Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Hero


I get to hold his hand as he says grace over dinner every day...

I sit next to him at the table and watch his interactions with our monkeys and sometimes, he absolutely takes my breath away and I just stare at him with wonder and awe. He never notices. And he never thinks I notice. But I do.

I watch him bring one in for a hug, wipe away a tear, talk away a worry, teach a lesson, smooth a brow, tend a wound, touch a heart... He can leap quadratic equations in a single bound and still have enough energy to give driving lessons. His words can bring them up short and calm them right down. He loves fiercely, with a loud voice and a big heart.

His is no shining armor. Our oldest son would say that is a good thing. Shining armor hasn't been tested in battle. And his has been tested, is still being tested, seven times tested...

His shining armor was first broken in, purposefully and lovingly, by two amazing young women. There was still so much use left in that suit of armor that he made a choice- an overwhelmingly beautiful and courageous decision- to open his heart ever wider to five more tender and trusting souls who needed to be loved that well.

His is the heroic unsung lullaby of a dad who didn't have to be. 


Every Friday, a new prompt & intentional 5 minute freewrite for bloggers.
Awesomeness? I think so! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Encouragement


Most of the time, I need encouragement like I need air. I am desperate for affirmation. I need confirmation, divine or not, to let me know I am on the right path, making the right decisions, becoming the "right" version of myself...

And yet, I know better. In my heart, I understand more than I can explain that I live for an audience of one and His approval is the only one that matters. But sometimes, I am just so desperate for encouragement that I will take it from anywhere and won't seek His voice first. Because, I can't hear Him sometimes over the din of my everyday life. And I live in a world of instant gratification and I have a hard time being still. And as much as I consider myself a good listener, I still feel the need to listen to someone I can hear, instead of the One I can feel with all of my being.

I rarely have an issue giving encouragement and I am quite happy to be the one who does so. It is so much easier for me to pour into other people than ask for myself. When I receive it, I savor it, replay it, let it soak into my bones. When I don't, I become this hobbit of a person I hardly know, with a wanting I can hardly stand. 

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and left His life story as an encouragement. What I desperately want is that as I consume His Word, that it be enough for me, so that the real life encouragements, when they come, will be a sweet enrichment for an already encouraged soul.


Every Friday, a new prompt & intentional 5 minute freewrite for bloggers.
Awesomeness? I think so! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

July Datebook

It's been a whole YEAR since I did one of these... Holy cannoli, people... 

Outside my window... canopy of trees with light filtering in past the  Transforming Discipleship board my friend Bridget made me for my birthday and a framed picture of last year's FCC New Creation tour...
I am thinking... about the incredible journey ahead of me and how much I have to do and how much I don't want to miss enjoying the journey. I am also thinking about "stuff-" what we have, why we have it, whether or not we need it and how and where to get rid of it... 
I am hearing... the Legend of Zelda and the hum of my ceiling fan...
I am thankful for... the people God continues to place in my path, the way they are able to speak truth into my life, and the doors and windows He opens and closes to help guide my next steps...
I am praying for... discernment, direction and diligence. I want to be more in the moment and I am working through a checklist of things I should arrange better so that I can live fully where I am, regardless of what is going on. I am praying to be more intentional and to listen more.
Toward a healthier me.... getting more sleep and drinking more water...
Inspiring me this week... Brennan Manning. I just finished his autobiography All is Grace. Also, a great story told to me by a friend about handling a delicate situation with more grace than I honestly could imagine having if it were me...
From the kitchen... I played with an old recipe for baked ziti just last night and it was amazing... I mean, I know I was the chef, but it was the best version I'd ever created. I hope I can do it again! 
I am wearing... I'm not even going to try and lie about this... I am not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination. I like to be comfortable and yoga shorts & pants fit this qualification best. Sooo... black yoga shorts and a garnet v neck... Haters gonna hate!
I am creating... new arrangements of things on walls and shelves, new folders and new habits, some writing projects and some musical stuff... 
I am going... on a few day trips before school starts back up again. I'm not even sure where or when, but I feel like it needs to happen... 
I am reading... Messy Church by Ross Parsley and Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning (again)
Toward a lifelong education... Still studying music and worship at Florida Christian College, which has now merged with Johnson University in Kentucky to become Johnson University Florida. I'm halfway to my BA but am getting really anxious about starting seminary. I'm also questioning my call as a worship leader but I'm still wrestling with that...
On keeping home... I'm trying to simplify and create some different routines and tame the clutter... Less is more... I want so much less...
One of my favorite things... Dinnertime at the table with my family, even though it keeps getting smaller, it's still one of my favorite times of the day to reconnect with those I love most in the world...
A verse for this week:
"The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.”
 ~ Luke 10:41-42                                                                               
A few plans for the rest of the week:  Reorganizing my desk and music, playing guitar, date night with my best friend, Jessi coming to town and having her & Natalie over for dinner, clearing out part of a garage, and maybe some painting...
Here is a picture for thought I am sharing... 

Five Minute Friday: Broken


I am broken. I live in a broken world filled with broken people. And we walk around protecting our brokenness from one another, afraid we will shatter if we happen to bump up against some part of ourselves that hasn't quite completely "healed."

In this lifetime, I will never be healed. I will walk around in this pieced together jar of clay and do my best to let the light within me shine through the broken cracks that map out who I am. I used to hide those cracks. Sometimes, with some people, I still do. I yearn for a transparent life and yet some people walk around with rocks and a bad attitude. Some protection is still necessary. But for the most part, not so much.

I am who I am. I am pieces and parts of all the decisions, good and bad, that I have made in a lifetime and circumstances, good and bad, that have shaped who I have become. I am a crazy, messy mosaic of idealism and realism and dreaming and doing. I am more than the chipped and jagged edges of my mistakes and trials. My broken is beautiful.


Five Minute Friday

Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm a writer, which means I am a lover of words. I love the way they look on paper,  a hundred different typesets, the feel of well worn paper, freshly sharpened pencils, the smell of old books, handwriting loops and angles, the cadence of poetry, the sound of well read verse. I love double entendre, knowing the root of a word, and the delicious variety of choices to say exactly what I mean. I love libraries and bookstores and dictionaries and thesauruses. I love words. They mean something. They are something. They have power, and we all know that "with great power comes great responsibility". 

As much as I love words, and writing them, that responsibility looms largely when it comes to blogging. Relatively few people in my life even know I have a blog. Those who do probably don't even remember it is here. I never wanted to be held accountable for writing on a regular basis. And I never wanted to inadvertently say something that could hurt someone. The internet is akin to Conrad's heart of darkness- much less cozy than a familiar composition book, or it's fancier cousin, the journal.

When I really want to pour my heart out and just be ugly, bitter, and mean, those are the thoughts best written by confessional's pen and tossed in repentance's fire-pit, releasing me from their toxicity. The internet does not forgive. What you pour out here, stays here forever. You are not anonymous, even if you don't choose to broadcast your blog on every social media to which you ascribe. Your words can- and will- be found. 

A blog post is not a journal page that can be ripped out, turned into a paper crane, and tossed into the flames with no one the wiser.  Anyone can trip over your words, at any given moment, even long after your heart is spent, and the rage subsided, and all is once again well with your world.  And words mean something. They are something. They have power. Words, once wielded, cannot be sheathed quietly and easily forgotten...

Friday, June 8, 2012

I left my father in a hospital room tonight, not knowing what the next few days will hold. More likely than not, his zeroed white blood count will rally and he will be back to his "new" normal self just in time for his next chemo treatment. More likely than not, now that we know he is susceptible to bottoming out, it won't be so bad next round. And, more likely than not, we will do this dance a few more times. But I am acutely aware that there will come a point in the not so distant future, that I will leave my father in a hospital room for the last time.. I know my father knows this is inevitable. And I know we both acknowledge that only God knows when this eventuality will take place. What my father doesn't know, doesn't realize, cannot even begin to grasp, is that I've been down this road before, not quite so involved, except for my heart, and this second time is tearing me apart.  I was 16 when I walked this road with my mother, when I watched her struggle and fight, and relatively quickly lose her battle with cancer. They were divorced then so he wasn't there, so he doesn't understand, couldn't know, the devastation I face when cancer looms so largely over his life and mine. I put on the face, I take care of business, I sign all the papers, make all the appointments, talk to the doctors...but inside, I'm ripped to shreds and by the grace of God, a good man who holds me fast, a family who hugs me tight, and friends who lift me in prayer, I manage to keep it all together.

I cannot imagine what my father is going through but helplessly, agonizingly, witnessing cancer's sure and steady march against him is excruciating for me. I simply cannot believe I have to go through this again...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

So, I went to church today, but not *my* church, the old church, the one I used to spend more time at than my actual home. Yea. That one. To say I was apprehensive would be a ridiculous understatement. I was literally nauseated, although I have been under the weather all week-end. There was trepidation- and dare I say, fear- even as I made the longest short walk across the parking lot. I felt huge, like a neon sign in Vegas, at the same time, I felt small, insignificantly so.

This is the church that judged and shunned me at the lowest time in my life. I learned the depth of my own naivete, as well as the death thereof, replaced by a hard edge I haven't yet figured out how to smooth. I also learned how desperate I was for Jesus and that He was the only one who could love me through anything and everything.

It's just a church, after all. A monstrosity of a building that was meant to house a community of believers and bring people into the fold. We were known for putting broken people back together and welcoming them with open arms but nobody told me that once you were a member, you couldn't break. I spent almost a dozen years putting on a plastic face as I worshiped, learned, led and served. I couldn't bear to let people see what a shambles my life really was, so I hid that part of me, but loved the best I could with the rest of my heart. I loved deep and I loved wide and I loved long and hard and well while hiding the fact that I was dying inside.

And when my life finally fell apart and I fell to my knees, wretched beyond recognition, but free from the half-life I had survived, and admitted I couldn't do it anymore, their eyes shuttered, their arms crossed and their hearts hardened. So many minds and mouths raced with sordid details they didn't know and didn't bother to verify. And I stood there, begging for grace and mercy and love, while their stones of judgement shattered what was left of my heart. After all, what is truth? People see what they want to see. I just wish they thought more of me to see past appearances.

So, I went there today, and all those awful feelings came rushing back, but just when the oppression threatened to overwhelm me, I found Him. My Jesus was there, in that church, reminding me that it's just a church after all. A monstrosity of a building housing a community of believers who are as human and fallible as I am. The ugly memories were mine alone and where once, I wanted so badly for it to be my home again, I no longer bear that misguided self-flagellation. In more ways than one, I have been set free.

There is much I owe that church, much to be grateful for, and much to hold dear. My dearest, deepest, richest, truest, friendships were born there and I still cherish these today. Leading, singing, playing, teaching, speaking, acting, guiding, discipling, writing, encouraging, befriending- all gifts given freely and received gratefully. Churches full of people may fail people but my Jesus never does. I have learned that I carry Him with me just as I am, broken and beautiful, delightful and desperate, fallible and forgiven. I am His temple, one of His living stones, because greater is the one who is in me, than the one that is in the world. And I wouldn't trade learning that lesson- even the hard way- for anything...