Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wonderful YOU!

You are wish...
You are promise...
You are future!

Can you say that when you feel discouraged today?

I am wish. I am promise. I am future.

Try this just for today....whenever you think a negative thought, or feel upset...repeat this verse to yourself:

"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful  are your works, and my soul knows it very well."
(psalm 139:14)

You are defined by your identity in God, your maker. Nothing else...period!

You are wonderful!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Petals In The Wind

Apple blossoms flower the dining room table, and another one slips off to flurry down in the breeze. I think to myself that I need to take them outside and put them to rest. Their bloom has surely given way to a mess.

I'm drawn back to the words of a teacher I once worked with : "I never bring real flowers in the house- only artificial ones. The real ones just make too much of a mess." I remember being horrified (seriously) by the very thought of no real flowers in the house! I wasn't married yet, but I already had visions of the lovely flowers that would fill my home with beauty and lavish scent.

Now I have to laugh; you see, I still bring fresh flowers in, but they ARE A MESS! And I think Of dear Ms. Maclin's words every time I clean up a flower mess. So today, I'm sitting on the bench, trying to fix my vacuum, and it stinks. It smells like Roy, our lab. I can't imagine not having him inside with us, but no matter what we do, he just has a more "doggy" odor. And I'm thinking about all these messes that could be avoided?

And that's just it. There is a price for being real. Flowers that bestow scent and loveliness fade and die. Dogs smell and shed hair. Children change clothes, muddy floors, squeeze toothpaste all over the place, spill juice, and make all manner of messes ...

But imagine a world with no Lilac smell, no cuddly dogs breathing soft on the sheepskin rug, no little feet pitter patting towards you with  pink boots and bathing suit. Imagine a life of artificiality, where it's all fake. The house is clean: no flower messes, no dog hair to vacuum, no fingerprints to wipe....

But no life. No life, because life is messy. The passion and beauty of real living, real relationships, emotions that swell and fill come at a price- the price of being vulnerable to the pain, the discomfort, the mess. And so many times, because I don't want the mess, I choose the artificial. I sacrifice the living that runs deep for surface living that shields but doesn't penetrate, that' s safe but not overflowing- a lifeless void that does not infuse all who God is. Because He is real, and there is no substitute for the breath of a living God.

So many times we bring "artificial flowers" into our souls, because we don't want the mess of " real flowers." We choose to keep relationships shallow and flat, because we're afraid of the dying- the death of emotions, the death of loneliness, the death of self.

When I choose to love someone in a way that is authentic, I give pieces of myself away; those emotions that bloom and flower may some day be petals in the wind. But if my soul has become more beautiful through that loving, even if for just a short while, that beauty will never fade. Real relationships edify and sculpt a soul for eternity.

"I fly those flights of a fluid and swallowing soul, my course runs below the soundings of plummets."
~Walt Whitman

Monday, April 25, 2011


I have lots of books. LOTS. I guess other people have lots too, because in the book I was reading last night (one I had picked up at a book sale) this is what was written in it:

I like that idea- writing the date I finished reading a book. Unfortunately, though, I rarely read nonfiction books start to finish. I read snippets here and there as they catch my interest.

Last night I was reading The History Of The Atomic Bomb. I had cleaned out a book shelf over the weekend, and this book was in my potential "give-away" stack  (not anymore).

So there I was, on Easter night, no less, reading about the atomic bomb. And I read the most fascinating account:

In 400 BC the Greek philosopher Democritus first speculated on the existence of particles so very small that they could not become any smaller. He called these particles atoms, a combination of two Greek words meaning 'that which cannot be cut.'

More than two thousand years later Isaac Newton revived the idea. 'It seems probable to me,' Newton wrote, 'that God in the beginning formed matter in solid...particles... even so as to never wear or break in  pieces; no ordinary power being able to divide what God himself made in the first creation.' (p12)

More than two thousand years.
Two thousand years for an idea to take hold.
Two thousand years of the mind wheels spinning.
Two thousand years of cocooning, incubating, percolating.
but still breathing, still alive.

And oddly, this new insight to the discovery of  the atomic bomb infuses hope. It all makes sense.
Two thousand years. Two thousand years ago, Christ died on a cross saving me from my sins today.

Love takes long.
Love takes long, but love never fails.
That is a promise I can hold on to!

"Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears."
(1Corinthians 13:8-9)

Love is a verb. Love is an act of faith.We love the unlovable, love the impossible, love the dying, love the disfigured, love the very people in our lives that cause us the most pain. God can take that love and heal. God can take that love and restore wholeness..because...

Love never fails. never.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Her name means gracious, one who gives, or favored by God.
She cut her hair. She played. She wore her new dress. She slept. She swept.
I love this girl!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tommy's Coloring Book, Soup, and A Lovely Prayer

I'm not so fond of coloring books, but Tommy loves them! He spends hours coloring pictures...and is so proud of them. When we were at the book sale last week, he picked out a coloring book. I didn't think much of it...until I started seeing the pages scattered about the house.

"I like this coloring book! Look at all the great sayings on the pages..." I was talking to Will, and we chuckled over the quotes on the pages: sayings from Aristotle, Shakespeare, Ann Frank...

"I don't see why it matters. He can't read them, anyway, " Will said dismissively.

I think it matters. Any time we can add beauty to our lives, no matter in how small a way, it matters.


Here is a soup I made yesterday that I was pleased with. The recipe came from Health magazine. To make it even more appealing, I used wild greens in place of Spinach and the green tips of onion "grass" in place of scallions. It's called Egg Flower Soup. And here's how to make it:

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups chicken broth to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Stir in 2 cups Spinach leaves, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, and 1/2 tsp salt, allowing the spinach to wilt in the soup. Stir well until the chicken broth is swirling in circles. Slowly pour  2 beaten eggs into the soup, and continue to stir gently for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle 3 Tablespoons thinly sliced scallions onto the soup and serve hot!

A Lovely Prayer
from Rainer Maria Rilke's Book Of Hours

You see, I want a lot.

Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.

So many live on and want nothing
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments.
But what you love to see are faces
that so work and feel thirst....

You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.

Monday, April 18, 2011

In Pursuit Of Self

"From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the Lord is to be praised." ~ psalm 113:3

When I was a little girl, I was the center of my small universe. I have the distinct memory of riding home from  lake Sherando- I guess I was about four years old or so- looking out the window of the unusually quiet car, staring at the moon. Every time we turned, the moon seemed to follow us. The faster we went, the moon kept the pace.

"Mommy!," I remember excitedly whispering," The moon is following me..."
Now that I have my own children, and I know a little about the so-called psychological development of children, I realize that this "egocentric" view of the world is a "normal" stage of development in a child's life.


And, of course, we hope to pass through this self-centered phase, as remaining the center of one's own existence is certainly not the foundation of maturity. Have you ever met an adult who still thinks that life should center around him or her? We all have moments of self-god, but hopefully it's not the norm.

There is one area of our lives, however, where it would be good to see ourselves in the center, in focus. As I took my walk yesterday, the sun seemed to follow me. I was once again that child in the car, small and think that the sun follows me. It was not the arrogance of self being glorified. It was the humility, the awe of a child, that such grandeur would pursue nothingness. That though I am not worthy, He gifts me every day in innumerable abundance.

That it doesn't matter  how good I am, or what I do, or how I look. That it doesn't matter what my house looks like, or how my kids turn out, or what a mess my life is. That perfection is not the prerequisite. He pursues me because he loves me. He Loves me. Is there really anything more than this?

Every day God pours his very life out for us. Every morning we must commit ourselves to sharing in his love. Loving God isn't about being good; loving God is about becoming a receptacle of his grace by choosing Him above all else.

"Choose you this day whom ye will serve."~ Joshua 24:15

Every morning, every moment, I make that choice. Loving God isn't about me; I am only able to respond to Him, to be filled with love, because He first calls me. And when I respond to that call, when I choose to serve Him above all, I love Him in a way that completes self: self in the center, self radiating out, self widening circles that unleash His love to others.

Invitation To Love
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Come when the nights are bright with stars
Or when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars
Drops on the hay-field yellow.

Come in the twilight soft and gray,
Come in the night or come in the day,
Come, O love, whene'er you may,
And you are welcome, welcome.

You are sweet, O Love, dear Love,
You are soft as the nesting dove.
Come to my heart and bring it rest
As the bird flies home to its welcome nest.

Come when my heart is full of grief
Or when my heart is merry;
Come with the falling of the leaf
Or with the redd'ning cherry.
Come when the year's first blossom blows,
Come when the summer gleams and glows,
Come with the winter's drifting snows,
And you are welcome, welcome.