31 May 2014

Muddling through Metamorphosis

“How does one become a butterfly?" she asked. 
"You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”

Yep, you guessed it! Another butterfly quote by anonymous!

Don't you wish there was some sort of formula for life transitions? One that was quick and easy to remember (like r*t = d... or the Pythagorean theorem...?) and that always worked, regardless of all those other circumstances and differing perspectives? Or some sort of herbal medication - a few drops under the tongue twice a day and improvement seen rapidly?

But there isn't one... at least not that we've found.

Even within our family. There are ten of us, and each one of us responds differently, needs different things, hurts in different ways. As a family, we experience a cacophony of celebrations and catastrophes...


30 May 2014

Five Minute Friday ~ Nothing

Tomorrow is her last day of junior high... 


Dressed up with her classmates for "Storybook Day" during Spirit Week, in front of the wall her class designed and then built.

It's hard to believe I was pregnant with her when we moved to Quebec the first time, just over fourteen years ago, to begin French language study.

She was born there... and that's probably why we pronounce her name "Ah-nna," like the French. 

My language tutor and I called her "notre petit ananas." She accompanied me to my sessions three times a week. I always had her bundled up because my language tutor smoked like a chimney - but cut way back, kept her windows open and only smoked on her balcony even in the midst of a frigid Canadian winter - wanting to make it so that when we arrived every MWF morning for nearly five months, her apartment only vaguely hinted of that cigarette smell.

She's probably the most introverted one in our family. Even as an infant, she hated the nursery, hated it when Mama left, and was happiest when we were traveling in the car... For then, everyone she loved most was, literally, within arm's reach. And so this unpredictable-never-know-what-to-expect life we lead as missionaries... as strangers in a foreign land only to come back to often feel like strangers where we know we shouldn't be... can be hard on her.

She's had some big moments of discouragement this year. She misses our African life in Niger. She misses her friends. She desperately misses Butterscotch, Beethoven, Sasha, Achilles, Hera, her doves and the hedgehogs that lived in our storage room. She and Nadia (who've claimed each other as BFFs for as long as I can remember) have been more separated at school that almost ever before. But she's also had some huge victories - dyslexia/dysgraphia make school more work for her than it is for the average student... I never hear her complain about the unfairness of it all. And the only class where she receives support any more is Algebra - which is an advanced class. It puts a smile in my heart to see her walking, talking and laughing with her classmates - and I'm still totally fine that she still prefers talking to her girlfriends than she does "the guys!" 

She's also got some huge hurdles to face in the relatively near future. Thinking about re-entering a French school system at the high school level when we move back to Quebec next year, Lord-willing? Well, it is pretty terrifying and there have been tears... her, her mama and her daddy have all shed a few together.

She could wallow in that fear, but so far she's shed those tears and then put her smile back on her face and bravely gone back out to push herself like she always does. Volleyball... basketball... violin lessons (and playing in a recital)... signing up for drama class next year... I wonder what's next?

She came home today announcing a pretty awesome score (especially after the curve) on her Algebra final exam... even though last night we'd had a mighty serious discussion, (I was helping her to study) about how poorly she'd budgeted her time while preparing for that one exam.

She really does have the cutest nose of all the Wrights and Wrightlings. We've voted and it was unanimous. Check out her profile sometime!

Nothing seems to knock this girl down for long. When it does happen, she usually doesn't wait around for anyone to give her a hand up, either... instead, popping "out of the snow, like daisies!" to quote a favorite movie.

Some days, I really think, "I wanna be just like her when I grow up..."

Can you guess her class theme... and her specific character... for Storybook dress-up day?

Linking up with Lisa-Jo for another 5MF.

26 May 2014

Encountering Jesus ~ Why (Part 2)

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. 
The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” (John 9.1-12)
I left off last time noting that Jesus had answered the disciples' undercover "Why?" question by telling them that the blind man's suffering had occurred for one reason: "...that the works of God might be displayed in him."

I wonder ~ Did the blind man hear Him? I wonder what he thought if he did... Jesus says that the blind man had suffered blindness since birth simply so that God could do His work. It doesn't seem very fair. At least that is the way I think many in our day, our time, our culture would interpret it. However to a first century Jewish man, who probably believed and accepted completely the absolute sovereignty of God... if he believed Jesus was the Messiah, as many were saying... that might have been the best news ever...

...that his suffering wasn't a result of a specific sin and it was because God had plans to do something amazingly special with him and his life...

The truth of the matter comes down to this: 


...can be answered by Jesus' response 
to the disciples in this passage of Scripture!

And it should be good news... great news... most excellent news...

So why don't we act that way when looking suffering in the face? When experiencing pain and sorrow of any type? When life just isn't fair and we don't like our circumstances? When we fear what we can see heading our way on the horizon?

photo credit: Stormsignal via photopin
Could it be that we forget it is still day? That's what Jesus tells His followers next. When we don't get the why, do we start imaging the night coming, the sun setting on the horizon and wondering how in the world to face the hard parts of life when all is dark and we see no speck of light? We start wondering if that dark silhouette is just another shade-giving, sustenance-providing tree... or some large beast that may come after us, trampling us... or worse?

And, of course...

I'll remember this until I run smack into the next "Why?" in my life.

Then, I'll get the opportunity to let rubber meet the road and apply what I see in God's Word. I love what Matthew Henry has to say about these verses: 
Christ says of uncommon calamities, that they are not always to be looked on as special punishments of sin; sometimes they are for the glory of God, and to manifest his works. 
Our life is our day, in which it concerns us to do the work of the day. We must be busy, and not waste day-time; it will be time to rest when our day is done, for it is but a day. The approach of death should quicken us to improve all our opportunities of doing and getting good. What good we have an opportunity to do, we should do quickly. And he that will never do a good work till there is nothing to be objected against, will leave many a good work for ever undone... 
So I'm asking myself today ~ 

How many opportunities will I waste, today... asking, "Why?" and then stewing because I don't get an answer, don't like the answer I get... or just don't understand even after I have His answer... instead of trusting and thanking?

this week's gratitude list

(#'s 4524 - 4555)
an absolutely delightful trip to Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island with Victoria's class

beautiful weather

wind-burnt cheeks

noses rosy from the combo of sunshine and sunglasses!

a holiday weekend to get away and rest

safety on the roads

getting to visit with some new-to-me people

Frozen in French... even when goofy girls don't understand the lyrics... just because

cannons and ancient guns

long bike rides

the old fable of the tortoise and the hare

my boy, home from college, working his summer job and accepted at a new school

my own bed

pizza buffets that include a salad


campfire on the beach

a teacher who, year after year, faithfully manages to communicate to students that they are loved and important to him

knowing that if God ever gives us the opportunity, 
that family and ours could be great friends

looking forward to a Highlands Festival

"camping weekend" menus

actually getting this post up and ready to publish, even with all the busyness, which

reminds me again why I need to keep working through this amazing book from God's Word

somehow making all the logistics work

sweet sleep

an allergic reaction that wasn't as bad as it could have been

little girl piano recital

big girl violin recital

little boy excited to begin violin lessons next year

middler girl delighted to play her sax with the jr high band next year

key lime frozen yogurt covered in kiwi and strawberries (aren't you just dying for a bit?)

looking forward to brochettes... it has been too long...

this picture - again and larger - because it is amazing:

Ten most recent posts in this series: 
Click here for all of the titles and their corresponding links in the Encountering Jesus series.

25 May 2014

A Day @ the Zoo... Wrightlings @ our Most Favoritest EVER Zoo

The whole difference between 
construction and creation is exactly this: 
that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; 
but a thing created 
is loved before it exists.

~ Charles Dickens




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