Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Work of Art

"I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born." Isaiah 44:2a

I saw You in Lauren's Art class this weekAs she created a collage of her three year old self-image
Cutting, placing, pasting, smoothing
I smiled at the process,
the pictures she chose,
the arrangment she made.
It was just so . . . Lauren
The teacher said "Try to paint a flower."
But Lauren had other ideas.
I saw the wheels turning . . .
"Can I make Rapunzel with the flower, Mommy?"
My smile was permission enough
As she swirled the paintbrush in deliberate, delicate strokes
I saw that familiar look again, the look of an artist.
I have that same look when I write or scrapbook or create anything from scratch.
It's like going to a different place, a thrilling yet peacful place.
I wonder if You had that same look in those seven days of creation.
I wonder if You had that same look when you sculpted her in the womb.
As her wrist sways and the colors blend,
different questions emerge in the rainbow hues:
Nature verses nurture?
How much of her is Me?
How much of her is her daddy?
How much of her is You?
How much of her is her?
No words, no scrapbooks, no brilliant portrait I would attempt to create
Could ever capture the true essence of what you've given us
Only You know the intricacies of her soul
She is truly a work of Art.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Christmas Look and Find: Where' s Jesus?

"And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7

The innovative book "Where's Waldo?" ushered in a new craze
Picture books with tiny objects buried in a cluttered haze
My daughter loves these new "look and find"s
Her little eyes hunt and gather to feed her curious mind.
Can you find Ariel in her frenzied Undersea world?
Will the mommy in the grocery store find her little girl?
Where is Elmo hiding on that busy Sesame Street?
Can you help Dora find the yellow boots for her monkey's feet?
As Christmas rapidly approaches, I tumble into another page
Buried in tinsel, candy canes, and cards up to my rib cage.
I wade through paper snowflakes, ornaments, and lights,
In the maze of commercialism, there are no silent nights,
Early bird specials, reindeer horns, jingle bells and holly,
Giant inflatable snow globes, plastics santas who look jolly,
Barbie cars, spiderman, and Cinderellas's castle,
Crinkled brows and turned-down mouths tighten with the hastle,
Carols blare, car horns honk, children whine for toys,
Somewhere in the chaos is a tiny baby boy.
Lord, help me find the manger scene, the shepherds, and Bethlehem star
Remind us again of what it was that made us who we are.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Just in Time

"Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there's life in you yet. But I wouldn't know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God's work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears - grasp it again and turn back to God. "If you pull the covers back over your head and sleep on, oblivious to God, I'll return when you least expect it, break into your life like a thief in the night." Revelation 3: 2-3

Every year, teachers wonder why we chose this profession-why we volunteered to be ignored, told off, and buried in a mountain of papers to grade, standards to use, and new policies to remember. Usually Christmas break is a good reminder, but this year, for me, it was a letter- a letter that helped me "pull down the covers" and begin again renewed! Here are some highlights:


Out of all the teachers I've encountered, you're so real. I'm pretty sure the way you are at school is the way you are at home--fun, outgoing, caring, honest . . . you're the same bright person everywhere you go, qualities found in Jesus . . . The main reason I will remember you is because Jesus dwells in your heart, and it comes across in ALL areas of your life. Man, I hope God blesses you like you bless others. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
God Bless,
P.S. Look up my life verse-Joshua 1:5"

I did:
"No one will will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."

I just love it when I learn more from my students than they do from me! Thank you Lord, for students like Josh. Thank You for all my students, even the ones that fall asleep, talk when I'm talking, and throw paper at eachother in the middle of a test. They're still your babies and I have the privilege of caring for them for a while--even if it is only ninety minutes every other day. Help me to make those ninety minutes a reflection of the love of Christ. Thanks, Josh, for the reminder to get back to work--the work of God, that is. And thanks for reminding me of the true reason for the season.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sunday School Lessons are easier when you're 5

"A kindhearted woman gains respect."
Proverbs 11:16a

When I was five, I went to Sunday School,
They said "Do what the lifeguard says at the swimming pool.
Listen to your teachers, and do as you are told,
Always listen to your parents or anyone who's old.
Be good, little girls and boys and make Jesus proud.
Don't make a fuss, and try not to be too loud.
When you get bigger, you'll need to listen to your boss,
And follow the law, watching street signs before you cross."
But then you grow up, and they tell you "no prayer in school",
You can't say "Merry Christmas" but you can say "April Fools"!
Now I sit in my boss's office for a yearly evaluation,
And he says "You just can't have success without some aggression!"
He thinks I'm too soft on them and that I care too much
But it seems to me he cares more about ID's and rules and such.
I want to be a good, little girl and smile and be polite.
But I also want to be like Jesus and stand up for what is right.
I want to be respectful and do as I am told,
But I love these kids too much to yell and scream and scold.
After all, most of them hear plenty of yelling at night.
Anger is a close companion in their world of fight or flight.
But love is something that some of them seldom get to see
And forgiveness and second chances are rare like integrity.
Lord, help me find a balance between "employee" and servant of God,
But even if I get in trouble, I will gladly face the firing squad.
When I think of all the sacrifices of the saints if old,
How Daniel, Joseph, Esther, and Paul refused to do as they were told,
I understand the gift I've been given and the opportunity
To prove my love for You like You did for me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Happy Birthday

(to the tune of the birthday song)
Happy birthday to you,
You're no longer two,
I wish you were still a baby,
But I'm happy you grew.

Monday, December 05, 2005

When "X" isn't in its spot

"Because men often feel left-handed romantically, they are incredibly sensitive to criticism or teasing. One man said flatly 'You tease me about not quite getting the candle-lit dinner right, that's it--it'll be five years before I try it again.'"-Shaunti Feldhahn, For Women Only

"Many suggest that married couples need to schedule their quality time by going on 'dates'. Then the date is ok- but somehow we're just too tired to have a great time. But the unscheduled reminiscing . . the spontaneous discussion about life . . . the conversations about our future together . . these draw us closer together." James R. Wilkes, Family By Design

There once was a sweet husband
With a lightbulb above his head!
"I'll take her out on a date!
Then she'll be happy instead!"
So he called for a babysitter.
All the arrangements were made
Until he told his wife the plan
Then all the excuses were made.
"We don't need to go to a concert!
We don't need to spend any money!
I just like being with you!
Let's do something else, honey!"
He blinked his eyes and stuttered
Befuddled by this new plan.
He thought she would be flattered
But she just complained to this poor man.
So the babysitter came
And they decided on a bookstore.
But there was no where to sit!
They didn't want to read on the floor!
So around the town they traveled
Looking for something to do.
They tried to think of something
But they always disagreed, these two!
Without ever deciding
Time was up! Their date was done!
They headed home to pay the babysitter
Without ever having any fun!
The man felt discouraged
And wanted to give up.
He cried "Maybe we're too old
For this romantic stuff!"
But the next day he kissed his wife
And told her he was sorry.
He knew you don't always see a lion
On your first safari!
So by doing the dishes and listening,
He finally won her heart.
He knows it may not work tomorrow,
But at least he has a place to start . . .

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Walking Dictionary

"So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11

"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get--only what you are expecting to give--which is everything." Katherine Hepburn

"Hubands are like fires. They go out if unattended." Zsa Zsa Gabor

Ok, so Zsa Zsa's not the greatest role model, but she has a point. I can see his flame dwindling. And after watching my parents end their 31 year marriage, I run to You for the definition of a healthy marriage. Like a scheduled checkup for someone who has just lost a friend to some unexpected disease-- I want to do things right and be prepared for anything.

Lauren is almost three now. She is like this sensory sponge--making conclusions about aspects of life from my actions. I'm her walking dictionary --along with fairy tales and her favorite disney princess movies and old musicals. She has begun to read to us now--ending each book with "happily every after. the end." But we, Cody and I, are defining "happily ever after" for her every day, every moment, even when I'm tired, even when "it's been a rough day".

But, Lord, I don't want to rebuild our love for her sake alone. I want him to be happy, to feel honored, respected, admired, fulfilled--empowered. Most of all, I want to honor You. I want the girls in my class to know the life of a Christian women is full of love, romance, joy, adventure. After all, that is Your will for all of us-- life of joy and purpose lived for You. A walking dictionary of Your love--your "happily ever after" redefined by a baby in a stable who became a man on a cross.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Unseen Earthquake

"Children expand the family but do not complete it. God joined Adam and Eve together. Marriage is God-ordained! In fact, it is well said that the strength of all other relationships in the family is dependent on the husband/wife relationship." James R. Wilkes, Family By Design

"Therefore what God has joined together, let man (or chidren) not separate." Matthew 19:6

It's the temptation every mother faces
The pedestal has a new silhouette
It used to be the outline of a man
The promise of everlasting romance
The shape of a life-long love
The shadow of a best friend turned hero,
The hope of an eternal wedding veil.
Yet somehow, unintentionally,
By the unseen earthquake of baby born,
He topples, usurped, dethrowned, cast off,
He regains his balance,
Only to find himself on the floor.
Replaced by a tiny form
Balancing delicately on a tall tower
Of wipe warmers, breast pumps,
Diapers, burp clothes, pacifiers,
Soft fleece blankets and sleepless nights.
She doesn't mean to,
But a lot of people don't mean to sin.
Forgive me, Lord, and help me
Restore Your true vision of family.
Break my heart, heal his wounds,
Take Your rightful place,
And bring us all back together.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

Thank You, Lord,
For a family divided coming together
Four generations at a table for six
For turkey stuffing and stuffing turkey
For mashed potatoes and rising rolls
For the gentle clinking of silverware
For the sound of multiple conversations
For passing the plates counterclockwise
For belts taken out a notch
For clocks that seem to slow down
For time to really look at eachother
For spoiling grandparents and
For parents who get to be kids again
For frosted windows and warm wool socks
For the long-awaited tree in the corner
For the calm before the storm of shopping
For reminding us of the reason for these holidays
For a pregnant woman on a donkey,
And the gift of hope for all of us,
Yes, even for great grandpa who forgot his hearing aid and accuses us all of mumbling.
Thank you for this Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

First Snow

"(gasp) I'm so excited mommy, It's just like Christmas!" ~ Lauren Baker

"And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven'." Matthew 18:3

I love re-living every moment with the added insight of a two year old. If she would not have been by my side this morning, I would have rolled my eyes at the coming weeks of slow-driving, windshield scraping, grey-slushed-puddle-splashing, and the monotonous countdown to the holidays. But again, Lauren brings me back to the truth of God's blessings, the joy of life, and the promise of adventure around every corner. Thank you, lord, for my walking , skipping, pony-tailed, giggling, 24 hour bible study application--yes, even when the playdoh is ground into the carpet and the car has cheerios in places I didn't even know existed. Thank you, Lord, for the gentle spirit of my little girl.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


2 Relax, everything's going to be all right; rest, everything's coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way! Jude 1: 2

The open field yawns into the line of the horizon
I could run as fast as I could, sprinting to exhaustion,
Reaching, chasing, and collapsing in the end
From the rock growing in my chest.
I know. I've tried.
But I'd never possess it, I could never hold it in my hands.
So I stand, enjoying the breeze, savoring the vista,
Though the storm clouds hover and the bares trees loom,
The sun caresses the horizon with Your promises,
Like when I push Lauren's hair from her eyes as she sleeps,
Full of wishes, love, and a whisper
the whisper of hope.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Focal Point

"Faith . . . is simply an expression of confidence in the person and character of God . . . Pursuing a God-ordained vision is an act of worship. It is a declaration of our confidence in God. It is a proclamation of how important we believe his agenda to be. And God is honored . . . God-ordained visions ultimately lead back to God. Regardless of our role, we are never the focal point of a genuine God-ordained vision. He is." Andy Stanley, Visioneering

"And the king granted them to me because the good hand of God was on me." Nehemiah 2:8

One quick word today:

Well, three-

I trust YOU.

Friday, November 04, 2005


"Success is remaining faithful to the process God has laid out for you . . . not the raise, promotion, recognition, Christian home, or wonderful children. These are simply enjoyable mile markers along the way. Success is staying faithful to the process that contributed to those things becoming a reality." Andy Stanley, Visioneering

"Men judge us by the success of our efforts. God looks at the efforts themselves."-- Charlotte Bronte (1816-55), English novelist, poet, "Jane Eyre"

As I watched my two year old princess point her toes and dip them in an imaginary stream, she sings
"What I like most about rivers is, you can't step in the same river twice. The water's always flowing, always changing."
She has painted her surroundings with her eyes, and our living room is now an ancient forest. I smiled and throw a soft pillow at her tummy. She giggles, topples, recovers and continues
"Just around the riverbend!"

The rest of the room takes on slight blurr and she seems framed in a soft light. And I know this is one of those moments-- those unexpected, odd, tiny, minute moments where You show up, Lord.
"Can I ignore that sound of distant drumming?"
You are calling me to something. I can feel it. We've been talking about this for months, years. But the vision is getting closer, more concrete, more focused. As I yearn for the success of the vision, help me to appreciate the process, the journey, the path.
"Should I choose the smoothest course, steady as a beating drum?"
I can see I have a ways to go; it doesn't look easy, God. I could never do it alone.
"Or do you still wait for me dream-giver, just around the river bend?"
I smile again, hug my little girl, and kiss her cheek. She smells like cotton candy and fresh linen. Poor Pocahontas, she just didn't know her dream-giver was with her the whole time.

2 Timothy 2
"So . . . throw yourself into this work for Christ. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. It's the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain." 2 timothy 2: 1,3,6-7

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Shout Out to Nehemiah

"Nehemiah knew what so many of us have hard time remembering: What could be and should be can't be until God is ready for it to be. So he waited."
Andy Stanley, Visioneering

Lord, help me to learn from Nehemiah
Filled with passion, a vision, and the tools,
Dealing with his burden day and night,
Yet waiting on your timing.
Chistmas eve for four months!
Praying without ceasing,
Seeking You before acting,
Patience, a constant companion.
And when the time came,
He knew what to say, do, and complete.
Lord, in these restless nights,
The uncomfortable moments in the land of in-between,
help me to learn from Nehemiah
And enjoy Christmas eve.

"When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: "O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night." Nehemiah 1:4-6a

"The king said to me, "What is it you want?" Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, "If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it." Nehemiah 2: 4-5

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Paintbrush Pressure

"Visions are born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be. Anyone who is emotionally involved--frustrated, brokenhearted, and maybe even angry--about the way things are in light of the way they believe things could be, is a candidate for vision. Visions form in the hearts of those who are dissatisfied with the status quo." Andy Stanley, Visioneering

"Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work." Jeremiah 1:5b

The canvas of my future is changing.
I stand beside the easel, alarmed by my pallette of white.
After years of perfecting this image
With the most delicate strokes, the thinest of brushes,
I stand with trembling hand, holding a wide brush dipped in white.
I take one last look at the vision of a teacher
Her head filled with dreams of changed lives
Her heart full of passion for the souls of her students
Her mouth seems to say "I can make a difference."
I touch the brush to the canvas
But pull away as if on a hot stove.
Is this really what you want, Lord?
I start from the bottom,
Leaving the eyes for last.
I look at my former reflection but can feel us drifting apart.
Perhaps we'll meet again someday.
One last stroke, and she's gone.
I take a step back and
Suddenly, the grieving ends, the fear subsides, and I remember
Sixth grade when a blank piece of paper held endless possibilities
A story of adventure, a crayon world of beauty, a mystery yet revealed.
Thank You, Lord for this new beginning.
I will follow where You lead.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Saving the City and Dealing with Dirtbags

"There's nothing glamorous or fulfilling about filling bags with dirt. But saving a city is another thing altogether. Building a dike gives meaning to the chore of filling bags with dirt. And so it is with vision." ~ Andy Stanley, Visioneering

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." 1 Cor 10:31

Lord, help me remember the vision of a wife and mother. The privilege of the role I was born to fill. The pleasure of nurturing, loving, and blessing their lives. Remind me in the laundry, the bills, dishes, time outs, whining, testing, arguing, vacuuming, toilet cleaning, shower scrubbing, dusting, socks by the couch, trash on the counter, cheerios in the car--it's all just filling bags with dirt. Remind me, I'm saving a town. I'm saving my family. I'm filling these bags so Lauren can fulfill Your purpose for her life and see the joy in her own future role of wife and mother. I fill another bag so Cody can be the man You envision him to be and carry out Your mission for his life. But mostly, I fill these bags for You. Because your the One who saved us all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Gotta Hand it to You

"You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it's a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it's only right that we give thanks." 2 Thesselonioans 1:3 (Msg)

Lord, thank you for being everywhere I am and everywhere I'm not.
For having your loving, all-knowing, sculpting hand in everything
For holding the hands of missing people on the postcards that I consider junk mail.
For peering in at me, reaching to me, touching me through the little things
Like sock-skating on the kitchen floor with Lauren, hands out for balance
Knuckle-nosed shadow puppets in flashlight stories under blanket tents
The patchwork of fall colors that canopy the commute, like hands that block out a blinding sun,
The precise blend of words a gestures Cody uses to make me laugh,
That boyish look where his index finger points to his bottom lip,
How his hand rests perfectly in the small of my back
How my hand rests on the back of his fuzzy neck
How Lauren's hand fits around my thumb and his middle finger.
How Your hand is in all of it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Mr. Incredible

"Home is the most important place for a man to be affirmed. If a man knows that his wife believes in him, he is empowered to do better in every area of his life." Shaunti Feldhahn, For Women Only

He may seem like just another red-blooded American, but no! His hidden strengths are endless. Under the guise of your typical husband and father, this man has the heart and talent of a true hero!

Able to melt his wife's heart with a single stare! (lover-vision?)
Able to wrestle the strongest of two year olds!
Able to run countless errands in a single day!
Able to balance numerous projects with just one mouse-clicking finger!
Able to edit mesmorizing effects in the blink of an eye!
Able to tame even the most viciuos of clients!
Able to withstand endless hours of nagging!
Able to love his siblings through their repeated mistakes!
Able to dream of the future while taking care of the present!
Able to stay up all night caring for a sick child!
Able to attend numerous church services in a single week!
Able to treasure the good times with his father!
Able to change even the smelliest of diapers!
Able to keep quiet during nap time, even when Notre dame is playing!
Able to clog a toilet in a single sitting!
Able to unclog a toilet with a flick of the plunger!
Able to love his wife though thick and thin (literally)!
Able to survive in a one-car household!
Able to write the most original scripts!
Able to keep the Word in his heart!
Yes, folks, it's Mr. Incredible!
Humble like Christ!
Bold like Paul!
as handsome as . . . Himself!
By night- Cody Baker, super-snoring teddy bear
By day-Mr. Incredible!

(It's a shame he had to marry that Bullhorn lady . . . the good ones are always taken!)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Bullhorn Lady

"Maybe your bullhorn is in your home where you preach so people will do what you want them to do and do things the way you want them to be done." ~Pastor Mark Waltz

(fist to mouth)"Oh, snap!" ~Me

I look at you, bullhorn guy, from a safe distance
Rolling my eyes at your angry persistence.
Did you just skip all those verses on grace?
How can you scream with that look on your face?
You warn them that they will all go to hell
If they don't listen to the "good news' you tell.
What good news? That God is coming to "get" them?
That there's some cosmic Santa Claus waiting to condemn?
Telling them all what's wrong with their lives
Advertizing their faults like a set of Ginzu knives.
But then my hand slips and I notice the cut
My teeth hiss breathing in and I realize what's what.
My day flashes back in these quick little scenes
"I told you the living room is not the place for Jeans!!!"
"Lauren, don't do that, you're making a mess!"
"Don't you know towels go on permanent press?"
"I can't believe you're late. Why didn't you call?"
"Play with your daughter instead of watching football!"
Like driving in the rain, I suddenly can't see
For the one holding the bullhorn--is me.
Forgive me, Lord, for letting the guise of perfection
Dictate my thoughts like a hidden infection.
Let love rule my home like the house on the prairie
No more Martha, I want to be Mary.

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10: 38-42

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Yo Baby's Daddy

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it - we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he's up to. 2 But friends, that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him - and in seeing him, become like him. 3 All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own. 1 John 3: 1-2 (Msg)

"Mrs. Baker! He ain't my boyfriend--he just my baby's daddy!" ~Anonymous Student

Just? You know, they leave out the part about teenage parents in your undergrad education courses. . . They don't tell you that you'll be giving parenting advice, be invitied to baby showers and be answering questions about mucus plugs to fourteen year old girls. But there is one thing, thanks to God and my parents, that I've always known- loving others. If there's one thing besides the meat of the gospel that I've taken away from going to GCC, it's compassionate love for other people. These poor kids are just doing the best they can with what they have been given--sounds familar. They are all God's babies. The man yelling in traffic, the woman that hits her toddler, the kid who sits in the back and refuses to pay attention, the bill collector who talks down to me because I can't pay what they want me to this month . . . but it's okay because I know these "babies' daddy", and I can trust in His perfect plan.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways . . . Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" Psalm 139:1-3,7 (NIV)

We took Lauren camping last night for the first time.
Daddy set up the tent while we checked out the playgrounds and potties.
We roasted hot dogs, tried the Jiffy pop thing
and my little girl tasted her first marshmallow,
or rather her first eight marshmallows
--yeah, it was hard to get her to sleep.
But after a few doll dress changes,
and some of the old favorite books by flashlight,
those little eyelids just couldn't resist.
Just the three of us, cuddled up in a tent all night.
No arguments,
no deadlines,
no phone calls,
no guessing how to make eachother stay happy--just us.
Just the four of us. Thank you, lord. Thank you for camping.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Outdoor Hideout

"17 If God hadn't been there for me, I never would have made it. 18 The minute I said, "I'm slipping, I'm falling," your love, God, took hold and held me fast. 19 When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up. 22 But God became my hideout, God was my high mountain retreat." Psalm 94: 17-19, 22 (Msg)

When the walls close in,
When I can't catch my breath,
All it takes is a door, a window,
And I come back to You.
In the wind as it snakes in and out of the trees
Like a child in a familiar playground.
I see your face in the clouds
Trace your name in the sand
Or the surface of the water and
Watch the ripples surround me.
The fragrance of fresh cut grass in the summer,
When you hooked up with some fisherman and fed the five thousand.
Burning leaves in the fall,
When you knew they were coming.
The crunch of snow and icy breath that dances
In six cold hours on the cross
And then --the spring
Especially in the spring.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Captivating Contradiction

"Practically everything that goes on in the world - wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important - has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out - but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity." 1 John 2 :16-18

"The desire to be beautiful is an ageless longing. . . Beauty is the essence of a woman . . . Yes, the world cheapens and prostitutes beauty, making it all about a perfect figure few women can attain . . . God gave Eve a beautiful form and a beautiful spirit. She expresses beauty in both. Better, she expresses beauty simply in who she is. Like God, it is her essence." John and Stasi Eldridge, Captivating, Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul

Madonna was a material girl
Shirley Temple had sausage curls
Barbie had her own shopping mall
Cinderella got to go to the ball
Mrs. Brady had an Alice at home
The China doll comes with a pocket comb
Sleeping Beauty awoke with a kiss
Even hot chocolate has a swiss miss
The Joneses have a bigger house
Mickey never gave up on Minnie mouse
Runways filled with paper dolls
Who where size zero at six feet tall
A wife just wants a little double take
For her smile to hit him like an earthquake
She used to keep him captivated
Now she's heavier and her clothes are outdated
"Am I worthy?" she wants to ask
But she's too busy completing her tasks
"Am I beautiful?" she wants to know
Can I be as thrilling as your Sportscenter show?
"Am I lovely?" to anyone at all
Even when I'm chubby and not very tall?
"Will anyone notice if I am not here?"
The lump in her throat produces a tear.
But there is One who will always pursue
A Prince waiting in the wings for the big debut
Not a horse, but a donkey he rides
There are scars on his hands and one in his side
But she cannot see that she's a treasure to find
A princess locked away . . .
in the tower of her mind.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Red-faced Excuses

"And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we'll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives. Once you're convinced that he is right and righteous, you'll recognize that all who practice righteousness are God's true children." 1 John: 2: 28-29

Feet shuffle in the piercing silence
What should I do with my hands?
"I meant to, Lord, it's just . . . "
Excuses flood my mind
Swished back and forth as I shake my head
Like the current in a small Bathtub
I sway from side to side
Not enough time
Too much to do
Everyone needed me
No one understood
Always behind
Never ahead
Who would take care of it?
Who would get it done?
Who would . . . ?
I force myself to look in His eyes
a flash of 6 hours on a cross
Traps the words, all that's left is
"Forgive Me"
A jolt--
The cool of my sheets falls down my arms
and I thank God for another day

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sand Castles and the Big Bad Wolf

"I would place all my trust in the Lord - up to a certain point. As long as things were going well, He had one hundred percent of me. It was when the tides started coming into my life that I felt I had to step in. I was a picture of my daughters, in their frantic attempt to save their castle. I would run around anxiously trying to save the walls of my life from collapsing. But in the end just like the sand castle, I couldn't save myself." Sand Castle Lives by Cathie Jo Floyd

"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work." 1 Corinthians 3:11-13

With Straw and twigs
Those first two pigs
Thought they knew
I did too
Castle of sand
So well planned
Seeking perfection
Under inspection
Then a huff and a puff
Called my bluff
Here I stand
Covered in sand
Like a bare winter tree
All there is --is me
When the dust clears
You appear
A moment bewildered
The master builder
Leads me to the rock
Mystery unlocked
Enjoy the view
of trusting You

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Yes and No

"Come close and whisper your answer.
I really need you.'' Psalm 55:2

Yes, I wanted to have a baby this year
But now I will need to wait
No, You have a different plan for me
I'm not at the mercy of fate.
Yes, I ache for another child
Like a tightened bud longs for spring.
No, I will wait like the old tree
That toughens with each growth ring.
Yes, I am grieving the tangible loss
Of my own dreams and plans.
No, I am not crushed
For I place it in Your hands.
Yes, you need my time, my thoughts
And energies elsewhere.
No, I will not mope about
and I will not despair.
Yes, I have a beautiful child
I grin for she is like no other.
No, I will not let this bring me down
I will thank you that I am her mother.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Out of Body Experience

If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teeth - we're not living what we claim. 1 John 1:6

wearied breath
heavy steps
no reason here
for diving tears
life is good
feelings should
follow suit
does not compute
husband friend
love to send
my handsome guy
winks his eye
daughter sweet
dancing feet
princess play
every day
church divine
God's design
a place to serve
count the blessings
still guessing
why feelings say
there's no way
will I surmise
why sad eyes
why tired mind
whispers blind
why loneliness
still persists
why empty thoughts
Stomach in knots
In daily grind
Lord, remind
Me of your grace
In this place
My heart knows
feelings oppose
reality skewed
I must choose

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before him." Psalm 37:7
"The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven't yet come to the end of themselves. We're still trying to give orders, and interfering with God's work in us." A.W. Tozer
"All sin , at its root, is failing to give God glory. It is loving anything else more than God. " Rick Warren

Thumb Twiddling
Toe Tapping
Knee shaking
Lip biting
Clock watching
Calendar surfing
Breath sighing
Lord, I wait for You.
Infants gently carried
At restaurant tables
Down grocery aisles
In the back rows of church
Every where I turn
Little fingers beckon
Arms ache
Heart yearns
Three months of waiting
This sunday morning
Sept. 25, one last test
If yes, wishes granted, new life, growing family,
Tears of Joy, Feeling complete,
If no, then another year of waiting,
Another year of little faces in every corner.
Lord, forgive me.
Help me to see You at every corner
At restaurant tables
In grocery aisles
In the back rows of Church
Help me to long for You like I long for a new baby
Waiting and hoping to meet You soon
Help me to look forward to the real tests
Thank you for everything you've given me
Forgive me for focusing on what I don't have
Last month, I moped and dragged for days
Not again,
Sunday morning, I will give myself one minute
60 seconds for the aching mother to cry out or celebrate
Just one minute to get back to You, to what really matters
Whatever happens this Sunday
You still reign in my life
You still shower me with blessings
You still died and rose again
You still have a plan.
Lord, forgive me.
I will try to pass the test of this test.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Peeling the Layers

“Jesus' mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.” John 19:25-27

Peeling the layers of Your Word.
Old story, new life
Hope for the masses in an intimate moment.
You just wanted your mom to be taken care of
And to have another to take care of.
You knew she needed to be needed
You knew the heart of a mother
The heart of a woman
And you met her, loved her,
Found her right were she was.
Thank you, Jesus, for meeting me, loving me,
And Finding me right where I am.

Monday, September 19, 2005


“Peace, reassurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin;
I talk of love—a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek—
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.”
C.S. Lewis

“The Lord protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me! . . . that I may walk before the lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 116: 6, 9

I've been missing my quiet time lately.
No excuses. I confess I've been lazy.
That busy lazy where you are constantly going
Constantly doing, constantly spending yourself
Just not on the things that truly matter.
And I mean "missing" it.
When I miss my quiet time . . .I feel a little "off"
- like a deflated balloon.
Sometimes, even when I am full of air,
I just float with the wind.
Tossed from one person to the next
in a crowd of familiar faces.
But other days I feel deflated
Lying on a dusty sidewalk in a burning sun
Waiting for the next kid with gum on his shoe
To trample me and take me with him.
Deep down I know I'm much more than this.
But that's what happens when I put off Your Word
Save my prayer time until the end of the day.
Lord, I'm done ballooning.
Fill me with Your word
Take me higher so I can meet you
Know You
And make you smile.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Reality T-ching

“I’ve never been one who thought the Lord should make life easy; I’ve asked him to make me strong.” Eva Bowring

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

Every year, I assign what's called a personal narrative- a true story from the life of the student. And every year, I get more angry at the devil. I can't understand how adults could do such abominable things to children. I am supposed to be grading rough drafts, looking for sentence fragments, run-ons and invisible punctuation. But, this is not lined paper with lead. These are their stories of pain, abuse, confusion, abandonment.

How can I grade their hearts?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Peanut Butter and Jelly in Galilee

"Galilee was the place where Jesus would face the most opposition to the kingdom of God. Guess where he went?" Rob Wegner

""Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." Matthew 28:10b

"So where is your Galilee? What are you doing to bring the kingdom of God to the places where you will find the most opposition?" Rob Wegner

As I sit in the teacher's loungue
Conversations stab my ears
I marvel at the dialog
Seeping from my peers.
"I have a class full of idiots!"
"Boy, that kid is dumb!"
"Thank God it's Friday!"
"I wish Christmas break would come!"
"These kids are worthless!"
"What ever happened to respect?"
"The principal wasn't even in the building
the last time I checked!"
"The parents don't teach them manners!"
"All they do is sit and stare!"
"They always have excuses!"
"And they never come prepared!"
I sit and eat my sandwich
With peanut butter and jelly
As they continue unaware
Of the ache deep within my belly.
Don't they know that "idiot"
Is someone's only child?
Don't they know that "dumb" kid
Won't ask for help because they don't smile?
Don't they know what happens
Outside the classroom walls?
Don't they know what prescious beings
Walk past them in the halls?
Don't they see the kids I see
With such innovative minds?
Don't they know God formed each one,
Every shape and kind?
Don't they know the joy there is
In touching their lives each day?
How do I tell them how they touch my life
In so many different ways?
If I choose to speak up,
They'll only turn on me.
I know because I've tried it before
So this is my Galillee.
Lord, how do I fight for the kingdom without judgement.
Can I really break through?
How do I show them love and
The unbelievable joy of knowing You?
Holy Spirit, work in me
Help me to do what's right.
Until then, I will wait on you
And just take another bite . . .

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

In and Not Of

"Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into without even thinking. Instead fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out . . Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of maturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." Romans 12:12

"Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. his purpose is far deeper; He wants us to make us like himself before He takes us to heaven. This is our great privilege, our immediate responsibility, and our ultimate destiny." Rick Warren

Messages swirl in a circus ring,
All with different songs to sing,
Easy money, the golden ticket,
Shouting crowds in lines to picket,
Just for twenty minutes a day,
You can melt that flab away.
Twelve Steps, Eight minute Abs,
Shiny ribbons wrapping the gift of gab,
Early retirement, the next quick fix,
Each pulling out of our bag of tricks,
Just add water, Simmer and Stir,
All keep spinning to paint the blur.
A frenzied dance in the theater of the absurd,
Until breaking through, a gentle voice is heard.
I catch my breath and it all becomes clear
As the voice of God keeps drawing near.
I stand in the noise, filled with His peace,
And the volume of the chaos begins to decrease.
Stay in the ring until they hear Him too.
Learning to sway but not to imbue.
A delicate balance to be in and not of,
Adding to the mix His compassion and love.
Sleeves rolled up, no fear of sticky fingers
Yet taking care of stains that might linger.
Eyes on Him, feet by their side,
Whispering the story of why He died.
Whispers are cutting, though not very loud,
Like His humble life that lived for the crowd.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Love Comes softly

"Nagging never works. You are never persuasive when you're abrasive . . . Peace always has a price tag. Sometimes it costs our pride; it ofte costs our self-centeredness." Rick Warren

"A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire." Proverbs 15:1

After a long day, the tongue hangs loosely.
Clock-ticking, mind-numbing fatigue sets in
Wearing magnifying glasses
Small becomes large
Siren pillow sings it's song
Imperfections highlighted
Infinite tasks, To do lists lengthen
In the canvas of exhaustion
Lord, grant me energy
Rose-colored glasses instead
Iron-man tongue that perseveres
Strength to see the glory, the blessings.
For love comes softly
Even at the end of a long day
Even at that time of the month
Evene when I'm hungry
Even when he's too busy to notice
Even when I just want to be taken care of
Love comes softly.

Friday, August 26, 2005

7th grade Rears It's Ugly Head

"Real community happens when people know it is safe enough to share their doubts and fears without being judged." Rick Warren

"We understand what love is when we realize that Christ gave his life for us. That means we must give our lives for other believers." 1 John 3:16b

Just when you think you're moving forward,
A wind blows
A step back to keep your balance.
Just when you think you're in control,
You see the reality of your helplessness.
Lord, you have made me into a confident woman
Who wants to serve You and glorify You in all I do.
But there are moments when time freezes and reverses--
When I go back to seventh grade--
A scared, confused little girl
In-between childhood and womanhood.
Fear of rejection, being judged, studied, evaluated.
The reality is, I'm not really that important.
It's all about You.
And Lord, if they do judge,
if they do evaluate,
if they do investigate,
let them find

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Headaches, Tummyaches, and Heartaches

"Love should be your top priority, primary objective, and greatest ambition." Rick Warren

"No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love." 1 Corintians 13:3

Today was the first day of school with the students. I used to get tummy aches from the worry. They would wake me in the middle of the night of the eve of the first day. Tossing and turning, I'd usually get between two and four hours of sleep every night before that first day. I would come to school with headaches from the lack of sleep and uncomfortable rest. This year, I slept like a baby. Actually, it was the first night all summer that I actually slept through the entire night without waking up before the alarm or the midnight check on Lauren. I was rested, refreshed, and ready to go. I was actually smiling!
However, throughout the day, I got another ache. As the students would standup to tell me their name and four things from their "Getting to Know you" sheets, I would feel a twinge, a tightening in my chest--a heartache.
Their hands searched for the right position. Their cheeks flushed with the fear of rejection. Some cracked jokes to feel accepted. Others spoke barely loud enough to understand. It was like they wanted to be invisible or sink down into the floor, the desk, anywhere they could hide. Or the opposite, they wanted to be so loud, so obnoxious, so hilarious, that no one could ever know their true fears, hopes, and questions. Don't they know You made them for a reason? Don't they know You died on the cross so they could live life in Your love, Your confidence, Your peace, Your joy? Don't they know who they are? Lord, help me show Jesus to my students. It used to be about helping them find their "voice." But now it's all about You. Afterall, you created their "voice." They won't find it anywhere else, no matter how hard they try. Give me the words, the actions, the steps. Guide me. You take it from here, Lord. I'm just along for the ride. Thanks for a new definition of those three little words I used to dread-- "Back to school."

Monday, August 22, 2005

Evidence of Change

"The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become--because He made us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be." C.S. Lewis

"You have no right to argue with your Creator. You are merely a clay pot shaped by a potter." Isaiah 45:9

God, You are so amazing! This is the first year that I have actually been excited to go back to school! Thank you for working on me and making me a new person this summer. In fact, this summer will never end for me. It's still the summer; I just happened to be teaching now. After all, I can still take Lauren for walks, to playgrounds, and play games--just after school. I can still pray in the mornings and exercise after Lauren goes to bed. i can still spend time with Cody and find little ways to show him how lucky I am to be his wife--just not between seven and four. wait, I could still e-mail love notes during passing periods! (aha!) Nothing's changed. I just get to teach for part of the day.
I used to worry so much about those first days and meeting the new kids. But You changed that. I know now that it doesn't matter if I see ankle bracelets for house arrest or get cussed out on the first day, that just means I get an opportunity to show Jesus to someone who doesn't know how unbelievably awesome He is! I missed it last spring when someone asked "Mrs. Baker, why are you so nice? why do you care so much about us?" This year, I have my answer ready. I have the best job in the whole world (for me). I get a chance to bring Jesus into a public high school. Ok, so it's "illegal." Cuff me and take me away. I'm a criminal for wanting my students to know the hope, love and peace of Jesus Christ? I'm a criminal because I don't want to see my students spend eternity in torture? The ninth grade is bad enough! (hee, hee)
Thanks again, God, for dropping this seed in the right soil. Help me to bask in Your sunlight, and never waste the rain.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Reality TV 24/7

"God enjoys watching every detail of your life, whether you are working, playing, resting, or eating. He doesn't miss a single move you make." Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life

"The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives." Psalm 37:23

I wonder if You get bored when I'm sleeping, except when I dream.
I wonder if You laugh too when Lauren says "Where's my prince?" when she misses her daddy.
I wonder if You shout when the world gets too noisy; it's awfully loud down here.
I wonder if You love Cody's eyes more than I do, since you formed them.
I wonder what You wish I'd change; I'd love to see a checklist.
I wonder what You think about when I try to decide what to wear; does it really matter?
I wonder what You feel when I overreact and don't trust You.
I wonder what You want me to do as a Christian teacher in a public school; could I get some "do's" and "dont's", please?
I wonder how You can love me the same as everyone else, and yet differently.
I wonder how You can still watch over me when I continually walk into danger.
I wonder how You can bless me, when I forget to pray, even at meals.
I wonder how You will be with each of us at the same time in heaven.
Well, I guess I'll find out when I get there. Until then, keep tuning in.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Sincerity of Worship

" . . worship must be genuine and heartfelt. It is not a matter of saying the right words; you must mean what you say. Heartless praise is not praise at all!" Rick Warren

"Man looks at the poutward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b

Lord, I have found that holding myself to this format of poetry is getting in the way of authentic communication with you. i don't want to offer you anything contrived, anything flowery, anything that isn't truly my heart. So, if you inspire a poem, I will write it. If not, I will simply talk to You, my best friend since before I was born. I just want to know you, Lord. I want to be closer. I want to let go of this stupid controlling, perfectionist nature of mine and give everything up to serve you--even my love for the power of words. Nothing compares to your power. I want to stop caring about what "I want." Lord, make me an instrument of your love to this world. Play me like a fiddle! I just hope a few people hear it and start dancing to Your tune . . .

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

On Borrowed Time

"Life on earth is just a dress rehearsal before the real production . . . We're not completely happy here because we're not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home. We were created for something much better. " Rick Warren

"God has . . .planted eternity in the human heart." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Alone in a room full of people
Lonely on a crowded bus
A stranger in the mirror
A traveler in my own home town
And all my life there was a question--
Where do I fit in?
Now I know
Why I get homesick at home.
Why "stuff" is never enough.
Why perfection is never perfect.
Why I never truly belonged.
It was all about you.
It was all about coming home.
It was all about living on borrowed time.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Camels, Cash, and Cradles

"As a camel kneels before his master to have him remove his burden, so kneel and let the master take your burden." Corrie Ten Boom

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

The genie grants three wishes
I pray the same three prayers
I seem to say the right words
And I try to "cast my cares."
But I seem to take them back again
With worry that very same day
Why do I hold on to these burdens
that I want to give away?
I long for a better prayer life
More time to meet with you
An intimate encounter
A place to escape, rebuild, renew.
I long for blessed, steady finances
Not extra cash to spend.
Just bills paid, bellies fed,
And offerings to extend.
I long for a new baby to love
My family seems incomplete
I long for another little hand on my finger
Big eyes, wide smiles, tiny feet.
These three prayers I feel each day
Tugging at my heart,
So today I let them go
For I have done my part.
Yes, I'll think of them again
My heart will hold them until
I find out from You
What truly is your will.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Words, Words, Word

"To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God's word, not the world's wisdom.You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop psychology, success notivation, or inspirational stories." Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life

"Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self." Matthew 16:25 (msg)

Emerson said you should "trust thyself"
Shakespeare "To thine ownself be true."
In Cosmo, Vogue, and even Time
We read "It's all about you!"
Dr.Phil gives great advice
Barns and Nobles has shelves and shelves
Full of endless titles promising
"You can find yourself!"
Twelve steps, Seven Habits,
21 Immutable laws,
Who Moved my Stinkin' Cheese?
And "How to Fix Your Flaws".
Doctors have framed degrees
And speakers have awards
Writer's smile from shiny back covers
But what are we moving towards?
He narrowed it down to just one book,
One Person, well, maybe three,
One simple owner's manual
From the inventors of me.
He formed my little feet
Before I took my first step
He was their the day I was born
And I will meet Him after my death.
The Hollywood voices
And the editors of magazines
Have no idea who I am
Or what life really means.
Lord, I don't want to find myself
I just want to follow You
For that is the only way I can
"To mine own self be true."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

When the Bridge Feels like a Tightrope

"You will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies." Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life

"God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it,and so provide you with a way out." 1 Corinthians 10:13

Jesus, I know you bridged the endless chasm looming between me and God
Yet, sometimes my steps toward You look foreign, awkward, odd
I know the bridge is wide and sturdy with beams of the strongest steel,
But when the wind blows, the chasm below echoes as if to appeal,
At times, my steps look more like walking the tightrope at a circus I once saw,
Arms out, shaky steps, believing in Newton's first law.
In reality I know I could break into a sprint to reach the other side,
Yet there I stand, wavering and teetering, feet together, arms reaching wide,
It feels more like a balancing act than a drive on an over pass,
When life seems to let go of the wheel but not let off the gas,
Yet even in these times I can still sense your protective peace,
Even when my arms get tired from all the elbow grease.
I will trust in the bridge and walk toward You on the other side.
For there You stand, steady and waiting, feet together, arms open wide.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Thermostat or Thermometer?

"He carries an emotional thermostat that sets the temperature around him--not a thermometer that merely responds to it." John Edmund Haggai

"Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of the Lord. Don't worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:4-7

Lord, make me a thermostat
Adjusting to the rise and fall of life
Instead of a thermometer
Who merely shows the heat of strife.
Fill me with your peace,
Confidence that you are near,
Strength to grab hold of my thoughts,
Avoiding mood changes so severe.
Lord, make me a thermostat,
Constant, stable, steady,
So when you cut through the noise
To call me, I'll be ready.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

K-mart Calamity

"Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord. " Leviticus 19:32

Strolling through K-mart at just about ten o’clock.
I bumped into a scene like a toe on cinder block.
“Hurry up, Mother.” the lady said with a sigh.
Knuckles meeting hips, with pursed lips and rolling eyes.
Around the corner staggered an elderly woman at a snail’s pace.
With wise and wearied eyes gently set in a stone life face.
“The lady at the salon said I should try this certain brand . . .”
Her cautious voice floated to me as her tender eyes scanned.
“Just get whatever’s cheapest, Mom. I don’t have time for this.”
And I wondered if this harried daughter ever stopped to reminisce.
Had the years of her own care-taking become so obsolete?
Had she erased the years this women spent holding her bicycle seat?
My spirit grieved as I saw the older woman’s eyes genuflect
As her daughter pointed to a generic brand for her mother to select.
“I also need more Depends, honey. I think their in the next aisle.”
“What? I just bought a package last week! Shouldn’t they last a while?”
As they turned the corner, my feet were suddenly filled with lead.
As my heart sent swirling, muddled images up to my head.
My anger subsided into tears and I never saw them again.
But, Lord, let me not forget the lesson I learned right there and then.
When I think of the future and possible honor of caring for my own mother,
I hope I will always treasure our friendship and how we lean on eachother.
I don’t really know the whole story, but I will pray for these women anyway.
And forgive me for K-mart prayers where I want the cheapest answer today.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Just the Tip

"We want our strength in public to be explained by what goes on in private between us and God. If we faithfully nurture what is beneath the surface of our life, people will marvel at what they see of God in us." Elizabeth George

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners seen by men . . . But when you pray, go intro your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:5-6

Above the surface,
One-seventh of an iceberg looms in the distance
While the other six-sevenths
Forms the roots under the waves
Thank you, Lord
For meeting me beneath the horizon
For flashlights under tents of sheets
The corner of the couch before sunrise
The stoplight that takes too long
The steamy silence after a long shower
Just a second of breathing space
The radio inside my head
The song inside my heart
The legroom for the soul.
Lord, let me be an iceberg
Formed by the sun You lift
And the wind You blow,
Glistening with the hidden secrets of You.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Chidren's Dictionary

And he said "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

Today: just a game to play.
Strangers: a new friend to find.
Errands: opportunities for adventure.
Walk: outdoor journey, skipping expected.
Work: ?
Morning: all done sleeping, time to play!
Night: all done playing, time to sleep.
Church: a fun place to sing songs and learn about Jesus.
Daddy: my prince.
Mommy: Daddy's big princess.
Me: Daddy's little princess.
Jesus: the King.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Rocky Places

"The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy, But since he has no root, he last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away." Matthew 13: 20-21

Lord, save me from the rocky places
When the words of sunday sermons fade into Wednesdays
When listening ears feast, leaving nothing for the heart
When your Word is held only to slip through the fingers
When I promise to change only to change the promise
When I take the knowledge and leave the practice
When I smile at mention of Your love, yet frown at the slightest trouble
When the animal of routine attacks, and I cry beside the cage
Lord, save me from the rocky places
The soil of my soul too shallow
The will of my heart much too weak
So I give it all to You
Dig deeper
Break new ground
And plant anew.
And save me from the rocky places
So that I might weather the seasons to come.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Just a Touch

Mark 5:25-34

Twelve years of blood
Unclean, cast out, cut off,
Pushing upstream
Through the crowds of Capernaum
Carrying nothing but hope, faith,
And the will to persevere.
Running from the doctors,
Too many to count,
Who took the money, only to add to my pain.
But this is not just a man.
The Messiah, Yahweh's earthly son,
The Annointed one
Just a touch of his cloak
A subtle brush of cloth across my palm
A tickle of his gown on my fingertips
And it could all be washed away.
I push, I reach, I feel it
His soft cloak upon my hand
So gently, tenderly,
Yet I feel its power.
He speaks,
"Daughter, your faith has healed you.
Go in peace."
And for the first time
I can.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Memory of Water

"But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14

" . . . he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul." Psalm 23: 2-3

"Those who believed . . . were baptized." Acts 2:41

With the turn of the nozzle
Like opening a medicine bottle
The cool, flawless, hand of liquid envelops my own.
My countenance changes entirely.
A sip of water, clear and breezy,
Travels quickly, stirring the senses.
Suddenly ready for the moments to come.
With the sound of a glittering cascade
Even the small trickle of a fountain in a store.
The fluid whisper of peace.
My breath is deeper.
With the dip of my feet in a pool,
Like silent slippers of restoration,
Invigorated by this simple act,
My entire body is cooled.
Vacations at the lake,
The gentle rocking of the waves beneath the boat,
Lying on the dock, tracing my name in the surface
Finding healing for the infection of routine.
Trips to the beach,
Seagulls sing as waves dive upon the shore,
Even the sand castles need water for strength.
The memory of water brings serenity
But one moment stands above the rest.
Just old enough to decide and understand.
Draped in a robe of white,
A man called my name,
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost
The water kissed by forehead, my lips, my chin
Like crawling into Daddy’s lap for a talk,
Or Mommy’s arms after a long day at school,
Encased in a blanket of warmth.
The water fell over my head as I took in my first breath.
Smiling faces behind the applause
My new invisible friend at my side
And I felt different,
Cleaner than a long bath after a dusty afternoon of kickball.
And that is my best memory of water.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Creation of Hope

“For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, . . . everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.” Colossians 1:16

“If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God.” Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life

You are the artist behind all water, earth, and sky
You determined what would learn to swim, crawl, walk, hop, or fly.
You formed the landscape with a graceful brush of your hand.
You direct each rippling wave that dances upon the sand.
You knew the perfect pace for the cheetah and the snail.
You measured the perfect fit for the mite and the blue whale.
You painted the open canvas of the butterfly’s wings.
You composed the lilting melody that the mockingbird sings.
You gave the frog it’s mighty leap and the horse its noble trot.
You sketched the stripe of the zebra and the leopard’s spot.
You assigned the ant and busy bee the jobs that they must do.
You engineered the ducks in a row and the pouch for the kangaroo.
You made the tulip, the daisy, the lily, and the rose.
You wind each creek along its way and tell each river where it flows.
You perfumed the world with lavender, chamomile, and summer rain.
You placed the turtle in its shell and grew the lion’s mane.
You provided the sheep with its “baa” and gave the cow it’s moo.
You orchestrated the crickets at night and the morning cock a doodle do.
You furnished the land with deserts, mountains, valleys, swamps, and fields.
You presented the seasons in all their splendor so our crops would yield.
You bestowed the giraffe’s long neck and the gorilla’s massive chest.
You allotted climates perfect for the north, south, east, and west.
You awarded the skunk its smell and the trunk to cool the elephant’s back.
You told the fish to stay in schools and the wolves to run in packs.
You are truly the grand artist of all water, earth, and sky.
Anything your creation needs, you indeed will bless and supply.
So, Lord, next time life seems to win and the world appears unfair,
I will remember your breath-taking masterpiece, and I will not despair.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Testing, Testing

"A refusal to correct is a refusal to love,
love your children by disciplining them." Proverbs 13: 24 (The Message)

"Some people regard discipline as a chore, but to me it is an order that sets me free to fly." Julie Andrews

Lord, be my guide through this period of testing and "terrific twos"
In the waiting, knowing we'll be late as she tries to tie her shoes
"No, I want to do it! Go away, I don't need your help!"
"I can do it on my own! I'm a big girl, I'll do it myself!"
She wants to run the show, be the boss, she's only two!
But I love her independence, it's just a little skewed.
But just when I seem to know what works, thinking I've taught her a lesson
She challenges us in a brand new way, leaving us with new questions.
She wants Blues Clues when it isn't on and the dress that's in the wash.
She wants the Disney Princess skirt when I give her Osh Kosh B'Gosh.
She wants to explore everything and never seems to stay by my side.
Her legs are speckled with bruises from running up the slide.
As much as I think it's cute, I get afraid she might run into danger.
After all, she'd gladly offer a hug to any approaching stranger.
As my mind swirls with this immense love and fear of her foolish choices
As I read the many discipline books by the leading modern voices
As I pull her face to look at me or put her in time out
As I watch her tears dive down her cheeks as her bottom lip juts out.
As I firmly draw the line that she continues to poke and prod
I realize how hard it must have been on You when I turned my back on You, God.
"No, I want to do it! Go away, I don't need your help!"
"I can do it on my own! I'm a big girl, I'll do it myself!
Just when You seem to know what works, thinking You taught me a lesson.
I challenge You in a brand new way, praying with stubborn questions.
Lord, now I know by testing You I was learning to be what you want me to be
Thank you Lord for this gentle reminder that my little girl is just like me.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Rockin' Raj

"Those who have an understanding will be given more, and they will have all they need." Matthew 13:12

Just when you think you have it altogther
Roller-coastin' along in the bad and fair weather,
You meet a guy like Rockin' Raj,
And you begin to realize it's all a mirage.
One man reminds you of the truth of God's glory
Simply by tellin' his own life story.
From a tribe of loincloths like you'd see on Tarzan
A little boy from India became a life-changin' man.
He was raised a Hindu with thousands of gods,
But Jesus found him despite these odds.
See when he was about twenty, walkin' the streets of Bombay,
He was feelin' pretty low, like an island cast away.
So he walked into a big temple of the Hindu
And prayed for them to come and show him what to do.
He walked to his brother's house feelin' kinda weird
That's when he cried out for help and some crazy things appeared.
His arms twisted up and his hands became like claws,
His mouth was open and dreulin' and he had a crooked jaw,
As he told and posed to illustrate, I winced in my church bench
But then he started talkin' about a thirst he couldn't quench.
He was gropin' in the darkness searchin' for some light
When he remember a bedtime story his mom told him one night.
When she was a little girl, she was told that she would die,
But that's when the missionary lady appeared by her side.
She prayed in the name of Jesus and the little girl was healed
In order to stay alive, she grew up with the story concealed.
But when she became a mother she told a bedtime story of love
To help her children dream of miracles with no nightmares to speak of.
Back in his brother's house, all twisted on the floor,
His body, mind, and soul all fightin' a fearsome war,
He began to remember the name he'd heard those years ago
He called out to Jesus and felt some peace from head to toe.
Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! he cried until he was completely free
But his brother, being Hindu, was angered and disagreed.
As Raj continued to praise, his brother smacked him hard on the face
He told him to stop this at once or he would bring the family disgrace.
As punishment for his crime, he was for a month locked in a room
But this solitary confinement only helped his faith to bloom
For a Christian had come by and slipped him the word of God
And his faith became strong enough to face a firing squad.
His brother hired a magician lady who came with oils and potions
As she began to chant and sway, he prayed with earnest devotion
"Lord, reveal your power in the blink of an eye",
That's when the magician lady screamed, saying she must leave or die!
When his month was up, he was still shouting "Jesus, Amen!"
So he was forced to say goodbye and never see his family again.
But now Raj has a new family including foreigners he once despised,
For Jesus, alive in him, has helped him see with different eyes.
As he continued his energetic story, his joy spread though the crowd
We joined him in the celebration, smiling and laughing out loud.
After hearing Raj's story, I know we'll never be the same,
Big things are suddenly little when you see what he overcame.
Jesus personified, his glory revealed in a gripping tale,
This story of one man's journey where the one true God prevailed.
Though Raj seems like the hero, he'd argue with anyone
That the real hero is Jesus, God's one and only son.
Raj will contune to tell his story to any and all that can hear
Even at the risk of his life, he will continue to persevere.
So from a tribe of loincloths like you'd see on Tarzan
That's how a little boy from India became a life-changin' man.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Prepositional Praises

“God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world.” Psalm 8:9

“We are to thank him for the little things, the big things, and everything.” Dr Steve Stephens

Outside my window
Above this sleeping city
Over the oceans
Past the horizon
In Foreign tongues
With joy they sing Your praises.
From an unknown forest
Underneath a canopy of trees
Throughout the rhythm of the wildlife
Between the dancing leaves
Amid the beauty of Your nature
At dawn they rise to You.
Inside this room I kneel
Beside this creaky bed
After a day of sprinting
Over the hurdles of time
Despite the unfinished race
To You I will give all praise.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

All my life, I struggled with this question because I constantly compared my own identity with other people’s abilities, accomplishments, and expectations. But today I realized I have somehow gradually, silently grown out of it. What freedom, what a blessing! Maybe this is why I love teaching high school and ache for my students. I am experiencing the freedom on the other side, and it’s like they have chosen to stay in their cells. I will do my job of continuing to offer them the keys to freedom. Thank you, Lord, for showing me who I am!

“Since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were meant to be.” Romans 12:5

“The words ‘I am” are potent words; be careful what you hitch them to . . . the thing you’re claiming has a way of reaching out and claiming you.” A.L. Kitselman

I am a Christ follower,
A truth swallower, a Word wallower.
I am a loving wife,
Even in the strife, having the time of my life.
I am a devoted mom,
I soothe and calm by kissing her palm.
I am a loyal friend,
On whom you can depend with a shoulder to lend.
I am a crazy teacher,
With a double feature of a modest preacher.
I am a dutiful daughter,
Like spring water, refreshing mother and father.
I am a music lover,
A singer undercover, for only God to discover.
I am a word-loving writer,
Not a flame that’s brighter, more like a pocket lighter.
I am a house keeper, light sleeper,
knowledge seeker, public speaker,
book reader, humble leader.
But I am nothing without You.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Holding Hands in the Storm

“So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19:6

“A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day.” ~ Andre Maurois

Pigtails sway as fairy tales play,
Wedding veils fray but we take it day by day.
Harsh words outspoken, a fragile heart is broken,
Love offers tokens, forgiveness unspoken.
A cautious glance, attempting romance,
An awkward slow dance brings a new chance,
When budding fruit turns rotten, He’s forgiven and forgotten,
The past misbegotten as the silk became cotton.
Par for the course is the option of divorce,
In our remorse, we will seek the true source.
I smile and nod even though it is odd.
Thank you God for revealing facades.
The media informs to give up is to conform,
But we will stay warm holding hands in the storm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Shape Sorter

“The people I have shaped for myself will broadcast my praises.” Isaiah 43:21

“You are the way you are because you were made for a specific ministry. . . He would not give you abilities, interests, talents, gifts personality, and life experiences unless He intended to use them for His glory.” Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

Today I watched my two year old playing with her toy,
That box to sort shapes I bought for her to learn from and enjoy.
I remember the first attempts she made at an earlier stage,
Trying to push these colorful pieces into the plastic cage.
I’d have to be patient watching her shove the circle into a square.
I wanted to reach out, take over, and show her what goes where.
But I knew she needed to discover the truth by trying on her own
But it was difficult to watch her strain and to hear her grunt and groan.
She didn’t know which shape would work so she tried them one by one.
Persistently she worked and pushed until her search was done.
I’ll never forget the look on her face, the emotions behind her squeal.
Her relief, the triumph, and her delight was too much conceal.
Now she still enjoys her toy, but with new confidence.
She slides each piece in quickly, using her common sense.
She can even name them now and tell me how many sides.
She’ll point them out in road signs and billboards we see outside.
As I watched her with this toy today, I had a revelation.
I knew why there were times in life when you were quiet in my frustration.
You watched me search to find my niche, waiting year after year.
And I marvel at all my failed attempts before You led me here.
You wanted to see the look on my face, the accomplishment I’d feel,
When the relief, the triumph, and my delight would be too much to conceal.
Lord, thank you for my amazing church and the team on which I serve.
I only hope this shape slipping in will bring the glory You deserve.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Take These Psalms and Call Me in the Morning

When the sun sinks below the horizon
It is time for rest, sleep, and peace
But the enemy knows my weakness
As I toss, turn, and worry.
Old news of the day, the ends won't meet.
Drowning in a sea of numbers.
Swimming in an ocean of questions, fears, needs,
Though the race of the day is done
And my body crossed the finish line,
My mind still circles the track
Sprinting to where I can't catch my breath.
Desperate in the dark, I found Your word.
Each question found an answer.
Each flickering fear was doused with hope.
I'm in trouble. I cry to God,
desperate for a answer. (120)
Why do You seem more distant in the dark?
Why are my trials so illuminated in the quiet of the night?
He won't let you stumble,
Your guardian God won't fall asleep. (121)
I've been sinking, Lord, the waves are too much,
Tired of kicking my legs to stay afloat.
We're watching and waiting, holding our breath,
awaiting your word of mercy.
Mercy, God, mercy!
We've been kicked around long enough. (123)
I know we've been here before
I know You came through in the past
If God hadn't been for us
when everyone went against us,
We would have been . . .
swept away by the flood of rage,
drowned in the torrent. (124)
I remember what it was like to be rescued
I remember the joy of solid ground
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn't believe our good fortune. (126)
It seems so far off as I continue to flail and sink
Lord, save Us, once again.
And now, God, do it again--
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest.
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing. (126)
I'm so tired, Lord, tired and angry.
We studied our crafts, we work so hard, and we still can't make it work!
It's useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your fingers to the bone.
Don't you know He enjoys giving rest to those He loves? (127)
I have been longing for another child,
When I see an infant, my lips quiver, my eyes cloud, my heart desires
But I need to know Your will.
It doesn't make sense, we can't afford it, it will add financial strain.
Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
With your quivers full of children. (127)
Maybe this is just a coincidence, we just can't afford another child right now,
Will Lauren feel slighted by a new child? Do we need an extra bedroom?
Can we afford the doctor bills? Can I deal with morning sickness again?
You worked hard and deserve all you've got coming,
Enjoy the blessing! Revel in the goodness!
The children around your table
As fresh ad promising as young olive shoots,
Stand in awe of God's Yes.
Oh, how He blesses the one who fears God! (128)
I hear You, Lord, but in the darkness of this night,
I cry out, still drowning in this sea of numbers, bills,
There just isn't enough to make it work!
Help, God--the bottom has fallen out of my life!
Master, hear my cry for help!
I pray to God--my life a prayer--
and wait for what he'll say and do.
My life's on the line before God, my Lord,
waiting and watching till morning,
waiting and watching till morning. (130)
Ok, God, I get it. I'm not alone. I just need to wait.
There are others who have been where I am and survived.
Like a baby content in its mother's arms,
my soul is baby content.
Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope.
Hope now, hope always! (131)
But something is still wrong, Lord,
I still can't sleep, my mind is still racing.
"I'm not going to sleep,
not even take time to rest,
Until I find a home for God,
a house for the strong God of Jacob." (132)
Lord, enter in, take my mind, my heart, these fears
I give them to You, the numbers, the bills, the facts.
God stands up for his people,
God holds the hands of his people. (135)
Holy Spirit, replace the fears with Your hope,
the questions with Your answers,
the doubt with Your faith,
My weakness with Your strength.
God remembered us when we were down,
His love never quits.
Rescued us from the trampling boot,
His love never quits,
Takes care of everyone in time of need,
His love never quits. (136)
Then I feel it, peace poured over me, like a warm shower in the winter
Diving into your strength, like a cool pool in the heat of summer.
The moment I called out, You stepped in;
You made my life larger with strength. (138)

My eyelids finally rest as my heart rejoices
My minds crosses the finish line as my soul gives thanks to You.
Then I said to myself, "Oh he even sees me in the dark!
At night I am immersed in the light!
It's a fact, darkness isn't darkness to You;

Night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to You. (139)

Thank You, Lord, for the gift of sleep.
Thank You, Lord, for the gift of another day to serve You.
I will take these Psalms and call You in the morning . . .

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Defining Delight

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

"Lord, if what I ask for does not please You, neither would it please me. My desires are put into Your hands to be corrected. Strike the pen through every petition that I offer that is not right. And put in whatever I have omitted, even though I might not have desired it had I considered it." Charles Spurgeon

Defining Delight

Letting go of the seat of the bike
Believing in the rider
Falling back, arms out, legs straight
Trusting in the catch
Waving goodbye on the first day of school
Depending on the teacher
Leaping from the belly of a plane
Relying on the parachute
Not calling when he is late coming home
Confident in his safe arrival
Diving off a bridge toward a raging river
Expecting the spring in the rope
Delighting myself in You
Hoping to make You smile
Praying according to Your will
Having faith that I will meet You
In my prayers today and until the end of this life on earth
I will delight in letting go, taking risks, and trusting in You.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bare-Footed Tap Dancer

“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26

“Prayer is not getting the Lord’s attention, but allowing Him to lead us in praying for what He is more ready to give than we may be to ask.” Lloyd John Ogilvie

Bare-Footed Tap Dancer

I went in search of the perfect prayer
When I found I could rest, just knowing You’re there.
I never volunteer to pray in a crowd.
I’m always afraid of saying the wrong thing aloud.
I got straight A’s in school and always had the answers
But in prayer, I feel like a bare footed tap dancer.
But in my home, on my porch, wherever I find a minute
I close my eyes, search the silence, and find You in it.
I come to You in that moment, though my faith is weak
Chasing after peace, Your face is all I seek.
Too many “give me”s, “help me”s, “bless me”s
Have kept you at a distance when I fall to my knees.
I just want to see You, breathe deep, and take You in,
You already know my life, my needs, my joys, my sins.
So I will try being quiet, just waiting for You to show,
I will choose to be quiet, give in, give up, let go.
I was looking for a formula, directions, a road map,
But then I stopped to listen and there it was--tap, tap tap, tap.