Tuesday, December 25, 2007


the ripping begins
bows fly, shiny paper ocean with floating toys
and I see one year with You
in ten minutes of her faces
surprise, gratitude, plans for play
savoring the beauty and possibility in each package
this year
I unwrapped new depths of You
new levels of Your story
shiny packages of loving me in my mess
new house
new job
new trust in Your provision
new history of Your stomping grounds
new lens to see the world beyond my own
new faces I might never have noticed
more ache for the broken-hearted as mine began to heal
more love for my husband
more freedom from perfection
one small candle and a call to pass the flame
You surprised me
confused me
moved me
tested me
held me
taught me
warned me
laughed with me
and gave much better gifts than Santa Claus
Merry Christmas
Happy Birthday
and thank You
for a year of undeserved gifts
You must have smiled at my funny faces, too . . .

"So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:11

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Said the Nightwind . . .

In the next 24 hours
thousands will come
to hear Your story
again yet for the first time
like waiting for Lauren to open her gifts
the corners of my mouth rise
as the snow falls with my eyelids
two simple bedtime prayers
like flowers leaning toward the sun
bless all involved
like walking with the wind
Let it Be

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snowed Out

"The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball."
Doug Larson

"He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,'
and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'
So that all men he has made may know his work." Job 37:6-7a

I saw Your Beautiful work today
We seized the moment and ran out to play
snow angels and powdery "whahoooo"s
pink-cheeked inspired I love you's
giant back yard angel food cake
reminding us to take a break
Your Snowy blanket allowing grown men
to shake off their work and be kids again.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Duct Tape, Broken Glass, and a Puppy

A Duct taped mouth
may keep you nice and silent and safe
but you don't get to eat much.
this business of pretending
like a boulder on the chest
we smile with a step back
questions with more questions
in the polite dogfight of evasion
until the bell rings and the subject is changed
an age old tradition in the church
it used to be that trouble in your life was sin
you just need to find the mouse in your house
and the problem will go away
like old hymns rearranged to rock out
we've updated the ritual to our iWorld
where fear of rejection and duct tape are married
under a pretty stained glass mosaic
that's really just a bunch of broken pieces
who came together to make something beautiful
but sandy friendships always slipped through my fingers
I never knew an empty hand could hurt so much
was it something I said, something I did?
You're the one who held my empty hand
and when something slips through
You pour out a little more, endless refills
cool and smooth like fingers in the ocean
You're the one who never leaves
the sun who comes up every morning
You're the only place where
pretending doesn't make sense.
But with people,
Your gift of free will makes me nervous
like a puppy at Christmas.
As soon as you open the box,
there goes the carpet, the furniture,
and I'll end up falling in love
with something I know can't last forever
it's quieter in my house with no puppies
so I listen and I love them one-sided, all the while
You're the only One I really talk to
one broken piece with a little duct tape
but maybe I'll never be a part of something beautiful
until I trust them like I trust You
but every bounce out on the limb
feels like one bounce away from the fall
every time I speak
the duct tape loses it's stickiness
the glass might scratch someone
and you can't put the puppy
back in the box

"Repressing and stuffing and refusing to acknowledge never works . . . We have to get it out or we all begin to die on the inside. Some of the most comforting words in the universe are 'me too' . . . Love is handing your heart to someone and taking the risk that they will hand it back because they don't want it. That's why it's such a crushing ache on the inside. We give away a part of ourselves and it wasn't wanted." Rob Bell, Sex God

"Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you." Nelson Mandela

"Our churches are filled with people who outwardly look contented and at peace but inwardly are crying out for someone to love them… just as they are — confused, frustrated, often frightened, guilty, and often unable to communicate even within their own families. But the other people in the church look so happy and contented that one seldom has the courage to admit his own deep needs before such a self-sufficient group as the average church meeting appears to be. " Keith Miller

"Pretending is the grease of non-relationships . . .When you and I stop pretending, we expose the pretending of everyone else. The bubble of the perfect Christian life is burst, and we all must face the reality of our brokenness. " Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality

"Let's not pretend this is easier than it really is." Matthew 5:29A (Msg)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Let Go of the Rope and Stare at the Sun

the tug of war of truth is getting old
heals dig in and the rope leaves teethmarks
that sting after we walk away
but its not all just fun and games
the mud pit in the middle
is deeper than we think
some pull with heroic strength
hoping to reel in justice like a drowning child
others grip tighter with a lust for beauty
biting their lips as if planning the first brush on a canvas
determination furrows the brows of some
or maybe it's the questions
as they wrench for balanced equations
all the while knowing someone must win in the end
others heave and draw for a connection to the opposition
like the end-of-the-movie kiss when the war is over
But I can't record Your still small voice
just like you can't see a toothache
And I can't hand out Your presence
like mittens on the sledding hill
So today, I'm letting go of the rope
loving them all like You do,
and looking up to smile and
stare at the sun

"No one wants to deal with these facts. But anyone who examines this evidence will come to stake his life on this: that God himself is the truth." John 3:31b

“We’re disconnected from each other and we know it. It’s not how things are supposed to be. Even people who would say they have no faith in God or in any sort of higher being or supreme power still have a sense that there is a way things are supposed to be. And that way involves us as human beings being connected with each other.” Rob Bell, Sex God

"Over the last generation in Western culture, truth has been like the rope in a tug-of-war contest. On the one hand, some want to reduce all truth to "facts" . . . some believe all truth is relative . . . Ordinary mortals, dimly aware of this tug-of-war, and its social, cultural, and political spin offs, may well feel some uncertainty about what truth is, while still knowing that it matters . . . we must take a deep breath and plunge into the center of the story which, according to Christian tradition, makes sense of our longing for justice, spirituality, relationship, and beauty, and indeed truth and love. We must begin to talk about God. Which is like saying that we must learn to stare at the sun . . . it's dazzling. It's easier, actually to look away from the sun itself and to enjoy the fact that, once it's well and truly risen, you can see everything else clearly." N.T. Wright, Simply Christian

Saturday, December 08, 2007

5 years old

When we got home from a long day of
food-dropping, chuck-e-cheesing,
pizza-munching, present-opening,
birthday-praying instead of wishing,
cake-smearing, token-clinking,
doll-toting, mommy-waiting,
and two services of seeing You
she finally got to play a little
But when I entered her room,
it was like a tsunami aftermath of toys
I looked down at her and told her
those who make messes
become those who have to clean them up
she looked around like a rotating fan
blinked her big eyes up at me and said
"But mommy, the bible tells us
to help others . . ."
(sigh, lips purse, laughter hissing through the nose)
well, at least she's learning Your word
one day she'll use it for good and not evil . . .

Thank you for my beautiful little girl and five years of growing closer to You through the gift of mommyhood.

I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10:15

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Messy Me

I hate messes.
donning the cape with
P for perfection
on a mission for beauty
kicking curled up rugs to flattened perfection
squeak-squeaking the glass to pristine
erasing spills with the swish of a cloth
file folders neatly alphabetical
and the calender speckled with plans
checkmarks in line like an army salute
scrubbing stains with white knuckles
and the only kind of grease I allow . . . elbow
the sparkle twinges on the teeth as I grin
but if You wait long enough
look close enough
and love deep enough
You see the biggest mess of all.
If I was You, I'd give up on me
write me off
and screen Your calls.
Lucky for me,
You just keep loving messy me
right into Your open arms.

"His works are perfect, and the way he works is fair and just; A God you can depend upon, no exceptions, a straight-arrow God. His messed-up, mixed-up children, his non-children, throw mud at him but none of it sticks." Deuteronomy 32:1

"I'm not surprised there's only one way; I'm surprised there's any way at all."
Dr. R Mark Beeson, "Nothin's Gonna Change my World" sermon Dec. 1-2, 2007

"Spirituality is anything but a straight line; it is a mixed-up, topsy-turvy, helter-skelter godliness that turns our lives into an upside-down toboggan ride full of unexpected turns, surprise bumps, and bone-shattering crashes. In other words, messy spirituality is the delirious consequence of a life ruined by a Jesus who will love us right into his arms. Jesus is not repelled by us, no matter how messy we are. " Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Do You See What I See?

Last week, Lauren's preschool teacher asked her to draw or write what she was thankful for . . .

I see this and smile. So much controversy surrounds Your name. I hear it so often. The same name that people use in prayer they use to swear in traffic.

"She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God]."
Matthew 1:21 (Amplified Bible)

Seeing Your name in my daughter's handwriting collided with a writing assignment at work. As we walk from Thanksgiving into the Christmas season, once again, You inspire me to inspire others . . . (Bless DC as he performs this a couple days before Your birthday.)

Christmas time takes the stage, and I’m already feeling caged
like a Where’s Waldo page
buried up to my rib cage in a pile of tinsel.
Wading through paper snowflakes, bad fruitcakes, cookie bakes,
ornaments, lights, there are no silent nights,
in these line-waiting, gold-plating, reindeer-inflating days of
commercialism at it’s best.
People’s names on a list, we wish we won’t miss
The sale item that will buy their happiness.
Jingle bells and holly, plastics Santas who look jolly,
we all dance in the folly, but who’s holding the strings?
Our kids whining, pining for more shiny new things?
Carols blare, angels wings in the air, we sing and we stare
and try to smile at a distant story.
Shepherds in bathrobes, mangers trapped in snowglobes,
While styrofoam blizzards are blockin’ our view.
We ride in the machine, but do we know what it means?
Or are nativity scenes just another pretty picture for our Christmas cards?
More toys equal joys, but they’re just the decoys,
‘cuz there’s a tiny baby boy in the middle of our mess.
Oh, you’ve heard it all before, the world cried out for more,
So come let us adore a cute little baby
But maybe just maybe you didn’t get it.
‘Cuz see that’s just the opening credits . . .

Let me tell you about who my boy became
A man framed, He took my shame, this ain’t no child’s game.
Those little cherub fingers grew up to heal, to feel, to reveal
I know it seems surreal
But I’m telling you our little boy
grew up.
Those baby feet later hit the streets in the heat of
A revolution.
Back when they came in droves, ate five loaves
And just . . . listened.
They say he was a crazy man, travelin’ across the land,
The sinner’s friend, fisher of men,
Mind-blowing, seed-sowing, all-knowing
Radical on the move.
Syllables of parables opened up like marigolds
Where a mustard seed is all you need
Blessed are the meek, turn the other cheek,
The last shall be first when they inherit the earth
In his lectures from the hillsides.
But he wasn’t just a nice guy.
His in your face questions leave stones unthrown
Sons can come home, and sheep are allowed to have minds of their own.
His love for humanity, borderline insanity.
When they spit in his face, but this act of grace
wasn’t just a “way back when”,
see ya later friend, where you can say your amen and walk away again.
Cuz “O little town”, was just the countdown
To his upside down, lost and found
Life he gave for me
and you.
So look a little closer at the little baby scene
See if you can’t see what I mean
It’s the evolution of a revolution
The gift of a hope solution
At least it is for me.
So let me ask . . . do you see what I see?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Love from Love

"Love goes toward love as schoolboys from their books,
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks."
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

visiting the oxymoron this week
I've lived in the middle
of letting go and helping out
seeking the right moment to let go of the bicycle
empowering a beautiful replacement
blinded a bit to her own potential
she holds a much-deserved gift
but still wonders if she's worthy
You and I both know she is
I try to stand back
like the father of the bride
it's comedy and tragedy
a longing pride
a grieving joy
in a whirlwind dance of past and future
And I love them all almost as much as You do. . .
a simple prayer tonight
lead them safely to the hope beyond tragedy
the beauty beyond costume
and something even better than a cast party
something truly worth celebrating
Your love and mine.
For me, parting is such sweet sorrow
But You will walk with them into tomorrow . . .

"What we've learned is this: God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. We've finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade." Romans 3:27

Monday, November 12, 2007


if you announce it, they will come
now we just have to write it . . .
so this week
the team will meet to plot, plan, debate, agree
and dance to Your story to the tune of Beatles music
when the meetings end
and it's just You, me, and the laptop
wipe away the sticky filmy me on Your glass
so I can clearly see Your will
I pray the fingers dance like marionettes on the keyboard
playfully free with You holding the strings
I just want to be Your paintbrush
Your pen, Your epic narrating voice
so they can come expecting
stay celebrating
and leave with hope in their pockets
the hope that can only come from

"The right words will be there. The Holy Spirit will give you the right words when the time comes." Luke 12: 12 (Msg)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ways I See You in the Fall . . .

"And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years . . . " Genesis 1:14

Friday, October 26, 2007

Flight lessons

"Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night."

"Blackbird" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

sometimes humanity outsings You
in the playlist in my head
when I feel like a broken-winged blackbird
in a field of pristine doves
gently cooing at eachother
in a muddled tongue that leaves me guessing
stutter stepping away from the aberration
with polite grace and beauty
allowing me to stay as a guest
as long as I acquiesce
their windy take off freedom
under the blanket of my grounded state
that fourth picture in a child's game
"Which one of these things does not belong?"
little cherub fingers pulled like magnets
a unanimous vote
and just as the cushiony treeline catches the sun
phhwump, they lift like a dancing ribbon
toward the clowds ablaze
with soupy solar oranges and pinks
and for a moment their silhouettes seem black like me
why does the sun set faster than it rises?
But that's where I sing until I find You
my light in the dark black night
as the lonely, lying metaphors
rise up and evaporate like steam
in the light and truth of You in the ink of my story
this is where you stretch my wings
toward the habit of praise
and I listen
as You teach me how to fly

"Everyone sees it. God's work is the talk of the town. Be glad, good people! Fly to God! Good-hearted people, make praise your habit." Psalm 64:9

Saturday, October 20, 2007

My Nightmare before Christmas

for many, church services come but twice a year
another endured holiday tradition
like bad fruitcake or fake smiles at the office parties
a mere spectacle to point out
like pretty frost on the windows
or a drive-through light show in one of those rich neighborhoods
where everyone battles to outdo the Joneses
armed with tangled bombs, inflated snowmen the size of tanks
and stapleguns poised and ready
tis the season for blind tradition
Lord, we don't want to be "that cool church"
we don't want them to ooh and ahh
over great singers, rockin' guitar solos in Christmas carols,
impressive speakers,and eye candy lighting effects,
we want them to meet You and fall into Your arms forever changed.
but as we plan the Christmas services this year
I keep having this nightmare
that they will come carrying pretty packages of pain
vibrant velvety ribbons around the weight of emptiness
with plastered on smiles that give their children hope
but only last until the parking lot
the frightening thought that they come will all that
and refuse to make the simple, no-receipt-required exchange
I hold my breath and pray against the tragedy
the horrific scene that they will leave
unchanged, unmoved, unaffected
by what You offer them
But this year will be different.
I will not brace myself for the inevitable
like sliding on black ice toward a tree
I will not let patterns of the past predict the future
like the ever-spinning tick-tick second hand
I will not let my tiny squeek of faith
interrupt Your grand announcement
I will not trust in car crashes, second hands, or my own fears
No more nightmares--
just You
the hero of the pageantry,
the calendar creator
and the giver of the one and only
perfect Christmas gift.

Ezekial 33:30-32
"As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, 'Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice."

Numbers 20:12
But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."

Psalm 56:3
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Catalyst '07

"The church is a lot like Noah's ark; it stinks sometimes, but we'd all drown if we got out." Shane Claiborne
a tap on the shoulder . . .
edgy speakers will no doubt offend
as for me I lean forward
and wait to be challenged
if I disagree
at least I feel alive again
reminded I stand for something
on a sandy common ground

"Do you really believe that if I leave the stage without praying that the world will be one way, but if I choose to close in prayer that the world will be another way?" Francis Chan
waving hands . . .
cold turkey cut off
for prayer as some sort of
shrink's couch venting session
of psychobabble practicality
instead of a privilege to listen
and trust and admit
I can't do it without You

"The hands and feet of the body of Christ have been amputated, and all we're left with is one big mouth . . . . . Stop praying 'God Bless Me'; start praying 'God help me to do what You are blessing' . . . We need a reformation like we had 500 years ago. The last one was about creeds. Now it's about deeds . . . Moses had a staff; what's in your hand?" Rick Warren
a reminder like a kiss on the forehead . . .
You took a dead piece of wood
and transformed it into a serpant
parted the sea
and renamed it 'The rod of God"
what is in my hand that can be used
to save others
demonstrate Your power
and guide people to freedom in You?
What's in my hand?

"A practical Atheist is someone who believes God exists but lives as if He does not . . . I somehow became a full -time pastor and a part -time follower of Christ . . . I was trying to please people more than I wanted to please God." Craig Groeschel
a punch in the gut . . .
thank you for disturbing me
it was getting a little too comfortable
and it's harder to hear You
next to the roaring yet refreshing fan
of complacency
and the thin candy-coating
stamped with "I can do it on my own"

"It's in the quiet crucible of our private suffering that our noblest dreams are born and God's greatest gifts are given . . . Jesus is more beautiful when we tell the truth . . . .Why do we choose a dehumanized existence? . . . We (the church) need to take them to a place they couldn't go without us becuase we have met God, and only we can take them there." Erwan McManus
a whisper
a getle urging to grow up
and out of my insecurities
to challenge the lying fangs
under the sheep skin of humility
to step through the hologram fears
at the sound
of a true and noble calling

"Good speakers, amazing arts elements, nice environments, and clever series don't change behaviors. Systems change behaviors . . . the people you lead are doing what you have led and rewarded them to do . . . If a new leader casts a vision and never addresses old systems, nothing changes." Andy Stanley
a farewell shout of instruction . . . .
what an experience
Thanks for these two days of
tapping on the shoulder
waving hands
kisses on the forehead
punches in the gut
whispers and shouts
all pulling me closer to You
the true Catalyst of calling

"If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; 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. " Romans 12:6-8

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Take it Like a Man

why do feelings lie so much when you're a woman?
This weighing down of the mind
Sitting in an open cell
Drowning in 2 feet of water
Crushed under the weight of a feather
Lonely in a crowded room
Crying out when there’s so much to celebrate
Super trinity swoops in for the rescue
The holy spirit whispers “It’s okay”
Like a pat on the hand
Jesus whispers “come to me …”
Like a husband’s embrace
And You finally Pipe in with “SUCK IT UP!’
With exactly the slap in the face I needed

Dear Abba,
Help me to suck it up
Know the truth
And take it like a man ...
On a cross

"I wanted to throw up backstage,but then I asked myself 'What does the Bible say is true?' When you put yourself down, you put down your creator." Francis Chan

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13

Friday, September 28, 2007

Tipping the Scales

I have this scale-tipping dream
where somehow You can use me to lighten the load of others
even as a little pig-tailed, cabbage-patch-doll-toting kid
I eavesdropped on the strong will of my brother
how it weighed down my parents eyes and hearts
and peppered their hair a little too early
so I folded my hands in my lap and did my homework
a mantra to appreciate the unappreciated followed me on the growth chart
foam fingers and facepaint for the underdogs and loners in school
swallowing tears with empathy for the broken, the burdened, the unloved as a teacher

And now. . .
I have this scale tipping dream
where somehow You can use me in this . . . .
I can't call it a job
I can't call it a career
it's your gift-wrapped, weight-lifting, joy-giving, mission-driven privilege
to walk alongside super hero arrows pointing people to You
I have this dream, especially in moments like these
that somehow my presence can lighten the load a bit
where media genius is free to create because the schedule is made
where the holy spirit muse of music is free
to kickback with the boys with no red tape in the way
where actors don't act but are empowered to transform
where leaders can move forward while we carry out the vision
where tech prodigies have the tools to dip their brushes
and manipulate sound and light in a stage palette masterpiece
where we equip the gurus of the spoken message
so they too can lighten the loads of those who search for hope and meaning
and lead some prescious hand-crafted souls
back to the hands that crafted them

I have this scale-tipping dream of a home
where I can lift the weight of provider
for just a moment so he can be free
where I can balance the checkbook, the schedule, the deadline
so he has time for horsey complete with sound effects
long movies with messy popcorn between cushions
and a couch labyrinth of twelve limbs
for some time for him to breathe a little easier
sleep a little longer
work a little faster
and look in my eyes a little longer

I guess I just want to be a scale-tipper
like You

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden,." Hebrews 13:17

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

When the Moon Says "Wait Up"

twas the night before Innovate

and from the back of the car

peeps two little eyes looking out at the stars

"the moon is following us" she says with a sigh

"It's saying wait up!" as if to ask why

my foot on the pedal like the thoughts in my head

building momentum with the weight of lead

but just a few words through the eyes of a child

and You step in with Martha chaos refiled

and the worry slips off like a bad toupee

as You whisper through her "It'll be okay . . ."

"Give in to God, come to terms with him
and everything will turn out just fine.
Let him tell you what to do;
take his words to heart.
Come back to God Almighty
and he'll rebuild your life."
Job 22"21-23 (Msg)

Friday, September 21, 2007


our attempt to hide flaws
a weak effort at the pristine
a feeble reach toward beauty
only to discover a quick fix
a slow fade
and blemishes highlighted
the painters bandaid
the politicians friend
and the enemy
of an artist.

Lord, bless each and every one of the amazing artists I get to work with in this coming week of inspiring other artists to innovate. Holy spirit, give them an energetic peace as they give of themselves and sound the call. Thank You for the gift of being on a team that refuses to whitewash the greatest story ever told.

" . . . when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, 'Where is the whitewash you covered it with?'" Ezekial 13:10b-12

Monday, September 10, 2007

Piece Out

just when I thought I had all the pieces in place
the fist comes down
startled pieces jump in fear
stately figures thrown askew
in the aftermath of change
I wince and squint
reluctant to view the horrific scene
of perfection slaughtered
just when I breathe in
and try to muster the strength
to rebuild piece by piece
just when I open my eyes
and begin to plan the next move
I look up to You
and remember I am not a player
but a piece
and there's the real peace.
"There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn't change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he's always totally himself. " Hebrews 13:8

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Switch

2:31 a.m.
a full moon glows
as i continue to pretend to sleep
but my whirlpool mind just won't turn off
like an alarm with no snooze
a train whistle that never fades into the distance
a constant drip, but without the comfort of predictability
a repeated poke on the arm
this is the song that never ends . . . .
a day dream (night dream?) bubble appears above the bed
a cartoon switch where I can reach up
and embrace the quiet of a restful night
many would misdiagnose it as anxiety
and I'll admit
it used to be endless worry
until You came in with Your word
and butterflied letters on a page into the truth of trust
now it's just me, my mind
and this swirling edie of ideas and randomness
the pressure to perform even in my sleep
the perfectionist equation of eight hours = normal
Paul had a thorn in his side
and I have a brain in my head
but maybe just
it's not such a curse
but a gift from You
and that's the real switch

"The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace." Romans 8:6

"Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Matthew 22:37

"Test me, O LORD, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
for your love is ever before me,
and I walk continually in your truth." Psalm 26:2-3

"But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more." Psalm 71:14

Monday, August 20, 2007

First Day of School

Time flies when you're having fun, but it zooms when you have kids.

wasn't it yesterday that I felt the first kick
brought her home, place her in a crib,
and rediscovered my purpose
in this little 8lb 13 oz. package wrapped in pink
now with backpack in tow
she heads off to the halls of wisdom
so much I want her to learn
like beauty beyond Barbie
wisdom beyond Dr. Seuss
and the adventures of You in stories
yet so much I don't want her to learn
like shame and insecurity
the teeter totter game of comparison
in the playground for approval.
Lord, keep her naive as long as possible
and help me study for this parenting quiz
on Chapter 1: Letting go . . .

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Thank you Lord for the opportunity to learn from great modern day leaders.
I am humbled by where You've placed me in this next chapter.
May I continue to be an arrow pointing to You.

"Nothing matters more than ownership of a vision." Bill Hybels

"People don't alwasy have to have thier way; they just need to have their way considered." Bill Hybels

"There will be vision leaks. Your followers have real lives. Keep up with the refills." Bill Hybels

"Are you the owner of the vision you are carrying out, or are you just a hired hand?" Bill Hybels

"Accept the fear people have of someone who's different. But don't let their prejudice become your burden." Carly Fiorina

(This one hit home. You and I know I've always struggled to fit in and let it somehow define me as inadequate in my own mind. Maybe it's time to let go of the burden . . . Thanks for this session and Carly's life story. )

"Many fears are stupid, but they're real. And everytime you overcome a fear, you get stronger. None of us can learn unless we're outside our comfort zones." Carly Fiorina

"Passion can blind as well as motivate; you need enough objectivity to see things as they really are." Carly Fiorina

"One of the most important aspects of a leader is authenticity." Carly Fiorina

"Most people believe that as you grow, your personality changes, but the truth is that as you grow, you become more of who you already are." Marcus Buckingham

"The true challenge is to address your strengths without bragging and your weaknesses without whining." Marcus Buckingham

"Most people believe that you grow the most in your areas of weakness, but the truth is you grow most in your areas of strength." Marcus Buckingham

"You appetites drive your success. Don't just look at what you're good at, look at what you are good at AND you enjoy." Marcus Buckingham

"Maybe risk is the definition of righteousness." Mark Batterson

"God reconditions our guilt with grace and our fear with faith. "Mark Batterson

"Don't accumulate possessions; accumulate experiences." Mark Batterson

"Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the author of our faith. When we let our fear hold us back, we rob the author of a great story through our experiences. Are you living your life in a way that is worth telling stories about?" Mark Batterson

"Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshipping what's right with God." Mark Batterson
(These last two will keep me awake at night . . . in a good way. )

That was the sound of me soakin' it all up like a sponge . . .

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Reclaiming Inheritance

"Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don't want anyone looking down on God's Message because of their behavior." Titus 2:3-5

Three generations head to the mountains of Georgia
to get spiritually renewed and Titus 2'd
eleven hour drive quickly slides the sands of time
with some good conversation and a hymnal from 1953
somehow my mind discovers time travel
and the vehicle is four part harmony
with words and melodies I didn't even know I still knew
over 70 hymns quietly freefloating in my little mind
drinking in the voices of the past
I'm back at summer campmeetings in open concrete buildings
I'd look up at the wooden beams and trace the triangles with my fingers
Jesus fans blinking away the humidity
sweat trickling on the brows of the men
while the women try to maintain the grace of powdered beauty
but the glittery "glow" hides discreetly at the temples
where the horizon of hairspray sculpture meets the blushing cheek
smiling crimson lips part and high heels bounce
I would take off my sandals and feel the cool concrete on my feet
daydreaming about the homemade iced cream served after the service
as the minister spoke in a tilt-a-whirl sort of a way
too fast for me to comprehend
but I could sense the momentum of adventure
I would see an ant under the pew and follow his story
but just before he could reach is new friend the pill bug
I'd hear my second favorite sound
click, click, creek
as the seats adjust to emptiness
and sh, shhhhh, shhh
as the hymnal pages spin
chests all puff up like stretching flowers at sunrise
in the breath before beauty
and then . . .
"Praise the Lord, my heart with his love is beaming,
I am a child of God
Heaven's golden light over me is streaming
I am a child of God (repeat 2x)
I have washed my robes in the cleansing fountain
I am a child of God . . ." (Barney Warren, 1907)
Thank You, Lord for relevant hymns one hundred years old
for this annual weekend of Titus 2,
for an inheritance you can't record in a checkbook
most of all, for three generations who take time
to strip away all masks
sing some old songs
and chase after You

"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."
Bob Marley

"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness."
Maya Angelou

Saturday, July 28, 2007

On the Doorstep

tonight You set the stage
for the ask of a lifetime
as we begin a new series at church
centered around the beauty of doors
my heart and mind are dancing in a whirlwhind
toe-tapping anticipation
the give and take of fear and trust like swaying hips
and most of all
the ache for so many former students and co-workers
Nothing would compare to seeing them walk through the door
to find You
and that something they know is missing
that something more they can't define
but many of them will not come
so many other doors are calling them
and the bright lights and catch phrases
often outweigh Your gentle knocking
but I will choose to look down at the glass half full
and rejoice for those that will come
and choose You
I can picture You placing each stepping stone
on the path that would lead them there
but ultimately it is up to them
thanks for the butterflies
and that gasp of breath
as we all stand on the doorstep

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

"Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens." Psalm 78:23

"Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway." Proverbs 8:34

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

"Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door." Matthew 24:33

"Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose." Acts 16:26

"So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them." Mark 2:2

"Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door." Mark 13:29

"He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to." Luke 13:24

"The whole town gathered at the door . . ." Mark 1:33

If only . . . .

Saturday, July 21, 2007

And She's Off ...

"Righteous Father, the world has never known you, But I have known you, and these disciples know That you sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them— Who you are and what you do— And continue to make it known, So that your love for me Might be in them Exactly as I am in them." John 17:24b

Your precious cargo will board a plane today
packing more than just clothes in their suitcases
one small step for GCC, one giant leap for Sarah
a week of firsts
first plane trip
first time out of the country
first mission trip
I remember my first mission trip
how your heart breaks and overflows all at once
how you feel like someone tore off the outer protective layer of your skin
and you're left with this raw awareness of your own insignificance
and yet your own purpose all at once
how hard physical labor somehow feels like your favorite sport
and your biggest fear is no longer Americana social rejection
but rather that you aren't able to help enough
or that you've wasted the last few years of your life with nonsense
I tried to explain it to her in some blind effort to prepare her
but it was like trying to talk with peanut butter in my mouth
or when Mom tried to explain motherhood to me before Lauren
or when scripture glosses over until I fumble through a challenge and look back
she is in for the ride of her life
and the best part comes when she realizes Who's really driving
I lean in anticipating Your blessings to come for all involved
and for this incredible girl
who for the last nine months
has been walking toward You
may all that's stripped away
only strengthen her sensation of You
in this week of sprinting and spending

"And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lemon Drops

"'I don't think the way you think.
The way you work isn't the way I work.'
God's Decree.
"For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don't go back until they've watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They'll do the work I sent them to do,
they'll complete the assignment I gave them." Isaiah 55:8-11 (Msg)

phew, what a day
perfectionist devil on the shoulder
looks back and points the little red scepter
at all the lemons thrown throughout the day
Lauren's tears and and open-mouthed, tongue-shaking cries
as she battled a stomach ache
and I hear a lemon drop
e-mails about miscommunication
in only my second week on the job
lemon drop
after fifty seamless rehearsals at home
my mind draws a blank at tech rehearsal
lemon drop
right before church Lauren
somehow manages to get a piece of mulch in her eye
lemon drop
after a day of praying and going over and over
and over a crucial message, a beautiful illustration
of the door You built for us
I somehow manage to turn my microphone off instead of on
major giant mutant mama lemon drop with nunchucks
after years of never blanking out on stage
it seems to make sense that it would occur on the day of a thousand lemon drops
but the greatest thing of all
is that when life hands us lemons
You make lemonade.
Lauren is sleeping soundly,
Buddha belly and gorgeous eyes back to normal
and even though my neurotic estrogen chemicals
are presenting the evidence of failure to the jury in my brain
I object and somehow know that in the midst of all my blundering
You found a way to recruit a few more door-keepers
and make some lemonade.
Cuz that's just the way You roll.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Better Than Mary Kay

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful." 1 Peter 3: 3-5

I swing in the beauty of your painted world
my new favorite spot for mornings with You
a canopy of branches cheers me on
to the training for inner beauty
and the manual sits in my lap
as the wind dances around us
my little beauty came by for a visit
and the text takes on a layer as I look into her eyes
teach me so I can pass on to her
the freedom of true beauty
beyond makeup and magazine covers
the beauty of knowing You

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

There's More than Corn . . .

"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." 1 Peter 2:2-3

I've always loved corn on the cob
but Saturday
I was introduced to farmer's market corn on the cob
so succulent
when I went for seconds, I didn't even need butter and salt
I never knew what I was missing.

I've always loved my job
but this week
I was inroduced to my new career
so sweet
when I went the next day, I didn't even need the alarm clock
I never knew what I was missing.

I've always loved You
but this year
I was introduced to new depths of You I never imagined
so close
when I wake up each day, I don't even need rhetoric
I never knew what I was missing . . .

Friday, July 06, 2007

Isaiah, Hezekiah, and ABrandNewDay-ah

"If we come expecting God, we will meet Him and be changed by the encounter." Jason Miller, "Illumination" sermon 7/5/07

patterns, structure, and routine
they can comfort like a favorite blankey
or torture like a dripping faucet
provide that coming-home safety
or that punchclock, cubicle monotony
our morning quiet time has not been so quiet lately
reading Your word like a novel
as a New year's resolution is proving tougher than I thought
the shiny cover of the Daily Chronological Bible
now worn with white creases like dried skin
my rose-colored glasses make me wince
as I read of the war, bloodshed, and the violent cycle of Isreal
But this morning I took a moment
A moment to call You near
like an over-the-shoulder tutor whispering new insights
with occasional pats on the back
like scratch n sniff stickers back when pigtails were cool
after trudging through the prophets like mud to my knees
like some pouting child in time out,
listening with my arms folded to the promises of destruction
wrath, wailing,weeping, gnashing of teeth,and sackcloth
but today You reminded me in that gentle tutor voice
that the darkness of conflict tends to illuminate the light of victory
my arms felt like feathers and floated toward the pages
to let my fingers trace new meaning
and Isaiah stepped in with the ultimate preview
"a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse . ..
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes...
but with righteousness he will judge the needy"
fingers dance through the pages, light on their tips with anticipation
just then Hezekiah stepped in to break the cycle of royal corruption
"He removed the high places and smashed the sacred stones...
There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah ...
He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow him..."
my arms shoot up for a touchdown sign!
and I'm reminded why I should never do my quiet time in public . . .
too risky
so risky I just might look forward to it
so from now on
I will come to meet You
like a child's Christmas Eve,
dusk on the fourth of July,
Price is Right door #3,
or better yet
an opportunity to be near You

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:2-7

" He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.) Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him." 2 Kings 18:3-7

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thank You

Today I am wordlessly overwhlemed with the many blessings I don't deserve
So I am saying the only two words that have been swirling around in my mouth-gaping head
Thank YOU

"Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4