Monday, August 31, 2020

Monday Moment: Right Where We Are

Ah, Monday. We meet again.

And you and I... we do, too. :) Hey there. How are you? I'm glad to see you back. How's your day looking? Mine's looking like a long day of cleaning and laundry and trying to wage war on farm mess + dirt + mud in the house. And I have about 10 quarts of peas to can for the pantry for winter. Agh. You know, farm life.

Which brings me to the point of today's Monday Moment, because something lit up my faith radar recently and it has me even more fascinated with how God sees and how God loves you and me as women, especially.

It's this: when God encountered women in the Bible, He sought us out and showed up in the minutia of our daily lives. And instead of telling us, "Follow me", or "go", as He did many men, He seems to have met many women where we were, encountered us, and strengthened us to continue in our lives and circumstances.

I mean, look at Hagar. Mary. Anna. The woman at the well. Women going about their day-to-day lives. In the midst of their own crisis, their own heartbreak, their own sin. All in the midst of their own stories. And then Love Himself showed up on the scene of their daily grind.

To Abram, He said: "Go." To Jonah, He said, "Go". To Peter and Andrew, Jesus said: "Come." To the disciples, "Follow me." And later, "Go." But I can find few instances in Scripture where God made the same call to women. He worked in and through us where we were. Was it because of the role of women and the culture of the times? Was it due to the circumstances of the women? Was it because He sees us differently?

Of course, I'm not suggesting that God has never or will never call women to go... or otherwise disrupt our lives in the course of following Him. That's ludicrous. What I am saying is that He beautifully seeks us out in the midst of the obligations we shoulder and the reality of our days, and He meets with us there: in the wilderness (Hagar), at church (Anna), on our errands (woman at the well).

Obviously there is much we could pick apart and discuss on the topic. But here's the message to tuck in your heart pocket today: He sees right where you are. And He loves you right where you are. And He is known to be a God who will show up in the midst of it all.

Take heart. Lift your weary head, dear one. You are divinely seen. You are intimately known. You are eternally loved. Right where you are.


If you have a few moments and your heart could use it, give this a listen today. It got me.

Monday Moment is a little devotional to help kick start your week. See you again next time!

Friday, August 28, 2020

The Miracle and Mystery in Farming A Legacy

We signed the papers the week we got back from our honeymoon. The homeplace that has been in Matthew's family for the last three generations is now entrusted to us.

Wedged between main street and 150+ acres of abandoned ore mines, our little place is odd. It's in town but it feels rural. We see deer graze daily, yet we have neighbors. We deal with traffic noise, but we grow crops and keep chickens. It's strangely right for what we need and where we want to be.

Immediately after buying, we set about trying to put the house right and plant a garden. (I'll be sharing so much more about that in the coming days.) And one of the first things we planted?

Nannie peas.

You all have to hear this story. The story of Nannie peas.

At least that's what Matthew and his identical twin, Mark, grew up calling them. Their Nannie and Papa grew these peas in their garden for decades right here in Cass County. The family grew up with them on the table every family gathering and holiday meal. The tiny cream peas were a staple, and no one ever really considered what they were... they were just there. Papa bought them the first time from a long-gone feed store in the county seat, faithfully saved the seed each year, and grew and cooked them for decades. What were they actually called? No one knew. They were Nannie peas, they went alongside mashed potatoes and meat, and that's all anyone cared about.

In the 1990s, when Nannie and Papa died within months of each other, their children - Matthew's mother, included - found bags of peas from their last garden in the deep freezer. They divided them up and Matthew's mother carried a ziploc bag of the peas home. But cooking the last bag of her parents' peas? That would warrant a special occasion. And, as these things go, the peas waited in the freezer until, 25 years later, she came across them this summer. 

We all stood around and looked at the little battered bag of peas. The bag Nannie herself had shelled and packaged. Would they grow?, Matthew's mother asked. We were planting our garden and had space, but would these peas germinate after 25 years? Could they?

Miracle of all miracles, y'all, they did. The peas came back to life.

In July, we all gathered around the table as a family and had our first taste of Nannie peas in decades. The family said that the house even smelled like Nannie's. As I looked up and watched Matthew eat the fruit of his labor, I wondered how proud Nannie would be of her handsome grandson, all grown up now, growing her favorite heirloom crop and feeding her family once again.

All the feels.

After the cooler temperatures and the rain Hurricane Laura brought us this week, I expect the Nannie peas to set out one last good bloom before fall sets in. Tonight I plan to can about 10 pints of peas for the pantry, and shell several quarts more. It's a labor of love, and one I'm happy to help carry on.

It's a strange legacy, but one I'll gladly help pass down.

Hope you have a wonderful Friday and weekend, friend. If you need me, I'll be in the pea patch or the kitchen.


P.S. We still haven't been able to identify Nannie's pea, and plan to send it off to the experts at Texas A&M this fall. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

More Ahead

Hope is not wishful thinking.
Hope is the audacity to believe:
"After all I have been through, there is more ahead of me." 

The garden is still producing - still hanging on - despite the August temperatures and general lack of any rainfall. At all. I walked the rows this morning, delighting over the swelling black eyed pea pods and colorful peppers and okra I had to jump to reach. (It's on my Instagram stories, if you care to see: @brinwisdom.)

We have farm kittens now. A stray wandered up in spring, starved for food and love, and it was our joy to give her both. Marble, as I named her, was pregnant, it turns out, and had her kittens one blistering day in June. There were seven. These two kittens, Exxon and Mobil, they're now called, were inseparable from birth. Their antics and adventures are equal parts hilarious and adorable. They're staying. Welcome to our little farm place you two.

I'm busy today trying to put up garden produce and batten down the hatches for Hurricane Laura, which is promising to visit us with wind and rain. There's a tropical storm warning (watch? I never remember the difference) in effect for our region, although technically they drew the red line zone 10 minutes from our house. Regardless, prayers are being said today for all in Laura's path.

Gardens... kittens... storms: all simple reminders that, even after all we've seen and been through, there is yet more ahead of us. <3    

Audaciously hoping you have a good Tuesday,

Monday, August 24, 2020

Monday Moment: "For", Not "To"

It took my breath away. Stole it right out of my lungs. Still does, in fact, when I think about it.

Matthew and I were dating. We had been to a rose garden earlier, and the beauty of that perfect summer day was still with us. We were talking, then, about life - about how everything hadn't exactly come up roses. And that's when, quietly, he said it:

"You know those things happened FOR you, not TO you, right?"

Right then, my heart began to bloom again as that scriptural truth settled on me: Things happened FOR me, not TO me.

- - - - - 

Romans 8:28 has made me roll my eyes for years. Is there a more cliche verse in the Bible? It says: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. We Christians hear it so often it can make us cringe. 

Why? Because it gets twisted. Misused. Some well-meaning people can invalidate your circumstances or hurts by sing-songing that verse until it's a mockery. Others quote it at you as if all things are good, so put on a happy face and deal because everything's fine. But no. No. All things are not good. Losing a child is not good. Cancer is not good. Financial hardship is not good. A global pandemic, lockdown, unrest, violence... these things are not good.

But God - how He weaves and wields and works these not goods together into something beautiful- well, THAT is good. 

Adrian Rogers, a longtime pastor and follower of Jesus, put it like this: In the chemistry of the cross, God takes things that, in and of themselves, are bad, and He puts them together much as a chemist might take chemicals that, in and of themselves, may be deleterious and mixes them to make a medicine that brings healing.

- - - - -

Listen, dear one. These things you're going through today... these sore things, these sad things, these stress things: they are happening FOR you, not TO you. FOR YOU, NOT JUST TO YOU. Preach it to your heart. Sing it to your soul. Remind your mind that things are happening for your good and His glory. Today. Always. The cross chemist God who also makes the roses is working even now to make good in your life.

For you, not to you.

Monday Moment is a little devotional to help kick start your week. See you again next time!

Friday, August 21, 2020

True Love and Homegrown Tomatoes

Only two things money can't buy:
That's true love and homegrown tomatoes.
-Guy Clark

It's true love and homegrown tomato season over here, big time.

Agh. God is preposterously wild with both His plans and His goodness. For our good and His glory. I'll spend my life trying to understand it all....

Hey you! Hello again. If you missed it yesterday, I'm back. I'm so glad - truly, glad - you stopped by today. I have so much to tell and show you in these many many days (er... years) since we talked last.

First things first: I hope you'll find some grace in your heart to forgive me for my absence.
Second things second: I hope, in the days to come, we'll find we're like the oldest and best of friends in that we hardly miss a beat and take right back up where we left it.

In truth, though, I know we've been through some things in our gap time. Life. Pandemic. Heart things. Hard things. Hopeful things, too, maybe. And I want to hear about it all. 

Me? I've been working hard building a life and a home I love - utterly, bewilderingly love - about 10 minutes from Freeman House. Much more on that to come. Last May, I married Matthew (who someone in town dubbed #thehunkyfarmer which is now an Instagram thing). Matthew is an identical twin... an insanely gifted musician/actor... a licensed minister/seminary graduate... and a Behavioral Specialist for people with special needs - Autism, especially. And yes, a country boy who helps me farm... thus the overalls and tomatoes above. (And... heavens. Did you catch those eyes and how they're looking at me? Swooooon.) 

Annnyway. We can't wait to share our story with you. It starts way back in 1993 when we were both 14, so we have some ground to cover.

So. Other things coming at you:

-All things gardening
-All things HOME
-Monday Moments 
-Frankie and Charlie
-Farm animals
-Honey bees
-... and just every day life. 

But most of all, just us. You and me. Friends through a LOT, right?

I missed you. Hello, friend. Thanks for being here. Hang on through the weekend and I'll see you Monday.


Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Long Hello

It's been so long. Two years. How has it been two years?

Hello, friend. I've missed you. I have missed you. And... I'm back. Are you back, too? Let's come back together and sit and talk in these coming days.

I have so much to tell you. So much to show you. And there's so much I need to hear from you: are you okay? When was the last time you took a deep breath? What's on your mind? ...

But for now, I just wanted to wave the first of a long hello.

It's good to see you again. Meet back here tomorrow?


P.S. Are you on Instagram? If so, please come find me @brinwisdom.