The little Clay Pot

Lots of things can go in a little Clay Pot

A little bit more about the path. February 6, 2012

Filed under: The forming of a little Clay Pot — littleclaypot @ 7:30 am
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I got to spend a lovely day at the Calvary Chapel of the Finger lakes at a day retreat.  I always try to go when they are hosted because there is just something very special about women studying the Bible together.  Normally these days are just for me.  The lessons I learn are hand crafted just for what God intends for me to hear just at that specific time in my life.  And so normally, I would not put that hand crafted message out there for the whole world to see…but seeing as how last week I was so excited about the “Holy Highway” …well I knew that I just couldn’t keep this little treasure all to myself either.

He has shown you, O man, what is good and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

This is the cover to the little schedule/notebook that was handed out.

Do you see what the picture is?  Do you see the light coming through the trees to shine on the narrow path?  Ok, well lets be honest that is just cool.  I can even look at the picture and see myself looking off to the left and the right…trying to see if there is anything I should check out off in between any of those nicely planted trees.  (please note my sense of self-depreciating sarcasm in light of last weeks blog about my inability to STAY ON THE PATH!~)

 A little bit more about “The Path.”

First:

Right there on the cover–“You have shown us…”  Last week I wrote about choosing to go off the path that I believe God has set for me.  But right here in Micah 6:8 the Bible reminds me that God has shown me the path that He has laid out for me.   It is not a clairvoyant, magic 8 ball sort of thing, But a “I know the thoughts that I think think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) kind of thing.  It’s a God shows us the path if we are willing to keep our eyes and hearts open so that we can see it~ kind of thing.

Second:

“Those thoughts of peace…and a hope”–they are GOOD things!  The Bible is full (literally) of verses that indicate the goodness of God.  I must confess that on some of those wayside paths I have followed I have doubted Gods goodness.  But here is the thing…God has shown me what is GOOD.  I can Testify that HE is GOOD.   Ask me about it.  I’ll tell you.

Third:

What does God require of me on this path that he has laid out for me?  To be perfect?  No.  But to do these 3 things: 

 

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  • To do Justly–It doesn’t matter if I am staying at home with my children or working in a hospital, or out buying groceries–In whatever I am doing I am to strive to do the right thing with integrity and to always remember that I am a person in need of a Savior…no better than anyone else and that I deserve no better than anyone else.
  • To Love Mercy–I love my husband.  I love my kids.  God wants me to also love mercy.  This is not always an easy thing, to show compassion to an offender or to someone in distress.  But we love to be on the receiving end of Mercy don’t we?  I will choose to show compassion this week on my path.  Will you?
  • To Walk Humbly with my God–Jesus was humble.  (Philippians2:5-11)  Humility is the opposite of pride.  And here is the point that I will close on.

Pride is what leads us off Gods path.  Pride is the voice that tells me “I know, I want, I think, I will do it my way.”  If I am in the opposite of Pride…if I am humble… I will say to God

“God you are good.  You have a good path laid out before me.  You are Just and Merciful and you sent your Humble Servant Jesus to cover my Sins. You have shown me the good path.  Help me to stay on it today–to be just, and merciful and humble…because I cannot do it alone.  It is only in your strength that I can stay on the path today.”

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the Little Clay Pot discovers a new purpose February 1, 2012

Filed under: The forming of a little Clay Pot — littleclaypot @ 6:42 am
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When I started this blog, its primary use was to post menus that documented my journey through feeding my family reasonably local, reasonably organic foods on a frugal budget–mixed with a certain amount of random thoughts because, hey…that just how I roll.

In 2011: I started a full-time nursing position working 12 hr nights in a state hospital, graduated with a BS-N, moved to the “city” house, rented out the “country” house, started attending a new fellowship, and still helped maintain our home and homeschooling ways…oh and almost totally fell off the “local/organic bandwagon.”

Now hopefully you see why there wasn’t much activity here in the Little Clay Pot.

I still hope to post menus here…if for no one else than my husband who found it helpful. And we are starting to get back on that bandwagon!

But with all those changes I think this girl is seeing a new dimension taking place as the Potter continues to “complete the good work” that He has started by forming this Little Clay Pot.

If you have ever had a slightly spiritual discussion with me about my testimony you might have heard me use an analogy about God having a plan for my life and it being laid out on a road.  Only…in my “aimless conduct” I often take detours, only to be guided back to the path that is ordained for me by my Gentle Creator.  I will say “If I only would listen and seek the LORD I would be so much further along the path, but I make slow progress because I am always getting of the main road to visit tourist traps.”  Something like this:

My Path. Talk about wandering in the wilderness!

Now don’t misunderstand me, God has used each little detour to show me truths about His Faith, Glory and Love.  Sometimes I just think it would be nice to stay on His path and quit trying to make my own!

So I was so blessed today to find a beautiful truth about Gods kingdom in Isaiah 35:8

A highway shall be there, and a road,And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.

The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others.

Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray. [emphasis mine]

What?!  One of God’s promises is that there will be a road even I can not veer off of?!  A High way of Holiness that even in my foolish ways I can not stray from?!  To date I think this is one of my favorite aspects of Gods Truth.  And I hope to apply the concept of maintaining a righteous (not perfect) and Holy (not holier than thou) walk on the road that God has laid before me on His Highway of Holiness.

 

Accepting a little help… February 22, 2011

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel,….1 Peter 3:7a

Ok, be forewarned you may not like what you are about to read.   But, lets face it blogging really isn’t about who reads it…it’s really about the one who writes it…and this little Clay Pot is just full of all sorts of interesting things.

Lots of people may point to the verse in 1 Peter and say…”SEEEE…men are supposed to honor their wife.”  Yes, they are, but what does honor entail exactly? Buying you presents…making sure you get a spa day? Maybe never arguing with your Supreme Woman of the House persona?  Maybe…somedays.  But let’s look a little closer…that honor comes along with our being the WEAKER vessel.

WHOA! you say?  WAIT, aren’t we supposed to be empowered and strong and superhuman–never sleeping, multi-tasking, child-bearing Super Heros?

Well, look…I like to pretend I look good in skin tight spandex and thigh high boots just as much as the next gal, but truth be told it takes a large portion of energy in the morning just to squeeze myself into a pair of jeans! Super woman I am not!  So I’m not super woman, DO I HAVE TO BE WEAK?

No, and yes.  We are strong.  We do many things and we do them well…but how can our husbands find any joy in helping us (and I’m talking about everything from laundry to opening the door to coming to get us in a raging snow storm because we wrecked the car) IF WE WILL NOT LET THEM BE STRONG (ie. we must be weak)?

We are in a crazy time right now, a blessed, spirit filled time…but crazy none the less…and I need my husbands help.  I need him to help me get up in the morning.  I need him to take care of our children while I am at work.  I need him to help me take care of the meals and cleaning and homeschooling.  I am weak…I can’t do it all on my own.  And I am blessed to have a husband to is answering God’s call to honor his wife. But listen…he wasn’t always that way.  And maybe you are saying that your husband does not honor you–but here is the question…have you stopped for a moment and been weak, been in need of help, been willing to accept help even if it meant that the jeans don’t get folded YOUR way?

I’m learning this.  I am learning to be weak…and really let’s face it…it isn’t so much as learning it…as learning to accept it.

 

Gardening Metaphores June 10, 2010

I am trying to grow a garden where God has planted rocks.


I love to garden.  Admittedly, I am not very good at it…I have 4 house plants…make that 3…I don’t think I can technically count the one that is basically dead.  But I love to be outside with my hands in the dirt and the sun on my shoulders and the idea of growing the food that feeds my family.  At this point it is a hobby garden, not really a sustenance garden,but still–it grows food, and we will eat it.

I even like to weed.  There is something about it that is just brainless enough and yet attention demanding that makes it better than any other hand hobby I have, like knitting or crocheting.   And I have to admit, that the worn out old metaphor of comparing weeds to sin, never gets dull for me.  There are the little weeds that are easy to pull out…but if you let them go they multiply at alarming rates.  Then there are the weeds with long twisted roots that you pull, and then find that you didn’t get the whole root the first time, so you dig and pull and fight with that weed all summer until you finally eradicate it.  I pray a lot when I am working in the garden…every aspect seems to remind me of some wonderful truth of the Bible.

Unfortunately, just like me…the soil that my garden is planted in seems to be a “WORK IN PROGRESS.”  And I am beginning to wonder if some ancient civilization didn’t have a skyscraper that came tumbling down where my garden now sits.  There are SO MANY ROCKS!  And why is it that picking rocks is just not as satisfying as picking weeds?  So…I have been contemplating what these rocks are supposed to teach me.  What is the appropriate gardening metaphor?

  • My least favorite:  It is futile…you will never eradicate the rocks…go to the grocery store. ~ This one is pretty much self explanatory.
  • God really is “The creator and possessor of all things” because only a mighty God could possibly make so many rocks.
  • My Favorite so far: Sometimes there are rocks in life.  Little ones you can ignore.  Big ones you can’t ignore.  Heavy ones you drop on your thumb and wish you had never laid eyes on.  But each rock, little or big or heavy, was created by God and they are under His control (remember when Jesus told the Pharisees that the “stones would immediately cry out” if the people singing praise during the triumphal entry were to become silent?).  But I believe God wants me to garden, and the parable of the sower teaches me that seeds that are planted in stony ground can not  establish a good root…so what am I to do?  Give up?  No, God promises to provide…He does not promise it will be easy.  Each rock, stiff and stubborn can either be left right where it lay, and sabotage the efforts of my garden…or I can diligently place my hands on each rock and move it to what is slowly but surely becoming a very nice rock wall around my herb garden.  Kind of like people or events in life.  I can either leave them where they are and let them disrupt my life and make me and every one around me miserable…or I can set them aside and make something useful out of them.

Well, it would be nice if we could do that with some people.

But, events…those unpleasant, rocky, times in life that we would rather forget: the loss of loved ones, unemployment, the terrible twos, fights, down right embarrassing moments, the first gray hair–These events we can either leave in our garden of life and continue to work around them and stumble over them…OR I can move them to where they are making something useful, something even beautiful…Me.  God told Joshua and the children of Israel to pile 12 stones as a memorial for having crossed the Jordan river…so that the children could be told of the things God had done for them. We are to remember the lessons we have learned and teach them to our children.

So I think my metaphor will be this: Rocks were planted in the garden by God.  By His grace we can make something useful even beautiful out of them–a strong wall–a memorial–built out of life’s events, lessons and memories.  If we leave the rocks in our garden of life we will sabotage our efforts to grow something lush and  meaningful.  But if we pick them up, look at them, decide what the shape is, what we learned from it, how it fits in the wall of other memories then we may avoid making the same mistake twice…we can pick up a “rock” and say to our children “This rock is sharp and heavy…it could hurt you…don’t play with it.”  Now we could look at them and then chuck all these stinking rocks in the woods…but then we would miss out on the lovely part.  Some, I admit, we don’t want everyone to see…so we put those in the middle of the wall, surrounded by the other rocks that are not as ugly…but we can still use them to make the wall.  After living life for a while and having some “rocky times” we become stronger and more lovely.  I mean…after a lot of work, tedious back/nail breaking work, we can make a nice little rock garden wall.


 

Getting back to basics. May 28, 2010

Right of the bat, let me say “Sorry for the delay.”   The last month of school was a bit intense and the last two weeks have been spent trying to put my seriously havoc ridden home back together–a task that has almost been accomplished.  Add to that the beautiful weather and the need to get the seeds and plants in the ground and it has been all I could do to keep food in our bellies, let alone actually planning and being smart about it. In fact, during finals week my two oldest children made coffee cake for lunch to have with fruit…twice…because it kept them busy and answered the “What am I going to feed these cridders?” question.  Furthermore, in the spirit of true confession, Yesterday…I fed them ice cream and pretzels.

As things slowly come back together though…I can smell bread in the oven, and we can actually walk on the floors in the bedrooms and not on toys and laundry, and my nails still have traces of garden dirt…I feel a sense of supreme bliss, knowing that this summer is going to be fantastic.  I will be able to make my menus and enjoy the foods that I will access to at the farmers markets.  I will be able to grow some of our own foods and even some medicinal herbs that I am finally taking the time to learn about.  And I will be able to share these things with my children…so that they will know that we never stop learning and that we can always learn a new way of doing things.  For example: not going out to eat or grabbing sub sandwiches because mom doesn’t feel like cooking at the end of a long hot day but instead–simmering a stew hen all day, shredding the meat, mixing it with BBQ sauce and making a beautiful chicken BBQ salad with a side of fried left over salt potatoes with fennel and chives.  It wasn’t hot, it wasn’t hard and best of all it didn’t require extra $$ or time.

“MUD MEN”

Best of all, as things get back into our preferred routine, I will be able to watch my children be children.  As we teach them to work the soil, and pull weeds and water plants…we can watch them discover (again!) the wonderful attributes of MUD!  It is a simple pleasure…and perhaps a bit devious in nature because there is something so satisfying at hosing them off with the garden hose…but these are the things I hope to make more time for by getting back into the menu, planning routine. So I will pick up where I left off…hope you still plan on reading along and sharing your thoughts as we go.  But most of all I hope you enjoy your summer…and maybe even some “mud” of your own.

 

Thankful for the Spectacular. April 2, 2010

Filed under: I ain't Proverbs 31...yet. — littleclaypot @ 3:57 pm
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This is a random Friday Morning musing.  I have fed the kids, walked the dog, done some things for school and started the chores for the day…and then it struck me…There are only 24 more days till I turn 30!  Now I know that sounds random…but I decided about 8 days ago that I was going to embrace turning 30 by doing something SPecTACuLAR  every day for 30 days…in a sort of a “30 to 30” countdown.  Up until now I have been a bit resistant. To say the least.

It didn’t help that the eye doctor told me I needed reading glasses. Or that there are 3 stark gray hairs that stick up out of my part line and scream at me every time I look in a mirror (the three chosen representatives who remind me of the legions lurking above and behind my ears!)  It also didn’t help that since being home I have um…gotten a little snug in most of my pants.  EEKS!

So I decided that I was going to do something that I DEEMED spectacular for 30 days.  Day 30 was dinner with the family at one of our favorite restaurants.  It was very nice and made nicer by a fellow patron buying dessert for my children because they were “so well behaved.”  That is a lovely badge to wear into adulthood!  Day 29 we had some old/new friends over and had a lovely evening.  One day I decided I was wearing my pajamas to school…just because I could.  Yesterday, I intended on doing yard work (I actually LIKE to do that) and ended up cleaning the inside of the car…not quite as enjoyable but the results are SPecTACuLAR!

When I started this my husband asked me (with a wink) “Is this going to be an expensive celebration?”  I do hope to take the kids to a science museum, or maybe even to the Sight and Sound theater in Pennsylvania to see “JOSEPH.”  BUT I really don’t need to do something EXPENSIVE in order to do something SPecTACuLAR!

Of course the good weather helps, sunshine makes everything spectacular.  But even beyond that— mundane things like making my own Matzoh for our passover celebration– I thoroughly enjoyed it!   Now perhaps you could argue that I am simply convincing myself –that today, as I go around my yard, clearing out gardens and pruning trees and bushes–that I am doing something spectacular.  Well, perhaps.  But don’t we convince ourselves either way?  We either convince ourselves that things are not that bad, or that they are awful.  The fist chapter of 2 Peter has been teaching me that not all things are “IMMEDIATE.” There is a natural progression to our attitudes.  If we continue to grumble about our dissatisfaction with what we do not have, we will eventually grow to hate the things we do have. Like wise if we look on things that are perhaps a bit unpleasant, or not so perfect with kindness, we will eventually learn to love them.  And let’s face it, life is just better when we have a good attitude, and it stinks when we don’t.

So I am learning to embrace the idea of being 30.  One day at a time…instead of expecting to wake up at the end of the month and just “POOF” being ok with it.   And I am very thankful for all of the SPecTACuLAR things in my life.

 

What’s up with the Crock Pot? February 8, 2010

If you have looked at the weekly menus, you may have noticed that I use a crock pot two times a week.  There are a few reasons for this.  One: I am in school full time pursuing my BS in Nursing, and I have class on Mondays and Wednesdays.  My Husband has been starting work between 5:30 and 7 Am…the means He is up by 4:30 or 6.  While he is perfectly capable of preparing a meal ( He WAS Mr. Mom for two years…I will have to post about that some time) the last thing I want to do is make him make dinner after working all day…But I need to be on campus by 4:00?  So how is a woman supposed to feed her family?

Two: I read this post http://www.lainesletters.com/letters/quiettime.html when studying the Proverbs 31 woman.  Let me summarize in my own little Clay Pot way…

Women will often state that we can not be the Proverbs 31 woman…we can’t possibly do it all…she was a woman of means…she obviously had servants:

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. Proverbs 31: 15

So How does this tie into my crock pot?  This brilliant women  (the original author, not yours truly) learned something from the LORD:  Every American woman has servants.

  • We all have running water.
  • Most of us have a hot water heater.
  • We have furnaces.
  • We have Washing machines
  • We have dishwashers
  • Toasters
  • …crockpots.

But are servants self directed?  Do servants get up and say…”I know exactly what my master wants today…I am just going to do it all on my own.”  Well, some may I suppose, but just like we are to be servants of Christ…the more we follow after our own ideas with out checking in with the master…the more we veer from what He would have us do. And we can only work with what the LORD provides for us…we have no resources of our own.  Our appliances are very simple servants.  Every day, my washing machine performs the same task–sometimes 10 times a day!  But it still has not learned to put the laundry in, add detergent, and fill with water all on its own.  My crock pot can’t chop a carrot to save its life.  But I am their master…and it is my job to give them the supplies they need and to tell them what to do.  There are so many analogies and lessons that could be learned here it makes my head spin! Jesus has me going to school right now.  But that does not mean that I can neglect my tasks in providing for our family.  Nor does it mean that my husband should have to do more than He already does.  So, Out comes the little servant girl the “Crock Pot.”  She is quiet, pleasant looking, and will work diligently for 4-5 or 6-8 hours at the rate I tell her to work at, and given the right supplies she prepares marvelous meals.

If you are not a fan of the crock pot…so be it.  But take some time to examine the blessings in your life and the comforts that you have been afforded…and then ask Jesus to show you how you can use them to serve Him.