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The cows are on the road. the cows that belong to the rancher neighbour from down the road, and he’s out with his family, moving them or herding them or gathering them up. I’m not sure what the goal is, but the cows are there, and we stop and wait. Our Sunday afternoon interrupted.

It is a much-interrupted bit of time, lately. The boy home for a few weeks, interrupting the routine of school and work. The class I am taking interrupting the weekend. Sniffles and coughs interrupting the sleep. All of it interrupting the writing.

I’m thinking, though, that interruptions are not such a bad thing. To be shaken out of routine, to stop the flow and think differently for a bit, to consider a different way in the midst of the headlong rush.

When I interrupt with intention, it’s sabbath, and that is what I am noticing today.

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These have been the busy times of going and doing. Rushing through the days, full and frantic and they are good, these days of spending. Spending the minutes like I’m filthy rich, pulling activity after activity from bottomless pockets. Generously paying out the time in friendship and service and fun fun fun.

Last night I walked with the dog, down the dirt road behind the house and through the neighbour’s fields of peas, pods drying already in the summer sun. I laughed out loud at the pup’s crazy up-and-down bouncy run through the tall crop and I listened to the grasshoppers rustling about and I took in deep breaths of quiet.

I came home thirsty.

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I hadn’t realized how dry I’d become. I’d been getting by on a sip here and a sip there. You too, maybe?

Today I’m visiting En Gedi.

Today I’m escaping and resting … hiding and drinking deep of those things that quench thirst. A little scripture, a walk, a few words tossed up on the screen. Some music, some lunch, some rest. A conversation or two, maybe. Or maybe not. Some bread baked and some laundry folded.

Green pastures and quiet waters.

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Today I need to stop and hold out my hands and receive.

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I remember going to a thing with an old boyfriend once. It was a fancy thing that required shoes, not Birkenstocks, and I’m pretty sure I was wearing a dress (don’t faint). I don’t remember the occasion, but boyfriend’s mom and her date were there too, and boyfriend’s mom’s date was a really good dancer.

Like, ballroom twirly stuff.

I am not a good dancer.

I grew up in a church that didn’t even allow instruments in worship, for heaven’s sake (pun-intended), and dancing was certainly not on the list of approved activities so, you know, I’m pretty much dance-challenged.

Remember Kevin James in that Will Smith movie where Will Smith is the cool dating guru and he’s trying to teach Kevin James to dance, but when Will Smith isn’t looking Kevin James does his white boy ugly dance thing? Well, I make Kevin James look good.

So, we’re at this thing and I’m trying to be all cool, nursing a glass of wine because I also grew up strictly non-alcoholic but I was young and trying on this Little Rebellion but I didn’t really like the taste, to be honest. So I sipped a bit and chatted uncomfortably with people I didn’t know who were sipping more than a bit, and then boyfriend’s mom’s date asked me to dance.

Gulp.

It wasn’t pretty.

I just couldn’t get my feet to do what my brain was telling them. Shuffle shuffle stumble apologize shuffle shuffle.

I wanted to do it. I wanted to glide around the floor effortlessly, dipping and swaying or at least not having to count out loud. In my head I could do it. I could see myself doing it. But … no.

Rhythm on the dance floor does not come naturally to me.

Rhythm, spiritual rhythm, is not natural for me either.

Religion is easier. Do’s and don’ts, and if you slip up and do the don’t, repent and start over.

But this whole thing of living a life that flows beautifully in the rhythm of spiritual practices and disciplines? It feels like I’m back on that ballroom dance floor. I can see the beauty in my head. I long for it to be natural and effortless. But I know I’m awkwardly stumbling around, bumping into things and stepping on toes.

This time, though, I really want it. I’m willing to take lessons and practice and endure the awkwardness of trying to do it better. To live it better. To dance.

Solitude. Sabbath. Lectio Devina. These are some of the new moves I’m working on.

Anyone else want to dance, too?

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I’m blogging today over at How to Homeschool High School on the idea of balance, and the futility (in my opinion!) of seeking it in your life. You can read the article here. Perhaps I’ll see you there?

Have a great Thursday, friends!

They are resting on the open door of the oven, the heat on low and a towel for a blankie, and the rising happens without any other help from me. The mixing and kneading and forming, the work of making the bread, is done. All there is for it now, is the resting. And the rising that the resting gives birth to, now, is out of my hands.

This morning, the bread-making is a quiet thing. The husband and boys are away to other tasks. The house is peaceful and the day is calm. The list, with its many things To Do waits quietly as well, and while the bread rests, so do I.

I take the minutes of quiet as a gift, and I spend them on myself. Quiet rest. And the rising will happen.

My husband works hard all week. He crawls out of bed at 4:30 every Monday morning to go and do this …

 

I don’t get to send him off to work each morning; I can’t welcome him home in the evening. Monday mornings, when that alarm goes off, I manage a sleepy drive safe, or a have a good week, and then he’s gone, surrendered to the world of power poles and grumpy supervisors and hotel rooms. And my widow week begins – children and school and … life.

And then he’s home, both of us tired from our days. And I walk into his weary arms and he nuzzles his face into my neck and breathes deep. And he says, almost always, that it is his favourite perfume. The smell of coming home.

And that is how we begin our weekend. The not-long-enough-time before he has to leave again.

And it’s why we go for breakfast together on Saturday mornings, and it’s why I say no to some weekend things, and it’s why we try to sabbath on our Sunday afternoons.

Because it’s never enough time.

This morning I am in the before holiday time. The packing, organizing, last minute time. I’m anticipating tomorrow. But today is the doing. The getting there.

I’m looking at the weather forecast and seeing snow and rain and cold. I’m looking at the pile of clean, folded laundry and thinking, I need to pack. I see my dog and the dirty dishes and the muddy porch and the list on the fridge, and I think, it is so much work to go. I look at the clock and I dread the next few hours of getting ready. So I sit down, take a breath, sip my tea. Write a few words.

And I remember why.

I will be blessed by two days at a homeschool conference, sitting at the feet of Sally Clarkson, who I have read and loved since I first started homeschooling. I am thirsty for this. For time with other homeschooling moms. For a chance to sit and listen and be encouraged. For reuniting with friends. I will drink deep and long this weekend.

I will be blessed by four days next week in the mountains with my husband. Snow or sunshine, I am thirsty for this. For time with him. For time. I am thankful for parents who will care for my children.

I will be blessed by time spent with my family, away from the concerns and the chores and the routines of our lives.

I look forward to these things, these times. I thank Him for the blessings that will be, and for His grace today. For all the doing that must happen today to support the going and the resting and the renewing.

It is the way of things. The work before the feast. The labour before the reward. The time before is important. The rest is sweeter for it.