this time

Scrolling, scrolling. I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. Thanks to our 31 Days of Manic Blogging Frenzy, I’ve been a good girl and hardly even peeked at the opiates – I mean, opportunities – on there.

this time: what really inspires (Copperlight Wood)

But tonight I’m procrastinating. I should be writing my post, I should be doing the dishes, I should be getting Sophie off the counter where she’s hunting for a leftover scrap of someone’s chicken from dinner…but…there might…there just might…be something amazing if I scroll…a little…farther…

BAM. A recipe for one of my favorite cookies that uses only three ingredients.

I told you.

The worst thing that can happen to a gambler is to win.

– Charles Spurgeon

Except upon further investigation, I discover that one of the “ingredients” is a commercially-made cookie consisting of about 38 ingredients, many of which are stinky fake chemicals that I can’t pronounce. So it’s not a win for me – it’s a disappointment. Phooey.

this time: what really inspires (Copperlight Wood)

What did you expect? He says.

Umm…with only three ingredients…I guess I was hoping for a miracle.

Well, Love…you were looking in the wrong place for that, weren’t you? 

Find me here, speak to me
I want to feel You, I need to hear You
You are the light that’s leading me
To the place where I find peace again

You are the strength that keeps me walking
You are the hope that keeps me trusting
You are the light to my soul
You are my purpose, You’re everything

When you’re bored and just scrolling without purpose, looking for inspiration and not finding it…it’s time to look in different direction.

When you’re overwhelmed and looking for distraction, look for Me instead. I have wonderful things to distract you with, and I will help you find your focus again.

this time: what really inspires (Copperlight Wood)

Your time with Me will never disappoint you.

I will always leave you wiser or rested…or both.

You don’t want to miss this.

You calm the storms, and You give me rest
You hold me in Your hands, You won’t let me fall
You steal my heart, and You take my breath away
Would You take me in, take me deeper now

How can I stand here with You and not be moved by You?
Would You tell me, how could it be any better than this?

– Lifehouse, Everything

This time with me is bountiful, potent, effective to change and restore anything you are avoiding. This time is fertile, to bring forth what you are awaiting. This time creates a prolific momentum toward everything you are aspiring.

This time with Me is never a gamble.

You will always gain. You will always bear fruit. You will always find peace when you find Me. You will always win.

wait and listen from Copperlight Wood *This is day thirty of the Wait and Listen series. The other posts are here.

us, concentrate

us, concentrate: the white egg is only prologue (easter at Copperlight Wood)
This is the first year in a while that we dyed eggs for Easter. I have either forgotten to buy eggs, boil eggs, or buy dye for the last several years, and we’ve suffered through the holiday by merely binging on peanut butter and chocolate eggs for breakfast. (sigh) My beautiful grandma is in her eighties, and she told me the other night that she had dyed eggs every Easter until just a few years ago, all by herself, just because she loves to. When I grow up I hope to be like her.

We went au naturel this time and had bowls of eggs all over the counter soaking in hot water and vinegar mixed with coffee grounds, red cabbage, tomato paste, crushed blueberries, beets, turmeric, turmeric with paprika, turmeric with tea. Lots of turmeric. White eggs go in, colored eggs come out. That’s the plan.

We found that some colors dye quicker. Turmeric, for example, is so effective that it will not only dye eggs, but also the surrounding counter and anything else it touches, and beets will dye your fingers fuchsia the moment you start to peel them. Nice.

Others take a long time to soak in and make a change. And as they dry, sometimes the color changes. They go in white, come out red,and change to green as they oxidize…or come out light blue, and darken to a beautiful turquoise.

Some of the eggs we soaked in one color and re-soaked in another. The colors are deep and the patterns are intricate, unknown galaxies.

And some just don’t change at all. Apparently tomato paste won’t dye diddly, and the eggs come out for a rinse, unchanged after hours except for a nasty film that is scrubbed off, only to take another bath in a different color.

 But usually, the egg goes in and comes out changed.

We do, too. We dye, or die, often. How many times do you feel like you’ve been buried over the past year?

We go through something that changes us, and walk through pain that alters our perspective. We experience something huge – for better or worse – and are washed into something that doesn’t change who we are, but how we look at things. Our essence and identity are still the same – the egg is still an egg – but we know ourselves better because of it.

Sometimes the change is fast, and other times it is a slow process as we heal and make sense of things. Sometimes we go through a series of dunkings that leave us wishing we could hold someone else under the water for a change, just long enough to make them uncomfortable.

No? Maybe it’s just me.

Every time we go through a life-changing event, our colors deepen, we mature, and the baptism makes us more…us.

We’re us, concentrated. Stronger.

con·cen·trate (verb): 

  • to unify, converge, focus; 
  • to intensify or make more pure
  • to separate so as to improve the quality of the valuable portion
Even knowing this, it is still an awful, awe-full feeling to know that someone you love is about to walk through a pain that they have no idea is coming. You know it will make them stronger, but you also know that the strength is birthed through anguish.

To deliver an announcement that will bring pain. To bear news that will bring heartache. To know from experience the natural outcome or consequences of a choice that a loved one is just starting to step into themselves, for better or worse.

(But this calls for a warning: those who flaunt their ego with a cursing, know-it-all, just-you-wait, it-only-gets-worse attitude leave nothing but a nasty film on those who are hurting. We must lead loved ones with maturity and grace.)

 During the week leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus knew His disciples were going to misunderstand it entirely. Before this Sunday I never realized that they would also misunderstand His words, “It is finished.” He knew they would dye, and die, as they walked through pain and terror for two days, soaking in hot, vinegary water. He knew what was coming for Himself and still had deep empathy for His friends, who would not realize that the third day would bring resolution and answers. Color. They went in weak and scared, and came out fearless, bold, ready to die for truth – and the world was changed.

The eggs go in, white. Beautiful and uniform, but all pretty much the same.

They all get buried…bathed…baptized…in a new color. No one would ever describe them as “common” again.

 He knew the joy that was coming for them. He knew they would be stronger.

The white egg is only prologue. Life happens and we soak in the dye as we die to self, sometimes again and again and again. You are the valuable portion being set apart, made more pure. And suddenly, there is…revelation. Joy and life. Color and complexity.

And we are us, concentrated.

Stronger.

bubbles

First, I have to tell you that I’m really sorry there’s not green grass (or much of it) in these pictures. Soon…spring has finally sprung and it’s getting a little greener every day now.

Want to make some bubbles with us? Grab a clean, old, empty milk jug.

After that, you just need three things: water, corn syrup, and dish soap. We used some greenie-weenie stuff, but I’m pretty sure whatever you have on hand will work. Give it a shot and let me know.

We combined math with this. We started with a small recipe and made Mattie multiply fractions until he came up with the right ratio of ingredients to fit in a gallon jug…without overfilling it. Ha. He was a good sport, though. 

It really makes some great bubbles!

Here’s the almost-gallon-full recipe (Vince later used a Sharpie to forever inscribe this on the side of our bubble jug):

1 1/2 cups dish soap
5 T. corn syrup
12 cups water

= yields about 2 cups shy of 1 gallon, which is better for little hands to pour, anyway.

Or, for those of you who want to share the love and make your child practice fractions, too, here’s the mini-formula:

4 T. dish soap
1 T. corn syrup
2 1/2 cups water

= yields almost 3 cups of bubbles, or enough for two kids to go through in one short afternoon if they manage to dump some of it on each other and spill it every time they pour it out. It’s a cleanish kind of mess, though.

And, did you know? Four tablespoons equals 1/4 cup, eight tablespoons equals half a cup, and 16 tablespoons equals 1 cup. Just in case you don’t want to measure out 24 tablespoons of dish soap.

the unknowing

 

Steady pace, now…don’t look too frightened, whatever you do. We’ve done the silliest thing in the world by coming at all – but now that we are here, we’d best put a bold face on it. – Puddleglum (C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair)

Still waiting for news that we expected to have weeks ago. Still praying. Still expecting. Still waiting. In the face of not knowing anything, what else can you do?

Our Andrey turns six soon, and I wonder if he knows about his birthday, just like I wondered about Reagan’s birthday two months ago. Will he celebrate his birthday? Does he know what a special boy he is? Or is it just another day?

There is a fullness in waiting. There is a faith-full-ness in waiting that is hard and preparatory. We go through a nesting phase during pregnancy that feels similar to this…we get ready and anticipate and make things beautiful. I’ve been there several times and know what that’s like. But this pregnancy on paper is different, and, well… I’ve never been pregnant with two six-year-olds before. You?

I’ve made a quilt for Reagan. Nothing fancy, no piecing, just two pieces of cotton fabric sandwiched over warm cotton batting. After a hasty initial basting with black thread, the layers are starting to hold together firmly with the more detailed work. I have no idea what I’m doing, really.

I’m new to this and my fingers fumble, and my stitches aren’t always even. I sit down on Sunday afternoons and stitch for her, praying for her, not knowing where the needle is going. Just pushing the needle and thread along through this unknowing, and watching what comes of it.

I keep thinking of how Peter walked on water to Jesus…and this feels like that. We don’t need anything in particular that feels solid under our feet – as long as our eyes are on Him, we stay above the waves. Above the unknowing. Above the financial expense, above the healing they need, above the overseas traveling that takes us away from our kids here {heartache} and that will take us away from Andrey and Reagan again when we have to leave them there {more heartache} until the court declares them legally ours…and we can go back to bring them home, for good. Forever. It is a long, wet, watery road.

We look back at the shore sometimes and wonder how far we’ve gotten, and how far we still have to go. We can see people ahead of us, also walking this watery road of unknowing, and people who have already made it back to shore with their precious cargo. Instead of footprints (which don’t show up on water, don’t you know), their experience has marked the path for us like so many glass fishing floats, bobbing up and down in the water.

In a world where so much beckons us, “waiting” asks us to be still and this can feel meaningless…Indeed, waiting asks us to be disciplined, self-controlled, and emotionally mature as the world speeds by us. Waiting requires an unshakable faith, hope, and love that will trump all the action done for the sake of expediency. Waiting is often our best, hard work.
– Margaret Manning

Thank you to those of you who are cheering for us from the shore, and to those of you who are also walking on water to bring justice to orphans. He hears their groans, and sets free those who were doomed to die. He does. He is. He uses us. We don’t need to know how. We keep our eyes on Him, and take another step forward. Splash.


Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,

and righteousness abide in the  fruitful field.
And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness,
quietness and trust forever.
– Isaiah 32:16-17