Friday, March 27, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
For those that are participating in the study, please stick around. While the book is the catalyst for this post it is interesting how God brings things out in these posts. I hope to continue to have something for everyone and to hear your thoughts and insights.
For those who are doing the study, welcome! I can't wait to hear what you are thinking of the book and how God is moving in your heart and world right now.
For those who want to join us, hop on over to Lelia's blog and get the low down. Just hit the cute little Yes to God button on the left!
And now, as they say...on with the show!
Simply walking through the darkest time of any one's life is difficult. And reading Micca's thoughts and feeling as she became a young mother and widow was heart wrenching. Truly heart wrenching.
I read, last night, in A New Song (one of the Mitford series books) that that's what hearts are for a little wrenching once in a while. And I suppose that's true.
Right after Isabel, my daughter, was born I had awful fears at night that I would lose her. In the mornings I feared that something would happen to William and I'd lose him. The fears became almost paralyzing. Have you ever been there? Have your fears just stopped you in your tracks? And while I prayed that God would ease my fears, but I wasn't relinquishing them to Him.
Then in one of my sleepless nights I read the LIFE story of a friend of mine from church, Nancy. Nancy's teenage daughter had been killed a few years ago and she talked about what it was like to give your child back to God. That they are never really ours to begin with. And as I read, and cried, I began to let go. I began to understand. I have been blessed -- I was able to carry and hold two daughters that are placed with their families, I fell in love with a godly man (a gorgeous, godly man), and we were blessed with a daughter (and a son later). Every day I am granted with those I love is a gift and God has entrusted me their earthly care. A valuable lesson for a new mom to learn. Don't you think?
As I came into our office/study this evening to watch a movie with the kids and write my blog while my husband's Bible study meets downstairs my cell phone rang. It was my dad. And when I said hello I heard the tone of his voice. You know, that tone that says this is not a social call...something is wrong. They have rushed my aunt to the emergency room this evening. I don't feel at liberty to share her health details with you, but I can ask you to pray. As soon as I got off the phone with my dad that fear seized me.
That darn, what if question. That just throws the door to vivid imaginings that get me entangled in fear and doubt. Why do I do that?
Well, by the time I turned around to tell my husband, tears flowing, God shut the "what if" door. And I remember the passage from Micca's book that nearly took my breath away. Not nearly, it did.
"Just as a mother runs to her screaming child who is in pain, God the Father ran to me, His child." (she was crying out in pain asking why God took her husband from her)
My aunt is 3000 miles away and I cannot be there to pace the ER waiting room or to hold my Grandfather's hands as he waits for his phone to ring with answers. I won't be able to look at the doctor's face or touch Kriss's cheek to comfort her. But God will. He is. And at the same time, He touched my cheek and somewhere in my heart whispered...I am.
Whomp! The "what if" door slammed shut. What if? Then God. (anyone done the Beth Moore Esther study yet?).
Again. What if? Then God. Whatever happens, real or imagined God is there and He is in control. I'm not....and I am thankful for that.
In truth, I don't know how I would have handled tonight's dawning family crisis had I not just read this chapter. WOW! How about God's timing, huh? I only hope we don't have real world practice sessions every time I sit down to write my blog.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Oh my! I'm still sniffling from crying and it has been almost half an hour since it ended. Whew! I can tell that this show will become something we watch every week and it will becomw my weekly tear-fest. And it is so worth it ya'll.
Okay, Wendy, what's the show? I hear ya...I'm getting there, stick with me for a minute.
This ad popped up on the side of the new and "improved" Facebook the other day. (the improvement is a subject for a rant, not a blog so we'll skip that for now) Anyway, the ad was for this show The Locator. Hmm...I thought...haven't heard of it, probably not anything I'd be interested in.
Then that afternoon the ad come on whatever random channel I had on. (it said something like: Ma'am I'm here to try and reunite you with your son you placed for adoption x years ago.)
My birthmother ears perked up. Reunite. Adoption. I'm listening. I filed it in my brain...Saturday night. Watch it. Well, first, try and remember it...then watch it! LOL!
Today we had a lovely lazy Saturday around the house. I slept in (thank you to a cutie pie hubby who got up with the kiddos and the muttly). Then we watched movies, hung out, played, napped, etc. Oh I did get some seeds planted to start them indoors, but besides bathing the kids that was my sum total of productivity today. I LOVED IT! But, I digress.
At lunch time I was searching for something family friendly to watch on the kabillon channels we have -- most of which seem to play things none of us should be watching let alone the kids! And I ran across this show...there it was! The Locator.
It is a reality show that follows an investigator and his company who reunite people. The episode was about a man looking for his half-brother that his mother had placed for adoption. Hmmm...I love moments when God gives me a glimpse into the realities of adoption, other birthmothers and especially reunions! And this was no exception. While I won't share the details of the show (watch it!), I will tell you there was this moment that was silly and fun and was a gift to the reunited brothers. The "found" brother said something about their ears. The "searching" brother said, yeah I used to fold them in (kind of sticking it inside itself). The "found" brother said, "like this" and did it. There something silly that they share, that links their pasts and presents. I cried, harder. I loved it.
We watched two or three more episodes. William (my hubby) eventually sat on the couch with his arm around me, knowing my tears were going to flow freely and this show was touching me in places few things can. If you can find it on your cable (it is on the We channel) I would recommend it...can you tell?
I am a birthmother. Thank the God Lord I don't have to worry about reuniting or opening records or all the hoops others do. I chose open adoption for my girls. Yep, girls. Two of them. Fifteen months apart, same biological father. God delivered them into the hands and hearts of two wonderful families...exactly where He created them to be. And I am blessed to know and love the families.
Some other time I'll write about my adoption experiences. The surreal world of choosing a family for the child I was carrying in my belly...that's a weird one. Or the feeling of holding a child today and knowing that tomorrow she would be someone else's daughter and I would just be a faint whisper of memory. Or the million other movie-of-the-week moments that made up my adoption/placement experiences and the road I have walked from there.
But for today, let me share something else with you. I have several reasons for already loving this show (some of which my friends I hope someday to share) but the main one is this...
I have pictures of my girls. I have letters from their mothers. I even have some phone calls that still echo little voices into the recesses of my heart. But I look forward to that day...being that woman...the one they choose to seek out. What I know of my girls and what they know of me, right now, comes from other people. Our relationships are defined by the love, insecurity, protection, etc. of other people. And while it eases the aches of my heart it does not fill the holes that those young women, I hope, someday will.
You see when a child (at whatever age) chooses to seek out their birthparents they are ready not only to define the relationship but create it, live it. Whether it be mother, friend, aunt, some lady I know, whatever she chooses to know me. She chooses to hear my voice or to receive my hug or to know that we have the same nose or all of these things.
Oh how I long for that day.
To be that woman.
Even as I write now I am crying. I don't often let myself dwell on what I don't have with the girls. Since I chose adoption for them, I chose separation for all of us. And while I will never, not for one moment, regret that decision, I do carry the weight of it. My heart has two self-punched holes -- the holes that will hopefully be filled that day. But watching The Locator this evening I let myself for a moment open that door...that one that looks into a time that never was.
The time where I knew what it was to nurse them. When my arm knew the curve of rocking them to sleep. The chicken pox, Halloweens, Christmases, playing in the back yard, baking cookies, skinned knees, riding bikes and the million other moments that their mothers have with them. The ones that didn't understand I was giving up, because I had never had them. (something I only began to fathom after God blessed us with Isabel and Paxton)
And now we'll shut that door again. There's no use living in a past that didn't happen. It keeps you from living in the present you have and denying the past you were blessed with. The door to the past I lived stays forever swung open, and some of the things you can see back there:
God's hand touched my belly as I got to join Him the most creative thing He ever does -- He knit together our daughters
My family expanded exponentially as I met and fell in love with the girls' families.
I got to hold my oldeest daughter when she was 15 months old during a visit while I was pregnant with her little sister. She touched my face and nestled into my arms (that is a story my friends, I will most definitely share with you!!).
I listened to my second daughter make the connection that I was her birthmom, her "tummy mom" on the phone and then tell me she was going to play outside. And cried with her mother over the amazing moment we had just shared.
God blessed me with the words to tell my second daughter how she and her sister are so loved and that being adopted is not a "problem". I got to explain to her that they had twice as many people to love and people who had worked so hard to make sure she could be right where God wanted her to be.
Being invited to speak at presentations, workshops, breakfasts and trainings, I've been blessed to share my story and meet other women who carry the same scars and conflicted sense of pride, love and embarrassment.
Oh there's so many things down that road behind me and I will forever leave the door open to it!
God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4And how I look forward to the future. To being that woman. To that day. Until then, this week I'll look forward to the next episode of that show.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
21,900 nightly dinners
60 Christmases, tax seasons, valentine's days
two children, two years apart
two great-grandchildren (thus far)
8-tracks to records to tapes to CDs
3120 Sundays at church
3 sets of in-laws (not including the 10 siblings between the two of them)
40 baby teeth
Countless moves, late nights, business dinners, grocery runs, hugs, kisses, trips to the beach, and memories
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Well, let's continue...
Short definition for this one -- fairness, moderation; mild, gentle.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
I like that! Rest for your soul, right there in our Lord. Oh in our mad-dash world where there is always noise, information and too much to do, isn't nice to know there is a way to shut it all out?
Now let's look at it this same concept through the lens of what we are to clothe ourselves in.
Gentleness. What does that look like to you? To me, it is that mild, kind person who does not contribute to the chaos of your life, mind or day. Take it one step further and that gentleness can echo God's promised rest into other people's lives. Don't we all need that? Those friends and family members that are our soft place to fall. Folks, if we wrap ourselves in these Christ-like qualities we become that soft place for people...that soft place where God can meet them, either repeatedly or the first time!
Just like when we talked about Jesus being the embodiment of kindness you could say the same thing here. The way He treated and associated withe the outcasts, the broken, the sinners was always gentle. There is another great example of Christ exhibiting his gentleness in the Garden of Genthesmane. Judas and his mob have arrived, Jesus has been seized and swords have been drawn (oh yea, there's an ear to be healed now too). What does Jesus say? "Put your sword away...do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:52, 53) In order for the Scriptures to be fulfilled Jesus had to press on toward the cross. And in that moment He chose gentleness -- no swords, no legions of angels, no fighting, arguing or running -- just the King of Kings freeing His people.
Being the mother of two small children I am familiar with my lack of patience and my almost constant prayer for God to pour His into me. I chuckle as I think of a friend telling me that when you pray for patience God sends you circumstances to help you grown your patience. Hmmm...perhaps I should quit asking God for more? HA!
Okay, how about a definition? Patience is the quality of being patient (my freshman English teacher told me you could never use any form of the word in the definition,wonder how come the dictionary writers were never taught that?), as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like.
Did you catch that? Patience is not only not losing your temper or getting annoyed it is handling the circumstances that bring you there without complaining. Hmmm...without complaint? Another area for me to work on. There are times that I am awful, I mean awful about grumbling in my head. The woe is me tape runs over and over and allows me to tell the thin air how hard I have it! Ever have that trouble?
God describes His chosen servant.
He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. Matthew 12:19
And think of all the times He had his patience tested (and we're just talking about while He walked this earth for now) -- the disciples and their unbelief, inability to follow directions, the repeatedly hardness of their hearts (and heads!), the crowds that pressed in all sides, the people that went out and told all they had seen (when they were told not to), the sin on all sides, the constant dogging of the Pharisees...the list goes on and on. And yet, He was patient.
Friend, I don't know what your life or faith looks like in practice but I can promise you my is fraught with holes of unbelief, sin, anger, hard-heartedness and so much more. And how patient is my Father, that every morning I'm allowed to start over, that despite the potholes of my faith I may still approach the throne boldly! Whew! Boggles my mind.
Do you ever watch What Not to Wear on TLC? Well, for those who haven't let me bring you up to speed. It is a show where two fashion experts (Stacy London and Clinton Kelly) ambush an unsuspecting fashion victim with the help of friends and family. The poor nationally humiliated victim then is invited to NYC to learn how to dress themselves and a $5000 shopping spree in exchange for the continued embarrassment in surrendering their wardrobe and being torn apart in a few trips to the 360 degree mirror. At the end of the show they have a new wardrobe, new hairstyle, better make up tips and they return home a new and improved version of themselves (at least while the cameras are still on them).
Well, that was the long way around the barn to tell you I now feel like I've been on God's What Not to Wear. I've got my rules -- patience, gentleness, humility, kindness, and compassion. Stay away from clothing myself in things I don't find Christ wearing on the pages of the latest issue of the Good Book. And whether the blog cameras are rolling (or typing?) or not, I will strive to maintain my new and improved look -- because while people might not ask "Who Are You Wearing?", they will see how dressed me (and made me).
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I was visiting Rachel Olsen's blog the other day and she had a post "Fashion Q&Z with an Expert". It was a great exchange and it was lovely reading all the advice and all the various experiences/dilemmas women have. And wonders of all wonders I won a copy of the expert's book (If Clothes Could Talk by Shari Braendal) by leaving a comment! Me! I won! I never win anything (or at least it feels that way). I'm so excited to get it -- learn how to identify my body shape (I know that one...round!) and learn about styles and what would suit me.
As I was basking in the glow of my contest win I noticed the verse today on the BibleGateway.com widget.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
Clothe? Fashion? Hmmm....I see a blog post there I began to think. Don't you love it when God is talking to you?
So my friends while I look forward to receiving my copy of Shari's book let's look at some of God's "fashion advice".
Clothe yourself with...
Let's start with a definition. Compassion - a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
As I began looking for examples of Christ's compassion I discovered something. Here are a few of the verses I found, see if anything strikes you.
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed in sick. Matthew 14:14
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way. Matthew 15:32
Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:34
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Mark 1:41
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Mark 6:34
Do you see?
Jesus's compassion moves him and he does something. He doesn't just feel for the people and move on. He feels for them...He steps into their circumstances with them and acts on it - healing, teaching, feeding. Whatever needs to be done where they are right now.
That brought me to another thought...the definition above says compassion is sympathy. What is sympathy? Well according to dictionary.com it is harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another. Hmmm... What is empathy? Again, back to dictionary.com - the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
Jesus didn't empathize with people. He didn't look at their circumstances and say yeah, I know how you feel. Nope. He met them in their circumstances where they felt what they felt and then He acted on it.
Now, a little self reflection, I hate to say it but I think my "compassion" for people is often not the Christ-like compassion (remember the kinds that acts on it), but more of the empathizing kind. I see people in need, I might even try to understand, but do I get up on my couch and act on it. Sadly, no. If it involves writing a check I could be moved, but is that really compassion? I don't know.
The dictionary definition - of a good or benevolent nature or disposition, as a person; indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane.
But what is it? What does it look like?
Mother Theresa holding the hand of a young woman as she faces death, making sure the forgotten heart feels love once more. That's "epic" (as my brother would. say
Delivering groceries to a housebound neighbor. Yeah, that qualifies for sure.
What's the Bible say?
Well, here's an interesting one. There weren't exact verses that said, "Jesus was kind...", however find one where Jesus's behavior was not the embodiment of kindness.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6:35
When I first read that, I thought, wow! God wants me to be nice to my enemies. Yeah, we've heard that and, yeah, I can work on that.
But read it again...he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. That's me. Not a day goes by that I don't fall short. That I am not ungrateful...that I forget to say thank you for all my circumstances (whether I like them or not). And yet, He chooses to be my benevolent Father. If we can clothe ourselves in the same good disposition, not only to those that are easy to love but to those that get our hair up we look like our Father! We reflect our Maker.
Let's talk about one more and then we'll save the rest for tomorrow...
Oooh...here's one, huh? Okay, again, let's start with a definition just so we're speaking the same language. The quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc.
I'm excited to share with you what God revealed to me as I began to ponder this one. Track with me for a minute here.
The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:11-12
Before I gave my life to Christ this is one of those concepts that was completely foreign to me.
The greatest...the servant. Humble will be exalted. Um, okay?
And then when Christ threw open the doors of my dark and musty heart He cleaned out my ego (oh no, not completely, it still sneaks back in and causes all sorts of ruckus now and then, but the good thing I try to keep it's mail forwarded now). And then He did something even more amazing for me, He allowed me to feel and taste what it is like to give of yourself for Him. To completely and totally give to others so that they look to Him! That gives me goose bumps and makes me tear up, even now as I write.
One of my absolute favorite comedians is Brian Regan. He has a bit that he does about the "me monster". We all know this person, the one that thumps their chest and tells you all about me, me, ME! It is funny and sad at the same time...because it is soooooooooo true. And I have been that person, was that person and now again I still am that person. And you know what happens...just what it says will happen in Matthew...I am humbled. And let me tell you when God decides it is time to get your attention, to let you taste a little "humble-pie" He doesn't do it half way. Does He?
Father, I ask you right now in the midst of my writing, please continue to humble me. When my chest thumping, me monster moments occur, knock my feet out from under me. On my knees let me remember who You are and let me only point to You with my life.
After, God brought me back to my knees -- in thanks and adoration this time!! He showed me something that kept me there as I was contemplating writing.
Jesus's greatest act of humility was the cross. To step down from Heaven -- someplace so wonderful that we can't even get a description that won't blow our minds! -- and walk among us is humble. But He went all the way...He chose to die for our sins. The God of the universe...the Truth...the Light...became sin so that He could keep us, the ungrateful and the wicked.
Wow! I am still looking forward to Shari's book, but let me tell you I know I have got some major, MAJOR spiritual fashion issues. And we're only halfway through the verse. I hope that every morning I can work as hard to put these clothes on (and keep them on) as I did trying to find something cute and green this morning for St. Patty's day. Tune back in tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel and we'll sort out the rest of our fashion forward verse.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Through the encouragement of my small group I wrote a letter. A letter about forgiveness to the very person who I felt wounded me. I poured my whole heart (and lots of tears) onto the keyboard as I typed........and typed.................and typed. I listed every detail of every incident that led to radical changes in my family's life and impacted the way I perceive church, ministry and just how much I want to be (or not) in these things. With all my hurt on the screen in front of me I began to pray.
Father, you say to forgive. That's what I want. I want to set all these things down and love. Just love. I no longer want my days colored by the lens of pain that I choose to cling to. I want to be the woman you want me to be and I cannot do that until I put this away. Help me Lord. Forgive me that I have not forgiven.
(Ready to shout Amen with me?) Our God is good. As I typed the last period on that page I was able to forgive. No need to rehash moments long over. No need to point fingers or feel defensive. Forgive.
I didn't mail the letter. I didn't feel I needed to. To mail the letter was to pull the pin on an emotionally loaded grenade and launch it into some else's lap...whew I feel better!! Do you??
The lens through which I look at life has changed and I knew if for sure yesterday. I had gone to a large consignment sale nearby, hoping to find great deals satisfying the great bargain hunter inside me (ummm...I didn't but that's for another day). I had a bad morning preceded by a difficult week (again...that's for another day) and was feeling the need to be with God, to worship, to be fed. But where could I go? I was in jeans and a sweatshirt and most services were well underway.
Then it occurred to me. I could slip into our old church. They would be just finishing up worship. And I knew I wouldn't be out of place in my casual clothes...they are truly a come as you are bunch.
God pushed me into the church. Beckoning me to meet Him in the walls of a building that reminded me of home. Have you ever visited a house years after you move out? You know the rooms and remember what they felt like when you walked the halls. And while the feeling of home is comforting it hangs just behind the curtain of your memory, now you can only put your hands on the new, unfamiliar reality of this sacred place. That is how I felt. I knew many of the faces and was greeted by hugs from a few. The sermon, while a new subject, had a the feeling of a familiar winter coat -- warm, protective. However, it all felt new, strange, unaccessible in someway. I was an "outsider" who remembered the warmth of being an "insider".
God was there. I felt Him. I teared up as I sang to Him and was thrilled as the Scripture echoed His voice into my ears.
In God perfect's timing I walked out of the mire of disobedience and "unforgiveness" in time to revive my overwhelmed heart and weakened spirit!! Hooray. How cool is that? And if that wasn't gift enough, God gave me one more small gift to carry in my heart.
As I was greeting friends in the lobby after service I got a hug from someone I had never expected it from. You see, my reward for obedience to our Faithful Father was a hug that revealed forgiveness and acceptance that runs two ways! The very person my never mailed letter was addressed to was surprised to see me and moved to different place in our relationship -- a hug.
God knows just what we need, just when we need it. I took a moment to plug back in a place that I swore I would never set foot again, and look what waited for me there...love.
Friday, March 13, 2009
While I left one of my moments on Nicki's comments I promised to leave the other here so I didn't leave a novel on her comment page.
Last year, in order attend She Speaks I sent out fundraising letters in hopes of raising some (or all) of the money to be able to go. While I was blessed by friends and family and was able to attend the conference that forever altered the fabric of my faith and the journey of my life.
So, of course, when it came around to registering this year I jumped at the chance. After all, God was waiting for me there...why wouldn't I run back to see Him again this year. Not too mention all the great friends who I still keep up with online and a bit by phone.
Well, I registered and chose the fundraising option again. Within a couple of days I felt like I had made a mistake...like I wasn't meant to go this year. Last year I had been so sure that God was calling me deeper into Women's Ministry (as that is where I had been for a few years), but this year my life is very far from there. I am not in Women's Ministry anymore and I feel like God is beginning to shift my life to send me into something else. Hmmm? What to do?
Lost in a sea of my own doubt, I was floundering. And then I prayed that prayer, that one...you know the one. "God can you just give me sign or something, please." You know it, huh? How many times have you prayed it? I cannot even possibly count all the times I've cried out like that, but I never get any burning bushes or flashing road signs (have you seen Bruce Almighty?)...at least if I do get them I usually miss them.
I got an email from Samantha at Proverbs about my fundraising. The received a check with my name on it last fall and they had assumed it was for my fundraising but considering the odd timing (months after the last conference and registration for 2009 had not even begun) she was hoping I could shed some light on the situation. After some investigative work we found out that the check was indeed for my fundraising and the generous person's timing was just waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy off. Or was it?
Do you see? God used someone's delay in replying to answer my prayer for direction! Hello burning bush. Is that a flashing arrow I see on the highway?
Don't you love that!! Everyone else saw it as someone's awful bookkeeping practices...I knew it was God tapping me on the shoulder. "Go, my sweet daughter. I'll be there waiting for you."
I teared up just writing that! I know God is with me every moment of every day, but oh how I love those moments when I feel it. When I know He is speaking straight to my heart!
Don't forget to pop on over to Nicki's blog.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
At Home In Mitford by Jan Karon is a fascinating slice of small town life through the eyes of Father Tim, the rector of a small Episcopalian church in Mitford, N.C. Immediately I was swept down Main Street, feeling sure I knew some of the people and shops. And what a delight to find God's Word sprinkled on the pages of a book. I am now on the fourth book of the series, Out to Canaan, and while I don't want any plot spoilers here, I can tell you that the series is as captivating on the 47th page of the fourth book as I found it on those first couple pages.
A few years back some of my girlfriends from church were reading the Yada Yada Prayer Group series by Neta Jackson. I loved those too. Have you read those? A whole series built around women thrust together (in a prayer group) at a conference. They choose to keep their prayer group together after the conference and it is the story of their lives (and those around them). Fun books, with an honest look at life in this fallen world of ours with great friendships and women trying to remain true to the God who has brought them together.
I love books. I could write for days about the characters I've known, the far off lands I've memorized and the moments in history that I have been a witness to. As child I found a kindred spirit in Anne Shirley (of Anne of Green Gables and every book that followed in the series by LM Montgomery). I longed for her to find a home with Marilla & Matthew. I adored Gilbert Blythe and was overcome when they finally professed their love for each other. How I knew their little house near the sea like my own.
I knew every inch of Narnia -- from Cair Paravel to the land of Spare Oom to the Lone Islands. I knew the feel of Aslan's fur, the comfort and fear his breath would bring to my very soul and the sound of his voice. I sailed with Reep-i-Cheep (my Dad's favorite character to this day) and the rest of the Dawn Treader crew. I was fascinated by how a Lion's breath could make a street lamp grow in the midst of an oasis. And I waited, and waited, for my animals to talk...knowing that they too were just Narnians who had been so badly treated and forgotten over the years that they just didn't talk to us.
I sat in the snow of Poker Flat. I've struggled to keep a fish lashed to my small boat. I stood atop a barricade on a dirty, blood soaked street. I've been to giant country and tried a frobscottle. I helped put rolled up papers in place of Ramona's daddy's cigarettes...to help convince him to quit. I have played in the Secret Garden. I nearly keeled over with excitement as the cupboard was opened to reveal a real live Indian. I have flown above Neverland. I found out what happened to the Anasazi on top of the mesa. I've fallen in love with books with a fireman contracted to destroy them. I grieved over Beth's death. I rode on the Great Glass Elevator. I held my breath as Tao fought off the bears after Bodger was hurt. I laughed at the antics of a yellow lab as he took on life. I've sobbed with a birthmother reunited with her child.
How I love books, my friends...to get lost in another world with the turn of every page.
The ability to transport someone to another place and time. To write so that someone cries with you or laughs at you. Or remembers the plight of your characters years after they put the book down...that's talent. God-given talent. How I wish I had that in me!
Both of our kids love books. There have been times when we go into check on Isabel and find her asleep on more books than mattress. And Paxton has started "reading" to himself. I hope they too enjoy getting lost in the pages of a good book. Who knows...maybe someday they will read one of my books to their kids!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Friends, God is so good. (Can I get an Amen?) How many of us love the spring? Drawing in long, deep breaths after a spring rain and knowing nature gets a fresh start every year. A time to bloom, grow and speak volumes of God's love without ever saying a word. It occurred to me, that every morning is our spring. The sun rises on a new day, every day. God gives us a new chance to reach, grow and love...and erases the dirt and sin that mounded up in the winter of our humanness.
Oh! How I am delighted by all of this. I love spring. The flowers. The sunlight. The birds filling the air with song. The light and life that greets me at every turn. Tomorrow I choose to look at the day as my spring -- to look for the beauty in everyday things around me. Look for my chances to speak of God's growth and and light, by simply sparkling the way he designed me to do. Will you enjoy your spring? (even if it doesn't "feel" like spring)
Okay, so now I must share a delightful moment I got to share on Friday. Friday afternoon was delightful here, high 60's, slight breeze, blue sky...a breath of fresh air. Of course, as any house-bound stay-at-home mommy can attest to, it was time to play outside for a long, long time. And so we did. My mother-in-law came to visit in the afternoon and brought Isabel a little battery powered bubble blowing fan thingy (a treat for being a big girl and being in panties all the time during the day now). Well, the toy is fantastic. The little fan blows through 4 little round pieces (that look like the top of the traditional bubble wand) and makes tons of bubbles, some of them quite large.
The breeze whirled and swirled, sending the bubbles this way and that all around our yard and driveway. The squeals of delight from Isabel and Paxton were priceless and I'm sure there were some from me too. How lovely it was! Nothing seems to bring on smiles and laughter like bubbles on the breeze.
I'll have to keep the bubble solution stocked up for hours of playing and squealing in the warm days ahead.
You know, I wondered as I watched the kids run around and dance in the tornadoes of bubbles do we bring God such warm fuzzies? When we wrap ourselves in His love and squeal with love and delight what does He feel? Does He choke up? Or well up with emotion?
And do we get to blow bubbles in Heaven? Forever....dancing and squealing in joy as we worship at the knee of the Father who delights in us?
Friday, March 6, 2009
I'll start a list today -- we'll continue it later, of course. Let's make it an I'll show you mine if you show me yours kinda deal, okay?
- Watching someone praise God - from singing to hands raised to faces turned skyward to that glow that comes when you share God's presence in your life.
- Isabel's hugs - she'll stop in the middle of playing or doing some very important three-year-old thing and come over for a kiss and hug..."I love you mommy"
- Paxton's belly laughs - I would tickle him 24/7, if he'd let me, just to hear him laugh
- Puppy breath! The best smell in the world, I think, and I love the licking, nibbling, playing you have to endure to get there
- William's company
- When God speaks straight to your heart -- when you know in whatever you are hearing or seeing He is speaking to you!
- The smell of a spring rain
- Sand between my toes
- Talking to my grandpa on the phone (even better in person and we get to do that in just a few
- short weeks)
- Long conversations with close girlfriends
- Experiencing my kids' "ah-ha" moments with them - like when Isabel discovered this week that Wal-Mart has numbers on its signs and she knew them
That'll get us started, huh?
Thursday, March 5, 2009
So, I'm back.
Yep, I'm back writing a blog. When I stopped writing a while back I didn't think I had the time or the inclination to write everyday. But the truth is I've missed it. On top of that, God seems to be opening some doors for me and they all have writing in common...guess I need to keep the juices flowing.
When I enrolled in college at 18 I wanted to be a writer. Write the great American novel. Spill out all my musings on the pages of a book to share with the world. I wanted to be an English major. What happened? Well, I feared deadlines would kill my passion and I wasn't ready to commit to life as a writer (or anything for that matter). Sigh.
Fifteen years later I still want to write the great American novel and all sorts of things that share my story, God's grace and the joy in the everyday journey of life. And God is giving me another chance.
Last year I attended She Speaks on the Women's Ministry track. While I attend hoping to gather all sorts of incredible tools for ministry, instead I found God showed up to touch my heart and clear the clouds of Post-Partum Depression. I signed up again this year thinking that while I am without a church family or a real place to find my ministry legs, God had called me to step to the plate in Women's Ministry and I should continue to educate myself and fill up my toolbox.
God began working on me. So what's happening now. I've switched to the writer's track. Yep, I'm gonna write. Oh man! I'm gonna write?
The thought delights me and scares the daylights out of me. We're talking nervous butterflies the size of vultures in my stomach when I stop to consider what all this could mean. And I wonder if I can do it. And then I remember the truth...I can't.
But God can. And He will.
I ask you friends, pray for me. Pray for my courage to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys). Pray that I allow the vulnerability of my life and the self-inflicted scars I carry to shine through for God's glory to be cast upon the page. Pray that I hear His voice, to bring me to the ideas He wants me to write about.