Five Minute Friday – Crowd

Five Minute Friday= prompt word, five minutes, just write.

No overthinking, no over complicating.

This weeks prompt word: CROWD

Two’s company, threes a crowd

Except my front garden didn’t get the memo

Its wild and totally overgrown at the moment with fishbone fern that people still pay good money for in the shops, with agapanthus and seaside daisy and some other long reedy things that provide a bit of a screen from the road. They crowd in on one another – the more the merrier apparently and are only kept from going completely mad by the garden bed edging laid in a curvy romantic fashion by me years ago now.

There was nothing here when we came, sparse, tidy, a no nonsense perfectly respectable, make you want to weep it was so forlorn and boring front yard –  so this seems like an abundance, joyous almost and despite its waywardness it looks beautiful to me. Its hopeful, it makes me smile, relentless in its growing, gone a bit mad but better than nothing at all – better than all straight edges and lonely grass.

Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground – you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things up, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it gets  Bird by Bird page 28-29

I like the story it holds – one of redemption and rediscovery and it’s still being told. See I know whats under all that overgrowth –  theres a little path and a pond with four gold fish in. A fountain and a whole lot of rugged looking bush rock arranged to look nice that I rolled from the back yard to the front. A down hill journey I’m pleased to say. Yes underneath is the garden I made out of nothing years ago when money was scarce but time was plentiful . Plants grown from cuttings and other peoples throw outs or rescued from the roadside. Discards and misfits your welcome here.  And look what you’ve become. Look how you’ve grown.

I feel a bit like my garden at the moment,  stretched to the limits, messy, overgrown.  Its crowded at the moment, man it feels crowded –  thoughts mainly, too many thoughts and too much pressing in – but running around the edge like a long ago planted border that hems me in and holds me fast is hope, hope in His goodness and favour, gratitude too for a life that by anyones standards is a good life –  two children, a family – theres no question its gold. Theres fresh mercy every morning, a chance to begin again, theres untold grace, theres a good story being told.

Stretched to my limits maybe but the borders will hold.

To read what the other FMF crowd have done with there five minutes click here.

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Lessons from an L Shaped Hallway

This post written for Women Connect. You can read more about that here .

“the in-between place is still a place” Christie Purifoy 

I read these words a few weeks ago now and as sometimes happens with words that strike a chord, they’ve stayed with me.

They made me think of my narrow L shaped hallway.

IMG_8553Its an in-between place.

In between the living areas of the house and more business end of the house.  I charge down this hallway arms full on one mission or another day in and day out. Another towel being delivered to the bathroom because no one in this house remembers to take a towel with them to the shower. Or on my way to the laundry, another load of clothes to go in or come out or be hung up, sometimes all three. School uniforms to be ironed, hair to be washed, a bath to be filled. Always something.

Theres the familiar give in one tiny section of the floor where a board has cracked that my feet always seem to find. Dust collects along the skirting boards and gathers in corners and seems on a mission as well – to constantly collect in great heaps just to taunt me. Swishing a mop along those edges right up to the front door feels like a victory in itself but that dust  – it has a way of finding its way back.

 

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I wonder how many miles I do in a day,  early morning, late at night, up and down – how many do we all do.

A lot of life is lived in these seemingly inconsequential in-between places. Not where we were but not where we want to be either. On our way.  Between what was and the place our hearts compass has us pointed – the longed for job, the house finished, our goal weight, the debt paid off, something to come or something to go, a big break, a move, a healing,  an answer.

And we can either be in one heck of a rush to put some space between where we are now and where we want to be or we get lost in the throws of the everyday hard work,  the up and down of the same hallways, the in and out, the dust piling up again and lose sight of where we are headed. Drowning not waving.

Either way the difference its the same – we can miss  the gift that is the “right now”.  We can miss the unique shape and rise and fall of it, we can miss what it might tell us and teach us, we might even miss how lovely it might be.

And I get it  “right here” might not be where you thought you would be because you know as well as I that  life can’t be trusted to stay the same or to do whats its told. Right now  might feel about as  bent out of shape as it can get with so many “not yets” and “what ifs”, with so many questions and so much waiting –  that somedays we might wonder whose life we are living because it sure doesn’t feel like ours.

Yet even in the in-between place are signs and signposts of the eternal running right beneath our fingertips, just below the surface of our daily work. They point the way , they remind us of who we are are and where we are going, they remind us  of the story God is writing with our lives right here, right now.

I’ll tell you a few other things about my skinny hallway

Ken  calls it “the gallery” as a bit of a joke but space is short in my tiny house so each part has to play its part – even the most ordinary of parts. So its lined with paintings  – mostly the thrifted kind and mostly Australian landscapes  because I love a country landscape and they make me feel peaceful just looking at them. Photographs too – wedding photos and the cutest of the squishy faced baby photos some in ornate frames some in old vintage frames because I like the mix of the old and new and I love their little faces. I’ve positioned them all in groups so there is a “view”  as you come out of each door. Destinations for my eyes – like mini breaks and a diversion from the dust.IMG_8547IMG_8546In one corner theres nothing. A  hall table was there for a very long while and now that its  moved the clear space too is a relief for my eyes. No furniture to wash around, nothing in the way just clear uncluttered space.

On the walls theres maybe a 100 tiny nail holes  that have been made in the wrong place – evidence of my picture arranging and rearranging and arranging again and not measuring ever. I’d like to think I was more precise and methodical but the nail holes tell the real  story.

Theres a bookshelf  too – an ordinary looking bookshelf except that it isn’t. My father made it for me what must be 30 years ago now and its still standing strong despite its age. Me too I hope. It was pushed into the hallway just to get it out of the way and it seems like it was made for this space. A happy accident. Its narrow and tucks into the wall barely noticeable but its a spot to put a few nice things on and the extra storage goes a long way.

IMG_1335IMG_1337It just so happens that it covers a hole in the wall. A dual purpose right there.  That hole was first made by Ken years ago now. He hit it out sheer frustration when our boy Ethan 18 months old broke his leg for the second time in a year and it felt like our world was coming apart again.  Our only job to protect him and keep him safe and we couldn’t seem to do it. Ken patched the hole later and painted it over but a few years later it was opened up again. Exact same spot. This time by Ethan himself. His hand went through it running full pelt up the hallway playing chasies with a friend on his back. Yes a house full of kids, a birthday party I think, a rollicking good game being had and Ethan a force to be reckoned with. My heart full. I remember Ken being a bit annoyed at the time with the kids “wrecking the house” but truly that ship had sailed a while before and I reminded him, as good wives do why the wall was weak in that spot. I reminded him that Ethan running full pelt anywhere was our prayers of years ago answered, our dreams come true with his bones gaining strength all the time and him growing fast and big and strong.

Yes even the things we think broken and gaping, the things we might choose to cover up carry messages of our redemption and are reminders of where God has shown up in our lives.

And in my rushing up and down that hallway I only have to catch a glimpse of those sweet little baby faces and I’m reminded oh this place is good and this life is good. My prayers were answered and I can believe they’ll continue to be answered. The questions and the frustrations and the overwhelm are real but they find there place smaller and less significant than they seemed before because life is a whole lot of dealing with “bad”  but just look how glorious is the good. IMG_8549IMG_8548IMG_8550

“Even in the waiting, the listening, and the watching for what’s next, there is still so much right here”. Emily P Freeman

So much goodness, so much life, so much of our  story, so much of God,  more than we often see with our eyes or even touch with our hands.

Even narrow L shaped hallways can remind us of that  somedays

So here’s a few thoughts – in that in between place:

  • Create some diversions from the dust – some mini breaks for your heart and soul.
  • Leave yourself a little blank space.
  • Let the nail hole shows. Remember our mistakes tell our story as much as our victories.
  • Celebrate  the “happy accidents”
  • Look for the  handprint of God in your life, where He’s been and what he has done. There’s a bigger story being told.

“Surely the Lord is in this place and I wasn’t even aware of it” Genesis 28:16

Yes  God is found in these awkward in between places, in the cracks and crevices of our lives, in the places we feel stranded or squeezed in tight.  The very one who sent Jesus down low to the ground with a purpose,  to embrace us travellers weary and dusty and dirty from the road.

xxx

 

Linking Up with #Porch Stories with Kristin Hill Taylor and Chasing Community with Brenda Bradford Ottinger and Tell His Story with Jennifer Dukes Lee

The Things That Grow

This post written for Women Connect. You can find out all about that here .

www.waterintowineblog.com

You know I’m always amazed by what grows and what doesn’t grow in my garden. Wild and overgrown for the most part yet its a constant source of inspiration to me.

Not too long ago in my wandering around out there I pushed the tiniest tendril of a plant that had fallen off another plant into a pot. I planted it  with only a whisper of hope it might grow and then forget about it.

Another of my potted plants though got the best of my attention. I moved it into the best light and out of the wind, watered it and fussed over it and kept a close eye but it was having none of it – it shrivelled and died just the same. 

My forgotten little plant though while I was busy elsewhere had doubled its size and was growing lush and strong and lovely. 

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. Ecclesiastes 11:6

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We sow the seed, we pour the water, we think we know –  but the growth, the life – that magic isn’t ours.  

That part is Gods. 

And we can lament over whats not growing in our lives, throw ourselves prostrate trying to will something out of the ground that we are convinced should be growing but to no avail. And while our back is turned, in the place we least expect it,  is the growth and life and increase we are longing for.  Our prayers answered after all.

Ours to sow but its Gods to grow. 

Lets not miss what’s growing by fretting over whats not. 

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And April is as good a time as any to consider just that. We are four months in and the place we started in January may not be the place we find ourselves in now.  Things dreamed of and hoped for then may be scarce on the ground right now and disappointment is always tempting.

Gods timing is everything and His beats ours.  And goodness me He grows unexpected things in the unlikeliest of places.

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So whats growing for you right now 

Whats feels like a sweet stream coming up on the inside

Whats bringing you life 

Whats bringing you joy

Whats bringing you peace

Let’s take  in the fragrance and shape and feel of that.

Let’s take our fill of whats growing and be inspired by that 

The rest is God’s.

Love to you all today

Tracey xx

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A Simple Kind of Wonderful

Everything is beautiful in its time Ecclesiastes 3:11

Life get’s all sorts of complicated doesn’t it.

Even with our best efforts, complications and chaos are business as usual more often than not. Yet they have a way of revealing what’s really important. They have a way of showing us how very little in the end we really control. We feel our smallness. We reach to God.

I’ve had a few of late – you too I’m sure – but through it I’ve noticed how much I’ve appreciated and enjoyed the simple and good things around me.  See springs been turning on the charm despite me, revealing it’s treasures without me doing anything. The ground has burst on open with life and I have done none of it – it’s all a gift that too often I  rush past.

A drive through the country – always beautiful but I wasn’t expecting this.

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www.waterintowineblog.com www.waterintowineblog.comhttp://www.tripmondo.com/australia/new-south-wales/brucedale/

www.waterintowineblog.comThe canola blooms on mass layering  the fields in the most amazing vibrant yellow.

Even my garden full of weeds is smiling, showing off her good side with bright red and yellow blooms that I don’t even remember planting.

www.waterintowineblog.comIMG_3229www.waterintowineblog.comwww.waterintowineblog.comAnd these perfectly formed lavender pink roses my neighbor brought me in from her garden that smell so beautiful when I lean in close.

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A new garden bed along the side of my house – new plants growing up and taking shape in a spot that’s only ever grown weeds.

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www.waterintowineblog.comwww.waterintowineblog.com Heres where it started.

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 But after much clearing and levelling (a while back) and lots of setting my iphone timer to twenty minutes it’s now on the civilised side of “getting there”.

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I’d have loved to say the kids and I had a beautiful time planning and building this little garden together but truly  they couldn’t have cared less.

But these got their attention.

www.waterintowineblog.comwww.waterintowineblog.comwww.waterintowineblog.comwww.waterintowineblog.comSpring chickens – we now have four baby Bantem Pekin chickens that are, as Ethan and Olivia tell me at least twenty times per day, “ soooooo cute”. We converted one of Ethans reptile cages by adding a feeder, waterer and  heat lamp to give them  a cosy place to grow till they’re ready to go into their big girl’s chicken coop.

We bought this:

www.farmvet.org

But Ethan was dreaming of  this:

http://twomenandalittlefarm.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/inspiration-thursday-red-white-chicken.htmlA palatial barn red chicken coop with white detail. We compromised, bought a  tin of paint (even though I vowed in a recent post never to buy another tin of paint) and here’s how it turned out.

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www.waterintowineblog.comJust simple pleasures – – – but I’m a big fan of simple.

When life gets complicated simple can bring a measure of the peace and rest we are longing for  and help us sense His sweet and steady presence right with us.

All I know is that life is exponentially sweeter with grateful pauses, with rest, with the release that comes with being small and knowing the wild. Amber Haines

What are you enjoying at the moment. Does simple work for you?

Tracey xx

www.waterintowineblog.com

If you’ve got a minute you can read my latest Women Connect post here

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View Along the Way

If you have found your way here from Five Minute Friday you can read my post here.

I headed out to the country for a few days this last week and as always getting organised to go was the biggest hurdle. Getting the bags packed, the kids packed, the pets fed, the washing up done, the garbage out, the doors locked and the car sorted  – – – – was a bit of a marathon. So by the time I’m in the car to leave I’m out of sorts, frazzled, tired and hungry. A snap shot of life? The busyness of most of our days compacted down into a few hours of intense activity and your left flagging at the end of it and wondering what your doing it all for. A sure sign we need to stop a while and rest.

So the nice part for me is the drive  – the part that makes it worth the effort straight away – the three hours of simply driving and not having to organise a single thing, three hours to breath and think and take in the view.

Caven Road, Yass, NSW www.bicycles.net.au
ef=”https://waterintowineblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/cavanroad1.jpg”> Caven Road, Yass, NSW http://www.bicycles.net.au[/cap

I’ve done this drive maybe a hundred times but I never tire of the view – the rise and fall of the hills, the lush green of the paddocks, the plowed up earth waiting for seed,  the crevices and creases that catch the rain – – – and the wide open spaces – – – the sheer distance ahead that I can see – – – that magnificent expanse of sky –  intense blue sometimes, grey and brooding at other times – it stretches and spreads right out – all the way to the horizon where it comes down to kiss the earth.

AboveMoolongSwamp
https://waterintowineblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/abovemoolongswamp2.jpg”> Yass Region, NSW http://www.bicycles.net.au[/caption
And possibility seems endless.

It reminds me there’s more – past the edge of what I know and into what I don’t know – the mystery and wonder of God – more than I can understand or ask or imagine, so much more than this narrow trail would let me see if I never bothered to look up.

The vastness and expanse of the country side somehow seep into me – making room where it’s gotten cluttered and stuffy and heavy.  The bigness of God making room in the small smallness of my thinking and the limitations of my own efforts.

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Like a soothing balm, fresh air to my soul,  a song that sings “He is All and in all and over all”.

And this sky and earth – they don’t even try – they spread out vast and effortless and sure. Magnificent and glorious.  They worship God just by being. By doing what He created them to do.

It reminds me to rest. It reminds me that it’s OK. It reminds me that He has all this in hand and on the palm of that hand is my name. (Isaiah 49:16) There I can rest.

The strivings not needed. The trying to be – not needed. It’s the beholding Him –  that’s what changes a well worn road into a feast of possibility and opportunity.

2011_01_22c_t
rintowineblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/2011_01_22c_t1.jpg”> Goulburn, NSW   http://www.ozthunder.com

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So when we are sore and sorry and worn out – the way we get  in trying to do it all and carry our own load – our energy spent, our strength too, He say’s (in my words)  ‘Here have mine, no need to do it alone, rest for a moment, look on Me – – – – and just be.  All you need – it’s here. All your hopes and dreams – they’re here’.

IMG_2683 “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hand, your walls are ever before me”  (Isaiah 49:16).

Around every sweep and curve of the road the view moves and changes and unfolds. Who could imagine a  journey as  unremarkable as mine, on such a a run-of-the-mill road, could take me such beautiful places.

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.     Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel,“My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know?  Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 40:26-31

Tracey xx

(For blogging purposes I would have liked some super spectacular panoramic shots of the country side we drove through to post here but as I was driving a motor vehicle with my children in at the time photography had to take a back seat to safety. I managed to take a couple of photos which I’m not sure really do the landscape justice and I have sourced a couple from the internet of the same area. Sources are shown. Enjoy !!)

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