Monday, April 23, 2012

Joy Dare 4.23.12

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

I thank God for things woven together:

preschool place mats
lattice fencing
the stories of our lives
Gifts inherited:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Walkin' & Talkin'

Mari walked briskly beside the stroller to keep up.  I was enjoying a gentle pace, but trying hard to keep up with her questions.

"Aren't those flowers pretty?"
"Do you hear those birds chirping?  Chirp!  Chirp!"
"What are those bike thingies they have by their driveway?"
"Did you see how I was careful to jump over that ant pile?"

Several more followed, but this one caught my attention:

"But Mom, how do you hear God speak if you can't hear Him?"

My best response on the go:

Well, you have to learn to hear His voice.  A lot of what He wants to say, He has already said in the Bible.  So when you have a question or a problem, He has most likely already given an answer in His Word.  For instance, the Bible says, "I am Your God who holds your right hand.  I say to you, 'do not be afraid, for I will help you!'"  So, when you are feeling afraid, and you ask Him to help you, He can bring to your mind His Word.  It's like He says, "Mari, remember, daughter, I am Your God and I am with you...don't be afraid."

Elizabeth interjects with a crisis.
Liz: Hey!  There's a bug on my leg.
Me: Well, shoo it away!" (Yes, shoo is a verb.)
Liz: No!  I don't want to!
Me: Just flick it away with your hand and say, "Shoo, Fly!"

(long pause to muster courage)
A timid swat and stern command.

Liz: I did it!  I shooed that bug away from my leg!  Mari!  You know what I did? I shooed that bug off my leg!  Are you so happy for me?

And as though we had never been interrupted by the pest control situation, Mari continued her query.

"Good job, Gizzy!"
"Are we having sandwiches for lunch?"
"Did you see my scrape on my belly? It was from that tree I climbed." 
"Can I run up to the red mailbox and come back?"

She ran ahead, her shiny hair swinging side to side with each jog.  As she hurried back and rejoined the stroller stride, she remarked with wisdom beyond her age...

"I think it's just like being patient for your garden to grow...waiting for God to answer your questions."

I asked her where she learned that.

"I am just learning about being patient."

Thank You, God, for a glimpse into my daughters' hearts.  Hold us all so close to You, please.  Thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for Your presence.  Thank You for speaking to us in scripture and in our soul.  "Who are we that You are mindful of us?"

Monday, April 16, 2012

Joy Dare 4.16.12

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

Gifts opened...

the new song we wrote to sing in worship
a special note with envelope and stamp
the steamy dishwasher -full of dishes rid of yesterday's filth, ready for a new day of service
(Lord, thank You for letting me see my life in the same morning light:)

Gifts found budding and blooming...

the purple irises that miraculously appear despite my lack of attention
azaleas that share similar neglect, but still blossom beautifully
and while we're on the subject: my oldest daughter

Three gifts worn...

my faithful pair of black slacks that accompany me in worship most weeks
my diamond earrings the boys gave me when they were small
the path of carpet down the hallway - from a perpetual parade of purpose and play

Gifts found looking up...

sun-stained clouds at dusk
tiny silver stars that hint at my insignificance,
yet ultimately establish my significance as a friend of God.

In a bag...
whole wheat flour

In a box...
plump juicy raisins

In a book...
Oatmeal Raisin cookie recipe

And the hard eucharisteos...

wisdom to know when to let go and when to chase after
tearful confessions of a heart turned toward grace
Christ, beaten down for my sins, getting up to take more stripes...until He paid it all.

Friday, April 13, 2012


I met with some ministry partners yesterday after lunch.  It was a planning meeting.  But first, as any group of women typically do, we talked about parenting.  Around the table, there was a mom whose kids have grown and gone.  Then there was a mom whose kids are all still in elementary school.  A couple of us have kids representing a broad spectrum of age groups.  And there was a fresh, new mom ... with her snugly, snoozing sweetheart in tow. 

We did eventually begin to plan and dream.  I love the wonder of brainstorming ... God revealing Himself and His plan as sisters share the overflow of their hearts and minds.

At some point during the meeting, I had non-verbally convinced my new-mom friend to let me hold her darling.  Few can reckon with my full-blown pouty face followed by a cheesy grin.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Strapped for Safety

I strapped Elizabeth into her car seat.  She complained, "It's too tight. I don't like it!"  With loving resolve, I assured her,"Yes, I know, but you are safe."

Sometimes God's directives and plans seem to harness us in.  His ways can seem uncomfortable and we don't like it. But God's plans are always for our safety. 

And many times our idea of safety contradicts His.  We are consumed with the temporal.  He is concerned with the eternal.

With His protection, we are free.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Joy Dare 4.9.12

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

I thank God for things surprisingly found:

a relaxing day together, in this season of crazy racing
the book I was looking for
a pencil just when I needed one most

Gifts in His Word:

"Let love and faithfulness never leave you ... write them on the tablet of your heart."

Friday, April 06, 2012

A Good Grief

Be honest.  How would you react?  Even if you could guard your facial expressions, what would go through your mind and heart?

What if I told you I struggled with alcoholism?  Would you think less of me?

What if I told you I had an abortion when I was younger?

What if I struggled with outbursts of anger?  Would you want me to keep your kids?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Sneak Peek

A couple weeks ago, I took the kids to have their photos taken.  We had such a great time!  You can see a preview by clicking Katy's Photography Blog.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Joy Dare 4.2.12

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

I thank God for things redeemed:

fresh baked banana bread, from "past prime" to "primo!"
hand-me-down clothes, from "too little" to "just right."
evenings when games were rained out, from "hurry up, eat! Get in the car!" to "        ........       :)"

Gifts entwined: