Friday, August 22, 2014

Timothy's First Week of School {Home Educating the Next Generation Has Begun...}

My heart can't take all the sweetness...

I have always known that the final analysis of my home education career - the final word on any success -  would come in the form of whether my children chose to home educate their children, even if only for a year or two.




Here is a brief peek into a moment in the little life of The Preacher's namesake.  His momma (our daughter) is taking him through a 5 minute phonics lesson.

 Doin' school.

 At home.

He's killin' it, y'all. Homeboy is so, so smart. And he lives next door (our daughter and her husband bought the house two years ago). And I have a little secret I'm carrying around about the house next door to THAT house - which also happens to be the house across the cul-de-sac from The Preacher and me.

 Suffice it to say...well...we just may end up with the urban counterpart to Walton's Mountain.

 My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. I am living a dream I have not earned, and do not deserve. Grace, grace, and more grace. I hope your summer rocks, friends.  I am wrapping up my summer "Bucket List" and I have to tell you...we pretty much hit the high points.

It's been sweet.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Parables From The Garden {...He makes dead things alive again...}


I just returned home from a church conference yesterday.

And I just shot the picture above.  Just this morning.  
And I have something important to tell you about it, if you will indulge me by reading on.

Late, late last night, after unpacking, then promptly picking, snapping, stringing, blanching and freezing over a quart of green beans that were screaming at me from my neglected garden...

...I was watering said garden to the soothing sounds of cicadas. 

I gave all the raised beds a good drink,
then shuffled in my pajamas, blissfully barefooted, over to the many containers,
beginning with two large galvanized buckets of carrots.  

Then I turned my water hose onto 
the vintage Radio Flyer red wagon and the vintage wooden trug, both filled with lantana -
about the only thing that can sit in a container in full sun, and take these hot, humid southern summers.  

Then the containers of zinnias.

Then the shady area, where only impatiens grows in the
various and quirky containers in which I have planted them.

Interesting name:  "impatiens".

I looked at my antique typewriter - a gift from my neighbor - expecting to take in
the joy I always feel when I think of planting flowers in that unexpected space.

 {The typewriter was already in this shape when I lovingly gave it a new home and a new purpose -  
outside, in my shade garden.  Take heart, fellow antique typewriter lovers - I would never take a mint machine and plop it outside.}

Those impatiens were dead.

I'm telling you, from my vantage point, there was nothing left.  In fact, I had to squint in the barely-lit darkness to even see if there was anything...anything at all in the carriage of that typewriter, 
which before I went out of town
was lush with coral-colored petals and green leaves.

Nothing.  There was nothing but dried up sticks and stems.  I even walked
over, and bent low to investigate by the light of the twinkle lights in
the trees overhead...

...with the thought of setting the hose down, and pulling out the whole plant.   
But I was too tired.

For some strange, unknowable reason, I watered anyway.

I remember thinking to myself, "Why am I doing this?  I must be out of my mind."

As I was sleeping, overnight, I heard rain.  This morning, I did my usual - I went
outside to sip coffee and peruse the gardens.

I stepped off the back deck, turned left, and screeched to a halt, my mouth hanging open.

I ran back inside to grab my camera.

The Holy Spirit spoke to me, in that moment.

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;  So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.…"

Dear one, the Lord has sent you here today...
He has sent you to me, and me to you,
to tell you this:

That which seemeth to be dead, will spring to life in one night, when God says, "Live!"

Keep planting.  Keep watering.  And trust that His Word will fall from heaven and succeed.

Scripturally, His Word is both seed and rain.  Both metaphors
are widely used by the Holy Spirit to help us understand the power of 
everything God has spoken.

Hear Ecclesiastes:

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

Things unseen and deeply planted always spring up in
 ways we do not understand, and cannot predict.  

"And Jesus was saying, "The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows-- how, he himself does not know."   (Mark 4:27)

Take heart.  Have patience...don't be "impatiens".  

God is in the business of making things alive again.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What The Heck Is A Life Coach? {Episode 7 of my podcast, "Art and Life - Well Designed"}

I have been taking a very brief blogging hiatus, but am still creating podcasts.  I hope you enjoy!





Show notes are here



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Friday, July 4, 2014

Freedom On The 4th

Enjoy my latest podcast, on this beautiful, low humidity, soft southern 4th of July summer afternoon. We will soon be on our way to some friends' house, along with kids and grandkids, to cook ribs and swim and feast and feast and feast.  It is so nice to be loved and invited, since we are tired and still recovering from the Preacher's trip to Haiti.

Food, fun, family, freedom, and friendship.

I wish the same kind of joy for you today!

It is all about freedom...



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This Grace Message





I am sitting here, right here, right now, watching it. I had to snap a picture.

And I could not resist pointing out to you...

...she's preaching grace. She's preaching radical grace.

She's preaching the same stuff my Preacher was preaching clear back in 2008 and 2009. The same stuff that some thought scandalous, yet now the message is covering this earth.

Grace has gone mainstream - just like we said it would. No longer regarded a hokey doctrine, espoused only by a few "pastors of small churches", even Beth Moore is publishing and emphasizing the fact that the law has been made obsolete, it is now all about the message of the Finished Work of Christ.

Deal with it.

There is no power over sin like the grace of God...and I quote Beth, "The very thing our mothers would not have wanted us to know, because they were afraid it would give us license to sin, is the very thing we need..."

We are no longer under the supervision of the law, beloved. "You are not under law, but under grace."





Grace and Peace,

Sheila Atchley

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Peek At My Easel

Fresh off the easel on a rainy, perfect Saturday...



...preparing for a juried local art show in which I will be exhibiting, this fall.  I am so excited to be doing a juried show - not just anyone with a tent and a hundred bucks can set up.  They do turn artists away.

But I'm in.

Grace, like rain.