Monday, December 16, 2013
This beautiful problem
square hole of a story
an army of round pegs
and an answered prayer.
But when the applause dies
the curtain call ends
and they head back to school
remind them of Your applause
in every second of every day
regardless of nailing performance
Your standing ovation
for who You made them to be…
To our Scrooge kids:
If I could clean your looking glass
To reveal the lie of what you see
A lead-footed figure stands before you
Like a steel cup of cold coffee.
Your dark eyes pound the glass
To record another failure
An endless search for imperfection
Like a ship without a sailor.
A crooked mouth turns with a sigh
To set free any lingering ambition
For dreams only lead to suicide
And hope—your ammunition.
Legs not thin enough to swim at the pool
Not strong or fast enough to win the next race
A mind filled with only choices
Between not trying and last place.
Ears made deaf to the words of truth
A nose too pudgy, arms that sag,
A fistful of borrowed anger
But it’s only your cleaning rag.
I know because I saw what you see
When I was just your age
Filled with thoughts of jealousy, failure,
Loneliness and rage.
If I knew the truth and had cleaned my glass
Oh, the things I could have done
The places I could have gone
And great battles I could have won.
If I could clean your looking glass
To reveal the truth of what We see
A majestic winged figure stands
Like regal royalty.
Your bright eyes look away
To the opportunities in the distance
Though your blindness hides them
I know you can reach them with persistence.
Your mouth holds the words prisoner
That I know could change the world
If I could only make you clean your glass
Your inhibitions would be unfurled
Legs that could take you anywhere
To glorious lands and adventures rare
A mind painted with dreams
And inventions no one would dare.
Ears that could open finally
To feed that ravenous mind
And that tightened fist full of cloth
With the power to seek and find.
Yet you stand by your glass
Haunted by those lead feet
When your wings are eager to soar
As they stretch and yearn to beat.
Oh, please lift your hand.
Oh, please see the truth.
For life is fleeting
And so is your youth.
I cannot clean your looking glass.
Though how I wish I could.
For only you can wipe away
The bad and see the good.
So fold your rag. Wipe the glass.
See your wings today.
So I can watch you find your dreams
And finally fly away.
"The journey in between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place." ~Barabra DeAngelis
"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16
Monday, November 04, 2013
some pray for rain
but I run in the fall rain
and pretend it's spring
dreaming of an epitaph that reads
"All around her things bloom nonstop"
listening for ideas whispered
and falling in drops like clues
like seeds that could grow
in the dry ground of a heart
and make it fertile again
blossoming into a tall sunflower
swaying in this cracked, earthen field
to the song of peace joy purpose
bending in the breeze to worship You
and let it all begin
with the seed of a story
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
"Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see."
C. S. Lewis
"The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart." Maya Angelou
"Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story—" Psalm 107:2a
"...let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge..." Proverbs 1:5-7
"With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand." Mark 4:33
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Sometime I wish I lived in a Norman Rockwell painting
Settled down in that vivid warmth and silliness
Uneven socks in their breathtaking imperfection
impish winks above cherry cheeks
Soda shop counters on a first name basis
That left corner of the mouth turned up into life
George Bailey lassoing the moon in baggie pants
Bubble gum apple pie simplicity
A dance of playful rest
Wrinkled wisdom of the ages beckoning us to listen
Reminding me of Park Place Church of God
That white steepled stained glass gift box
Where my all my aunts and uncles tied the not
Where Dad gaped at Mom coming down the aisle
And 25 years later I walked out a breathless bride
Now Sunday mornings spark littered pews of mostly silver hair
Some would lament the aging of a church
But I can’t help but think of old Norman Rockwell
And how every wrinkle tells a story
Every baggy eye hiding some impish wisdom,
every note in the worn hymnals floating up in classic praise
like the perfume of home cooked meals
wafting in snug homes blocks away from any Golden arches
where old seems new and nostalgia is the new modern
and where I breathe a little easier
I wonder what I could learn from the minds and hearts
of these silver crowned sages
what epic stories of faith
what buried treasures
lie in wait
what if the young looked up from our smartphones
to bow with respect to the aged
They don’t have an app for that.
“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear, as young as your hope, as old as your despair. “ Douglas MacArthur
“The years teach much the days never knew.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” Proverbs 16:31
“Wisdom is with aged men; with long life is understanding.” Job 12:12
“Lift high your praises when the people assemble,
shout Hallelujah when the elders meet!” Psalm 107:32
Friday, August 09, 2013
This hand-me-down quilted kaleidoscope
this legacy of unorthodox saints all marching in
with the spirits of Joe and Dorothy on their knees
bed-side offerings knelt down and lifted up to you
like the sweet aroma of Grandma's roast
Great is Thy Faithfulness to us all
and I am humbled to be planted in such rich soil.
We are dog-eared hymnals and underlined bibles
"Oh Forevermore's" and pink shirt embroidery parades
echoing laughter floating out from above prominent chins
Thursday letters and detailed vacation photo captions
doxology melodies that link our hands, hearts and voices to You
we are quirky barber-shop-quartet-loving, piano-playin',
puppeteering, RV missionaries on the move,
We are teachers, preachers, counselors, soldiers,
truck-drivers, nurses, social workers, speakers, listeners
and forever students of life
We come to You from Germany and Kansas, Korea and Ohio
Puerto Rico and Florida, Indiana and Abu Dhabi,
From Tennessee, Illinois, Alabama, Connecticut
and wherever You call us from or send us to.
Our gestures are animated. Our voices are loud.
We have weird jokes, loud whistles, and wide grins.
We love puzzles, planning, and playing instruments,
We jump into silly card, token, dice, domino board games
only to be together and not keep score
All three sons now married 50 plus years
hand me down legacy of marriage the way You meant it to be
Slide shows and talent shows
5 minute skits that make us giggle and sniff
Tiny dogs that fit in bags and red trucks as big as Texas
And from test results for both young and old
that make us hold each other
a little longer and a little tighter
An expanding faith enclosed in our embraces
and choosing to trust Your love in our worry
with that misty picture of Joe and Dorothy
on their knees and in our hearts.
And we choose to offer this gift of family
back up to You
the root of our ever-growing family tree.
"What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories. " ~George Eliot
"He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly." Acts 10:2
"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." ~Desmond Tutu
"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."Joshua 24:15
"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together."
"Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck." Proverbs 1:8
“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” George Bernard Shaw
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Mecca of improv and comedy
sequel revenge of the soccer moms
two overworked and underpaid
overextended and underwired moms
ready to be little girls again
trading in our messy buns for pigtails
traveling back in time when silliness was like breathing
and we made up stories on the spot.
Back to innocence but carrying the moxie of motherhood
packed in the backpacks we stole from our kids' rooms
ready to dive back in the pool of our own gifts
swim some laps toward our dreams
and let our kids be the ones cheering from the stands
A delicious rarity
5 day buffet week to fill our plates first
Time to laugh, write, imagine,
and rediscover who we really are in You.
Let the crazy frizzy mom hair flow
like the pens on blue lines
with clusters and lists of 10.Heavy totem pole of hats we wear lifted off our minds
one by one
so our hearts, filled with You, can breath deeper
and exhale you into others
who think Polyanna church ladies are outdated, out of touch, outwitted
May Your glory outshine all these stardom seekers,
May Your laughter drown their fears,
May Your story make us all kids again,
trusting in a daddy who tells the best jokes.
“Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you." Revelation 3:20(msg)
“Life is worth living as long as there's a laugh in it.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
God’s Message: “‘I’ll turn things around...I’ll compassionately come in and rebuild...Thanksgivings will pour out of the windows; laughter will spill through the doors. Things will get better and better. Depression days are over. They’ll thrive, they’ll flourish...to being a community in which I take pride."
“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”
― Mark Twain
"On your feet now. Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence."Psalm 100:1-2
“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.”
― Audrey Hepburn
Saturday, June 15, 2013
I rush to move forward in the story
pencil sprinting across the page
fingertips clicking to race the raindrop rhythm outside
and the storm grows nearer
the wall towers.
the breeze, the rush, the thrill is gone
I stand still and look up, dreaming of leaping over in a single bound
Begging for the quick fix thought, sentence, word that will bypass the climb
But it's a barefoot grip with shaking toes and fingers
it's slips and falls, its grunts and lip bites
sweat and quivering aching muscles crawling inch by inch.
Sometimes no matter how many times you march around the city,
no matter how loud you blow the trumpets,
the walls remain.
Calling us to claw our way inch by inch
because Your whispers are in the work.
Your holiness in the harness
Your voice in the vigor.
The blank page stares
The blank screen dares
from the God who cares.
"Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it." Madeleine L'Engle
"Clean the slate so we can start the day fresh !Keep me from from thinking I can take over-so I can start this day sun-washed clean." Psalm 19:12
"Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility." Saint Augustine
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Everyone is running their own silent marathon
test results, job losses, divorce papers,
their past pounding like a headache,
yelling mirrors screaming comparison lies,
slamming doors behind picket fence dreams,
promises broken like skin around knives in their backs,
fears of unseen monsters lurking in a ticking clock,
us vs. them rage that scratches that itch to belong,
that dark cloud that weighs them down in bed each morning,
Their starting line one eyelid raised,
a move of the covers
or just a foot on the floor,
the finish line that same position
that same night, that same day,
a circle track that leaves them dizzy
I used to run away too.
I used to trudge through the day
I used to run away from home
until I found I was chasing You in the horizon,
stretched wide like the prodigal Father's arms
always waiting, watching, ready with a party,
my running steps, a lullaby rhythm
rocking my beehive brain to sleep
just enough to hear You whisper... I'm here.
Knees and hips stab bee stings from the hive
Nothing compared to nails through your hands and a spear in Your side
All so we could here you say...I'm here.
Then a community vision of marathon proportions
a finish line in 2016
a transformed community that knows You are here.
So...You whispered a calling
this not-soProverbs 31 woman will run 31 miles
for them, for a broken tired humanity,
that hits the Michiana pavement every morning
looking down in a concrete city that blocks their view
I will run by them, for them,
hoping they might look up long enough
to see You waiting on the Horizon
and start their run alongside me
straight into Your arms.
“The reason we race isn't so much to beat each other,... but to be with each other.”
― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3
“I run because long after my footprints fade away, maybe I will have inspired a few to reject the easy path, hit the trails, put one foot in front of the other, and come to the same conclusion I did: I run because it always takes me where I want to go.”
― Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner
“Running! If there's any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can't think of what it might be. In running the mind flees with the body, the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and the swinging of our arms.”
― Joyce Carol Oates
"I listed all the reasons I was afraid that I could not finish the race. Then I said, "But Lord, if Your spirit runs through me, I will finish this race. With every breath in my lungs and all the strength in my muscles, I will keep going, only I can't do it without you. There's only one way to find out if I can finish this race, and thats to put my body out there and my unwavering faith in You. Lord, show me that You are with me." Scott Rigsby Unthinkable
"Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
Monday, April 22, 2013
I imagine heaven untamed
barefoot running over pine needle rocky trails
nature strobes through leaf canopy ceilings
fiddling daisies cover miles
beautiful weeds teaching us to treasure the rejects
I climb a mountain walking on my hands
toes tickling the sky, tap-dancing Your celestial floors
freshly hatched doves perch on my heels
waiting to unzip all fear and fly free
molting their symbol of peace to become it
where river swans can be counted
while their beauty is unbound by numbers
music playlist of Lauren's silly lollipop lip play songs
when she was three and dolls preferred operettas
beautiful nonsense where we name our toes
Philangia, Phil, Philbert, Philly cream cheese, and Hank
Where deepest calm floats like moss on the surface,
Your current rushing underneath dancing glass,
I chase it, as we skip on the water like rocks together
No sinking Peter fisherman stories, no storms,
no leprechauns, rabbits foot, good luck charms needed
only gold-tipped page promises fulfilled and smiling right at me
surprises at every turn of the eye, lift of the head,
cup of the ear, touch of the tip, bud of the taste,
swinging rope willow tree pendulum
now unhalted by big brother threats
safety net chasm of faith transformed,
we leap and laugh in the bouncy house of truth,
tight rope wind embraced as we fall into delight, unhindered,
falling is flying
we dip and glide over all the hungry, desperate places,
sprinkling food and joy like pixie dust
full-bellied sheltered smiles returned
but then I wake up
disheartened, I choose
to trust the dream
"First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss..." Genesis 1:1-2 (msg)
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.”
― Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
Friday, March 22, 2013
imagine white fluttering above this world
falling below in droplets as we trudge together
avalanche grace we ignore as we lumber, eyes in the mud
a walking hibernation
dreaming of some story of light and kindness looming
baffled, I scribble to point up
praying they trip over my sordid hallelujah chicken scratch
like hope hatching
and see the sun
...even if it makes them squint
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. -The Apostle Paul 1 Corinthians 9:22
"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything ... C. S. Lewis
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Our ancestors charted the course
road upon road of precise measure
bridges, tunnels, super highways and cul-de-sacs
But these roads are so much more than gravel, concrete, dirt and asphalt,
Our road becomes the unacknowledged witness
to the gritty moments in our wanderings on this earth.
These roads know the first hopeful steps of a toddler,
They caught the trickling blood from our knees
On the day dad let go of the bicycle seat,
They observe our first games of tag and catch,
The forbidden boundaries framing the safety in our fresh-cut yards,
Seeing us lean in for our first kiss, venture out that first night in the dorm,
The crossroads of adulthood, where choice and freewill,
Blur the map and the destination seems to disappear.
Roads that watched our good night kisses
are the same that hold us up as we run away from home.
The crossroad moments, where choice and freewill,
Blur the map and the destination seems to disappear.
Our road endures much as we sculpt it with our bustle to and fro
Potholes form, rocks fall, cars slam through guardrails,
Delays, detours, death in the family.
Highways with no exit ramps in site
Sudden twists and turns without slowing down,
Or worse yet, someone else behind the wheel,
Our life in their hands
And we wonder as we wander
How did we get here?
Some roads can be ugly, ominous, with sharp curves ahead.
still, they speak of progress and searching,
as we pursue meaning, find connections,
crave adventure, or long for home.
As we run this course before us, we hope for a safe spot to rest.
Yet we long for momentum,
Crave both freedom and direction, purpose and peace.
We pave our own way toward or away from something or someone.
The map leading the way
Suddenly appears more like a spider’s web
Wounded and confused, we ask
Where do we turn?
Then You whisper "Follow me" and...
A new horizon stretches before us
beautiful, promising, full of possibility.
Risk with a rush, void of fear, for You lead the way
We embrace and embody our mission
taking steps toward You together.
We will take Your message of hope to the unreached,
the hurting and the marginalized.
We will follow You.
For this is
“A line can be straight, or a street,
but the human heart, oh, no,
it's curved like a road through mountains.”
“You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly.” Ephesians 4:4-6
“And how blessed all those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel; They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain! God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!” Psalm 84:5-7
“Prepare God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!
Every ditch will be filled in, Every bump smoothed out,
The detours straightened out, All the ruts paved over.
Everyone will be there to see The parade of God’s salvation.”