Consider the Lilies

Consider the Lilies-2295

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Recently, I mentioned a project that I’ve been working on involving Scripture and flowers. It’s finished now, so I can share it!

Early this spring, my friend, Elizabeth Foss, asked if I would contribute a few devotions for a Scripture study journal focused on God’s words of consolation. A study to encourage through the hard days. Excited to work on a project with a close friend, and believing strongly that a need for this exists, I agreed. Together, with a handful of other women unified by Elizabeth’s vision, this first in a new series of scripture journals was written as part of a broader endeavor, a ministry called Take Up & Read. The first journal, Consider the Lilies, is available now!  My own copy arrived today, and it’s beautiful! The journal is nearly 180 pages long and contains Scripture readings, devotions, and journaling space for six weeks. If you are a doodler, there is lots of room for that, and there’s even a gratitude journal tucked at the back. It’s pretty comprehensive, and absolutely gorgeous. I keep picking it up to look through the pages and I am so happy. Just so pleased to be a small part of it. And while I will have a hard time waiting to begin reading and working through it, an online group study will begin July 10th on the Take Up & Read site. I’m planning to read with the group! This is also where my flower photos are involved. Each day of the online study there will be a new blog post and a new flower photo to make it pretty. 🙂 I provided all the photos for the blog portion of Consider the Lilies. I was already pouring through my flowers to make sticker sets (those will be available again soon!) so it was easy to say, “Yes” to gathering more for the website. It was great to collaborate with Elizabeth in this way: her doing most of the writing, and me taking pictures, both of us doing what we do best!
Also, if you’re interested in using this study with a group of friends “in real life,” there is a free guide to facilitate that! You can get that here. Okay-I think I’ve covered everything! Be sure to subscribe to Take up & Read if you want to stay updated, and follow us on Instagram too!

Don’t forget to order your copy of Consider the Lilies! I truly believe it’s going to bless us all!

p.s. While the writers for this first study are all Catholic, Take Up & Read is meant to be ecumenical. All are welcome!

Almost One

Small Things-1383

A year ago today, I had my pre-op appointment in preparation for Mabel’s birth the following day. I also needed to make a big grocery run, wanting to be sure my family had everything they needed while I was in the hospital. It being my first hospital birth in almost sixteen years, my younger children were a little concerned over the fact that I would be leaving for this baby’s birth. I was too, as Mabel’s birth would be my first major surgery. While I ran my errands, Jonny drove to the train station with all the kids to pick up his sister, Rachel, who came to help out that first week.

Squeezed into the day, I also had plans to meet with a stranger, a young woman named Molly who had messaged me only days before. She was a friend of Sarah’s who moved away a couple years before she died, hadn’t been able to attend her funeral, and just wanted to connect with another of Sarah’s friends. She needed to hear all that happened, to talk through it, and maybe find some closure. I came close to telling her that I couldn’t meet her at all because the one day she had free happened to be that busy Sunday before Mabel’s birth. Between the timing and my introverted nature, it seemed like a little too much to ask of myself. But something nudged me to meet her. We met at my church, where she was attending while in town. Almost immediately, I felt completely comfortable with her and during the hour we had, we talked and cried together. Before I left, she asked if she could pray over me, as in lay hands on me and pray. She asked, “Would that make you uncomfortable?” And I said, “Yes, but do it anyway.” She covered me in the most beautiful heartfelt prayers naming my specific fears about the surgery and asking for peace. I completely surrendered myself to the moment, and to her prayers. Then it was time for us to part ways. I walked outside and to my car, feeling warm and happy. I had that strange sort of floating sensation that you feel sometimes after something special happens. Sarah felt so close while I was talking with Molly, and even later as I was filling my cart. I thought that of all the weekends that Molly might have needed to visit my town, it was a little crazy that it happened to be the one before my c-section. It hit me that it felt like Sarah was praying for me with her friend. I think she was. There was nothing coincidental about that hour spent crying and hugging a stranger. I pushed my cart through Costco, tears streaming down my smiling face.

Here I sit, one year later, crying fresh tears over what happened the day before Mabel was born. I hope not to cry tomorrow! But when you’re quite near turning forty and your baby is turning one, it’s hard not to. Everything feels so fragile and fleeting and beautiful. I’ve been quite busy getting things together for this first birthday. Mabel has a few special bought gifts, and some handmades too. I sewed her a dress and a crown, and plan to make her a simple quilt too. The last three babies received quilts on their first birthdays (If I’m remembering right) but hers will be a bit late. I did sew her a last minute little felt doll and pouch necklace. And then I gave it to her early, because why wait? She’s pleased with it. 🙂

Despite all the thought I have put into Mabel’s birthday, it will be a simple celebration. Jonny’s mother is visiting with a friend, and they will be with us, so that’s special. We’ll have fruit and whipped cream and a honey cake for lunch (I’ll share the recipe soon. It’s from a friend of mine.) Then there will be gifts after which she’ll likely have a nap. By the time she wakes up it will be time to get dinner made and start thinking about afternoon sports. Time to get Keats and Gabe to baseball, and Seth and the girls to golf. Mabel doesn’t have any favorite foods yet that we can tell, so I’m not sure what we’ll actually have for dinner. I guess I better come up with a plan.

Almost one…Hasn’t the year flown?