Writing About Life

Last week we took a sort-of-vacation, and I vowed to myself that I would make 1 Billion + 1 changes to my blog.  Half way through vacation, I’d made .0000000000001 changes, and pulled almost all of my hair out.

Here and there you can probably see some of the changes I made to The Full Vine.  Once I got the hang of it and finally decided what I really wanted to do, it was a breeze. 

Then I realized with stunning clarity that the most needed changes had little to do with blogging, and a lot to do with my attitude. 

I’m taking a little break from The Full Vine in order to focus on God, my Sweet Babboo, and our two boys.  It’s time to make sure I’m living life and not just writing about it.

So I want to thank you for reading my incredibly insignificant writings, and thank you for all your wonderful comments, which have meant so much to me.  Until we chat again, stay encouraged; and may your life remain full of the very best…

“I am the vine.  You are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

Until Next Time

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I’m feeling better, the sun came out,

and it’s time

for an important announcement:

We’re going on vacation! 

Kinda sorta.  Maui?  Not exactly…  Chilly New England.

My Sweet Babboo is off from teaching this week.  He’ll be working a second job (what a hero, allowing me to stay home with the kids!) and we’ll be here, same as always –

BUT

we will not be getting up before it’s light,

he will not be face-to-face with 9th graders all day (9th graders of the world, you understand, right?)

and

I will not be blogging.

In honor of a vacation-of-sorts, I’m taking a week off to do some maintenance work on The Full Vine.  I truly love writing to you each day, and I want to make it the best experience possible for everyone who pops in. 

While Mama works, please continue to stop by and nose around my re-do’s and experiments.  Most of all, have a wonderful week, and know that I’m thinking of you.

To kick off my week of semi-silence, here’s the REAL soul food thought for today:

Every time I bend over to scoop up one of my chillins, I am stooping.  Bending.  Creaking a little, maybe, but stopping in the middle of what I’m doing to fully hold and lift them.

Your right hand supports me. 

You stoop down to make me great.

Psalm 18:35b

It is impossible for me to fathom the Sovereign Creator bending down to notice and help me.  But somehow the feeling of lifting my hefty 20lb 7 month-old helps me grasp it a little.  He’s helpless, even though he’s huge.

I’m helpless, too.  And I am not judged for that.  God isn’t pointing his finger at me and scolding me as I’m so apt to do to my own children.  He’s gentle and humble.  Jesus Christ the Man proved that.

Thank you, God, for supporting me, being gentle with me, and stooping down to identify with me in my weakness.  I love you for it.

                                                                                                                                                          

Until next time, friends!

For a little more Full Vine reading, grab a cup of something steamy and click away:

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cloth Napkins: Never Old Fashioned

Faw the Boids

Guess Who Went No Poo?

Homemade Pizza

The Frugal Woman’s Toilette: Her Face

The Half-Hour Headband

Little Boy Blue

The Garden That Was

Nibble and Sing

Is anyone else out there feeling a little mopey?  Glands swollen?  Cold sores?  Graphic enough today? 

If there ever was a time for griping, it’s winter.  Then again, winter is the best time for being thankful.  No matter what I’m dealing with, things could always get worse.  And if things get worse, there’s still plenty to be thankful for.

So today I will not be very interesting or zippy or witty… just grateful…

…for you – thank you as always for stopping by to read my musings.  I am truly honored.

…for chicken broth – now don’t you feel special? 

You rank right up there with CHICKEN BROTH.  You should really feel very special.  It’s miraculous stuff.  Sniffles, flu, it will fix anything.  A nice hot ladle-ful is all I need.

…for birds. 

That’s right, birds.  Riley, Quinn and I were puttering around the backyard today and the chirping stopped me in my tracks.  God must have known we’d need cheery noises now and then.  They remind me how simple life is: get up, nibble something, and sing.

Once I’m past the getting up part, nibbling is easy (thanks for the chocolates, Jon!) and singing is absolutely like breathing. 

If it’s been a while since you sang, give it a whirl.  As long as I can croak out a note, I’ll chirp my tune in my corner of the world.  Happy chirping in yours.  🙂

Maybe I’m Growing or Something

what in the world is “soul food sanctuary?!”

what happened to SUNDAY’S VERSE SATURDAY?!?!

I*DON’T*LIKE*CHANGE!!!!!!

Neither do I…  But sometimes you have to roll with it – just go with it, when a lightbulb flickers on and you realize you’re on to something good.

I used to write “Sunday’s Verse Saturday” because I had a hard time remembering to get my heart ready for Sunday worship.  Sometimes that’s still true…  But I realized something really cool this week:

Lately, my inspiration for Sunday morning’s sharing time has come from much earlier in the week.  God is so incredibly gracious.  I don’t deserve a lifeline or a rock to cling to.  But every week He gives me sustenance for my soul. 

There’s a reason it’s called “daily bread.”  It’s not just for church time, or for the day before.  I cannot take a step forward without His help.  I need Him DAILY.

Some will say that this means Christianity is a crutch.  I’d say………..it’s a stretcher.  I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit my abject need for His love.  There I am, on the front lines (as are you), trying to live by the skin of my teeth, trying to become something better than what I am, and failing and failing and failing.

The mercy of Christ is what gets me out of bed, turns my heart into something new, and allows me to be of some use and help to the people around me. 

This week, Psalm 26:2b,3 kept pouring through my head:

Test my motives and affections. 

For I am constantly aware of your unfailing love.

And I have lived according to your truth. 

That is my prayer – a little scary, to think of Almighty God testing me…  But not really scary, because I remember His love and it never ever fails to reach even me.

Heads Up!

Aside

Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!

Keep your eyes open – The Full Vine is approaching its one year anniversary, and it’s time for a few changes! 

What will these be? 

Curiosity kills cats, but it won’t kill you! 

A new Saturday format, updated “About” and “Daily Vine” pages, a fresh look and more!

As always, thanks for reading The Full Vine!  I’m glad you’re here.

Winter Two, Spring One

Somehow we’ve had enough warm weather this winter to encourage fuzzy buds and brand new green shoots to come popping out in our yard.  Already!  The boys and I were out exploring again today, and I can’t believe how many early signs of Spring there are.

Still, snow is breathtaking.  What we had, we enjoyed.

I love Black and White photography.  That is Winter’s gift.

But here’s why I’m holding my breath:

These will be here soon!

Joy On the Brain

Stuff’s going around.  I mean sickness.  People are dropping like flies around here.  How about where you live?

We fellowship in a very small church.  There are 12 people in it, including children.  This might seem odd to most readers, but it’s been beautiful for us.  I can go into the details of how and why and what in the world?! another day.  For today, let’s just say that when numbers are down from sickness, it’s tough to “have church.”

That also means that when sickness is spreading around our church, EVERYONE knows and EVERYONE is praying.  I love the closeness of it.  But, I said wasn’t going to elaborate on church!

Anyhooways, I’ve had joy on the brain. 

Why?  It’s winter!  It’s dreary and cold! 

Why?  Because even in the midst of sickness, loved ones passing, worries about our friends, concerns about our sons’ teeth and habits and sleep schedules and futures and safety and ___ and ___ etc etc, God has been giving us peace through his promises:

I will be filled with joy because of you.  Psalm 9:2a

The joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10b

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

A couple of those are probably repeat verses from recent Saturday history.  My feeling?  That only proves that God is teaching me something.

Lift your head, child, and put your eyes on me.  See?  I’m smiling as I help you through.

If you look at it logically, the above verses say that joy is strength and Christ is strength.  Therefore Christ is joy.

joy = strength = Christ, who is in my heart at all times

So even when things aren’t perfectly lovely, joy and strength are perfectly available.  I’m sorry that sounded trite.  I’m full of peanut butter cookies and feeling all warm and gooey.

Whatever you may be dealing with, I hope you have the joy and strength of Christ in your heart.  And peanut butter cookies in your belly.

(photo credit for the fireworks goes to my Sweet Babbooski)

Father and Son

I remember longing for the day when Jon and Riley would be able to wrestle and tussle on the living room floor.  It was easy to picture them being crazy together.  Little did I know how exhilarating it would actually be to listen to the shrieks and laughter…

This wasn’t as dangerous as it looks:

But it might have felt that way to Riley.  Good!  Adventure with Daddy will make him a man who can stand on his own two feet and take risks with confidence.

And snuggling with Daddy teaches him that men have soft hearts, too.

For all the things Mommy does,

kissing boo-boos, fixing meals, reading stories, tickling armpits, changing diapers…

…Daddy’s love is impossible to replace. 

I dreamed of watching the father-son relationship develop between my Sweet Babboo and my Sweet Son.  Even on tough days, it’s good.  It’s better than I dreamed.  Most of life is, if I let it be.

The Downhill Side

60°F on February 1st!  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Out the door, boys!

We dug in the dirt.  We ran circles around each other in the backyard.  We went down mostly-dry slides at the park.  We squealed, giddy as toddlers on a bowl of ice cream, and drank in long, long breaths of fresh air. 

It’s February 1st,” my mother had said earlier that day.  “As far as I’m concerned, that means winter is over.  We’re on the downhill side.

I like the way you think Mom! 

And I like the day you made, God.  It’s amazing how a solid afternoon of outdoor play can change a person’s whole outlook.  THANK YOU!