small things … glory unseen

There is a great and beautiful book that I want to share with you. I return to it every few years for renewal (self-renewal). Hinds’ Feet on High Places* allegorizes our spiritual journey so tenderly, and here and there are some rich nuggets I’d like to highlight in the posts to come.

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Once the Shepherd stooped and touched the flowers gently with his fingers, then said to Much-Afraid with a smile, “Humble yourself, and you will find that Love is spreading a carpet of flowers beneath your feet.”

Much-Afraid looked at him earnestly. “I have often wondered about the wild flowers,” she said. “It does seem strange that such unnumbered multitudes should bloom in the wild places of the earth where perhaps nobody ever sees them and the goats and the cattle can walk over them and crush them to death. They have so much beauty and sweetness to give and no one on whom to lavish it, not who will even appreciate it.”

The look the Shepherd turned on her was very beautiful. “Nothing my Father and I have made is ever wasted,” he said quietly, “and the little wild flowers have a wonderful lesson to teach. They offer themselves so sweetly and confidently and willingly, even if it seems that there is no one to appreciate them. Just as though they sang a joyous song to themselves, that it is so happy to love, even though one is not loved in return.

“I must tell you a great truth, Much-Afraid, which only the few understand. All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and it most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can only dimly guess at. Every inner response of the human heart to love and every conquest over self-love is a new flower on the tree of Love.

There is something down deep that knows this is true, for human recognition never fully filled a person. But we know that our Father who sees what is done in secret will reward us, will notice, will glory in us as we do in Him.¹

Every mundane thing we do that seems so thankless and/or pointless, every time we are put out and not thanked for it, let us recall the instruction to “live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands.”² It is so worth it, dear ones, to give and to love in this way.

 

 

*by Hannah Hurnard

¹Matthew 6:4

²1 Thessalonians 4:11

these are the days …

Emily P. Freeman is helping me learn to be present in my life and to pause to acknowledge where I am now and take in all that life is. One of her ideas is to make a list titled “These are the days…”, in which you write what’s taking place in your life right now. This has been huge for me and I need to do it more. I also notice I repeat myself on separate days, without meaning to! Even so, this helps me cultivate gratitude and also helps me pray, lay my heart before God, and let go a little too.

Without further ado, these are the days of…

 

… just trying to be faithful in a few things

… a heated thing on my shoulders

… hot lemon water and tea

… reading my husband’s papers

… blossoming friendships

… new goals

… anticipating autumn

… living with purpose

… making a home

… headaches

… branch and rock collecting

small things … five roam-y favourites

Last year I wrote a post about five homey things, and I’ve been nurturing this idea of the juxtaposition and symbiosis of home and adventure, and how they’re together and different and on like that. So I thought I’d talk about roaming and how we can grow along the way, bringing home with us and making home where we are, and seizing the adventure in the moment.

I have yet to sort all this out in a coherent way, but sometimes I just want to tell everyone what I love – because I want you to experience it for yourself, in your own life! And I’ve been on a few trips this year and learned some things. So here are a few “roam-y” things for your enjoyment …

  • attention to detail. often when we travel, we’re focused on the destination and usually behind schedule. and we’re already a bit disoriented, so it’s hard to remember how to say “excuse me” in italian or which way to look as you cross the street. but i’m still saying, on top of that, to stop to look more closely. notice the little things that are different (or sometimes just as exciting, the same!). like how this hand dryer seems to say it’s going to give me noodles, or this captivating english brown sauce. or these pink rocks by a river in slovenia. there’s so much to take in! of course you can’t do this constantly, but let yourself just chill enough to have some of these delightful moments.

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  • spontaneous decisions. i am the opposite of spontaneous. for me, it is a tough decision, not a whim sort of thing. i like to think about my options for a while and consider the potential outcomes of each and then choose one in a calm, quiet environment. which is nigh impossible while traveling. even if you travel with a tour (which i’ve never done), i should think there would be some space for a spur-of-the-moment impulse. if not, i’m sad. yes, even me. because through those decisions i have learned to trust my husband, to go with the flow, to appreciate a change of pace/plans. and i often see something i never expected! most of our time in europe, we chose where to eat immediately before eating there. we switched up routes sometimes, and we didn’t have any activities planned, hardly. okay and i feel i should note, impulsive purchases are maybe okay when you’re having an adventure, but that’s not really what i’m getting at. when we were in slovenia, we were driving in these mountains (julian alps) and stopped at an outhouse. then we followed a roadside trail to see if we could get down to this river (soca) (because HOLY GOODNESS). we found the shore, but as we wandered down it a bit we also found a legit cave! and you could walk into the cave and then you would see an incredible, deep, clear pool that was part of the river. all because hubs pulled over suddenly and we randomly decided to walk a bit.

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  • doing a hard thing. you’re here anyway. do something unusual or hard. so many people speak english out there. but they also know a different language much better, and probably prefer it. and what other occasion would i have to practice their language in every day life? so along the way i learned the basics in italian, slovene, and german, enough to communicate very minimally about what we wanted to eat, greetings, etc. honestly i didn’t really need to do this, and it was a little scary each time i started a sentence in a different language. but i saw how people appreciated it and responded to it, and it was worth doing something awkward if it meant i could more fully experience those cultures.
  • saving maps offline. i first tried this in england earlier this year, and did it again in europe. it is so crazy helpful! when you don’t have data or a gps to guide you, your smartphone will most likely still correspond with satellites about where you are. so if you save a map, when you pull it up you should see yourself as the blue dot and be able to trace your way to your destination. paper maps are always a good idea, but the nice thing about this is that you can find where you are at the current moment.

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  • google translate. this was basically the key to speaking any language the whole trip. prior to leaving, i downloaded the languages i would need onto my phone. i searched particular phrases/words and favorited those so i wouldn’t have to look it up each time. but even if i needed to, because the language was on my phone, i could search for something on the go. you know what else is awesome about google translate? you can use it for a picture of something, or just hold up your camera to capture a sign or a menu or anything, and it’ll try to translate. it does better with type than print, and sometimes it’s still off, and you have to hold very still. but it at least de-mystifies things a bit and makes you feel more capable in the moment.

And you, friend? What are your roam-y favorites at this very moment? What things inspire you and make you adventurous and help you grow?