Weeping Cherries

faith, family, food and frugality

“Gratefulness” or “Why I Will Probably Never Write A Novel” June 27, 2013

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When I was a child, I used to write a lot of fiction: how the world became colorful; about the lady who lived in the old Victorian home on Weeping Cherry street; about the neighbors my brother and I spied on; and the missionary in Cambodia. I wrote poems and songs and day dreamed 100 stories for every one I put to paper.

I always imagined writing a great piece of fiction someday. I think a lot of people dream that- writing the great American novel. So, I often wondered why the dream died to some extent. Why all my current writing was of the non-fiction variety? They were simple stories about funny things the kids have done; writings about my home, the people in it and the garden we grow or the food that we share.

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I would sit and try to think of something imaginary to write about because I had such an enormous imagination when I was little. Do you outgrow an imagination? Do you become cynical with age or do you stop dreaming?

Tonight, for Father’s Day (yes, it took me a while to get this post up) my husband and I munched on popcorn and watched a movie called “The Magic of Belle Isle”. In the movie the main character, an author, stops writing after the death of his wife until a little 9 year old girl wants him to teach her how to imagine a story. She and her family inspire him to dream all new dreams again and he begins to write. Watching, I wondered again to myself, “why don’t I write a story?” Always followed by the question, “but what would I write about?”.

This time, I realized something.

 I write little bits about my life and the craziness and wonderfulness that goes with it instead of spending my nights writing out of a dream world because my reality far surpasses my imagination. How many people can say that? I am amazingly blessed just thinking about it.

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I found a journal some months back that contained my dreams and prayers and thoughts dating to when I was just 17 years old. As I read over those prayers, it overwhelmed me to realize that I am currently living them (well, all except the big old farmhouse or Victorian restoration home). From little things like my garden and bookshelves full of books, to big things like my husband and a house full of children. Things that God didn’t need to bless me with to bring glory to Himself or even satisfaction in my life and yet He did.

Which makes me smile… and makes me want to write about them and tell everyone… and makes me want to pinch myself some days to see if it is real… and makes me want to document it for all time for those days when things are really hard and I forget.   

It is the reason I can sit in front of a blank word processing screen thinking about making up some story and then before I can begin, tales of the day begin filling the pages instead because real life is so much better than any dream or hope or plan that I could have for myself.

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That said, I still dream. I dream about my children’s lives. I don’t write these down because I have learned that what God has in store for them will meet or exceed every dream I may have for them. I wouldn’t want my children to read the dreams that I have for them some day and be limited by them or somehow think that Mama’s plan is God’s plan. However, there is one dream for my children that fills most of the pages of my journals. It is one that I want them to know that their Mama always prayed for them and their lives. If I could dream one thing for my children and look back on it one day when I am old and gray (if God should choose to give me breath until that day)- it would be that my children would be called by Him and saved and walking in faith.

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I dream of the day that I can look back at my young, 30 year old self’s journal and see the pages covered with that prayer and swinging on my front porch swing (maybe even on the porch of an old farmhouse or Victorian restoration) become overwhelmed by the reality that my children have been blessed with everything I have dreamed for them. I understand the scripture, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4) It would be my greatest joy.

May my children realize that in this culture of virtual reality and even in the wonderful world of books, the best story is the real one God is working out in their lives each day.

~Jen

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To my 18 year old self June 8, 2011

Filed under: Let's Get Real — Jen @ 3:13 pm
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This week for small group, the following three questions were sent out to be thinking about for our meeting tonight.  I journaled them and after watching a You Tube video entitled, “To my 16 year old self” about skin cancer, I decided that the answers are probably better shared to hopefully prevent some other youths from making the same mistakes I did.  So, I present you with a genuine picture of my young teenage years and beyond.

What if you could go back to and talk to your 18-year old self, as you were just about to enter adulthood?  At 18 most of my worldview for holiness, purity and relationship with Christ was already solidified.  I think to be of true help to “my 18 year old self”, I would have needed to vision cast from birth. Not that it isn’t an appropriate time to recast a vision for these things, I just know for me, personally, the damage to a biblical worldview of them had already been done.

Knowing what you know now, what vision would you cast for yourself in holiness, purity, and your relationship with Christ?  I wish I could have presented (my very young self) a vision of guarding my heart in a way that honors Christ.  To explain that purity is about more than just sex but involves thoughts, motives, emotions, and faithfulness to someone that at that point in life I had never even met.  I wish I could have told my 12 year old self that over the next 6 years I would in my head “try on” over ten guys as husbands, “playing house” with them in my imagination, doodling what our married name would be all over notebooks, writing out our children’s names and fantasizing about what they would look like.  I wish I could have explained that these activities, while seemingly harmless, are the very things that make it impossible to follow the advice given repeatedly in the Song of Solomon, “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,by the gazelles or the does of the field,that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” I would warn myself not to ever start reading the romance novels I would be given for Christmas at 13 years old, explaining that fantasizing about someone other than my husband, even fictional, will not aid “guarding my heart” for the one I would covenant only to love.  I would paint a picture for me that the best romance story ever written is the one God writes for my life and cannot be found in lust of youth, the pages of a novel or the scenes of a romantic comedy film.  As far as relationship with Christ I would tell my young self not to waste time!  I would tell middle schooler Jen that sleep, books, pouring over fashion magazines, and worrying about who would be at youth group or who I would sit with at lunch will only serve to distract me from anything meaningful, and absolutely would not matter to me ten years down the line.  I would challenge myself to read the bible more than novels, talk to God more than my friends on the phone, and to serve His people more than myself.  I would also warn myself NEVER to get on the poms squad in highschool and to use my college years to develop character and godliness more than a portfolio that I would never end up using anyhow. I would explain that gracefulness is more beautiful to God in my heart than on a stage.   I would tell myself that one day I would meet a man named Paul, who will remind me so much of the Paul in the bible that perhaps I would be better served to study Paul the apostle instead of the blond haired boy in the seat in front of me.  J

What vision would you cast for your singleness, or your marriage, fatherhood or motherhood.  Now, thinking forward, what vision will you cast for the rest of your life?  The vision I would cast is what biblical womanhood looks like: “reverent in behavior, not slanderers, to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands”.  I would urge myself to work on developing those virtues than selfish ambition.  The vision I would cast for the rest of my life is that virtue is caught more than taught and while I need to be teaching my children what marriage, fatherhood and motherhood look like biblically, they will learn more by my example.  Since I am incapable of representing biblical womanhood well, my prayer is that I would be continually on my knees asking the Spirit to work in my life despite myself.

 

Autumn Doxology October 14, 2008

Filed under: Seasons — Jen @ 1:41 pm
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Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Praise Him all creatures here below!

Praise Him above each heavenly host!

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

Amen!

 

Happy Earth Day! April 22, 2008

Filed under: Seasons — Jen @ 6:33 am
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May God reveal some of His glory to you today through His magnificent creation!