes have been coming and they have left me longing for moments of familiarity. Not everything must conform to what is once was, nor should it, but small pockets of recognizable simplicities are always a comforting respite from the current deluge of difference.

And so when I find our family, yet again, winding the dusty pavement of our favorite mountain, my heart rested amongst all the sights surrounding me. The same rocks in the same place and the car swaying and turning arches, the same it does each time we travel to our ‘home away from home’. Finishing another chapter of Father Brown, placing one more piece in the ongoing puzzle on the dining table, and hearing the low hum of the metal fan that is perched on the stone hearth. All stable, unchanging, predictable things.

A melody from a time long ago plays, it comes from a time when life looked much different. One of my favorite albums, it was special 20 years ago and it still tugs at me now. I hum the tune knowing that change takes time, yet I would never trade my now for that familiar past. I will choose to remember the best of it and slowly, somewhat hesitantly, release the worst of the last few years.

And enjoy the memories with each trip. Each day. Both new changes and familiar cornerstones. Revel in the beautiful present day that the Lord has given me.

And await meeting Chesterton, again.

 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

 

deep thoughts // deep thinking

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If grad school has taught me anything, it’s that concentrating, really concentrating, is an art form. I venture to say that it’s rare to truly think deeply (by this I mean thinking about one subject for more than a sustained 15 minutes), without your entire body resisting, at first. If you’re a mother of little children, forget about it. You think in 30-second spurts and those spurts are punctuated by crying toddlers, potty training and requests for “cut up peaches but ONLY the hard parts of the peach because the soft parts are slippery and gross, mom”.

By the second course of my graduate program, I was handed an immense reading list, which would normally have lasted me a solid month. This reading list needed to be completed (with robust reflection) in one weeks time, and turned in with a complementary review and research attached. I was (am) out of my element.

While I have no doubt I will successfully complete my MA program (first child, type-A, tigermom RIGHT HERE) and receive my degree, the road I’m traveling, the journey towards more contemplative thinking, certainly has its costs. These costs entail time and energy – what’s forced upon me as a student is prolonged focus on one topic. Generally, this type of focus comes at the exclusion of all else, which is why it happens after my kids are tucked in. This alone has been an exercise in sacrifice – I hate staying up late, need my sleep and get anxious without rest. Even still, this adventure has brought to light my need and desire to not only have deep thoughts but to think deeply about them. I’m learning there is a wide chasm and a huge difference between these two activities. Concentrating takes great practice, is learned and must be adapted to. What began as seeing the benefits of deeply thinking in my grad program became a severe desire to profoundly think about all important areas of my life – my lifelong faith, parenting, education, relationships and emotions.

Society as a whole has a declining attention span (and here is where I could easily link to 25 recent articles confirming this fact, but take my word for it.) We constantly see the over-simplification of just about everything and it’s manifesting in our inability to concentrate on most things, the most drastic of these (in my estimation) is our failing capacity to read. People can’t even sit still long enough to read well-crafted blog posts anymore.  Heck, if an IG caption is too long, NOPE. Just keep scrolling.

In all honesty, I could take this post in an entirely link-based direction and provide you with a plethora of data to substantiate the suggestion that people no longer focus, concentrate or deeply think. I’m not going to do that, but I could (I take it back, go order this, this and this book.) It took enrolling in school and having to crank out weekly papers, while also homeschooling my own kids, being a good wife and friend and keeping the house from catching on fire, to show me that my ability to deeply think was disappearing. What upset me more than that simple fact was that I was surprised by it. I’ve become a product of our culture. Last January I deleted my FaceBook and Instagram accounts (of course I kept Twitter. Twitter is the balm for my political-junkie-meets-history-nerd-heart). As a result, for the last seven months, I’ve been retraining my mind to not be distracted. You never know how married you are to a platform/device/lifestyle,until you’re out of it. Once you have no photos to share, it turns out you don’t pull out your phone as much. You are just present and of course I’m not bemoaning all use of social media but I’m not sure people truly understand how deep involved they are – I certainly didn’t.

In the past few years, I have found myself surpressing my ability to “deeply think”, out of self-preservation. Sometimes deep thinking – pondering – can really take you to a place of reflection and awareness. While often beneficial, this can also be painful. Personally, I’ve found it’s easier to stop before you start. Perhaps that’s why many are so resistant to sitting with their thoughts. It’s painful and real and reflective. And who the heck has time for that nonsense?! In the last few months however, I have felt the push to face what is and allow my meditations to swallow me whole. Yes, there is an element of rawness in surrendering to tidal waves of unanticipated notions. All in all, however, it’s been the most gratifying experience I’ve had in some time. Through sitting with my thoughts, the Lord has been able to meet me. Strike that. Through sitting quietly with my thoughts, I’ve allowed and invited the Lord to meet me. He was there all along, I was just too busy and hurried to find Him.

I’m not sure where exactly to end this rumination.

I suppose that’s why I opened this space. So I won’t have to stop – I can just keep sharing. Hopefully growing. Always thinking.

I hope you’ll hang in there with me.