Clarity. My heart maketh a noise in me.

Lovely Things

from Erendira

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Ruminating

Summer brought an endless wave of clarity for me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. As you know, I took an intentional pause for the season. I closed another {home}school year and attended a convention along with a few outdoor events. I wrote and read, planned and created, prayed and cried.

Despite the children proceeding on different schedules—my two little ones in soccer this year and my eldest gone to his abuelos’ house for the entire summer—we didn’t lack togetherness one bit. We made every effort to do what the Lord commissions us to do: love thy neighbor.

For me, it was loving two friends in need. Listening to their burdens, praying for them, seeking the Lord together, finding hope in our deepest fears, exercising face-time over food—all tools designed to sharpen our friendship, to clarify our focus.

During the school year, in the months of September through June, I become preoccupied with myself, where the bulk of my attention is spent on the immediacy of routines, schedules, sports, events, all the robotic things our bodies know to do without thought or even heart or mind. There have been missed opportunities, I realize, in the past, and now I’m grateful for the moments of quiet contemplation and solitude that anchor me back to that which has eternal value.

The much-needed respite from the toil of deadlines, commitments, and other obligations (which are more self-imposed than not) has been a great relief to me. We know the harvest is plentiful, but laboring through it requires us to spend our days in close proximity to those God places in our lives for the season that remains.

However, I've learned that one heart at a time is sufficient for a season of tending to, however long that will be.

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FAITH:

selflessness

  • One heart at a time is enough. Serving others requires investment, a selflessness that we're not always willing to offer. But we know someone who did just that for us, therefore we must do too.
  • Do not lose your salty savour: "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast."
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#amwriting

on the blog and beyond

An essay about a tablecloth, an auntie, and a mane of hair waving like a banner during a bus ride. Read my new work in the Good Letters blog via Image Journal


And Crosswalk magazine invited me to contribute to their homeschool section last month and I'm thrilled to share some of what I've come to learn. Here's my first installment of Ten Things Boys Learn When Playing Sports

Also, over at Burning Bush Press, I posted some convicting thoughts I experienced during a homeschool Old Testament history lesson with my daughter. We learned how the Tower of Babel is a symbol and a warning to us today of the danger of building a platform to ourselves. Read In No Rush to Build a Platform of Influence.

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Recent posts from the blog:

 

A Merry Heart Is Good Medicine

"Sometimes it takes a deep reflection into the past to see what God’s direction is. We surrender the lives of our children for the Lord and when it finally comes into view, we stand amazed. One heart at a time, one merry heart, doeth good like a medicine."

 

If You’re Searching for Wisdom, Then You’re Likely to Find It

"We are witnessing an emotional catharsis that, ironically, is desensitizing us to the gospel. There is no longer shame when we celebrate the darkness of our past or current sins and strongholds—profiting from them even in the name of God. Why do we root ourselves in our strongholds—eluding to them not as a passive anecdote, but as a verdict that keeps us in darkness? Do our livelihoods as writers depend so much on the sins of our past? Is this somehow a gain for God? Why do we search for these pursuits with abandon when we have been redeemed by the Saviour?"

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#amreading

Collages

© The Trustees of the British Museum. Mary Delany, Night Primrose, 1782. 

I am so glad I came across this wonderful collection of paper collages by Mary Delany, whose art can be found in the British Museum. It is a delightful discovery thanks to Corinne Purtill's piece in LitHub magazine

"Mourning the end of a marriage and the loss of a kind and loving life companion, Delany’s cultivation of art from the loam of her grief was a creative act as bold as any of her blooms."

Mary Delany was seventy-two years old when she noticed a petal drop from a geranium. In a flash of inspiration, she picked up her scissors and cut out a paper replica of the petal, inventing the art of collage. During the next ten years she completed nearly a thousand cut-paper botanicals (which she called mosaicks) so accurate that botanists still refer to them.

Poet-biographer Molly Peacock uses close-ups of these brilliant collages in The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 to track the extraordinary life of Delany.

When you get the chance, please take a look at Delany's collection online here.

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creativity, art

Instagram

When we look outside at the vast sea of doctrines and slants of philosophies that are not gospel-centered we may fall into the temptation to follow blindly without Christ as preeminent. Is Christ in this work I am doing, I need to constantly ask myself. I know many who have jumped onto social media to share the gospel but have later renounced it because it is rife with debate; no fruit comes of it. I've found myself getting caught up in the waves of the cultural causes of the day and risk sinking myself into a riptide of unfruitful work. 

The prophet Jeremiah laments over Jerusalem. His agony and intense anxiety mark His commitment to seeing them renewed. God's invitation for Israel to remove all idols and cast off all other loyalties is apparent. Likewise today, we need to return to the Lord and repent. Jeremiah reminds us that God's justice awaits.

"My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war." Jeremiah 4:19

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til next time

with love

In the space of just a couple of months, I’ve seen the hand of God over much: I’ve taught my daughter how to read, I’ve adapted to a chronic condition without alarm or anxiety, I’ve eliminated a great deal of toxicity in my spiritual and physical health, and my mind is in renewal with the teaching and preaching of God's word. I love being under His care. His abundant love is all I need.

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19

Retreating during the summer to refocus and reconnect with my neighbors, my dear children, my sweet husband, to face-time with acquaintances—all have proven to be good things. Thank you for praying for me.

Say hello with a reply to this news or find me (sparingly) on Twitter.  If you can spread the word about my Lovely Things newsletter, I'd be so thankful.

And please pray for me about a project I've had in my heart for some time. I'll say this: I'm looking for fiction writers who've published short stories/flash fiction online or in print. Would love to read your work and tell you more about an idea I have if you're interested.

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Erendira Ramirez-Ortega

Lakewood Village, Long Beach, CA USA