Quotidian means "Every Day"

"Quotidian" means everyday, ordinary, routine acts or places. It doesn't get more quotidian than a bathroom...or a kitchen....or the bed in which we sleep. Interestingly, those are the places buyers look first, when considering a new home. It may be that only in real estate exchanges, do we humans stop to admit the fact that the quotidian rules. It is the most vital thing. Regardless of how high-powered our career may be, or how well-known we may (or may not) be, it is the every day things that are the most important to us, deep down. The leader of the free world takes a shower, eats a snack, and crawls exhausted into a bed at night. Daily.

And so to spend time maintaining these areas of our life is not wasted time. But the work is menial. "Menial" is yet another casualty of our declining understanding of the English language. It did not, originally, mean "demeaning". It comes from Latin, and at its root means "to remain" or "to dwell in a household".

Certain things you gotta do simply because you are alive and taking up space on this earth. You have to do them every day. The Word of God is full of admonishments to "dwell in the land, and cultivate faithfulness"....to "occupy til I come"...to buy houses, lands, have children, and plant gardens.

Menial work. Mine is a remaining, dwelling, occupying occupation.

So I cleaned my bathroom yesterday, from top to bottom. It is what I must do in order that my family might dwell and remain. It was satisfying, grounding work - reminding me, as always, that I am earthly and incarnational. Christ in me has never been too spiritual to scrub a floor or a fixture.

In fact, when I accept and enjoy the menial tasks that are part-and-parcel of my womanhood, Christ is formed even more clearly in me.

"So I will always praise Thy name, and day after day fulfill my vows." Ps. 61:9

Day after day after day. Every day, I cook and I clean and I tidy and straighten and fold and smooth and wash and wipe and weed and water and sweep and dust. By giving birth, I bound myself to tend life, to do it as beautifully as I can, to the best of my ability. It was an unspoken vow I made to God, motherhood was, but every bit as real as if I'd signed in blood.

Because my work fulfills those vows, the Lord receives my work as worship, when it is offered with a full and glad heart, to Him.

An End-of-Summer Favorite...

Bring your toothpicks, Gentle Reader, because we don't stand on ceremony in our house. We love to eat our corn right off the cob.

Very soon, this:

will become this:

Like this:

1 Prepare your grill, gas or charcoal, with direct, high heat, about 550°F.

2 Place the corn in their husks (or you can wrap them tightly in foil) on the hot grill. Cover. Turn the corn occasionally, until the husks are charred on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.

3 Remove corn from grill. Let sit for 5 minutes. Protect your hands while removing the silks and charred husks from the corn, as it will be BEYOND hot!

Serve with coarse salt and butter. Believe it or not, a squeeze of lime is also divine!

Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Psalm 65:9

A Different Kind of Legalism

I love the simplicity of the Christian faith. It has been said that Christianity and simplicity are two sides of the same coin, and I tend to agree. Look at the life of Jesus. Examine the early church with its decided lack of complicated bureaucracy. Consider the doctrinal tenets of your faith, and you will have to admit that they are profoundly deep, yet so simple that even a child can grasp them. Such is the life of the believer...simple, yet absorbingly and richly layered. Not complicated, yet not easy. That sums up the Christian worldview and lifestyle.

The unbeliever complicates everything. God didn't invent the rat race, and He never intended that my life be a perplexing, complex series of pseudo goals to be attained. "One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that will I seek after..."

Those words poured from the heart of King David. They are the rich creed of the thinking woman. It requires intellectual vitality to disentagle the knots of modern-day legalism. In the search to "feel better", we've created for ourselves a culture of therapy, where our every emotion is analyzed, our personalities categorized, and the results compared. We can't even enjoy work for the sake of work anymore. We no longer do "whatever our hand finds to do" with a hearty love for the Lord, with all our might, out of conviction alone....our job must match our personality. If not, we have somehow broken the Laws of Happy Living. Locked into a legalism of self improvement, we have sinned against the god of self if we find ourselves not enjoying our job.

Such an apalling lack of imagination. There was a time, when society was more intelligent and more grateful, when every sort of work, if it was hard work and made the lives of others better, was honorable and usually enjoyable.

According to this new legalism, even a simple smile should become an elaborate system of self improvement. Don't believe me? I ran across an article in a section of the magazine "Country Living", entitled "Smiling from the Inside Out - Lilias Folan shares the secrets of a powerful source of healing energy." For your enlightenment (and my utter amusement) I'll recount it for you here, word for word:

Begin by closing your eyes.

Focus attention on your mouth.

Recall someone or something that brings a genuine smile to your lips...

Radiate that smile up into your eyes.

Radiate the energy up into your left ear, then your right one.

Smile into your brain.

Smile into your tongue.

Send the smile down into your voice box.

Smile down into your heart. Feel your heart smiling back at you.

Smile into your left lung, then into your right lung.

Smile into your organs, bones, muscles, and nervous system and feel them all smiling back.

Smile that warm, healing energy to a spot that wants a little extra help today.

Folks, you can't make this stuff up. This is where the legalism of self awareness, and the rules of therapy culture take you.

Give me the simplicity of Christ and an effortless smile and some work for my hands to do. I promise, it will be enough for me.

Rains have come...

Thou waterest the ridges of the earth abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. Psalm 65: 10, 11

Many consider August to be the "crowning of the year". It is the very fullness of summer - August indeed contains its essence.

But. We've gone the entire month of August, here in East Tennessee, without so much as a trace of rain. Today, finally, the rains have come. We are expecting some good, soaking rains through Wednesday. I went out to my flower gardens last night to create a bouquet while I could linger and choose flowers and not get soaked to the skin - in anticipation of the forecast today.

So...there are glorious clouds outside, and I have a bit of sunshine inside!

Holy Wheat Bread

When God gave His son, He gave me the "finest of the wheat". May I be filled with Him...

Ps 147:14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

John 12:24...Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

John 6:48 (Jesus said) "I am that bread of life."

A Word Fitly Spoken

I like a good quote. No, I adore a good quote, value it, and store it away for future reference. Savor with me this gem I ran across today:

"God particularizes; the devil generalizes. God plants a garden within which a great variety of plants grow. The devil plants weeds in the garden that look enough like the plants to make you unsure which is which. God paves a narrow lane; the devil broadens the path until it leads nowhere. God prescribes forgiveness for specific sins; the devil blankets permission for anything and everything..."Attending to spiritual detail yields a life of wholeness and hopefulness. Habits of the heart such as worship, prayer, study, Bible reading, care for the body, hospitality and neighborliness detail the diet of dedicated disciples. Vague spirituality sits on the couch and scoffs at practices that ask something of the soul."

~George Mason, Baptist pastor out of Texas~

August's Finery

"Fairest of the months!
Ripe summer's queen.
The hey-day of the year
With robes that gleam with sunny sheen
Sweet August doth appear."- R. Combe Miller

Vivid yellow roses - a surprise from my Tim....

Part of our dinner tonight...just-snapped green beans, simmered with plenty of onion and bacon, cherry tomatoes, seasoned with coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, and a splash of olive oil...simple.

The sunflower and zinnia garden, at its peak this week.

More sunflowers!

The finer offerings of August....

....and a hint of what's to come!