Monday, July 6, 2015

Marvel at Man

My Dad is the hardest working person I know.

Most days of the week he is flying all over the country helping some manufacturing plant run properly. He's a beast at what he does.

And he got that way by working for it. 

No college degree.

No pedigree.

No favoritism.

No hand-outs whatsoever.

Grit, and wherewithal, and endurance, and bravery, and divine guidance - is how he busted into the awesome that he is.

A dyslexic child, who was told he would amount to nothing by ignorant teachers...

He was forecasted to achieve little in this life.

For him... the letters were switched up all sorts of ways. And the words wouldn't line up right. And the grade school instructors in 1960's Texas called him stupid, dumb, mean, worthless.

This one certain teacher in particular had a dumb row in her classroom. The person who sat in the front seat of the dumb row....was the dumbest.

That first desk belonged to my Daddy.

All 7 or 8 years of him, holed up in that sweaty wooden desk - labeled and slapped with a losing title from the get-go...

I picture him and his cole black hair, dangling legs, squinting eyes - and it makes me furious.

He has since picked up that dumb row desk and thrown it into a raging fire of passion and work ethic and watched it burn to bits.

Because when you live a life that blows the boundaries others have placed on you...

When you surpass odds...

And sail forth in the midst of setbacks...

And pave paths where others have told you there are only barricades...

You get to grab-hold of those others-induced limits, and catch them to hot flame.

(And your daughter gets to marvel at the wonder and blaze of it all!)

Isn't it incredible what we humans are actually capable of?

Isn't it grand that we have soared to moon landings...

And orbited heavens...

And built contraptions that jettison us across continents...

And invented ways to see and speak to people in real time from any spot on the globe...

And projected images onto giant theater screens...

And climbed massive mountains...

And written wildly beautiful volumes of books from imagination...

And so forth, and so forth...

Isn't it thrilling when a person breaks molds, and forges onward, and succeeds despite lowly estimations?

Marvel at this with me today!

Marvel at all the people you know who have punched prognosis and false prophecies in the face.

Marvel at their God-given gifts, tenacity, and unending drive.

And tell them you are doing so.

Show them you see.

Tell them you admire and admonish their fantastic feats.

And thank the Lord for their example, and inspiration, and fine life.

And then mimic their moxie.

My dad turns 59 this week.

He has strongly endured all of the almost 60.

And I have witnessed it.

And I stand next to that burnt dumb row desk...

And crush the ashes under my feet with him.

Because he has wrestled and he has won.

Marvel, friends.

And enjoy your birthday, Dad. (That desk had nothing on you.)





Monday, June 29, 2015

Marveling is for Mondays

We were all resting well and quiet, just passed midnight, in the dark hours of the day yesterday.

All three children were tucked and snuggling.

Mom and Dad had laid heads on pillows in need of sweet sleep.

And the doors were all bolted tight and the windows were all shut and latched, and our world was ready for the recoup.

When all the sudden.....

The skies built up a fury and ripped and roared a storm overhead.

As usual, the Mama here heard it first.

A few slow rumbles of thunder with a few more distant streaks of light brightening up the night....

I checked in on the littles, and all of them were still pleasantly wrapped in blankets and stuffed pets, sleeping.

I made my way back to my room, where I curled up in a side ball and tried to drop off again.

Within seconds, however.... the bolts and booms and brightness that descended on our city woke the whole of us.

The youngest, all three years of him, came scurrying into our bedroom begging for Daddy to cover his ears and hold him tight.

Daddy did so.

I checked the weather, and watched.

The lasers of light that were piercing the darkness outside were a show and a sight to behold.

And that noise...when light splits air....it causes that terrifically loud crackling sound.

There's no other noise like it.

As I laid and listened and peeked through blinds ....

I stood in outright awe over the power and force and potency within the storm.

It roared.

And it dropped rain.

And it ran me right up the grand steps to marveling, again.

The amount of energy and tension that filled the skies that hour, was frightening. And it made me feel small. And it made me grateful for safe shelter.

The whole process is a mystery to me.

How in the world does a cloud become electric?

And how does the electricity find rods on the earth?

The whole thing is mystifying.

It's Summer. And big storms build up down this way throughout the day - and over the next several weeks I'll have a chance to study and wonder and ponder these great and fantastic shows of meteorological power.

Join me.

Watch from a window - how the light beams the sky and punches land and illuminates the heavens. Feel the reverberating bang of thunder that follows. And marvel with me at it's grandness.

And as you go about your Monday, friend... find something, someone, someplace to behold and capture.

Your hope and faith will soar in the wondering.



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Marvel

I was on an overnight in Austin.

The hotel room had a wide window facing the heart of that self-proclaimed weird city.

Upon entering I placed my bags in a corner - walked over to the view, pushed the curtains aside, and gazed out on urban landscapes.

The speed and presence and height and design of the big city excited me.

But one building in particular struck me special.

It was a skyscraper.

A fairly ordinary one - all tall, pointy, and reaching.

But when I looked at it through the thick glass of my hotel window - up close and on eye level - I was absolutely awed.

It was a mix of materials all stacked layer on layer.

So many walls, windows, and beams.

All that glass, and electricity, and fine-tuned temperature gaged air.

Elevators that push and plummet people up and down, over and over.

Winding staircases.

Clean water pumped throughout.

Architectural beauty.

And all of this.....filling 30 some-odd levels!

With people moving about inside it all day!

With the ability for all that mass to sway if needed!

It's baffling and it floors me.

And the whole thing has me thinking...

May we never miss an opportunity to marvel.

Never.

It's Monday evening.

I'm out back facing pines and palms, hearing cicada songs, and watching the sky say bye to the sun.

And I'm declaring tonight that Mondays....

they are for marveling now.

They are for the mundane, and getting back into the swing, and working well, and doing the little things.

But they are also for a good, sound, meaningful....

marvel.

Perhaps I'll plan to post on Mondays here? To scrawl out what's astounded, and inspired wonder, and caused me to cue in on the amazing? I'll certainly try.

Until then...let's look out, and up, and through, and over.

Let's stay stationed on the things that are good for a bit.

You'll have to help me.

My eyes tend to see the ugly more than they see the awesome.

So this Monday marveling thing....it should be a healthy dose of light for me.

I sure hope your week is grand, friends.

Big grateful hugs to you all.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Snapshot of a Tuesday

It isn't as early as I'd like.

It's already bright and warming outside, the birds have already announced their awakening - and so have my children.

They are holed up in their room playing with Nerf guns until the clock tells them they can emerge from their bunked den.

Opening my eyes this morning, dreary from a late night before, I glanced up at the clock to see what the window had already told me....

My 'me' time would be short today.

But I rose, and am here, and am wanting to type something out quickly before the day hits full force.

Speaking of force...

The forecast is warning me of heavy rain, wind, and squalls.

Squalls. 

I've never seen that written on the weather - but that's what's coming.

Living in a tropical climate affords me the privilege of palm trees and toasty winters and sunshine - but it occasionally also brings wild weather.

I have extra water, extra food, library books, and a few movies for us to peruse as this tropical storm hits land today and tomorrow.

My oldest has a thing for all things weather - and so he is our in-house meteorologist... making sure we're all aware of the impending elements.

He studies clouds - the way they rise high in the sky, and the way they smear across the blue, and the way they blow and fall. He has inadvertently invited me into the wonder of weather, too - and now I enjoy a good look to the skies with him.

After his morning piano practice today - he will turn all his attentions upward, I am sure.

I picked yard flowers yesterday, and have filled small vases with delicate blooms. They are propped up around the house - on the mantel, on the bathroom counter, in the middle of the kitchen table, on my small desk here.

All that color spilling over glass....it calms Mama. And it reminds me that there is beauty and goodness in the world. This is something I need to be alerted to often.

Especially on days that include squalls of any kind.

I'm going to blow my double-wicked green candle out here in a minute, to head in to the kitchen for the stampede of hungry little bodies that will barrel in soon.

And I'll start the laundry load, and put clean dishes away, and make beds, and scurry off to piano, and cut and dice for the evening's vegetable soup, and brace for the grimacing faces when I tell them that is what's for dinner :)

I hope your day.... renews your faith in Him. I hope you are spoken to in the depths of you over the next 24 hours. I hope, that no matter squalls or sunshine - you hear and see the God of it all, today.

Lord, I want that for every single one of us.

It's late and I better get a move on.

Look for Him with me this week?

Have a happy Tuesday, friends.










Thursday, June 11, 2015

Feeling

I was standing in the worship service with all the other congregants.

Music was pouring from speakers and words were up on a screen.

Some were holding their coffees in distant participation.

Others had hands raised high, proclaiming what was being bellowed.

Some stood quiet, worshiping in their own private way.

But I....

I saw the babies who were killed after Jesus' birth by King Herod.

Yeah. Just right there.....right when I'm trying to offer up an incense and stammer through lyrics of truth...

My mind is filled with the thoughts of those boy babies found in Matthew 2 - who were put to death because of the fear and jealousy of an evil king.

I envisioned....

How soldiers with hellish orders barged homes.

How babies were stripped from screaming mothers.

How the youngest were wide-eyed unaware of what they were about to endure.

How the oldest of them were shrilled with terror.

My heart pounded and so did my fist.

Instead of my mouth filling with praise...my eyes pooled with tears.

And my throat ached like it did in Bournemouth.

And I could barely bear the sorrow.

Now.... sitting at my writing desk, just punching keys explaining, I'm doing so through a foggy lens of eye moisture.

Tears have streamed and my sadness is of the deep, deep sort over this event.

And it makes me wonder....why in the world I'm struck and panged so randomly by visions of this variety. Why I hear and see the details of the debauchery from thousands of years ago.... all the way to now, when others skim over it and move onward with life in bliss.

I do think the pen has something to do with it.

Those who want to write, and woo the hearts of people - they should really feel the details.

It doesn't make scribes special - it just makes them tuned.

Christian artists should never be afraid to deeply feel.

Painters, poets, sculptors, weavers of any kind - they should have antennas to the raw essence and roots and insides of the extremes and all in between.

I totally get the fear of it, however.

If we look at certain stories in the Bible, or we stare too long at the awful things going on in our world today - we may think it will squash our faith and steel our joy. We may fear that it will counter what we know of a good God.

I get that.

The skeptic here - understands.

But I can tell you that every time I have allowed myself to feel deeply and see thoroughly into the crazy polars of life - and I start to fall off into the abyss of unbelief or indifference....

He reveals Himself.

Somehow. Someway. Every single time.

And I almost always then - feel compelled to pen it out. To pen out awareness, alertness, or a truth of restoration.

I don't know the whys of life. I still stand with fist lifted in tense anger over the terrible issues of the ages. I'm still somewhat frightened to really look upon the truth of what's transpiring around the globe. I still waver.

But I always end up assured of His presence in it...

And I always end up wanting to write it out.

If you're a creator of any kind.... ask the Lord with me.... to allow you to feel, while still holding on to faith.

What might come from inhabiting that combination.... 

Just quite possibly could change the world.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Birthday

A few weeks ago...I watched him whittle wood.

From the living room - I leaned over the back of the couch and stared at this first boy of mine... chiseling tree.

This child who introduced me to mothering - he was fashioning tools for his boy trade.

He was sitting on the edge of a red plastic porch chair, Swiss Army knife in hand - shaving a stick into an arrow.

What he was doing to the wood....I'm attempting to do with him. 

A mother - she shapes and trims and etches and engraves her young, yes?

Being purposed in this endeavor is of paramount importance.

The influence of a mama on her young bucks is a lasting one.

God help me!

It's been 9 years.....today.

9 years ago, all near a faint from long labor - I held that baby of mine and felt so proud of the thing....already.

He is creative.

His bedroom walls are all adorned with homemade art and images made from recycled household items.

He touches the keys of a piano - and melody pours forth.

He puts pencil to paper and draws me pictures that inspire.

He picks on his younger siblings, while simultaneously loving them well.

He throws a football and finds joy.

The outdoors, nature, open air - they are his haven.

Dirt, the growing of things, the cultivating of garden matter - he's a sound farmer, even here in this concrete suburbia.

Insects of all variety find a home in his gentle hand... always putting an almost dried out worm back into a puddle, and always carrying around an amphibian or two.

But most importantly....

He encourages me to notice.

I can't count how many times he has told me to...

Listen

Look

Wait


He points me to things that give light and life - and I need that.

But perhaps....he needs me to?

While the piano and the pencil and the outside pleasures all tell me he is finding niches and growing into goodness...

There are other things that Mama needs to whittle.

He is halfway to adulthood now - and the trim and prune, the plant and water... is especially necessary in these years.

Yes, yes God help me to fashion him into a mighty, mighty tool.

Today - we celebrate.

We open up the day - remembering the moment he entered our world, and pondering all that he brings to it - and we give grateful thanks.

Happy Birthday, Boy.

Your Mama is wild for you.

And she always will be.

I better make my way to the kitchen, friends.

I have a carrot cake to mix and bake.

I hear that new 9 year old of mine - ready for the festive reveling to begin.




Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Reason

I picked this house for the pines.

Those skyscraping trees all deeply rooted into the bed of our backyard...

they are why I signed the lease.

There are three of them there....providing shade, wind sound, bird song.

The lavender purple bathrooms...
the multicolored light switches...
the stark white kitchen flooring...
the tiny size...
the outdated decorum...

couldn't keep me from going for the evergreens.

There's something about trees in general that arouse some kind of reverence, awe, and peace in me...

but timber that is tall, and fully grown, and deeply grounded... sends me into inspiration.

Our neighborhood is mostly void of pines, actually.

Only our short spree of houses here have a few...left there, thankfully, by the developer.

Eight houses or so, lined up all in a row - have a string of these high trees dotting the properties.

And it makes such a difference.

Our back areas have shade and sun, breeze music, squirrel antics, sweet nature.

I'm so grateful.

We spend a lot of time out there... reading, playing, piecing together life... and we wouldn't if there weren't so much wood.

But as mentioned - the house has it's weak points.

Having no school room has been a challenge.
Constantly cleaning the white flooring has been irksome.
And having three homeschooled blondes all up in this small space for the full length of everyday can be.... interesting.

But all I have to do is remember the pines....remember why I picked it.

And isn't this true for more than property?

Isn't this fitting for professions?

For marriages?

For some project begun?

Going back to why we chose a certain path, a certain piece of land, a certain person...can keep us going.

It doesn't mean that tweaks and changes can't occur along the way.

Lord knows we have made a profession switch or two ;)

It doesn't mean that certain behaviors of our spouses shouldn't be addressed, or that counseling shouldn't be undertaken, or that it won't be hard.

It doesn't mean that some efforts we're forging shouldn't be reconsidered a bit.

Simply remembering why we slid rings on our fingers won't cure all marital woes.... but remembering why we said 'yes' will give us recall - to why we deemed that person worthy of the long-haul.

Right smack in the midst of some new adventure undertaken, or some fresh journey began, or some planned project rolled out - going back to the reason for it's undertaking, can boost our energies in it to completion.

It's at least worth the pondering and memory-conjuring.

I have that window open this morning...and rain is falling past pine needles out back.

And while I have to mop a smeared and spotted white floor again today...

I hear the evidence of pines here, and it gives me a content perseverance.