Thursday, June 28, 2007

Before and After

Cinderella, Moses, and Trading Spaces
Weight watcher scales with smiling faces
What Not to Wear and A Makeover Story
The blooming of a Morning Glory
a tearful mom gets a brand new kitchen
on Extreme Makeover Home Edition
Joseph from the pit to the throne
a lump of coal to a precious stone
desert to paradise and beauty from ruin
hopelessness until You come in
an art easel and my daughter's hand
the Isrealites reach the promised land
makeovers have always pulled me in
perhaps because of who I've been
before You picked up this lump of clay
when life seemed just a shadow play
thank You for helping us make a house a home
and a barefoot yard for Lauren to roam
the master artist of all things new
and for creating us in the image of You
so we too can use our minds and hands
to evoke beauty in limited circumstance
for changing our mourning into laughter
for all Your glory in the befores and afters

"That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country." Romans 6:3-5(MSG)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, Abba
Thanks for the gentle fatherly advice throughout the day
the blanket of security as I stretched
and woke up to my three favorite guys
I kissed my husband on the cheek
and I took just a minute to watch him sleep
his chest rising and falling like the sun
and despite my back-seat driving
and hands on the hips questions
he is safety
I walked out to the living room and dad was on the couch
with his fishing shows
somethings never change
and as spontaneous as I like to be
it's comfort
a snapshot of my safety before the wedding bouquet
smiling, laughing, crumbs on the table breakfast and onto church
where the pastor reminds me that You are a generous Dad
he asks that we pick a fruit of the spirit
and ask You for more
I scroll the list, thanking You
remembering how You gave me back my joy
how you taught me faithfulness in college
how Lauren teaches me kindness every day
I land on "peace" and something catches
like someone pulling of a mask
it's funny how people tend to think I have it all together
not knowing the "what if" wasps that constantly swarm in my head
I scribble a secret prayer to You and stuff it in my purse
off to the new house to work
it's Father's Day
and my three favorite guys are still giving of themselves
dad doing what he can
painting in meticulous corners with his reading glasses
Cody moving from project to project
a man on a mission of building memories in a setting of beauty
and still taking a moment to take Lauren on the ride of her life
in a little red wagon
and You
giving me this day, these guys, this beautiful view
and a moment of tranquility
Happy Father's Day

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23

"Which fruit of the spirit do you need to ask God to increase in your life?" Rob Wegner

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15

Friday, June 15, 2007


Session One: Donald Miller
(author of two of my favorite books "Blue Like Jazz" and "Searching for God Knows What")
1.) "It's the mathmatician not the poet who goes mad. The mathmatician is trying to get heaven into his head; the poet is trying to get his head into heaven." GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy
2.) "Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was a cry for Protestants and Catholics to come together at the truth of the cross. The Balcony scene was Jesus wooing us. (paraphrased)
3.) Artists help bring heaven to earth. Sometimes a simple poetic grunt and a pointing finger is all people need to find the hope of Christ." (paraprhased)

Sessions Two: Erwin McManus
(author of "Soul Cravings",next on the 'to read' list along with "Orthodoxy"by GK Chesterton)
1.) "Look at your fingerprint. It is evidence of an Artist who scribbled you. It's our permission to scribble outside the lines to create new beauty that points to Him. (paraphrased)
2.) Sometimes our job is to pick up the pens that people dropped in their pain and return them with hope so they might continue writing their story.
3.) We keep hoping for someone else to create the future, so we can react to it. The question is not what kind of church we want to become but rather what kind future we want to create."

Session Three: The Ride Home
1.) Chicago traffic is the seventh circle of Hadeez.
2.) Baked Lays are only delicious when you've waited until 4:00 to eat lunch.
3.) Good conversation is the ultimate energy drink.
4.) Shelley Arredondo and Dalene Stuteville are two amazing women who taught me alot more than any of the one hour speakers.
5.) The look on your family's face when you come back from a trip is mastercard priceless.

Thank you so much, Lord, for this experience
of opening my eyes to all that is right with the world
gathering more crayons in the box
and for permission to scribble...

"This is what God says,
the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
they lie down and then can't get up;
they're snuffed out like so many candles:
Forget about what's happened;
don't keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new.
It's bursting out! Don't you see it?
There it is! I'm making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say 'Thank you!'
—the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me."
Isaiah 43:16-21

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gathering Crayons

Thursday Session One: Efrem Smith
1.) "The problem is that most Christians view themselves as Batman instead of Superman. Batman has no special powers, relies on gadgets, and is motivated by revenge. Superman is from a different planet, and he just wants to save the world."
2.) Insecurity in Christian artists can cripple the spirit of God in a church.
3.) Frustration can be an onramp to a calling from God.
4.) Without storms, you would have no story."

(Um, this session is part of my "next right thing" before starting the job. Tackle insecurity and find a red cape.)

Thursday Session Two: Mark Miller
1.) "A lot of pastors see artists as vending machines of creativity, so how do we restock the machine? We expand our world.
2.) Fill your lives with random input. It's like coloring with the lame four crayon pack at restaurants versus the sixty-four pack. When you expand your world and pray for creativity from God, you'll see colors Crayola hasn't even thought of yet.
3.) You want to unleash endless amounts of creativity? Pray . . .a lot."

(Awesome, now my weird, unpredictable, outside the box, child-like activities can all be umbrella'd into "gathering crayons".)

Thursday Session Three: Jeff Berryman
This was a full-length one-man play called "Leaving Ruin" depicting the life of a Texan preacher and his struggles in ministry. Based on a book by Cyrus Manning with the same title, it was riveting from beginning to end. I was mostly moved by Cyrus' love for individual quirky members of his congregation and his transparent passion for his wife. It was truly an honest story of living in the contradiction.

(Inspiring, made me think I might have to write something like this one day. Lord, I'll give that one to You until further notice. That's a big elephant to swallow.)

Thursday Night film Festival
This night honored media artists from a handful of churches, including ours, and was an amazing gallery of creative minds. I cried during most of the category of "Stories" which included a woman who lost her father to cancer, a couple who almost lost their twin boys, and especially a girl who told about coming to church and not ever talking to anyone. Cody would have loved tonight because of the new techniques and ideas, would have added a few crayons to his box, though he's already coloring from a pretty big pallette.

(A great Matthew 6:1 opportunity. Shhh . . . don't tell. And Cody has got to come with me next year. Maybe we could hide Lauren in the suitcase . . . )

Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions." Exodus 16:4

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Just Breathe

In this overload of nuggets of truth
from You and other artists chasing Your beauty
only to repaint it for others
I'm taking a moment to preserve them in a snapshot click...

Session One: Dewitt Jones
1. ) "Creativity is the moment where we see not redundancy but opportunity. It feels like falling in love with the world. Life really is that beautiful when you are open enough to see it."
2.) "When we are growing up, art and life are segregated. Art is the fun elective you get to take after all the boring classes that supposedly prepare us for life. But you can make your life a truly extraordinary piece of art when you celebrate all that is right in the world."
3.) "Begin each day with a full cup, and hang out with people who love their jobs."
4.) Quit flapping and ride the wind. Maybe it's the noise of your own flapping that keeps You from hearing from God."
5.) God built the greatest life lesson into one breath. Take it all in, and give it all back."

Session Two: Nancy Beach
1.) "If we as artists do not speak to the absence of God, we will not awaken the search for his presence. Our message of hope must be rooted in both darkness and light. We must live in the contradiction. Embrace the darkness while pointing to the light. All we can offer sometimes is a bit of a broken hallelujah."
2.) "You have to step through a doorway of truth to find a sense of wonder." Bono

Session Three: Dan Kimball
1.)"They like Jesus but not the church. Most non believers see the church as organized religion and right wng politics, buildings filled with judgemental, male-dominating, female oppressing, homophobic, I'm right-you're wrong, fundamentalists who take everything in the bible literally."
2.) Is your church attractional or missional in nature?"

sometimes i choke
in the captivity of activity
forgetting to float on the breeze of You
even when the wind changes
help me to choose exhilaration over fear
opportunity over redundancy
in the buffet line of turbulence
i long to slow down so i can pickup the pace
and chase You like a child with a camera
through a doorway of truth
i miss the pigtail barefoot
grass-tickling days of simplicity
like a child's first sleepover
and mommy's just a phone call away
only this is not the time for bravery
the dream to speak candidly on Your seeming absence
so they sense Your tangible presence
is now just a sideview mirror away
steady the table of rolling coins
in my neurotic, aftershock, alarm clock mind
where living in the contradiction
all resides in one breath
tonight i lift up a broken hallelujah
as i try to quit flapping and ride the wind
suddenly the lengthy job description
slinkies itself down to one simple word

"He makes winds his messengers,
flames of fire his servants." Psalm 104:4

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Home Sick

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24: 16

I almost drowned today
in a pile of dust, dripping piant rollers, and mounds of wall paper scraps
see, the tape measure just isn't long enough
to tell us if we'll really measure up
in "My Country 'tis of Me, Sweet Land of vanity"
it gets hard to hear that still small voice
in the mowing, trimming, sawing, hammering, drilling
HGTV, DIY, TLC world of home improvement
whether keeping up with the Joneses or the Marthas
it all feels a little like that dream
where you're giving a speech in your underwear
like Alice after she stepped through the looking glass
or a constant elementary opposite Day
I wonder if the mother bird ever deals with rolling eyes
when all she wants to do is keep her children safe
When the lies begin to soak in and insecurity begins to bubble
You flood my mind with mission trip memories
and I swim for the surface to find the light of Your truth
the truth is
we are blessed beyond what we deserve
in the global insanity, we sit in the lap of luxury
our little girl now has a yard to play in
this mother bird only wants to create beauty to point people to You
wall color and drapes are just the background
the real vision is
family, neighbors,friends, a safe haven for all who need one
casual coffee conversations in a little nest by the river
that might bring them one step closer to You
and eternal life in the only real home we'll ever know
because maybe
we are all just a little
home sick.