Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Inner Bends of My Late-Evening Psyche

Isn't it funny how light changes thing?

I'll be honest. That's the end of that thought. It's not some clever jumping point into a witty post, full of smarts.

I'm feeling a bit discombobulated, if you really must know.

Don't have a single good reason for it.

It's not a sad mood. It's just a...pensive mood.

Incidentally, when Calvin was three years old we were out tooling around in our sweet, red ride and he was staring quite contemplatively out the window. I said to him, "Calvin? Are you sad?" He replied, without hesitating, "No, I'm just...pensive."

He really was pensive.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

And I will never, ever use that word again without thinking of that moment.

The end.

OK no, I'm not done.

Here's a bit of news: We had a showing today! I whipped this house into shape. I've got it down to a science.

Mid-way through cleaning the thought struck me, "These people could actually buy our house!" I had entirely forgotten that the possibility even existed.

And here, all the while, I thought I was just a pit-stop on the Farm-a-Rama tour!

We had chili and root-beer floats tonight with a bunch of kids from Cory's new job.

Have I ever told you about Cory's new job? No?

He works at an alternative high school with 9 campuses statewide. He's the Director of Community Development.

He's loving every single minute. And you know what I love? I love seeing new things about my husband's heart, when I thought I had already seen it all.

This new job is a game-changer. Or maybe the game changed over a year ago and this is a just a smaller part of the whole. All I know is that nearly 2 years ago Cory told me about The Crossing and how impressed he was with the work they were doing. He raved about the leadership. He wanted to send them money. It was his dream job, but it was a far-away dream, because he was already locked down. He was really good at his old job. We were comfortable, in all sorts of ways.

We dreamed about a new thing, but it's hard to say if we would have ever taken the leap.

As you know, we never did leap. We were pushed. And you know? That's not a half-bad thing.

My baby is still sick. He calls medicine "funna-meen", and laughs at me like I'm loony when I say it back to him that way.

Also, I think my forehead might be growing. They tell you it's the nose that keeps growing... Perhaps I'm an anomaly?

To wrap up this day, we watched a Frontline documentary on human trafficking. They showed the little boys, their Mamas long gone, and I had to force myself to keep watching.

The older I get, the harder it is to stomach the brutality in this world.

The older I get, the more I know that it's important to see the truth; not just my cushy, insulated truth, but everyone's.

So I think I've adequately proven my point: My head's all askew tonight. My edges are blurred and faded. It happens with surprising frequency. You might as well know.

It's an hour past the time that I was ready to fall into bed, but here I sit, wondering to myself, "What does it mean to give it up? How exactly do we lay our life down?"

I'm asking. What do you think it means?


  1. This is something we can talk over when we have coffee face to face.

    Fer rills.

  2. I think mostly it means to give up what we think our life ought to be, in order to live our life for His purpose, whatever that entails.

    To be vulnerable, not having to try to be in control. (In other words, what I've been working on for a long time! Everytime I think I've laid it down, I have to take a long, honest look at myself. It's a process.)

    Hope your littlest one is feeling back to normal soon. :)

  3. I think I am in that season of giving it up. So many doors my husband and I have thought would open have not, so I am learning to let go of expectations, be content in the moment, and trust for God to provide in big and small ways instead of trying to make everything work on my own.

  4. Oh wow!! FIrst let me say how cool it is that the Lord knew Cory's dream and made it happen. To me that is just a little scary. You see my hubby at almost 50yrs old has sensed a call to go in to some sort of ministry. He is currently enrolled in a program to develop leaders in ministry. He is trying to do a 3 yr course in 2 ( it is online and he meets regularly with our pastor)
    All that to say What might it cost me/us for the Lord to grant and lead my hubby in this dream YIKES!!! I hope we you and me can truly figure the GIve it up part to the nth degree. Thank you for a post that truly touched me right where I am at.

  5. Love the work of The Crossing. What a meaningful and fulfilling job for Cory!

    Laying it down...that's a tough thought for the night. I think it's setting aside expectations of return and reward. Giving for the joy of giving because it's the right thing to do. Sacrificing for the sake of someone else.

    Having less in order that someone else can have more.

    Allowing God's grace to truly be sufficient. Period. The end.

    I'm not there yet, but I want to be.

  6. I know. One night I was making coffee cake and fretting about the fact that 1 in 5 Children will die from diareha, and what do I do? What???!!! Can I save the world please?
    Lovely flowers. Good luck with the showing.

  7. P.s. Never watch frontline, or dateline, or unsolved mysteries...that's my personal motto. It's getting to where I have to watch cartoons if I don't want to stay up all night, pensive or...even...weepy.
    That is all

  8. Your words and your roses. They were blooming bright for me. Give It Up... I'm too tired to figure it out. It sounds much better than Give up... but yet it's there. That's all I got. Did I mention somehting about tired. It ameakes me a terrivle speller and typer. Give It Up? I'll sleep on it. I'm sure I'll have something pretty darn amazing in the morning. Just you wait.

  9. Great question and one I have been very pensive about of late. I think it means to live by God's agenda and not our own.

    By the way, I am very encouraged by your husband's job story. xo- B.

  10. mmmm... to give it up. the audacity to think that we DESERVE something. that it is our RIGHT. to let go of the top of the slide and trust that the bottom won't drop us on our tushies-- or atleast if it does we will still be okay... 'cause ther are worse things than broken tushies. i always think of finding nemo. :) it's time to let goooooo now. so basically i guess God's the whale and i'm a clownfish. yep that sounds about right. :)

  11. to give it up....in my mind it means to travel through this journey of life without expectations. to do my best every single day and trust that i am going to be taken care of. to know in my heart that i'm not in charge...to give up the control i {think} i have. to give it up allows me to relax the worry and increase the praise. i hadn't really thought about this before...i'm glad i have! thanks!

  12. it means to get out of God's way! i just can't bring myself to do it 99% of the time. i feel the same way abou those shows. i want to run and hide but make myself face it. what a rewarding field Corey's been called to, blessings all over...

  13. Pensive is good.

    And I find it harder and harder to know of some of the turmoil in the world. My heart can't take it, and I wonder if I'm being selfish.... When we have our own kids, it's very, very difficult to watch other children suffering. Sigh.

    Love the flowers. Love the thoughts. Loved visiting!

  14. Human trafficking? No thank you. I see any blurb about bad things to children or violence and I run in the other direction. Just can't do it and be who I am every day. I was just thinking the other day about how quickly your life can change when you are in the home selling or buying market. You have NO idea what is right around the bend for you. That's kind of exciting isn't it? Also, is there a term for happily thoughtful? That's what I am right now. The opposite of pensive. Get back to me with that info, k?

  15. I don't think I've ever used the word Pensive!
    I think for some people they don't have a choice, they loose everything or hit rock bottom before they get it. Personally, I think you have to quiet your inner voice in order to hear HIS. Living the simple life really does help you to appreciate what life is all about. Be open to possibilities! Love, and whatever comes your way.

  16. He said pensive? Now that's funny.

    So, your forehead is growing, huh? I have a large forehead, too. My secret? Bangs. For real. They hide things.

    Giving it up? For me, it means living a life more full than I what I could ever imagine. The fullness has a different meaning, though, than what I'd ever dream up.

    Oh, and it means giving it up every. single. day. Sometimes every single minute. But also, this giving it up, it's a peaceful thing.

  17. I think "giving it up" (though I didn't link over so I'm not 100 percent sure what you're talking about) means staying focused and committed, not letting all the bunny-trail possibilities water you down. Maybe?

    Also, I like the flowers. A lot.

  18. We are trying to figure that out for ourselves too. It's hard isn't it? My husband and I (along with millions of others) read Radical by David Platt and it put a new spin on life in general--laying things down, letting go, giving up--why is it the hardest things in life usually bring the most freedom and peace?

    Great post today; ya got me thinkin'.

  19. I have some music I can share with you this week, but it might push you to the sadness side of pensive, cause I do believe sadness is pensive's first cousins...or maybe third removed, depends on you disposed you are to sadness. Shabs...I think just the fact that you WANT to give it all up - means you are half way there. Call me crazy, but I do. For me - giving it all up means to rest. To stop. To stop trying to make things work, to stop fretting over things and to trust. You are there Shab. You are. I have inside sources.

  20. oh, and ps...it's 6am CoopKeeper time (CKT) and that means it's 7 there. Can the kids come down now? If you let them come down early - that would be giving it all up. Calvin called, and wanted me to post this.

  21. a showing is fun...i must have missed a couple posts b/c i don't know why you are selling...perhaps the new job? i'll have to go back through some older posts to see...sorry for your pensive mood...and the whole forehead thing...i have no words there!

    and yes...the terrible brutality of this world is breath taking....maranatha lord jesus.


    stuff and nonsense

  22. A deep post.

    Giving up our life is going to take on different meanings for different folks.
    We are all in a different walk in our life with christ.
    Commenting how I deeply feel about this might be misunderstood by many, so, in a nutshell I truly think that in the end when you make a decision to live your life per God's commandments and you REALLY stick to it reguardless if that means losing friends, loved ones, a happy life, a happy home and so on and on... you are giving up your life.

    Your going to be misunderstood.
    By many.
    Even people we love the most.

    Jesus says that wide is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it...

  23. It’s so rare to say that the older you get, the more you think you need to see the unpleasantness in the world.

    I think that with age and parenthood, people more often than not become even more appalled, as so many of your commenters have stated. I really believe that because I am truly contented with my life and because I count my blessings every single day, I owe it to someone or something to at the very the least acknowledge that there is unhappiness and hurt of a magnitude I will hopefully never have to experience first hand, in this world; witnessing some of that, whether it’s by watching a news program, reading an article or a book, or seeing a film, helps me to, in a way, improve my own ability to empathize, extend compassion, and genuinely appreciate the blessings I’ve been given. So, bravo to you from me for taking a crack at it!

    I’m fairly certain that I have not even come close to being able to “give it up.” I’m way too uptight, overly-analytical, and fixated on planning my future to just let it go and accept life the way it’s meant to be for me. But I try-every single day-and your post and all of these lovely comments have been so encouraging!

  24. Funny you should ask that question. I've been thinking about asking you that question. This Radical book has got me reeling and I don't know what to do! I need to do something and I just don't know how. That's been my constant prayer lately....show me, Lord!
    I'm glad Cory's at The Crossing too so that once at a blue moon I can see your smiling face when I'm deep in it at work. Another reason to have our paths cross is always a bonus. :)

  25. This reminds me of Exodus: "The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." ~Exodus 14:14. I think so often we get caught up in the fight, the worry and the fear that we don't step aside and let God take over the fight while we rest. It's amazing to see the ways He is working in your life. Great post.

  26. First, I love that you expressed your mood. Is it the time of year? Is it the weather? I don't know, but I feel the very same way and can't quite put my finger on the cause.

    Giving it up... to me it means finding an inner peace. allowing yourself to be vulnerable to life and what it offers and brings. to let go and know you have the strength to handle whatever it brings.

    You seem to be on your way. Sadly, I am not...

  27. I haven't read the other comments, so I may be repeating someone, but to me, 'giving up' or 'laying it down' means neither. It means holding it (figuratively speaking) in our hands and our heart, and lifting it as high over our heads as we can, and saying "Here, God, take it, take me, and do with us what you will. I am yours, this (whatever) is yours, do Your will, and I will try to follow Your lead". At least, that's how I feel about it!

    Years ago my 1st ex SIL (I have 3 ex SIL thanks to my brother) 'abducted' her son who was in my parents custody. For weeks we didn't know where they were or if she was caring for him. He was little more than a baby, and I worried - and worried - and worried some more. I wasn't sleeping. A friend suggested that at night when I went to bed and closed my eyes, that I imagine a conveyor belt rising up into the sky, and imagine me boxing up each worry in a box, packing it up, calling that worry by name, pray over it, and send it up the conveyor belt to heaven, asking God to take it from me, because I wasn't able to carry it for a while. It worked! I often went to sleep while packing up my worries and sending them on their way.

    God takes worries from us if we will let him - it's the letting him keep them that is hardest! Blessings, Becky G. in GA

  28. Wow how very perfect that Cory ended up in the job he had yearned for! Life works out in strange ways at times.

  29. What does it mean do give it up? It's a question I've been wrestling with over the last weeks. I think I'm learning in this season of my life it means believing He is enough even when there is no promise of what's to come, walking toward the One I know and love even when there's no road laid out, surrendering daily my desires in favor of His even in the face of uncertainty. All things very easy to say, but so difficult to live.

  30. Oh Shannon, Giving it all up...for Him? To me it means, recogonizing for the gazillionth time that I am not in control. HE IS! And boy am I thankful for that. I don't think the answer is in turning off the TV when the "real" world rears its ugly head but in using those times to pray and search for ways to help even one person through trustworthy charitable organizations and/or adoption if that's an option. To help even one person escape that horrific possibility is life altering for them and for us. To thank our Maker and Sustainer that our hearts aren't so hard that we fail to see the plight of others and to acknowledge the One who "from His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another". To rest and abide...to trust and obey...to surrender all...to give it all up to HIM. Pensive can be good sometimes...That Calvin is one smart little man.

  31. I think it means to give God the control of our life. I also think you're pretty much doing that already!
    Glad Cory's got his dream job and I hope your house sells!

  32. Your question..what does it mean to give it up? I just started a book with my son, Jack, called A Message From God by Retha and Aldo Mc Pherson. We stayed up late last night reading from it and from the first page it will crack your heart open to what that question means.

  33. ...oh...and it means not giving him our hearts...giving him our lives! You will love that book.

  34. I love this post Shannon! Because maybe I'm not crazy if my mind works the same as yours? I love your train(s) of thoughts(s).

  35. oh man. i think what it means to give it up is exactly what you said. it's that push into the unknown. that unexpected jolt that makes you have faith when you thought you were already full up. accepting the quirky timeline that is not our own. love this post missy lou.

  36. My dear friend who grows flowers on her farm. As I turn the corner towards fifty my backside continues to grow-so please don't fret over your forehead. For me, I give up when I tell myself, "Glenda, no, you will not lay on the couch and watch Jimmy Fallon and mull over the conditions of our life." It has taken me a long time to understand, late-night monologues will not bring answers to the problems of my heart. Life problems are obvious to human eyes. That's how we know to give charity. But the problems of my heart are only seen by Him. I'm a great actor, He knows that. I can smile and give and work and laugh, and still have secrets I carry. So for me, I give up and whisper to Him all that makes me uneasy, resentful and fearful. I figure the kind of gal I am, this is work inside of me that may never be done. I'm ok with that. It means I will always need Him. Forgive me friend for my typing skills.


  37. Sure do enjoy your sharing some of your life and thoughts with us.

    So many perspectives...here are a few thoughts of my own:
    1) I believe that we are given these moments to learn and grow, but,
    2) I think these thoughts can sometimes keep us from taking care of "our corner" where we DO have some control.
    3) We can become overwhelmed with ALL of our blessings especially when we are reminded of how ugly the world can be.
    4) Many times "things" NEED to be turned over to God because the load would be too heavy for us to carry otherwise. This, for me, is so very hard...I think I must be some sort of control freak. When, after prayer and thought, we know there isn't much we can do at "this moment in time",we need to take care of our present, our children's present...our families present. In other words there is a time and place for everything.

    All said and done...it is good to have reflective and pensive moments. They help us evaluate and grow.

    Take care.

  38. I know this for sure, giving it up is something ever growing in my life and the more I release the more I recieve. It is slow and creeping and all "ok Lord here is this thing" and then " oh ok that too" maybe it is quicker for others but not for me....one step at a time closer to the King...

  39. Sorry about your babe being sick and your discombulated mood. i know i spelled that wrong. i'm on lissa's laptop. got your almost prank text. you're a goof. next month it will be her trying to prank us;) keeping my fingers and toes crossed for your showing.

  40. This resonates with me. There is quite a lot sitting in my open hands, raised up to Jesus right now. I'm just dipping my toe in to the surrender of it all. I just read last night that "I need to seek God's presence, not just what He could do for me. I need to seek God's face...not just His hand." Surrender.

  41. First things first:

    Love that "pensive" story. You'll be remembering (and telling) that one when he's 30.

    As for how do we lay our lives down... I don't think WE can. Really. We simply can't. Yet somehow God gives us the grace for each real Gethsemane moment. "Take this cross from me, yet not Your will, but Thine." Each Calvary moment. He brings them, they come, and sometimes we choose not to take up that cross. But sometimes we say "yes" to His grace. And sometimes we don't even know we've said "yes," because He has worked that love into our heart before that moment even happened.

    Well, THAT was a ramble. I really don't know the answer to your question, apart from Jesus, apart from grace.

  42. So happy for Cory's love of his new job, what a blessing!
    Still learning how to lay my life down and take up the cross. I believe it's a daily choice of faith. Sadly some days I don't make the right choice. Joyfully on days when I don choose to lay it down I am blessed beyond measure in experiencing God's grace.
    If you have a sec please drop by my blog. There is a link to a newly widowed adoptive mama who could sure use some tlc.
    Miss you friend, wish you were a real live neighbor instead of a virtual one, I'd have you over this afternoon to help me eat all this leftover chocolate stash

  43. God has been showing me the key to my life is in Luke 6:20-49. Wow, following HIM is not easy and He never said it would be. Laying it down means living for Him through His children. Doing the opposite of what your flesh wants or says you deserve. Reading what He expects and putting it to work in our lives everyday. I am so proud of Cory, I always knew God had great things in store for that boy! He amazes me and I love seeing him grow and live out God's purpose for his life. And you too my dear one, what a great Mama you are to three very blessed littles. I know you are facing things most mamas never dream about, but God is faithful as you follow His lead and become Him to them. Give little Si Pie a kiss from Gam, and we can't wait to get our hands on all three this week end!!!!

  44. to me giving it up means.. if God were to come to you RIGHT NOW.. and ask you to leave your wordly possesions, your husband, your children..to follow him, would you? Would you proclaim your faith and stand up for God,even if you knew you would laughed at and ridiculed? Would you be ready to give up your life on this earth standing up for him, so that you may be blessed with eternal life? I think if you can say yes to all these questions.. then you have given it up. Maryann

  45. I thought you would start up a "Parade of Homes" Amish-Country Edition. You could just charge admission and take that as a second income. Maybe invite folks to take a turn unloading the dishwasher, you know, just to get a feel for "how it works".
    oh, oh, oh!
    how about a spin-off of PBS' popular series, Frontier House, Colonial House, etc.?
    Seriously, yours is the first blog i read every day. I would say I love you, but that might be creepy-stalky, so I'll just say ...
    I like you very much and hope for God's best in your family's life.

  46. I'm right there with you. Honestly! I've been wondering what this means for a while now. I have a really hard time letting go, being still and silent, but I know that's where the answers are. I'm just afraid if I let go (again, what does that mean?) that everything will fall apart. If you figure this out, please let me know! XO

  47. I am on a lay it down roller coaster. Sometimes I'm in the front car, hands raised, driven to do anything and everything I possibly can to make a difference....whatever that means and wherever the ride takes me. Then, the ride slows a bit, then a bit more and pretty soon I'm not even in the car anymore and I don't even know how it happened. How does that happen, Farmgirl? The good news is the coaster is always in the station, ready for me to hop on again when I get my head and heart back where they belong. Yikes, Shannan, I wasn't planning to think very much today. You certainly threw a wrench in those plans.
    Now I'm off to write to my little Compassion girl.
    Oh, and your gorgeous flower photos deserve recognition. They are truly lovely.

    As are you.

  48. That same scene was played out in Jodi Foster's Little Man Tate. Just love the word pensive.

  49. dear shannan,
    i love that your calvin is using words like pensive while my max is cursing like a sugarbaker on designing women.

  50. Love the flower shots. And the word pensive. Ha. And your comments always make me smile!

  51. hopped over from cat's blog + i think i'm going to stay a while! ;)

    giving it up ... ahh! the question of a lifetime. literally. we work a lifetime to give it to Him. my goal is to ALWAYS rest comfortably in His arms. no matter the ugly that comes our way, we TRUST that it's His way ... and therefore ... we rest.

    sweet blessings to you today!

  52. I get 'pensive' at times too. As a matter of fact, I think I do alot. There's just so much to think about and contemplate every day...and I think that writers (like ourselves) are more prone. My husband does not understand my "moods".

    On a side note: I had SO much going through my mind the other day that I actually caught myself washing my hair with shaving cream - lol!

    To me, "Giving it up" means to put God's agenda before our own...and many times, that's painful and complicated. It's something that I struggle with on a daily basis.

    I awake to feelings of excitement and passion for ministry (for the opportunities he's given me and the ideas he gives me). As the day progresses, I find myself just wanting to make it through another day at work - to go home to the familiar and the comfortable.

    And so I guess, "Giving it up" also means getting out of our comfort zones. Surely, Jesus knew what that felt like. Although he was perfect, he experienced everything that we feel. If he was willing to do it, the least I can do is the same :)

  53. Always love your flow of thoughts---makes my own thought patterns feel more normal. ;) LOVE! Such a weighted question though as it's hard to be a member of society and yet lay it all down, at least in my opinion. Somehow I think that's what He's asking at times, but then I wonder how we're supposed to teach and reach others if we're also not participating? So somehow there's got to be an equal medium.....mainly based on not holding on to attachments to all the "things" or finances or any of those trivial needs....but rather focusing on the people and the love and the message....

  54. This question has had me thinking for 10 days now. What does it mean to give it up?

    We (I) hold on to so many things...from material things to emotional things. I am a sentimentalist to the extreme. Every "thing" means something to me. It makes giving it up especially hard. Giving away some possessions (that I no longer need) is like giving away a piece of me. Or saying "no" to something I offer is like rejecting me. Crazy, I know! I hold onto things 'just in case', whether it be clothes, money or stuff. I'm finding that less is more. God is asking a lot from me in this area. I'm trying hard to obey no matter how hard. And it's hard.

    The emotional hurts I hang on to may only exist in my mind, most likely lies from the Evil one. But I hang on to them like they define me and my relationships. God is definitely calling me to give those 'things' up. I'm learning.

    Giving it up means to give without expectations. Give until it hurts. Sacrifice. Jesus gave His LIFE!!! Does He really ask so much of us(me)?

    Thanks for making me take a good look at what I need to give up.
    xo jamie b

  55. thanks!
    you wrote this a month ago-i needed to read it tonight.
    god is good.
    xo praying for you.

  56. "And you know what I love? I love seeing new things about my husband's heart, when I thought I had already seen it all."---
    This has been my thought since moving here in January. Here being in the middle of nowhere. My husband is thriving. It is wonderful to see. It took getting laid off to see it. Now, to figure out how to get income coming back in... :)

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