Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our Pumpkins Join The Mossy Wreath On The Porch

Well, we finally got our pumpkins on the porch.  Yay!  Funny how something as simple as that can take almost two weeks from the time we went to the patch!  I am continuing to learn not to sweat the small stuff.  It's an amazing feeling.  Perfection has definitely been thrown out the window.  I took away the planter you saw HERE, when I first posted my finished Mossy Wreath.  I also added a bit more moss to the wreath, filling in some of the holes.  The end result was a simple fall inspired front porch.  Nothing extravagant or over the top.  I mean, I don't think you'd find this picture in a magazine, nor being raved about on sites dedicated to beautiful decor, but it is working for us!  Just a few free twigs, a handmade wreath, and four big pumpkins.  Shoot, I didn't even stage my photo...can you see how the doormat is off center and all sorts of bits and pieces are scattered on the porch?  Sweep much?  :)  I'm sure there are a few spider webs and dead bugs hanging in the crevices too, but I like to think they just add a little bit of free Halloween atmosphere.   Hey, this is how we roll.  

On a side note, our small group had our second meeting discussing the book Radical by David Platt today, and wow.  I think if had I read this book a few years ago, I might have been too distracted to really "read" it.  I might have skimmed it, become numb to it, and then started worrying about my meal plan for the week or the laundry mountain I needed to tackle.  For some reason, this book comes at a time where I feel like I can truly be present in studying it.  The Bible is the book I know I am accountable to, but this book is sure proving to be a great resource for stirring my heart and bringing about great discussions and examination of my life.  

This blog is meant to encourage, inspire, and be a spirit builder...not squelcher.  I even second guessed myself for writing this post, but I think I have to.  I would feel icky if I didn't.  So if you don't mind, I want to chat seriously for a moment.  Be real.  Share what's on my heart.  I always love seeing all the grand decorating that some folks are able to put into their porches and entryways for the holidays, and well, their entire houses really.  It's so inspiring to see such creative work and admire the beauty.  There is no shortage of inspiration and ideas as to how to better utilize, organize, and decorate my own home.  Make this, buy that, change those.  But in the same breath, I have to admit, I am so over it.  It's just NOT important.  Pretty fun and spectacular, but so NOT important.  At this point, after some of the discussion I've been having lately, I'd consider my front porch extravagant.  Really.  

Do you know how incredibly blessed we are?  The knowledge that we could have enough to clothe and feed our family, provide a safe and sturdy shelter for their sweet slumber, and enough left over to "decorate" our porch?  Do you know how insignificant "my porch" is in the grand scheme of things?

Here's a little inspired thought from chapter 2 of the book.  There are believers in Asia, so thirsty for the gospel...riding their bikes and traveling long distances to meet in secret.  They all arrive at different times so as not to draw attention to themselves (for if they are discovered, they are risking their safety and the safety of their families).  They give up a day's wages simply to sit in a dusty, crowded room of believers and study the Bible, the gospel...all day...conversing, learning, digging, growing.  They are risking everything to bring glory to God and steer their lives and the lives of their family toward a deeper faith...and their faith is pure.  They seek understanding God and his gift of everlasting life so they might build a stronger foundation for their family and spread the light to those who don't know it.  They cry and weep for their congregation's salvation, for their safety.  They are ever so grateful for and aware of the gift of salvation and forgiveness that Jesus gave so freely, and they don't take it lightly or for granted.  

And most recently, did you hear of this Christian pastor in Iran, facing a death sentence for not recanting his faith in Christ?  The news of this is heart-wrenching, horrific, and tragic.  (I have been praying for this pastor since hearing the story, will you join me?)

Can you imagine having to meet in secret to discuss your faith?  To be terrified that you might all of a sudden be dragged away and put on trial for believing.  It's unimaginable.  It doesn't even seem real.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Instead, many of us are in the midst of fall...decorating our porches, wondering what costumes our children will choose, preparing for the trick or treaters, planning our Thanksgiving meals, and buying moss at the store to glue onto pre-made wreath forms.  It seems so odd to even compare our world with the ones above, but it's even crazier to know it's not happening in another world...another planet...it's happening to people just like you and me...brothers and sisters in Christ...right here on this earth...the place we all call home...trying to make it one day at a time...living by God's grace...and holding themselves accountable to Him.  It's real stuff...juxtaposition in the most eye opening way...really throwing me for a loop...and at this moment, it's making me think...to wonder...to question...to stop...to react.  

All over the world, there are scenes like this playing out...people in immediate need of lifesaving nutrition and safe shelter, hurt and broken hearts acting out as they rely on themselves to make it through another day, people risking their lives in hopes of spreading the good news, folks aching for acceptance, children that need a home, families desperate for aid, and so many searching for answers.  The list could go on forever.

In these same moments, I am doing things like buying a pumpkin spiced chai tea latte, shopping for new sheets and curtains, yearning for wood floors and white kitchen cabinets, and trying to spruce up my porch to exude fall so I can take a picture of it to put on my blog.  While it all feels like very simple changes and desires in my journey to making this house feel a little more like home or my life feel a little more wonderful, in the grand scheme of things, it sounds so immeasurably indulgent and unnecessary...and I can't pretend like I am not starting to notice.  Now, granted, if we ever want to sell this house, the walls do need to be painted, the flooring still needs to be replaced, and the overall cohesiveness and decor does need to step it up a notch, but I am hoping you will understand my point here.  What the heck are we all doing?

I remain hopeful that my life will count for God and not be lost to this world's standards and expectations...that I won't be caught up in focusing so intensely on what my home "looks" like and what kinds of "things" adorn the walls and shelves here or in anybody else's house.  It's all just seeming less important these days.  And right now, by the grace of God, He is doing a work in my heart...teaching me so much...bringing about lots of great discussions with friends and family...bringing scripture and tragic real life stories to mind that often times are all to easy to forget or push aside, and reminding me just how insignificant these pumpkins and the state of my front porch actually are.

Who are you living your life for?  Where do you put your focus and energy?  Are you constantly comparing yourself/your house with other people/homes, only to leave yourself feeling disappointed and constantly wanting more/change?  I feel like I have so much further to go, but thankful that I've come to this very spot.  There is such beauty in not chasing after more...simply being content with what I have...and the simplicity being quite enough.  And don't you think, when we're not chasing after more of what we "want," it then creates more time and energy to be present and able when God calls us for His purposes?

Can anyone relate?  Is your heart stirring?  Are you tired of trying to catch up and keep up...with your expectations or the expectations of this world?  Is "comparison the thief of your joy" as you read and follow blogs that share beautiful home decor, family life, grandios kitchens, and all the stuff you've ever dreamed of?  Where is your heart right now?  Any soul stirring going on?

Thanks for letting me share a bit.  This has all been on my heart for quite some time, and fortunately, Radical is just bringing it all to the surface.  Sometimes sharing in this way can be quite uncomfortable for some, making people wince and run for the hills.  My prayer is that you will read this simply for what it is.  Me just trying to keep it real...being thankful for what I have...and shouting a big ol', "Hallelujah!" for the grace of God and the soul tweaking He is doing in me.

Goodness sakes...keep stirring my heart Lord!
Bless you on this beautiful day!

PS - Even with my heart being stirred in this way, it doesn't detract from the fact that people need to eat, families are celebrating the many blessings of this time of year, and it's pumpkin season!!!  I am so looking forward to pulling together a Pumpkin Food post like I did LAST YEAR.  It might be a mile long, and I bet it's going to knock your socks off.  If you build it lick your lips, it will come!


  1. Hi Holly!
    Mike and I went to a missions conference a few weeks ago that David Platt spoke at and I just recently finished his book. It has challenged me and made me think about how I am living my life. Thanks for this post! You write so well :).
    Love, Sarah

  2. Oh thank you so much Sarah! The book has quite challenged me too, and it's hard to push it aside and continue living as usual. Challenge is good!

    Sending you and Mike our biggest hugs! Can't wait to hear of the arrival of Baby Thor (or whatever fabulous name you choose!) :)

    Thanks for the encouragement. You rock!

  3. LOVE THIS! Your porch is gorgeous and not at all over-the-top, and I love that you are sharing what God's doing in your heart. This is a great reminder for me!!!


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