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.