Thursday, March 29, 2012

the gift of longevity

While driving out to a friend's house the other day, I passed a house that was in the process of being built early in our tenure here. In front of the house were several linear rows of pears trees. 

I remember those trees when they were planted. 
Saplings. Barely green in spring. 
And then they grew. and grew. 
And now are tall and sturdy, brilliant white blossoms shining in the early spring.

I have been here long enough to see trees mature.

And then, while still driving, I thought of my friend's daughter who will be graduating high school in June. 

I remember her as a preschooler with a scrunchy on the top of her head.
Who would barely speak. who would laugh as we sang "Inchworm"together.
And she has grown. and grown.
And now she is a lovely young woman embarking confidently into adulthood.

I have been here long enough to see her mature.

It's a gift.

In ministry nothing seems a guarantee. Your time in one place is more than likely short-lived.

I don't know current statistics, but the average stay for a pastor in one congregation is...well, not that many years.

There's a WHOLE lot I could say on this subject, but for now I find myself filled with gratitude for longevity...

being in one place for one long while. 

being gifted stability and steadiness. our congregation being gifted the same.

having the opportunity to put down roots that could actually take hold and strengthen.

I do not think length of time always correlates to effectiveness or influence, but in this world of perpetual shifts and ever-new methods, it seems refreshing to think some things (and people) can remain fixed.

Going on 14 years now...over a decade with one church family. Through ups and downs. Through winning and losing. Longevity. Endurance. Mutual commitment.

What a gift...and today I am filled with gratitude.

Friday, March 23, 2012


i have read a lot lately about making art. 

what she writes about and it's creation.

what she pens in set to music.

what he in poignant speech.

what this film in moving pictures.

art has come in amish quilts and abstract paintings. in instrumental music and still photographs.

art happens in color and in black in white. in silence and amidst clamor.

art is found in opulence and in the oppressed. in rags and riches.

art knows no age. or race. or gender. no format. or limit. or box.

art is.

and i want to make art. need to make it. was made to make it.

with each inhale. 
and exhale. 
suffocating the fear so my soul can breathe instead.

art is. i am too. being. creating. and being created.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


We celebrated the 100th day of school today. 
In honor of this centennial are 100 reasons for thanksgiving.

1. mercy undeserving
2. chocolate
3. belly laughs
4. bread and wine
5. that my husband chose me
6. God-breathed, God-revealing scripture
7. "the shack" by paul young
8. unanswered questions
9. relentless hope
10. peace being a Person
11. predictable, promised cycles in life
12. Spirit who convicts 
13. same Spirit who allows me to cry Abba
14. the quiet game
15. the process
16. transcendent power of music
17. sports bras
18. hiking trails 
19. a friend for all seasons
20. 5 working senses
21. organizational containers 
22. curiosity
23. a nana who keeps her brain active
24. secrets entrusted 
25. netflix
26. sandy beaches
27. seagulls in wal-mart parking lot that remind me of sandy beaches
28. ice cold water
29. trusting smiles
30. a child's imaginative play
31. applebee's parking lot
32. fears drowned by faith
33. living rooms turned into animal habitats
34. steamed broccoli and carrots 
35. acceptance
36. writers who can pen what my heart feels
37. highlighters
38. amy grant
39. wikipedia
40. a Savior
41. anniversaries
42. little black dresses
43. tulips
44. passionate kisses
45. forgiveness received
46. forgiveness learned
47. forgiveness given
48. a spirited, talkative 7 year old
49. a witty, animal-loving 4 year old
50. a sweet, strong-willed 3 year old
51. late night talk in a hotel 
52. being heard
53. hearing
54. mystery and difficulty of union
55. chicago skyline at night from navy pier
56. scent of lilacs on mackinac island
57. overwhelming beauty
58. newly sharpened pencils
59. protected love
60. freshly shaved legs
61. honeysuckle & orange peel bodywash
62. learning patience from a spouse
63. a partner in parenting
64. extra fine point pens
65. diet coke
66. striped wrapping paper
67. reusable shopping bags
68. the nations
69. parent's pride
70. football
71. baptism
72. learning contentment
73. dq blizzards of the chocolate extreme kind
74. hugs
75. adele's voice
76. being moved by art
77. new journals
78. scary surrender
79. impromptu picnics
80. backyard violets
81. cat crazy for catnip
82. hot glue
83. recyclable materials
84. beef enchiladas from tia helitas
85. digital photography
86. calling
87. the story of esther
88. shut-mouthed lions
89. walks with a friend
90. snuggling with hubby
91. cuddles with kiddos
92. college statistics class
93. mother teresa
94. parmesan garlic boneless wings
95. teacher supply stores
96. easter
97. de-cluttered spaces
98. sippy cups
99. dustbusters
100. to do lists

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stubborn Spring (Easter's Song)

Lilac bushes budding.
In March.
In Michigan.
Unheard of.

Shorts and sleeveless shirts.
Sunshine-warmed face.
Gentle breeze gifted.
Like a June day.

Months of bare trees but hardly white.
Snow accumulated in inches not feet.
Winter thwarted.
Pushed aside by stubborn spring.

New life coming.
Even before Resurrection.
Astonishing. Unbelievable.
Hope coming early.

Hearts know winters.
Mine a long hard one.
bare. cold. dormant. 
Stilled by loss. doubt. confusion.

Years of the unknown.
Yet myself known to One.
One who sends snow and rain.
One who gives sun and moon.

Heart budding.
In the middle of desert.
In the midst of noise.

New hope coming.
Toward one undeserving.
Winter going.
Pushed aside by stubborn spring.

Hope coming.
Life restored.
Heart revived.
Resurrection real. tangible. whole.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Doing What Comes (super)Naturally

"When we consider the spiritual transformation of our lives, it often means being stretched beyond what comes natural and leaning hard into what is supernatural, those things that come from God." - Emily Freeman 

Natural, for me, is thinking I am what I do.
Natural, for me, is believing that perfection is the only acceptable method.
Natural, for me, is impeccable outward behavior while inside I am a mess.
Natural, for me, is estimating my value with my accomplishments.

Supernatural, for me, means knowing I am loved. 
Supernatural, for me, means finding freedom in failure.
Supernatural, for me, is a steady heart even if the outside has seen better days.
Supernatural, for me, is remembering my value is intrinsic and unchangeable.
Period. No debate. No ifs. or ands. or buts.

So here's to living supernaturally. Leaning hard. And finding a life transformed.

2 Corinthians 5:17