Thursday, January 30, 2014

Prayers for the Day

Settling in for a moment here - with a cup of something warm in hand - while the blondes are still lost in slumber - I ask...

Lord, renew a right spirit within me.

My days....they are somewhat monotonous - as most moms who shimmy out their dawn-to-dark in the home know.

The same needs, wants, and requirements - day by day by day.

But goodness - as I sit here this morning...and think about the rising and playing and learning and cleaning and tending - 

I am steeped in gratefulness.

Yet, I'm also desperate for a God.

I'm in need of a girding up in Him.

So before my feet even find the carpet in the wee hours of the day - prayers are pouring.

I'm asking for a Holy Spirit's filling, and a calm demeanor, and a joy that abounds.

I'm asking for help in the seemingly easy and repetitive.

Richard Foster writes.... 

"We must never believe the lie that says that the details of our lives are not the content of prayer."

Oh indeed....they are what make up so many of my petitions!

On his way out the door - the man I married stopped at my desk....before he headed to his own.

He does this often - knowing that his bride needs all the asking on her behalf that she can get.

He whispered out a prayer....

"God, give her new excitement - even if it's over the same old things."

Yes, yes.

Right in the middle of tapping these keys - a two year old came in looking for a lap. I provided him with one.

And then I paused to flip pancakes in the kitchen - with all three 'helpers'.

And then I cleaned up the mess, and poured more milk, and iced my back, and gave a chore order or two.

And in those few hours - I sent up more than a few prayers.

Short little breath prayers - that invited the Mighty into the moments.

I just glanced out the front window and a beautiful sunrise is on the cusp. Pinks and oranges all smeared across a canvas of blue.

Those prayers that can spring out in an inhale and an exhale? They can be used to lift up thanksgivings, too. Let us not forget this manner of communicating with Him. It's healthy and it can change things.

Your mundane may look different than mine. Perhaps it involves a cubicle. Or an assembly line. Or meetings. Or a classroom. Or constant interaction. Or no interaction at all.

Never mind. It doesn't matter what your daily regimen is - He is ready.

Ready to hear. Ready to help. Ready to teach. Ready to bring peace.

School is about to begin. There's a spelling test today.

And there's a seven year old here who will no doubt send up a prayer or two in between scribbling down memorized words - hopefully, correctly :)

In your own tests today - won't you do the same?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I've been sorting out life while sorting out laundry.

A few weeks ago....I stumbled upon Socrates in the City.

And since I don't live in New York - in state or in mind, really - I lean in and listen to these forums online - all while folding, creasing, hanging.

As it turns out....dropping in to hear incredibly intelligent people converse - it can ignite the most mundane of moments.

Like..... laundry time.

Now it's true that I'm no slick academic. I struggled through high school and scratched out a college degree ......mostly at the aid of others and a prayer.

I was never known for having mental prowess, or an interest in noble thoughts, or success in the classroom.

But stay-at-home motherhood.....

 came with a hunger.

By the time that second blonde made her debut - I found myself so full, yet so empty....needing cognitive stimulation of some sort to plop down from somewhere.

Even me here....the non-academic.

So I've immersed myself in books. And sermons. And teachings. And the things I've gathered up and jotted down - fill notebooks.

But only recently did I discover the Socrates forums.

And doing so has transformed the carrying out of my to-do list.

Poet, Christian Wiman
Writer, Malcolm Gladwell
Scholar, Stephen Meyer
Author, Rod Dreher
Mathematician, John Lennox

....and more.

Eric Metaxas converses with these guys at a gala of sorts - and the things one can garner from it are outright glorious.
Mid fold - I have found myself scurrying around for a pen and pushing pause so that I can copy down some of the brilliance.

That first recording I watched....the one with Wiman....I watched it on a day when I was feeling rather discouraged in my writing. I, once again, was beginning to think that because I have no platform or applause - I should just push it all aside and call it a fail.

But in the very deep of the very depths of my gut - I knew that ceasing to write - would mean ceasing to really live. That the one way I really knew how to press into God....was by pressing these keys. The one way I knew to tap in....was to tap out.

And then Wiman - sits down in a chair in New York City - and spills the following:

"You don't make art because you have an idea and you want to express it. You make art because it's the way you translate your experience. It's the only way that you are able to be in the world. If you don't have that - it's like your language is taken away."

The wail of my heart, exactly.

 A bit later in the discussion - Wiman brings up the fact that 'faith is communal'....that "There is something that we need to see in other people in order for our experience to have validity."

Indeed. Funny....the one saying that - is the one who provided the validity for me that day.

After the phonics book closes and before the math text opens - during our school break later this morning - I'll stand at the edge of my bed and stack shirts, pair socks, and crease pants. At the same time..... I'll be filling my parched mind with new, soaring, inspiring speech.

Me - the mama - the homeschooling marm.... way down here on the gulf in a rented house and a loud, good, child-filled season - I cup my ear northward to that great big city and glean.

Leaning in to listen - has made such a difference.

It's made laundry lofty.

And I really, really like that.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wendesday Snapshot

The skies are clear and bright today in coastal Texas.

And the breeze is swift and cool.

And there are blondes out back bouncing high on a black jumping apparatus they got for Christmas.

Mama here is inside - hoping to scribble out something of worth before the youngest stirs from nap.

Pots for a chili dinner are sitting on the stove. And a cornbread pan sits along side.

Meat is finishing off a thaw on the counter.

And towels sit folded on the bed - waiting for their put-away.

The pantry looks puny at this point. Mid week - three more days until the grocery visit....I try to scratch out every crumb before making an extra trip.

There are heart-shaped turbinato sugar cookies from a friend... on the island.

A sippy cup of skim milk is waiting on the little one in the frig.

My desk here is comfortably cluttered. To my right - a stack of books ten high....a mixture of school and spiritual. To my left - a notebook and pencils and pens in disarray.

A candle is lit.

Solo piano music is creeping softly out of the Apple.

Any minute the quiet of the house will be disturbed by a two year old's Mama call.

And the back door will fling open with some child barging in looking for food or fuming from a sibling fight.

But in about an hour?

Yeah. In an hour is when the day gets good.

When the one I wed waltzes in - all done with his day of dreaded desk labor.

Mama here breathes deep and easy and usually falls right into him.

He the same.

He reads my face as soon as he enters....and can tell within seconds if I'm tattered or teetering.

Often times....I am.

Looking forward to his coming home is victory. Because there was a time.... when it wasn't as pleasant. All praise to God for intervening.

This flame dancing here on the corner of my desk - it just keeps glowing. It just keeps interacting with oxygen and putting out a perfume and brightening the area all around.

May he and I and them and our days do the same.

String cheese was just approved for snack, and the bellow of that baby is imminent, and wannabe-writer-Mama here better stop the tapping of fingers and stand to her feet.

There's still lots of life and duty and love left in this day.

Food to chop.
Floors to sweep.
Papers to read.
Emails to send.
Laundry to load.
Toys to gather.
To-do lists to tend.

But remember....

The skies are clear and bright here in Texas today.....

And that black jumping apparatus out back?

I think it's calling my name.

Who said big girls can't enter into the glee?


Monday, January 6, 2014

The New Year....and some Animals

Have you ever been mooned by a mandrill?

If not, you're missing out.

God painted their very patoots.

Their heads and their hindquarters are outright rainbows.

The youngest turned two this past weekend....and so we braved the zoo on Saturday.

The giraffes always send us reeling - with all their height and spots and oddness.

And the petting goats always ring in glee for the littles.

And the farm pigs just make us hold our noses.

But the mandrills.....

it's just flat out art on an ----------. :)

Isn't it?

And then there are the fruit doves.

Oh my heavens the fruit doves.

The bird exhibit was an art exhibit, friends.

Just look at the types of winged goodness we witnessed there...

That teal beauty is a swallow tanager.

The color in the above image does not show the brilliance of this bird's hue.

It was pure radiance marked out on feathers.

And just think - I had blazed right past the bird building on my earlier visits to the zoo.

At my own expense, indeed.

The creativity I saw on Saturday - ushered in much awe to my soul.

Oh, everything to me lately has been pointing to Him.

Even in the midst of heavy worries and bodily pains - He is near. Especially near.

This type of seeing and feeling is honestly not the norm for this admitted doubter - so I'm enjoying the intimacy with God my bolstered faith is bringing me.


But to give you an honest glimpse into my brokenness and my bent....

My raw tendency is to freak out when a steady faith arrives.


Because I start worrying about why God would think it fit to furnish me with extra faith in this season. I start thinking that something horrible might be on the horizon - and I'll need His nearness. Or I start to think that some devastation of loss will occur....where assurance of faith will be needed.

It's cra cra but true. Help me, Jesus.

So as far as the new year goes, friends -I'm leaning in. Leaning in for truth.

Not my own nutty version of truth. Not my made up imaginary fear-filled truth. Not what everyone else says is or isn't the truth.

But Truth.

In Bible study, yes. In fellowship, yes. In teachings, yes. But in prayer.....mostly.

Because that age old practice of communicating with God - it's a two way staircase. Not only do we pour out praise there (for things like art covered animals), and petition for self and others there, and ask for directions and guidance there - but we also hear from Him there.

He speaks there.

And He heals there.

And He reveals there.

And He loves there.

So I implore you...

Go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)

You won't always want to. And you won't always feel into it. And it won't always be awesome.

But it's worth it. Those times when He does speak right to your soul....when He does provide....when He does the miraculous....all as a result of asking and spending time with Him - the daily moments in the quiet seeking

May it open our eyes to beauty. And our hearts to love. And our whole lives to radical healing.

Happy 2014.

Love and animal awe and fruitful prayer moments to you all.