Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Loving Life with Liz

Yesterday morning as I was playing with her in her room, Elizabeth asked, "Where is JW?"  (uncle James)
I said, "He's in Longview."
She paused then smiled at that fun sounding word.
She tilted her head slightly and smirked, "Longv-Me? or Longv-You?"


Later, as I was busily stirring supper pots and peaking in the oven, Elizabeth stood and watched.
With beaming admiration, she encouraged, " such a good maker!"


Last night, I was thinking about how much Elizabeth has grown in her brief two and a half years of life.  I found this picture. 

Look at that little muffin!!  Her fists are at her cheeks, swaddled away in the blanket corners so as not to scratch herself.  And there's my man...burning up the cell.

This photo speaks to me.

So often I feel helpless.  Suspended in mid air, unable to effect change, generally unsure of my surroundings.  And yet, my Heavenly Father "has me".  I'm wrapped - safe and secure; held in God's firm grip of grace.  And all the while, He is busy attending to His glory...doing His business...working His plan.  

Before I took a breath, God was engaging His mind, employing His energies to take hold, and look after my well-being.  Completely engrossed in His efforts toward His glory and my eternal good.

"This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held."

"What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?"

Bless the Lord!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Joy Dare 2.27.12

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

sturdy over-sized plastic bags, filled with a new round of library books
my faithful washing machine and dutiful dryer
candied rectangles of mint gum...fresh and tasty

how simple it is to find gentleness and self-control when Philip is home
how God gave me rest even when I couldn't grab a nap
how you find what you look for...hurt, lies,, truth, peace

fresca from the fridge
a mixing bowl of batter
perfectly sharpened pencils

good morning hugs
creme brulee coffee
"Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young

Philip's study Bible
milk from the dairy
flat irons that can curl and curling irons that can flatten hair just as well.

Mari Alice's struggle against expressing her emotions
a glimpse of my exaggerated eyes in the shiny gold piano lamp
God's goodness in His perfect timing

a sinkful of dishes from a hearty meal, basketfuls of laundry from a hefty agenda
my plain silver substitute wedding band ...worthless but for symbolized significance
knowing God sees it all...I can be overwhelmed and weary, but I am not invisible.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm Singing!

For several months, Mari has been asking questions and wanting to discuss issues of faith.  Last fall, she was adamant that she wanted to "take Jesus as her Savior".  We recognized that particular phrasing from another household of friends.  When I asked her what "Savior" meant, she couldn't really tell me.  I knew that God had begun a good work in her and I didn't sense a need to rush things.  He would be faithful to complete it.

When she took my wedding ring off the counter and lost it last fall, the conversations escalated in frequency, duration, and depth.  We discussed the intricacies of remorse, forgiveness, and our human inability to restore things....sometimes we just CAN'T make things right.

Her apparent brokenness over my lost ring was clear evidence of God's movement in her life.  We continued to trust Him.
Sunday night, in MP3 (kid's choir), I was introducing a new song.  Everyone seemed rambunctious, so

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


My Friend, Heidi

By Mari Alice Johnson

We've been friends since we were two.  I think she is so sweet and fun to play with.  I like it when she shares her lunch with me.  The funniest thing that ever happened is when one time when I was at her house, she jumped on her bed and then she falled down and said, "Boo!  I'm OK!"  I laughed a lot.

She likes me and she's sweet and all that.  I love it when she comes to my house because we go outside and do fun stuff.  She was a princess in the game we played and I was the servant.

How long do I think we'll be friends?  Well, we're best friends forever, so I say a long time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Aunt Jeannie and Mari Alice

My Dad's sister, "the GREAT Aunt Jeannie" came last night for a visit.  She brought along my "SUPER GREAT Aunt Bootsie" and my dear cousin, Leslie...the friend who would be my comfy friend even if we were not technically related...10 minutes with Leslie makes me wish I lived in her town.  (We were busy chatting over coffee to pose for any photos.  Sorry.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Joy Dare 2.20.12

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

roses rich with sentiment
solo cups with sharpie personalization and disposable ease
cough syrup to settle and soothe

the beautiful Body of Christ
when my eyes are fixed on Him
His marvelous swap shop of failure for freedom

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Save Me

I have a Gateway Worship book that I like to play through and sing.  For years, I skipped over a beautiful song entitled, "Save Me."  I suppose the good girl in me simply saw it as a check mark on a list.  "Save Me".  Got it.  I'm Saved.  I don't need to sing that one.

I know God has saved me from my sins.  The blood of Jesus continually and completely provides forgiveness.  And I believe this.

But God has offered to rescue me from ME.  The resurrected body of Christ signifies life available to me so that I might live abundantly.  It would not appear that I fully believe this. 

I continue to strive and serve and produce and perform.
This ME living.  Not Christ living in me.
I am my own enemy in the battle for surrender. 
(Yes, surrender seems to be a battle for me, at times.)

Now I sing this song several times a week.

"I love you, O LORD, my strength. 

 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge...

I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved." ~ Psalm 18 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Witness Protection

Maybe I've watched one too many crime dramas.  But this week, as I grappled with God's plan to make all things new, He showed me a cool picture of my new life in Him. 

Witness Protection.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

A new identity.
A fresh start.
The only option for real safety.

No evidence of my former life.
He creates in me and for me - a new story.

(I become the righteousness of Christ. ` Philippians 3:9)

But leaving the old life can seem inconvenient or even scary.
There may be aspects of that old life that you think you'll miss -
relationships that beg to stow away, lifestyles that tug to carry over.

Reality says your life is in danger.
The only way to save your life and truly live is accept this new life.
And for that, you must -in essence- die.

But contrary to the purpose of witness protection, and keeping your testimony a secret, the beauty of being God's protected witness, is that you are free to share your story...your whole story...including the old that is now gone, and the new that is grace.

"For you have died, and your life is hidden in Christ with God." Colossians 3:3
We have been placed into safety and liberated to live & share life freely.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Patience in a Perfecting Love Story

Philip and I had a rough season.  Our anniversary always falls after the holiday rush, and near the conclusion of deer season and annually, I find myself almost fed up with my life....feeling alone, neglected, unmotivated, cranky and loserish.  
After 18 years of marriage, I'm just done-done hashing it all out. I got to the [ugly cry] moment where I no longer needed to be right. I didn't even need him to change anything. I was just done. Not "I'm leaving" done.   Just "worn slap out, not striving any longer" done.
 So, I had a smallish meltdown.

At the rocky bottom, I cried out to one friend.  A friend without the appearance of a perfect life...who shares her humanity...and the unconditional love of Jesus.  She listened to my ugliness and hurt and she prayed with me. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Words With God

Ah!  The thrill of playing "joke" on a triple letter, triple word space.  Triple digit score!!

Aside from pluralizing words with the coveted "s" tiles, my favorite part of WordsWithFriends is tapping the "shuffle" button.  I love to watch as my eight tiles scurry and float to swap places.  Time after time after time.  Same letters.  Seemingly limitless combinations.

Here is are two words that use the same letter tiles.

PRESERVE: to keep safe from harm or injury; protect or spare

PERSEVERE: maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly; uphold.

(a dyslexic nightmare, I know:)

They look so similar, and yet contradict each other in meaning...especially in Kingdom issues.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Joy Dare 2.6.12

Giving thanks to God in community for His gifts ...

the title to the pick-up truck
Philip's consistent demonstration of his love through acts of service this week
Luke at 4 years old.  Luke this week.  Same hair.

girls that giggle around a bountiful luncheon
that deep quiet just before the toddler awakes from her nap
food offered to volunteers...a relaxing meal that redeems time and energy