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.