Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring Break Break


We are officially on Spring Break.
(Insert loud cheers from around the land!)
The boys have been shipped off to the Gran's and I have a full two days ahead of wrapping up projects before I  runaway to the mountains for a few days and hopefully type till my fingers ache as I dig into Book Two.

Also on the agenda for the week - rest. 
Blissful, delightful rest.
And some porch sitting.

I am going to embrace the call of Stillness and leave things quiet around here while I am away,  but I will still be posting over at Patheo's for Lent on Wednesday. 

Here are the links to the first three post of the Gentle Fraying series:

Lent Week 1- Remembering
Lent Week 2 - Giving Up
Lent Week 3 - Mending


See you back here in a week or so to catch up.
Blessings friends!
J


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Celebrating St. Joseph's Day as a Family

(image by Judea Jackson)

In the tradition of the Church Year Calendar, today just happens to be the Feast of St. Joseph.
Under ideal conditions, we would make Wylie's triple everything (meats, cheeses, sauces) Lasagna Recipe for dinner (because as it turns out Joe is HUGE in Italy,) to honor this day and this man who chose to follow God's call despite the plethora logical reasons not to.

But since today is Wednesday, and since we only have two days remaining until the boys leave for Spring Break, and because we have a host of errands to run, we are taking a different route. Instead of making lasagna from scratch (my mouth is watering just thinking of it,) we are going to meet up with friends for a family dinner, substituting pizza for lasagna, and Parmesan cheese for the breadcrumbs I would generally sprinkle over our pasta.

At some point in the evening we will tell the story of Joseph - in the car or around the table (much to the teenagers dismay I am sure) - and I will sprinkle sawdust (aka Parmesan Cheese ) over our pizza slices as to us all reminder of Joseph's simple carpenter status. I will remind my boys how both Joseph, and Jesus, as his apprentice, would most likely have had sawdust all over their shoes after a full days work (which probably drove Mary crazy in the housekeeping department,) but also meant that Jesus left a trail wherever he went.

Which is exactly what we are to do isn't it? 

Of course, instead of sawdust, our trails are to be ones of kindness, gentleness, and humility. The calling God has placed on our lives is to Christ-like trail of  freedom, justice, hope, and healing wherever we go; caring for the orphans,widows, fighting for the enslaved, helping those who are lonely, hungry and hurting, those who need someone to care for them as Joseph cared for Jesus.



(image by Judea Jackson)
Family Reflections
(Don't have time to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph today? Don't sweat it. Your kids will never know. Go ahead and celebrate this weekend with a few of these easy ideas.)

Scripture Readings

Questions to chat about while you dish up your pizza (or lasagna or macaroni-n-cheese..)
For the Bigs:
Joseph, took on a big task,  perhaps one that wasn't necessarily "fair" - showing love, kindness and self sacrifice by raising a child that he did not choose to have,at times risking his own safety or harmful gossip as a result.  We believe that he did this in a spirit of love and obedience to God.
What can we learn from Joseph about how to respond when we are asked to do things that seem "unfair?"
What sort of "trail" do your actions leave behind during the day - at work, at school, at home?  


For the Littles:
God gave Joseph a very important job - to love and care for Jesus as his dad on earth.  God gives us the important job of showing love as well.  
Who can we care for and love? (Our pets, our home, our family, our friends. ..)
How can we show them love?


Activities
Play A Game of Memory or Old Joespy - use the printables found here



Other Links





Monday, March 17, 2014

Centering Prayer on St. Patrick's Day



Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
________________________________

from St. Patrick's Breast Plate


A while back, we were part of a church family that recited this portion of St. Patrick's Breastplate together, in corporate prayer each and every week . Beginning then, and continuing on even now, this prayer became a sort of centering prayer for me.  A mantra to pray and repeat in times of stress, fear, anxiety, and sadness.  I have also found that it is particularly comforting and helpful when combined with a simple Sun Salutation.

The past year, for so many reasons,  I have let my yoga practice fall by the wayside (I partially blame Alison Chino for moving around halfway around the world for this lapse. I think I was in a yoga-depression after her departure. She is my personal yoga hero afterall.) 
But today I am grateful for this gentle reminder that much peace and relief can be found when I make space in my day to assume a prayerful posture through this practice, releasing all my cares into the open hands of Christ,  stretch by stretch, breath by breath, word by word.

Wishing you many blessings this day,
J


(Also an interesting  read St. Patrick's Confession.)



Friday, March 14, 2014

Five on Friday - Links I love, These Women



There is an episode of The West Wing where at the conclusion one of the menfolk, calls all the other men's attention to the women.
"These women" he says in a tone that is filled with  gratefulness and admiration and maybe even a little befuddlement all at once.

Looking over my list this week, this was the phrase that immediately came to mind.
These women.

I know there are all sorts of ceilings to be broken, and injustices still to fight.
I know the Internet is full right now with a debate on Leaning In vs Kicking Back and discussion about the word Bossy are jamming up my Facebook Feed.

But y'all, I am surrounded by the greatest company of women. Smart, funny, honest, wise, wise cracking, humble, brave, kind, authentic, creative, stylish, modest, bold women.
I am surrounded by them in my friendships here at ground zero, and by my friendships online. I am surrounded by then in the post I read, in the shows I watch, in the books I read.

I know that there is so much still to work towards in the areas of equality, but there is also so much to celebrate right in our midst.

Here are a few gals who are inspiring me this week:



Sarah Jessica Parker's 73 things (and her house!) 
I just love her.
I love her style. I love most of her movies.
I think she is probably wicked smart and I would like her to make me out a Must Read List.
She gives off a vibe I find intriguing, and I admire how she maneuvers in the spotlight.
And the 73 Things Interview is just too much fun.
Go watch it. It's a good weekend starter.


18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently from Caroline Gregoire
I cannot tell you how deeply this post resonated with me.
Never has one list summarized so much about how I exist in the world.
Generally when I read list with the words "highly" or "creative" in the title I get stumped on terms such as "networking," "platform," "goals."  It was refreshing to see words like "daydream," "people watching," and "connecting the dots," being given weight and value.
(Also, this is not a list about how to get paid for being creative. Which has to stop being the point. We have to stop trying to monetize every damn inch of our lives, but that is another post..)
This post was written by a woman, and I have to wonder if a man would have created this same list? I know it is researched based, but a good writer, is skilled at picking and choosing which facts to put in and which to leave out. So I can't help but wonder...





Shannan bringing her honesty and passion to the table again. Reminding us that people are people, not numbers.

The Solution to American Poverty
"God entrusted the poor to you and me. Not to a ballot or a platform or a piece of whip-smart legislation." - Shannan Martin


Broken is the Beginning from Glennon doing what Glennon does best, shinning the big shinny grace light..
"But a broken heart is not the end of anything. It’s the beginning of everything." - Glennon Melton 



Interview with Doris Roberts at Rev Hollywood
Whom I love most from her Remington Steele days. (Love that show still!)
Love her wisdom and spirit, and her honest tenacity.

 "Sometimes women, unfortunately, think that in order to survive you have to be tough. We don’t. We just have to be honest. "- Doris Roberts


So there you go, a start to your weekend with these women.
Aren't they great?

Have a lovely weekend friends!
J

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Giving Up


This year for Lent, in addition to desserts, I am also giving up Doing Too Much. I am giving up Piling On. I am giving up Waiting for My Real Life to Happen.

And I am cooking some amazing food.

Read More HERE


Monday, March 10, 2014

Make Crafts, Not War




Y'all there is SO much happening right now.
I know the blog has been a bit hit or miss lately.
Working through K's leaving has been hard, and things around here have been busier than ever.
Big projects at work.
Another book in the works.
The Nest Project is picking up speed.
And that isn't even half of it.
But Lent for me is about slowing down and savoring the present, so I am trying not to add more to my plate than it is already holding.
Which means posting may continue to be a bit spotty from time to time over the next few weeks.

Today though I want to  share with you this little project that I have been hanging onto for a while, waiting to get it "just right."
But in the spirit of "leaning into the present moment," I decided to show it as it is - in all it's unfinished splendor.

As you know, Sweet Man and the boys are hunters (which I am grateful for considering the amount of money it saves us in healthy, lean meat,) but I am not one to have their rifles just hanging on the walls all over the house.
But I am also not one to throw out a perfectly good piece of storage equipment.
So the question came up - what should we do with Sweet Man's old racks?
The answer was obvious from the start -craft organization.

One can of spray paint and some dowel rods later and voila! The perfect place to store wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbons, and washi tape.
I obviously have issues with the top rod on the ribbon organizer- it's thin enough for those particularly ribbon spools - it just isn't strong enough. So I am on the hunt for a better option. But other than that this has been a great solution.

And it goes along with my latest cause -  
Make Crafts, Not War.


xoxo friends-
J


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Lent for the Littles - A Wild Adventure


Recently, my friend Amara posted this question on Facebook:

(Miles when he was a Little)

Hey friends, what are some good resources to discuss Lent and the Lenten season with G? Most of what I've seen is geared for older kids, and just beyond his level of understanding. Thanks for your help!

As my boys are older, 9 and 13, most of what I write these days has to do with how to engage them, and their age group, because that is what I am in the thick of - the middle years. Those years when you think they are ignoring you, but in reality they are watching like hawks.
It's unnerving really.
My boys needed me with a physical intensity when they were young that wore me plumb out.
Lately, after a brief reprieve called Middle Elementary Years, things have reached a fevered pitch in the NEED department once again. But these days it's all emotional and mental. You see I have to watch them like a hawk. Without looking like I am watching.  It's the dance we are calling Parenting Adolescents. 
But I digress.

Back to Amara's question, which got me thinking:

How would I have explained Lent to my boys had we celebrated it diligently when they were younger?

And the answer I came up was this.




I would explain along it along the lines of a journey. 
I would it explain it as A Wild Adventure.
A Noble Quest.
Like going camping in the forest, or on a African safari, or on a space trip to Mars, or stowing away on a ship with bunch of pirates or searching for a golden ring.

 I would have related it to whatever kind of adventure would have enticed them most.

Then I would have told the story - probably several times, because they would interrupt me quite often with the most random comments - about the wild adventure that the Israelites went on for 40 YEARS! 40 YEARS!  
And how they made a lot of mistakes. 
But how God loved them. Period.
They couldn't lose his love.


And I would also tell the story of the wild adventure that Jesus went on into the wilderness for 40 DAYS! 40 DAYS! 
And we could talk about the sort of things he gave up. And how bad he must have felt. 
But how it was part of his quest.
And how he did it out of Love.

And we would talk in the car, and at dinner, and while coloring, while I gave them baths and we played with pirate boats,  about what it would be like to go on that sort of adventure, and about the sort of mistakes we might make on a big quest. And about how great it is to know that God is always with us no matter how hard things or how many times we get in trouble - like he was with Jesus and the Israelites during their adventures.

Then I would say that one we say "thank you" to God for this always being with us and to Jesus for teaching us that we can do hard things, is that we go on our own adventure for 40 DAYS! 40 DAYS! 


Because I am the crafty sort, and my kids are the costume sort, we might even make costumes for our adventure ,  and we would make a few items that are good to have when you go on any sort of wild journey.

For instance, when you go on a trip or an adventure there are several things it is handy to have with you

Road Map
Road Signs
Light
A Bag

For the Map Here is one resource for a Lenten Map for kids complete with instructions. *Note the dates will be off and you will need to change those, but other than that it is pretty straight forward
My boys would have turned this into a pirate map in a heart beat.

.
For the Sign
I think the REMEMBER banner could be useful even at this stage - you could talk about how it's important to Remember Christ Adventure, that we are on a Adventure, the Israelite's Adventure etc.


For the Light
Light is always a big hit with kids. 
You could give them a big flashlight to decorate with stickers, or together decorate a large candle that you could light each night at dinner.
You can make the connection about how the light helps us find our way when we are lost, that God is that Light in our hearts.
You can also make the connection to the Israelites who were led, in part, by a pillar of fire as they searched for the Promise Land.
And how we should share the light when we find someone who is lost along the way.
That even during a Quest and an Adventure it is  important to keep our eyes open for others who may be having a hard time on their adventures, and to see how we can help them out - people who are hungry or cold or lonely

For the Bag
For this I would pack a small hobo pack - do you remember those? A handkerchief tied to a stick? Or maybe I would just give them an empty pillowcase.
And I would help them pack for their adventures but tell them they can only take what would fit in a hobo pack or pillowcase. What would they choose to take? What would it be hard to leave? 
And this is how I would approach the disciplines of fasting and sacrifice for Lent.
What is something you can leave behind, aka "give up," for your 40 Day Adventure?
A favorite toy? TV Show? Sweet Treat?
Maybe at age 2 this would work, but by age 4 or 5 this idea of leaving one thing behind for those 40 Days would be something a child could comprehend. If they give up a toy, perhaps it goes to live somewhere else for the 40 Days? Or maybe you throw away all the sweet treats together?




These are just a few of my ideas.
That might not even be that great.
But maybe it will spark an idea.

And there are many more wonderful ones out there if you need more ideas-
Here are some great collections of resources:
Megan's post on Lenten Resources
and
Rachel's post (she has done one every year for quite a while) on 40 Ideas for Lent

What about you? How would you answer Amara's question? Do you have a great resource you can share?

Blessings friends!
J

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Beginning Lent


Lent begins tomorrow, which means I broke out the Remember Banner and hung it up in the kitchen today. Last year I wrote out a little guide based on each of  letter in the word remember for a Lenten Family Event I did for our church.  I had genuinely intended for our family to use this guide weekly, to help forge our family Lenten discussions during the season. But I honestly don't think we used them - things were a little hairy with the impending book release.
This year however, I am resolved to give them a go, and I thought you might like to as well. They can be used in tandem with the Remember Banner or on their own.


Lenten Family Reflections
There are several ways to use these questions, here are a couple of my favorites.

1) Follow the list according to the Letters, starting with R on Ash Wednesday. Read the questions during dinner, on the car ride home from school, or during a hike, then each family member can take turn answering.

2)      Cut the questions into slips, fold them up and put them in a bowl on the kitchen table. Once a week during Lent pull a question out of the bowl and discuss your answers and insights. Have everyone write one or two words, or draw a simple image that represents their answers. Next tack these scraps to your Lenten timeline.

2)      Paste each of the questions - one question to one page in the order of the word REMEMBER- in a simple journal. Leave the journal somewhere accessible. During Lent family members can write their own individual answers –or draw pictures of their answers- in the journal at their own pace. Once a week find a time – in the car, at dinner, at bedtime – to read and discuss the various stories and answers found in the journal.



Remember
Remember a time when you felt as if you were in the desert, wandering and lost. How did
you find your way out? Or, if you are still there, what do you need? How can
your family help?

Endure
In every life there are seasons of endurance. Share a story from your past -or
present- where you had endured something hard or uncomfortable because it was
necessary. How did you manage? Where did you find strength or comfort? What
guidance can you pass on from your experience?

Mend
All of us have had broken hearts, hopes, dreams and relationships. Find a memory that
you can share about how something in your life was broken and then mended -
through time, friendship, prayer, changes etc.

Explain
Have you ever felt misunderstood? Do you wish you could explain how you feel or a
decision you made that was unpopular? Here is your chance to explain. Adults -
perhaps it would help to share stories from your childhood that influence how
you now parent or grandparent.

Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. Tell of a time you made a mistake and were surprised to find
love, acceptance and forgiveness instead of shame and blame. How can you pass
these gifts on to yourself and others the next time mistakes are made?

Blessings
Share a story of when you set out to bless someone only to find yourself blessed more!

Encouragement
Tell of a time when someone’s words or actions of encouragement made all the difference
in your life.

Renew
Its Easter! It is time to start again fresh and find renewal in Christ love.
Turn your banner around, displaying the Alleluia side! Share one thing you are each thankful for post-Lent and celebrate!



Blessings friends!
J
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