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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

For mother...on her birthday.

     This last weekend birthday visit felt short to me. I don't think we ever quite settled into each other like usual. Not much alone time. Only two days, and a challenging season for us. Between us. And yet, there is simply no place I'd rather be than with you the third week of October.    
     It's not a coincidence that you were born as God chose to breathe and change the season. This time of reds and yellows and pumpkins has always been my very very favorite. It's my big deep breath of, "Aaaaahhhhhh," time. And it's when God chose to put you on the earth to become my Mother.
     October...your birthday.
        I've written about you often over the years. As memories came I pecked away at the computer keys so I could remember and pass it on. and so now, for the sake of time I'll cut and paste some of my words.

     "My mother spoke through straight pins held between her lips as she bent over a pattern on the floor with scissors in her hand. This memory soothed and comforted me in a way I did not expect. On her knees in the living room,pinning and cutting. And it was her foot I saw, and her machine I heard, as Chandler sat at my kitchen table and began to sew. I was suddenly filled with the excitement and anticipation of the new dress my Mom was making for me. Her love behind the sewing machine formed me as a little girl and is coming full circle back to me as a mother."

     "Mary, my mother, is writing down her story. She is being strong and brave and she sends me pages that make me weep. My tears are of joy and of sadness. She tells of truths that have not been spoken to me before. She is doing it because I asked her to. I love her for it. 
     My friends thought my mother was a movie star. She was beautiful, and I didn't know that she was broken, but, "Fragile...Handle with care" was stamped across her spirit even then. Dad knew it, and a part of me did too. 
     She was given four babies to love and care for and we were her life. She played with us, read to us, sang to us,  and she sewed. 
     She made clothes for herself like the ones Jackie Kennedy wore, but she was prettier. She made Easter dresses and school clothes for my sisters and for me. Ron was her first. Her only son and she made him a blazer. It was tan and I remember thinking, "How did she do that?" I was born 11 months after my brother. Lori followed two years after me, and two years after Lori, came our baby, Kaylynn. 
     I love to dance and sing because I saw my mothers joy in that place. I love stories because Mom didn't just read, she made them come alive. I love the way I love because my mother showed me how. 

     Mom...You were my example. I know what a Mother's heart is and what it does because of you. You gave me something precious that I was able to give to my own children. The precious things of childhood go deep in me because your were my Mom. 
     Thank you for music. My childhood was full of it because of you. I remember album after album being placed on the turn table. Andy Williams, Glen Campbell, Peter Paul and Mary. 
     The other day I just burst out singing a song for Jude.  It came out of nowhere, and yet, I knew every word and note. "And the Red Red Robin goes bop bop boppin' along.” Jude wanted me to sing it over and over and over.  ReAnnon  finally “googled” the words. It had come from a 1960’s “Sing along with Mitch Miller” album.  
"Oh, Mitch Miller."  Barbara Streisand, The Sound of Music. All of it, such a gift.
     And I don't remember a single night that you didn’t have dinner on the table for the six of us.  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, pot-roast, meatloaf, creamed corn.  All of these still comfort my soul. And I remember the expensive jars of maraschino cherries that you'd bring home just for me when you had a little extra money for groceries.  No one but you could have given me these things, so from your Mother’s heart to mine and back…  I love you!
    And so Mom... goes by so quickly. You'll be 80 soon and I'll be 60. So crazy to think about and yet, it's true. You were just a girl when you held me for the first time. So much life. So much love. So many memories. But know that my came from you.
     Happy birthday Mom. You and Fall. My favorites. I love you!  

Friday, December 26, 2014

An, "Old made new forever remember Christmas," Part Two

So I sit here still.
This place of rememberance. A place where God's truth, his power, his promise, rushes around and through me so fast and hard that I spin in love and joy...and yet...much of my Christmas sits in piles unfinished. 
This room...a mess. But beautiful chaos I think. Lovely corners with things that wait. On a table, ruined by glue and paint and love sits three cut out hands and a box of remembrance. Each hand bigger than the other, three boys, three brothers who live in my heart...and the's for Stella Grace.
And oh...the memories...
Little hands dripping with creek water held up in front of eyes of wonder wanting to show me the shiny treasures inside. 
Three seasons of singing and swinging with baby boys on a porch in back.
Tummies that ache from too too many pears.
Chins stained and dripping with juice from sweet garden strawberries.
The miracle of Jude's blackberry bush. 
Summer picnics on a blue blanket in grass with goldfish crackers on white plates.
Daughters who laugh and cry and sit and pray and read and wait.
Daughters who became mothers and aunts and friends.
A son who made a creek new with his father, who hung on the beams, bought me baby turkeys and swam with dogs on his back.
And a husband...who never stops...just makes it all beautiful for us.   
Mountains and sunsets. Morning light and promise.
Goodness, and God and Glory
I plant memorial stones in this messy place. Deep deep in my heart.
I know. I remember. Life and death and truth and love. And the greatest of these....

And then Fall came...
And with God's very breath over this mountain He blew inspiration over me...
And so...I sand and spray and paint and make new and remember...
And I have faith for my pile of unfinished Christmas because there will be birthdays and weddings and babies and graduations and God stories...
May our lives be full of these...

And may we know that life and death, old made new, redemption, new life, and Jesus 
Are What Matter. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

An "Old made new forever remember," Christmas

     It's the last thing I do before going to bed and the first thing I check on when my feet hit the floor. My projects. My Christmas.
     I've been treasure hunting. Collecting things that have a past. I am going to make them new and write the next chapter in their stories for my family.
     I began to sand through wood trying to erase scars and scratches when I suddenly picture the hands and feet of Jesus. The scar on his side and I remember what they mean.
     I stop sanding. The nicks and notches in the old wood have become beautiful.

     I can't explain how I feel making things inspired by God in this season of my life because I have never felt this before. But over and over God takes me back to this place of remembrance. He sets me on the hills where memorial stones are planted. He reminds me that my story was written by Him and he wants me to leave behind a part of His story in my history, and so...
    I sand and stain and arrange and glaze and wait and check on...
    And on Christmas I will give away a few, "forever remember" moments of a life written by God with a heart of great praise from a greatly loved daughter.
    I wish I could show you what I'm doing... but it would spoil the surprise.
    Pssss..."I'll show you later."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Right onto the pages of Robinson Crusoe...

     Today was full of surprises. Seriously. One after another.
     Truth is, I'm getting pretty comfortable with my, "Jesus adventures," so when he says, "Let's go." I go.
     And so I put on trail blazin' shoes.
     This week was hard, (this season has been hard), and tomorrow marks a week since my friends husband died.
    It was fast and tragic and I'm still reeling.
     Life is hard.
     But today...I knew deeply God's love. I felt it.

     "Keep out" signs don't always keep me out, but they did today. I promised my husband and Mother I'd be careful, so remembering my Rock Creek adventure, I sent Paul a text to let him know where I was going.
     And today, I got blessed. And I got a little taste of what it might be like to be a real adventurer.
     And I loved it...
     So thank you for, Lord.  Thank you for being beside me in all the really hard places. I see you. I know your love.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I was just headed home...

     Today was one of those days so I've decided to tell you it's story. I believe it is worth the telling and the remembering.
      I really wanted to show you the story of this day with pictures, but instead, I'm gonna have to put on my big girl pants and use my words so you are going to have to use your imagination.
     "Where you lead I will follow. Anywhere, that you you tell me to. When you need, you need me to be with you, I will follow where you lead."
     These words are from a song by Carol King, but today, I sang them to Jesus.

     I was just headed home...
     "You should drive up to Rock Creek Lake. It's really beautiful today."
     I pass Tom's place restaurant and slow the truck. Hmmm...
     I make the turn.
     20 minutes later I sit in a line of traffic behind the flag man.
     The road is torn up. It's bumpy and dusty and I am irritated. "Really...and why am I here?"

     I pull into "Pie in the Sky" restaurant, let out a big sigh of frustration, and park.
     "Go inside and get a piece of pie."
     I need a bathroom.
     But I go inside and a lady is fussing about the pie menu. She wants peach. It's written right there, she says and points. It's barely 10 oclock. Why is peach crossed out?
     A couple behind me complain. I am not the only one who doesn't like the road work.      
     So I go outside to the bathroom, do my business, and head to the car. I am dreading the drive back down the dusty construction road.

     "Go inside and get a piece of pie. Take it down to the lake."

     So I sigh, give in, and stand at the counter. Behind the fussy lady. She is still talking about the peach pie.
     The young man behind it, trying to be kind, walks away and comes back. Yeah, I checked with the pie guy, he said. No more Peach.
     I don't really like any of the pie choices either. I step up. Rhubarb or Banana Cream, I ask?
     Rhubarb. He answers without hesitation.
     I order a piece.

     20 minutes and $7.50 later I get back in the truck with my pie in the sack and know in heart that I feel just as fussy as the lady who wanted Peach, and I drive to the lake.

     I get out of the car carrying my sack of pie and my phone and my keys.
     I catch a sight of the lake and I sigh. It is beautiful.
     There is a place in the sun right at the waters edge and so I go and I sit and I open my sack.
     "Put your feet in."
     And so I do. And I take a bite.
     It might be the best pie I ever tasted.
     (Here is a picture of my feet in water with a half eaten piece of pie in my lap and a lake glistening like diamonds in the sun.)

     I eat most of the pie and flutter my feet back and forth in the water.
     I lean back, hold my face in the sun, realize I feel good and know this a good and beautiful thing. A God designed thing.

     "Walk with me."

     And so I do.

          (Here is a postcard picture of the fly fishermen i run into, five of them, thigh deep and arranged perfectly in a geometric pattern in the water by the big rock.)

     It stops me and I take a deep breath.

     I walk for an hour and it is beautiful and I take lots of pictures.
     I am happy and have forgotten about being disappointed. About being discouraged.
     Thank you Lord.

     I get back in the car and I am the first one at the flagger with the stop sign.
     I don't even care and I smile. His beard is long like the Duck Dynasty guys and his smile is just as genuine.
     Thank you Lord.

     "Stop at the campground."

     I choose the lower rather than the upper campground and park near the lodge. The wildflowers are in crazy bloom. Purple like I have never seen. Long grass in shades of green I can't even describe grow around the trees with the light... oh the light. Just so...
     And the loud and foamy and dancing. I close my eyes and listen.
     And then I walk.
     And I see and I snap...

     "Get off the path. Go down by the waters edge."
     Really? I look down at my rubber flip flops and too long sweat pants already wet around the bottom. And my foot hurts. I was headed home.

     "You want adventure. So go down to waters edge."
     For the next two hours I am off the beaten path. Following a most beautiful creek ducking under branches, climbing over slippery rocks, holding onto tree trunks as I step around and see the most beautiful light and beautiful things and I am smiling.

     "Does your foot hurt?"
     No. It doesn't hurt at all.

     I am happy, on a great adventure surrounded by glory. The water is so clear. A huge trout nips and plays chase with little ones. The colors of the creek water go from white to turquoise blue to every shade of green you can imagine and the long green grass has so many shades and the wildflowers and...I pull my Maui Jim sunglasses off my eyes just to make sure...and... I am awestruck.

          (I have no words for what these photos looked liked. Just picture the most beautiful creek and grasses that you can imagine)

     When I take my next steps in the thigh high grass, the water suddenly hits the middle of my calf and my foot comes out of the sticky mud without a sandal. I hear a swooshing sound and I laugh.
          (Here is picture of my legs in the deep grass, my foot coming up naked, and my hand holding so tight to my phone that I have a cramp. I'm so worried I'm going to drop it.) But I laugh again.

     "You want adventure."

     Yes, I do. And I smile. But I'm not sure how far I've walked and going forward from here means I might have to wade in waist deep water across the creek. I would be soaked. And so...I turn around.

     I get back to the car and eat the rest of the pie. It's almost three-thirty and I'm hungry.

     When I get home I eat and sit down with my phone. I can't wait to see the pictures.
     There are no pictures.

     I spend the next three hours in Bishop at the AT&T store.
     My device storage is full although my camera is set to copy to my SD card which holds all my photos and has 3.11 GB of memory left. He is baffled. I am about to cry.

     I go home with no pictures. No pictures of my amazing God day.

     What I realize as I wrestled around with this is that my day was not about the pictures. It is about God. Who He is. What He does. How He speaks to me. Do I want to show you what He showed me today? Yes. because it was glorious, but I can't. Does that change what God did for me today and what He showed me? No. It does not.

     I was just headed home.

     But God had a different plan.
     Thank you Lord...  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What a mess!

Why are you sitting here like this? How did you get to be such a mess.  What is wrong, child? 
I look up. Really? This is how you're going to start our conversation?
How else would you expect me to start it?
I look at him and then look down. I could use a hug.
So he gives me one.
And I'd like it if you'd just sit with me for a while and hold my hand. I love it when you hold my hand.
So He does.
Now. He finally says. I'll ask you again.  Why do you sit here like this?
I let out a long hard sigh. I'm just so weary.  I tell him. I have no "good fight" left in me.  I'm really discouraged. It is just too hard.
Okay. If that's really how you feel, then now what? You gonna sit here underneath all this hard stuff and... wallow? Just roll around in these shadows some more until you get really covered with them and they get really heavy? Think that's the answer? 
I ponder this.
If that's the case, you might as well just open up the door and let him in now.
I give God a hard look.
He's right outside. He points. Prowling around, struttin' his stuff. Roaring. He thinks you're lookin' pretty good right now too. You're kinda right where he wants you. He can't wait to get in here.
But I belong to you, I say with just a hint of sarcasm.  You never leave me and Jesus already saved me.
All of that is also true. But that Lion... God points right outside the door. He gets to try. That's just the way it is. And you are ripe for picking now. He pulls me close and whispers.  But when you walk in my joy. My joy that is your strength, his goal, (to steal and destroy and lie),  becomes much harder to do so he just moves on. When your heart is full of praise and you are full of Faith most times, he'll just walk on by. He pauses, but days like this...well...He nods his head toward the door, he waits.
I grip His hand a little tighter.
He pats it. I'll sit  here with you for a little while longer, but then I'm going to step away because you know the truth. You know it is in my strength that you will get to your feet and leave this dreary place. It is in my power that you will walk right past that roaring lion and sing my Praise.
I take a long slow breath.
You know what I have told you and you must remember the things I've shown you. You can fight the good fight. You will. He lets go of my hand and stands.
Put on my armor before you open this door, and when you're ready, plant your feet firmly on the solid rock of my truth and step out in Faith full of my word.
You are my Beloved! Now stand up. Put some Praise on your lips! I know you can.
He smiles and opens the door. There is great adventure ahead for you precious daughter. And don't you ever doubt that again! He blows me a kiss as he walks away and I watch from the window as the lion bows at his feet.
I put my hand on the door knob and take another deep breath. The joy of the Lord is my strength. I say it again. Louder. The joy of the Lord is my strength and I open the door .  I can do all things through Christ Jesus. The lion hears me and looks up. I take a step. So does the lion.  I can do all things through Christ Jesus!
And when I pass him...
I am singing worship and I smile and pat his head.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oh Eve!

     There had to be that moment. The instant when it hit you. The thing you had done and what it meant.
     I picture you with your hands in Eden's dirt and sweat on your brow as you stand and lift your face into a breeze. The birds sing and swoop and peck out the seeds you planted but you love and smile and guard because in the garden you walk with God. You walk in the garden with God and know His Glory. You know it.
     So you toil and plant and reap and care because your purpose under heaven is for this hard and good and holy work. From the breath of God it is innately in your spirit and you see what is front of you and know its gift. You see and you know.
      Did you get tired and sore from all the toiling? Was Adam doing his part. Were you exhausted the day the serpent came with his temptation? Was it all just too intoxicating?    
     Oh Eve!
     How could you? You were in paradise with God.
     I know you must've wanted to take it all back. To spit in the face of the snake and spit out the fruit and say,"No! No! No!", but it was too late and you knew it.
     I picture you now outside the garden gate lying on the ground crying out to God with the deepest of wailing. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" You say and beg for another chance.
     But you didn't get one and I'm sorry for that because God had to be God and you had to be Eve. You had to be Eve because God chose you. He chose you.

      I wonder how long you laid there waiting for God to change his mind? Begging him too. And when you finally picked yourself up was Adam waiting or did you find yourself alone? How many times did you stop and turn back for one more deep glance of hope wanting desperately to see God and hear him say, "Come back! Come home!"
     And then you turned one last time and simply couldn't see your Garden anymore.

     Oh Eve!
     I see you once again with your hands in the dirt and sweat on your brow as you stand and put your face into the breeze while birds and Angels swoop and sing. And this most glorious garden is full of  students of Eden who watch and learn to toil and plant and reap from the first master gardener. It is full of God and love and eyes that See and spirits that Know.

     Oh Eve!
     I want you to know that even though you started us down the path of sin you didn't end us. We get second chances now. And third. How about that? And all because of Jesus. He died for us and gave us Grace, but you probably already know.
     And so...dont be surprised when I walk into your eternal garden one day. Ill be there.