when you’re somehow missing your true homeland

After such a week as last week, I’m feeling very small and quiet and I’ve slipped away to the woods with the Farmer and kids. We are resting in Him, letting Him revive us deep, laughing together and tasting and knowing it again — the goodness of God.  So while the cat’s away, the mice will play and while we’re away, some remarkable friends will play! Play & laugh with relevant posts, nourishing words, beautiful and useful lines that could become lifelines. Thank you for prayers last week, for grace as our family tucks away quiet for just a few days…We’re delighted to invite you up to the front porch and share amazing words from some of the best writers on the Web — today, with a very esteemed friend and one startling beautiful writer, Amber Haines, of The RunaMuck.

Going for my second cup of coffee, I scuttle to the kitchen to the sound of a butcher knife in rhythm on a wood cutting board.

Our dear friend was there slicing squash early for the dehydrator, his morning straight to the quiet work with so many of our weekend words still hovering, still feeding us, still bringing up more questions.

He’s come back to the States after having lived with his family for years in far-away Mozambique.

We went to college together, and he was in our wedding, but since then, he became a man, a husband, and a father in a completely different context and culture.

How different he is than the rest of us.

His children didn’t know what lemonade was, and they came to find me after drinking it and said, “Thank you for making lemonade, and thank you for walking outside to bring it to us.” One wrapped the full length of his lanky unabashed arms around my waist and told me he wouldn’t have more; that one cup was plenty.

At the supper table last night they thanked the God who is all around us, and I have a sense that they recognize God in a raw way that I never will.

The mouths on seven laughing children roll the morning into a scurry. I nurse the baby and come back to a plate of heaping white corn-meal mash on the table cooling while the kids had peanut butter on toast. There’s a give and take when two families take up a house, how the care gets spread out.

I worry of disconnect and want to make it home for them here, but we know that the land – and what depends on it – has come to make all their metaphors, and the land they love is so far away.

Our weekend together has been all joy, glowing with that sweet twinge of pain. Maybe we all miss home a little.

A few days ago, I heard our three oldest boys talking in the back seat about Heaven, about how they lived there with Jesus before they had bodies. I don’t remember ever reading that in the Bible, and I know I didn’t teach it to them, but I listened to them agree that they belonged to God before they were born, and I marveled at the depth of their conversation. I didn’t ask questions or give any input.

These little ones I’m raising are teaching me a childlike sense of eternity with God, deepening my own understanding with their assumptions about how God is outside of time, how we are souls, and how these bodies are not our homes.

We gather around the mash at the table, which has cooled into something we can pinch off and roll up with our fingers. This cornmeal came from a special woman, their Mozambican Grandmother back home. She had told them to take it, eat it, and remember her.

Our friend quietens the children and asks us, “Where are you?” And mine replied, “Arkansas!” and then “in my body!”

He goes on to ask, “Are you only here in your body?” and his own son says, “of course not. Part of me is in Mozambique.”

How do you leave part of yourself somewhere else? Will you leave part of yourself here in Fayetteville?”

The questions leave my boys silent, and his oldest says, “Of course. By how we love; by the memories we’ve made; by crawfish in the pond; by sharing together.”

His other son laughs, says, “It’s a trade. You give parts to us, and we give parts to you.”

We examine the corn meal now, how Grandmother had worked so hard to make it, how her heart went into sending it all the way here.

I jut my hip to the side with my baby bounced, and I hold my breath not to cry. Here I am stuck in this skin at a nasty fellowship table with kids who have smeared peanut butter from here to kingdom come, and I realize it like a child that when we love how He loves and give how He gives, he joins us at the table.

On my good days, Scripture is my bread and leads me to life — but only when those words begin to breathe in us moment by moment, when we look around and see the unseen, do we get to see Jesus, thereby knowing scripture.

They brought this meal to share their Mozambique hearts with us, and unseen Jesus has given himself to us, Friend Emmanuel in the breaking of bread, in the embraces after lemonade. I recognize Him well, my Shepherd.

Sun shines in the window at the quiet plate.

Our fingers dip in and roll it up.

Think of how she’s missing her children so far away now.

Think of how we all long for real family and home. Think of Jesus setting the table. Think of the land bearing fruit.

Take what He gives. Eat it with thanks. And remember Him.

He’s given Himself for you and to you.

~text & photos by Amber Haines, an always read

Take July’s Joy Dare? Make it a month of Freedom from grumbling! 

Thanks is a word that takes us before God and into the joy of our true homeland…

Print it for the fridge and dare everyone in the family to find these 3 gifts from His hand each day:


Click here to print July’s Joy Dare! Put it on the fridge! Dare the Kids! And begin this week — this month-– right!

Count three gifts a day, 1000 gifts in 2012 (and be entered to win the NikonD90 camera?)

Thank-you is a word that can change you, your world — the whole world!


Each day of July, either share your gifts on on Twitter {label with #1000gifts #JoyDare so we can find you!}, or with us in the gratitude community at Facebook , or on Pinterest (#1000gifts).

Each day, 3 people will who share their gifts via Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest will be randomly selected & entered into a drawing for JOY BASKET: a gift card @ Amazon {100$} & {signed copies of One Thousand Gifts, the photographic gift book, the DayBrightner, and the family gratitude journal} Give thanks to Him in the assembly!

Join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts?

Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.

Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!

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