Thursday, October 31, 2013


I woke up this morning....

and felt like He was calling me to come and wrestle things out here.

With kids still quiet under blankets - I show up to share even before the sun has shown it's face. He must have something to say!

Lord, meet us in between all these black printed letters....


What would happen....if we actually believed that the tomb ended up being empty?

What would happen if, truly, we believed that He went from no pulse.... to pulsing? No taking in air? A dark sun-filled cave-space?

Death and darkness would be difficult to celebrate, I think.

Perhaps our concentrations would never find themselves giving an accentuated spot-light to the things that Christ came to defeat.


I'm not really concerned with whether or not you fill bags with candy at each door in the neighborhood. I don't care to keep anyone from carved gourds or school parties.

Be free and eat the iced pumpkin-shaped cookies!

But as you do so....let your every word be dripping with grace and love. Smile at people and be filled with joy this last sunrise and sunset of October!

On a day set aside to celebrate death.....celebrate life! Highlight it this Halloween!

Because you know! And you remember!....
That the story didn't end with a dead Jesus. That it ended in a rising, living Lord! That it ended in a light-filled, straight up empty tomb!

And for those that know Christ as understand the crazy beautiful part......that the same power that raised Him from the stink of decay in that death-stenched grave.....lives bright and burning right inside of us who believe it!

The empty cave means a full you!

Especially, especially, especially today....Let's live like that's true.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


At this moment...

The blue eyed boy baby is playing with a smooth blue bouncy ball.

And the girl is pushing around a pink squeaking stroller, playing the part of parent.

And the oldest is where he often is....sitting at the end of the table sketching steamies.

Their Mama is a smidge anxious this AM, which is an oft occurrence as well. I'm having to watch the girl blonde closely today - praying yesterday's fever doesn't return.

There is gospel bluegrass bellowing from the ipad....not because it's my favorite - but because the seven year old enjoys an occasional bluegrass tune while creating. Plus, it rings in a bunch of happy.

There are breakfast crumbs littering the living room. And dust has settled on the bookshelves...again.

Windows are open.

Rain is falling.

And more heavy clouds are making their way over.

I have Poetry for Young People - Robert Frost sitting just to my left - ready to be read just before we begin phonics. A kind, knowing friend... lent me a book collection when she discovered that we have a penchant for poetry.

Frost speaks our language on the life things we like. She knew he would.

The two oldest have gathered now in the room we learn in (but the's our classroom, really....right?) - and they are threatening to make a mess with ink stamps.

Pandora has been switched to the likes of Haydn and Strauss - another genre the oldest leans toward.

The baby is looking sleepy. A nap is near.

Clothes are sloshing in the washer. Dishes are soaking near the sink.

The clock is ticking forward to today's school hour.

Before the ink makes its way to our leased carpet....

Frost and I.....we better get to work ;)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wave and Sea

There's something about the water's edge....that makes words flow easy.

There's something about that place...where sea meets sand, where the breeze blows fresh....that kindles all kinds of creativity.

Maybe it's the way the sun shimmers off the coast...

Maybe it's the tickle and smooth of sand shifting underfoot.
Maybe it's awe over the way of flight for the beach birds....and the way the wind moves sleek across their winged bodies as they skim aqua.

Maybe it's simply the sound. The way the waves rise and fold - and the music they make as they do so.

All that. Yes.

But it seems as if the water woos us - on a spiritual plane, too.

From Genesis to Revelation - we see water being used in miracles, metaphors, symbols, and signs.

And so it makes much sense....that we would be moved and effected and inspired by these vast bodies of liquid that make up much of our earth.

Goodness. My mind can scarcely conceive the width and depth of these massive waters - and what all lives and lies therein.

I'm prone to wonder, as you know.

But as I stop to consider the number of species, and the magnificence of color, and the overwhelming ability of these living and's art. Brilliant art. Purposed art. Intended art.

I have moments of doubt - that are dark and heavy....things I see that are signed by evil and debauchery.

But I have moments - where I see His signature.

And they save me from the abyss.

Like Wordsworth's mind allowing him to dance with the daffodils long after he's seen their swaying - may the beach waters and Who made them.....ring in sturdy faith and solace.....

 as I tend and teach in this rented house suburban school room....away from the waves and sandy sea.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Standing at the sink - clearing out carrot and zucchini shreds from steel bowls - I looked up from rinsing water and saw three blondes.....occupied.

The oldest - sitting hunched over a piece of white paper with pencil in hand - was sketching his Mama some far away farm scene his imagination conjured up.

And the girl blonde - she was tending to her babies on the couch while eating a string of mozzarella - hair all messy and four year old glorious.

The 'baby' - he was on hands and knees over by the fireplace running a race car around a black plastic track.......content.

Oh God, thank you for this moment. This is good.

I think I said it right out loud.

But all of them were so happy engrossed that they didn't here their Mama's proclamation.

And that's a shame. They hear my many petitions more than they hear my praises. 

Something needs to change with me.

Lots of things, really.

My eyes have been opened to some of the world's atrocities this week. And if I'm being truly honest - I'm struggling with what I'm seeing.

Trying to reconcile an all powerful God to the scolding pain that even little ones are enduring..... at the hands of lust and greed and evil- it totally and completely unravels me.

Actually experiencing a very present and real and involved Creator - and then knowing that precious young are being destroyed in all kinds of deplorable finite mind toils and spins.

That some of us are able to flourish in sound family environments - and others are left to scrounge and scourge in the streets and back alley's...... it's maddening.

For those of us that know Christ.....and for those of us who have been sheltered and safe and able to fully thrive throughout life..... we are held to a higher account, certainly.

In what we are doing.
In what we are praying.

And how much we praise.

So much good fills my days. How do I so often allow my heart to plunge into the depths of ungratefulness?

It's unacceptable.

Seeing my littles all bound by beauty and warmth rather than chains and filth..... it should make my faith take note of the crazy contrast, yes, yes, yes....but it should also invoke all kinds of thankfulness for my current situation in this life.

And does.

Monday, October 14, 2013

October Monday

The edge has been knocked off the hot and the humid here in these steamy parts of Texas.

While the temps can still rocket and rise to the 90's during the day....the sting of it has slipped away.

Sweet Autumn.....a gift from God.

And so, in the early morning hours when our world is still dark and cool down here in the bayou  - I open the windows.

I'm sitting here now...tapping these keys - with blinds raised and screens in use - and I like what's wafting in.

Early morning air in Autumn - it has a crispness to it, doesn't it?

Fall brings in a fresh wind...

...even down here where the leaves don't change and apple cider is all but absent.

I can hear city sounds. Mostly cars racing down a freeway making their way to work - and garage doors opening and closing sending their owners off to pay the bills for the week.

But I do hear more. Birds are singing. And cricket bugs are chirping. And as you know, that's the kind of thing we like. 

So while it's mixed in with urban area noise - the daybreak breeze, and the early bird songs, and the chorus of chirps out there.... is ringing in a happy day.

Open some windows this week, friends. No matter where you are - it's liable to drift in something good.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Day

It's unexpected bliss that seems to taste the sweetest.

Ya know....those gem moments.

Those unplanned, totally unscheduled happy occurrences that ring in all kinds of delight - out of no where, really.

 Empty of expectation - those days that are projected to be pretty ordinary....turning out to be seriously incredible - it's those days that really hit the spot.

And today....we had ourselves one.

Dentist Day.

It's never longed for.

My middle blonde....her lip quivers and her fists clench - when dentist day is proposed.

So I promise her the moon...if she sits in the chair and lets the dental lady do her thing - and we all breath easy when it's totally over.

Today was no different.

So after every one's teeth were tinkered with - we loaded the van all fresh and wide-smiled.....and headed to lunch......out.

The middle child that was promised the moon....chose Mexican.

(We have trained her well.)

 Ordinarily, when I brave the challenge of eating out with my three loves alone - I end up not eating much food, but wearing it. And I usually spend most of my time keeping the babe quiet and somewhat stationary.

I expected this little treat lunch to be the same.

But oh grace and mercy - the youngest behaved like a champ. And I got to actually chew my food. And taste it. And enjoy it. And only one drink was spilled at our table.

Small miracle.

Later in the day...

We received a random free flying contraption from the toy store. It's charging on our kitchen bar this very moment.

 And we watched two dragon flies dance in our tight backyard. It looked choreographed....the dipping and twisting and descending in unison.  

Pure beauty.

The day had a quiet contentment to it.

Void of forecast and expectation - the day was light.

I pray you get to relish in some spur-of-the-moment joys this week, friend.

The surprise of them carries in all kinds of calm and gratefulness.

And I'd say we all need a little bit more of that :)


Lord, for every person passing by this post today....please help us all to rid the week of extreme lofty expectation, perfectionism, and calculation. Open all our eyes to the wonder and joys that surround us in the ordinary. Let us all relish in Your creation this week - noticing things and people we often times miss. Ring in fresh faith, gratefulness, and an assurance that You know and love us. Please surprise us with unexpected joy, laughter, and contentment. And soften the hard hearts here. Including mine. In Jesus, Amen.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Submerged in hot liquid watching the fire of an almost empty candle dance on the ledge of the tub, I asked myself:

"Why don't I rest more?"

Ah, today.

My mother-in-law winged her way to Texas last night. I had to keep myself from kissing her face when I saw her.

Because sounds good.

And my mom-in-law - she's gifted at giving it. She came in with a fresh new candle in hand and fall-themed magazines to peruse and offers of solace.

After time at a bookstore today and lunch alone....I get to put on grownup make-up this eve and unravel my messy bun and don something other than Under Armor.

A date.



Thursday, October 3, 2013


I couldn't have gotten much further in this week of writing - without posting yesterday's piece.

It seems to me...that He is moving and doing and working in the area of faith right now - for many individuals in my contact.

And I'm learning....that the best way to live for the to ask Him what He is already doing - and simply join Him in it.

As I was writing yesterday's words - words for today began to formulate. So this post is a natural  follow-up.

It's becoming more and more apparent that we can't have a sturdy conversation about faith - without including the topic of fellowship. 

I know what some of you are thinking. I've thought it too....

"Why do I need to go to a church? Why do I need to gather around other seekers? All they will do is sell me their brand of Christianity and expect a tithe. Why can't I just seek on my own and figure it out in the confines of my own heart? Besides, I don't really trust those people. I've been burned and I don't want to go back."

I hear you, friend.

Your points are valid.

But may I ever so gingerly offer a counter?

Aside from Christianity....people need people. Social experiments, history, and health statistics all point to this fact.

So if for nothing else - being around others enhances the quality and longevity of our days. It's as if we were made for it.

For community.

Now you must know - that this is being typed out here by the fingers of an introvert. I revitalize and refresh by being alone. But that doesn't mean that I don't fellowship. I need it just as much as the extrovert - maybe not in the same quantity or duration...but it's still just as vital to my stats. Yours too. Even us introverts need integration.

So let's add the Christian aspect back in. If you are sincerely seeking the Truth - and longing to know what's real when it comes to this faith - and really pursuing a glimpse of Christ...then perhaps taking a look at those who started this whole church thing will be beneficial.

All throughout the New Testament, we see the early church.....doing church. Gathering. Eating. Serving. Providing. Sharing.

They lived right alongside one another. And not only that - they revealed God to one another, too.

Did you catch that?

God often times reveals Himself to us.....through others.

Through their experiences, their testimonies, their stories, their trials, their transformations, their encouragement, exhortation, and example.

C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, said it well....

"God can show Himself as He really is only to real men. And that means not simply to men who are individually good, but to men who are united together in a body, loving one another, helping one another, showing Him to one another. For that is what God meant humanity to be like; like players in one band, or organs in one body. 

Consequently, the one really adequate instrument for learning about God is the whole Christian community, waiting for Him together." (p.165)

Now to some of us - this is scary. We have seen deacons act ridiculously. We have witnessed a pastors fall. We have been wounded by congregants.

But I implore you, with all due respect and gracefulness, to try again.

"Otherwise, we are like a bronze, taken from the fire, lifeless and cold." (- Rend Collective Experiment, in their song The Campfire Story)

The people you meet in a good, Spirit-filled, biblical church - will not be perfect. They are sinners. That is why they are there. But they can stand shoulder to shoulder with you - and perhaps show you a bit of the The Way.

They have for me.

My faith is proof.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I cracked open the Scripts that morning anyway.

Right there in the thick of unbelief and all out wander - I still wanted Him.

And that's a victory. If the longing to see God and hear God are still present in the're still on course.

So as I attempted to find a certain passage that would speak to my present condition - the Spirit spoke to me in another way...

Out of no where - these words came softly to mind:

"Andy Stanley's latest."

I haven't listened to an Andy sermon in years. I like Mr. Stanley. I've read a book or two by him. I've gleaned from his teachings in times past. But I hadn't thought of Andy in a while....making these random words empty of any conjuring up of my own.

So I sat my Bible on my desk, found North Point's media page....and clicked directly on the latest sermon. The whole time, mind you, I am half preparing myself for a let down - and half hoping with everything in me that the Lord has something specific waiting on me there.

My jaw fell and my hand covered my mouth in awe when I realized what Andy was speaking on:

Faith, doubt, questions, skepticism, wandering, and unbelief.

As I listened to the sermon tumbling out - I wanted to laugh and weep.

Laugh....because the Lord had done it again. He had met me in the fog far from faith. And weep....because His intimate attention to each of us was staring me in the face. And when that happens it's just startling.

Every time.

But what I'm really wondering about you.

Where are you with all this?

Do you deal with doubt? Are you 'prone to wonder'? the old hymn proclaims? Are you questioning the validity of Christianity? Are you far from the fringes of it, even?

I know those places.

Few pastors speak of it. It's a scary, sometimes foreign topic for men who's job it is to pronounce faith. But sitting in their pews - are people who can't help but question. And avoiding the issue only grows it.

So if you are a fellow skeptic - know first - that you aren't alone in your questioning. Second - know that we are in good company. Third - know that your honest seeking makes you authentic. And fourth - know that we don't have to stay here.

He'll come to you. 

It might be in one pop. Like Pascal.
It might be a gradual knowing. Like Lewis.

Or maybe it will be a combination of both - like it has been for me.

Either way - The Lord will reveal Himself. We must keep eyes and ears and hearts alert for the knocking.

If you find yourself in a season of seeking....

I highly recommend Stanley's sermon series The Starting Point.  I'm still making my way through these gems - but I trust that the ones I haven't reached yet - are just as rich and helpful as the ones I have.

In addition....I'm currently in the last few pages of C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. Faith-changing, life-changing read.

And there are countless other websites, preachers, books, and articles that I could point you to. But....while we sit under the above guides - we must remember....

...that it isn't all intellect. And it's certainly not all feeling.

Our minds and our moods are not what bring us knee-bent to the cross.

The Holy Spirit does.

And our experiences with Him do.

I've said it dozens of times now - even our faith in God....comes from God. 

Realizing this - strips our intellectual prowess of it's pride and our wave-like feelings of their hold.

Emptying us of us....filling us more with Him.

Come, Lord. For each soul reading these words - I ask that you show them your grace and your realness and your way. This very week. This very hour! Meet us in prayer, in the Word, in fellowship, in worship, and in our everyday lives. I pray revelation and a steadiness of faith over all the hearts here. In Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Unexpected

When he came home - my hair was in the same messy bun it was in when he left.

This wasn't one of those cute messy buns with tendrils of curls framing my face....

This was a sloppy nest of hair wound into a matted ball sitting on top of my brain - all day.

Nonetheless, he came through the door, slid his work satchel off his shoulder, made his way into the house....and said:

"You look nice today."

And the man meant it. 


This is the same man - who will call me 'Honey' in the middle of a disagreement. And he will pat my back when I'm being mean. And he'll pray when I'm doubting.

He didn't marry his own kind. Bless him.

I look much more like the world in many ways than he does.

But the way he handles me - teaches me....

Because he is always doing the opposite thing. The counter. The unexpected. The gutsy humble.

And it softens my brazenness.

Shouldn't we all be so counter to the culture - that it's noted? That it's taken down in the minds of men and women who don't know Jesus? In a good way? In a positive one?

Shouldn't we handle our agenda and affairs in such a soft, strong, steady, pure, righteous manner - that it shocks the masses?

This man we call our Savior - that's what He did:

The manger, not a palace.
A baby, not a warrior.
A carpenter, not a king.
A restorer, not a punisher.

And the list goes on.

But the woman caught in adultery - it's her story that captures my attention today....

All blushed, undressed, and red-handed - they took her to Christ.

And he looked straight through the mess and said to her, "Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more."

No lecture.
No real wrist slap.
No stone throwing.

Just grace.

Just the Sinless releasing the sinful.

And this, I'm sure, sent shock waves through the land.

Oh, may Him in us....send out the same type of reverberations.

But really - let's have it be Him. Let's allow our unexpected reactions and agendas - be free of fake, or even a lot of force. 

Let's live that way naturally......because of Who lives in us.

We wont be perfect, or all-the-time unworldly, or even neatly presentable everyday.

But we will be daily transforming.

And all the Mama's with messy buns said.....AMEN :)