beginnings + endings

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It’s the shoulder-season time of year, things beginning and ending.  Schools nearing their finish, spring bursting into summer.  Pools are opening, farmers markets are filling with first fruits.

Phoebe had her ballet recital a few days ago and did so well!  We were so proud of all her hard work and focus, and truly amazed at how much she has learned this year.  I don’t know that we can afford to keep her in classes going forward, but it was a joy to see her complete a semester.  She was way too grown up in her makeup (gag, though–sort of hate seeing kids in makeup.  Luckily she hated it too and couldn’t wait to get it off) and she was enamored watching the rest of her dance company do their performances.  So fun to watch her.

We gave Phoebe a violin for her birthday in December but had to pack it up rather quickly since we were moving shortly thereafter and I had no idea how to tune it, so she hadn’t really been allowed to try it out.  I felt a bit like a horrible mom for giving her a gift and then basically putting it away for months.. so we found a little local music store and went this week to get it tuned and learn a bit how to hold it.  I’d like to start her in some lessons soon.  She is eager to learn and has been pulling it out and playing often now that she’s allowed.  I want our home to be filled with music, even though the beginning process of learning and instrument feels a bit painful.  I know older moms whose kiddos play and sing together (even my own siblings and I) and the sacrifice in the beginning (of more noise) is so worthwhile in the end!

I do some photography on the side (very little! very amateur!) for my dad and husband’s remodeling business, taking “after” pictures of their work for their website.  I was out at a client’s home in Fairview and stopped by a little self-serve farm stand nearby to pick up fresh flowers and fresh strawberries.  These berries are the best.  Everything from that farm stand is impeccable, and I’m rarely out that way so I stop there whenever I am.  Anyway, I knew we had to make a strawberry pie with those berries, and fresh homemade vanilla ice cream.  So Phoebe and I got to work on that in the afternoon, after wrapping up some school work while the other two were sleeping.  It’s fun to bake with her but also messy and sometimes I’m not up for the extra work.  Our pie was pretty good, but not quite what I was imagining.  Anyone have a good strawberry pie recipe (gluten free/paleo)?  Brandon loved it, though.

We’ve had a lot of rain this past week and the last couple of days have finally been dry and warm and sunny, so we checked on our little green growing things.  Our garden is a bed of hope for me, a reminder of so many precious truths: seeds will produce fruit, hope begins in the dark soil but eventually bursts into reality.  Great bounty comes from small endeavors in faithfulness.  We grow whatever we feed + nurture. Weeds come easy and choke out the good plants, while the good plants take more effort to grow.  Putting hands in soil, watering daily, watching and waiting–it somehow teaches me on a deeper level than just reading about seeds and soil.  Physically toiling in it preaches.  It reminds me of Jesus’ giving us the gift of the Lord’s supper: bread and wine.  Physical elements that we are meant to regularly handle, touch, taste, see, smell.  It preaches the Gospel to us in a different way, a physical way.  Every time I take the Lord’s supper, the experience of it itself preaches, brings new understanding, new enjoyment of God, deeper worship of Him.  We are busy growing things aren’t we–all these beginnings and endings, these little indicators that seasons are passing, time is moving, children are growing right before our eyes.  Time is slipping away, pushing forward whether we are ready for it or not.  We can’t hold a single day down.  We can see it and receive it and enjoy it and then it slips right out of our hands, making room for the next day, the next beginning.

I’ve been reading in Ecclesiastes for the past couple of weeks as I study through the Old Testament (using Nancy Guthrie’s Seeing Jesus in the OT series, which I highly recommend!) Anyway, I’ve been reading about toil and meaninglessness and vanity and living for the moment.  It’s been a bit depressing for me at times, because in some ways I find my cynical self agreeing with the hopelessness of the author at times.  Does any of this matter?  All this toil that seems to produce so little?  Yet we have a hope that the author didn’t yet have, the hope we find in Christ who reversed the curse when He rose from the dead and who gives value to all of our work, telling us that whatever we do for the least of these in His name will last.  It’s a mystery to me still, but yet I plod onward–learning to do small things with care and love and with eyes fixed on Jesus, finding Him and worshiping Him in all the little beginnings and endings.  It’s part of why I blog here–to see the ordinary, holy moments in my days, to mark the passing of time, to savor the things that I so easily miss, to look and hunt for beauty in the bread and in the wine.  To see that He gives everything, and everything I have is somehow a gift from Him, even the hard things.  All is grace.  He withholds no good thing from us.

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