Friday, May 24, 2013

A Difficult, Beautiful Day

Today has been a difficult, beautiful day.

There's something powerful about expectations going unmet.

...when you think you are headed down a certain path 
with a certain end in mind
and then you're 
interrupted or 
blockaded or 

...when you've hoped for a certain something,
wished and worked, 
and in walks 
a glitch or
a hiccup or
a detour.

...when you've calculated continuity
and life inserts
a comma or 
semi-colon or
a parenthesis.

And today was like that for me.
My expectations did not match my reality.
And I was sad.

And for a time, 
as our family drove around town, 
I talked out my feelings with Paul
and then I cried.

I explained the swirl of emotion
and the helplessness I felt.
I choked out words of resignation
thinking it impossible to get what I wanted.
I questioned my motives.
You know, the usual stuff you do when things don't go as planned.

And in the midst of my tears, 
I saw beauty camped out right in the middle of my mess.

Beauty in a husband, 
who listens compassionately, 
who disallows our current difficulty to be the last word.

Beauty in children,
who from behind me in the van, 
reach to touch my shoulder in comfort, 
or stretch an arm out to hold my hand,
or ask if I am okay.

Today has been a difficult day
but it's been a beautiful day too.
And trumps it all.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Diapers and Miracles

Miracles, by their very nature, seem improbable.
That's what makes them a miracle...
even when it's the smallest of details.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Don't be fooled by what I am about to say.
My actions may sound impressive, but they're not.
It's just evidence of a sweet friend 
willing to slow way down 
and keep me accountable.
(Well, it might be semi-impressive that I'm getting up before 6 am;
..or, if you know me... a lot impressive.)

this morning, during our run, 
my friend was telling me about
this approach to cycle training.

Represented by a triangle,
this method assigns each point of the the triangle 
one of these three components:
endurance, strength and speed.


That got me thinking.
I mentioned to my friend
if I had to choose one at which to excel, 
I would choose endurance.
(Side note: I love that it's at the top of the triangle.)

While it would be nice to be fast
and great to be strong, 
do either matter much if I lack endurance?

Endurance says, 
I will keep going
I won't quit
I refuse to give up
I will finish.

Endurance shouts durability 
when circumstances might otherwise crush.

Endurance waves the banner of perseverance
when other voices say stop.

Endurance digs in its heels
when winds of struggle might uproot.

Endurance outfits itself in persistence
when it's easier to throw off responsibility.

Endurance clings to tenacity
when commitment threatens to fade. 

Endurance is about focus and never losing it.
Jesus had it.
And so did Paul.
I want it.

To be tenacious.
Sure enough to cling
and keep going.
Having the end always in sight
though it's still over the horizon.

To endure in order to find that which endures.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize 
for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

Monday, May 20, 2013

Prelude to a Storm

I watched the storm roll in.
In my backyard.
Ominous clouds moving eastward.

Looking west, leafed branches move violently.
Winds stir quick movements.
And seconds later I am caught in the squall.
Yet the trees have stilled.

A hawk soars above and catches air.
Normally graceful, but now glides erratically on gusts. 

Grass pulsing in invisible currents.
The draft shares lilac's fragrance.

I stand in awe.
I wonder at nature.
Divine art in motion.
Creation orchestrated by Providence.

And I just want that to be me.
Guided by the Author of my soul.
Doing what I was made to do.
Driven by His passion.
Moved by His power.
to bend 
or sway 
or soar
or pulse
as He sees fit.

Standing in the yard
just before a storm
and my soul aches
to be directed 
by the same Beauty
directing the zephyr.

Winds conceive longing
spirit births Spirit.

And I am reborn in the backyard.

The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, 
has magnificently cleared the air, 
freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny 
at the hands of sin and death. 
Romans 8:1 (The Message)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Rant

"If only closed minds came with closed mouths."
(Read on a lapel button)

photo credit: Alberta Human Services

Here are my thoughts on this irritating little statement.

Friday, May 17, 2013

100 Posts and a Nudist Colony

This post marks the 100th time I have clicked "Publish" 
after writing a blog entry.

The 100th time I have laid a piece of me bare
for anyone who might find it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Taking Back What Isn't Mine

In Hosea 5:10, the prophet is calling out the Jewish religious leaders,
The NLT says it like this:
"The leaders of Judah have become as bad as thieves."

And at the bottom of my bible, in a footnote, it says
this verse could be rendered
"have become as those who move a boundary marker."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Things I've Learned (or Re-learned) Recently:

My kids cooperate really well when playing Wii together.
My kids argue really well when playing Wii together.
I do, indeed, have more than one gray hair.
Trusting God is hard.
I often operate from a position of fear.
Jillian Michaels kicks my behind.
Watch what I may come out of my kids' mouths.
I have lots of mirror conversations.
Women served (illegally) in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Children are beautifully resilient.
The purpose of education is discipleship.
Snuggling with my kids feels really good.
One of my greatest pleasures is reading out loud to my children. 
When feeling stressed, I don't like people to touch me.
When feeling stressed, one of the things I need most is a hug.
My oldest is simultaneously astonishingly creative and incredibly tiring.
The best Mother's Day gifts cost very little money.
I have trouble asking for help.
I have trouble receiving help.
Even Reese Witherspoon messes up.
The literal definition of amuse means "no thinking". 
(I see a future blog entry here.)
One of the sweetest sounds is my 5-year old sounding out words.
Prayer is what often saves this anxious heart.
It's easier to talk emotional health than to pursue it.
I like storage containers even more when I feel out of control.
I hardly ever write a "real letter" anymore.
Math is more fun with a dry erase board.
God is crazy about me. Always. Period. The end.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Lesson from a Cat

This is Sophie.
Feline of the house.

If anything in my routine of life 
is going to remind me
to nurture my relationship
with God,
it's Sophie.

Every night, 
like clockwork, 
 after the kids are in bed, 
Sophie finds me.
She rubs against me.
She paws at my arm,
until I have no other option 
but to pay attention to her;
to love on her.

And every single time she does this, 
I wonder... 
have I sought God out today?
Have I taken time with Him?
Have I allowed Him to love on me?

Oh to be as consistent as my cat
in seeking the attention of Abba.

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,  for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh cry out for the living God.
Psalm 84:1-3

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tired but Watered

Sometimes a soul-drought is only noticed when water comes.

My family has returned from 2 days at a homeschool convention.
I am tired.
Mentally exhausted.
Yet stimulated.
Renewed in passion.
Reminded of purpose.

It's a blessing...
to be where we share with all others a unique bond,
unique pressures,
unique stresses and delirium,
to rub shoulders with those who champion a calling
I have reluctantly embraced.

And it's not that the people who fill my everydays
do not love and support our family.
They do.
Yet, as with anything in life, 
to spend time with others who
have done this thing longer and better than I, 
have persevered with grace and humility,
and who, by the nature of the bond,
know you in part without a word spoken, 
understand the challenges without explanation...
well, it's like a rain in a dry land
when I did not notice it was dry.

Sometimes, the Lord allows refreshment 
in places we didn't realize we needed it
because He's like that.
Extravagantly good. 
Mercilessly kind. 
Abundantly quenching.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

When I Need Answers

I have a lot of questions.
And what I want are answers.

Lately, the One who knows me best and loves me most 
has something to say to me about my quest for solutions.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Painted Lines

It may seem obtuse to say, but...
lane markings are not suggestions.

But the guy in the pick-up hauling the lawn care trailer
must have thought so.
If it hadn't been the middle of the afternoon, 
I might have questioned his sobriety.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fear Lies

Fear and I, 
 we are 


And sometimes, in this familiar battle 
we just need to be reminded of repulsive nature of fear. 

So, I am making my list of what I've seen fear do,
for the sole purpose
of keeping a fully repugnant taste in my mouth 
for all things fear-filled.

                                              takes away
                                                   saps energy
                                                        steals joy
                                                             erases peace
                                         creates self-doubt
          breeds mistrust
                               shifts our focus
                                                        camouflages truth

in other words...
fear lies.

And me? 
I'm pursuing truth.
I'm interested in love.
Nothing less. 
Nothing else.

There is no fear in love. 
But perfect love drives out fear...
1 John 4:18

Monday, May 6, 2013

Better Than I Planned

photo credit:

Having naturally curious children who love to ask questions 
makes reading the Bible an adventure.
And I love that.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Life According to "A Lady"

OK, I'll admit it.

I am an ever-so-slight, marginal, fringe-dwelling 
Jane Austen enthusiast.

Not the full-in, sink or swim, 
kind of enthusiast. 
But a lover of Austen nonetheless.

It's her characters I adore. 
They are relatable and real. 
They are human and alive. 
And I often find myself in their story.

Jane Austen
photo credit: Jane Austen Game

Friday, May 3, 2013

When Ice Cream Feels Great

Tonight I saw 
true joy.


You know that surprise we planned for earlier this week, 
and had to renege on?
Well, tonight we were able to follow through on the blessing.
And it was worth it.