Snow

A quietness so still it can be heard

A scent so clean it can’t be missed

A hue so white it covers

A beauty so deep it pierces with

A gentleness so large as to expand one’s heart.

Light-bulb Moment

I Have –

What a billion people want.

A circle of friends – close enough that we sit and laugh one moment and the next share hard stuff with tears washing our faces!

 

I Have –

What a trillion people madly pursue every day.

Peace. An incredible gift that can’t be bought or earned or achieved – only accepted.

 

I Have –

What everyone on this broken planet needs—a heart washed by the blood of Jesus. Redeemed from Satan’s grip.

 

I Have –

What all mankind hopes is true.

The promise of life – forever.

 

Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

Honesty: Terrifying and Life-Giving

Some people are terrified of beauty. They don’t know how to hold it, nurture it, or wear it. Others are very uncomfortable with simplicity. They collect and hoard and stash. They layer and rearrange and gather. Still others fear closeness. Invade my space bubble and I will bite you.

I am scared of honesty and loneliness. What if you dump me when I tell you what I really think, feel, and am? Because today I told a friend that I’m done being single. A number of the past days have been engulfed in a haze like the fog that enshrouds Botetourt County on a humid summer morning. Don’t even warn me that I may be in this same classroom eleven years from now.

Enter Author of Truth. Jesus Christ. I have also found incredible freedom in honesty. Honesty with God makes me intensely grateful for Grace. Without grace, there are mornings when I couldn’t unbury these bones and face the drama. Pillows and eiderdown provide a much safer cocoon than forty degrees and a gusty chill.

Humankind has been hiding ever since Genesis 3. Alas. This fear of honesty is not a new fear. May I dare say, I’m not even alone in my fear. What will you say some day when you stand before Almighty God and realize with a flash that you lived your whole life a sham, a cover-up, pretending to be somebody you weren’t? Or trying to outdo all the Jones’. Trying to hide one talent and portray another. Friends help us incredibly in this onslaught of fears. I trust you have one such warrior beside you. One friend in particular has told me essentially, ‘Stop portraying the super-woman image.’ Thanks.

Now lest you beat someone up with brutal honesty, know, I am speaking of kind, refreshing, soul-cleansing honesty. We tend to assume others intuitively know our needs or desires. We may become miffed or even provoked when an ‘obvious’ need is completely missed, especially when missed by that particular person that we expected could meet it. What if in gracious humility we would acknowledge our needs and allow others to come alongside us and help us. What if we wouldn’t be so quick to pretend we don’t have any fears or need any help? Danny Silk talks more about this in his book Keep Your Love On!

Almost every Bible has a blank page or two at the beginning or end-great spaces to jot down life-anchors; this is one of mine, Freedom: Nothing to prove, Nothing to fear, Nothing to lose.

What if facing your fears is one of the most life-giving steps you could take? What if a terrifying risk is the leap into glorious freedom! Jesus talked about it in John 12 with the example of a corn seed dying down in the dark dirt: the way terrifying death births life, loneliness bears fruit, serving Him extracts the Father’s honor.

Fragile Morning Mist

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Fragile Morning Mist

Whispy and gentle

Giving one more soothing kiss

To the earth.

For twon’t be long ‘ere the

Sun in glorious blaze

Bursts ore the horizon

And shatters morning’s haze!

Can a body e’en feel gloomy

While the sunbeams dance and glitter

Turning every crystal dewdrop to

A million silvery shimmers?

Ah – I cry no –

With the Psalmist who penned –

That Orange Orb comes forth

As a strong man to run.

For e’en as the sun

Beckons sleeper and dreamer

I stretch out my arms enraptured in warmth.

I’m filled with a song

Energy invigorating

A zeal wells up

I’ve been touched from above.

For not only the sun warms my soul

But the Son!

The Giver and Maker, Redeemer of Life.

Oh, let’s praise Him

Each critter

Each creature

Each child

Oh praise the Son Glorious

Who reigns High Above!

 

Dreams Are Free?

If anything would be attainable, If you could go anywhere, If you would be given a blank check, what would it read?

My bucket list includes…

  • Host an exchange student
  • Be a foster mom
  • Adopt a bunch of children from Asia
  • Get a degree in writing
  • Publish a book
  • Grow a big garden
  • See the Grand Canyon and West Coast, USA
  • Tour Switzerland
  • Ride a gondola in Venice
  • Take my nieces and nephews with me on a mission trip
  • Teach ESL in Iraq
  • Travel to Greece
  • Buy my own little place with lots of perennials

When we stop dreaming, we stop living. It’s really scary to be at a point in life when you feel like you’ve lived up most of your dreams and you wonder now what. I’ve been there.

We need to keep on dreaming, hoping, pursuing, imagining goodness. It’s the pieces of heaven that are imprinted in our hearts I think – this desire for goodness and wholeness and perfect happiness.

But dreams actually cost. A lot. You exchange money for traveling, energy and love for relationships, sweat and tears for a garden and that may produce nothing but goldenrod and morning glory. Have you accepted the opportunity to exchange quietness for fullness, aloneness for refreshment, darkness for wisdom?

How often too are we living our dreams and don’t realize it? This struck me the other day; one of my dreams once upon a time was to have a house and work some sort of job so that I could also house several other girls, in a communal sort of living; I’ve been living this for the past four years now. It’s a lot tougher than I ever thought. Friendships richer, food sweeter, and lonely moments deeper. It’s called real life.

Dreams usually realize themselves in gritty overalls vs. pastel ballet gowns, dirty silverware and splattered windows, plastic cups vs. goblets. Ants and weeds vs. red tomatoes. Misunderstandings vs. close friendships.

Dreams shape us. We move toward the mental images we have before us. Our perceptions, expectations, our goals and desires motivate us. The lack thereof or the bitter taste of disappointment can leave us depressed. In this broken world, keep dreaming. Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise – think on these things.

May we extend more kindness, more patience, more understanding and carry each other’s fragile dreams like little candles, with a hand held beside the flame to keep the wind from blowing it out. What’s on your bucket list?

When God Laughs

When God laughs—

The rivers gurgle and run,

The mountains beckon to come,

Trees dress in their gayest reds and golds

And wave their arms for fun.

 

When God laughs—

The animals skitter and scatter,

A summer rain may patter,

The ocean swells and kisses the shore

With her tongue of salty water.

 

When God laughs—

His children dance and sing

They know they belong to the King.

They in happiness wait for the feast near the gate

When given their golden wings.

A Still Running

“We must run the race,” preached the preacher. And we began to look at an acronym of RACE. Remain, Abide, Continue, Endure.

To run calls for activity. It calls for effort. Running is hard work. Keeping on running is harder work. Running seems synonymous to puffing or frenzy or emergency.

But Remain is a still word.

Abide is a quiet word.

Continue being still and quiet.

Endure.

Sometimes the race will not be a roar.  It will not be flamboyant.  It will not even be noticeable. But it will be sweaty tough. It will call for tenacity like never before. It will squeeze you till you think you can’t go on. It will test your roots. It will push you to the limits of your great faith and make you wonder if you have faith.

Then you will be still and remain. You will be quiet and abide. You will continue and by God’s grace endure. Because He has promised, In quietness and confidence is your strength. And God is true to His promises. He wants us to cling to them like lifelines. To breathe them like the invisible oxygen around us.  Abide in me, and I in you. Jn 15:4

To Sum It Up

 

Teach-ing  \=\  v.  1. That state of being in which all waking seconds are allotted to others  2. The delightful art of exploring unknown lands from Mt. Mitchell in the east, fording the ‘Great Water’, and crossing Death Valley   3. Expanding vistas with Mr. Popper and Captain Cook    4. Being enriched by seeing life though little people’s eyes  – we have a spider just like the one outside the schoolhouse door and we watched it wrap up a fly in its web    5. Hearing giggles as we read ‘Antonio, Antonio went off on his polonio…’    6. That fantastic treasure hunt for those antiqued math facts hidden in dusty attics    7. Is saying, Hmmm, I wonder too    8. Praying, Dear God, I don’t have what it takes, You do. You created these dear little people. Please help me understand them and help me as I open doors and walk before them. The task is energizing, awesome, and frightening. May they see You. Amen

Synonyms: Nurse, Coach, Motivator, Lunch Monitor, Juggler, Shepherd

Battle Scars

Go slowly my comrades,

I can’t keep your pace,

I have battle scars hidden

That slacken my pace.

 

In the dark of the night

While you dreamt in your bed

My mother drank cocaine, it

Deformed paths in my head.

 

You clearly face issues,

You logically think.

My thoughts flip the brakers,

Straight thinking’s extinct.

 

Be gentle when listening

To my rants and raves,

She was trying her best

No one shared – Jesus saves.

 

Kindly tend to my limping

I’m learning new ways

To function as normal –

The scars fade as you pray.

 

Go softly my comrades,

I envy your pace,

Battle scars heal when

We link in this race.

 

This poem is in honor of the many innocent foster kids. I wrote it recently after listening to a dad share some of his experiences and the heartache and sacrifice that goes with being a parent to foster kids.

We Know

“So we went to this dinner party, and my brother wasn’t with me, and so who do I go with through the line? Follow Mom and Dad. Take a niece. Go with a married sibling. What if I’m still single at thirty-two?” she wailed, making me conjure up pictures that the end of all time would have come.

I smiled. Good question, my child. Good question. What if you’re still single at forty-two? Would that be the end of the world? What if that is the worst possible scenario that could play out in your life? I’d say your life is pretty pleasant. Pretty easy. Pretty nice.

Going through a dinner line alone is not nice. I’ll agree.

Welcome to the waters of identity.

Aloneness often brings us to the bare bones of who we are.  Where we are. Why we are. Do you know who you are outside of my mother, my brother, my uncle, my cousin? Do you know why you are where you are?

And as you search let me ask, “Have you found an anchor for your soul? Do you know the Anchor?”

May God grant you the waters of adversity until your face is only turned in one direction. Until your cry is voiced only to the One. Until your heart is at rest in the bottom of the boat, riding the crests, knowing Jesus Christ is at the helm and you are safe. With Him. Until you can say with soul-resonating confidence that seeps down, down, down into your bones like warm chocolate on a cold gray day, “And WE KNOW that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”