Monday, July 20, 2015

A Birthday

On this day...

Six whole years ago...

Sandwiched there between my two guys...

God blessed me with a girl.

Typing here, recollecting back on her entrance and her growing - I'm teary and grateful and wild for this spitfire of glory God gave me.

From the very start it could be sensed that she had this certain thread of sweetness....

This underlying thick ribbon of tenderness that softened me in hard places.

But don't be fooled. Running right next to those streamers of gentleness and grace - there's an ability to dart and defend and muster up solid anger, if warranted. 

She seizes and squeezes life.

She always has a plan, an opinion, a comeback. 

She's the first to respond in care when someone's wounded.

She walks around most days with a doll baby on her hip and a purse over her shoulder.

She likes to sit high and perched on Mama and Daddy's bed - next to a lofty stack of library books - where she makes up her own story, out loud, as she flips the pages.

Dresses are her ensemble of choice most days of the week.

And her grandma-purchased Marc Jacobs wedges are her favorite shoe.

She prays over people, and senses moods, and thinks deeply.

She has a silly side - and shows it off often.

She is strong...

In body and in spirit.

She likes shopping, and planning parties, and being around people.

She likes to go, and do, and be, and discover, and belong.

She enjoys a good movie, a tall glass of sweet tea, and a rare treat of snacking on Cheetos.

She is affectionate, funny, loud, quiet, complex, sassy, capable, athletic, curious.... and made of the finest stuff I've ever seen.

And she's pretty.

So, so pretty.

Long flowing hair, and tan hued skin, and blue ocean eyes, and tall to the heavens.

Daddy is already nervous....but very, very ready.

She has changed our hearts and home, brought in much laughter and glee, and rings in all kinds of lace, and a special kind of grace.

She animates, and purifies, and livens our world here.

And so today - I marvel, and stand thankful, and praise the Maker... for this little lady who gives, and loves, and lives so fully well.

Happy, happy birthday child.

You are cherished...

And needed...

And loved...

And valued beyond comprehension or measure.

Let us celebrate you, today.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Marvel the Mind

I couldn't keep up with the creativity.

I couldn't hold pace with the barrage of thoughts, dreams, ideas - filling my brain waves and asking to be scribbled down and seen through.

I was visiting family, when my Mother blessed me with a whole 24 hours to myself.

She kept the kids, while I whisked away to rest, write, wander, dream.

And dream I did.

The second half of my time away - was filled with constant concoctions of creative concepts.

A brainstorm if I ever experienced one.

Remember those bubble diagrams in language arts class?

You start with a big circle - your main idea, and branch out into dozens of other bubbles from there.

That's the mode my mind was in.

And I could hardly get the concepts from brain to paper fast enough.

It's crazy what can happen when you rest....

When you remove yourself for a minute and let your mind open, and let your God speak.

I've often heard in recent years, that creativity comes from rest - not striving.

And it's true.

What strikes me today most, though...on this day I've set aside for relaying what makes me marvel -

Is the ability our brains have to imagine.

We can see things behind our eyes, that aren't before our eyes.

We can watch a movie reel in our minds, and go back to past experiences, and dream up new ones...

And then have all that fantastic stuff flow to ink, and find itself in book pages, or see it's way to stage, or play itself out on screen, or dance it's way through the fringes of a paintbrush.

Isn't that fantastic?

And what's more....

Is that often times all that goodness that is forming in the fibers of your head, and then working it's way out into art - it usually ends up encouraging, inspiring, blessing, speaking to - another.

What a fine process the whole thing works out to be!

And what a wonderful thing to stand in awe of!

Today - if a poem, a song, an image, a story - drops in on your reflections..... let it come to the light. Write it down, draw it out, sit on it for a few - and then whenever you have time for some tinkering, allow that thing to dawn and come to life.

Use what you've been given!

And marvel at it all.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Snapshot: Anniversary

I'm sitting outside here on the dawn of the day I wed.

The fireball that lights our way everyday is rising steady.

A squirrel is having breakfast on the branch of my tall pine, and his crumbs and extras are free falling in a funny line to the ground below.

The birds are singing their morning song.

An airplane just made it's way overhead.

And a pair of doves are doing that deep hoo they do as day arrives.

Two of the squirrels I mentioned above are fighting over food - screeching and scratching.

The doves: singing loud together their song of light...

And the squirrel's: demanding their own way...

They both remind me of marriage.


What a sweet morning!

There's something sacred about the opening peep of daylight.

And this day, in particular.

Because it's been a decade, plus one - since I walked that long aisle and pledged that vow and promised that person I would stand firm for it all.

The highs and lows, and twists and straights, and mountains and valleys of our marriage are running through like a movie in my mind this morning.

He's sleeping in a bit, because I pulled the door and told him to.

The children are awake and eager to storm-start our anniversary - waiting in their room for the moment their clock says they can do so.

Those children....the result of the commitments we spoke all those years ago - they have taught me the art of celebration.

They have showed their Mama that it's good, and right, and worth it.... to mark, and remember, and praise special occasions and victories.

And this marriage is a victory.

It's been fought for...over and over again.

The man I love.... he's different.

He's countercultural in the way he approaches our union.

He goes beyond expectation, let's pride die, and offers out all of himself for me.

And as he does all this... I learn and clumsily attempt to reciprocate.

My gratefulness surpasses words.

The kids we created are eager and itching to begin festivities.

I should close the laptop lid and head in.

But before I do...

May I pray a blessing over you?

Father, I ask that you lead and show Your love to the person scanning these words today. I pray that they see you working in their lives, arranging events, pouring in strength and faith. If they are married Lord, wrap up their union in truth and vulnerability and sacrifice and healing. If they aren't, Lord speak intimately to their mind and hearts today - holding them close and whispering loud of your love for them. Give that to us married ones, too! Guide each mind that's reading here...into the things of life. And let all of us linger on the good, the things of You. In Jesus, Amen.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Marvel at Man

My Dad is the hardest working person I know.

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

And he got that way by working for it. 

No college degree.

No pedigree.

No favoritism.

No hand-outs whatsoever.

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

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

He was forecasted to achieve little in this life.

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

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

That first desk belonged to my Daddy.

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

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

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

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

When you surpass odds...

And sail forth in the midst of setbacks...

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

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

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

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

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

And orbited heavens...

And built contraptions that jettison us across continents...

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

And projected images onto giant theater screens...

And climbed massive mountains...

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

And so forth, and so forth...

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

Marvel at this with me today!

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

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

And tell them you are doing so.

Show them you see.

Tell them you admire and admonish their fantastic feats.

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

And then mimic their moxie.

My dad turns 59 this week.

He has strongly endured all of the almost 60.

And I have witnessed it.

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

And crush the ashes under my feet with him.

Because he has wrestled and he has won.

Marvel, friends.

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