Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gardening All Day, Every Day... Not Quite!

Steve weeding onions.

The lovely potato patch... until you look a little closer
and see all of the little orange potato bugs!
We are frantically looking for organic ways to control
potato bugs before the whole patch is eaten alive!

Joanna - putting clods of dirt on the cardboard mulch to hold it in place.

Purple cabbage mulched with Chiquita banana boxes!

The far end of the garden - mostly sweet potatoes, melons, and corn.

Anyone want to come apprentice?? :)

Serious Enough to Really Change?

My desperation to make my heart and life right with God
must be greater than my fear of embarrassment
if I really want God to change me and make me pure.

~ Thought from today's sermon

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Make Sure...

Make sure that the things you are living for are worth dying for.

- Charles Mayes

Far More Magnificent

The most important person on earth is a mother.
She cannot claim the honor of having built the Notre Dame Cathedral.
She need not.
She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral -
a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body...
What on God's earth could be more glorious than this: to be a mother?

- Mindszenty

A Woman of True Beauty

"A woman of true beauty is a woman who in the depths of her soul is at rest,
trusting God because she has come to know Him to be worthy of her trust.
She exudes a sense of calm,
a sense of rest,
and invites those around her to rest as well.
She speaks comfort...
A woman of true beauty offers others the grace to be and the room to become.
In her presence, we can release the tension and pressure that so often grip our hearts.
We can also breathe in the truth that God loves us and He is good...
To possess true beauty, we must be willing to suffer...
Women who are stunningly beautiful are women who had their hearts enlarged by suffering.
By saying "yes" when the world says "no".
By paying the high price of loving truly and honestly
without demanding that they be loved in return.
And by refusing to numb their pain in the myriad of ways available...
Living in true beauty can require much waiting...
We must constantly direct our gazes toward the face of God,
even in the presence of longing and sorrow."

-- portions of Chapter 8, Captivating, Staci Eldridge

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Going Public With My Reading List on Women and Marriage

I've read several great books recently ("scandalous books!" as one of my friends called them, while hiding them from her little brother's eyes and inevitable teasing!) that have to a large degree re-shaped my perspective on singleness and marriage.

I didn't say they have changed my state - singleness - but rather that they have changed the way I view my current state and my hope of marriage for the future.

I've deliberated for a long time whether I should quote these excellent but "radical" books on my blog... I don't want to give people the wrong idea about myself or my ideals, and I have a wide variety of readers, and some people, without reading the books in their entirety might not really "get it" ... but I've decided to take the risk and go ahead and post some of my favorite passages and quotes. I'm not going to expound to you on the whole book(s) - you'll have to buy your own and read them for that! Instead I'll just be throwing out random quotes as I have a chance to type them up.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on my "scandalous books" - particularly if you've actually read any of these books in their entirety.

Danielle Crittenden's book, "What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman," examines what feminism has done for women from a secular, but critical perspective.

Even though I was raised counter-culturally, in a home that had rejected modern-day feminism, I still found her book to be an excellent dose of truth and reality - one that I can share even with friends who really don't care about a Biblical perspective on womanhood.

Danielle writes:

It's common now for the elders of the women's movement to express disappointment in my generation of women - the "daughters of the revolution" now in their twenties and thirties - who came of age long after the last feminist brassiere had been burned. As they see it, we are enjoying the spoils of their victories without any gratitude for their struggle.
We get up in the morning and go to our jobs as doctors, executives, plumbers, soldiers without devoting a second thought to the efforts that were spent making these jobs seem completely normal. We deposit our paychecks without having to worry about whether we are getting paid any less because of our sex. We enroll in science courses with every expectation of being taken seriously as scientists; we apply for post-graduate degrees with every expectation that we will use them and not let them languish when we become mothers. When we graduate, our first thought is not, Whom will I marry? but, What will I do? and when we do marry, we take for granted that our husbands will treat us as equals, with dreams and ambitions like theirs, and not as creatures uniquely destined to push a vacuum or change a diaper.

....In that sense we are enjoying the spoils of our elders' struggles....

The urgent and compelling questions that haunt us from moment to moment are the ones to which the women's movement has no answers - or, when it does, answers that are unhelpful. Is work really more important and fulfilling than raising my children? Why does my boyfriend not want to get married as much as I do? why is the balance between being a good mother and working so elusive? ...By giving up my job, am I giving up my identity? Should men and women be trying to lead identical lives, or where there good reasons for the old divisions of labor between mother and father, husband and wife? If so, do these divisions make us "unequal"?

... The pleasure of being a wife or of raising children or of making a home - were until the day before yesterday, considered the most natural things in the world. After all, our grandmothers didn't agonize over such existential questions as to whether marriage was ultimately "right" for them as women or if having a baby would "compromise" them as individuals. Yet we do. We approach these aspects of life warily and self-consciously....

But feminism, for all its efforts, hasn't been able to banish fundamental female desires from us, either - and we simply cannot be happy if we ignore them.

For in the ripping down of barriers that has taken place over a generation, we make have inadvertently also smashed the foundations necessary for our happiness. Pretending that we are the same as men - with similar needs and desires - has only led many of us to find out, brutally, how different we really are.

-- Introduction, "What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us,"
by Danielle Crittenden, Simon and Schuster Books

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Threesome at the Capitol

Halley in one of the giant urns behind the Governor's portico

Mary in the Governor's garden

Sarah in the Governor's garden

As the years have passed at the Capitol, I have wanted to quit lobbying for midwifery in Missouri and move on with my life. I complained to a friend one day, "My idea was not to be 60 and still running around as a lobbyist! This was so not what I planned to do with my life!"
And yet, there was something that needed to be done, and someone needed to do it.
So, I went back, year after year.

I would come home at the end of session and tell my family that "next year will be different... I won't be at the Capitol all the time..." But the replacement I prayed for didn't appear. So I kept going back. That is till this year.

When session ended in 2008, I knew that I had to get away from the Capitol for a good long time to maintain my sanity, my heart, my vision, my morality. I vowed not to be there full time in 2009, and I meant it completely. But I had no idea who would be there to keep tabs on things and make sure that the law we had worked so long to pass wasn't instantly repealed...

The Lord provided in such an amazing way that I was shocked...
"If God should open the windows of heaven, might this thing be?"

My replacement came in the form of two very dear friends, Halley and Sarah.
They have been there day in and day out this year and I have only occasionally popped in for a few days when something more than usual was going on.

Last week was the last week of the 2009 legislative session. I spent part of it at the Capitol with Sarah and Halley, so thankful that they were shouldering the work and I was just tagging along!
On Thursday afternoon, we left the building for a couple of hours while the Senate went into recess and had a lot of fun posing for pictures all around the Capitol.

Thank you, Sarah and Halley!

Wading in the fountain in front of the Capitol.
The sign didn't say, "Don't wade in the fountains";
it only said, "Please don't step on the tulips..."
So, we pulled off our pumps and pantyhose and went wading!

The door at the top of the front Capitol steps
leading to the third floor rotunda must be about 20 feet high.
Here, we do a symbolic pose: "Free the midwives!" :)

The Capitol as it overlooks the Missouri River.
The Governor's office is located inside the high arched windows on the second floor.

The Capitol from the front...

Day is done... Caucusing in our favorite office hang-out.
The Representative who resides in this office went home hours ago.
But for us, there's still the House and Senate Journal
and various bills to finish reading,
strategy to figure out, and plans to make for tomorrow...

Thank you to my sister, Ruth, for spending her day chasing us with the camera! :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Moonlit Photos!

Last night, I spent a few minutes walking around outside with the three youngest, taking pictures in the dark. (We used to call the three youngest "the little kids", but seeing as they are all heading towards a few inches shy of 6 feet tall, or have already reached that height [Sam], that doesn't really work anymore.)

Above: Sam took pictures of us from the roof of our guest house. But mostly he admired the moon and the stars and the night, and tried to convince me that it would be a good night to camp out on the trampoline!

Above: I'm still the tallest of the girls
(not something I'm particularly thrilled about),
but Ruth is so close to being the same height!

Above: Joanna... my baby sister who isn't much of a baby any more!
She's a teenager now! Amazing!
I do think she and I look the most alike of any of us girls...
Agree? Disagree?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My 300th post. Wow!

This is my 300th post to my blog. It feels kinda historic! Anyway, I'm just glad I've had the consistency to keep blogging semi-regularily since late 2007! I really enjoy blogging when I can find the time, so I hope to continue to blog til ???

If I don't know you read my blog, I'd love to know you exist - either by becoming one of my "followers", leaving me a comment or emailing me at wewouldseejesus {at} gmail {dot} com. :)

It's late, or rather, early. I really should go to bed. Especially after last night. Sarah and I talked til the inordinate hour of.... well, I shan't say. But it wasn't too long before the sun came up. And then we had to get up and go back to the Capitol before long. Thankfully Halley came early, because we arrived late.

But I've been away from my blog too long, so I'll leave you with a few ramblings about my life, before I head upstairs...

Today was a good one. There were lots of little things that were just nice... and happy.

I'm spending a few days at the Capitol again, keeping an eye on bills as the session winds down for the year. The pace is so different from last year, though. We're not trying to pass anything. Just make sure nothing bad (like a repeal of our new midwifery law) happens. It's sooo much easier to just stop bad things, than to try to find the strength to push and shove a bill across the finish line.

And I can't even begin to say how nice it has been to have Sarah and Halley at the Capitol taking my place this year. I really felt like I could NOT go back another year full time. Years of being there had just been enough and I felt like it was time to refresh my soul somewhere else!

After a few days of gray skies and rain and mud, the sun shone gloriously today. As I drove back across town this morning, flowers were smiling cheerfully from yards everywhere.
No wind, just a beautiful, still day with a bright sky overhead. The Capitol lawn is so lovely this time of year. I could sit there for hours and read a book or just think, but today I only had time to hustle past the bus loads of school kids and hurry inside.

I'm just really sorry that I missed the magnolias that surround the Capitol. I've been there to see them bloom for four years, and this year when I came back, their petals were just lying on the ground, old and brown.

When I arrived this morning, I found a parking space right on the circle drive around the Capitol. No parking garage fees, and best of all my car 2 blocks closer to the Capitol! Happiness!

And I found a bit of time to study in between talking to lobbyists who had to fill me in on what I hadn't seen or heard the day before.

It was Ice Cream Day at the Capitol. It's served in the rotunda - big, heaping banana splits for everyone walking through the Capitol who wanted one. (Yesterday was Pie Day - Senator Champion served about 15 kinds of pie all afternoon to anyone and everyone who wanted some.) Those serving the free food must groan when they see the 90 children on a field trip coming towards their table!

Anyway, I'm digressing... I had a banana split and found a few minutes to sit and eat it and talk to Halley and make plans with her. I'm so excited that she's going to get to come to do some prenatals with my preceptor and me this summer!

Session ended early! The sun was still shining when Sarah and I wrapped up our work and left the building! That felt amazing, considering it's the end of session.

Then I headed across town to get some shopping done for an upcoming wedding. (I wasn't really very successful in finding the gift I wanted, but oh well.) Who should I meet at the front register but Mr. and Mrs. Nisbett?! It was so fun to bump into them there!

Back at home, my family is busy planting the garden. And harvesting... I cannot believe how well our greens and baby spinach and lettuce is doing. I brought a big bag of it with me, and am piling my lunch sandwiches full of fresh greens each day. Yum!

I plan to drive home tomorrow afternoon. And then another busy day starts over.

I've been thinking about I Thess. 5:6 all day:
"Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."

I'm so complacent and sleepy at times when it comes to my life that it is scary.
I must ask myself constantly, Am I living an intentional life or just drifting with what comes my way?
Dilligence requires action on my part. Soberness requires an alertness and an awareness to life around me.

Sarah just reminded me last night of the command to "keep yourselves in the love of God." Yes, in the love of God. That is where I want to be. Sober, watching, happy