He is Risen!

Oh glorious day!  Easter again, with much rejoicing!

Joyful celebrations with our little family... then with our church family... and home again to welcome far-away friends and family in a loud and child-filled tumble of love.

Our homestead was bursting on Sunday afternoon, the house filled to the brim with people we love, the pens and fields filled with new babies.

 And even though we are experiencing the worst drought in our area in fifty years, flowers still bloom.

Every day... every day... is Easter for those who believe.  Tumbles of love, new life, blooming in the driest of places.

Every day!

In between


The dough slowly creeps up in the pan, the inevitable press of yeasty air inflating tomorrow's bread.

I am waiting for the surge above the lip of the metal pans, a puffy roundness that tells me it is time to put the bread in the oven.

All day today I have felt that I am waiting. Waiting for something... waiting for... relief?

There is a heaviness to this day, every year, that I can not deny. Good Friday has never felt good to me. Yes, I understand why it is good. I do.

But still. There is a need to observe, to mark the suffering... to mourn.

I wait.

I read the scriptures to the children over a meal.  We hear familiar words, we pause and think and talk.

The four year old listens and balls up his fists and scowls furiously in defense of Jesus, warrior at the ready. He would have swiped off an ear.

"It makes me want to sin less.  Each sin I choose not to do is less weight on Him on the cross," our nine year old says.

There is a quietness then, as we each feel it deep. I can't swallow the lump away.

We talk about the choice. How someone who could raise Lazarus from the dead, feed 5000 people on a measly lunch, change water to wine... how Someone like that could have blasted His accusers to smithereens. How He didn't have to accept that cross. But He did. Because the alternative was unthinkable.

The children flutter around after the meal thinking about the friends who are coming on Sunday, thinking about the celebration. They make name tags and origami treasures just because they can.

"I can hardly wait! Only two more days!" I hear it many times.

And I can't stop thinking about blood and pain and suffering. I can't stop thinking about Jesus' mother, His brothers, His friends.

They had been waiting, yes?  They had been waiting for a majestic overtaking, a final victory, a Messiah!  But this? No majesty here. No honor but a mockery of a crown and robe and sign, all meant to inflict greater pain.

And then, when He died, that was it. The end of their dreams. Nothing left but hopelessness.

Hopelessness... and for Peter, the crushing knowledge that in Jesus' time of greatest need, he had failed Him.

They didn't even know they were waiting. They didn't know what was coming.

But I do. And you do.

And this is why Good Friday is good.

The dough is stretched and puffed and ready for heat to turn it into bread. I open the oven door and the hair flies back from my face in a wave of hot air. As I bend to place the pans in the oven, my neck begins to burn from the heat my metal necklace absorbs.

It all seems like a dance, this day, this life... every tiny detail around me filled with nuance, telling the same story.

Without heat I am just dough whispers the bread.

Without a need being met there are no celebrations whisper the origami.

Without suffering there is no joy shouts the world.

A need met. Yes. Such need, and such a meeting.

So, like the disciples I grieve. I grieve the need for it to have happened. I grieve my part in it. Because today we are in between.

But Sunday, oh friends, Sunday's coming!

Lessons From the Garden ~ New Life Springs Forth From Death

It's funny how we become depleted.

The river of energy that keeps a mother going, occasionally gives out in a gush when crisis hits.

But more often it seems that a slow leak allows it to trickle out.  If left unstopped that mother may soon find herself gazing around in dismay at her life all a-mess.

It's not always that she has made poor decisions.  Yes, there are times when she might say yes too many times.

But sometimes things just pile one upon another in ways that are beyond her control.

There is a rhythm here on the farm, an ebb and flow of seasons... a time for raising chickens, a time for breaking new ground in the garden, a time for allowing the garden to dry up and die.  As the years pass, we begin to learn the language of our farm and understand the seasons.

Now, April, is a season of new life.  Babies.

Baby pigs.  Baby cats.  Baby cows.  Baby chicks.  Baby plants.  Everywhere renewal, life just bursting through.  It is a time when the farm calls out to me loud... work here, be here, live all this goodness.

And yet April is also the season for retreats, and book sales, and Easter and fundraisers.  It is the season when we are thinking of finishing up our school year, and what we need to do to round out our academics.

A few nights ago, at the end of another full day, I stood at the sink of dirty dishes and just felt tired.  Dirty dishes, again.  So much left on the to-do list.  Heaviness settled and I fought back tears.

Perhaps what I should have done then was to whisper a prayer and dive in, but instead I asked my husband to pray for me, for my constant struggle against my lazy sin nature, then I picked up my camera and walked outside.

It was a lovely soft spring evening.  I walked through bird song to the baby pigs, and watched them through slats in the fence as they vigorously nursed.  The walk calmed me.

I kept thinking about renewal.  New life... transformation... fresh starts.

Fresh starts don't always come through brand new things.  Despite what our consumption driven culture tells us - buy this! start new! bigger and better! - real life, the created world, tells us something else.

Life comes from life. Babies come from their mothers, drawing their very life from their mothers' own body.  There isn't new life without a giving.

Life even comes from death.  The flower fades and droops to the ground, in its death bearing seeds of life to the soil, seeds which will spring up and bloom the next year... life from death.

I left the pigs and headed to my garden.  My garden is a weedy mess this year, woefully neglected, a blinking red neon light on my to-do list.  The only thing I have planted is tomatoes.  A few weeks earlier I had picked up tomato starts.  Shortly thereafter we had a surprise freeze... forecast said lows in the mid-40's, I woke up to frost on the grass.  Most of the starts were frozen. 

I planted them anyway, hoping.  Because I know about renewal.

Now, into the tangle of weeds I walked, scanning my planted row hopefully.  And there, in the crook of death, in an angle between green stem and dead withered branch, new life sprung.

This is it.  This is how I can live in this world of sorrow and suffering and tragedy.  This is how I can wake up each morning no matter what and have hope.  This is where I draw my energy from when it is leaking out.

From the brokenness comes healing.  From death comes life.

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
    And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
    The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    The spirit of counsel and strength,
    The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
~ Isaiah 11:1-2 ~

It is a mystery that defies explanation (although we try, oh how we try)... in Jesus' death we have found life.  Real life.  Always and forever life, not just after our earthly bodies perish, but now, NOW!

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 ~

Drinking in living water from God's very creation, His whispers to my heart from the life bursting out on our little homestead, I was refreshed that evening.  The leak was plugged, my energy renewed.

I capped my lense and walked back in the house to find my husband sweating over the sink. I rushed to assure him my prayer request was not a veiled hint and he turned, smiling gently, to me.

He put his arms around me and said, "'Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?' (James 2:15-16) You asked me to pray for you.  I am praying for you."

He turned back to the sink and began to lay out a family plan for managing the kitchen work. From the broken places, newness coming forth again.

Today I am thinking about the broken bread, the broken body.  In these next few days before Easter brokenness will be much on my mind.

But brokenness is deep in my heart.  It is the unceasing reminder that I would be perishing if it were not for the miraculous fact that life springs from death.

My life from His death.  Hallelujah!

I have a dilemma - a knitting dilemma

Toddler Leafy Hat

I am a knitter. I am not a particularly good knitter nor am I an accomplished knitter. I am a pick-up-easy-projects-when-I-can knitter.  You know, little easy baby hats in the round, that kind of thing.

Most of the knitting I do, I do outside my home. When I am home, my responsibilities demand my hands so I don't often pick up my knitting.

So most of my knitting happens in groups of women. Places where women are talking. I sit, and chat or listen, and I knit.

Little Newborn Beanie

I just learned something that totally surprised me. I can't believe I am learning this in my forties.

I learned that knitting in public is considered rude by many, if not most, people. I don't quite know how to handle this information.

Part of what is so upsetting to me is realizing that I have unknowingly been rude for years. I can't believe I have actually been going around offending people and not knowing it. And by knitting!

Itty Bitty Teddy Bear Dress

So I googled it and learned some of the reasons why people feel that it is socially unacceptable to knit in public. Some believe that the knitter is more interested in her project than in what the other person has to say. That it is rude not to make eye contact when someone is speaking to you. That by knitting you are distracting people around you. That knitting in public is all about the knitter and her yarn and therefore selfish.

And if I try to put myself in someone else's shoes I actually think I can see how people might think all that.

So why did I not grasp this until now? I just have no idea. Other than the fact that knitting does not distract me from fully engaging. And it does not distract me from listening when other people are knitting. I have had countless deeply meaningful conversations with people who are knitting.

I feel so unsettled by this. It is very disturbing to think back over the many many times I have knit in public and wonder who I have offended.

And I wonder now when I will knit.

Please give me your thoughts... do you knit in public?... if you're not a knitter do you find it distracting for someone to be knitting?... should I just knit at home?

A Few of My Favorite Things

I have so enjoyed the few times I have participated in The Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday, I decided it was time to have another go!

The rules? Write for five minutes, and five minutes only, using a prompt.  Stop when the timer goes off, and no editing allowed (I am a hunt-and-peck typist, so I decided this does not apply to fixing typos... you would not be able to read it if it did!)

This week's prompt is "A few of my favorite things..."


It's hard to begin a post about my favorite things. There are so many.

I sit in the quiet dark of my home, my own home, as if I am a grown up now, and I think of my favorites.

My favorite husband, who walks with me through storm and sunshine. Molded and shaped together by the hands of our loving God, we have both been bent and twisted and refined. We are like trees growing toward the sun, strengthened by the whipping of our limbs in violent storms, our branches growing ever more entwined.

My favorite eldest, no longer with fat dimpled arms, now rippling with muscles built by daily farm chores. Shy and cautious once, he now steps with quiet confidence into the fiercest of debates.

My favorite daughter, willowy, passionate, twinkling her way through God's world. She is God's own girl, thinking of Him all day and night, talking of Him with intimacy. She sings through her life.

My favorite little boy, warrior heart and mind, ready to protect and defend yet tender deep down.

But most all my favorite Lord, my Jesus, who changed my life when I came to understand what He had done and who I am in Him.  Hope springs eternal, and with Him, hope does not disappoint.


Phew! I could write for a very very long time on this prompt. Good thing there was a timer!

When I first read the prompt, naturally the Sound of Music song came to mind, so I simply must include it here as well...

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