Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Good Morning

I'm at the dining table typing today.

The youngest has woken up well before his allotted start time - due to a snotty head.

Watery eyes, drippy nose, lethargic.... all he wants is Mama.

And tissues.

He's getting lots of both.

When settling down to munch on breakfast - he asked me to sit with him while I write.

So I moved candle and computer into our common area here.... and the change in scenery is a welcome one, albeit loud.

I'm flanked by blondes at this point.

The oldest saw that the youngest got to get out of the gate early - so now he has joined us.

I'm sure the girl isn't far behind.

So much for my early writing time.... alone.

:)

Soak in the season, Mama. It will flee fast.

Today....the eve of Christmas eve - it's an antsy, thoughtful one.

Everyone in this house - looking forward to celebrating and eating and opening and pondering the Purpose of it all.

And allowing the gears to turn for what next year could hold, what matters and goals to fixate on, what fresh starts to forge and conquer.

For me...I've got a clear concentration.

I'm sure it will make it's way into my words throughout the year.

But for today - we will snuggle in, and read, and think, and clean up, and administer medicine, and take shelter from the elements.

It's a cool, cloudy, wet and thunderous day in these parts.

Perfect for doing those things I just mentioned above.

I hope your days leading up to Christmas and New Years - are filled with peace and direction for the coming year, friends.

Grateful for each of you.

Holiday hugs to you all.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hello, Again

Everyone else in my house has yet to stir.

Heads are still resting on pillows and the sun won't make it's way through our windows for a while still.

I'm up, however.

I'm up...because I know that if I will have any quiet, still, unrushed moments - I have to steal them.

And I have to steal them early.

But I like it here in the initial dark hours when the day's pot has yet to be stirred.

To be the one who finds herself vertical first - to be the one to grab hold of the spoon and whirl today's contents and set it to simmer before anyone else....it boosts me.

So this pristine moment is good.

But please know....

Many times I have walked past my laptop the last few weeks...

Rushing to grab an extra diaper for the diaper bag....
Carrying a child who is learning to 'potty'...
Hoisting folded laundry to closets and drawers...
Pushing a vacuum over crumbs and litter...
Shuffling myself to my side of the bed....

Life speeds past this contraption here. Lots of life. Great life!

But as I dart around my computer handling my people and my things and my duties - I glance at the screen of this thing, and feel a strong tinge and twinge to rest and wonder and write with you in this place.

Know that.

Someone recently suggested that I just grab fifteen minutes here, and ten minutes there - to punch out my passions here. But my brain doesn't do that exactly. And my heart doesn't want to. It....wants to be seated, settled, and perched for more than a few moments - to let the words unfold. That's what feels good.

So this morning, scripting won over sleeping.

And I'm glad.

Just typing all of the above - I already feel more myself.

It's a Monday. And as mentioned - the day hasn't exactly dawned yet. And in the wee hours here - I'm thinking about the people all over the place....the New Yorkers getting ready to step down into subways, the westerners who are still in deep night, the Londoners who are already setting out to lunch. And it makes me want to join each one in each place - in each city's day pregnant with possibilities.

But I'm happy here in my suburban rent house looking out onto my dining table, while also looking out onto my next 16 hours.

As I look...

My table has a blue sippy cup of water resting on it - leftover from yesterday. It has an empty glass cup left there by a certain husband. It has my black button-up sweater draped across the middle - left there by a certain yours truly. The corner of the table has my school plans for the week, a notebook I scribble things in all day, and a group of pens and pencils ready to pour. The other corner has a tiny matchbox car resting on it - waiting for little hands to grasp and zoom.

My day has a full load of learning to carry out. We will look further at the planets today, and study spelling words, and review grammar rules (just as much for Mommy here, as for anyone else!) tackle a few math lessons - amongst a gaggle of other things. It also holds wrapping up a few Christmas to-do's, washing and drying at least one load of laundry, playing a new game a dear friend gifted to us just last night, and finding a few moments to pray and petition and dream with God between it all.

As I gird myself up just now....as the children reach the tail end of their slumber and the sun is threatening to peep...

 I ask the Creator of all things good, to simply grant us His peace and persistence and patience and yes, His presence today.

Reveal Yourself to us all this week, Lord. And let us see and discern You as we head toward the holiday.

Ah.

I feel so much better having unloaded here... after all that long wait.

See you soon. Yes, I need it to be forthwith. (Isn't that a fun word? So Jane Austen-ish.) :)

If I wait that long again - I'll either wither or burst!

Big, huge, festive, heart-felt hugs to you all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Treasure

Every once in a while the itch to write, trumps all else.

I have moments where I feel such a strong beckoning to sit and scribble words, that I can't find peace doing any other thing.

Most times I can tell whether it's me - simply longing and needing to do something of my own and something for myself........and when it's God.

Today I feel like it's God.

The odd thing is, I don't really have a particular story, lesson, or epiphany burning a hole in my soul.... to share.

But out of what seems like obedience, I have positioned myself here this morning - in front of this screen....to punch something out.

Something.

Lord, I seek and accept what you want to deposit. What is it?

Just as I'm sitting here - I feel such a sweet and strong Presence, that my eyes are pooling tears and my chest feels wonderfully heavy, and I have a simple picture in my head that shows me He has something to hand out here today.

As I'm asking, I feel a tendency to strain and stretch to hear Him. But at the same time, I feel an urging to simply be calm, and open up..... and I'll receive. 

Funny, in the midst of this affectionate Presence that's filling this place - I have been interupted countless times by the earthly season I'm in.

Squabbling sibblings.
The oldest practicing his piano and wanting me to listen.
Fetching food.
Getting kids dressed.
Helping kids find certain toys.
Addressing behavior.

I've been up and down from my writing chair at least a dozen times in the last 20 minutes.

Yet, every time I come back and sit down - I feel Him.

Ah. He meets us in our seasons, in our current situations, in our now.

He knows where we are - and He can come to us there. 

He can bring His Presence to our present. Isn't that grand?

Hmm.

I have lots of tears and no words to tell you why.

But I can tell you - that it has been a hard week.

But also, I can tell you - that when my feet hit the floor this morning, I felt a surge of hope and of expectancy. An inkling, once again, that the good Lord has something great to reveal to us today.

Yes, Father. Bring it.

I've been reading through Matthew. And today's reading is from chapter 13, verse 44:

 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Up until a few years ago, I had looked at this verse as if salvation was 'the treasure', 'the man' was me and you, and that we had to go and sale everything so that we could buy what was really worthy.

That made sense to me. And it went along with other scriptures I knew.

But after listening to a very thoughtful sermon on this verse, and much pondering on the subject - I don't think that is what Jesus meant by that passage at all. 

This may sound egocentric.....but I now think He meant that 'the treasure' is us. And Christ is 'the man'. And Jesus went and 'sold' Himself on a cross to buy you and I back. 

Hear this...

You didn't have to buy anything to come into the Kingdom of God. YOU were what was bought.

You and I, the church, the field, the treasure....

According to Christ, we were worth selling everything for.

Wow! 

Find your identity in that today, friends.

Yeah. No matter where you find yourself this moment - He finds you

And you are His treasure.  

That's why He was willing to pay the cost to make you....His.

Was that it, Lord?! Was that passage what we all needed to hear from You this hour?

Yes! 

But I think there's more.

Lord, for every single person that passes by this post - please deposit something else that is lovely into their souls at some point today. Something that they know is from You. Please. Thank You that You are so good. And that You come and find us, and buy us, and unearth us, and wipe our dirt away, and place us higher. In Jesus, Amen.



 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Holidays

There's gold to be seen this holiday week, friends.

Just a few days ago, around 1pm when the sun was high and tarrying....the blondes and I were out back.

There were pine needles all over the porch that needed sweeping, and balls bounced about all over the grass, and piping pitched around by the boys.

It needed a tidying.

As I was straightening up and doing my duty with the broom, the oldest said....

"Mama! This looks like gold!....Come here!"

Honestly....I didn't want to stop my cleaning. I wanted to check it off the list and be done with it.

But thankfully, instead of following my bent....

I made a few more brushes with the sweeper, and headed over to where he was standing.

He positioned my body in the direction of a large potted tree, and said....

"Look!"

When I turned my head and really opened my eyes....I saw a tree all lit up at the top by an Autumn sun.

It looked like it had been painted with strokes of gold.....each leaf a blazing shimmer.

Gorgeous!

I grabbed his growing shoulders, and squeezed him tight, and told him that yes indeed....

it did look like gold.

And then I thanked that first blonde of mine...

...for making his Mommy really see, behold, notice.

Ah. What a lesson for this season.

With turkeys, and décor, and cards, and gifts, and company-cleaning, and parties, and events, and end-of-year work hustles....there's much to distract us from wander.

But let's try to anchor down, and do all that well..... while still awakening to the shining, sweet, golden moments that will be scattered throughout our days here.

The kids will remember our soft glances, and our fitting responses, and our pats, and loves, and listening, much more than what is placed on the table, or swept into corners, or placed around a tree, or bonused into your checking account.

And they'll certainly remember the moments you stopped your chore, or your work, or your long conversation, or your racing.... to enter into a  moment of really seeing, and really taking in.

Lord, help us to really breathe and behold this time of year, and always.

I pray your Thanksgiving is rich with love, heavy on grace, pardoning of family woes, and really, really blessed.

Big grateful hugs and embraces.....to you all.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Snapshot

Mama is worn.

It's been 16 hours since I hit the ground running this morning....groggy from going to bed too late the night before.

All three kids are tucked away in bed now.

I can breathe. :)

A calm waft of piano is streaming from an old Apple.

The thrum of the heater is intermittently running.

And 10 day old grocery store flowers are perched in a clear vase on the right of my desk.

Those flowers look like I feel, really.

Still alive...
still giving off color...
still standing up straight....

but looking like they may just be on the cusp of a wilt.

Tonight....that description fits.

Still hanging in there...
still thankful for a day well spent...
still vertical and doing duty...

but a bit drained and drooping - as is every Mama this time each eve.

It's nearing tomorrow....and the husband is still hard at work.

Long hours this week.

Which means, of course...long hours for Mama, too.

The dryer is spinning in the laundry closet.

The dishwasher is loaded full and ready for the go ahead.

And there are coats stacked high by the back door - evidence of the rare cold that rang through these parts last week.

The porch lights are on - anxious to light the way for the man of the house to return home from labor.

A basketful of clothes are waiting to be folded, over by my bedroom window.

A cheap apple cinnamon crisp candle is dimly flickering to my left.

And wooden play food is littering my writing area....cake with frosting and sprinkles from the girl's pretend play earlier today.

My mind is full and distracted - thinking of loathsome upcoming events, loved-one turmoil, and all kinds of uncertainties.

There are exactly 17 Post-It notes stuck to the wall I'm facing....blog post ideas, scripture verses, school reminders, and nonsense.

My lids are feeling more and more languid-like as I list out this scene here - so sleep should come soon and quickly.

Tomorrow holds mostly learning and laundry.

And hopefully a sermon listen, a workout of some kind, and reading.

Hopefully.

Ah. I have laid the littles down three or four times now.

But I sense a stillness from their room that tells me slumber has set in at last.

It's setting in here too.

Yes, I may be worn. But wow - I'm wrung out for such a worthy reason.

The home, the hearth, the hearts I tend - are worth the wear. 

Yes.

Let's head into hump day - looking for light. 

Looking for a stream of God to come searing through.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Testament and a Prayer

The clouds are close today.

They are hovering low and thick....and they are making everything outside look a tinge grey.

It's cold.

Down here in the deep depths of Texas... forties is frigid.

The low ceiling outside, and the cool mild temps - make my mind wander to England.

But one look out my back window - where palm trees mingle with pines...I'm ushered back to the bayou here.

A few days ago - sharing with you what the Lord has been sharing with me....you buoyed around me so beautifully. 

You looked at what has been tightly clenched in the center of my grip - and you handled it ever so gently.

Thank you.

Thank you for your sincere excitement and encouragement over what transpired on my weekend away.....and over what God has been revealing to us in the last few years.

Your prayers and sentiments and thrill - mean much.

Since I pushed the publish button on that post - testimony after testimony of the Lord's faithfulness over the years...has risen up in my spirit.

One.... in particular.

There must be some soul out there who needs to here the following story - because it has been so prominent in my thoughts over the last 48 hours - that I must share.

It isn't earth-shattering.....but to me....it was mountain-moving.

I certainly hope it boosts you up in some way.....

I was in my living room - five or six months pregnant with my second blonde. I was attempting to do a light workout routine under the instruction of a chirpy, fit, DVD instructor.

It was cold and dark outside - much like the today I described earlier....and I believe my first born was down for his blessed nap.

As I was doing modified lunges and leg curls - I was praying.

Fervently.

You see, for some reason - early on in my second pregnancy - I had gotten it into my head that the whole thing was going to end up in an emergency c-section.

Nothing had gone wrong thus far. The baby was growing normally. My body was responding fine. I had a fairly routine birth experience with my first - so there was no tangible reason for me to feel this way.

I just did. And I felt doomed.

It's difficult to describe - but it felt like there was some kind of hold that was over me in the spiritual realm... when it came to the impending birth of my girl.

So all I knew to do about it was pray.

I had been praying for months - praying that this baby would come into the world naturally, that there would be no complications, that whatever was telling me there would be....would vanish.


But all those months later... still...there it remained - like a pesky label stuck across my forehead.

Until....

During one grapevine exercise....I let out yet another petition asking God to please protect me and the baby from cesarean...to please release me from the negative omen I was under....

And just like that...

Before I could even get to the grapevine on the other side...

A very real, very heavy, very literal weight was pulled from my heart, mind, and shoulders - and a very sweet promise was put in it's place.....

A sudden assurance that the whole birth experience was going to be natural and normal - no c-section required. 

And that was that.

Now of course, I think it strange that after all that time and all those prayers - that in that one instance I would receive something from Heaven. Why then? Why not before? Why haven't others I know received the same thing? Why not save dying babies in starving Africa before saving me from a c-section? Why? Why? Why?

I don't know.

But I do know..... that a lie very palpable, was pulled from my heavy heart that day - and a very light, loving truth was positioned firmly in it's place.

Firmly.

And the following summer - I delivered a healthy baby girl, no cesarean needed. It ended up being my easiest, quickest, most enjoyable birth out of all three.

As I've thought about this story over the last few days....

I feel like the Lord is urging us to prevail in prayer.....to persevere and persist in our petitions.

For people. Places. Injustices. Questions. Directions. Peace.

Since their is a battle raging - I feel like we have to often times pray our help, intervention, provision, healing.....here. 

This is not easy or passive or cute.

Doing battle in prayer is wearing.

But worth it.

And the strong nudge to think about and share the above story - shows me that He is calling us to be stubborn and steadfast in our longing and pursuit to bring His Kingdom....to this one.

If there is a cloud of something hanging over your life right now....or if you have subjected to some lie of the enemy over your future...or if you have waned in your petitions for something or someone....or if you are continuing on bravely in years and years of prayer and perhaps are feeling dejected - I implore you to endure in the plea!

You never know....

In the middle of some ordinary exercise of life....

a lift, a breakthrough, a victory just may ensue.

********

Before I sign off this morning....I feel certain that I should pray for each sweet soul that visits this post....

Strong God,
I lay each person who's eyes will hit this - before you now. Whatever they are needing to lift up to you, whatever is hanging around haunting, whomever they are interceding for....I ask for Your mighty hand to move in each of these situations starting today! Bring light! Bring a lift! Bring progress! Bring salvation! - to each and every one. And show them that You see them, that You are present, that You are moving, and that You are love. Thank you for all the ways You show us Yourself. Let many-a-testimony arise from this, in the name of Jesus. 
Amen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Post

It's been happening for years now.

This steady, consistent, perpetual - almost harping from the Lord, about a certain region of the world.

It started way back in the early summer of 2012....

This bombardment of information, and inklings, and longings and likings - that spurred up out of no where.

From people, books, sermons, videos, visions, dreams...it's been hitting us from every which way.

Even from within....receiving a sudden homesickness for a place I've never even visited.

It's like I was suddenly downloaded with a new heritage or legacy to chase.

The amount of times He has brought this country up to us...is so uncanny and so crazy - that it evokes a type of reverent chuckle in our home these days.

So going into last weekend.....my few days away to seek God, and listen in, and hone after the holy - I had a list.

A list of prayer requests and petitions and questions and topics that have been on my forefront and heavy.

 So, hearing from the Lord on this particular region - was on it.

Right there, listed along with:

Writing
Career direction
Salvation for family members
Joy.....

........

........

was England. 

As I'm sitting here typing this - my eyes are pooling with moisture out of the sheer longing and weight and nearness I feel to this place - and what the Lord did last weekend regarding it.

I also feel a bit vulnerable....after all this time....handing you this here. 

I haven't brought it up on the blog before - because I've never had a rounded out view of why the Lord is hounding us on it. (Still don't.) But I also haven't brought it up....because it's not Africa, or India, or Haiti.

It's Great Britain. London. The United Kingdom....A sprawling, thriving, first-world nation.

So I sit here now - meekly unclenching my hand....to show you something that is very real, and dear, and intimate, and precious to me - knowing all the while that it sounds ridiculous to have a Spirit-led affection and passion for such a wealthy, booming empire.

It makes me feel a bit shaky to share all this. I feel somewhat embarressed and hesitant.

But long ago, the Lord reprimanded me by telling me that I should not apologize for the way He speaks to me. I'm assuming that He doesn't want me to be apologetic over what He speaks to me either.

So share I shall....

Going into last weekend I prayed the following:

"Lord, please either make the England thing stop....or throw me another bone about it."

 And I left it at that.

On Saturday morning - I was receiving prayer from a group of very kind individuals at the church we were visiting - and they were praying somewhat prophetically over my life. Very broad things....but pretty pertinent. At one point - the lady stopped praying and looked up at me and said that she felt like the Lord was wanting to encourage me to write.

Ha!

That fit.

But being my usual skeptical and somewhat cynical self - I shrugged it off as a lucky guess.

After thanking them for their sweet time and prayers, I retrieved my purse and headed for the door.

But before I could make it across the room....one of the guys praying for me reached out and said...

"I'm sorry, but I just feel like there is one more thing the Lord wants me to mention."

With my encouragement to continue, he looked me square in the face and said....

"Does the United Kingdom mean anything to you?"

I dropped my purse on the floor - and my jaw right along with it.

I felt as though I had seen a ghost.

In that instant - I felt so known, and seen, and heard. I felt so validated. I felt so relieved that indeed yes.... all this time I had really been hearing from the Lord on that region - that it wasn't me seeking it out or digging for more at all.

It really was Him.

The guy then went on to share a few more details and sentiments about what He felt like the Lord was saying - and then I left there floating high on faith.

Yes.

So....the theme continues.

Another bone has indeed been thrown. 

And my prayers and spirit will continue to be filled with thoughts and petitions concerning that Old World. And I trust that before too awful long....the reason will be revealed.

There is a reason. Of that I am certain.

The weekend didn't leave me wanting thereafter.

Upon listening to the Sunday sermon - I suddenly had an intense hunger and drive to do two things:

1) Repent

2) And seek first the Kingdom of God

Those two desires were just plopped ever so gently right into the pit of my gut somehow - and ever since, I have been insatiably hungry and thirsty for His righteousness...

driven to scripture...

filled with a fresh faith...

and flat.out.awed.

God is real.
He speaks.
And He has plans for you and me.

Leave this post - knowing and embracing that.



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Winging Away

I've been back in the swing of all things Mama for a day and half now.

I was thrust right back into ordinary life with whines and giggles and discipline and arithmetic and ailment.

It's a rare day here in the South - with clouds hovering heavy, and rain intermittently falling, and a cool, cool breeze wafting through.

The oldest asked to do his daily reading on the porch today - wanting to catch all of Autumn that he can.

The middle one is keeping her brother quiet company, playing with Matchbox cars in the rocks that line our covered front.

The youngest is wrapped up in a light blanket, with a stuffed zoo piled high to the heavens around him.

And I'm here, catching a moment's breath - eager to share with you what the Lord revealed this past weekend.

So much of what transpired from Friday to Monday can't really be adequately placed into words.

A lot of what occurred.....occurred at the heart level - where words don't always suffice, and where much of the happenings were meant to simply saturate the heart they hit.

I will try, however - to transmit the things I can. It may take me a few posts, however.

For starters...leaving was difficult.

Rushing out of the van on a curb at Departures, I grabbed my small pink suitcase out of the back, kissed the tops of three blonde heads, smooched the lips of one very fine husband - and departed my normal life.

After getting through security and finding my gate, I had to recalibrate.

Witnessing all the movement and all the people and all the sounds - I found myself thinking...

"Wow, there is a whole world out here!"

Sometimes, the walls of my rented house, and the pages of curriculum books, and the mounds of clothes and dishes - can make one forget that there is Paris, and politics, and celebrities, and stocks, and lots and lots and lots of people... everywhere. It seems dramatic, but the realization was a large one.

My life is small right now. It's hidden. It's behind the curtain and off the stage. It's just right for this moment. But....in the midst of that - I had forgotten that there really is a gigantic universe in motion just beyond my subdivision.

After meeting the gaggle of gals I was to travel with - I fastened myself into a Boeing 747 and I soared.

Flying.

Since way back - I have been smitten with taking to the air. The whole process, the whole experience - is mind blowing. I don't think I'll ever get over it.

So this time...seeing as though I was flying west - and seeing as though I had a window seat...I got to gander at all the grand things on the ground below for 4 hours.

Y'all!

The mountains. The rivers. The quarries. The structures. The geographical diversity I saw from 35,000 feet was spectacular.

The teal color of the quarries was particularly striking....as were the many mohawks of mountain peeks.

Sitting in my very, very tight coach-class seat...way up there above the cloud formations and grids below - I couldn't help but think what a Wordworth or an Emerson or a Longfellow might say... about the sites you see outside of a jet plane window.

How special it is to glide high and fast, and take in the world from an aerial view!

It gripped me. It had been a while since I soared - and the plane ride just really sent me. I hadn't even gotten to my weekend's destination - and I already felt wholly inspired.

The awakenings didn't stop there, however.

I was spoken to this weekend, friends. God still does that!

But since this little post about winging away ended up being a full length piece....I'll end it here for now, and pick things up again very soon.

My heart is pining to hash it all out here....

so it shouldn't be long.

Until then, may the tail-end of your week surprise you with joy and revelation where you need it the very most!

See you shortly, friends :)



Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Rare Trip

I don't wing away from the nest very often.

It's pretty much never, actually.

So the fact that I am flying halfway across this big fine nation tomorrow...away from my blondes and my brood - it makes my heart and brain spin a little.

This trip - that I had written off as impossible...due to budget and logistics and care-taking... is coming to fruition and I'm a smidge giddy.

California.

Since I was twelve years old, I've been bent on going.

I'm 31 - and the souls of my feet haven't sturdied themselves on Cali soil, yet.

Therefore, my glee and excitement are high and rising.

A grand group of girls and I are headed up to the northern stretch of the state - for a fast yet full, weekend jaunt.  There will be lots of new things for me to see....and lots of ministry opportunities for me to participate in.

Is this real?

Three or so days of allowing thoughts to fully form in my mind without harried distractions. Two rather long plane rides to read and rest and wonder. Meals to eat in slow pace. Conversing with Spirit-filled adults. Allowing God and man to minister to me. Tending to self.

What is that?

It's a welcomed reprieve.

Every once in a while Mamas need some tending, too. Yes.

Today - we have laundry and a library trip and school duties. I plan to whip up something sweet to leave on the counter before I scurry away. I have a girl blonde and a toddler blonde to pray over and tend to...as I try to mend them of illness. I have emails to scribble and toilets to clean and a house to pick up.

But I'll also be packing. And packing always sends me into a merry step.

I have a travelers itch inside my body that never gets scratched....so to jet off to mountains and ranges and green - it gets me going.

With new scenery to take in, and something unfamiliar to see - I can feel the words weaving now. It goes from eyeballs to fingertips with me....so quickly in fact, that I have to carry a pocket notebook to capture it all down. Or else.... the next site flings the former one right away.

Yes - I'm expectant, and a bit wild over it all.

But....... I'm a mother.

And in this season my sole assignment is to tend the nest.

Serving and loving and teaching right here within these walls - it's what I do. It's what I love. It's what I constantly strive to better and enhance. It's my charge right now.

So soaring away for a while....it leaves me mixed. Happy and thrilled and eager - but pinched. 

Pinched between knowing I need a short junket - and knowing where my current purpose resides.

So my strings will be anchored here in this home - as the jet whisks me away for a few days.

Just a few days, Kate. Go, and grin, and know that it is good.

Lord,
I bow and ask you to come and be here as I am not. Protect and bless and tend and be ever present in this place and in my people's hearts as they get along for the weekend. Let them laugh and have adventures and heal.. Please board the plane with me and minister to my heart in deeper ways than I've ever experienced. Come with me and speak to me and reveal Yourself as I seek You. Please get us all back to the nest, sharing stories and experiences, early next week. I'm so grateful that You are omnipresent. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this time. Please fill it. In Jesus name, Amen.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Salut!

It's Monday eve....and I've found myself in a dark, golden-lit French bistro.

Sans children.

Just me, my books, my laptop, my dreaming.

These reprieves are rare.

And as you now know, I'm content with this.

Coming off of a full weekend - that required much of my time, attention, and devotion....and being at the beginning here of a week that holds extra meetings and activities, on top of the normal duties of this time - the husband thought it best for me to steal away for a few hours tonight.

Bless him.

It always takes me a good while to adjust on nights like this.

The furry that unfolds as I leave the house - has to be shaken off before I can allow myself to slip into any kind of calm or quiet.

I'm there, now.

But it took the length of my meal, and a few chapters of my book to get me here.

My dinner consisted of a French dip sandwich, a pasta salad, and potato soup.

It felt fancy.

Anytime I can eat in peace...actually tasting the fare - I feel an unusual frill.

I'll have you know that when I first encountered the waiter, I considered using my broken French.

Bonjour, monsieur.
 
Comment allez-vous?

But I resisted.

I'm only on lesson 3 of my recent foray into this foreign language, so I decided to save myself the certain embarrassment - and speak in native tongue.

The waitstaff is glad, I am sure.

I'm sitting by a window.

It's a clear fall evening here in the south. Dusk has come and the sky is black and the air is still - making statues of everything in my eyesight out this fenĂȘtre.

I'm sipping hot chocolate from a dark blue ceramic mug, and eating a small lemon pastry.

A lemon pastry!

Because if I'm going to eat anything lemony, it has to be when I'm by myself. No one else in my sphere will subject themselves to the citrus. So I'm happy to be here - with my bite of lemon and no one saying 'eww'.


Ah.

Hours have passed fast.

It's just about time for me to leave my sanctuary now.

Mama's escapade is almost over.

The kids should be in bed when I return. I'll be greeted by a dryer full of laundry, a list of emails to return, and most certainly a house to pick up.

And remember....this is good.

Tomorrow we have piano and dance and soccer and other Tuesday things.

And as I shuttle the littles and tend to the goings on of life - I'll be a bit more sane thanks to tonight's retreat of sorts.

The respite was needed, taken, and savored.

I hope to visit here again by the end of the week, friends.

I hope your next few days are filled with joy in the mundane, revelation in the ordinary, grace to handle the extraordinary, and little moments of pardon - no matter how brief.

Au revoir.





Friday, October 17, 2014

For Now

I feel like I'm always rushing to write.

Like I'm always having to be hasty with my time here.

Like it's a dash and scramble.

The other things and people I tend to breathing down the nape of my neck as I type....

it's normal in this season, I suppose.

But I certainly don't want to dart through this period.

I want to really live it and embrace it and caress it like the prize it is.

But I can't help but feel the squeeze and tension of pouring out to my people - yet having a deep yearning to spill thoughts out here, too.

Ah, motherhood.

A few nights ago - I slipped into a tub of hot liquid, submerged my aching neck underneath, held my book just above the water line, and read the afterward of Anne Morrow Lindbergs' Gift from the Sea. 

In it, she describes how she felt when her days in the home with children were done....when her young left the nest and flew on to their own things.

She portrays that section of her life like this....

"Plenty of solitude, and a sudden panic at how to fill it...."

This struck me.... so I reached around the rim of the tub and grabbed my pen to highlight that piece.

Because the realization that there will come a day when the pitter-patter of small feet, and the bang of percussions, and the squabble of siblings, and the asking for snacks, and the myriad of messes in every room....

will cease.

And when it does - I'll probably have a bit more time to splash words on a screen.

So what.

I won't be able to kiss soft new cheeks or hear the giggle of sneaky children each morning either.

Kate! Behold! 

Behold what is before your very eyes this moment! And breath them in! And hug them close! And listen. And remember. And play. And sit down. And shut up. 

Every season has it's place. Commit to what's currently sitting between your wrist and finger tips. Catch it and keep it..... in the depths of your mind and heart. Because one day - that's the only place this season will be.

It won't be loud and glaring you right in the face anymore - it will simply be a memory...tucked away in spirit and scrapbook.

Behold, behold, behold Kate.

Yes. The trudge through motherhood can be fierce. And depleting. And exhausting. And frightening. And freaky.

Yes. One must find a way to trickle out her bents and longings - right alongside her mothering.

Yes. Those later seasons of life - will hold much, too.

But this moment - ring out every drop of the here and now. Insert and extract all you're able - in His power....and not one second of it will be wasted.

It's late at the time of my writing this.

There is finally a hush in this home - as all three young ones rest and the husband preps a sermon.

I have the candle my mother-in-law bought me burning here on the table. And I have piano music pouring out from the ipad on Pandora. I have tomorrow's long grocery list sitting to my left, and Matchbox cars parked on my counter tops, and literature for littles littered about my living room.

Due to an early alarm in the A.M. - and a full weekend and week ahead...

I'm hastening to hash this out here and get to bed.

And this.is.good.

Because one day - I'll have more time to write. I'll have more time to sit and tinker and think and put thought to paper.

But I won't have the rush and thrill of loving on lads and lassies all day.

So for now...I'll take and embrace and behold the latter.

Writing without rushing can wait.



Monday, October 13, 2014

Carrie and Friends

Isn't it odd how hearts can remain nigh across the miles?

Isn't it grand how the souls and marrow and crevices of people can stay connected while situated on opposite ends of a continent?

It's one of the things about living and breathing and being human that I love....

connectedness at the heart level - no matter what hemisphere you find yourself.

My dear soul sister Carrie - is having a double mastectomy today - to take away cancer.


Knowing that this day was looming - my last few weeks have been peppered with thoughts of her. All the emotions. All the what-ifs. All the preparations. My mind couldn't even begin to wrap itself around her whole situation.


So I prayed.


And today I continue.


And I ask you to do the same.


Carrie has seen the Lord in very real and vivid and precious ways throughout this hard journey. And I'm trusting that all that revelation and vividness and love from the Lord won't stop. I'm believing that more of that is to come this week for her.


Won't you gather round and kneel with me today and war in the heavenlies for this song-writing, worship leading, faithful, pure, God-seeking friend?


I thank you.


Right now - just sitting here in the early hours with dawn dawning...I think of a few other friends of mine.....who bless my absolute socks off.


And I'm thinking that right along side our prayers for Carrie today - we should send up praise and thanks and requests for the ladies in our lives who carry us, and reach out to us, and hit knees in petition for us - as we whether the wins and woes of this life.

Because the wins and woes are many.

And we need these women in the midst of them.

They are treasures.


Life can take a toll - and our heart-girls help carry us. Yes?

To Carrie,

You're a heart-girl for me. You have boosted me, and asked the right questions, and sent the right scriptures, and prayed for me hard, and taken an interest, and buoyed me up countless times. A million thank yous. Your journey these last few months has left me in awe of your faith and trust and honesty and realness and love. Me and all the sweet sisters who pass by this place are praying for you. I love you dearly. Sending you hugs across the way. And trusting for good, God-things to occur this week. Lord come.

"I cannot count the number of times I have been strengthened by another woman's heartfelt hug, appreciative note, surprise gift, or caring questions...my friends are an oasis to me, encouraging me to go on. They are essential to my well-being. - Dee Brestin.

Insomuch as any one pushes you nearer to God, he or she is your friend. - French Proverb

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wind

The scorch has diminished in these parts as of late.

The red on the thermometer will climb high to 90 today - but the scald and blister of a southern summer has passed.

The air has a slight crunch to it - a gentleness and a cool that I've welcomed.

Because of this turn in season, the oldest boy and I sat outside on Sunday for our read-aloud.

I lounged in a child's rocker much too small for my adult frame. He moved about the porch and tinkered.

The wind blew through our skyward pines as I read Wind in the Willows to our man-child.

Eight now, with broad shoulders and a sudden robustness - he is closer to adolescent than infant and it makes my mind spin.

How do the seasons change so swiftly?

Like our abrupt entrance into Autumn - he just went and turned himself into a lad of all things.

The winds will do that. They'll carry change and seasons and newness.

Sometimes welcomed. Sometimes not.

But to cower away from the wind...is unreasonable. To try and escape the draft is impossible.

While tides changing can be rough - it can also be glorious.

I'm currently in a spell of time that's wrought with wind.

A temporary rent house, seven months into a strangely different job for the mister, dreams and inklings within....

There's an up-in-the-airness in the air.

The wind could blow any which way.

The gusts can carry in just about anything for anybody anywhere anytime - even for those who feel set and stationary.

While I do have somewhat of a longing for security, consistency, and sturdiness in life - I also have this tinge of thrill over what may come next. Always have.

I sometimes like to be on the cusp.

So for now - as I sit in this section of time where things seem so different and somewhat strange and a little bit interim - I'm going to keep the window open.

Why not welcome the breeze?

It may be prompt, or it may be years before the gale gets in - but it's going to tuffle your hair at some point - might as well expect it and let it waft on in to arrange things.

And won't it be sweet.... when the winds, at some point, usher in something precious?

If you find yourself here with me - take courage this moment...knowing that I just now prayed for you - for every wandering soul that passes by this post this week.

And feel a boost in hearing - that I too am seeking God in this....that you know another being who doesn't have things all mapped and planned and polished.... that someone else out there is hitting knees on a vacillating floor.

Hugs and embraces and blessings to you all.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Snapshot

I'm sitting here on the fringes of fall this morning.

With windows slid upright and all manner of insect and amphibian noises coming from the yard out back.

It's still somewhat dark, but it's growing lighter with every glance.

The air has lost it's summer sting.

A cool mistiness has replaced the Gulf's humid steam.

My boys are already up....already playing outside even at this early hour.

My girl is still snoozing there on her bottom bunk.

The squeak of the trampoline is echoing off of our wooden fence, and I wonder what the neighbors think....of children bouncing high before breakfast and sunrise.

The day holds much.

Bed sheets to wash. Learning lessons to hold. Emails to send. Doctor's appointments to make. Papers to sift through. Errands to run. Family birthday presents to buy. Lists to be made. Grass to shear. All before a soccer game this eve.

Ah. Breathe Mama.

All this....all this runaround. All these full to the brim moments. All these loud child voices rising high each day. All the neglect of self - they're blessings. I must remember it.

The following is printed in a quote book I own:

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. 
Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. 
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow."

Amen.

This week - feeling worn, and torn, and a bit tattered.... I've had to fight the thoughts that come to mind that say they'll lead me to greener pastures just over the fence.

You know the ones...


The thoughts that try to carry you to some fantasy life - where kids don't holler and laundry washes itself and roses are everywhere.

Women! We must realize - that while our minds can carry us to pretend, fantasy-like tomorrows...reality can't. Those scenes don't actually exist....no matter how vivid the imagining.

Instead...

Behold today.

The loud, full, messy, imperfect.... ordinariness of it all.

The middle blonde has risen now and is curled up behind me in my bed.

The boys have made a race track on the porch for all their Matchboxes.

It's bright now.

The day is darting, and I better do the same.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Morning Poem

I think I might use this smidgen of time here this morning....to punch out a poem.

It's just where I am today.

Please excuse all errancy and lacking. It's early. There's no time for a good, thorough edit. And for me, poetry is somewhat new. Hugs to you all.

As dawn emerges all slow and steady
And this mind raps out the day ahead
I petition to the God of the universe
to keep me faithed and fed.

As babes rise and rally early this A.M.
with all those needs and wants
A woman's wise to seek sustenance
From her Father's endless source.

And as she hits knees in shaky wondar
And puts unready forehead to floor
His presence descends and sweetly lifts her
Pouring, filling, mustering her core.

She hears the small ones wrestling from slumbar
She stands to greet and brace and love
She knows she's being held and gifted
By glory highest from heavens above.

As the day wags, wills, and thrashes
And evening comes flitting at the end
Mama sprawls out on beds upholding
She has no more to give or lend.

But as she rises next morning come
And the day's agenda greets her strong
She'll kneel on knees of knowing needing
and be sustained all hours long.

Yes, He'll sustain you all hours long.

 
 


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Sermon

There's a song bird just outside my window this morning.

The sky is high and clear and the air outside looks crisp.

The clock is quickly approaching that hour where the blondes rise and stampede into their day.

I just rolled out of the bed and stammered here to greet you.

It's been too many days since I've sat and poured something out. I know no one is waiting around on my words...... but I have been. I need this space....this nook....this therapy. Pouring out here pours into me somehow.

I have a plethora of things to ponder and pass along.

Yesterday's message is a fine place to begin.

It was a memo of sorts....straight to my ailing, flailing heart.

I was so seared by the sermon shared - so deeply spoken to.

I'm still processing. Like picking up a handful of sand and sea shells - and shaking it out to let the sand fall between my fingers....the shells haven't completely emerged yet. I'm still handling it.

The text .....was 1 John 1:5-10. That bit of scripture that speaks of light and dark and sin and confession and fellowship.

Once the message is posted online, I'd like to post it here. I'm afraid my tidbits and nuggets just won't do.

Because when the Lord speaks mightily - it can be hard to properly regurgitate what actually transpires.

Sometimes it's just a deep, wordless thing.

I can't do it justice....but the main jest?....

 Fear is based in darkness. When we make decisions out of fear, in the dark - we make decisions based on things that are false - leading us to bad decision making. But when we make decisions in the light - we can see what's true - leading us to sound decision making. 

If you only knew, friends - how many of my decisions have been influenced by deep-seeded fear....you would know why this so resounds with my very shaky soul.

On another note....verse 9 of the text says to 'confess'. The guest preacher shared that the word confess does not mean to say 'I'm sorry'. It means to tell the truth. So really the scripture is asking us to tell God what we actually think and believe of Him....being honest, raw, real. It might look like the following:

God, I don't really believe you are loving.
God, I doubt scripture.
God, I don't actually believe you are always with me.
God, I often times don't even know if you are real.

Etc...Etc...Etc...

All those things we believe in the dark....all those things that we believe all seeped and saturated in fear and warpedness....confess them. And then ask the Lord.....ask Him to turn the lights on!

Just like He did in the very beginning - His voice being the light switch and setting the sun ablaze and separating day from night - He'll illuminate your life. He still does that.

But ah, there's more. The Spirit spoke yesterday. If I can get my paws on a podcast - I'll certainly relay it to you.

This post here - has taken me most of the day. I have sat here between math and history, between lunch and snack, and now between nap and dinner. And such is the life of a wanna-be-writer homeschooling mom. :)

I have a pot of hot chicken soup on the stove - the scent of simmered poultry filling our sweet, small rent house.

The kids are out back playing in water and making a mess and traumatizing all sorts of insects on our porch.

But tonight...tonight I have a date. After the blondes reluctantly lay down heads and slip into slumber - I have plans of prayer and of confession and of asking.

Lord come and meet me where I am and let my life glow again.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday

I went to a bookstore today.

This means I went right near heaven.

Few things make me feel inspired, and connected, and known, and enthused like pages in binding.

Passing all those classics I haven't read yet - I feel giddy and guilty all at the same time. It makes me want to scoop them all up for purchase and digestion.

A great mentor of ours once told us that we should seek out the books of old - not just the books of the hour. He told us that we should try to take in the writings that have stood the test of time...a bit more than we take in the ones that have only been spouted off recently.

He was quick to say that our more modern pieces certainly have the potential to speak and guide and minister - but that we should be very careful in our pursuing of them.

Our wise mentor isn't the only guy who has suggested this.

The following is from Alister McGrath's book entitled C.S. Lewis - A Life:

Lewis argues that a familiarity with the literature of the past provides readers with a standpoint which gives them critical distance from their own era. This allows them to see "the controversies of the moment in their proper perspective." The reading of old books enables us to avoid becoming passive captives of the Spirit of the Age by keeping "the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds."

Interesting.

Don't get us all wrong here, please. There are some very sound words floating around these days, that come from people of our own generation. I'm shaken awake by many of them.

We just need to be careful. And prayerful. And picky.

Especially when it comes to the writings we expose our children to.

Gladys Hunt in her book entitled Honey for a Child's Heart (Fourth Edition) wrote this:

"Good books provide for the kind of character we hope to see developed in our children."

Yes.

Teaching my own kids  - has awakened me to the fact that children are very heavily influenced, and spoken to, and captivated by.... books that teach them things in story form, rather than text book form.

Children are experts at pulling out moral nuggets and keen facts from simply listening to or reading good literature. It doesn't have to be dumbed down and spoon fed to them by way of a dry text.

And you, as the parent, will gain much from sitting in the pages with them.

I've grown, and been fed, and been whisked away by many of the readings I've done with my lassies.

I could go on and on, really.

 But alas - it's only half an hour until tomorrow.

And Mama here is tired and the pillow is calling.

It's been a pleasure sitting here with you over the last 7 days, friends. We should do this more often :)

Blessings and good books to you all.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday

That C.S. Lewis quote from a few days ago....that one about the country - I can't shake it.

"If you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you'll never learn to see the country.”

When my eyes first scanned those words - a lightbulb was lit.

Everything I see, everything I encounter, everything I feel - doesn't always have to be nettled down into verse. 

Sometimes when I come across something that strikes me - I get stressed.

I get stressed and frazzled because I suddenly feel the pressure to wrap that moment up in a fine tuned sentence to share.

I've heard a photographer say something similar....that when in precious moments, she feels the urge to capture it on camera instead of simply sitting in and enjoying the fleeting thrill. 

And now Lewis is pertaining the same thought to painting.

And I'm sure this is true of other art methods, too.

And this shouldn't be so, really.

Those of us who like to capture life in words, or on film, or on canvas - we will always feel the urge to regurgitate in some way - what we've happened upon.

And this is right, good, and God-given.

Artists capture.

So capture we should.

But when the pressure to pop out something brilliant - overrides our shear awe or shock or pleasure or despair of something.... maybe we should put the pen, the paint, the Polaroid down - and just be present.

Even for just a moment.

Maybe we should allow our hearts to really feel and see and revel in - before we nab it up and project it to others.

Maybe just giving ourselves permission to take things in for our own sakes - before we wrap it up and hook it in for others - is all that's needed.

I know it isn't always possible. I know that this idea can't stand for everything. Sometimes - we are called to capture. The end.

But most often - in gripping moments, in interesting experiences, in sweet holiday unwrappings, in gastly eye-opening situations, in breath-taking scenery, in drives through the country - taking a second to simply see it first for ourselves...

will result in more accurate, more heart-felt, more careful capturing for others.

As you go about your long weekend, friends - really see, really feel, really process - before you put it out or post it up. Stop the panic.

If the art is supposed to transpire, it will.

Especially if you breathe it in good before the making.




Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday

The cloud cover is thick and white and low this morning.

If I weren't in Texas - I'd think it was cold out.

The scene from my window makes it look as if there's a chill, but opening a door and taking one step into the backyard will prove otherwise...

...a blast of warmth will greet you.

And I love this. Heat, and sun, and sweat make me feel alive.

That's why...after I push publish here...I'm heading out for a quick workout.

This is allowable because today's schedule is a bit tinkered.

We won't be gathering round the table this morning for our lessons....we will be learning and exploring and discovering at the science museum instead.

A lovely luxury offered to homeschoolers is doing school and life and lessons elsewhere.

Dinosaurs, butterflies, animals, instruments - the possibilities for today are endless.

And an added treat? Daddy gets to do it all with us! A rare delight!

Mama here better hussle.

I have about a thousand things I plan to get done in the next hour. If I get half of them done..... I'll be happy :)

May your Friday be blessed and busting at the seems with joy, and grins, and revelations from the Lord. Hugs to you all.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday

I'm sitting down to punch keys this morning a little later than I'd like to.

Because Mama here snoozed a bit longer than usual.

And that's okay.

I'm (slowly) learning to not beat myself up over the occasional slips.

They are to be expected.

Since I failed to stir myself in time to leak out my own words - I'll leave you with the words of others. Theirs have hit me strong lately, anyhow. Perhaps they'll do the same for you?

Be inspired. Carry these memes with you. And have a beautiful day.

“In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.”- C.S Lewis

If you met a truly humble person, you wouldn't think him/her humble, but happy and incredibly interested in you. - Tim Keller


"Religious noise and worship do not necessarily mean the same thing." A.W. Tozer

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. -Mark Twain

'So often, a visit to a bookshop reminded me that there are good things in the world.' - Van Gogh

"If you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you'll never learn to see the country.” ― C.S. Lewis

Let's really see today, friends. Hugs to you all.




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday

I just wrapped up my reading of Hebrews.

And I'm sad to see it go.

I know that it's wispy pages are forever bound to my Bible - allowing me to revisit it's profoundness anytime - but I won't be sitting each morning and drinking from it's well like I have been.

From the moment I started in on that book - I felt utterly sucked in and smitten and quenched.

Scholars don't know who penned it..... Paul, Apollos, Barnabas, even Priscilla...have been suggested, but no common consensus has been made.

We may not know who exactly wove the words of this book - but we know that they were skillfully wise in their weaving - and that the Holy Spirit was present when the words were crafted.

Yes, crafted. Hebrews is truth art.
It's a feast.
It's savory.

After one morning reading - I jotted down that I wanted to "pick up a spoon and scoop up the scriptures off the page". 

It was that satisfying.

Before this - I had hit a bit of a dry spell in my studying and taking in of the word. For numerous reasons - I hadn't the wherewithal or drive to consume it.

But then I felt lead to head to Hebrews.

And I was fed to the filling.

If you feel the urge to head there yourself -  go into it understanding that it tastes best in small morsels. Resist the itch to plow through. Really chew on it. And persist to the end.

One of the many nuggets that struck me most was this:

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. - Hebrews 10:39

Odd that the day before I read this, a guest preacher stood on the stage of our church and beamed to us all that self-preservation is what will make you lose your life....that making all of your decisions out of fear and preserval of self will only lead you to making bad decision.

And when he spoke this out - it reverberated loud in me.

And it ran so much against my thread.

I have spent my whole life desperately trying to preserve myself (my health, my energy, my safety) - and here swoops in this preacher and this scripture telling me to not shrink back and preserve myself, but to step forward and instead concentrate on preserving my soul.

Yes.

Ah, the sun is peeping once more, friends.

There is much to plate up and pass around when it comes to Hebrews - but I suppose you'll have to go do some munching yourself. Mama here better get moving - or else!

May the Lord speak to you tenderly and intimately through whatever scripture, song, or sermon you find yourself in today.

Lord, meet and feed each one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday

Today will be full.

School.
Piano lessons.
Soccer practice.
Dance class.

I don't usually do well with a plate over piled - but I don't thrive with an empty one, either. So, bring on the runaround.

I'm sitting smack in the calm before the precious storm. It's dim. The sprinklers are on outside. Everyone is still lost in a dream-like state. Shadows flicker on the wall as my lone candle flares. And Mama is wanting to do today.... well. Really well.

I want to smile more than I scowl.
I want to play more than I pout.
I want a soft heart, rather than a harried one.
I want love to shine like a beacon and bounce off these walls and sear their souls.
I want to live in such a way today - that my children desire to join me.

J.C. Ryle - back in 1888 - said this:

"Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct. Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to enter into childish joys, these are the chords by which a child may be led most easily, - these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart." - from The Upper Room, quoted in Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay Clarkson.

Just, yes.

I can't even expound.

Oh God - let those things, let those fruits....ring and reign loud and lavishly in this home.

The sheen of light coming from the window, is telling me that day is about to break wide open.

I can sense.... that the blondes will be out of the gate shortly.

Things are stirring....in the home, and in my soul.

Lord fill me and let it overflow.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday

It's barely five hours past yesterday.

It's dark and early here, and Mama is up....feeling the urge and itch to scribble something out.

I just checked all three of the littles - and they are rolled up sweet still, in blanketed bunk beds.

As I've noted here before...there is a type of pureness, stillness, freshness...to the early morning.

All crisp and new and waiting and ready. I love that.

Especially today.

Because after the children rise and dress and tend to chores - our first full day of homeschooling begins.

We have much to discover this year. With a big-guy 2nd grader, my kinder girl, and our 2 year old toddle-boy....our days of learning will be full.

Which hopefully....turns into minds and hearts being full, too.

I've set the stage as best I can...

Books all stacked on the kitchen table.
Chalkboard adorned with date and greeting.
Candles throughout.
Daddy surprising with donuts.
New outfits.
A plan.

And prayer. Lots and lots and lots of prayer.

Because a Mama can plan, and light candles, and leave notes, and prep her precious heart out - and it can all fall to pieces the moment the toddler shrieks and shrills.

It will happen....the shrieks and shrills. Kids will end up complaining, and Teacher-Mama will get tired, and laundry will pile up, and lessons will fall flat at some point.

Preparations and donuts and lit wicks won't make real life go away.

They just make real life feel a little warmer for the woman who is carrying it all. :)

My plan is to visit this spot numerous times over the next seven days. Dare I say it - but in my overly determined heart....my desire is to sit and share here on the blog everyday for the next seven go-arounds.

Because yesterday....I sat in a class myself. Two of the finest artists around - put on a course at our church entitled Arts and Faith.

It was all about  using your flair for the arts - to boost faith and Kingdom growth.

It was brilliant.


Afterward, Pastor Tom issued a commission:

Over the next seven days....let excellent art explode in you. Commit to it and see what happens.

And that's all I needed.

As our resident artists said....'set a deadline and do it.'

Yes. Okay.

With homeschooling, and a dear friend's diagnosis, and long prayer lists, and torture turning up in all parts of the world, and beauty turning up in all parts of the world, and family and marriage and the daily happenings of life - there is much that weighs both heavy and light on my spirit these days.

Sharing here - will perhaps makes sense of the load? And I pray - alleviate it for someone else in the undoing.




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gathering our Precious Marbles

 (This post....it leans toward the ladies. All of the following can be said of the male mind too....but from my own recent experiences, and the countless interactions I've had with women on this topic as of late - I feel like I should gear this one in the direction of the gals. 

I started writing this piece last week. Strange and eery that it began just before a storm of much needed awareness erupted over mental health. Love to you all.)



Your mind can become your master.

It can freak you out, and fret your insides, and blow you up, and cause you to seethe.

It can imagine monsters that aren't real, and it can muster up all kinds of untruths, and it can whisper scares, and it can fall head long into every sort of doom and despair imaginable.

It can speak lies, and it can convince you of the worst.

And it can take you right over.

Because we women... the way we're woven - our minds are masterpieces!

They are beautifully laced and wreathed and interconnected. They are sharp and keen and uniquely agog with life.

Yes, a woman's mind is a masterpiece, indeed.

But we often times allow these masterpieces to actually master us....and this shouldn't be so, friends.

As moms, daughters, sisters, workers, aunts, allies,.....we women have got to get healthy in our heads -  if we want to make any kind of a positive impact in this world. In our worlds. In our homes and churches and communities and families.

Because an ill mind can sicken the whole body.

And it can render us useless if we let it.

Uselessness. That's the intent, you know. If the enemy gains ground in a woman's noggin'....a fall is certain. If the adversary of our souls gets any kind of control over a females faculties - she's fruitless.

And this....it gets me fired up.

Do you have any idea how many times I have convinced myself that I have some crazy random illness?
Do you have any idea how many times I have compared myself to other women - leaving me feeling worthless?
Do you have any idea how many times I have supposed that someone has something against me, because for some reason or another I imagined that I was slighted or shoved in some way?
Do you have any idea how many times I have worried myself right into a weary-ridden pit?
Do you have any idea how many times I can replay in my mind the events of my life that make me mad, or sad, or less than?

You are more than certainly nodding yes.

Ah! I'm raging!

We shouldn't be content with this. We shouldn't just accept this as normal. Or hormonal.

Because it's hell.

Literally. I'm not being profane...I'm being prescriptive.

We have got to be able to discern what is Jesus and what isn't.....so we He can turn our heads right side up again.

Enter Hebrews 5:14.

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (ESV)

Yes! To be women....who are so trained and experienced with discernment - that we can know and recognize what is God and what isn't...this is HUGE.

And it's life-changing.

If we ladies could tell the difference between the whispers of God, the sneerings of Satan, and our own flailing flesh...

If we could recognize the voice of the Shepherd, against the ruthless howl of the wolf....

we would find liberty.

We'd sniff out the lies so fast...the enemy's fiery darts would be snuffed and dismissed immediately.

To be able to differentiate and divvy up our inklings and whims and thoughts..... this is maturity.

It's also freedom.

Getting our minds to mind, as I wrote last summer....is victory. 

But this will look different for each of us.

Some of the ladies scanning this post - need professional counsel in this area.
Some might need medication.
Some might need a journal and a pen.
Some of us just need to take notice - that we are often times speaking utter trash to our very own selves.
Some might need to simply wake up and realize that there is another team on the playing field that is vying to dominate our minds, memories, and imaginations.

But ALL of us need to be asking. All of us need to pray, and petition the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment when it comes to our thoughts.

ALL of us need to be ingesting scripture....because we know it's truth.

ALL of us need to be in more situations where we have to hear the voice of God....places where we have gone out on a limb for the Lord.... and we must know what's Him and what isn't. Maybe that's the training the verse is talking about.

ALL of us need to be the gatekeepers of what is allowed in, and what we grant ourselves to entertain.

Because we can't always control what comes to our minds.....but we can control what stays there....by the Lord's power...yes we can.

A woman's mind....her artistry, her insight, her originality, her ingenuity.....

is remarkable.

Let's start walking down a path that will allow us to also describe our minds as.....

 redeemed.

Lord, let us be sheep with the sharpest and most discerning of ears. In Jesus' name. Yes and amen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Simplicity

Our August is awfully full.

I'm typing here - with my calendar spread out before me and my nerves coming undone within - because looking at the agenda is making me quiver a bit.

Most of the penciled in events are favorable.

Some are annoying and mandatory.

But for the most part - the things we have committed to next month and beyond are of the positive variety.

School. Church events. Fellowship. Visitors. Bible studies. Gatherings. Meetings. Appointments.

And so it goes. Such is life.

And this is good. And it is healthy. And it is an honor. And it is growth inspiring.

But while so many of the things on my calendar have the potential of ringing in a lot of light.....they can sometimes feel really heavy.

Like right this moment - I feel like I'm shouldering each square on the August almanac.

It makes me want to build a fortress around our lives and reel in the drawbridge.

But at the same time, I wrestle with that image. I know my propensity to hermit-in at times - could really run with that image and it could be the fall of me.

Let me rephrase that, it would be the fall of me. We are made for community.

It's just the truth that being engaged, being a participant, becoming involved - is right.

Backseat parents.....
sideline Christians....
shore sitting people...

they miss out.

And the world misses out - just as they do.

But too full of an agenda.....can leave one empty.

Too awful much of a grand thing - can truly be a negative.

It's like air.

I think you'd agree that oxygen....it's pretty awesome. We need it to be. But if we humans only went around inhaling all the time - we'd bust.

The exhale is a must.

Filling our lungs up with oxygen is kind of like....a have to.

It's the same with involvement and engagement - our souls need it to thrive.

But just like the lungs need to deflate and expel carbon dioxide out of the body....

Our schedules and agendas need some emptiness.

We can't go around filling up all the time without some releasing and letting go.

Last night - we had nothing.

So the oldest started piecing together PVC pipes - to make little water systems in our backyard.

And this morning - we had nothing in particular scheduled....so I was able to make pancakes.

I was able to mix and stir and splat and scoop and fill happy bellies...because we simply had some margin in our day.

Pipes and pancakes would not have happened otherwise.

I'm grateful for all the opportunities. And for most of them - I'm thrilled to dive in. As I mentioned - it's an absolute honor to be engrossed. But September, onward - I plan for simple to reign. 

Because saying no to good things - so that we can say yes to great things, to spontaneous things - it's what I want. It's what I need.


As all of us here gear up for another school year, another fall season, new commitments and continued old ones....

Let's be faithful, yes.

Let's commit to the things we feel are necessary and needed, of course.

Let's heed the call on those things we hear the Lord pointing us to, most importantly.

But let's allow simplicity to have it's place.

Our homes and hearts will be fuller....

with the few and far between.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Series of Snapshots


They're outside right now.

Mowers and edgers are roaring through the neighborhood, breaking up bird song and mid-morning silence.

A long black slug is making it's way across our backyard patio, with an audience of blondes - of which, the youngest is completely enamored.

"Ug! Ug, Mama!"

The oldest boy is holding a frog he found this morning, and the girl is eating her breakfast sitting pretty in the seat of a plastic John Deere.

The door just opened, with patters of shoeless feet hitting the floor tiles. I hear humming. They must be looking for something - because a hum usually accompanies their search.

Mama here is about to throw some shoes on and put a backpack together, so we can venture out on a bike stroll.

Storms are coming later in the day - so we need to steal some sunshine while we're able.


**********

It's crisp and early on the flip side.

I'm typing here with chipped finger nail polish and a long to-do list scrawled out to my left.

All three littles are still laying down and the house is calm quiet.

There's a basket of folded laundry along the wall, and a lot of dishes waiting to be stashed in the washer.

David Nevue is playing on Pandora, and a soft pink candle dances on my desk.....Mama's attempt at solace.

Nevue is playing the old hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness.

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All that I've needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

I hear stirring and doors creaking down the hall, and I carry those lyrics with me into my morning.

Getting my bottom reluctantly out of the chair to start breakfast, I pray for His help to minister well as a Mama today.

**********

The eggs and toast and granola are all cleaned up from our morning meal.

Bible study (from Luke 7) has been had. Christs' love for both the pharisee and the weeping woman - has been considered, and taken in, and discussed.

There is a fort being made in the living room.

Pillows, cushions, blankets....they are everywhere.

I hear them in there now, discussing the architecture of the thing.

The littlest is sitting at my feet here....still wanting to be close to Mama duck most of the day.

I have pushed send on several emails, and I'm about to read aloud to the wee ones.

The laundry is still waiting it's turn to be done. There is so.much.laundry.

**********

With the house in fort-making disarray - we plopped ourselves right in the middle of it, and read.

A short biography on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, followed by a few of his exquisite poems.

Four by the Clock, hit us real and heavy.

We read it through, with sound effects and drama, three times.

I could have sat as Longfellow's audience all day, but once again....rain ensues.....and there's a yard that needs mowing.

***********

Mid mow, I had to go in to wipe a bottom.

Ah, motherhood.

After the grass was all freshly shorn - I snugged up to the youngest and we read books and sang a song before he fell into a nap of slumber.

I went in and cleaned up the abandoned fort.

The older two sat at the chalkboard and did some school review.

Shapes, and letters, and numbers for the girl.

Adding, subtracting, and clocks for the boy.

Today's review went well. We aren't always so successful.

***********

Right this very moment, the oldest is stretched out on the couch reading an easy chapter book.

I keep being interrupted by this boy - unsure of certain words.

River Flows in You is being played by Yiruma on the ipad.

Mama here should be prepping for tonight's Bible study, but she is sitting here with you....blogging instead.

It's been so long since I've been able to pause here - and hash out, and dream, and create...I feel I could do it for the next several days or so.

But....

On to laundry. And group prep.

********

And so here I sit.

The day is budding new once more.

As I review these little flashes of my week, I wonder if they are odd.

Some people take photos with a camera. I tend to take them with words.

This drives all the grandma's crazy and leaves scrapbooks empty, but letting you form the photo in your mind, by the reading of verse - I think there is something to that, don't you?

It warms me, anyhow.

There are things looming in my heart this morning - that are causing me a bit of anguish.

There are things happening in my world - that are making me war in prayer.

But there are also things, just everyday ordinary things, that ring in all kinds of joy and delight.

Slugs. Frogs. Rain. Grass. Diapered bottoms. Forts. Poems. And the gift of garments to launder and fold.

Little snapshots, in word or in image- when returned to - can flicker gratefulness.

May these do just that.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This Evening

I woke up to thunder in the wee hours this morning.

It stirred me, and got me going, and lifted me from slumber early enough for this Mama to just have a moment.

And oh, Mama's need a moment in the morning...before their littles arise! Yes.

A roll of prominent booms is reeling outside - with rain threatening to pour....

.... and it makes me anticipate my evening.

I have about a dozen names sitting here to my right.

And those ladies, and my co-leader, and I - we will convene. And we will introduce. And we will eat cookies. And we will plaster on name tags, and we will get serious about seeking Him, and we will gather round tight.

Because tonight....

We begin a new Bible study.

We start a new search through the Scriptures.

We take our first few steps on a new journey toward Him and His people.

And I have wild dreams for it all.

I understand that time is precious. Select hours propped right in the middle of the week? - these women could be doing a thousand different things other than this.

But they have boldly reached out, and committed to 8 weeks of Wednesday gatherings, and I trust that the Lord - He will meet us and make us soar.

Truly.

Because when we huddle up in pursuit of Him....things do happen! 

He speaks. And He heals. And He makes broken places whole.

Yes He does.

So just as the storm whirled through these parts this morning....I pray earnestly that the Spirit would whoosh through likewise, this eve.

I'm itching for an outpouring.

They are too.

The rain is falling on all our pines outside. And I sit here...

excited.

Lord, let the thunder from your throne room rumble..... and let the rains you send in on us ring in much. 

Yes and Amen.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Goggles

Mama's mood can make it or break it for everybody.

I could wrap the post there, really. Those words pretty much sum it up.

But the seriousness of this fact...

the millions of times mamas have squashed joy or wreaked havoc....

the scary ability mothers have....to heavily effect a moment, a day, a life - this deems some diving in today.

The power we ladies posses - is terrifying.

I've been thinking about this constantly.

Because a Mama whose emotions fling and flit? She has children who suffer.
 

She has children who hear her say she is saved by Christ...but who never see the steadiness of heart that should bring.

She has children who hear of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit....but who rarely see evidence of it.

This.is.devastating.

Because we have to get...that we are not only women.....we are witnesses. 


Last week ....I came across a startling Spurgeon quote that taps into this very issue:

"I have heard of an atheist who said he could get over every argument except the example of his godly mother: he could never answer that."

This.....

It cut me to my core.

To my flinging and flitting core.

Friends, I can go from faith to faithless in seconds. I can nose dive from the mountain top to the valley in a matter of minutes. I lash and twist and snarl - with looks and glances and words and tones.... none of it justified. None of it.

Just this morning - the middle child misplaced my goggles. 

My goggles.

Not heirloom jewelry. Not cash. Not some delicate paper or some special gift....but swimming goggles. From Target. That were a mere $15.

When I discovered the loss - I lost it.

I fumed and words flew and a five year old heart suffered.

In the midst of my frenzy - she came up to me with sorrowed look and handed me an envelope. When I opened it - it had a drawing inside.

But tucked into the bottom....

was a nickel and some pennies. 

Her money. For Mama. To purchase new water eyeballs.

It left me gaping.


And that's just today. I could tell you of countless eruptions.

Countless.

Now hear me here. I'm not saying we should never feel, or grow angry, or show emotion. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be human.

But I am saying that we should harness more of the power that lives inside of us....that is Holy.



Philippians says that it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure....that what He works in, we should work and walk out.

It's Him who enables us to choose the righteous route.

It takes a yielding, and a discipline, and a training on our part. Yes mam. But the supernatural ability to respond and handle in a holy and godly way for the long haul.... it's all Him.

I didn't twaddle all of this out here - to make any of us feel guilty or condemned.

But to feel awakened and convicted.

To feel the reality - that our every word and gesture and glance...either rings in light or it rings in darkness....

....for the wee ones (and not so wee ones) we women witness to.

God help us.