Saturday, July 29, 2006

Still Kickin'!

I feel a little guilty having not posted recently.

I started several posts, and wanting them to be polished, I never got the time to finish them enough to place here.

So, I'm doing something I rarely do... I am typing directly into a post, just to let folks know what is going on.

Summer for a teacher (at least for this one) is packed with all the stuff that doesn't get done the rest of the year. Remember when I shaved and grew back the beard?

Well, trimming that fuzzy growth has not been a priority:

We decided to replace the floors in the laundry, kitchen, dining, and bath rooms. We have an older house, built in the early 40s or so, and wanted to get stuff that matched the house.

So, we painted the rooms in colors that seemed to fit, as the temperature set record highs.

The best part was doing things with my kids. There are many things they can't do, but we tried to be patient, and gave lots of instructions, and bit our tongues when things didn't go quite right.

And it is done! We are exhausted, there are a lot of little touch ups, but the appliances are back in place, the paintings are rehung, and we no longer are squeezing through tiny paths in a crowded living room to find an spot to eat pizza or hamburgers.

The cupboard doors are painted, latches are replaced, and have been emptied of 15 years of accumulated junk.

We replaced the door and drawer knobs with pre-WWII glass knobs...

And got an old wooden medicine cabinet.

Meanwhile... the garden went unattended, and grew like crazy!

The tomatoes crushed their cages, and the sunflowers grew, and grew and grew (the tallest is over 11' 6"!).

I know this isn't the sort of post I created this blog for (LOOK! I'm ending this sentence with a PREPOSITION!!!).

As for my spiritual life, it is thin. I am tired, and not praying like I should. I still pray each night with and for my kids. I pray for Brenda as I'm drifting off into sleep. We do the meals thing of course.

But I'm not getting out into the woods to pray and praise. I'm not reading the Bible regularly as I should. I'm not painting prayerful images.

Worshipping at church simply isn't enough. I need to discipline myself to be regular in all the elements that help me grow spiritually.

My spiritual buddy says he is going to hold me accountable, and I am looking forward to telling him that I need him checking on me.

We had our moon howlin' last Monday and that was good as well.

Ah well.

This coming week is another busy one. I'm taking a class at a university about an hour away on robotics.


I'm going to get into the discipline again.

Would you care to help?

Tell you what...

I will reply to each comment that appears here. If you ask how I am doing on my prayers and scripture, I'll be honest. Let's see if I can put in some prayer and reading time each day this week!

God bless!


Me said...

Wow look i'm first! I was wondering what you've been up to! I LOVE the color in your kitchen, thats one of my favs! And the glass knobs are to die for da'ling.
I have been lax in my prayers too but I plan on going to church in the morning. I'll put in some reading time also. God bless you! And don't be so hard on yourself!

curious servant said...

Nice to hear from you, Kelly. Thanks for cutting me some slack.

But I want more from my life.

When I started this blog things were tough. now things are rolling smoothly.

When I started this blog I honed those spiritual disciplines.

Now, when I am blessed and doing well I feel that I must be truer than ever. I need to make him a priority when the sun is shining. I want to do nbetter than be the kind of man who seeks Him when things are tough.

I was wondering... is there a relationship between the words Pray and praise? I wouldn't be surprised. I will have to look it up.

God bless!

Hope said...

Pray that God would deepen your faith. Then know that God will. I know during the worst of times that time spent with God is sweeter than other times. I sometimes wonder why that is, but I know that it is. Maybe because in those times all the other noises of life get drowned out by our desperate pleas for help. We know we have no where else to turn.

Judas Hate said...

My dear Brother,

I'm comforted to know you are well.

I am also. Tired, but very blessed and happy.

Julie and I took the kids out on the boat today. We anchored in the bay, which is about 2' - 3' deep all the way across. Around 90 degrees air and almost the same for the water. The kids came up with handfuls of miniature clams after each dive. A glorious day.

On to my true message....

I have been keeping up with you for almost a year now. As much as anyone can know another by words alone, I feel I have a grasp of your intentions and what you are about.

Something in your words touched me when I first encountered you. If they hadn't, I would have passed your blog by as I have with dozens of others.

I admire and respect you.

In this past year, we have found a sort of friendship. I hold that connection dear.

You, in turn have kept up with my ramblings and I know you have gained some insight on my thoughts.

That being said, I respectfully wish my following words not offend you......

I NEVER discuss or comment on religion or spirituality with anyone. However, I want to say a few words to you now.

I greatly respect ALL that you do in and for your congregation.

I just wanted to say, in my meager opinion; you carry IT with you. It doesn't matter to our Lord if you paint, teach, pray, dance, or kneel down at an altar in a house built in his name. YOU carry IT with you every where you go. Some people need to go to HIS house and sing loudly for him to hear. HE hears your thoughts. HE knows your intentions. HE smiles with your love, devotion and eagerness to be a better SERVANT!!

To me, it's never been about how you act, pray, love, befriend or behave in church surrounded by your peers; it's how you do the rest of the week when it's just you and HIM.

You, my friend, are 24 / 7.

God bless.

Love and prayers to you and your beautiful family.


jel said...

Hi CS,
your house looks really nice,
and the beard looks nice on ya!

I to have let my reading the bible and my lone time with God,go down the way side,

will be praying for ya and your family . take care

and thanks

curious servant said...

My goodness! I let my blog slip for over a week and find folks are still visiting regularly! I've heard that blogs are like sharks, they die if the don't keep moving. It is so pleasant to check my blog and see familiar names in the comment section!


That sounds about right. Wha I'm interested in is being just as passionate about my faith when things are good as when they are rough.

You little trip sounds fun... though a tad warm. I have this image of your kids. Great!

I'm always so glad to hear from you. I love your unvarnished approach to people, including myself. Some of your post have been on topics I would have shied away from, but you plowed ahead and done so in a way that is honest and witty.

You may be right about my wanting to please others. That is a trait of mine.

But I think the reason I want to pursue my religious disciplines so much is not because of how it affects others as much as how it affects me. I believe those disciplines give me spiritual muscles which make it easier for me to grow further into who I want to be before I shake off this mortal coil.

I believe that humans were designed to be in close communication with God, and that someday that will be our state again.

There are references to rewards in Heaven. I suspect that Heaven is far different than we can imagine, but I think those rewards come from how our souls have grown and that such growth happens best in the turbulent realm of this world, more so than the next.

I want to be much more than I am. I think reading the Word instructs, and pray draws me close. Those are reasons enough for making these disciplines more important that the tyranny of the now.

Thanks so much for your honest comments!

Thanks! I will say a prayer for you as well.

(My wife likes the fuzz also!)


Fred said...

Isn't summertime great for us? We get to sleep in late, skip the shaving, sleep in late, finish our to-do list, sleep in late, and finally, we can sleep until noon.

How are you doing with your prayers and scripture?

curious servant said...

Yeah, it's pretty cool...

But it's also a time to tackle projects that are so large that normal folks leave to professionals.

Still... it's nice to have that new floor smell!

Ame said...

I LOVE the glass door knobs!!! Thanks for the pics ... design and decor are my thing ... could watch HGTV and read design mags without end :) Great job!

There is a season for everything. There is a time to get off our knees and live ... to express in such tangible ways our love for those dearest to us ... to your wife and kids ... by spending time working with them to make your home more beautiful to live in ... what an incredible way to express their value to you! To take time to teach some young men how to do things and then be patient with their abilities. To transform your wife's kitchen and give her new floors. To work on these things together, as a family, with patience and love and kindness. What a beautiful season!

Then the season changes and it's time to find your knees again ... your walks with God ... your time with Him. May He find you as faithful in this season as He most definitely did in this recent past season!

How much more intimate your time praying with and for and over your wife and children after you have given SO tangibly from your heart and soul to them!

curious servant said...

Ame! What a nice thing to say.

Now you didn't ask about my disciplines today... But I'm going to cofess where I am at this moment.

I had to be in Monmouth, Oregon first thing this morning, so I left at 6:00 a.m. I got there in an hour, and so I had some time. I prayed just a little bit, but it didn't feel right. Said the Lord's Prayer twice, opened my Bible, and just sort of looked at I Corninthians 13.

I wouldn't call that adequate.

Perhaps I can do more tonight, but I think in the morning I will get up early and do a prayer walk before going off to that class in Monmouth.

Ame said...

It's this transition from one "season" to another that can easily become discouraging ... forge through ... you'll get there!

"but it didn't feel right" - I understand ... been there ... probably where most people hop off the boat ... sticking with it moves us to the place where we are "settled" once again into the depth and arms of Jesus, doesn't it?

Ame said...

(ps - save previous comment to remind me of the same someday :) i'm sure i'll need the reminder again myself! how easily we become discouraged! if it were not for all the many examples of the great men and women in the bible who also became discouraged, i think we would all pack it up and move on!)

byHisgracealone said...

I admire you...and the goodness and truth of your blog...

I promised a friend a few months back that I would NOT tear down my blog again (You are aware that I am the blog queen of tearing down and rebuilding LOL!!!)......

she forced me into discipline...I am thankful for her....

I have learned to discipline myself to read the Word daily and pray and stay on course....

I am living in Colorado now....if you visit my blog you will understand more....

I will continue to keep you in my prayers and appreciate yours as well....

God bless you and your family!

Jim said...

Welcome back, C.S.
The paint and work look nice. I'll bet you have a lot of paint in that beard. You might have to shave it off again?

eija said...

Eww... I would hate to have people enquiring me about my prayer discipline. It would make me do it out of fear for their questions instead of love toward's God. But people are different, I understand that. Anyway, I'm not asking you. Just telling you that prayers are on the way to ask God to renew you and your prayer life.

Blessings to you and yours :)

Oh, and another thing: I find these "unpolished posts" of yours the most refreshing. They are easier to read *blush* and kind of more "real". So even if you're a teacher, don't hang on so tight to the perfect writing :D

Felisol said...

Dear Curious Servant,
you're so goodlooking with your huge, Old Testament beard. I bet more than I have complimented you on that.
Jeremiah, I love his proud victorious smile. In Norway we tend not to be so concerned about IQ as the Americans seem to be.
Your son, however, must have an high JQ, joy quotient, which is far more important.
I know that you as a father and a teacher are very much aware of the fact that how one's skills and abilities are being allowed used are more important than the levels of so called intelligence.
I am happy and impressed when I read about your boys, how you are including them in sports and home decorating.
You are exellent rolemodels.
Be proud, be contempted.
And of course , keep on the good work.
There's a time for everything.
Vacation is,- and shall be out of rythm.
We, your "blog congregation", will follow you and find our ways back when autumn comes.
It's a good thing to rest in the fact, we are in each other's prayers though.

bjk said...

Ok call me ...whatever...but I really enjoyed this post....just glad to hear you......

curious servant said...

I'm in Monmouth right now and I have a moment for blogging...

I think the seasons thing is pretty strong for teachers. We work our tails off for 9 months, and then don't know how to slow down. So we pack in stuff during the summer. I have several projects going on...

I'm glad you came by. I'll get over to your blog soon. Promise.

I'm sure a lot of that "lighter color" that is showing in my beard is simply paint. Sure. Very sure. Well, hoping anyway. Odd thing though, didn't use that particular color.

I uerstand the reluctance. But I believe in having (and holding) myself and others accountable. A few years ago we were talking to some friends about the difficulty in tithing. Si We agreed to frequently ask the other couple if they were givingt at least 10% of their gross income. We also agreed to open up our check books on demand to show it was true. It didn't take very long until it became a habit. In other circumstances I've been involved in holding (and being held) accountable for all sorts of things. We tend to keep things secret. Byen and honest we can encourage each other. It also creates a closer freindship with folks to be open and transparent in the tough areas of our lives. Right now these spiritual disciplines are important enough to me that I want folks to feel free to question me and encourage me and to share in this area of growth in my life.

I am always so cheered when you drop by!
Thank you for your encouragement. Jeremiah IS a very special person. I was out with a friend last night and we talked a little about my kids. Jeremiah reflects what people think of him, but his default state is contentment and joy. I sure love that guy. He is 17 now. I worry about what he will do when he turns 18. He can stay with us for as long as it is healthy for him... We'll see.

I'm glad you like it. I need to give some thought to my writing style. The informal writing is an easier read, not as intense, doesn't drive to some clear, theological point...

We'll see.

Check with all of you tonight! I've got to get back to building robots!

Becky said...

Isn't it amazing the growth of a single seed? I planted pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers and flowers and you should see the garden this year. Amazing.


Jada's Gigi said...

Your garden looks scrumptious! What a season summer is! So wonderful, so full, so short...our lives in the Lord are much like that...times of fullness and abundance, times of new life, times of rest and even times of death...sounds like your spiritual life is passing through fall or maybe winter while your natural man is enjoying the summer....everyting in God is cyclical...Yes, I realize we need to draw nigh to Him...but even when we can't or don't...He remains faithful...You'll be around to spring and summer in Him before you know it!
PS I do appreciate the accountability of my church family...they really do help me to keep turning my eyes back toward Him.

curious servant said...

It is pretty exciting to see things grow so fast, so abundantly. We are having trouble getting the tomatoes out of the center where the plant has crushed the plant cage. The sunflowers are amazing. I just measured them again. From the soil to the top edge of the blossom is 11' 11".

I wrote about cycles a while back (June 15). Seasons of faith.
I feel it is important to persevere in doing my disciplines. Justin made a thoughtful and kind-hearted comment about not being to hard on myself, that my faith is steady. And while that may be true, there are lessons that can be learned only in a world where faith is a struggle, and that struggle is good for us. This isn't a time like the crisis of last year, but it is still a part of my growth, my journey. Michael Jordan has natural talents, natural skills, but to get to where he did he had the discipline of constant practice as well.

Thanks for your comments!

Vicki said...

Hey, the beard is a nice look for you! Thanks for posting the house pics--love what you've done there. We were in the middle of kitchen renovations when the grandbaby decided to come early:-) I posted a little photo of her the other day. She's improving. Thanks for sharing from the heart. I've been neglecting a few disciplines myself. Your post is just what I needed to get back on track.

Julana said...

Your kitchen looks great! We've been painting this summer, too. It's a lot of work. Discipline slides in summer, when you build your life around a school schedule most of the year. I like being more relaxed, but know it's not good to live all the time this way. My garden is totally overgrown. It's just been too hot to spend time out there!

Dale D said...

Nice to pictures of the house and the yard. Brings back memories. Thanks for posting.