Sunday, December 24, 2006

Guessing Games

I'm guessing this is what You were like on Christmas Eve, too!
Only You were more excited about the gift You were giving us
all the pre-planning, angels in dreams, the timing, the moment
And what a moment it was . . .

"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

Friday, December 15, 2006

the Upside Down show

her favorite channel has a new show
The Upside Down Show
Two quirky guys from Australia who
bring a new style to children's television
as I sit her and listen to her giggle
and watch the reflection in her eyes
she is lost in a place where logic is challenged
and imagination is stretched like taffy at the fair
reminding me of my own red letter upside down show
when the last shall be first
and the meek shall inherit the earth
when reaching down to the least of these brings us up to You
and in your face questions leave a buckets of stones unthrown
when "eye for an eye" becomes "turn the other cheek"
and all it takes is a mustard seed
where sheep can have minds of their own
and where a tiny grain of salt is where the real flavor begins
as we face the end of December
I'm reminded how it all began
when a king was born in a feeding trough
in the most unlikely of towns
Thank you for the hope, the crazy ideas,
the riddles, the silence, the long walks with the guys
and for pulling the rug out from under humanity
Thank you for the true gift of the Upside Down Show

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Matthew 5:17

Saturday, December 09, 2006

What a Beauty

"Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life." Psalm 23:6

I was there when she took her first breath
Her first smile, her first laugh, her first step,
Here first word, her first cry, first fever, her first sigh,
I love to reach back while driving
She knows exactly what to do
She just sweetly slips her little hand around mine
"I love you too Mommy"
Four years old . . .
reading words on her own
writing letters I can read
coloring inside the lines
playing house with Barbies
why is it so difficult
. . . when it goes so fast?
I want to swim in every moment of her little life
like staying in the bathtub until you get all pruny
I want to guide her to You
like a horse to water or a bird from a cage,
I want her to know beauty beyond Barbie and dresses and pink
I want her to know the Beauty of You.
Until then,
help me to slow the clock
play tug of war with the calendar
chase her with You
and swim in the moments until I get all pruny
What a beauty

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sarah, Pretty, and Tall

"But all of you, leaders and followers alike, are to be down to earth with each other, for - God has had it with the proud, But takes delight in just plain people." 1 Peter 5:5

little mermaid kareoke under the sea
dreaming of stages and neon marquees
backyard movies with bangs in her face
cartwheels to put a smile on his face
image shaking with his wheezing laugh
the first drop of the golden calf
daddy gone just before her teens
gunstart approval races by any means
Weary-eyes mother does her best
tries to be her bulletproof vest
but working double shifts and overtime
left her no harness and a cliff to climb
so she searched the world for a chance to belong
muddled gray fog of right and wrong
now a leap of faith became the jump of her life
no looking back like Lot's salty wife
a step at a time, the left then the right
toward even the tiniest beam of His light
if she starts to back up, we might give a little nudge
much like a volleyball expert line judge
Lord, bless her efforts to move toward You
unmask the lies she has accepted as true
Thank You for letting us be there for it all
For we love her so much, our Sarah, pretty, and tall

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fashion Police

"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

altruism was given six months to live
and I'm holding his hand, whispering wind to keep him steady,
wheezing breaths of selfish ambition
news stories shaking in his hands
tiny domes of sweat tickle his temples as we crash into one another
and the signs are everywhere you go
the eye-glaring, frown-wearing
hip-holding, brow-folding
foot-tapping, baby-slapping,
how-do-you-dare!, what-do-I-care?
life of lookin out for number one
treading in it to keep my head above the surface
in the concrete box of public education
and in this wired world that my daughter skips through
pigtails bouncing with blissfull ignorance
where everyone is Santa Claus and
danger is something in a cartoon villains's song
cynical adolescent faces smirk with bitterness
like the taste of a penny between their lips
When compassion, humility, gentleness, patience, love
all bear only one synonym
and only the strong survive
the penny taste is forming faint on my tongue
let me taste Your goodness once again
so I can swim upstream, keep altruism alive,
and clothe myself in Your qualities
even when they're going out of style.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy How-oween

"A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God . . . if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that's enough." 1 Timothy 6:6 (Msg)

for my little girl, dress up has always been an adventure
stepping out on a make believe journey
fingers pinch and knuckles turn white as
possibilities swim from the rustling cloth
her little toes curl as she steps into the role
hips sway as she wriggles into her new identity
arms slip into sleeves as if reaching for an unwrapped gift
the costume ship carries her to far off lands
with magical forests, talking trees, and songs to sing
when the outfit is complete her chin rises a bit
her walk ages to a graceful stride
the living room is a backdrop painted
as she parades to the rhythms in her character's mind
new broadway hits are written and performed on the spot
for a while, she will not even answer to her own name
But at the end of the day
she snuggles back under her animal blanket
pulls "pinky" her pink elephant under her chin
her breaths get deeper and those big eyes retire for the night
And You and I see her and love her for who she really is
a gift from You, a one of a kind character
She too will be an adventure,
as I watch her transform from my pink-cheeked little imp
to a woman who walks with You to the rhythms in her heart
thank You for these days of shoes that are too big and dresses too long
one day she will know that no princess or heroine's costume
could compare to the "rich simplicity" and being herself before You
the true Hero of all of our adventures

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Finding Your Center

"All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow thier own plants." John W. Gardner, Educational Philosopher

"Let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't . . .if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. Love from the center of who you are." Romans 12: 5-10 (Msg)

Nine weeks to resurrect a poet's dream
crisp piles of paper stapled and stacked
became moments of beauty, fantasy, and laughter
rehearsals in a bare wooden box
grew into a forest with dusk and dawn
puzzling language danced off the pages
when they stepped onto the stage
chicken wire and sticky scraps of yesterday's headlines
were sculpted into a waterfall
sewing machines, hot glue, hammers, drills
were easels for their artist eyes and hearts
regal poise crept into their walks week by week
You and I knew they were always royalty
diguised in t-shirts, jeans, sneakers, and a little self doubt
As the ultimate Director of all of us
I often wonder how we change Your countenance as they have mine
Do You sigh, laugh, wince, and grin at our antics?
Just before curtain call, Puck says he will "restore amends"
but You and I both know there is only One who can truly restore
thank You for teaching me to love them
from the center of who I am
when a mid-fall play blossomed into
a midsummer night's dream

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Heart to Heart Resuscitation

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

hey, you in the back
staring into invisible molecules of thoughts
hiding under bangs of three different colors
or smiling to hide what happened last night
hey, you in the back
thumbs poked through over sized thermal shirt
snow white rectangle lying in front of you
promising failure before the lead crunches the sheet
hey, you in the back
eyelids sinking like blankets on the laundry line
forearm pillow calling out like a siren
since the yelling kitchen stayed up past three
hey, you in the back
there's something more

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Chasing ZZZZZ's

Jeremiah 31:25
I'll refresh tired bodies; I'll restore tired souls.

heavy canvas of fatigue
weighs down the body
drowning the senses
but the head swims for the surface
a forever tilt-a-whirl of details
motion sickness while standing still?
hours pass by
thoughts fly
like a thousand bees
without a hive to call thier own
not enough time to get it all done
just keep it spinning, gninnips, spinning
three weeks since the summer left me
like a sudden death I knew was coming
my eyes long for Your word
my heart for Your voice
my mind for Your peace
and my clock to stop for a moment with You

Lord, I'm tired of being everything for everyone
when all I want to do is be me for You

Thursday, August 17, 2006

First Day, First Impressions

"It's your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season" (or school year after school year) Matthew 12:35

Policies, procedures, seating charts,
locker location, combinations, and rolling carts
welcome, welcome, to the first day of school
They sit, listen,and drown themselves in rules
First day labels from K-mart to Abercrombie
standing in lunch lines,staring like a zombie
hiding under bangs or hunting in packs
shoes scuff and scream on squeaky floor wax
copiers jam, lockers slam, BAM!
miles away from those final exams
file folders, plastic pencil holders
salmon upstream in halls, shoulder to shoulder
first impressions, lecture on the first day
never getting to what I really want to say
I have too many what's, no time for the why's
As I long to meet them behind those lost eyes
Beyond my clicking heels and jingling keys
I wish they could see
They matter to You
and they, too, will teach me.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tell Me Where

"Tell me where you're working —I love you so much—Tell me where you're tending your flocks, where you let them rest at noontime.Why should I be the one left out, outside the orbit of your tender care? " Song of Solomon 1:7

Maya knew why the caged bird sings
Emily had that fly that buzzed
Bobby Frost took the road less traveled
Uncle Walt called honest Abe his captain
Shakespeare compared her to a summer's day
Solomon said her love was better than wine
Painting this flattering portrait of a beloved
university life poured poems out like springs
calender pages turn and dull the senses
hypnotized and tongue-tied, I think I lost him
time after time, he will go his way, I'll go mine
a language I used to sleep with at night
suddenly foreign spicy food that attacks the tongue
underneath it all, there's still an adventure
in the tick tock monotony of parental duties
double homicide of lovers by mom and dad
yet the mystery still calls,
the sweet safari of his inner monologue
but I've become too impatient
to hide in the bushes and wait
to tired to chase and rise early
to travel to his side of the jungle
Lord, forgive me,
I cannot turn back time
But I can turn
Just tell me where.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Out of The Mouths of Babes . . . well, my babe, anyway.

Jesus said, "Yes, I hear them. And haven't you read in God's Word, 'From the mouths of children and babies I'll furnish a place of praise'?" Matthew 21:16

ok, God, I have this fear that when she's older, I'll forget all of the joy and wisdom You give me in this three-year-old, princess-in-training, blonde-bombshell-in-the-making kid of mine, so here . . .

As I sit with my laptop, writing scripts for church, cerebral deep in an imaginary world, she bolts out of her own Barbie world bedroom, and proudly announces "Mommy, guess what? I just prayed to Jesus that I could get that new Prince Derek doll! Can we go buy it now?

First full sentence at 16 months, trying to toddle down our green, gooey pile-littered sidewalk: "Ew, Deez ducks need diapers!"

Along those same lines, two years later, after spotting a particularly stately pile--"Shew! That duck used a lot of energy on that one!"

One morning, as she climbed into our bed holding Pinky (a pink elephant who has seen better days) and her beloved animal blanket, she said "Oh, I love you so much, Mommy. I love how you're so warm." Laying her head on my chest, she adds "you keep me warm with your heart." ( I know, it's just too much.)

On our way to a family reunion, I began listing all the people we would be meeting and explaining how we were all related, she was very quiet, until finally she interrupted and said "Mommy, um, you're talking too much" (something I would expect at thirteen, but three?)

While traveling in the car with my sister-in-law and two year old niece, Lauren was learning not to tattle as I explained. "Let Lauren take care of Lauren and Nora take care of Nora." Lauren looked down at her belly, around the car, cocked her head to the side and said "But there's only one of me!"

At 18 months, after visiting the zoo that day, I hear a loud and long roar coming from her diaper. She smiled and said "Like a lion!" (She gets that from her daddy's side.)

After brushing my teeth one morning, I leaned down to kiss her and she said "Oooh, I like your breath today, mommy. I wish I could eat it."

On the way home from church when she was two, she asked "Does Jesus live in the stars? Maybe we can get my animal blanket and my pinky (the elephant) and get on an airplane, and I'll take a nap and then when I wake up we'll be at Jesus' house!"

One of my favorites is the spontaneous smile followed by a "Mommy, you're my best friend."

Last year, a dear friend from my (Titus 2 in action) women's small group suffered a stroke. Lauren and I went over to her house to help her clean up and get organized since she was to stay in bed for a few more days. I explained to Lauren that we were going to help Deb feel better since she was sick, but not to worry because Jesus was going to make her all better soon. As I was in the kitchen doing some dishes, Lauren and Deb decided to watch some TV together. As I was cleaning up, Deb suddenly walked in with her cane. I asked her what she was doing since she wasn't supposed to be up and about yet. She said she was proving a point to my daughter. While I was doing the laundry, Lauren had leaned over and given Deb a hug and kiss and whispered "Don't worry, Deb. Jesus is fixing you and making you all better. You can get up and play with me now." She smiled and told me "Forgive me if I'm not following doctor's orders, but you're daughter gave me a higher calling . . ."

and one that I think I'll be pondering until my last breath . . .

As I leaned down to kiss her good night and tell her "sweet dreams", she said "Dont' worry, Mommy. People who love Jesus don't see monsters at night."

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Moment

"Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land." Song of Solomon 2:12

Just a moment
leaning down in purple pastell
green grass tickling her toes
golden hair blowing in Your breeze
an innocent instant
of curious complement
"purple like my dress, mommy"
I smile and Thank You for this
break in the clock-watching conundrum
Mt little girl
A summer breeze
A flower
A beautiful gift
A moment with You
in this season of singing
A Moment

Monday, July 31, 2006

Sheepish Grin

"God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction." Psalm 23:1

"Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock, gathering the lambs in his arms, Hugging them as he carries them, leading the nursing ewes to good pasture." Isaiah 40:10

"I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. " John 10 :14

"You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you're named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls." 1 Peter 2:22

As ankle bitters, we sing of
Mary and her little lamb
and black sheep and his wool
Bedtime stories tickle the imagination
with Little Bo peep and the golden fleece
we count sheep who leap
when we can't sleep
to lull us into pleasant dreams
of pastoral peace
But as sticky fingers grow
into white knuckles in driver's ed
the sheep somehow melt into
mindless followers
a sea of cottonball stupidity
when conformity is taboo
like boys in pink
and leaders somehow begin to
sport invisible Hitler mustaches
to the hormone-driven eyes
of the teenage years
and college only adds lectures
of left and right wings
trying to outflap eachother
but then
the lost sheep is found
and learns to trust the shepherd once again
a lamb at heart, you might say
that's when we step in with the flock
like a noble parade of heroes with funny hats
that's when we see the shepherd for the first time
like learning your husband of ten years
loves your eyes that disappear when you laugh too hard
and that's when we get our sheepish grin . . .
Thank You, shepherd
for bringing me back to my sheepish grin
Now, for the rest of the flock . . .

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sugar and Spice

"A girl possesses nothing but a veil and a tomb." -Saudi Arabian Proverb

"We must all work together to bing change to this earth. We must persist until every female child is welcomed as joyously as a male child." Princess Sultana Al-Saud, Princess: a True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia

1 Peter 3:7The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God's grace, you're equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don't run aground."

Once again, what I thought was interesting summer reading by the pool has brought me back to the table of worship . . .

The gift of choice
prescious curse
loving risk
in the wrong hands
evil personified
but for me
a blurry black and white blip
and three words of elation
"It's a girl"
American sweetheart of the west
Forbidden curse of the east
Laos, Cambodia, Thailand
sell their girls like trading cards
China hillsides littered with dying baby girls
Midwives in India paid cash
To snap the spines of infants girls
Saudi women imprisoned by thick black veils
in 100 degree heat
Daughters drowned in swimming pools
or locked in rooms for fifteen years
for speaking out of turn
Lord, help them
Whether they call you Allah or God,
Bless these countries
Soften the hearts of the rulers
And thank you for this one nation under God
where I can raise my daughter
as the treasured princess
You created her to be

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Make a wish . . .

"This is your life. Are you who you wanna be?" Switchfoot

"What is your life?" James 4:14b

What is it about birthdays
that gets us thinking
about the bigger picture,
the whole forest,
each dot on the timeline,
each puzzle piece,
and stepping stone.
That personal once-a-year holiday
that as an adult
seems paradoxical
no balloons
no cartoon characters
no shiny bows
no proud faces clapping over the candle smoke
often just us
alone with our thoughts
and . . . our age
For the first time this year
I just keep grinning
Like I slept with a hanger in my mouth
No, I haven't arrived
No, I've not achieved every goal
No, I've not reached perfection
But for the first time this year
I can answer the big questions
with confidence
with character
with You.
Am I who I want to be?
Yes, because I'm chasing You.
What is my life?
I squint my eyes
over the candle inferno
breath in
and make a wish
that my life will always be
an arrow
where no matter which way life spins me
I will always point to You.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Leather-bound Cup a Jo

My first job at 16
an eclectic college coffee house
where my gruff overzealous boss
gave me a double espresso
straight up
I vowed I would never taste coffee again
And I never have
to this day
though I am oddly attracted to the scent
as coffee-flavored candles
frequent my home
and coffee-serving bookstores
are frequented by me
as I watch my Starbucks groupy friends
who cannot begin their day
until styrofoam kisses their lips
I smile and think of Your word
strong this morning
but it was just what I needed
like those
freshly-brewed discoveries
in the bottom of the coffee can
where sermons rarely find them
french-roasted parables
that awaken the senses
and rouse the mind
Creamy psalms that blend
with Old testament bitterness
sprinkled with sugary red letters
the consummate concoction
to defy complacency
and jumpstart the soul
with this perfect leather-bound
cup of jo for the soul.
And I wonder how many people
miss out on the joy, peace, revelation
and love of You
because somewhere along the line
they were given a double espresso
of condemnation
that turned them away from this amazing book
meanwhile they love the aroma of You
when they embrace their children
give of themselves
and fight for justice
under the safety of P.C. morality.
I pray that someday they will
take a risk
dive in
with all their senses
and discover
what I have found to be
"the best part of waking up"

"Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost." 1 Corinthians 15:18

"They asked each other, 'Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?'" Luke 24:32

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What a Friend We Have

"God keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan." Psalm 34:15

"What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer." Hymn "What a friend we have in Jesus"

Ok, so I have a tendancy to be a whiner sometimes
You know it. I know it.
But today I just want to thank you, Lord.
Thank you for being my friend
and picking up your ears
at all my moans and groans
even when I'm just wallowing
even when I'm just sitting
in a hand-crafted, cluttered mess
as I call out to You
asking You to help me clean it up
whining about how I got there
even then
you love me
even then
you listen
and provide the comfort I don't deserve.
So, no whining today, Lord.
Just praise
For you are
all powerful
and yet still
and my friend.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On Every Side

"The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them." Joshua 21:44

Tables have turned
Refreshed and renewed
the holy spirit came like a breeze
that caresses the curtains
with perfect peace
Now that same entity
You pulled from my soul
has moved on to my husband
my beloved
my hero
my friend.
Whispering lies of failure,
Consuming, suffocating,
and wearing down his strength,
creating a muddled prison
of deadlines, sleepless nights,
and an endless marathon of measuring up
an elastic jail cell
that grows smaller everyday
Lord, help him.
Come in and attack with your perfect peace
And help me find ways
to usher in that peace
On every side.

Friday, July 07, 2006

"You Complete Me"

"He was afraid and said. "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven." Genesis 28:17

"When I died, I didn't flow through a long, dark tunnel . . . In my next moment of awareness, I was standing in heaven. . . the joyousness of the place wiped away all questions. Everything felt blissful. Perfect . . . Time had no meaning . . . As I try to explain this, my words seem weak and hardly adequate, because I have to use earthly terms to refer to unimaginable joy, excitement, warmth, and total happiness. . . Everything I experienced was like a first-class buffet for the senses. I had never felt such powerful embraces or feasted my eyes on such beauty. . . Never, even in my happiest moments, had I ever felt so fully alive. . . It was as if God had removed anything negative or worrisome from my conscousness. . . Then I heard music." Don Piper with Cecil Murphy, 90 Minutes in Heaven

"I Can Only Imagine . . . " Mercy Me

Wow, what a story
Our modern day Elijah
who caught a glimpse
of a million answers
the beauty we chase
and clumsily attempt to create
and 90 minutes of perfection,
freedom from the slavemaster of time
and the real,
honest to You,
definition of peace
a "first-class buffet
for the senses"
he says
I've always worried
that I'd feel
for the wasted energy
on the eternally insignificant
for those I love
who grieve my absence
I'd never measure up,
never fit in,
or be uncoverd
as an imposter
To even stand at the gate,
so undeserving,
so fallible,
so . . . me
But he says
You removed
"anything worrisome"
from his consciousness
I can only Imagine . . .

"Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now." 1 Corinthians 13:12

Monday, July 03, 2006

One Nation, Under ______

"Believe it or not, our founding fathers actually consulted the Bible when building the framework of this country and in the writing of the Declaration of Independence, and now we can't even hang up a picture of Jesus in a classroom." Mark Beeson (paraphrased)

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cord of our Consititution as a whale goes through a net. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams, Octover 11, 1798

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:9-10

9-11 got us out of our recliners
as we headed to dusty closets
to pull our wrinkled flags
from under old suitcases and souvenirs
to wave them once again
Yet still it became about us
lives lost became slogans on bumper stickers
so we felt better about doing nothing
and feeling a little something
My Country Tis of Thee
suffragettes left their children at home
and risked their lives
so their daughters could vote
yet we can't seem to find time
to make it to the polls
between soccer games and laundry piles
Sweet Land of Liberty
Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King
fused a country back together
with words of wisdom and a Godly dream
but our school cafeteria, our neighborhoods,
are still checkered with the past
Of Thee I Sing
the fourth has become about goofy headbands
the best patriotic T-shirts
with lines we don't believe in
oohs and ahhs at fireworks
and beer talk around the grill
Land where my Fathers died
my parents had pastors speak in their schools
but my students are allowed to skip "under God"
when pledging to the flag
And I could get fired
for teaching them the most important lesson of all
Land of the Pilgrim's Pride
As a mother, I'm a little scared, Lord
If we're not under You,
who are we under?
Let Freedom Ring

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Iceberg, Straight ahead!

"People who are struggling to make it in this world without Jesus are just trying to rearrange the chairs on the Titanic. They may think their job is important, but that ship is still goin' down!" (Paraphrased) Rev. Glenn Bone, Good Seed Ministries

"Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren't smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!" Galatians 3-4 (Msg)

My Martha Mary Spectrum
is on high alert tonight
for independence seems noble
when the cause is just
like when Martha knew
You and your boys were hungry
but Mary just sat at Your feet to worship
After all, Martha couldn't call in for delivery
And I bet those chairs
looked so pretty in that straight line
like when all the bills are paid
to do lists checked off
and everything in its place
like the same gigantic puzzle
of American mom perfection
I place together again and again each day.
Then a midweek service comes
and a spiritual alarms sounds.
Thank you for those sermons that
wake me up from autopilot
with a loud foghorn
and an "Iceberg! Straight Ahead!"
And help me see Icebergs for others
and sound the call with love.
Only You have lifeboats for every single one of us . . .

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Off the Boards

"Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding."
Matthew 6:1 (Msg)

"on the boards" was what we call it
when you cross the swaying velvet plane
from the dusty concrete wings
into a world, a story,
and a person outside yourself
for some, it was for the applause
the blank stares of admiration
or free drinks after the show
for me, it was an adventure,
a relationship, and a risk I always took
like diving into a book head first
where one night can be a belly flop
and the next a perfect 10
but each time it was real, tangible, and thrilling
the rush of an honest moment,
the freedom of living in someone else's skin
even if it was only for two acts
when each rehearsal was like a date
where you got to know this mysterious person
this ink and paper character a little better
the good, the bad, and the ugly
but you knew they'd be a friend
for you are a savior who took those words on paper
and breathed their soul to life
Much like You did for me, Lord
And now, as I begin to find my place
in bringing the power of theatre back to the church,
Help me remember to leave the theatre for the stage,
live truthfully for You, and find ways to bless others
behind the scenes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Fading Echo

"Many Times my attempts at leaving a crater of God result only in leaving a fading echo of my own voice." Mark Steele, Flashbang

"Your lives are echoing the Master's word . . . The news of your faith in God is out. We don't even say anything anymore--you're the message." I Thesselonians 1:8 (Msg)

June 21st, only Twelve days out of school
"Class" is a swear word when you hang out at the pool
Staying up and sleeping in, routine has been replaced
Work, driver's ed, social "drama" in cyber circles of myspace,
the next killer party, and searching for the perfect mate
Abercrombie ensembles framing perfect summer dates
For some, it's just surviving in a carnival of no control
Or waiting for Dad's firm knock on the door after his paroll
Sometimes I wonder, did I make dent at all?
Will a part of me be part of them for the true long haul?
When faced with a tough decision, will my face come to mind?
Reminding them to do the right thing and always to be kind?
Are they really changed for the better in any concrete way?
Did I leave a mark on their lives in the minutia of everyday?
Did they know my smiles and furrowed brows were messages of truth?
That I just wanted to love them and teach them not waste their youth?
Do they love their families better? Do they reach out to their friends more?
Did they stop asking why's to dream of what they're hoping for?
Do they stand a little taller in the world of fight or flight?
In a world of darkness, did I shed a little light?
Most of all, when all is said on done, did they see a little of You?
Did I make them question what they thought they knew was true?
Lord, I pray that they'll forget me in the next decade
But that Your lasting, loving voice will be an echo that never fades.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Beholder

"Beauty is not only a terrible thing, but also a mysterious thing. There God and the devil strive for mastery, and the battle is for the human heart."
Fyodor Dostoevsky

"God's works are so great, worth a lifetime of study—endless enjoyment! Splendor and beauty mark his craft." Psalm 11:1

Our dangling carrots are all the same

whether beauty is seen in the chrome of a motorcycle

or the cracked wood of a hand-crafted antique

in the artist's brush or the guitar strum

in a magazine cover girl or an infant's outstretched hand

in a poet's voice or the click of a camera

in a field of flowers or the shiny city scape

we all race to capture beauty

to hold it

to be it

for someone

And all the while

we don't know

we're really chasing You.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

That Darn Cat

"God tells us it's okay to be ordinary. When He puts His "extra" with your "ordinary", you produce extraordinary things." Bishop Kenneth Ulmer

"Obsession with self in the little things is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious free life." Romans 8:6 (Msg)

Like, Alice, I grew up in a perpetual land of elastic dreams
where 99% was a failing grade
and just a few more pounds could tip the scales forever
Where my steps were matched by this
head-bouncing, snicker-scheming, tiptoeing Cheshire cat
whose grin whispered the oozing disease of perfection,
where the stage was the only place he could not follow
because I got to be everyone but myself.
Until a new character was introduced
though I'd known Him all my life.
Until a bedtime story and a book for Sundays
became a moment of truth and a manual for joy.
This man, like scented soap for the soul,
like a loving body guard, picked up the cat by the tail
swung him in circles like a lasso
and flung that darn cat into the great beyond. THWONK!
Though I can still hear his snicker from time to time,
I've learned to stop chasing that little white rabbit.

Friday, June 09, 2006

(sing) School's Out for Summah . . .

"God doesn't play dice." Albert Einstein

"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." Jeremiah 29:11 (Msg)

One hundred and twenty nine precious gifts
fell into my life this year
and what a ride it's been . . .
from pencils in the eye to juice bags stuffed in cargo pants,
from children's books in circle time to scary stories by flashlight,
From silent typewriter to the semester review “extravagameza”
from skirts up too high to jeans saggin' low,
from needing attention to paying attention,
they've challenged me, confused me, worried me,
entertained me, and brightened my life
sort of like I got to see the sneak preview
of the next big blockbuster hit
before anyone even knows it's coming
but now the part I have played is over
and I give them all to You, God.
At least I know they're in good hands . . .

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Gift of a Metaphor

"Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor—since they're already "one" in marriage." Ephesians 5:25-28 (Msg)

For some, it's flowers. Others-jewelry. But for me it's the gift of a metaphor . . .

Thank You Lord, for the blessing of my husband who gave me this unexpected present of humor and love all wrapped up in this random little metaphorical e-mail in the middle of my afternoon.

"Dear Kristin,

I’m realizing that it’s a mistake for me to perceive our marriage as a ‘done deal’; something that happened a long time ago, and now it’s simply a utility easily taken for granted. You are soooo much more important to me than that.

You are like the dynamic tides of the ocean.
Beautiful, magnificent, powerful, and
the vital key to the my entire world’s rotation
your waves are soft and soothing, elegant and artful,
the joy of my day, and the peace of my night. ....

Suddenly your waves turn
to crashing thunderous mountains of malice!
The skies turn black, the winds tear at the sails!
“Batten down the hatches!”
yells Cody, the weathered sea captain.....
BOOOM! “What did I do wrong?”
BOOOOM! “I thought I had this ocean charted!”
BOOOOM! “I thought I knew how to navigate her!”

Then the sea captain
makes the worse mistake possible
during such an ocean storm...
“I know!” he yells, “I’ll steer straight at the storm!
I’ll fight it with all I got, till my dying breath!
(*cue the Perfect Storm soundtrack)
—one last giant wave,
destined to topple anything in it’s path
—the sea captain climbing the wave, steering right into it
with all his ignorant vengeance and fury.
“Oh, yeah! Take THAT! You mean ol’ ocean!”

“AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGH!!!!!” cries the stupid sea captain.
The Ocean storm only gets worse!
The final wave only gets bigger!
“Why doesn’t this work???” the sea Captain wonders,
“I simply can’t win with her!”

The wave finally crashes, the sea captain is toppled,
the ocean is left exhausted, weakened and hurt.
Then... eventually her pain slowly sinks
to the bottom of the ocean.
Not really gone, but somehow

The captain wonders,
“What can I do to prevent these storms?”
Oh the foolishness of this man!
Then it dawns on him...
I can’t do anything to prevent storms!
And he knows that he can’t just stop being a sea captain,
and run away from the ocean! He LOVES THE OCEAN!
It’s his life!!! She’s actually part of him and he is part of her!
He would just as soon cut off his own head before leaving this ocean!
It gives him such joy, and peace, and challenge, and adventure!
Plus, to him, it’s the most beautiful body of water in the world.

And then he wonders...
“what if, the next time we have one of these storms...
I try turning WITH the waves instead of against them?
Not avoiding the storm, but riding the storm out with the ocean...
Just stay afloat, keep my sails up and listen with all my heart
to everything the wind and the rain and the waves are saying.
I can’t solve the storm, but maybe I can just let the ocean know that I’m still there...
And I’ll never leave. No matter how bad the storms get.”

Well, honey; I can’t promise this ol’ sea captain will ever learn how to do this perfectly, but I certainly will try to do better. For you, my wonderful, mystical ocean : ) I love you. Hope you have a good day.


Thank you, Lord, for the gift of my husband. And thank you, Cody for the gift of a metaphor.
Quick question: next time, could you be in a canoe on a river?--an ocean makes me sound kind of fat . . . Just kidding. You know I love you. Thanks for riding out the storms with me and putting up with all that ebb and flow . . . I want to be like you when I grow up.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

June is Bustin' Out All Over

"But blessed is the man who trusts me . . . Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season." Jeremiah 17:7

"June is bustin' out all over . . ." Roger's and Hammerstein's Carousel
(The musical where I met Cody, where our crazy adventure began.)

Every mother (who has not had plastic surgury)
knows the dichotomy, the paradox,
the impending doom and joy that comes
with that chlorene-filled, sunburn-painting entity
known as the first swim of June.
The children like flies to a carcass
rush to splash about in the water-filled pool of delight
trying to hide baby teeth, chattering beneath blue lips
to convince us it's all worth it.
While our job is simple
Keep the little ones from drowning,
the big ones from peeing,
your husband from looking,
and your kangaroo pouch from showing
(even though the joeys were well worth it).
Lord, this year is different.
I'm going to crowd my mind and heart so much with You
that there's no room for frivolous lip-pursing worry
I will dive in instead of suck in.
Instead of wasting time avoiding harmless failures
I will search for You in the heat,
take a dip in the Holy Spirit,
love everyone like Jesus did (even the skinny blondes), and
swim smoothly in this crazy pool of life
with my family by my side and
You in the lifeguard chair,
grinning as You watch us play.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Trees, Knees, and Guarantees

"Live until you die." Mark Beason

"Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder." Romans 12:11-12

I can see the devil in the details
How he stretches the trees to hide the forest
Like giant claw-poised creatures in some dark, red rover ballet
"Send her right over!" and I freeze
boots filled with lead and expectations
like running out of energy as the feul prices rise
How he uses his tool of routine like some pendulum hypnosis
lulling me to sleep through the battle
when there are checkmarks to be made, a family to love
People to reach, words to give, and You to serve,
The impact of my knees bounces me like a speed bump
and I come to You for strength.
Lord, show me the forest once again.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"The Classroom" on KBC

"A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired." Proverbs 17:22 (Msg)

"Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on." Bob Newhart

“Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis." from Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey (SNL)

A show called "Teachers" was recently added to the primetime lineup.
The comedic potential was endless. I pictured something like "The Office" on NBC, which, if you've ever worked in an office, and even if you haven't, is unbelievably hilarious. The characters are over-the-top yet completely authentic and believable. The comedic timing of the actors combined with the camera angles and editing leaves me with side aches and pains in my cheeks for days.
So when I heard about this new show, I dreamed of the prospective hilarity that could sweep the nation (and possible result in a national bill to raise teacher salaries-hey, a girl can dream). But--, oh no. The new show was a complete, and horrifyingly shallow, let down. The writers have obviously never set foot in an actual school. I am assuming they were all homeschooled by someone like David Koresh and were sheltered from the amazing situational comedy that arises minute by minute at my place of employment.

So here are a few excerpts from the new hit show "The Classroom" on KBC (Kristin Baker channel). Season Finale airing June 9th. By the way, this is all based on true occurrences. The names have been changed to protect the innocent . . .

Scene One:
Teacher: "So, Mike, you look deep in thought. What do you think Langston Hughes means by 'My soul has grown deep like the rivers'?"
Steve: What? Oh, I'm sorry I was just thinking about how cool my shirt is . . . you likey?

Scene two:
Teacher: "So what does the green light at the end of Daisy's dock symbolize for Gatsby?" Jason?
(Shot of Jason with a piece of paper taped to his forhead covering the top half of his face with detailed illustration of wildly wide eyes and bold words below that read. "I'm not asleep. I promise.")

Scene Three:
Teacher: Megan, where's your essay?
Megan: (fast, all in one breath) So I put it on a disc, right? Cuz our printer wasn't working, and then I tried to e-mail it to you, but our internet wasn't working b/c my mom couldn't pay the bill because there was this Prada purse that she really needed and she let me borrow it, isn't it cute? anyhoo, I had it on disc, and then my little brother took it and was like playing fetch with our dog with it, and I was all like "Oh my gosh if you don't give that to me I'm going to strangle you in your sleep" and he was all (Mimmicking a "special" little boy, which he is not) "Finders keepers" and I was all "it's mine you little creepy dork face" and then my dad came in and was all (deep manly voice)"What's going on here?" and I told him, but he wouldn't believe me so then he said there was this guy in the bible who cut a baby in half so the two chicks fighting over it would stop, and Tommy was all like "do it, Can I get the saw?" and I was all like "Dad! No! It's got my English essay on it!" But then Snickers, that's our dog, came and snatched it and buried in somewhere in the back yard, and I tried to dig for it, but I got all icky, anyway can I get one of those little extension thingies?"
(teacher deadpans camera)

and that is only the tip of the iceberg . . .

Thank You, Lord for the gift of humor, laughter, and the lighter side of this life you've given us. I wonder if the angels tell you jokes sometimes. I bet you have the greatest laugh . . .

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Happy Blogiversary

"We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next." Romans 5:2-4 (Msg)

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog.

365 days of my life
recorded in this odd potpourri of language
my muddled thoughts from somewhere deep
between my gut and my head
danced to my fingers, click, click the keys
and somehow a picture of a year was taken,
or a Monet scene from our walk was painted,
perhaps a song sung with head tilted back, neck veins bulging,
or something whispered in a desperate breath.
52 weeks of chasing You to find myself
Only to find it's not at all about Me.
Standing at the door of those wide open spaces
carrying a backback of hemmed in troubles
that blossomed into passionate patience
and the tempered steel of virtue
(It's kinda heavy, but so is buried treasure)
click, click
can't wait to see the sequel, Lord . . .
cuz I just can't get enough of You.

"Drench yourself in words unspoken.
Live your life with arms wide open.
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten."
Natash Bedingfield "Unwritten" (song)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Thimbles, Buckets, and Barrels

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:22

"Then he touched their eyes and said, 'According to your faith will it be done to you.'” Matthew 9:29

"If you bring God a thimble, he’ll probably fill it. If you bring God a bucket, he’ll probably fill it." Rob Wegner

Lord, why do I bring buckets of faith
echoing hope in a silent clang of metal
when expecting blessings for others,
But when (if) I come to You
for something for myself,
I balance a teetering thimble on a fingertip,
look up with this lip-biting, eyebrow-scrunching,
shoulder-shrugging faith of mine
and say "Sorry to bother you, but . . .
You know, if you get a chance,
but, if not, it's okay ,
I mean I know I don't deserve it,
but if you think it'd be okay,
I, uh, was wondering if . . ."
Sometimes walking away with a feet-dragging
floor-scuffing, probably-not stride of never-minded defeat.
Lord, like the doubting father said
"Help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)
Lord, help me grow, graduate, take the next exit
from this dusty highway of a weakened faith
and put my mind back in its place.
So eventually I will bring barrels for us all
with a "show them", not "give me" faith
that is all for the glory of You.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mother's Day

"As large as the role is that our mothers have played, the word 'mother' is more powerful when used as a verb than as a noun." Stasi Eldredge, Captivating (guided journal)

"Her children arise and call her blessed . . . " Proverbs 31:28b

I miss those regular walks with my mother
Under the shimmering tunnel of jumping spring leaves,
When we say it's for exercise
to burn the guilty calories of past edible transgressions
But really, we just want to talk,
Those circus conversations
that spin round and round
like the shaky squirrels at our feet
that climb high in the trees every time
she teaches me something I wish I'd known before,
the gentle whisk of our thighs as they shush-shush in unison
and the sharp pat-pat of our bounding march
like the slow, subtle ticking of a clock on a day without schedules
or the countdown to some berry-inspired festival parade,
For this is where I come to soak in the wisdom of her years
like some porous sponge that dries too quickly
and I grow
through her thoughtless prattling
and her anecdotal rambling
and even in her silence
she'll never know how much
I grow.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Carpet Squares and Bedtime

"I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world." (Matt. 13:35)

I've got my carpet square ready
I picked the green speckled one
cuz it reminds me of back yard grass
pistachio pudding and mint chocolate ice cream
prickly spring promises peeking from gushy melting snow.
At the dusty feet of a carpenter's son
but there is no book with pictures to point to
or little felt people clinging to a board
just His voice
syrupy sweet with parables of mystery.

A pastoral quilt with a deeply-tanned,
wise and weathered-looking seed-sower (Matt 13:3-9)
I raise my hand, wiggle, and wave. "What's he planting?"
Seeds of mustard (Luke 21:19-31) and a grain of wheat (John 12:24),
and some flowers of the field (Matt 6:28-30).
Or perhaps a fig tree- barren (Luke 13:6-9) or budding (Luke 21:19-31)
One morning, just as the fruit tree blossomed (Luke 6:43-49),
an enemy snuck in like the big bad wolf and planted some . . .
weeds! (Matt 13:24-30)
Little gasps, suck in through the teeth,
"oh no!" we cry- "Will the flowers die? Will the food rot?"
But the farmer is patient, like the birds sailing above him (Luke 12:24),
he knows what to watch for, even in the clouds (Mark 8:11-13).
Don't worry, you must trust in the hero,
For in the fall, is the harvest.

I put away my carpet square with the quick-pat close of a book
And age twenty-some years as I head to her pink bedroom
for books and bedtime prayers
Tonight's feature, an old favorite- "Bunny, My Honey"
As I read of the lost little bunny and her little eyelids sink,
I'm reminded of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10), the lost sheep ( Luke 15:4-7)
and that naughty prodigal son (Luke 15:11-21).
As the mommy rabbit finds her baby, she "put her twitchy nose on his twitchy nose
and kissed his great big feet", my little girl's breaths are slower,
and I remember the joy of being found
in the good Samaritan (Luke 10:35-37),
the loving father (Luke 15:21-32),
and especially the strong and tender shepherd (John 10:1-18).

Thank you, Lord for the gift of carpet squares, bedtime stories,
and parables that let us be kids again
just long enough for us to learn how to live as grownups.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Woman's Work in the Sand Box

"Who says a woman's work isn't high art? . . . She'd shine the tines of forks, the wheels of carts, cut lacy lattices for all her pies. Her woman's work was nothing less than art." Julia Alvarez, "Woman's Work" (poem)

"She . . works with eager hands . . . She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks . . . her lamp does not go out at night . . . she watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proberbs 31:13b, 17, 18b, and 27

I had one of those dreams again.

Those frantic, beat the clock
alarm sounding, impatient knock
everyone's watching, scrubbing the stain
just about to miss the train
like trying to guess and concoct
some half-destroyed recipe,
tick tock
where the measuring cups are in Arabic
and none of the pans are truly non-stick
I keep adding a teaspoon of whatever
scrambling, racing, chasing the endeavor
but it never seems to taste just right
Did you know there's no turkey in turkish delight?
I can hear them in the living room
expecting a feast ready to consume
buzzers sound, and the micrwave beeps
Then I scream and wake up from my sleep
that afternoon I watch my little girl
play in the sand box in her own little world
creating important jobs for herself
like a cute, pink-cheeked, busy little elf
counting the dusty scoops of sand
delighting in the squishy wet in her hand
a mushy, gushy plastic paradise
she seems so determined to be precise
her castles never last, holes always refill
someone will come and flatten that hill
but there is joy in the job, and accomplishment
Just swimming around in her little moment.

And that's when I was ashamed of my dream.
Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of the gift of woman's work.
And thanks for my two bedroom, two bath, sand box.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Prince Charming

"At some core place, maybe deep within, perhaps hidden in her buried heart, every woman wants to be seen, wanted, and pursued. We want to be romanced." Stasi Eldredge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul

"Man's love is of man's life a thing apart; Tis a woman's whole existence." Byron

"I have loved you with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3

three years old
still small enough to hold
and it's already started
through fairy tales imparted
that all-too alarming
dream of prince charming
our "daddy, watch me twirl"
Cinderella magic girl,
who asks Dylan to dance
and act out romance
though he says he's bored
and wants to play swords
she asked K.C. to be her prince
but he couldn't be convinced
she wants to dance at the ball
with someone handsome dark and tall
Lord, I know it's just a game
but I worry just the same
I know she will grow
But I want her to know
Her true love and joy
Could never come from a boy
the stories always tell
of a magic spell
broken by love's first kiss
and leads to ever after bliss
But how do I explain?
how do I make it plain?
the love constant and true
that comes from knowing You.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Field Trip

"And that is the thing about life. You go walking along, thinking people are talking a language and exchanging ideas, but the whole time there is a deeper language people are really talking, and that language has nothing to do with ethics, fashion, or politics, but what it really has to do with is feeling important and valuable." Donald Miller, Searching for God Knows What

"Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So 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 made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't." Romans 12: 5-6

six hours on a school bus
the gummy green vinyl and
scratched out rusty metal benches
the black and white speckled dusty floor
where you walk on tip-toe to avoid losing a shoe
to the underworld of stickiness
that "old bus" smell that wouldn't sell
on those little tree air fresheners at gas stations
Some bubble gum-snapping,
Mountain dew-chugging,
talk over the ipod conversations
float from the back and turn back time.
The latest downloads, Xenga gossip,
and myspace conspiracies
In the cyberland of "he-said, she-said"
those inside jokes, and movie quotes
and 'had-to-be-there" anecdotes
all collide in that cotton comfortable
"us against them" cameraderie of finding themselves,
Moment to moment trying on different identities
like bands they never listen to
on t-shirts they always wear
in and out of the dressing room of adolescence
until they find that one that fits
all chasing each other's approval
like a dangling carrot just out of reach.
I, the book-reading, schedule watching,
been there, done that, never again,
teacher in the front take out my light applesauce
and spoon from the second drawer.
I smile and love them right where they are
It may not always be easy to make the ends meet,
Or live in the adult land of country club comparison
But it is always easy to love them.
So for now, I will play my part
No "cut off finger or toe"
just a listening ear--
So for now, I will listen
and, with You, I will love them.

Monday, April 24, 2006


"In repentence and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it." Isaiah 30:15

"In some we regret a well-intentioned but feverish over-busyness, not completely grounded in our depths of peace. And we wish they would not blur the beauty of our souls by fast motion." Thomas Kelly, Testament of Devotion

"Too much of your nature is exposed to the winds that blow on it. You and I both need to withdraw more and more into the secret place." Amy Carmichael

One second of silence
like the soft, but powerful click of a pause button
in the blanketing warmth of the sun
like a blue and yellow canopy of lace . . .
This should all scream serenity
But my throat tightens
like the white knuckles before some head-on collision
The tears dive from my eyes
like desperate prisoners of a towering inferno
Why am I so scared of silence?
Have You not commanded me to
"be strong and courageous" (Joshua 1:9)?
But lately it feels more like
"my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer" (Psalm 32:4b)
Much more "like the horse or mule
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle" (Psalm 32:9)
Only, for me, it's the tick of the clock
and the ghost of perfection.
If You truly "satisfy us in the morning
with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy
and be glad all our days" (Psalm 90:14),
Then "Why are you downcast, O my soul,
Why so disturbed within me?" (Psalm 42:11)
How long will I be this "leaning wall or tottering fence"? (Psalm 62:3)
But is there pride in too much humility?
Like some knee-socked, hand-rasing child
who steps into that role of "the good kid"
like an over-sized wet suit
or slippers three sizes too big.
So, in this awkward silence, I come to You
Not for some scratch n sniff sticker approval from you
But just to meet You Lord
To be like David where
"my mouth is filled with your praise
declaring your splendor all day long." (Psalm 71:8)
Or like Christ who loved others to unspeakable measures
and told us "love your neighbor as you love yourself" (Matthew 19:19b).
But You are showing me a new twist on the golden rule.
For if I truly treated others as I treat myself,
I would never be allowed to treat myself this way
for the cause of some martyred cake of humility
Where blowing out the candles would be like
calling my students dumb
Or telling Lauren she's a bad little girl.
My stomach turns at the thought . . .
But to be Honest, Jesus,
If I am called to praise You with
"all my inmost being" (Psalm 102:1)
I'm afraid you might be disappointed in what I bring
like getting socks in your Christmas stocking
or nickels in your Halloween bucket.
I mean, do I really deserve to be
"crowned with love and compassion" (Psalm 103:4)
like some sausage curled porcelain princess
under some Brother's Grimm, pink and purple sky?
Thinking, I looked up at the cotton ball clouds just now
and read how "You make the clouds Your chariot
and ride on the wings of the wind" (Psalm 104:3)
So was that You that just tickled my face with my hair?
Or made the tree shadows dance like flowers on my paper?
How long has it been since I looked up?
Since I noticed these little behind the scenes blessings
that hide behind all the frenzy and the noise?
It hit me just now, Lord
"like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly in an instant . . .
in pieces like pottery shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found" (Isaiah 30:13).
A fresh start, a new beginning,
like a child born or lemonade after mowing the grass.
"As the father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him" (Psalm 103:13)
I used to think of silence as
a jury of stern-faced citizens,
sealed lips and eyebrows drawn in like a slinky,
Or some frightening reality TV show
starring me as the fool
who palms the camera to "leave me alone!"
But You've shown me today, Lord,
the blessing of a noiseless moment
Much like a trip to some far off, salty coast
or a Thanksgiving meal
with those yeast rolls mom and I make together.
So next time, there will be no tightened throat
Or tear-sticky cheeks,
only joy,
for I will feel You in the wind,
smile as You touch my face,
embrace You in the silence,
and finally let You love me.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Absence of Hunger Pains

"If we don't eat physically, we get hunger pains. If we don't eat spiritually, we lose our appetite." Gail MacDonald

"As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs for You, O God." Psalm 42:1

I just noticed a waning in my appetite for You and Your word, Lord.
A complacent, mechanical, slow-line moving automaton
that saunters over the calendar squares
like a child's half-hearted hop scotch on a hot, sweat-beaded day,
A passionate heart that went sleep walking
And somehow found itself walking the ridge pole of apathy,
Bring me back to the dear that pants for the water,
that cotton mouth, lip smacking thirst that only You can quench
and the sweet sharpness of hunger pains.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Poison Control

"So when you offer your gift to God at the altar, and you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there at the altar. Go and make peace with that person." (Matthew 5:23)

"Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die." Rob Wegner

I'll be brief tonight, Lord.
I give You "the Posse"
Those credit card, hoop-earringed,
horse on the shirt, country club,
convertible girls in high school
that called me under the influence on saturday nights
Inventing colorful, new names
for my goody two shoes existence
yet smiled at me in class on Monday
And asked me where I bought my Goodwill pants.
I didn't even know they still resided in my memory
Until a sermon on forgiveness
pulled out a dusty file in the back
I could see thier faces and silhouettes of speed-boat bikinis
with their pedicured feet propped up by beer bottles
as they read Vogue and discuss the latest 90210 episode.
So I give them to You, Lord
At seventeen and twenty-seven,
I pray You love them
as beautifully and deeply
as you've loved me--goodwill pants and all.
And Thank you for reminding me
of the importance of poison control.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Saturday

"I believe that the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man's mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God." Don Miller, Blue Like Jazz

In the midst of buying the perfect Easter dress for my little girl
And dying and hiding eggs around the yard,
You reminded me what this is really all about.
Thank You Lord, for a church that won't let me be religious!
A church that tackles a bestseller to reveal
the truth of the greatest story ever told.
A church where almost 3,000 people
will gather together on a Saturday night
to hear that same story that we've all heard before
in a way we've never seen before.

The magical proposition of the gospel, once free from the clasps of fairy tale, was very adult to me, very gritty like something from Hemmingway or Steinbeck, like something with copious amounts of sex and blood. Christian Spirituality was not a children's story. It wasn't cute or neat. It was mystical and odd and clean, and it was reaching into dirty. " Don Miller, Blue Like Jazz

"He continued with them, "Don't be upset, and don't let all these doubting questions take over. Look at my hands; look at my feet--it's really me. Touch me. Look me over from head to toe. A ghost doesn't have muscle and bone like this." As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. They still couldn't believe what they were seeing. It was too much; it seemed too good to be true." Luke 24:38-41

Thank You, Lord,
for keeping me from religion,
sharp-stepping ritual,
and the false comfort of righteous attitudes.

Thank You for truth and humilty,
blanket-wrapping love,
and the greatest story ever told.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Prophet Hotline

"All the prophets from Samuel on down said the same thing, said most emphatically that these days would come." Acts 3:24

Somehow the jelly beans and marhsmallow chicks,
Baskets of goodies, egg dying,
sear-sucker dresses on little girls
And stores covered in pastels
cannot overshadow the truths of Holy week.
Revisting the stories of miracles,
footwashing, a last supper, a cross,
and a stone rolled away.

But the coolest thing is reading the Old Testament
and seeing the first use of foreshadowing in literature
as You prepared the way for the ultimate sacrifice.

"This is the brand-new covenant that I will make with Israel when the time comes. I will put my law within them - write it on their hearts! - and be their God. And they will be my people. They will no longer go around setting up schools to teach each other about God. They'll know me firsthand, the dull and the bright, the smart and the slow. I'll wipe the slate clean for each of them. I'll forget they ever sinned!" Jeremiah 31:33-34

What a price You paid for the "brand new covenant"
so we could know the Father "first hand"
and for forgetting we,
the dull and the bright,
the smart and the slow,
ever sinned.
With physical agony, torture,
we could never even imagine,
down to the last breath,
when You "wiped the slate clean."

"Here is my servant whom I have chosen. I love him, and I am pleased with him. I will put my spirit upon him, and he will tell of my justice to all people. He will not argue or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. He will not break a crushed blade of grass or put out even a weak flame until he makes justice win the victory. In him will the non-Jewish people find hope." Isaiah 42:1-4

A stable, a donkey, a carpenter's son
Not a prince, a rich ruler, or a king,
You were always asking people You healed
not to tell people what has happened.
This is how you fulfilled the prophecy
of not breaking "a crushed blade of grass."
Your humility was prophesied years before you came.

"I will speak using stories;
I will tell things that have been secret since the the world was made." Psalm 78:2

The morals to the story, the parables of truth,
the riddles with answers that poured out your love.
The way You left us guessing
so we could find out who You are
even years before
and years after you lived--
Only to find who we truly are.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Dragonfly (Flit, Flit)

"How long will you flit here and there, indecisive? How long before you make up your fickle mind? God will create a new thing in this land: A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!" Jeremiah 31:22

Lord, sometimes I feel like
a dragonfly, flitting here and there
where the wind would take me
Somehere between a pony-tailed twelve year old girl
and a purse-bearing, check-writing wife and mother.
Somewhere between cold steel confidence
and a bubbling liquid of misgivings.
Somewhere between a pencil in your hair teacher
and a pencil on the paper poet.
Somewhere between a fast-stepping working woman
and a swing-pushing, block-stacking, stay-at-home mom.
Somewhere between the faithful "will be's" and the "trust me's"
and the fearfull "What if's" and the "who knows".
Lord, I fly to you to become a transformed woman
of a transforming God.
Goodbye to fickle fortune and the sounds of flit, flit.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Daddy's Little Girl

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name." Ephesians 3:14-15

I was once did a Bible study by Beth Moore where she explained how your relationship to your father can affect your image of God and therefore the depth of your faith. I saw many of the women in my group struggle through this chapter as silhouttes of distant, critical, and rejecting fathers returned to their minds to tug at their hearts. All I could offer was sympathy, but empathy was beyond my scope of experience. Like my own little girl, I was blessed with a daddy who was never critical or rejecting but only sought to treasure me for exactly the little girl God made me to be. I hadn't realized the advantage of this until that night in Texas four years ago. Now, as I watch Lauren with Cody and on those rare visits with my dad, I thank You again Lord, for the blessings of men in my life who have shown me the true love of a father and helped me to get to know You a little better. Thank You for my Dad and Cody who help "Thy kingdom come" as they bring the phrase "Abba father" to life here on earth.

Friday, March 31, 2006

I am from . . .

I am from pigtails that danced in dusty kick ball games
From rope-swinging summers with
brother Tarzan and sister Jane
From late nights in an underground playland
where the wooden pews loomed above like circus tents,
just waiting for daddy to unfold his arms and mommy to play that last note.
From “Great is Thy Faithfulness”

I am from pink lemonade in the summer,
leaf piles in the fall, snow skiing at daddy’s knees
and spring cleaning with mommy like a big girl.
From “Oh, forever more!” and a legacy of hymn singing women.
From men of character and consequence who loved from a distance
Until daddy came along and scooped us up into his heart.
From a Labrador pillow in a basement of Barbies and army men.

I am from middle school confusions with big hair, pegged pants,
coca cola shirts, mean boys, and girls who moved too fast.
From high school cafeterias with square pizzas, juices boxes, and stages full of dreams.
From coffee houses at 2am with homework we never did, kisses under apple blossom trees by the dorms, falling into his eyes like slipping off the diving board, and
Football field conversations under the stars and “You’re my favorite.”

I am from Christmas Eve proposals and growing up too fast
From an armful of daisies and ring full of promise.
From piles of bills, laundry and dishes that came like a car crash every day.
From lesson plans, pencils in my hair,
and dreams of changing the world every ninety five minutes.
From eighteen hours of labor, his hand in mine,
And an eight pound 13 ounce invitation to know who I really am.

I am from early morning prayers
and gold-tipped thin slices of leather bound wonder
I am from the life-giving breeze of threes
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
hope, peace, and joy
From His love, to me
to you.

"I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live." Psalm 146:2

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Women's World

"Do your best to live at peace with everyone (even women)." Romans 12:18 (added words mine)

Ok, I admit it. I am an idiot when it comes to the expectations of "Women's World" and am often reminded by my peers as to the depth of my ignorance.
Here are some rules I recently discovered:
1.) You can't ask someone what they want for a baby shower gift.
(Though I personally would not be offended if someone asked what I needed most for the baby. Isn't the point to bless them with what they need?)
2.) If you give a gift and do not get a thank you note, that is merrit for relinquishing the relationship.
(I thought the point of giving was to GIVE and not expect anything in return? What if they were busy? What if they need your time and patience instead of gifts full of expectations and rules?)
3.) Refusing to participate in a recipe exchange is rude, improper, and irresponsible. (What if I can't cook and don't have any special recipes? I know they evaluate the quality of the recipes anyway--for me, it's just a "recipe for failure.")
4.) Men are to be talked about daily as children who are beneath our scope of wisdom. (What if my husband is a lot smarter than me, an amazing man, and a much better person than I am?)
5.) Women who talk about their children too much have no life and warrant rolling eyes, smirks filled with inside jokes, and whispers in corners where the lookout can nudge if the subject gets too close. (My daughter is the coolest, cutest, most amazing kid in the world--who wouldn't want to talk about her? Who wouldn't give up and forget about the existence of regular trips to the gym, tanning bed visits, and friday nights on the town to watch her twirl around in her pretty dresses, tell me she loves me, and paint messy masterpieces?)

Lord, I pray for Your blessings on these women. They truly are wonderful women caught up in a world without knowledge of You and Your unconditional love. They are doing the best they can with their own set of life experiences. Perhaps they have a legacy of estrogen-pumping legalism passed down by their mothers. Thank you for my mother who refused to education me on the laws of "Women's World" and instead brought me to You--your freedom, your love. And Thank You for a husband who loves me as a woman even if I don't fit in to "Woman's world."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Baby Church

"Do you hear what these children are saying?" Jesus said, "Yes, I hear them. And haven't you read in God's Word, 'From the mouths of children and babies I'll furnish a place of praise'?" Matthew 21:16

We passed by a little country church this morning.
Sitting among cramped houses like two many children in a back seat.
My three year olds voice floated from her lonely car seat.
"Aw, Mommy, look a little church! Do babies go there?"
I laughed, picturing our large expansive building we attend twice a week.
"No, sweetie, that's just a church where a smaller group of people go.
But they love Jesus and learn about the bible just like us."
As I listened to her sing "Ah God is a awethumb God, He wanes fwom heaven babuv"
I smile at her wisdom. There are many times I feel like a baby in church.
Coming to be fed, cared for, drinking in the surroundings for clues to the world.
Thank you, Lord. For little country churches, big expansive buildings and any place where we can come to find You.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Stick to It

"Don't sit there watching the wind. Do your own work. Don't stare at the clouds. Get on with your life. Just as you'll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, So you'll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. Go to work in the morning and stick to it until evening without watching the clock. You never know from moment to moment how your work will turn out in the end. Before the years take their toll. Oh, how sweet the light of day, And how wonderful to live in the sunshine! Even if you live a long time, don't take a single day for granted."
Eccelsiastes 11:4-8a

Spring break is right around the corner
and the countdown begins
Lord, help me to stick to it
live right now right now
and glorify You in every precious moment.
I can still change lives and bring them closer to You-
even in the two weeks before spring break.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Table Talk

"Friends, don't complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner." James 5:9

"No more cosmetic Christianity – we’re not strapping the righteousness meters to our external behaviors anymore. We’re strapping those righteousness meters to our hearts. Jesus can make us righteous to the core - grace invaded core. " Rob Wegner

I got sucked in today Lord.
Sucked into the table talk.
I laughed at the jokes, agreed with the whining, and chimed in with the speculations.
Like Pavlov and his bell, the approval addict overruled the savior.
Lord, refresh my heart with You and your Holy Spirit.
Let me be offended again and quiet at the right moments.
not to be concerned with the details and the actions,
but with the heart.
It's Yours, lord, and I'm sorry I misused it today.
Forgive Me.
Make me righteous to the core--
a grace-invaded core.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Woof, woof, Oink, oink

"Don't give holy things to dogs, and don't throw your pearls before pigs. Pigs will only trample on them and dogs will turn and attack you." Matthew 7:6

I love how You just said these big things and left us guessing.
There's so much here--so timeless, vast, so universal.
Images and questions burst and dance
like popcorn when the heat is just right.
Jenny who gave her virginity away to early
Because her daddy left too soon.
Marshall who gave his future away to his "boys"
because they just needed some quick cash.
Heather who kept the baby as her new toy
as a couple's hopes crashed
like a freight train through an empty nursury.
Chris who gave up on school
because his teachers gave up on him.
Or were you just telling us to use our time wisely?
To invest our efforts in things that last?
or our money in things that pay off?
Was it a comment about frugality?
generosity? common sense?
Some might say
life is like a math problem, or even a puzzle.
There is only one right answer,
but there are many ways to get there.
I agree that You are the only answer
and there are many ways to get to You,
But, to be honest, I was bored in Math, Lord.
I got straight A's, but it just seemed too easy.
I'd prefer life as a poem, a vague ambiguity,
an endless chasm of wisdom unchartered.
But that's why I love You so much--You're both.
A simple answer and a never-ending chase
Where art and science combine
male and female complement
and especially
when God became man.
Thank you Lord,
for the gift of mystery
and the comfort of absolutes.