Thursday, October 29, 2015

Philosophical at Freebirds

Our cups at Freebirds:  "Life is short.  Love what you do."

We noticed it and at first, Jack balked. 

"That's a lie," he said and I knew what he meant.  My life is the rare exception- I actually get to do what I love (raise kids and take pictures) but even then it's still hard work.  Most people don't actually love crunching numbers or pushing papers or cleaning up messes, but we've all got work to do and so work we must.  If my husband did what he loved, he would manage sports teams.  But mostly, he'd be unemployed because managing sports teams just plain isn't realistic.  Our generation actually suffers from this kind of delusion- that we are so special that we are actually exempt from mediocrity.  
But it really is all in the semantics:  "LOVE what you do", not: "do what you love".  Because there is a difference.  The former is an act of the will and an attitude of thanksgiving, the latter delusional thinking.  

So whether you're trying to get children to smile for the camera or cleaning toilets or whatever, love what you do.  Because this life is short, but eternal life is long and after all, we're all in training for that life to come.  

Amen, Freebirds.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

a picture of me... and you

I love this picture.

My love for the image is most likely proportional to my love for the people in it, true.  But its deeper truth appeals to me, too.

Jack's expression is quintessential.  He is light-hearted in his typical way- jolly even.  "Take a picture of us!" he said.  His father-love and light shines in his face.   Not that I can't see the burdens he bears behind his eyes- it's only that the Spirit fruit welling up from his soul trumps them.

And Anna Grace.  On the outer edges of childhood, she shines beautiful with eyes sensitive and true. All her eleven years of life have taken her to this moment and she's eager to see what she can make of the next.   Her dad's arm assures her of her place in this world, her worth and her standing.  She is loved.

And the light.  If I had taken this same photo with my phone, the shadows would have ruined it. Instead, I told my full frame Nikon to be super sensitive to light - 1600 or 3200 ISO- and grab hold of all that light and make it shine like it is the way I see it.  Open up that aperture.  Slow down that shutter speed.  There is light there- let's see it.

Like Elisha's servant on a hilltop ("Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see" 2 Kings 6:17), I want open eyes to see reality for what it is- the truth that makes us strong and humble.

I love this picture because it opens my eyes- maybe cracks them- to my place, my identity, my worth, and my standing:  a beautiful daughter in the arms of a glad and loving Father.


Friday, October 23, 2015

beautiful and BRAVE

And celebrate we did!

Sara Bareilles belts out the soundtrack to this one because BRAVE is what I'm praying for for my AG.  She has already shown a knack for leadership and an admirable self-confidence, but in these next years, she'll be faced with a culture that lies to her about what is important and the source of her value.  I'm praying that she'll continue living out the truth of who she is:  a daughter adopted by the King of the universe, perfectly created for the life He's called her to.

So show 'em how big your brave is, baby girl!  You are a strong and beautiful girl inside and out and you have made us so proud.  Happy birthday!

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong" I Corinthians 16:13

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October's Labor Day

As I climbed in bed last night, I realized that it was 11 years ago to the day that I climbed in a hospital bed in preparation for labor with an overdue baby girl.  I remember that night really well- the t-shirt that barely fit anymore, the bags that had been packed for so long, and the giddy anticipation of it all. I had had a hunch, but I didn't really know the hurdles in front of me as I tried to get to sleep that night in Kentucky.  I didn't know how long, how very very long it would take.  I didn't know how exhausted I could be or how things wouldn't go to plan.  But all that next day and night, I labored. And labored.  And labored.  And labored some more.  Joy finally came with the next morning's 8 pound, 2 ounce bald-headed beauty at 5:00 am.

When they handed me the baby that Jack declared smelled like donuts, I had a hunch then too.  I didn't really know the hurdles of parenthood: the sleepless nights, the endless laundry, the tantrums, the grind of feeding and changing and guiding and teaching and nursing, but I came to know them well.  What I also came to know is the unfathomable love and joy that is having a girl like Anna Grace for a daughter.  My labor for her continues, even now, and what a privilege.

Some things, maybe the best things, are worthy of our blood, sweat, tears, and long days and years of hard labor.

Anna Grace is certainly one of those things.  I am so proud of the girl she is and the young woman she's becoming and I will labor on, lost in love for this sweet girl the Lord has given me to mother.

In my mind, today is Labor Day, a day to count the cost knowing that labor is good and necessary and births great things.

Tomorrow, we'll celebrate birth.  Joy comes with the morning, you know...

Monday, October 12, 2015

ReGroup 2015

Metaphors about life are a dime a dozen, but lately, for me, life has been one long marathon.  I'm plugging away daily- plodding, trodding, pushing through days of unchanging scenery and a heart that has grown just a little bit tired.  I told my friends on the first night of our weekend together in the Tennessee woods that just like that April day in 2000 when I was trying to conquer my first marathon and I hit mile 20 and wanted to give up, all I really needed was a little encouragement, a proverbial banana at the top of a hill to keep me going.  I'm still in the race and my eyes are on the prize and I have been given life (lots of it in every way), but still, some days are just hard.

And that's what groups like this are all about.  This small group of eight started meeting while the guys were in seminary in Kentucky and we haven't said goodbye to the group or our relationships or the call we feel to be there for one another, to run with each other through the marathon of life, encouraging one another with prayer and with words of life and truth and hope. 

This Monday morning, I feel electrified, invigorated, and hopeful.  I know I have miles to go, but knowing we're in it together was just the banana-hope that I needed.

Thanks be to God. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

lace up

I've recently espouced my love for an early morning. Similarly, I declare a plain old walk underrated.  

I don't mean an athletic walk- although an athletic walk has merits all its own.  I mean the kind of walk in which one saunters around the block, the kind that clears the head, the walk that is unhurried and quiet.  

For the most part, I have my dog to thank for this revelation.  Every now and then Banjo lets me know he really needs to take a lap and so we stop what we're doing and we go.  Like the habit of photography, a slow walk has a way of helping one notice the small things- everyday things missed as we whiz past in our SUV's.  And Lord knows we need to move.  Americans sit for about eight hours per day- valuing a quick walk might help us all sharpen our minds, bodies, and spirits.  

So take a break and take a walk and see what you can see.  Hear what you can hear.  Just like an early morning sunrise, a slow walk is a good gift that can reconnect you to the One who paints color in the skies. 

Lace up and go.