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.