Thursday, August 28, 2008
Marks Aunt Mary passed away last week. Mark believes she truly knew the Lord, and so with all of her health problems, it really was a blessing for her. My mother-in-law (Laurie) has been working tirelessly all week, sorting through Aunt Mary’s apartment. Laurie has this incredible gift, I don’t even know what to call it, maybe it’s a gift of helps. But she has this magnetic pull that just draws stuff to her garage, (possibly the cleanest garage ever!) the funny part about that it that she doesn’t like to have a lot of things lying around. (an attribute I well admire and must learn!) The part where the genuine gift comes in, is that she knows exactly who needs what, at what time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought “Oh, I could really use… too bad I can’t afford to buy that right now” and within a day I’ll get a call “hi Jan, it’s mom, Leverenz, listen, I have… here in my garage, could you use it?” No joke, a few months back I decided that I really ought to start using cloth diapers diligently, (we don’t have any credit cards so what we spend, we must have) “I really need more than the 3 diapers I got at my baby shower.” I thought. Then, “Hi Jan, it’s mom, Leverenz…” Somehow, she had a stack of pre-folds and diaper pins! The same goes with Dressers, stand up fans, beds, groceries, EVERYTHING! It’s pretty cool. So, anyway, we were really in need of a few grocery items, and Aunt Mary had a pantry full of the things I was in need of. Out of six kids in Marks family, a church full of people and plenty of neighbors, Laurie knew that we were in need of those things. God provides!
I am using cloth diapers almost 100%, I only use a disposable at night. (on Gideon of course) : ) And it’s so funny, I really enjoy it. Yeah, I enjoy washing poop off of fabric, go figure. LOL, well, I guess I just enjoy the fact that I’m being ecological and economical, it’s highly liberating. I love hanging the freshly washed diapers on the line, and seeing how clean I got them, after knowing how dirty they were. It truly gives me joy. I love that the money that Mark earns for this family isn’t being thrown away with a pile of crap, in a weird way, I feel like using cloth diapers is honoring my husbands hard work.
I love to do menu planning. Sometimes I don’t do it, because our budget doesn’t require it. I get lazy and then I just don’t do it. But every time I need to, I enjoy it so much. I should write a memo somewhere saying “You like to menu plan remember? Just do it!” It’s been fun, (my mom has brought some groceries over as well the last few weeks, and Joy will come over with like a gallon of milk or something, she says “God told me to do it”) So now, every time we sit down to eat dinner I say, the only part of this meal that we paid for is… and it’s something silly like the parmesan cheese. : ) God provides!
Gideon was in need of some autumn shirts, I saw an advertisement on Craig’s list for a “shop-aholic moms garage sale” there was a list of items that she had that we could use. So my friend Melissa and I set out to find this sale. I had 20 bucks in my wallet. I found 4 shirts for Gideon and 2 pairs of pants and 1 shirt for the new baby. We then noticed that there was a great farmers market down the road, so we went there. With my change from the garage sale, I bought a LB of local honey, (We were in need of it, seeing as how it’s allergy season) an eggplant, 2 huge bunches of lettuce (red leaf and a dark green,) and peaches. All of that, came to exactly $20.00. It was so fun to see how much I could buy when aiming for frugality. : ) Not to mention the ethical consumerism that was practiced here, but that’s for another day, and another blog.
I guess I just want to encourage all who are feeling the lack of funds. It’s hard sometimes, but try to find joy in this time of stretching. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm and come up with a few ideas out of the ordinary. Don’t be discouraged if you’re a stay at home mom and feeling like you’re not helping your husband out. My friend Liz said the other day “isn’t cool that the best thing we can do to help our families finances is stay home and not spend money?” It’s so true. Trust in God and obey, He’ll take care of the rest!
Monday, August 25, 2008
I was wearing a brown baby doll type maternity shirt that makes me look EVER SO PREGNANT and apparently she thought that the skirt I was wearing it with was slimming on the legs. Somehow, the slendering skirt and the belly accentuating top made me look like a fudge-sicle. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but hey, if someone wants to tell me that at 7 months pregnant my legs look like popsicle sticks, I'll take it!
I realize that back in New Testament time they probably didn’t have as much stuff to bring around with them. (like us silly Americans) When I first imagined this couple traveling about the globe so extensively I pictured a big sail boat loaded up with cardboard boxes, on the sides and tops of the boxes were big label written with a black sharpie, “Kitchen Stuff, Towels, Fragile Dinnerware, Stuff for Bathroom Cabinet, Priscilla‘s Clothes (the ones that don‘t fit anymore, but she can‘t get rid of)…” You know, the way I like to pack when I move. “Oh right,” I thought, it couldn’t have been that way, I’m sure they traveled with very little, if anything. Then I realized, “wow, that must have been even harder” with every new move they made she had to gather up more of the essentials, They weren’t just living like hermits with a little mat on the floor for sleeping and 2 plates, one for each of them. Priscilla was having loads of people into her home probably everyday, or at least a few times a week. She must have been really resourceful, in order to be able to accommodate flocks of people like that.
Resourcefulness seems to be an indispensable attribute to hospitality. How to make a meal stretch so that you don’t send anyone away hungry, where to put someone when they’re in need of a place to stay, how to maneuver a guest around your families daily activities or even personal catastrophes with grace. Resourcefulness is something that God has really been teaching me as of late, thankfully, it’s a lesson I actually enjoy learning. However, in learning resourcefulness, I find that it’s a twofold task, not only must you be willing to be creative, but it takes a little more work than… un-resourcefulness… you must combat laziness, selfishness, and self pity, along with whatever little daily ailments contribute to an unproductive, ungracious hostess. It’s work, it’s not something that just comes easy, no matter who you are.
Another extremely important thing that I think must go along with hospitality is being aware of the need for strength, not of your own power, but from tapping into the rich storehouse of Gods might. How does a girl do that?
Isaiah 30:15 says; This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”
Job 17:9 Yet the righteous will hold to his way,And he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger.
Repentance, rest, quietness, trust, righteousness, clean hands. Search your heart, evaluate your life, if you don’t have strength, what’s going on that is hindering it? What from this list is missing from your spirit?
Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
He is the source, for EVERYTHING.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
God has strength enough for all of us, strength to step into our role as woman. Married, single, with children, without children, living in a mansion or your parents attic, He has designed every woman to walk in hospitality. Hospitality, entailing; resourcefulness, flexibility, a nurturing spirit, administration of comfort, and acceptance. Hospitable, one of the many delightful things God has beckoned you to become. Step, run, jump into what God is calling you to be, don’t thwart His desire to give you strength, walk in repentance, rest, quietness, trust, and righteousness, and he will continually renew your strength!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
:: I’ve had some sort of Hormone surge or something, and at some moments it’s all I can do to not burst out into tears over NOTHING! I think it could be linked to the fact that I haven’t breastfed Gideon in over a week, and perhaps my body is trying to regulate a little… I don’t know, last time I went through the weaning process I was the baby. : )
:: I have ALSO had a really great week as far as the spiritual is concerned. On Wed. we took a 2 hour drive to visit my parents who were camping with a group of very wonderful people. They were having a time of fellowship and had twice a day tent meetings. We made it there just in time to grab a snack and head over to the first meeting. Oh, LET ME TELL YOU, these people knew how to worship God - with full abandon - everyone was expressing their worship in a different way and it was BEAUTIFUL! There was a fantastic time of ministry, where Mark and I (and the new baby) had plenty of good, encouraging words spoken over us. God saw what we needed and, surprise, surprise, He met those needs. I can’t tell you how refreshing that day was! Seriously, I could blog a 7 page rant about how badly I/we needed to be there, how encouraging it was to see the church acting the way it ought to, with complete LOVE, no hidden agenda, no ulterior motives, acceptance of one another … the way the early church was…
:: On the other hand, God knew we needed to be there, because the next day and the following days brought some discouragement, and we were able to stand and say, “It doesn’t matter what it looks like, God spoke these words to us, and we are believing that just like every other time in our lives, He will meet our needs, and carry us through this time!” I’m not going to go on and on about all that’s happened, primarily it’s financial… Mark has been actively applying for sales positions (he’s currently in customer care…) and time after time the interviews go really well, there seems to be a glimpse of hope and then regretfully, the interviewee calls and says, “Mark, I really wanted to give you this job but because of, x.y.z., I had to give it to…” So, it’s been a little difficult. (A sales job would put us in a really good financial state, it would free us up to do the kinds of things that we really feel God is leading our family to do.) However, we keep seeing that God knows SO much better than we do, and he has our best interest in mind.
:: Gideon, of man, he’s so cute, he’s so smart! But this kid… *sigh*… he’s developed quite a little whine. I can’t even type the kind of noise that he makes when he’s upset… it’s like nails on a chalk board for me. Also, he’s been built to be a big brother to MANY children, because he constantly needs someone to play with. When he finally starts playing on his own, he just moves stuff around. The pile of shoes by the door become scattered about the floor, the doormat must be pulled out to the middle of the floor, every cardboard box waiting to be taken out to the recycling box it strewn over the house… and get this, he really wants it to be that way, he gets upset when I start putting them away. (He tells me this by doing a little stomping dance and making that awful noise I previously described.) I place my brown flip-flop in the corner where it ought to be, he picks it up and puts it right in the SAME spot he wanted it to be. What a kid. I actually began disciplining him for it. I wasn’t sure at first, but I realized that for my own sanity and in order to have a sufficient amount of grace with him for the whole day, it would be better for all involved if I just taught him not to do that after I’ve picked it all up. Hello toddler hood, right?
:: There is so much more to my week than these things, what was I thinking trying to compact them all into one blog entry?!?
Okay, so, this is becoming such a long entry that I don’t think anyone will actually read this whole thing. That’s okay though, I am a verbal processor, I blog for my own benefit. If you happen to read it, I hope it benefits you, but it’s primary purpose is to lasso my own thoughts into something tangible, therefore clearing my mind for other purposes.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. I lit a candle and held my little hot glue stick over it, it took a while longer, but quite frankly, I liked not having the cord from the glue gun in the way of what I was doing. And the glue didn’t get as hot either, no burnt fingers! Yay!
Not to mention, I totally didn’t use electricity for any of my project, good for the environment, good for the energy bill. :-P
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I was advised to stop breastfeeding seeing as how within the last week or so, every time Gideon nursed, (or rather pacified, having no milk left) I would start contracting, and that’s what I was doing when it all started. Yesterday morning was the last time we did it, and he’s actually doing really well with it. He only has asked for it prior to a nap or bed time, and when I say “No, I’m sorry, we can’t do that right now” he just lays his head back on my shoulder and rests as I rub his back and sing worship songs. Over the last month I’ve tried not to make nursing the primary focus of our bed time routine, making it much more about snuggling, singing and a back rub. I must admit, I cried last night, it was hard for me to say “no” to his request for nursing before bed, I’ve said “no” during the day before, and it wasn’t a big deal for me, but for some reason the night time nursing was just hard for me to deny him. He didn’t seem to mind, and I am sort of relieved that I won’t have to figure out how to work our regular nursing routine in with the new baby’s demanding schedule. And if he sees the new baby nursing and decides he wants to try again, I think I’m okay with that.
So, this is my little story, and perhaps the closing chapter of my first breastfeeding experience.
Please, pray for us though, I want this little baby boy coming no sooner than he’s ready. I don’t want to go on bed rest, and I want to continue to be the hands on, playing on the floor, chasing him around, active mom that I’ve been for Gideon all along. I would so appreciate it, Thanks!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
I’m so in awe of our need for a savior. I’m so in awe of a Savior who would die for me. How incredible the weight of mankind’s sin must have been on Christ’s soul. How incredible the freedom we now can have from the punishment of our sin. How incredible a Savior!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Dear young man, I like you a lot. You’re are a certain kind of kind, the kind of kind that makes people want to be around you. Not because you try to go out of your way to make people feel like they’re liked, no quite the contrary, you tend to accept people just the way they are. You even grab hold of the little quirks in people that may make them less than perfect, embrace them, and make them something to laugh about, not in a demeaning way, but in a light hearted, everyone’s human kind of way.
You have interest in neat fitted sheet folding, or at least you are genuine enough for me to believe that you do.
We have a little book that has been sitting on our shelf for… well, not too long seeing as how we’ve only been living here for about 2 years, but I had never read it. It’s called “Two Shall Be One” By C.M. Ward, randomly a few weeks ago while on my way up the stairs, I grabbed it off the shelf and stuck it in the bathroom, thinking it may be a good read while Gideon was in the bath. (Oh, you didn’t think I was going to say so I could read it while I was using the toilet, right? I can’t read more than a sentence while I’m in the bathroom. Like all my other personal time, it’s pretty much nonexistent… Anyway…) I was casually making my way through the little book of 146 pages, when lo and behold, he begins to speak about couples in the Bible, at the end of chapter 2 (entitled, One plus One) who do you think got the “Ideal couple award?” You guessed it, Aquila and Priscilla.
I’ll try not to type out the entire excerpt from this chapter, it’s a bit wordy, I’ll aim to stick to key points. (No promises though, I always failed in school when I was supposed to write a paragraph using 400-500 words, I’d have too many words, whittle it down to the bare minimum and still, I’d have a 700 word paragraph… I like words.)
“In the ideal marriage, the husbands loving leadership is supported by a wife who respects his position as head of the home. Within their respective roles, husband and wife share family responsibilities. He takes pride in his work and is a good provider. As manager of the household, the wife uses her talents to meet the needs of the family. Husband and wife exchange views and respect each others opinions. At the heart of this sharing relationship is a deep spiritual oneness that brings stability and unity to their home and marriage.
Aquila and Priscilla had this kind of give-and-take marriage. (See Acts 18:1-3,26; Romans 16:3- 5.) Lets take a closer look at this… couple and see why their marriage was such a success.”
He goes on to talk about their individual backgrounds, of Priscilla’s high social standing, and obvious clash of cultures you find within this couple.
“We read of him [Aquila] first at Pontus, then at Rome, later at Corinth and Ephesus, then back to Rome and at Ephesus again.
In spite of their gypsy-like lifestyle, Priscilla always followed her husband… Priscilla… must have faced many situations with a stiff upper lip.
During one of the first Jewish persecutions, Aquila was expelled from Rome. At this point, Priscilla’s loyalty to her husband may have been tested, but she was determined to follow him, if need be, the ends of the earth.”
Ward spends some time talking about the business they set up in Corinth, and of how Paul began to refer to them as “my helpers in Christ.” When Paul decided to go to Ephesus, they liquidated their assets, and moved with him.
“With their assets, they invested in a spacious home and began a “church… in their house” (Romans 16:5). They unselfishly opened their home to neighbors and started having services. Think of the sacrifice involved as Priscilla put the cause of Jesus Christ ahead of her furniture, her privacy and her security. She wanted her home to be used for the work of the gospel.
Paul pays high tribute to Aquila and Priscilla saying that they were willing to lay down their… necks” to save his life (Romans 16:4). Ten years later, some of Paul’s fellow-workers had fallen away, but not these two. In his final letter the apostle bids farewell to his friends, “Salute Prisca and Aquila” (2 Timothy 4:19)
Their witness for Jesus remained firm, and their marriage testified to the strong bond of love and always together: “Aquila and Priscilla,” or “Priscilla and Aquila.”
Imagine all that, imagine you were her, imagine you were him. Imagine the extreme relationship functionality required to lead a life such as that.
My prayer is that Mark and I will continue to grow toward God, together, so that we can walk in the fullness of what God has for our lives. So that we can step into the fullness of our destiny. So that we can further His kingdom, even through small ways, such as opening our home to whomever needs a place.
Perhaps someday we’ll reach a point that we could be used as an example in a book as “the ideal couple.”
Friday, August 1, 2008
Here is the short list of scripture references that mention Priscilla; Acts 18:2-3, Acts 18:18-21, Acts 18:24-28, Romans 16:3-5 and 2 Timothy 4:19. I will post the actual scripture that I’m referring to later on, but here is just a brief summery of each segment of scripture.
- Priscilla and Aquila were Corinth when Paul met them, they were there because all Jews were forced to leave Rome, they all worked together making tents. They were together in Corinth about a year and a half. (Acts:18:2-3)
- They then sailed with Paul to Syria and then “as far as Ephesus.” Paul left them at that point, they remained there. (Acts 18:18-21)
- Priscilla and Aquila meet Apollos, they take him aside, (though it doesn’t say to where or for how long) they teach him, he goes his way. (Acts 18:24-28)
- Eventually they went back to Rome and had a home church there. (Romans 16:3-5)
Some years later they ended up back in Ephesus, still hosting a church in their home. (2Timonthy 4:19)
That’s basically all that you can realistically gather from scripture about this couple. There are obviously other information resources that look deeper into time and circumstance, however, strictly from reading about them in the bible, this is it.
Now, you may at this point be feeling like “So what? This lady moved a lot, whatever…” But if you look into her circumstances and place yourself in her shoes, you’ll find there is a wealth of character in her.
The first thing that stood out to me about Priscilla, or rather about this couple, is that their names were ALWAYS mentioned together, and never in a particular order. Never once was one name said that you didn’t immediately read the other. What does this say about there relationship? What does this say about there ministry?
The Second thing that stood out to me, which dramatically goes along with the first thing, is that Priscilla probably wasn’t Jewish, biblical scholars agree that she was probably Roman and of a high standing family. She didn’t have to leave Rome, only her Jewish husband did, She went with him though, and left a position of comfort, influence and reputation to follow her husband. (Not to mention, she left her family there)
The third thing that stood out to me was Priscilla’s hospitality. After just 2 years of marriage, I’ve found that when we open our home to someone, it’s not really Mark that cares what it looks like, or what we have to offer the people that come. It’s me, as the woman of the house I feel a sense of responsibility to serve the people that enter out home, whether it’s for a few minuets or for a year. Priscilla’s record of hospitality is incredible, she just didn’t take a break opening up her home to the local church body. How exhausting that must have been from time to time. Wherever they moved, their house was open as a place to fellowship with other believers.
The fourth thing, which I suppose isn’t really just specific to Priscilla, but rather the early church as a whole, is there commonality. I know that in our recent attraction to the “hippie commune” we’ve earned ourselves some strange looks and a bit of a weirdo reputation. Which is partly why it’s been something we’ve kept on the down low, but we’ll let you know when we’ve transcended from closet communers (don’t worry, I didn’t say communists) to public communers. At any rate, I thought it was so cool that Priscilla and Aquila were tentmakers, and so was Paul, that’s their original purpose that they started living together, they worked on there common trade. They weren’t just doing “church ministry” all the time, but were using their skills to earn money for their ministry. I’ve read that from time to time, Paul would stick to one place for a while in order to make enough tents to sell and then use that money to keep him going in ministry, probably until he ran out of money and needed to sell more tents. Seriously, read about the financial state of the early church, it makes so much sense. It’s inspiring! (Maybe that will be my next topic of study to post up here?…)
So, That’s pretty much what I’ll be focusing on for the time being. Remember, this is just what God’s got me hanging on for a while, I don’t know if it’s going to make any difference to you at all. Blogging is the new paperless journal I guess…