Friday, December 31, 2010

Remember

when i lived with her i loved a pole she kept in her living room. rainbow ribbons hanging down on rugged stem, i wondered what it was. yes, she had made it, and it was her Bannerpole of Remembrance. it was a way to mark His hand in her life, through church milestones, family blessings, and answered prayers. she asked if i'd like to make one, too. oh, yes. that was almost seven years ago, and i forget all too soon. i give voice to His existence but don't live as if He reigns.
so today i write a story, another ribbon on my pole. my faith has been bolstered, and He knew--he provided this grace and abundance for sister but also for me, so that in the telling i can cry and remember His love in my own life.

bad day. some days are you know. those wee ones with ear infections and the five of them all cooped in a too-cold home. they needed medicine, her mother in law wanted to come but wasn't allowed. a fight. the resignation, they need the medicine, so they leave without her, feeling the dull gloom of bitterness at his obstinance.

it's one of those days. you know the kind: waiting in line dealing with insurance issues, and one of the twins has an explosive diaper. she, patient mama, goes to change the little one, passing a crowd of policemen on the way. small town curiosity gets the better of her; oh, it's just a program of cops paired with low-income kids to shop for Christmas. neat-o. husband and other girls reunite and they're off to leave, just outside the door, when a call to WAIT! can you wait? we want to put you in the program, but you have to wait. looks are exchanged, agreed. (they couldn't have stayed if she'd come after all, they figure this out after the 2 hours they linger)

policeman returns to say we have $130 for each of the girls, yes even those 8 week old darlings, of course! blown away: no diapers at home. nothing left for this year, no more work, no tidy packages. loaded up with diapers for three, she passes by infant swings, notes the cost, never mind it's over limit. "hey, you need one of these don't you?" no, i can't. he puts two in the cart anyway. oldest daughter gets so many toys she can't even imagine. they check out. $900 worth of stuff, and at home no presents under the tree. so many tears fall down cheeks, mama, daddy, why are you crying?

another woman hands her bags of little girl clothing--i hope they fit. where all this generosity?

the gifts are delivered that night instead of in two weeks as the program works. he shakes the cop's hand too hard; he hangs on because he can't let go. inside living room with no room just like an inn of long ago, he reaches hands in pockets, more money stuffed in coat, enough for a bill waiting.

exasperated christians argue that Christmas isn't about giving, but this night they understand that it is about the only Gift that ever mattered. the one whose very birth was Abundance, by whom other graces are given. life is breathed anew in swings and dolls and diapers for three.

shed tears of thanksgiving and rejoicing on sister's behalf?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Here

yes, i am here.
and yes, YES! i'm doing well.
i know things have been unusually quiet here for a while; and with the joy of christmas so soon, it will probably be a little still for a bit.
i just want to thank those who've reached out to me (some of you don't have email addresses associated with your blog sign in so i can't reply) and lifted me in prayer. He hears, and He answers, blessedly.
all meds have kicked in, and i can confidently say i did the right thing for me and my family. the fog has lifted and i can't wait to share more about that and the christmas miracle God provided for my sister this week.
until then, though, i will be spending time with family and guests and recuperating from a vicious cycle of illness in our family.
much love to my friends; i'll be back soon.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Anything but thunder

i read this lovely post in a little bit of awe, i think.

how did i forget that he spoke to fishes? that he clothed lilies? that he knew every sparrow in the field?
when did i stop knowing?

i think there is a personal directive for all of us, much like elijah's: "what are you doing here?" and then, "go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by: (1 kings 19: 11). we mutter our incoherent excuses, and He simply says go SEE.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper (1 kings 19: 11-12)

i see myself everywhere--my interests, my needs, my wants, my way. i cry out, "where are you? WHO are you?" all the while i stopped seeking him in anything but thunder. i cry out for writing on walls and earth ripped wide, but he whispers loudest in silent tears and my own broken heart.

how do you remember the grace of invitation, the call to see him in the wind?

a grateful nod to amy for her gentle nudging, her beautiful words to hear the only voice that matters. i am learning to sift through the rubble to see his ways; now i must sift through my own heart to see him.

and i know that i see him now in my children's eyes: the colors of the ocean, a stone, the sky; i see him in my husband's pewter circle; i see him in the knitting of stitches and the breaking of bread. i see, Lord. help me Hear.

writing imperfectly, sharing grace with emily.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Waiting to exhale

head leaning on cool glass pane, window frosting breath-puffs. here, the glass is cool in early morning light, but, too, the A/C's been on all night.
and he, so high and breathless in mountain snow and glory, exhales shivery clouds.
(the photo he took to share with us, gold-capped beauty for waking's taking.)
the coming and going marks us.
we wait for homecoming.
today he will walk on some site, crunching through snow and sales-speak.
today we will probably bake boredom away, perhaps make those traced-hand turkeys, find some way to curb all our tired grappling.
waiting is interim. sometimes interminable.
but hope waits, expectant smiles upon return. the little ones and i wait for him: give and take. it marks us raw, but it is our brand; we are his, and he is ours.

my head pounds. this is the reason i lean on glass. new medicine is still fighting its way through my body, foreign agent, muddling. i'm eager for the promised relief and expectant that new eyes can see rightly with fog lifted high.

i pray for homecoming. a return to the One i love, a turning toward instead of away. i know i've been lifted in prayer by friends. the blessing is a fresh breath, making it easier to breathe my own halting prayers.

and of course, you will notice my new look here. many thanks to my beautiful friend Sonny for transforming this space to match my vision. i think we're still tweaking it, so let me know if there is a problem!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Worship in thanks

Healer heal me
Savior save me
Maker change me
Lover love me
Cuz I'm so tired of living for
The kind of love
That only lasts for a while
The pain, the shame
Tear me up inside

Chorus:
So I fall on my knees
To get back on my feet again
And I cry out for You
Would You please speak to me

these are the lyrics of the ten shekel shirt song healer. they have been my prayer for so long.
i have written here that my spirit has been unrestful, that my heart has been hurting. He has answered prayer in the most "not my will" kind of ways, and i have met with my Healer. unexpected places and the giving in of wills are balm to this hard heart... He knows, He always knows, doesn't He?

in a babe-new attitude of joy creeping in, with thankfulness wanting to gush no matter the week's coincidence, i continue to count his gifts, freely given, and thank Him for eyes to see the miracle in the ordinary. today, i worship soft on knees: eyes seeing, fingers flying in this space.

201. for sin that brings me to knees
202. and the forgiveness that unbinds
203. and the fear-turned-resolution to ask for the hardest thing i've ever had to do
204. and the answer, there, in chocolate skin and crinkly santa eyes, white lab coat, doctor saying, "yes, i know. i've been there. we can help you. please, misty, don't forget to run to Him, and i will pray for you."
205. for eyes that couldn't see anything through tears at his words, and then eyes that felt they could see everything thereafter:
206. the love of husband--soul-matched--hurt so much for me, how helpless he felt, the relief weighing heavy in his tears seeing me new again.
207. the love of three little boys, that only comes from little boys, the shared knowing--mama.
208. for ordinary blessings so long overlooked.... magazines with croquembouche towering tall on cover like golden dreams (and recipe! salted caramel and ricotta cream, oh my!)
209. and oatmeal made at home with butter, cinnamon, and sugar, just the way they like it
210. and dinosaur jammies with footies worn thin, pitter patter
211. and laughing RAWRS as boys fight-play, not knowing this is how they learn their place in this world
212. for maternal health and quick heartbeat--excited all over again to meet this newest ____ (he insists it's fourth boy, i wonder at pink possibilities)
213. for new bed this week to cradle growing belly and aching back
214. for pantry, full of expectations and bounty, already we give thanks before that big meal and family gathered
215. for him, so willing to travel when he'd rather stay. for steady work even when it's hard
216. and praise! for job for friend's husband... God is so good!
217. for seeing and getting to love on golden retriever rescues at the store yesterday, memories of growing up and the gentle old "tiger lily" who no one thought would be great with kids, and her surprising everyone. my children loved her best of all, her fur hardly flax anymore.
218. for the return of words and desire to write, my friend on this journey
219. and words from youngest, little parrot mimicking everything we say, so funny, so challenging!
220. for heart's fissures healing... for grace that binds me whole.

Thank you, Lord.

(joining w/ ann but i can't seem to get her button to work now. i'll try again later)

”holy

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hallelujah and living love

first, i should probably warn anyone reading this blog that i'm already in the "christmas spirit." i am anxiously awaiting socially acceptable christmas songs on the radio. one of the things i've always appreciated about my favorite christmas hymns (and this probably started with my first viewing of "hark, the herald angels sing" on it's a wonderful life) is the reverence and awe of the coming savior. this is still true, and i get lumpy-throat even now at "o, holy night," "silent night," and the haunting "we three kings."
so, when a friend posted this lovely video (i'm also a huge fan of the improv "freezes" and breaking out into dance or song videos on youtube) on facebook, i was teary and proud and amazed, but also hesitant. i wish that our lives (and by our, i suppose i should mean my own) were so attractive and amazing and inviting that we were truly living testaments to our savior, pointing the way and drawing in. breaking out in glorious song is beautiful and inspiring, but i think loving the unlovely is even more beautiful and holy.
none of this is to be preachy, because goodness knows i need the message as much as or more than most. i think my heart breaks sometimes because all i can see is the inside of my house and my duties there. i read an article i refuse to repost here where a mom compares motherhood to being a prison, but one thing she said was that perhaps the "fad" of attachment parenting lifestyles kept parents (mothers in particular) so locked into their kids' lives that they couldn't see the scope of the larger world around them. there is so much wrong with that statement, and yet a teensy part of me sometimes feels just like that. like i can't see the hurting world around me. so my prayer today and this season (almost christmas!) is to simply see--see the hurting, to try to love in as practical way as i can, those around me. and if i sing a christmas song while i'm at it, i hope it's just the icing on the cake and not the main course.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jacob's limp

this space has been quieter than usual, even for me. i've never subscribed to so many posts per week or month; i've just tried to write for me, when i need or want it. writing here has felt a little vulnerable lately, and i think somewhere in the depression and fear, i simply froze. i've felt the effects, that desire to pull away from (not in just the virtual world, but the real one), withdraw, stop speaking. then, too, the struggle to maintain mama in a world of word-writing, and one feels frivolous on days of frozen pizzas, laundry piled high, and too many cartoons just to survive the day. how can i pit words of being broken in this broken place against the living broken in a broken place?
so these have been my struggles: the fear i said too much and the knowing i'm not speaking all that is in my heart.
and yet
through flood of tears, and simply-asked question to my earthly love last night, i think i've found my voice again. i asked, "is it possible to love myself?" he cried shining tears with me at the braveness in asking if it's okay and if so how, and he gently held and talked with a Voice bigger than his own, and i think the time stood still in prayer for us. big question, little self. and ruefully i admit i think it's time to see my counselor again.
i also stumbled upon my former pastor's blog (he's now a missionary to hungary), and this is his tagline: The wrestling angel gifted Jacob with a limp as a permanent reminder of his encounter with God. Jacob's life-long policy was to run. His final glory was that he learned to lean (Hebrews 11:21). A wound is a good thing if it is accepted as a stewardship from God, appropriated as a channel of God's strength and consecrated to God's purpose. Where dependence is the objective, weakness is the advantage.
i wrote of choosing life, and in so doing i think i need to make peace with this limp, this weakness in me--a reminder that i am His--His! that He has touched, seen, held, and loved me not despite, not through it all; He has loved me Everlasting.
so i am limping, and choosing to see the advantage: to give this back to Him, all my depression, fear, worry, self-hatred....i choose to lean.



linking this post up with emily at imperfect prose this week.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pause and privilege

(a repost from the archives. thanks to those who've written to me and prayed for me; i have lots to share when next we get a free moment!)


i pause, "consider all the world thy hands have made."
i, just dust, can star-gaze and sea-wonder,
revel in my own ordinary and know that
i was made for this--
beyond this--
of this.
moments to breathe in, savor, hold in, exhale.
i, muddy soul, love-struck and faith-child,
swallow daily pride and try to remember
i was made for Him:
his pleasure,
his worship.
giving thanks in all things, i drink full moments of
stop-don't move-remember this scene
remember in stones and banners
how He paved the way,
i, ragamuffin beggar
wearing white linen Privilege.


grace to you today.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Choosing life

time inches or sprints, and the telling is in graying hair and hands looking worn from so many dishes washed. it's also told in waist-swelling, and we're already done with the first third, and i can barely recall any first trimester troubles. i'm grateful, with three little ones to chase around.

time tells stories in first-times, and we saw that, too, last night, with the policeman and the dalmatian all eager and unbelieving for free candy. i found myself welling inside tears at how these little boys are growing up, doing firsts, and i have no stop over the time gone.

entering into a gratitude season, (for isn't every season filled with thanks?) i'm acutely aware of my lack of thanks in this space lately. i've been in a hard season, tainted with depression, and that's the time to proffer thanks, i know, but i didn't have words.

heart is still weary, but i'm reminded to NOT be weary of doing good, and i cling to hope, both in the restoration of self and a hope for a future different than the present. i still have so much to learn and to teach my boys, and that starts with joy and thanks. so today, i choose life.
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. ~ Deut. 30:19-20a.

continuing to count with ann and the rest of the gratitude community. she calls it the great elixir, and i think she's never more right.

holy experience



185. for one-third way there with relatively no discomfort or debilitating nausea
186. and continued ability to mama while husband is away
187. for provisions-so many!
188. for an OB i like
189. for excitement from family and friends
190. for family outing and candy-gathering
191. not just ours, but chance to see so many other families sharing
192. and this mama's heart happy to see her little ones so eager and polite
193. for the wonder of total strangers sharing in this tiniest way
194. and second-hand costumes bought almost last minute
195. for puppies and policemen and pumpkins!
196. for cooling weather and fall delights
197. for more time to play outside and friends to join us
198. for continued health of twin nieces and sister doing well
199. for husband's love and sacrifices for our family
200. and as ever, for the grace of heart-fog lifting, and the chance to choose life.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reflection

sexual abuse is part of my story. and while it's something from my past, like a light illuminating from behind, shadows project, affecting some of my todays, some of my tomorrows. i have come a long way from the hurt and pain, and i'm joyful to be in the process of repairing some of the resulting broken relationships. i'm reposting this from my archives because it still hits home after certain discussions with my counselor. this poem, in fact, was a previous response to an exercise she had me do. thank you for grace in reading.



breasts, once touched til my heart
was RAW-
please stop-
flimsy layer of lace no shield,
now sway, stretched with
nurturing
those little red lips
those closed eyes
small hands clutched close
how can i hate these breasts, still?

stomach, once held sucked in a constant POPULARITY
contest
now squishes out, having won 3 times
-MAMA-
but i had no mama to help me push these
little ones out
where was she, then,
and now?

no was meaningless.
hands felt helpless
now cradle sweet, sweaty palms.
voice left powerless
now sings lullabyes
and kisses boo-boos away.

old body, ragged cavern of hate
(don't look, don't want, don't touch)
new body, birth-scarred victorious
nursing love and milk
wombing body and soul
turned inside OUT.

linking with emily and the other imperfect journey-friends on the way

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prodigal's place

we were talking about unfairness, and she tells me she chafes against the story of the prodigal son, that he gets all the attention while elder brother suffers.
i myself always related to that older brother, viewed her as a prodigal of sorts.
our stories start at the same places, but like true mirrors, we react oppositely. funny how it works that way, now, when we're bound tighter in our spiritual sisterhood than we ever were in flesh and blood growing up.
yes, that unruly son got his way, and felt the father's embrace. i cry tears at the grace of it all, and i want to stay humble to this understanding that she and i, we're different. there are many reasons to point fingers at a God who chooses, but all i see is the grace of being chosen. it's what i cling to in faithless times and weary seasons and hopeless winters. the grace goes down like whiskey, all choking and spreading warmth.
there is a place at the table for both of them, and both of us.
i wonder how i can share the awe of that with her, the unbelievable truth that his scarred hands will serve broken bread and wine, that he will hold out freshest white robes and slay the purest Lamb for us to eat?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Carrying

hands effortlessly finding each other in the dark, this is a hallmark of our love. that i can trace words on his stomach only he knows and understands, this is testament to the bands on 3rd fingers. i used to joke that i had so much baggage he'd be a glorified bellboy, and he smiled but didn't laugh at what wasn't a joke. he's carried much, much more these last 5 years. grace in marriage is spellbinding, isn't it? and to parent, to grow as two-as-one into a family of almost 6 when we barely know what we're doing... well, we just grip fingers til white-knuckled those days.

yes, he's carried more.

our home is full of people love and animal love, and we lost some of those poor babies this weekend, lost, too, the first pet i ever got as an adult. there is sadness here and i turn into him at night in our bed, and i cry "i wish it weren't so" tears. that his cheek was wet, too, bespeaks how he knows--how he knows me and my heart and cries for and with me. hands find each other and cradle comfort.

there is a carrying that happens in both birth and letting go. it mirrors bodies intertwined in love and tears wiped away in grief and fingers interlocked in faith. we sleep just so: in love and grief and faith.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Arrivals and anchors

we were three-in-one. three-at-one-time.
many didn't believe because two looked so same and one looked almost as different as possible.
we are three. share the same birth-day, shared womb space and milestones, and now we are all mothers.
classification happens when our brains need ordering, and apparently it was necessary and easy to arrange us in three distinctions.
she was pretty.
she was "crazy."
i was smart.
labels become home, but can stifle.
i think we all wanted to be free and beautiful and intelligent. we mostly wanted to be ourselves.
the crazy one surprised us all by being the most maternal. she gave birth first. she mothers the rest of us, too. the pretty one was last to start her family, and the smart one has the largest brood. i think we are all a little surprised some days.
i've had the fun chance to overlap pregnancies with both of my sisters. now is no exception. kathy, the pretty one, has been pregnant with twins, and she welcomed her little girls into the outside world this week. not one of us would have pegged her to be the one with two-at-once, but she's done a beautiful job growing those girls and allowing heart to embrace two more.
we don't know if they are identical or not, but we three, we wonder how the labels will define and constrict. we wonder how these little girls will become their own, and i can't wait to meet them.
in a season of a weary heart, the little blessings are what anchor us. i praise God for the healthy arrival and delivery of my newest nieces and thank him, too, for blowing promise kisses to my soul. he is here. he loves us. he is enough.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The language of shadows

i tread dawn like that old great ship*, unable to sleep after he goes off to work, too early, not normal for us. i don't even know if i sighed him a kiss. it's still dark when i hear him close the gate just outside my bedroom window. he doesn't want to leave the front door unlocked while we sleep, only i'm just lying here and i feel like i should reach out, tell him, but i lie in the shadow morning, hear the purr of others off to work, see headlights outlining windows, briefly, before they round the drive. connor is in my bed, and i'm in his, and his shallow wheezy breath-snores fill space just like shea's quiet dream puffs, and i'm acutely aware of their breathing in these four walls. they dream, and i toss and turn, the dog's tail wagging against my leg every time i move. i wonder if she's just trying to acknowledge me and i find minor comfort in that thought. i pat her nose and she wiggles up tight and close. old habits force me to push her off. i wonder if this is the morning the heart fog will dissipate, if light will shine through more than just the slits in my blinds? shadows whisper in their own language as furniture outlines emerge, and i think i should pray but can't even get outside my own head. lying here, the ceiling seems low despite being vaulted. clouds turn from grey to pink, and the house isn't so still anymore. i finally eek a prayer, just help me get through today, and i'm up. dawn shakes out her last weary sigh, and she and i start together. just help us get through today.

(*please, please, know this literary reference?!)

linking up with emily and trying to shake my funk and sleepy eyes with imperfect prose.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Enough

there are times when words don't come easily, even for the word-lovers. and it's not so much that words are stuck in one's throat, but rather they are stuck in your heart and you don't quite know how to speak them without breaking your heart or the words or both.
and so stillness speaks.
and waiting is not anticipating right now. it's trying to hope, to remember good gifts and answered prayers.
i almost wish i could be pat and say the things in my heart don't matter or shouldn't affect me, but the fact is, i've been suffering a depression that isn't easily shaken. things feel intense, and my filter seems a bit broken. perhaps that is merely pregnancy, or perhaps the words are too stuffed down.
i'm feeling a bit lost in all this stillness, and trying to know that He is God. trying to trust in his Goodness, and let it be enough.

a song that speaks for me

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thin

i read this as a quote in my bible study lesson this morning, so unfortunately i don't know exactly where it came from, but it struck me as utterly profound.

"Have you ever experienced an epiphany--a moment when God unexpectedly and unforgettably invaded the monotony of your life? ... The Celtic Christians referred to these kinds of moments--moments when heaven and earth seem to touch--as thin places. Natural and supernatural worlds collide." (Batterson)


thanking God today for eyes to see His hand even in the mundane. seeing that even as shea played, startled, in the dust mote, hands trying to grasp dancing particles, even so is our father bathing us in his grace, in an ordinary shaft of light, in the thin places of faith and obedience, of dust and light.

(photo taken by my dear sweet friend brownie)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some hope, restored

i think a broken hallelujah is the only kind there is:
the one of splintered hearts
shy good-byes, and journeys
starting with a single step,
slouching towards bethlehem, as she says.
but it's true.
we can slouch. that's all,
and wait at broken earth, under cross's shadow

and

whisper, "today i am broken.
tomorrow, will you break me
again?"
lips dry and cracked under desert sun
throat or soul more parched than last

and

all that's left is a poet without words
a singer without melody
a craftsman without his tools
all, breaking hallelujah in bread
and wine
and self




i wrote this poem a couple of weeks ago, but after the hopelessness i felt yesterday, it felt very appropriate to link up to emily's imperfect prose. i'm imperfect indeed, but that's where His beauty fills and makes whole.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Storm

the bells from the church down the street hum "how great thou art" and the tea scalds my throat. it's too still this morning (that's how i can hear the bells at all), but only outside.

thoughts are cloudy, thrum against brain, try to drown out the bells or the message, i'm not sure which.

~~~

cats need feeding. dogs need letting out. two little ones awake, and the stormcloud in my head keeps threatening. mundane should be the antidote to get me through. it makes a heavy contrast.

~~~

milky tea sweetened with real sugar this morning in defiant protest. for whom? i sigh. feed animals. i realize sugar is not what i need right now, either. even sweetness can't sugarcoat angry pensiveness. the bells go quiet. i wish for them back.

~~~

i should be writing gratitude, or asking for humility, but the truth is i can't count right now and my heart hurts from being low. i want my heart to trust how great He is, even in a storm.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hush

hush, baby, i want to take in all of you right now, want to memorize your impossible black eyelashes leaving shadows on your cheek, those stone-colored eyes i've never seen on another little boy, make constellations in your freckles that match mine just-so. hush, little one, everyone else is sleeping, but i'm not afraid of you waking them; i'm afraid we'll lose this moment of just us, the house all dark and still, and only us awake and sitting here. you grabbed my hand and i couldn't believe you would, that mama-love despite being busy-four, and so i rake your curls and shssssh you. hush, my love, for just a little while tonight.


linking with emily's imperfect prose

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Giving back the leaves

we talked of aloneness, of our tendency to hide simply because sin exists. it ruptures us, and we hide...hide behind self-sewn leaves and fear, and our God whispers, "where are you?" he knows, but he asks us to admit we're hiding. asks us to deal with our sin. asks us to give back the leaves we hide beneath.
so today, Lord,
i dance naked and crazy like david,
i hold my hands to my breasts
not in scrutiny
but in humility,
and tears flow freely
dancing down as well
and i ask you to lead me
with silver holiness;
we dance, God-Spirit and i,
and he whispers,
"my love, i know you.
know Me. "

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thanks

i have received so many congratulations and well-wishes through my blog and email this week, and i'm having some computer snafus, so have not been able to properly thank anyone, but i've read and appreciated all the happy thoughts sent our way! i hope to be back here regularly again towards the end of this week or early next!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Counting home

there is a coming home in his arms
where the world is only ours.
we count dreams together,
he and i,
and marvel at how our family grows.
we swell again,
our last, and
promise one another to remember every moment
(you think you will, but you don't
unless you try)
and so we wait,
breathless and hope-full
for this new life
counting us,
our home.

~~~~~
full of joy, i count my way towards a thousand gifts, along with ann and the gratitude community.

holy experience


172. for my husband, my beloved whom i call home
174. for three beautiful boys, all opposite me
175. the hope and joy of another one on the way
176. and REALLY not caring if it's team pink or blue
177. for telling mom for the first time ever that i thought we were expecting, small, huge!
178. for being my "perfect" number, God allowing
179. for other expecting sister (of twins!) getting some relief from her preterm contractions
180. and the babies' continued safety as they stay inside
181. for conviction to eat well this time, hoping to avoid our nicu stay from last time
182. and bacon! (our family is 99% vegetarian, but oh, to eat bacon again now that i have to obey my diabetic diet)
183. for daydreaming about names--one of my favorite parts!
184. for knowing that children are a heritage

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Paper and chalk

when the chalk dies,
does the paper go with it?
do those shooting stars &
curly-cues
float away, land in Heaven
for dusty beings?
do the words die,
smeared, driven over, rain-erased
& long-forgotten by other playthings?
does the paper
become an imagination somewhere
else?
i wonder.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The silent thief

(to one of the victims of our silence, l.b.)

i'm not sure who
insisted silence was gold
but i'm pretty sure
he was wrong.
there's too much to
SAY
and stories to live
and so silence has
been a thief for
US
took those words
"i love you"
and contorted them
into fear
and nothing
and looked a lot
more black than sheen
but we are finding
-she and i-
that listening is
silver
and worth its weight
in gold


visit emily, my favorite thursday haunt, for her imperfect prose and join the rest of us as we write grace, imperfectly perfect.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hidden in the field

The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand." (matt 13:10-13)

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field." (matt 13:44)


i've heard, sometimes, a prayer prayed: Lord, give me ears to hear and eyes to see.

david platt, in his book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, asks two pivotal questions of his readers. will we believe what Jesus says, and will we obey what we hear? i'm going to be brutally honest here. i read the first chapter where mr. platt immediately dives into "become homeless," "let someone else bury your dad," and "don't even say good-bye to your family," and my mind immediately thought of my Dream Living Room. the one i've been planning fantasizing over for a few years. one that is void of kid and pet stains, that has an artsy, funky vibe that marries cool and eclectic and possibly a hint of elegant chic. THAT living room, which is, um, not what my living room looks like now. i have a girlfriend who is very "green," and we love to wax on about our schizophrenic natures: we want to hate stuff, but sometimes we love nice stuff. we want to reduce waste, but we still entertain shopping at Anthropologie, just because we can. or because we want to. and believe me, i want to. there are days i want to run so far away from kid spills and my worn pajamas yogapant look, don those statement necklaces, and feel posh for a change.
but...
i already have my treasure.
and it's hidden in a field. one that's already been bought for me. at the highest possible cost.
and not many understand why i'd sell all my possessions and buy an empty field.
not everyone gets to see the treasure. not everyone can understand his words.
david platt wrote, "my biggest fear, even now, is that i will hear Jesus' words and walk away, content to settle for less than radical obedience to him."
this is probably my biggest fear, too.
one of my life verses has been, "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked."(psalm 84:10) and i used to say during particularly hard seasons that i'd still choose to be His than to spend a thousand days with whatever idol was distracting me (a guy, academic hardship, broken relationships, even just hurt weighing heavily). can i still say that if i lose material wealth, if i didn't have an SUV to tote my kids, and nice (albeit stained, i'm not kidding!) furniture, and well, a roof at all for that matter. [you have only to look here, or here, or here to be reminded that wealthy is very subjective globally.]
what will authentic faith look like in my life?
will i have eyes to see the treasure, hidden?
will i have a heart that yearns to obey, no matter the cost?
can i forsake that dream living room? what about the idea of my kids' comfort? could i give more of myself than i already do?
can i be radical in this day and age?

i'm SO excited to be joining at marla's discussion of this book over the next ten weeks. i have no idea what it's going to look like or how we'll all participate, but i know that i expect to be challenged and encouraged. please come check it out!!

A revival inside

ever since reading all of ann's guatemala posts, i've had a song running through my head; it's an old hymn that we sang in backroad country churches growing up, and one that probably meant nothing to me the first time i sang it.
listening to the Compassion group and their stories, seeing the photos, talking about the difference between physical and spiritual poverty, has been breaking open my idea of what it means to be bread, to feed His sheep:

will you be poured out like wine, upon the alter for Me?
will you be broken like bread, to feed the hungry?
would you be so one with Me that you would do just as I will?
would you be light and life and love, My will fulfilled?

and i consider the implications of "what would jesus do?" and what would daily sacrifice of myself mean? and to be so one with Him sounds so... holy, could i really do his will? but in all these, i know i can be light, i can show love, and i can offer life to those around me, starting with my babes at home and on to the grocer and the woman who seems cold to me at church. i've found myself interrupting rants with, "well, i suppose if i gave grace..." and i think i feel a burning inside of me.

i pray for brokenness and pourings-out, and i burn inside.
~~~

continuing to count, to choose to remember the thousand daily graces, the burning that propels me:

164. a phone call with a friend, many tears shed for a burden, and her kind, compassionate, christ-filled words of encouragement
165. reminding how much he loves us
166. and how he doles extravagant grace
167. how He answers prayers, even the seemingly small ones, and this one in particular so quickly... and with a smile we heard him!
168. for husband, though sick, still willing to work, to provide
169. for a week of plenty
170. playdates last week, buffering some of the loneliness
171. and bible study to start this week, praying to meet a friend.
172. for a soul-stirring i feel inside, revival of my own heart?
173. the joy that is family, breaking bread together


holy experience

Friday, September 10, 2010

Extravagant

i didn't know i was worth that to you
didn't know you'd lavish me and ravish me
and leave me wanting more
didn't know you were all i had
or all i ever wanted
and i clumsily ate leftovers
of another kind.
not knowing you were there
the whole time
i didn't understand
i was made for you
and that you loved me
with your life
by giving your life to me
and i lived my life for me
and ate those stale remnants
those vestiges of selfishness
and you were waiting
extravagantly
for me
arms wide open
a feast just for me
because it was all
part of the price
no one course deserved
i couldn't possibly save enough
do enough
or work hard enough
to earn your love
you grace me with it daily

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On my mind today

stephanie
megan
shauna

they share jesus words today and i'm humbled by their thoughts as i think through my own on how to be more like jesus.

Phineas and me

sometimes i think i must be like that big, black cat--the social drinker (he learned from watching tiny grey)--who didn't see me turn the faucet to drip, and he yowls in thirsty protest. i'm in the shower and it's wet all around; he has no idea how abundant the water really is.
i sing shower-serenades, old hymns (the kind i know best), and i don't know the abundance pouring through me either.


Water on the human forehead,
Birthmark of the love of God
Is the sign of death and rising
Through the seas there runs a road.
There is water in the river
Bringing life to tree and plant.
Let creation praise its giver;
There is water in the font.

(2nd verse, out of deep, unordered water)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Radical

just a note to say that i'll be joining marla's radical read-a-long for the next 10 weeks.
i think i'm scared to death, but excited in a way that has my mind buzzing. i want to process here as the group processes and discusses and shares with one another how they are being stretched, and i'd love for you to join the journey, whether it's just here or over at marla's. the first chapter is next tuesday, and i'm willing to be willing, as my friend christina would say.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

As large as alone

tonight i write not saddest lines (there'll be a time for that, i suppose), but i do write discouraged. i love the Groom, and i love his collective Bride, so how the disjointedness, the square-peg-round-hole syndrome, the loneliness? but after long words hashed out, i wonder if it's even the Church's fault i'm lonely? i don't know. we were lost tonight, he and i. he carried little one in arms as a buffer and i chased older ones as desperate measure to seem busy, belonging. we were strangers in a stranger's house, and we should have been welcomed with hearts and arms and spiritual bloodlines. how the disparity?
tonight i write thanks-giving lines, for where else but in the "as small as a world
as large as alone"
can i choose to see His hands? need to see His hands? so i count.

148. for beauty and songs that make me weepy, a quiet worship
(the title of this post and the quote above, from venerable e.e. cummings, and this song is magical)

149. for faith, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen
150. hoping to find community THIS year
151. for faith that He will give us this request of our hearts, friends
152. for not being totally alone, having sister here
153. and lunch with all those boys together, the realization that we were 4 boys under 6 and all well-behaved!
154. for cooling weather, and time to let little feet run free
156. for shea beginning to understand the question, "what are you thankful for" and seeing his own answers
157. for copycat little brother also hearing and giving thanks
158. for bedroom full of all my loves, even if the majority of people think i'm insane
159. for his love, his grace, his hands over mine, ring-mirrors to remind of the promise
160. for purple nail polish
161. and next tattoo beginning
162. and the little things that just make me smile
163. and mostly, for not being truly alone (even when it feels it sometimes)




holy experience

Friday, September 3, 2010

The prayers of geese

she didn't know i was having a bad day when she called. i confessed to it being long, slow, boring, but those are easy words when the truth is you just didn't like self or child and air was tensely breathed. she shared life-giving words, love-words, and the encouragement was a balm.

she spoke of prayer, of women gathered 'round to lift up their children as airy incense like abraham offered isaac on sacrifice-altar. we mothers pray for our children, sometimes in loving caress and goodnight lullabies, but also in tight-gripped fear of tomorrows and failures and enemies. chins tucked in at night, prayers waft in moonlight.

the speaker at her church meeting talked of geese and how women praying with and for each other are in flock, too, and how the front goose flaps wings harder to make a current for the ride of those behind easier, or how the geese near end honk encouragement to those up front. these geese need to fly in supporting formation (that famous V) with each other--to fly solo is to fly less far.

we talk of prayer-as-legacy ; i want my loves to be wrapped in the silver aroma of prayer, a heritage of intercession the one thing they know truer than any other way of saying, "i love you."

i kiss those boys to bed, and we pray together in thanks. we three lie together in the dark, i hear baby breaths and quiet snores, and i whisper burning incense, i love you, Father.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A bowl and a harp

the smoke dances whisper white
curling and swaying like a belly dancer,
intimate and hovering.
the smell is heady and strong,
the heat rising in my throat
as incense burns ash-long.
the golden bowl collecting these prayers
gleams metallic-
a place to go, to whisper, to groan-
and a new song is sung
because He was worthy
and slain;
we become kings and priests
to serve our God
as he inhales the fragrant aroma of our prayers.
life exhales as worship:
glory to the Lamb!


a poetic paraphrase of revelation 5 for emily's imperfect prose

Love without condition

i've often said i want jesus with skin on
a chance to talk to him in the flesh
a chance to hold his brown wrinkled hand in mine

i'm pretty sure she'd like that too
even if she doesn't call it jesus;
she would like to be looked in the eyes
and talked with, not at or, worse, not at all
her skintight shirt her only shield to the night, and hate. 

i think he would know if jesus-skin offered him a real meal
not a value meal, not a dollar in change
but true change, life change
and priceless love, cigarette burning ash
and eyes that see past cardboard "laziness."

who am i to want him here
but not to be him here?
how can i not feed his sheep
when that's all he's ever asked?

to love as he loved
surely that's an impossible task
how can i? won't i get hurt? won't it cost too much?

his hands are browned and worn, and
he grips that little hand all white and chubby, and
there is a light in both their eyes,
like lightning,
the kind that burns the soul,
and i think that's the first step
to walking jesus feet-
to love without condition



ann asked how we can be jesus's hands, reaching out to the hurting in the world, and this is a poem i wrote as an initial reply. join her for walk with him wednesday?

holy experience

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunlight on the water

"The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe." Joanna Macy

we made it to church for the first time in ages. it's been a month of sundays, to be exact. and in that time the graduation/advancement service happened, and i think subconsciously one of the reasons we didn't go was because we were so afraid shea would not handle the change well. he looks just like his father, but his heart is molded like his mama's, and we both cringe against the unknown. his tender little heart has grown to love routine and sameness, and the one sunday a while back his teacher wasn't there, he couldn't even stay in the classroom; how would he handle a new class and possibly new peers and definitely a new teacher?
beautifully, it seems.
easily, and smilingly.
it appears i did not have enough faith in him.
~~~
we also came on the last day of an apologetic series, this one on the god of the universe and the theory of intelligent design, on a cosmic and biological level. it takes faith to believe that kind of stuff.
~~~
i'm reading eat, pray, love this weekend. haven't seen the movie yet, and i bought the book for .50 at goodwill. it's been hard to stop for dinner and cleaning, and i feel like i want to read her prose forever. and this is with my cynicism built-in already. i guess i'm easy when it comes to a good story and better writing, but even that takes a kind of faith, no?

ms. gilbert writes on the subject of faith, and i found myself nodding, agreeing, appreciating, despite the fact that we know very different Gods:
if we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be... a prudent insurance policy. i'm not interested in the insurance industry. i'm tired of being a skeptic, i'm irritated by spiritual prudence and i feel bored and parched by empirical debate.  i don't want to hear it anymore. i couldn't care less about evidence and proof and assurances. i just want God. i want God inside of me. i want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water.
 i fully hear this heart-cry, and i weep tears for the breeze that pimples my skin in love, draws my breath in a hallelujah, the same breath that so easily turns to voice raised or fear-speaking. i know the desire to have God so fully present you have to see through him to see me, as i once read on a christian board online.
so today, instead, i continue the counting, numbering and naming my blessings, claiming each little breath of daily divinity, little morsels given til i realize i'm feasting on Him all day long.

131. reminder that he is Lord of heaven and earth, sung in many voices
132. for texas skies, bluer and wider than any i've known before
133. for a week, so much cooler, for chance to be outside enjoyably
134. for my scientific husband who helps me to see the beauty in the rational
135. and for his acknowledging that i help him to see with beauty-faith
136. for shea, unperturbed in sunday school, for a heart that loves to give
137. for connor, who has had many successes this week in obeying and discipline
138. for avery, little one, who makes all the rest of us smile wide and long
139. for friendly chat with online friend
140. for whole saturday morning spent with sister
141. and we bought books at that! so many books for very little money (goodwill has a clearance? who knew?!)
142. for faithful hands of doctors caring for other sister experiencing ongoing contractions, too early
143. for those little twin girls staying put, growing as much as they can
144. for husband to finally get some rest, and a positive word from his job/boss
145. for sunlight that shimmers on water
146. and the faith it takes to see the hand that created it all
147. and his grace, inside of me, alive
joining with ann and others today to count our way towards a thousand blessings.

holy experience

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rinse

i was always so tired then, as swollen belly usually dictates, and i'd lean my head against the cool, smooth tile, letting the hot, hot water do its job. i could have stayed in there for hours; one showerhead pouring love on my lower back, the other rinsing my hair, long and tangled down to my waist, a new wide rivulet running down my side and thigh. he feared i stayed in there too long, not because i wasted so much water, but for the temperature rising (he'd read all the books, too), my skin bleating red protest.

i miss that shower. miss especially the stone bench and the luxury of several faucetheads, and most of all the little window that let so much light in but none out. it was summer, so it would rain often, and i remember feeling the magic of being showered on but watching rain splatter the earth. it was sumptuous, like grace or the believing in unicorns.

there is grace in this space, not ours, yet home-the chance to rinse off at all, or a wriggling little babe at my feet, splashing reverent, soapy bubbles, or one of those 30 minute drown-the-world sessions while he takes over out there.  there is no window to see the rain, no strategically placed jets of water, but there is still wonder in the washing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Memory

he'd say, "let's tickle the old ivories," and we'd sit, he and i, cramped on the creaky piano stool he built himself, hymnal splayed between. his finger pads would fly, crescendo up the scale, warm-up. p. 52 waits with shaped notes--diamond, heart, circle--old-time methods for old-time songs, and a rugged cross stands solo. i sing, feeble, sweet, unsure, but happy and believing.

there were other times i remember happiness- walking down to his shop, viennese cafe smoking pale white tendrils against winter smells of sawdust and vicious cold, my hand burning around the mug.

or, that summer: his beat-up blue ford, truckbed ready for haulin' and workin', us 3 girls squished inside the cab. we were at the paradoxical age of 12: still young enough to gobble greedily the mountain dews and m&ms and old enough to begin experimenting with eyeshadow and furtive glances to see if any of the workers noticed us.
summers and winters end, and the world is changed after.



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesdays are for perfection

oh, today has been lovely, and such a gift. my husband was supposed to leave today for the rest of the week, but he won't leave til tomorrow, giving us one more day and evening to spend with him, and he allowed me extra and much-needed time to sleep in this morning.
we've also gotten a break from the scorching heat, and so i took the boys to the park for the first time in ages. all three played so beautifully and well together, i was kind of amazed to be honest! i got knitting time in, and while it was hot enough for sweat to bead on my lip, it was so breezy i didn't mind in the least.
warm sun
cool breeze
knitting rhythm
quiet park
boy giggles shared
littlest so happy to join in the play
oldest so willing to share
and middlest all smiles

we truly had a lovely day today, so fitting to join with suzannah today!
so much shouting, so much laughter

Sunday, August 22, 2010

As good as a feast

when the weekend has been long and un-doing, the very best antidote is to remember, and count, the good gifts. so today i join ann at the gratitude community, and choose to give praise.

121. a girlfriend in the trenches with me, she starting her homeschooling this week, and i soon after. that we are co-journers, and hold hands across the way. she blesses me immensely.
122. e.e. cummings and sister-love who calls to read her favorite lines.
123. a tight week, but "enough is as good as a feast" (and hat-tip to above mentioned friend for sharing the wisdom of mary poppins with me)
124. a week of internal chaos and feeling out of sorts, out of control, and one tiny, insignificant project completed
125. hard words to hear, meant in love, so as to better me
126. forgiveness given
127. forgiving
128. salty tears running down but no accompanying migraine-blessed relief from this pain
129. my restless heart-that it would point me to the rest-Giver
130. "the year(s) the locusts have eaten" being replenished.



holy experience

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Swimming

my body feels weightless-rare-i cut and glide effortlessly graceful, amazed at the buoyancy. i float, drifting, water reflects sky reflects dreams, and i swim to forget the land's many tasks.
i never even knew how to swim properly til age 24, and i asked her if she'd teach me before i had to go.
(i am running away.)
her skin is wrinkled in fine lines, but brown and sinewy strong; mine is freckled,pale, and curvy-soft. she's an excellent swimmer, powerful.
i can't imagine her running away from anything.

every day, i treasure our hour together; i wonder what fall will be like when i can't swim with her anymore, when i won't have to see him again. i wonder if the breathing above water will be any easier than the snorkeling choking breath below. arm sweeps a waving arc, legs flutter kick, and i'm not sure if swimming's any easier than running.

(a tale of heartbreak, of love lost to a boy and being afraid of losing his mother's love, which i have not. this is like the prequel to my love story to my beautiful rickey, but a definite glimpse into my heart's ways, namely how easy it is to be afraid or want to run.)
linking with emily today.

Throwing away the pinch pots

i worked at a montessori school that year, my first post-college job, my first to feel like a grown up, despite being surrounded by little children. maybe because of it.
i assisted jodi, who taught me a lot that year, mostly about being true to yourself and how to listen with your soul. children and broken hearts need this the most, and i was both that year.

~~~~~
she was a potter, and taught a little slab work for art projects and end-of-year gifts. i knew instantly that i was made to love or appreciate pots, maybe make them one day, too.

many years later, i still have ever only attempted three bowls on the wheel, and i crumpled my first tiny pinch pots back into the pile for making slip. i shrugged off my disappointment and simmered in my own quiet perfectionism, vowing to buy the beautiful works of others.

~~~~~
i still struggle with perfectionism.
i like to quote the verse that says He will complete the good work started, but i often fail to live by it.
i see my oldest son, so sure and sensitive both; i see in him a demand for excellence, of himself and of his younger brothers.
i see my tiny middle man, so sunny and spirited, crumpling under two year old inabilities.

it is my turn to stop throwing away the pinch pots.
~~~~~
you hear the sermons reminding us we're all clay. the reverend asks, "now, if you're going to be clay in His hands anyway, wouldn't you rather be soft and pliable? wouldn't you rather be moldable than be stiff and unbendable, forcing him to break you?" it's a clever question, and one that gives pause. but the truth is, bisqued and glazed with our own hard hearts, or supple under the assumption we're so good, we are still in need of the Potter's grace.
~~~~~
grace-based parenting is the hardest thing i've ever done. i'm not so good at giving grace to myself but i want my boys to be excellent at it. i'm not so good at keeping unwarranted anger down, but i want my boys to feel loved and secure.
on a day of stormy tempers and breaking molars and sibling rivalry, i feel the need for grace in-dwelling. so today i sing the best chorus from one of the best songs*, and we dance.
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees


writing on the spiritual practices of parenting this week with ann and *singing the song worlds apart by jars of clay.

holy experience

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An ode to motherhood

multilayered

no one tells you how mothering splays your insides open,
like that frog in 6th grade science, stretched and pinned,
girls ewwing and boys high-fiving.
no one shares how inside you're all knotted up,
wondering when you will be normal again,
when you'll wake up and the dream is a happy one.
sure, they tell you "children are your heart walking around on the outside"
but you didn't think they actually meant it.
and they are.
you can peel back the looking at him as if he's an alien
and underneath you find all your childhood insecurity.
or, you see yourself as you want to be seen,
those mommy comparisons starving you to death.
you see how vulnerable you both are and how strong you both will be
if,
always the conditional
til one day, you hit a stride you never saw coming and
you think to yourself
i love this gig, screeching mike, poor acoustics, tough audience and all

this is a slightly edited repost from my create tab (which i'm now actually working on removing after incorporating them into posts because i don't like the way they're all tucked away in the raw like that!). please join us over at suzannah's!

so much shouting, so much laughter

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birthday blessings

30 has been really fun so far, even if i'm only a day into this birthyear! i've been looking forward to the third decade, not dreading it, and that doesn't seem to be the norm somehow. i think more age, wisdom, and maturity are all good things, and i feel grateful to still be in this earth-suit to learn yet.

counting, again, His good gifts:

holy experience


101. for the miracle of birth, and life
102. to be the miracle that is a triplet
103. for two sisters so different, us so complete
104. for love that spans distance and space
105. for the simplest gifts, words and calls and reminders of being loved
106. for package from mom: treasured photographs of us while young; i thought these were lost to me forever
107. for hearing birth story again, and details
108. for womb-twin to know me inside out like she does
109. for the privilege of knowing her the same
110. for lavish little boy hugs and kisses and shy, embarrassed renditions of "happy birthday"
111. for twenty pages of colorings, all mine
112. for time away-insanity!-to ride roller coasters, the conquering of fear (ok, so conquer is not quite the word, but to do something you wouldn't normally makes for a very memorable birthday!)
113. for Sprinkles cupcakes (key lime. delicious)
114. and more happy birthdays sung
115. that life goes on, even still, with more laundry and dishes and the dailyness of home-making
116. that i have a home, not just a house, full of love and laughter and good food
117. that i have a companion, lover, friend, soulmate in him
118. that i still need breaking, that though skin is mud, heart is stone sometimes. that the breaking reminds he is faithful to complete the good work started.
119. He considers me a good work. i am good.
120. that He alone is perfect Love.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

30

thank you, friends, for all the encouragement you sent me this past week. i was so tired and so drained from the mental challenges of journeying towards reconciliation with my mom and being caught up in family dynamics. but then i remember A) no family is perfect and B) even "normal" families have these kinds of issues from time to time.

this week i needed a break from my computer, although it was forced on me, as my pc isn't working! but i've taken the time to just dwell and be in the moment, and only good things ever come of that.

***
so tomorrow i turn thirty (or "thurdy" as my fellow southerners say), and i'm happy. i have an amazing husband and 3 gorgeous little boys, and i will be with my sister who loves me more than life. i am blessed.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Goodness, like a fetter

i am not the only one who's ever hidden under
the sin of fig leaves, hiding when i could be Known.

today i struggle with self-sufficiency and my way is best. if it were up to me, i'd run away and hide instead of allowing the shadow of a Friend fall low and lovely, asking, "where are you?"

i am not the only one to tread endless desert waves
pining for the shackles of egypt.

hardness is easier than forgiveness, and it's too easy to choose a thousand days over the one.
it was easier, before, when there was quiet. we didn't say a single word for five years, and as hard as that was, this talking is hurting my heart in an awful kind of way.

i, too, have chosen to run away from ninevah
for fear He might be right, dole Grace.

i went, but with heavy heart. heart is heavy, still.

i have also struggled with doing what i hate
and hating what i do, the inner fight.

i have felt the rage bubbling up again, it seemed i'd made such strides. i am tired of spewing my anger and fear and disappointment all over again, one step forward, five back.

..... so today i'm feeling fettered, bound to the one who loves me most, and i who would wander because it gets so hard. there are lies being told from brother to sister and from mother to another, and i think i will get lost in all the webs. i want to quit. i'm so tired. sexual abuse is awful, but there have been so many years since then, and i'm actually numb to so much of that, but THIS, the aftermath of youngest sister getting healing for the first time, and the family that is slowly tearing away bit by bit. i don't know what i'm doing anymore.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A time as this

i talked to my mama yesterday and i wanted to cry and scream and let violent out after.

she has cut off youngest sister, the one who's held on the longest for all the wrong reasons, but who was always there hurting and dying inside, holding onto her mama because she was afraid if she let go, she'd slip off the edge. and now that mother says she can't handle youngest, that she sees Another Woman, and i want to scream and let go and run to hold sister.

i talk to surrogate-mama, meg, and she tries to soothe and pray comfort into my heart, but i don't know if i can listen.

she reminds me of the story of esther, how since we know the rest of the story, the ending, when the king storms from the room, it makes sense. but it didn't make sense to esther; was he running because she admitted Jewess, or running because of evil planned? and, too, we see the power of a mighty God when mordecai whispers, "for such a time as this," but all esther could have felt was fear, uncertain footing in a palace not hers, the weight of a people crushing her soul.

i wear my sister's weight heavy, but what if for a time like this one my own relationship with my mom is patching while sister's breaks away, for life? for her time to heal, for emotional space to be raw and real?

God knows the rest of the story; i often can't see past teh very words of yesterdays to allow todays and tomorrows to look any different. yet i am not author, and it is not my vision alone. i can't often sift sense out of this mess, and yet this is one piece of the whole tapestry, the one where the ending is the same as it has ever been.

today i'm writing with Ann and others, choosing to walk with Him, for i know no other way.


holy experience


***
there is also change in our family's lives on the horizon. many decisions need to be made, and there is not a lot of time. help us pray for clarity and peace?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

m&ms

i heard the plinking and dinging
and wondered, but didn't go
heard shuffling and rustling
thought i should check it out
and found
that
little monkey
all blue eyes and
yellow hair
sitting on counter
he found the bag of
secret candy

he cried seeing me spy him

once
i would have been angry
and snapped
and crunched little boy fear
into pinking skin

today
i said, "shhhh.
would you like some candy in a little bowl?
why don't you get down from here
and let's clean up
this little mess,
here, now, don't cry."

and i smiled
over tussled hair,
arms wrapped tight around
little boy

and i know that
i'm loved just like this.

linking up with suzannah today. join us?


so much shouting, so much laughter

Monday, August 2, 2010

Beautiful, beautiful

this morning we took him to the airport-another trip, another week of travel; he drove there, actually, and we switched after kisses and hugs and swift prayer pleasestaysafe,comebackquickly and i buckle back in, towards home.

i notice immediately the seat is in the wrong place, shift it upright, notice side mirrors are now off. i'm almost home when i realize that i kept straining my neck to see out of the rearview mirror. a simple, effortless adjustment and the reality of how just the right shift in a mirror affects the drive.

if i'd let Him shift my reflection so easily.

christian radio serenades us, and i happily hear two favorites, back-to-back. we played beautiful one at our wedding, as covenant reminder of a Savior that woos his Bride. i sang loudly to the Beautiful one who has captured my heart. next up we heard my newest favorite song, beautiful beautiful; the lyrics hold me tightly the entire song.

i've been there: the darkness interrupted with brightest light. it adjusts my vision, my reflection.

lately i've been all over the board with my emotions-felt lost, scared, angry red, broken, disappointed, but learning peace, grace, learning to see through a proper lens, too. it is a good and necessary reminder that He is perfect, and He breaks me more Beautiful than i've ever been.

~~~~~
so today, with mirror adjusted rightly, i join over at ann's gratitude community and i continue to count the gifts.

84. the Beautiful One who loves me and breathes life and grace
85. being reminded that i, too, am beautiful, in song
86. and from elizabeth
87. for little boy in backseat sing-screaming the lyrics to beautiful, beautiful, that he, too may know how gorgeous he is!
88. for songs that make me ache for sister-time
89. for husband who allowed me time away from home
90. and time to work in home
91. and who travels long, works long to love us in action
92. for friends who lift up and encourage
93. and puppy silliness to show God's humor!
94. for contentment in marriage
95. and friend who just got married
96. for crepe myrtle--the only flashes of color surviving texas heat right now
97. for warm, home-baked loaves
98. and for 3 lbs lost towards my goal!
99. for a counselor who has helped me start to love myself
100. for Grace




holy experience

Saturday, July 31, 2010

red

i scrub furiously, all this energy to come out in some way, best if productively. cleaning highchair grime from three years and counting, lifting stovetop eyes to erase rust/grease/dirt rings, washing walls and dishes, all the while praying and singing one refrain.



my washrag is red and unraveling a bit, and towards the end my hands are wrinkled and red. all this red to clean, and i think that's all it's ever taken--red running stripes to clean soul dirt.



work it out

figure it out

scrub harder on stains

use more effort

be better



these thoughts carry guilt and fight the stain that Red Love leaves. would i surrender self, stop working so very hard to just be, allow Red to cover and leave me blameless white?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Backyard

in this safe place

of slightly overgrown lawn
with lots of dandelions to blow
and railroad ties to jump
and a driveway canvas
for pink chalk people
and a kiddie pool lying
deflated most of the time

this place is where little boys grow
where they dream up play
and make believe song
and write out sports
and drive away tensions
sing their love out loud

and where they hit and fight
and possess the other's tools
and bugs are swatted
or explored
(depending on the day)
and littlest tumbles as he toddles
and oldest rushes to get mama
and middle stays to hold him

this is the safe place i watch them
these three
who walk all over my heart some days
but are definitely
my heart walking around on feet
i watch from window glass and reflection
and i want them always
to have
green grass
and colored rainbow sidewalks
and tricycle love for life

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

birth

i got to hear my birth story* for the first time since becoming a mom myself. i'm sure i heard it at some point growing up, but not such that i knew to ask the right questions, the ones with the interesting answers!
something so simple, so huge.
a point of grace. a place to share commonality; we're both mothers after all.
she wasn't there while i was pregnant; she couldn't answer my breastfeeding questions; she didn't hold any of my wee ones, but she finally heard, too, how they were born. she seemed as excited for me as i was that i had my two VBAC births. was proud that i'd made it a year with two and six months with another with nursing.
two mothers, bonding, with holes still lying beneath the surface.
it's mystifying, this new space of birth story and parenting talk. it's like the film of scum on the surface of a still lake, not so much as being stagnant as just being murky below. but like the lake, there can be life below, and that's what is both scary and exciting. just like birth.

thank you, friends, for letting me share my innermost thoughts here. i know the subject matter isn't always easy, but it's so truly where i am that to write of anything else would be disingenuous.

*and my birth story is actually very interesting! for those of you who are new to my blog, i'm a triplet, so there's a lot of general excitement anyway, but i had no idea my mom actually went into labor with us... i just assumed it was an automatic c-section. we were 34 weeks, but were very sizeable given being premature (4 lbs apiece and some varying ounces).

***** note: i'm way late in the day, but i'd love to link up to imperfect prose

(i can't get the button to work... i'll link back later and edit that in!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Face to face

i told her i was coming to town for a visit. i immediately wondered if i should've kept my mouth shut. after all, even she admitted the silent Before was easier. but she said yes, let's meet for coffee. she wanted to know if i wanted to see her garden. no, that meant home, meant seeing him, and them. the pause in the air said more than i did, and she got hurt, angry. we back pedaled and just agreed coffee, then let's see.
+++
i was late; she sounded irritated. i realized it'd been so long since i'd driven out there i'd misjudged just how long it would take me. she told me she'd go pick up a few items at the wal-mart next door while i drove the remaining twenty minutes. the hallowed, neutral ground of starbucks, not memphis, not home, the industrial in-between.

i got there before she did, and the butterflies i'd been able to keep at bay til that point flooded my stomach. the coffee i sipped turned heavy and tasteless in my throat.

so many years since i'd seen her- a marriage and three births all taking their toll on me' would i recognize her?
i did. noticed how long her hair'd gotten, the limp she had because of the foot trouble she's mentioned on the phone, but the same dark eyes. she looked more like granny than the mama i remembered, her skin looser and softer and powdery, and it seems ten years instead of five. she thinks i look like bet. touches my wedding ring, the engagement story she doesn't know being hinted at, sees pictures of my boys on my phone; me, realizing how few of them actually have face shots. her phone has pictures of her dogs, and she laments the fact.

we chat, i twirl my bands nervously; she twists and retwists her diet coke cap.
where to start lies heavy between us, so we plunge.

straight into the murky cold depths and i tell her how i fear sticking my hands behind or under things, that absurd fear of the unknown. she says she can light the way, but perspective is different and casts shadows, taints conversation.

she vehemently reminds she loves her husband, and i know she does an she should, and she asks if he's unwanted, unloved, and i don't know the answer to the question.

the heart doesn't like going under dark things either.

i mention ann's grace-post and how i know the need for forgiveness, even know i have for the first time in my life and how i even feel sorry for all those years lost. she seems to hear.

there is mention of a future and in the moment i know i want that above all else. it's when i've driven away, heavier than the coffee burning in my stomach, that i fear all the long future in front of me, all the hardness trying to come back into my heart and brain, and all the old bitternesses trying to take root again.

it is up to me to soften. to see her as the mother she wishes she could be, the grandmother she's never been, and the friend she may still be someday.
it is up to me to reach into the dark-be a light for Him, extending God-grace to self and her and continue this long road, one phone call, cup of coffee, and trembling hug at a time.

i'm linking up today at suzannah's shoutlaughlove because this is part of my story--journey deeper into grace.

so much shouting, so much laughter

A week recaptured

i read ann's post today, and i marvel at how timely and appropriate it is for me, having just returned from a week away from my family, and the struggle that is finding the right lens for which to see things.

42. no cut flowers to adorn my sink, but the sink is empty of last night's dishes.
43. no garden to grow those jewels to eat or display, yet my boys grow, one now four!
44. a time of Tio, and all the energy spent climbing him instead of me, and time for brother-love between friends, and a freezer stocked of food i didn't eat but lovingly made for them while i was gone.
45. safe travels, and time well spent in a city dear to my heart, how a week just flew and wore me out!
the trip itself:
46. barbeque nachos, all perfection [real!memphis!barbeque!], and even better time spent with christina, whom i dearly miss.
47. retreat/reunion--4 girls so different, so same, we met at the perfect junction of our lives, and while many of us have moved (texas, switzerland), home again these 10 years later, 24 hours carved in homage to the time when we were husbandless, childless, clueless (!).
48. so many laughs
49. holding hands and those long sister-hugs
50. swiss chocolate (78% thankyouverymuch!)
51. three-in-a-bed in cabin and laughing more into the night
52. crackers and cheese, epitomizing poor college food
53. shopping in oxford
54. the preciousness that is amy, damaris, and kathryn
55. time with sister (pregnant with twins) and niece, that my bitterness at "doing all the work" subsided and we had a nice time
56. skylar remembering me
57. time with mom, first time face-t0-face in four years
58. she hugged first
59. tears shed and more hard conversations
60. agreeing to move one day at a time, however that looks
62. for grace to acknowledge there will be hard(er) days
63. and promise not to pull back in silence, agreeing that even loud anger would be better than nothing.
64. for my sweet friend brownie, soul sister and stage of life companion
65. real-friend tears, both of us, and shoulders to lean on
66. time to pray, encourage
67. knowing looks and smiles
68. shared understanding, ease, motherhood ups and downs
69. crockpot love and slow-simmering friendship
70. gina, getting to hold sweet henry
71. the chance to let her eat with two hands!
72. the ability to be more experienced and promise her she's doing such a great job
73. seeing how far i've come
74. pizza with smoked mozzarella, truffle oil, arugula, need i say more?!
75. amy, for your ever-beautiful smile, and hospitality to share your home with me
76. muddy's cupcakes
77. time and space to vent my fears and frustrations
78. kassie and pippa and brittany
79. for time with husband when i got back,
80. and a house clean and orderly
81. and little boy hugs to remind of being wanted
82. and nap to catch up on all the week's hard work and road weariness
83. and a return to some normal

i had a long week, one of the more harried visits i've taken to memphis because of all the emotional visits with my mom and sister and just the busy-ness of it all. i'm so glad to be back, and so glad i got to go! i'll write more in-depth about my visit with my mom and the rest of the week, but i want to take a moment to thank each of you who prayed for me. it was deeply appreciated.

don't forget to read ann's post today and join the others in the gratitude community, or begin sharing your own way to a thousand gifts!



holy experience

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A note...

to explain the quiet around here.
we've had a week-long guest and i'll be traveling this entire week myself.

i have much to share (for sharing is my chewing, my processing and figuring out what my heart says about it all), but for now, may i please ask for prayers: safe travel and family well-missed, as well as an important meeting where i both act out some forgiveness as well as keep emotionally safe. your thoughts are appreciated, and i'll be back next week with updates and written-hashings.
thanks for patience.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tired and thankful

i'm so tired today after a long but productive weekend, with a long and hopefully productive week ahead.
it is good for this tired soul and body to pause and drink deeply the thanks that allows me to go on.

26. Spain won!
27. the ability to laugh happily with husband that his team lost
28. for boys who shout "Go, go, go, go!" along with daddy
29. simple dinners
30. new bread recipe-delicious!
31. practice makes perfect as several loaves turned out less so
32. lemon curd
33. hands washed raw, but smelling faintly of lemon still
34. husband off safely
35. and his willingness to travel so far away to provide for us
36. long-time family friend coming to stay with us this week
37. my finally understanding the house doesn't have to be perfect for him; he understands little boy mess
38. an upcoming birthday of the eldest (how 4 already?)
39. a chance to see best girlfriends soon
40. a sweet family safely set in their new missional home in asia and already making contacts
41. and ever, the grace that gets us through difficult seasons

won't you join us at the gratitude community?


holy experience

Friday, July 9, 2010

Shielding the scars/Scars that shield

Shielding the Scars
i hide the parts i think are ugly
cover their imperfection
and brokenness,
but that often looks like
a full-length fur coat for a day on the beach
pompous, out of place
and exposing none of the real me beneath.
i'm afraid my ugly will spill -
and it does.
i act as if it's either really important to seem best
or weaken the story that knows first-is-last
and last-is-first.

Scars that shield
i also hide behind my scars,
those raw and purple wounds
the ones that left me for dead
only i survived, somehow.
i think if i build a wall
i'm more protected,
and people will want to know me
the real me,
except they can't get past the pretend beauty/exterior.

***
sometimes i think he keeps me broken
so the scars can't will themselves
to being unknown
so i can be a story of Grace
with no help but to open heart and soul
bleed onto others
lifeblood pouring

realize,
it's in the giving, the bleeding
the no-walls
glimpse into my imperfection
i can't save myself
can only rely so heavily,
head resting low and hard, on Him,
on allowing you to be his arms hugging me.
building walls/tearing down
know that grace is loving me
loving you
not despite ugliness
but because of it;
shields being lowered not because we're safe
but because we're not,
for his love is wild and reckless and ruthless and Grace.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Satisfied to stay

i mentioned in my last post that i'd done some back-reading in journals past, and the words, both mine and borrowed, have been a balm. i've been able to remember where i've come, the darkness that felt at the time to overtake my spirit, and i fought hard against heart and flesh, both. i was in love with an idol and the worship alone broke me into pieces. i could not be content because i was trying to obey two masters. when the altar was taken down, the tears poured out angrily and the hands stayed balled, clutching sheets hard to self, and i wrestled, prayed for a return to the past.

a girlfriend whispered the dangers of "clinging to egypt's bondage" and i wandered soul-lost for many months.

then.

i began meeting with her, and she opened my eyes up to see the truth and to see the good in the breaking. she helped me remember where worship belonged, and she guided me prayerfully-wrapped to seek Him again, fall back in love with Love.
these words were penciled in those years ago, words from a book she'd written and which she was having me read:
contentment is an "inward grace given by God that results in a mindset of being satisfied to stay in your circumstances for as long as God wills." it is truly preferring a single, solitary day in His courts, even as a doorman, than to spend lifetimes in the kingdoms of the idols.
it means rest. resting in His grace, His promise to keep, His will, His pierced hands.
if you had told me (and some did try) that i could move on from that sick, ill-sighted love and that i'd one day believe the God of the universe holds me in his hand, i would not have agreed. i was not willing to stay in His will for me then if it meant heartbreak, waking up every morning with disappointment clenching my breast.

i wake up today a different woman, and only by His doing.
yes, i discovered another love along the way, but i am also learning to let go of self and my own will. it is finally figuring out that to stay in the gates of His will is the perfect place, the still waters that quench a soul thirst, so i rest in Him.

won't you click the button below and join in as we talk about the spiritual grace of rest this month?

holy experience