Tuesday, October 29, 2013

even at night

If you have a scary dream about bugs and you can't go back to sleep, it helps to recite Psalm 23 and then repeat "The Lord is my shield" nine times- at least this was what Zeke and I came up with in the wee hours of the morning.  

"I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;    even at night my heart instructs me."Psalm 16:7

He is our shield most surely.  We will all do well to meditate on that truth by day and by sleepless night.  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Papa Simpson on the miraculous

"Do you still not understand?  Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?  Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?  How is it that you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread?  But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."  -Jesus (Matthew 16:9-11) 

We've got to understand and we must remember.  

Thankfully, Papa Simpson of Papa Simpson's Farms in Arcadia, Louisiana reminded me and Anna Grace's third grade class this week.  

Papa Simpson himself educated the kids on a wide variety of topics ranging from the merits of whole milk to germination to the digestive system of cows but most notably, he touched upon a very important reminder of the Lord and His provision. 

He had the kids plant a kernel of corn...

And then he preached a timely sermonette on the everyday miracle that is corn planted.  One kernel can yield a plant that bears ears and ears of corn- approximately 800 kernels in 16 rows- and it is the Lord that has set this common miracle into motion.  

We are to do as Jesus did- to humbly give thanks for what we have, to offer it up, and to let God do the miracle-work of multiplying it. 

Even when what we have seems so small and so very insufficient, when grateful hearts give thanks (eucharisteo!) and offer up that small thing over to the Lord (who gave it in the first place), miracles happen.

"Wilbur the pig is awesome!" -Anna Grace

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

earth below

Keep the earth below my feet
For all my sweat, my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been
Oh keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn
Oh keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn
                                           -Mumford and Sons

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

yesterday and a million years and tomorrow

 It was a day for birthday dances before breakfast, caramel apples at school, colorful tissue paper and fro yo after dinner.  And of course, what's a birthday without a little nostalgia?  Nine years of AGC has me in all out flashback mode.  I remember exactly what I was wearing- pink pants and a striped shirt- when I saw the ultrasound screen and they told me I was having a girl.  It was yesterday and a million years ago all at the same time.  It's a funny thing how having children seems to bend and twist your sense of time passing.  

In nine more years (Lord willing) she'll be preparing to fly the family coop.  I'm sure it will be both as quick as tomorrow and as long as a million years.  In the meantime, we'll be sure to soak it all in, gratefully beholding the life of our precious Anna Grace. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

spinning and swirling in youth

On Tuesday, she'll turn nine years old so we celebrated this Saturday with costume contests and apple bobbing and pin-the-nose-on-the-pumpkin and a spider toss game. 

We're soaking up every last drop of what she has called her "astroid belt of youngness."  We're still there in that starry swirl, playing games and laughing in the carefree place of childhood and it is a sweet place to be.

We are grateful indeed- friends with which to celebrate, chocolate to make it taste sweet, a church to provide a perfect venue, my mom who helped me pull it off, and the last nine years of Anna Grace.  Our cup truly runneth over. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

full of blessing

the Harper crew at Jesse's soccer game
Some of our dearest friends have six children. 

As a mother of three, I get the "Your hands are full!" thing from strangers at the grocery store and everywhere else- I can only imagine how many times my friend Korrie, mother of six, has heard it.  I have another friend with five children who posted as her FB status once, "Don't tell me my hands are full!  I freakin' know!"  (And maybe she used all caps. She's spunky, that Julia).  As you can imagine, it just gets old when that's how everyone greets you.  Of course, most of the time it's well intentioned but it's good to remember that when you see moms toting around their kids, an encouraging word might be better. 

Yes, her hands are full, but they are full of blessing and a little encouragement just might go further than you think.   

"Children are a heritage from the Lord,    offspring a reward from him."  Psalm 127:3

Friday, October 18, 2013

Morning breaking orange

Morning broke orange and purple over my Bradford pear tree this morning.  My husband, who has learned a thing or two over the years, recently told me that when he feels anxious, he looks up- skyward- and it helps.  It's true that a little perspective goes a long way.  We are so small and the Creator who paints the sky orange and purple is so big.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and whatever we're fretting about- He's all over it.  No need to fret- look up and remember Who is in control. 
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day - See more at: http://allspirit.co.uk/morning.html#sthash.tqFBmB54.dpuf
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day - See more at: http://allspirit.co.uk/morning.html#sthash.tqFBmB54.dpuf

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday's wonder and worship

I've finished Steve DeWitt's book Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything.  It was spot on and a good compliment to Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, a book I endeavored to summarize but couldn't because I kept underlining and highlighting every single page.

And then I read a children's book to the boys the other night- a paraphrase of Psalm 19 (I'm Listening, God by Elspeth Campell Murphy) and it put it this way:

"I tried to count the stars, but I lost track.  'Listen, listen,' the sky seemed to say.  'Somebody wonderful made me!'  'I'm listening,' I answered- and then I laughed, because I was listening with my eyes." 

It reminded me of Ann Voskamp's Word-lens:

"The only way to see God manifested in the world around is with the eyes of Jesus within.  God within is the One seeing God without.  God is both the object of my seeing and the subject who does the act of all real seeing, the Word lens the inner eye wears.  To sit in the theater of God and see His glory crack the dark, to open the eyes of my heart to see the fountain of His grace- thousands of gifts- I have to split heart open to more and more of Jesus.  Who can split open eyelids but Jesus?  He tears the veil to the Holy of Holies, gives me the only seeing I have.  I have been lost and now I am found and I sing it softly, before the flying of the flocks south: 'Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart...'"

And Steve DeWitt's gift and map analogy:

"Beauty is both a gift and a map.  It is a gift to be enjoyed and a map to be followed back to the source of the beauty with praise and thanksgiving." 

So today I saw these zinnas again- beauty blooming forth defying all odds in a pinch between concrete and wood- and I listen with my eyes and with my heart and wonder leads me to worship and I am undone at our beautiful God, the source of all beauty and the only beauty that endures and gives and saves even though I am so small and He is so big- even so.

Wonder to worship- it's a calling for us to rise to in our everyday-ness. 

For He is beautiful.  Here's to listening with our eyes. 

"One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple."  Psalm 27:4

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I have a friend who loves elephants, so this one's for you, my sleepless friend.  Here's hoping your getting some rest this week! 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

it's the worst

It was such a drag to have to visit my little sister in New Orleans this weekend.  Ugh.  I mean.... We don't have ANY fun when we're together.

There's nothing interesting to see and definitely no good food to eat.

There's no places to go and no good music to hear.

There's nothing worthy of a photograph.  I mean, just nothing.

The kids have a terrible time, too.

They don't get to do anything- they're just so bored.

 There are no trees to climb, no adventures to be had, no funny faces to be made.

 It's just the worst.

Except that it's not.

It's extraordinarily wonderful in every way.

What amazing fun, what a gift, what a great weekend, and how thankful I am.