And the yeast rises…

Yesterday was the first day of school.  The official introductory step over the threshold into Life After Rehab.  We’ve been building up anticipation for this event, buying school uniforms, backpacks, and those coveted new box of crayons.  The night before was full of anxiety and fierce emotion for the kids.  (Some children more contained than others.)  We recognized old patterns return.  We caught sober-mindedness fleeing the building.  We saw lots of kicking…

But somehow, through the insanity, as parents, we remained calm and level-headed.  That’s not to imply that we have mastered anything at all, but it did show some return from our rehab year.  More pointedly, it was the fruit of the Spirit that we witnessed.  Our stretch of Rehab has trained us, if even a little, in allowing the Spirit to assert His temperament over our own.  

So much anticipation…

This past weekend, I made monkey bread in preparation for Sunday morning.  The kids usually request doughnuts, because they know I’m a softy for fried sweetened gluten and special Sunday morning outings, especially when we are running late.  But in an effort to break the habit, I thought that I’d let sugared monkey bread dough rise over night in the oven so that I could quickly bake it in the morning.  I have a poor habit of never reading a recipe more than once.  If I’ve gotten the general idea of the dish from the first go around, I figure I will remember enough for the next time.  This usually works out well for me, except when baking.  You have to be precise and accurate with measurements of flour and yeast.  There’s a good deal of behind-the-scenes science and chemical reactions going on in that kitchen kiln, that I seriously should have learned by now not to leave any of that finite math to estimations. 

I’m a slow learner…

Sunday sunup, Ava had generously volunteered to surface early and turn on the oven to bake the monkey bread.  But when she opened the door to take the swelling dough out and let the oven pre-heat, this is what she discovered…

photo 4

Thank you, Daddy for thinking to take a picture. 🙂

The softened butter and crystalized brown sugar slid off off the rounded clouds of dough and sat on the floor of my embarrassingly dirty oven.  All that salty sweet bliss…sigh

Ava and I pulled the mess out and sat it on the counter.  We gently tugged at the gooey-ness and discarded the extra dough into another pan…no way we were wasting all that goodness!  As we nipped and tucked, no matter how gentle our efforts, air escaped from the bottled dough bulges.  

So much anticipation…

for that monkey bread.  Those 8 nighttime hours it sat in wait–rising, multiplying, gaining grandeur and fluff.  We all were looking forward to its butter-soaked delight at dawn.  What we found was not at all what we expected.  It was shocking.  It was profound.  It was super-sized.

Yesterday morning when we woke for school, I fully imagined the worst.  I don’t know if that designates me a horrible mom, or a prepared mom.  But what I observed was not at all what I anticipated.  The kids were all fed, dressed (including socks and shoes, which usually equates minor surgery), and smiling…early.  Yes, early.  We appeared at school and had to actually wait in the hallway because we were too early.  (“Early” happens even less than wearing socks and tennis shoes.)


Yeast is a peculiar thing.  This cooking agent that is so small, when given exactly the right ingredients (in the right proportions) develops into the amazing goodness that gives sustenance and satisfies the rawest of needs…hunger.  We had been craving for something in our family.  We had been hankering to taste that which satisfies, that surpasses the expectations of mere bread, that which bounds over the limits of American success.  Rehab taught us that only Jesus satisfies the appetite to live life to the fullest.  And like yeast, He comes in ways that we don’t expect and ways that we can’t prepare for.  He comes in forms that do not simply fill us, but overwhelm our tins with exciting and fantastic satisfaction.  Though we don’t set the menu, we still anticipate the meal He is preparing.  As we wait to encounter what He does for our children and for our family this next year, and the years beyond, we have no idea what He will do, or how He will do it.  But, we get to wait in suspense.  We get to watch the dough rise and fluff.  We get to smell the artisan bread waft through the house.  We don’t know yet what’s to come from this season, but it brings joy to watch the yeast double and swell.  It builds our enthusiasm and anticipation.

It’s difficult to see life’s dough topple over out of our plans and not tug and pull at it’s unexpected bobbles.  We like to control.  We prefer to help out with the plan God has already put into motion.  We love to amend the dimensions of the pan/plan and how long things should have to bake in the uncomfortable fire.  When we get pushy with the strategy of God we can puncture the thin skin on those delicate bubbles of dough.  He desires for us to marvel at the size and magnitude of our anticipation.  He wants us to experience the full goodness of those light and flaky layers once they are perfected in the baking.  When we implement our own program into His sovereign unknown providence, we steal our own glorious anticipation…the anticipation He desires us to marvel in.  We deny ourselves the fine and intricate pastry he’s prepared, and end up with chewy and dense life moments that ferment bitterness at where we’ve been and how we’ve lived…what hardships have been dealt our way.

Oh, I pray that we don’t get anxious for His blessings–that we don’t preemptively pop His bubble–that we don’t steal His thunder–that we don’t scheme to discover the plans for our own surprise party.  Until He serves up the monkey bread on his precise time table, I pray that we hold no expectations, but only hold our breath in joyous anticipation.  

Let the yeast rise…

1388 of 22066

School has been good.  Yesterday we followed the rest of the world and worked in Starbuck’s.  The girls were rather productive with their peppermint hot chocolates in hand.  They not only got their work done, but they had fun looking like “professionals”- as Ava put it.



And Judah was content eating his little Gerber snacks. 🙂


Reading time went well too, with no fits.  It’s something about the sound of coffee grinding, milk frothing…just makes you want to snuggle up and read.  We will do it again for sure.  


Work here at my desk tonight has not been so fruitful…

We purchased a new computer for Family Rehab about a month ago and just today I noticed that while I thought I had my email account adequately set up, I noticed a discrepancy today between the emails my phone alerted me of and the emails on the computer.  On my phone, for instance, I have a rather important email that I would love to respond to.  But, when I look on the computer to type a response, (because I’m not that great with my thumbs), I can’t find it.  Well, after some clicking of setting buttons, that don’t mean a thing to me, I think I finally connected whatever satellite up there in space is holding all my emails with the computer on my desk.  (Today’s technology is over my head.)  The problem is that now, even though I saw for a split second my important email after I randomly came across the magic “connection” button, I still can’t seem to find it.  It seems as though my email account is stuck downloading the over 20,000 emails that have been backlogging over 6+ years.  Ugh.

I have a little square in the upper right hand corner of my screen that is alerting me every time an email “arrives”, regardless if I read it 97 months ago, or skipped it 1079 days ago.  It’s been crazy seeing the alert: new email, followed by a name and the re: line.  It’s like going through some strange time warp!  I have been reminded of things and people I haven’t considered in ages, while anxiously awaiting the alert I really care about: my important email.  Apparently the little box in the lower left hand corner of my screen tells me I’ve only downloaded 1388 of the 22066 emails in all.  I think it will be awhile till I get to respond to that email.  If you are reading this and you happen to be awaiting an email from me…don’t hold your breath. 

Seeing all the names and topics, events and groups fly by in that little ‘You’ve got Mail’ box has brought to the surface all kinds of emotions which are rather distracting me from my frustration at not getting to my current mail.  I’ve got responses coming in to a 4-year-old birthday invite for my now almost 10 year old daughter.  I’ve seen names of old college friends I haven’t touched base with in apparently 5-6 years.  I’ve been reminded about friends who were in the hospital, asking for prayers, and friends who were in the hospital bringing babies into this world.  I am getting notifications that pay stubs have been sent for money that was spent along time ago.  Quite a bit has happened over 22, 066 emails.  There is joy, grief, anxiousness, and relief all contained in those emails, and even some indifference.

(update: 3778)

When thinking about all those different people and events, it’s overwhelming to remember all the ways that God has shown his mighty hand in my life.  Even in the very difficult, not so fun times, now in hindsight, I see that God was working good for me.  This particular email that I really want to respond to possibly opens the door to a new and exciting adventure.  It’s something I never even imagined for myself, but something that it seems, as of late, God has in store for me.  I’ve been following Him in this direction and not seeking things on my own, for years in fact.  I’ve been intentionally walking down a path He has seemed to lay out for me at a snail’s pace, just to ensure it was Him at work and not anything of my own.  And even though leading up to this moment I have had an almost forgetful attitude at times,  with no expectations, now…I cannot wait one more downloading minute for my email.  

update: 5565… looks like my siblings and I are trying to settle on a theme for the 2009 white elephant Christmas exchange… (I know how it turns out, and it was good.)

Our memory verse for this week seems to have wonderful timing yet again. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” I have got to trust Him with whatever lies ahead, even if it means I have to wait days before responding to that email.  If I do indeed have to wait that long, I can trust that His timing and providence is still at work.  I can use this time of remembering the past 6 years of life through email alerts as a way of acknowledging Him and all the ways He has cared for me and loved me, especially through the really rough stuff.  

It reminds me of the sermon this past Sunday that asked the question:  What is the purpose of life?  This email I am anxious to respond to seems to give me a new “purpose” in life.  But really, as my hubby so nicely summed it up on Sunday, my purpose is to glorify God.  I can do that by acknowledging what He has done in my life in the past, what He is doing today by delaying my response to that email, and what He will do through me in any and every new opportunity set before me.  He is the orchestrator of life:  all those new babies, and all those funerals.  He has granted every provision:  every birthday and every pay check.  He has and will continue to inspire and give purpose to even the moments of indifference.  There is nothing I can do without Him, for it is Him at work within me. 

update: 7756… and counting.