Tag Archives: peace

Passion: Windows of Agates

Cincinnati Death Record

Cincinnati Death Record

Sunday morning

During the passing of the sacrament I decided to prep myself for Sunday School by reading the scriptural passage we’d be studying. Isaiah 54. That first verse caught my attention in a visceral way:

“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.”

I know many women for whom fertility issues are a great source of anxiety and grief. My own three children were hard to come by, but relative to those who want children but can never have them or lose them early I can only imagine the heartbreak. And, given Isaiah’s setting where being barren (even though it may have been the guy’s problem!) was deemed “shameful”, the problem was exacerbated by that unjust layer of societal disrespect. Continue reading

An Advent Challenge

 

Here’s an Advent exercise I enjoy practicing to keep me tethered to tranquility during the rush of Christmastime. We’re in the thick of Advent right now, but there’s still time to jump into this, and it’s a great family activity.

There are three assignments, each of which should be accomplished before Christmas day. I never do them in any particular order, but if you prefer a little more structure, go for it.

Each assignment involves giving a gift or doing a service of some kind. Here are the challenges: Continue reading

Settled

P&K Edits 9 (1)Kristie is a proud graduate of Utah State University (GO AGGIES!) who also holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah. Her passion for finding the perfect recipe for chile verde is matched only by her intense dislike of folding laundry; nevertheless, she remains determined to perfect the art of properly folding a fitted sheet. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart (who, through all of this, cheers for the BYU Cougars) and blogs about the adventures of parenting her spunky three-and-a-half-year-old redheaded daughter and one-year-old son with the most delicious chubby cheeks at www.paddyandkris.blogspot.com.

Unsettled!” I announced, and I felt that sense of relief wash over me that comes when I finally catch that elusive word that has been dancing on the tip of my tongue, just out of reach. “I am feeling unsettled.” My ever patient and long-suffering husband nodded appropriately, good-naturedly enduring yet another soliloquy from me as I struggled to articulate how frustrated and helpless I felt.

He had heard this tearful rant in one form or another countless times in the 5 months since our first baby had reached that inevitable 12-week-old milestone that sent me reluctantly back to working full time. I was sour, irritable, and generally unpleasant about the whole situation; even though I had known throughout my pregnancy that my returning to work was just part of our family’s economic reality, I continued to harbor some sort of vague resentment that the stars of the universe had failed to magically realign themselves in a way that left me, well, independently wealthy, I guess. Continue reading

Nectar

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Just a few weeks ago, we pulled heavy frames from our hives, sliced away the wax and harvested fifteen bottles of liquid gold. It’s a modest harvest, but miraculous for first-year bee keepers. We’ve been enjoying the fruits of our bees’ labors on our toast, oatmeal and in a few batches of baklava, ever marveling that this sweet delicacy was produced by bugs in our backyard.

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Raising bees requires a certain amount of faith– will they really produce? is our water source adequate? are they protected? will our neighbors hate us? are we crazy people?– and to glimpse success gave us joy.

Beekeeping Magazine quoted a beekeeper with one hundred hives, “From the honey we are getting every day, you would think our bees were gathering up all the nectar in the world, when really it is not a drop in the bucket compared with the amount of nectar there is provided. Nature is surely a lavish housekeeper! She spreads out tons and tons of nectar in her flowers for all creation to enjoy.” Mary, 1917

Sometimes my Heavenly Father’s affection seems elusive. My prayers bump against the ceiling and my heart aches. But in truth, God’s love is always there, abundant in every flower, every hymn, every sunset, every person. Like nectar, it has to be searched for and recognized, but it is always, always there.

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 A harsh winter can make it arduous to find or taste nectar, but summer always comes again.

Our Heavenly Father is indeed, a lavish house keeper.

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My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste. Proverbs 24:13

You don’t need a pillow to be happy

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It was a simple place, this provincial Cambodian town near the border of Vietnam—a collection of stilted houses, animals, and some small businesses. No grocery stores or anything like that, just a market consisting of wooden stalls and stands and piles of food spread out on tarps. Fish flopped in metal tubs; slabs of meat sat out on tables for inspection, amongst generous mounds of lychee, dragonfruit, and green bananas. People sold frogs, snakes, crickets, and all sorts of dietary oddities, things we would only think of as survival food. We joked after about thirty minutes in the small town of Svay Rieng that we had seen all there was to do there.

There, life is just simple, the necessities of sleep and food being dictated by what is available. The bus driver slept under the bus, in the luggage compartment; the gas station attendant slept outside by the pump; the guesthouse attendant slept on the wooden bench in the lobby. If you were hungry your food was generally something that had been caught, gathered, or picked—and maybe cooked. If you were thirsty you found a cart on the street. If you needed to wash something, you found a puddle of water left over from the monsoons. Continue reading