Monday, February 29, 2016

halfway there










Halfway to through Lent.

And onward!  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

my privilege

her headshot for our school's country-western themed talent show - I'm proud of this one- the pic and the girl

they sang a little diddy from Wicked

and her class did a number to Rawhide - so fun

my singer

and the athlete
"Which would you be the most embarrassed to see me riding?

a.  a unicycle
b.  a camel
c.  a killer whale"

We were playing a "Beat the Parents" card game at our favorite pizza place when this question was posed to our favorite 11-year-old.  Her answer?

d.  all of the above

Our family is teetering on the precipice of full-blown teen life and honestly, I'm kind of excited.  Comments like "oh, I'm so glad it's you and not me," or "good luck with that" make me push back with outrage with a side of understanding (because I was, after all, not the easiest teen- sorry Mom).  But man, I'm thankful for this great girl I've been given.  I ran across this article about raising teens and I was encouraged so I thought I'd share:

"Love everything about them, even the annoying stuff. Love them for their actions AND their intentions. Let them know in word and deed how much you adore them. Daily. Love their wrinkled shirts and Axe-body-spray-covered selves. Love their bad handwriting and pimpled cheeks. Love their scattered brains and long limbs. All these seemingly insignificant details are an amazing, magical process at work. It's like being witness to the miracle of a diamond mid-formation. All this imperfection is going to one day yield a responsible, serious adult. A loving husband and father. Or a wonderful wife and mother. It's a privilege to be witness to such glorious growth.
See your teenagers as a privilege, don't see them as a burden. They're more perceptive than you can imagine. How you feel about them will be no secret. So just love 'em."

So I'll try not to be too obvious when I'm riding my unicycle or my camel when I pick her up from school because good gracious, I'm excited for and proud of my baby girl who's not so baby anymore.

She is, indeed, such a privilege. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

go, mighty, refuge, love, live

This photography exercise has served to focus my heart and ground me as I go about my days.  So I thought I'd share a little about the words swirling around these images as I've pondered them. 

We 21 century Americans GO and we GO fast.  But where are we going and at what expense?  Production and creation and efficiency make me feel alive and useful, but am I GO-ing where I'm being led or am I trying to run ahead and blaze my own trail? 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not upon your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your path straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6

It seems like such a small thing to hold hands and pray, but is there anything more powerful than joining hands and coming before Creator God to honor him, thank him, and request his guidance, provision, and support? 

"So own up to your sins to one another and pray for one another.  In the end, you may be healed.  Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life."  James 5:16, The Voice translation

In times of trouble, when I feel unsafe, afraid, or sad, do I always run to my rock and my refuge like my son runs to my arms?  I should.  He is my safe place.  

"Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress." Psalm 71:3

 I was digging in dirt, pulling up last year's dead plants and replacing them with green while thinking about this word "live."  There's something about being elbow deep in soil that makes you think about Jesus' words about reaping, sowing, abiding in the vine, harvests, bearing fruit- all of it.  He wants us to truly LIVE, to bear fruit, to be a green shoot in a dark world.  Despite our circumstances, he gives us light and joy and true life. 

"The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy. I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly!" - Jesus  (John 10:10 Tree of Life translation)

"To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all."  Oscar Wilde


This one was easy and hard all at once.  What does LOVE look like?  It looks like so many different things as it is as ubiquitous as it is loaded.  We love our Saturday morning coffee and our children's freckles and our sweethearts, but LOVE in the ultimate sense looks mostly like the cross: laying down your life and self-forgetfulness to rescue another.

An image of my son's birthday party was a bit more trite than what I was aiming for, but at the same time, laying down my Friday afternoon to scramble for a paintball birthday party (incidentally, I got a mouth full of paintball) is what you do when you love your 9-year-old.  It's a small act of love, but it's love nonetheless.  And that's another thing- we can't always be rescuing orphans from slavery, but we can love whomever is right in front of us and love them well.  Like Mother Teresa said, "Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you."

"No one has greater love than this:  that he lay down his life for his friends."   John 15:13

So here's to Lent and the words that keep us focused.  I'm enjoying the looking and I'm better off for it.  Onward.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

just like the moon

It's such a great metaphor for Zeke- he's a lot like the moon- waxing and waning with seasons of retreat and renaissance. What a guy, our Z man, and how we love him!  Happy birthday sweet one!

Friday, February 12, 2016

gather, voice, look

I'm working on a 40 day Lenten photo prompt.  A word a day to prompt a thoughtful image.




"Stare.  It is the way to educate your eye and more.  Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop.  Die knowing something.  You are not here long."  Walker Evans

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord- the Maker of heaven and earth."  Psalm 121:1-2

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Year of the Snorkel

"The delay that instructs and prepares saves time, never loses it.  From it one can walk with a step of assurance and a heart of flame."  Raymond Edman

When I told one of my friends about my upcoming trip, she asked, "Oh, what year will it be this year?" alluding to my Year of the Avocado.  I told her I didn't know, but I loved the question.  I would ask God. 

And so I sat before all the light and beauty of a Mexican morning and whispered a few prayers, mostly quiet. Stopping, a sabbath.

I wasn't sure yet- everything in life seemed kind of a stew of things. Anne Morrow Lindbergh's words about oyster-bed life in her book Gift from the Sea resonates in me- this time that life at home is full with children and activity and everything is more functional than beautiful.   Steve Wien's book Beginnings points me to a need to stop and rest in God more often and with more rhythm and regularity.  And I am beginning lots of new things, this year feels like a year of beginnings.  Bible study has brought me to Ezra and rebuilding of the Temple- this year will be full of building things and starting things and again, raising up these kids of ours.  So oysters again.

But then, it's not about me is it?  Self-absorption, my own worst distraction keeps me from the wisdom of remembering that it's not my circumstances or my work or my heart or my anything- it's about the light and life of God and what He's doing in and among me and my community and the world.

Eyes on Him.

On this trip of ours, a few of us went snorkeling in the very chilly turquoise waters of Isla Mujeres.  It was my first time.  I put the mouth bit in and practiced the breathing- once my face was in the water, I was blown away.  All I could hear was my breath and all I could see was an underwater world like I had never seen it- coral swaying, zebra fish so close I could almost reach out and grab them, and barracudas.  Head above water: an ocean of choppy waves.  Head in the water: a theater of grace and beauty.

So maybe this is my year to stop looking at the waves of my circumstances.  Maybe they'll be rough, maybe they'll be smooth, but the point is to look at Beauty (My Savior whose name is Salvation) and just breathe through it.  Look at the Beauty, always look for the Beauty.

And there it is.  The Year of the Snorkel.

my first time snorkeling- did I mention I had a blast?! photo: Jack Chaney :)

always always:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


And this guy.

Just when you think you couldn't love somebody more or know someone better, you get away with them and realize you were wrong.

We found new ways to communicate about the difficult-to-sort-out things in our hearts over breakfast. We learned how to dance the salsa!  We walked on the beach and talked about all the things we've got ahead of us and how we can do life better.  We did vinyasas and chaturangas at his very first yoga class.  He made me laugh, my word he makes me laugh.  He took the middle seat on the airplane so I didn't have to and he carried my bags.

He's my person, my favorite, my one-flesh other half and I'm more in love than ever with my Three Day Sale Heartthrob.

Do whatever it takes to go out on dates and getaway with your other half every now and then.  You will not regret it.  


My friend brother Bob said it before we left for our trip:  "We're supposed to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven.  Our relationships with each other are treasures that we take with us.  By going on this trip, we're storing up treasures."

Well, he said something like that.

We've been friends for a lot of years now, this group.  We've done a lot of life together- celebrating things and praying about things and studying about things God wants us to know.  But over the course of time, some of them have moved away so our reunion of sorts was especially sweet.

A treasure indeed.

Thumbs up, Bob, for our great treasure- a gift indeed.

Amen and Ole!  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

on pioneering our paths

Morgan in action!

"Will I ever get used to it?"

My friend Lois had taken a selfie after ripping open and trying on her brand new clerical collar* and sent it to her friend Morgan.  Lois had been preparing for a long time to become ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal church and this was the question on her mind as she donned the outward signs of what was happening in her heart.  Morgan gave us an account of the conversation in her homily during Lois' ordination service. Her answer via text was something along the lines of "Oh, yes, don't worry.  You totally will,"  a friendly off the cuff answer.  But Morgan had the insight to dig deeper and give a real answer on Saturday in front of the church which I think speaks to all believers alike.

Morgan looked at Lois and in front of everybody said that the real worst and best answer to the question of getting used to this calling was actually, "No.  You never will.  And thank God."

The adventure of walking with God and serving Him is never dull and never, ever stagnant.  He constantly pushes us, stretches us, and teaches us something new with every new day, every word of scripture read, every relational struggle.  It may not always be easy and it surely won't be a comfortable journey, but it will be GOOD.  The best Journey leading to the greatest Home for the longest of Times.

So thanks for the reminder, Morgan.  And thanks for the inspiration, Lois, in your friendship and your service for these years our paths have crossed.

Here's to never getting used to the life He's called us to as His children and servants.

Amen.  And Onward!

*I'm not unsure about Episcopal terminology and this may not be correct, but you catch my drift.  I do treasure all my ecumenical friendships considering them a great gift!