Saturday, August 16, 2014

Just hanging out.

When I was young, I loved climbing trees.

We had several in our backyard, and the one in the back right corner of our property became my favorite.

It was a bit challenging to get that first branch, scratching your way up the trunk that split a good way up the tree into two parts, but once you got there it was smooth sailing.

I had climbed so often and so many times that I knew almost with eyes closed, which branch was for which foot until I got to my special spot in the tree.

It was a very odd branch now that I think on it, because it came out from the trunk and then split into two separate branches and then almost crossed again just before the leaves, leaving a sort of "basket" for my little body to lay in.

Head on the thickest part, bottom hanging out the widest part (no comments please!) and legs that at that time in my life seemed to me a mile long, hung off either side of the boughs.

It was just high enough in the tree to go unnoticed from the ground and just high enough to see into the woods that ran alongside our property.

My house used to be the last on Memory Lane, with woods as far as I could see that were the source of many excursions for my brother and I.

We had made caves our home, caught butterflies, watched almost a hundred grasshoppers cover a sandy opening, and had a well-worn footpath through all of our favorite places to roam.

And every year there was that blackberry patch where we felt like we could be Pioneers and live off the land, gathering more berries than we could ever need.

And every year we begged and pleaded for our Mom to make us a blackberry pie. And then she did, and she TOLD us it would never be sweet enough for us.

And she was right.

So we just picked them and loaded them into containers to just eat in our favorite spot.

Like my tree.

I call it "mine" because I was the one after all, who fell and broke her arm so badly that the bones were showing themselves. And I laid on the ground and didn't want to get into trouble and didn't want to be banned from the tree, so I hid until the pain was too much to take.

And the Dr. said that it was so bad that it really should not be ever broken again in that spot.

That weak spot on my arm.

My writing arm that left me a "leftie" for a good part of school. I was determined to learn to write left-handed like my oldest sister could, even though back then, they wanted all to be "righties" so she had to change. I succeeded in printing my name spot on, and they laughed at how many pencils came tumbling out in pieces from my cast when they cut it off. After all, they were the perfect scratchers.

And away in the tree I climbed that next Summer.

Perhaps it was the fall, perhaps it was just a moment for the Lord to get my attention. Whatever it was, in my bow in the bough this year I finally let a word sink into my mind and heart.


To me, all of eight years old it was butterflies skipping from flower to flower in the meadow filled to the brim with yellows and pinks and orange and reds, sparkling in the sun. It was the locusts getting louder and louder and then quieting again all in unison. It was the breeze that was just enough to blow the hair off my face, but not rock my tree. It was the same pair of brown shorts I wore everyday and how I loved to lay back with my arms crossed behind my head.

It was here that I fell in love with wild flowers. It was here that I fell in love with butterflies. It was here that I relaxed and enjoyed being myself and it was precious.

I do not fully understand how and why the Lord shielded me from so many things that could have happened to me. I do not know why I roamed the woods without a care while others have secrets from those young years that sting to this day.

I am just grateful that in His plan for me,

there was a tree.

Where I could swing my legs and listen to the birds chime in and let anger melt away into the awe of the woods and everything that was lovely and beautiful.

It has been many many MANY years since my last climb. Funny thing is, that you don't even remember the last one, or think it is going to be the last one.

You just get caught up in life and forget how the view looked from there.

Way up above all that made you worried or scared or angry.

And today in my "Hurry" something happened that made me remember what that word really felt like again.

That word.


And a tear or two trickled down and I remembered the tree.

The smells, the sounds, the colors.

And this something that brought my mind back to the tree top, reminded me that I have gone a great while without looking up.

Not in sadness or discouragement, but in business.

And when I felt that sweetness and my mind searched for a word to even describe it, the word my mind chose took me back.

To a childhood memory where all was quiet in my heart and mind and there was nothing on the schedule for me to do but simply hang and sigh as the Lord unwrapped a beautiful scene before my eyes. As if I was the only one to see His goodness to me and He loved that I was enjoying Him.

Today, friend, find something precious.

A word, a moment, a smile, a deed done in all sincerity.

Find something that is precious to YOU.

And let it take you back to your first recognition of that word.


And let it make you smile and wonder and sigh, and relish all that God has made for you to be witness of.

I am busy today.

But not too busy to spend some time remembering what it is like to have a front row view God's goodness to me.

(P.S. I have had a terrible time posting pictures on this site. :( You'll just have to use your mind's eye for a while friends!)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Little Taste

I am getting my favorite meal in the oven to make ahead for my Mother in law who will have the Littles for a week.

I remember almost by heart the seasonings and measure them out in a bowl. I have run out of pepper and need to fill the shaker again. The words "POUR" stand out to me and I fill my teaspoon to running over because I am thinking.

And I remember, as I have always remembered since making the recipe for the very first time, not to add the full amount of Thyme that it calls for. I smile thinking that I have never had to write it down on the recipe, it has just been permanently written on my brain.

Half the Thyme.

I pop it in the oven and sit and think a bit more.

This afternoon I was just back from visitation and my eye caught sight of what seemed to me as a sea of daisies just waving in the sun.

I did what any normal sleep-deprived Momma would do. I walked through the prickers and thistles and bugs and began to pick them.

As I bent to snag the first beautiful bloom, the Lord brought this verse to mind:

 O taste and see that the Lord is good: 
    Psalm 34:8

And as I picked it just ran over and over and over in my head.

There are days when it is easier to praise the Lord than others.

Easier to notice His goodness.

Trace His smile on your life.

I was drawn to these daisies because I so longed to see some goodness. They are cheery and lovely and I had them right outside my doorstep when life was good, the kids were happy and the floors were dirty.

Is the devil so deceitful that he would bring these to my notice to spark some feeling of discontentment in me???

Youbetyourbottomdollar he is.

But God did not leave me comfortless.

"O taste and see" He would remind.

And I realized I was picking daisies left and right.

I was picking more than I had even meant to.

I was picking and picking and picking so many that one hand could hardly hold them all.

And I lifted my eyes to see yet so many more around me.

Waving at me their cheery blooms and God softly saying, "O taste and see.."

See that there are so many blessings to be had.

More than you can hold in your hand. In your heart.

I am good.

I am God.

I am your Provider, Father, Maker, Healer, Comforter.

Look around you.

This is just a taste.

Enough to wet your appetite for me.

My eldest girl sees me picking like there is no tomorrow and it makes my heart happy that she knows me and is not surprised that I am knee-deep in prickers and comes to see me.

She warns me that there is poison ivy where I am.

I shrug.

I've never been allergic to it, and she knows this.

She also knows  that she IS very allergic to it.

She comes in to be with me and we smile and my heart is overflowing that she knows the risk, yet she comes to pick with me anyway.

She comes for a taste. O that I may always be seeking the right things to show her where the blessings are.

Life is not easy. Thorns and prickers hit us all.

You may even know that you are stepping into something that will make your life miserable for a while.

But it is worth it for a taste.

On the way back to the van, the Lord brings in the rest of the verse that I had not yet thought upon.

  blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Isn't that just like the Lord? To give you what you can handle, to bring your heart to the truth you are struggling with?

And my hand is overflowing with flowers and he tells me He can be trusted.

He can be trusted in the prickers and poison ivy.

It's a risk, but the taste reminds me that it is only the beginning of the Lord's goodness.

The daisies are still waving, reminding me that there are so many more yet to be picked.

After all, it's His church, His house, His possessions, His money, His children, His man.

If everything comes from Him, can He not  be trusted with them all??

I run to turn the oven on low. This dish is best when it simmers low all afternoon.

And I am seeing how funny it is that I am so concerned with too much Thyme, and in reality time is fleeting.

My youngest learned to ride a bike yesterday.

She didn't even ask us if she could.

If we were ready for some childhood time to be taken away.

Are we ever ready?

And I want half the Thyme, but all the time I can get to learn, to lean on Him and to trust Him for what is His already.

Vases come out and the youngest gets pollen on her lips and nose from too much smelling of this goodness.

She hands them to me and I cut them to size and we distribute them in vases of various colors and sizes.

Blessings come to us in so many colors and sizes, don't they?

And she holds a bundle and tells me that they are a family.

I could have squeezed the stuffing out of her right then.

We ARE a family.

My family needs to know that God can be trusted.

They need a taste of His goodness.

We scatter vases and the oven fills the house with a delish aroma.

Just another day of learning, of leaning hard into Him.

Because He can be trusted.

*Pictures forth coming. They are too sweet not to share.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Footprints on my heart

I'm sucked into the vortex named Pinterest and see a cute Father's Day idea.

Socks with paint footprints on them filled with lovely things to deodorize Dad's shoes.

I smile.

I smile first, because my dear husband's feet do not stink. No kidding. They are boats with toes on the tops and they for real don't stink.

I think it's a cute and well thought idea anyway.

Who wouldn't love to see the teeny footprints of their littles on some stuffed socks falling out of their shoes in the morning?

My Pinterest staycation is ended with dishes that someone forgot to gather in the rush to complete their chore for the night.


I gather cups and forks and grumble.

It's amazing how I can gather Father's Day ideas one minute and want to put someone to bed three hours early the next.

Motherhood is surprising like that.

You can smile and accept yet another wildflower offering in the mid-morning and grumble that there are no clean glasses left at the end of the day.

Almost like you need a deodorizer for your spirit.

Walking though life with littles is wonderful.

It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show a glimpse of God's character in these little years when kind words heal and soft hugs turn little girls into spaghetti in your arms.

It is a cotton candy, rainbow, marshmallow fluff kind of feeling at times.

These times are usually before you remember how much laundry has rolled-over from yesterday.

And while showing someone who the Creator of the universe is to them is amazing, we too are just flesh and bone created by the very same one we are pointing little eyes to.

We fail, we disappoint, we hurry and speak harshly and forget and remember wrongs.

We are not God.

We are his creation.

We are learning right along with the little ones in the little years.

And just as they are learning to jump into our arms and lay their head down and rest, so are we learning to jump and rest.

Last night I walked home from church through a sureal pasture of dandelions going to seed. The sun was almost set and white seeds were launching out with each step towards home.

I put one foot in front of the other and thanked God for the ability to do so. Little did I know that once home, I would be summoned to view a gash in a little's head and comfort him after a staple kept it closed. I looked at his little hospital band and thought that this is what memories are made of.

Jumping, resting, remembering that God is holding it altogether without my help.

Then one bites through her tongue on both sides. I should have spent more time wondering how to stop bleeding than trying to figure out how you do such a thing to YOURSELF while singing.

And back I go to the dishes. Joel and I sigh at eachother.

I am too tired to give everyone a bath again tonight so we wash only what dirt is viewable.

Hands, face, arms, and then it dawns on me that I am forgetting black little feet.

After setting a dish to soak I set a little on the counter to wash their feet, yes, in the kitchen sink.

Before I could warn they set their arm up to their elbow into the greasy dish.

This is too much.

I scold. I set them down to run to get changed, and I have changed.

Surely somewhere in the Cosmos it is justifiable to scold for sticking your arm in greasy water, but I know that I have hurt those I am supposed to be showing how to rest.

They come back, I lean down and catch tears on my arm. I swoop them up and kiss tears away.

I was wrong.

I ask for forgiveness and begin again.

I run the water just warm enough for little black stinky feet and lather up the soap.

"Look Mama! The soap is shaped like a heart!!"

Bright dark eyes still wet look at me as if we have unearthed a treasure that has been waiting on us for hundreds of years.

I roll the soap in my hand, around and around, and around while they just giggle at the thought.

A heart.

That's what we Mama's do. We show the heart of God by using our own.

Sometimes it's dirty and smelly and sticky and rough, but we do it because it's our job. And when the coffee is poured and the last light turned out, we remember that we love it, this job of ours.

And each toe is clean and they lean into me and tell me that they "Love when you wash my feet."

And you think of the disciples who wanted nothing to do with the Lord touching their toes.

All dirty and smelly,

And yet they could have no part of Him if they did not understand what it meant to be a servant.

I dry feet carefully and wonder how the Holy Spirit can teach me so much in a moment's time. As if everything stood still and nothing was more important than dirt between toes.

That's just how He is.

Knowing where to meet us, knowing when we would jump and when we would lean hard into Him.

The days of Motherhood are long.

Though the years are short.

May I learn more of Him to teach Him to them.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The love of God and white shoes

I am spending today typing out a bit of my story and studying about the Love of God.

It's so vast it's hard to know where to begin.

So, I just unravel my own story and look for His hand in my own life and relearn some lessons about who He really is.

I didn't come from a "Lovey" "Touchy" "Feely" type of home. I remember vividly wanting to "Feel loved," and did things to try to get that feeling. The only way I can describe my home was that we all just did our own thing.

I wanted to make my parents proud and to me in that measuring up I would feel loved and complete and life would be grand.

But that's not how things worked out for me. That's just not my story.

My parents were busy trying to provide for us, and trying to be the best parents they knew how to be. They both grew up with a parent who was distant or whom didn't actively "Show" them love and so they learned that you just "know" your loved and that's good enough. We didn't even tell each other that we loved each other.

It's not bad, it's just doing what we know, and living-out how you are raised. It really hasn't been until this year watching my oldest girl slowly becoming a teen that I have realized how hard it must have been for my Mom to not have a doting Mother herself.

I really felt that if I was  good enough that I would feel loved, wanted, adored, needed and everything else a kid wants to feel.

And so, I looked at God this way.

I work, and it is understood that He just loves.

I remember going off to college and feeling so alone. I don't think I have ever felt so alone as I did that first year away from all I knew.

My room mates were dear gals and I think I was hugged more by my room mates in that first year than all of my years growing up.

One of my room mates had parents that loved to visit and bring treats. They lived a good distance away, but it seemed like nothing to them to stop in to see her. They would come and take her out and spoil her a bit and it was fun to watch.  One particular visit it was close to Easter and they were taking her out to get her an Easter outfit.

We didn't say much, as I had much to do that day, but I do remember feeling lonely and ready for my first hard freshman year to be over.  I was feeling so unloved.

You can imagine my surprise when I came back to my room after they had left to find a box for me. I was wide-eyed and remember thinking what I could have done for this family for them to want to gift me with anything. It was a shoe box with bright white pumps in it. I couldn't remember the last time I had had new shoes for  Easter. Just remembering how I felt then brings tears to my eyes now, some many years later.

I remember feeling so loved. And embarrassed that I had not done anything to earn that love. I had hardly said two words to them on their visit. It was such a reminder of who God was to me. I was beginning to understand that God did not love me because of what I did for him or didn't do. He loved me simply because He created me and delights in me.

Standing in my room with my shoes in my hands I felt like the earth was tiny and that God did indeed see me and knew how lonely I truly was. I felt in awe that God would prompt someone who barely knew me to meet a need for me and to even find out my shoe size. They didn't just love on me. They loved on me in a very specific way, individual to only me. And that is how God loves us.

This was just the beginning of understanding God's vast love for me.

I wore those shoes until they fell apart.

These shoes started me off on a journey of realizing that I will never need to be "good enough" to warrant God's love. It is freely given.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A hair-splitting discovery.

Has it REEEELLLY almost been two whole months since I've posted, friends??

tsk tsk (slapping wrist)

So much to tell.  Let's just sum up that time by saying that the Holidays, really trying to enjoy the mystery of Christ coming for even me, Celebrating with family, Sending family far far away to the Mission field and four solid weeks of chicken pox has kept me busy.

Now if that doesn't beg for a pardon on my behalf, I am sunk.

In other news, I have had two very influential things happen to me this week and that brings me back to you all for a catch-up and a heart sketching.

One was the phone call that will not soon be forgotten, in which, a certain gal that will remain nameless, spoke life into these dry bones. Dry writing fingers to be exact.

She just spoke truth and love into me and just got me out of that spot that we all get into from time to time. Not going forward, not retreating, just.plain.stuck.

I think we each have a hand full of people who's words are worth their weight in gold to us. Everyone has an opinion, but this hand full, they mean something to us. If they are cross, we feel it deeply, if they are sure of something, we are sure of it, just from their enthusiasm.

This someone whom I adore, had no idea that their call would reach through the phone and give me that push that I needed for some time, followed by truth in who God has made me to be that enveloped me as a great, enormous hug does when you are down in the dumps. Sometimes you really can feel the blue leaving your body when someone dear to you loves on you in that way.

The way they did for me.

And sometimes it is easier to allow something to really stick and sink down into you when you aren't face to face, reading every eye movement, every glance, every smile. You can just stare out the window and let it take root in your heart, and not be embarrassed when they see it move you.

Have you been there, friend??

And so here I am, back anew to share that God is amazing and each of us are uniquely qualified to bring Him an amazing source of joy. I cannot bring Him glory just like you can. You are unique to Him. And this uniqueness was never more understood to me than today.

You see, I got a hair cut.

I had that "I HAVE to do something with this" feeling about my hair that can come upon us females as a craving for an expectant mother. One that will stop you dead in your tracks and make you head over to the computer to indeed see if your checking account can aid you in your mission.

One that will prompt you to ask a friend to drive you over a coupon saving you yet a few dollars more, totally sealing the deal for you. You know what you need to do. Lunch can wait, dishes can wait, make-up can NOT wait and at last you are bounded for that corner place and in your head you are just praying that your Stylist has most of her teeth and only one tattoo.

I was in luck.  A full set, and not-a-one.

I gave her the, "I think it would look nice a certain way, but have no idea how to explain that in stylish terms" smile.

She seemed to understand.

A year or so ago when I was in the same predicament, I asked the same question that our husband's love, "How do you want me to do my hair." And this particular day the response was precise and freeing.

He liked it short.

Well Hallelujah for that.                                                    

Thus began my search for something that was "me." This led to one evening of me on the phone with a friend who was helping me get ready for a huge event that would have me and the family reuniting with college friends after 14 years. No pressure. Not an ounce. Ok a LOT of pressure. Ok, lots of phone counseling.

This friend finally basically dared me to wear my hair with my bangs pinned to the side. Yeah, full-forehead.

I know, I was shocked too. I called it "Shock and Awe." As in, "I know your are shocked, and Awe, why did you have to dare me to do this! "And something amazing happened, It was freeing. It was me. It was what my husband liked and I finally was free of them. The... bangs I mean.

Now back to the salon...

This sweet gal has never worked faster or harder for twelve fifty. Hey, I had a coupon! I won't even mention that she didn't even wash my hair. This was diff-er-ent. She listened to me him and haw about what I thought would look nice and got that look in her eye that made me think she knew what I was rambling about. Either that or she was regretting the fact that I had used the coupon after all. THIS is why you WAIT to say you are using a coupon. When will a tightwad like me ever learn?????

She trimmed, and I would stop here and there to locate my glasses and check things out. Yes, I felt like an old lady. But without them I just saw what seemed to me like the outline of a chia pet. So, old lady or not, I hunted for them.

 In no time flat I was headed out the door. And it was there that the feeling grabbed a hold of me. You know the one where everything is in slow motion and you feel like Esau did when he gave away his birthright? The one where each passerby seems to KNOW that you decided on not paying the extra three dollars for a blow-dry and style???!

I had some errands to run before heading home for dinner and while out, my hair began to sporadically dry in different sections. Maybe I should say, "fluff" in different sections....

I caught a glimpse of it in the frozen food isle glass and wondered where on earth I was going to have to hide for two or three months!

Ok, ok, it wasn't THAT bad, but you know that feeling, right???

At dinner my husband didn't even notice! This is good or bad. Good that it doesn't look as crazy  different as you had previously felt, or bad because he has lost almost all of his peripheral vision.

I chose the former.

Once he does see it, he likes it. Scratch that, he loves it. Yes, he really said that. Those words just leaped out of his mouth.

It is at this very moment that you begin to take a tally on one hand of those tried and true friends who will stick with you. The rest you feel you can avoid to some extent... and you surely can avoid a facebook picture for a month

Then, while I was doing absolutely nothing today,  the thought occurred to me that I had never even decided if I liked my hair! I was too busy worrying about what everyone else would think that I had thrown my own thoughts about it out the window! And you know what??

I like it! Scratch that, I love it. I LOVE MY HAIR! I may even get myself a bumper sticker and spread the message that self-loathing is for the birds. Something, we women, made in GOD'S image should throw to the curb. Enough with that! Be uniquely YOU!

I love my hair because it is fun.

I love my hair because it is something I would probably never do unless I was on a deserted island and was able to change my appearance without anyone around. You know, like finally grow your eyebrows out.... you've never thought of that???? Ok, just forget you ever read that, will you?

I love my hair because it's me. It's unique and that's just dandy.

I love my hair because my husband fancies it.

I just

And I am determined to keep on loving it, any way I grow it, cut it, or style it. A bad hair day has been replaced with a "uniquely created" day!

A few days pass and I was listening to someone online speak truth again to this heart of mine. She was reminding me how God loves us because we are his. He doesn't love us because of what we have to offer him, or what we will become. He loves us because we are HIS.  Two truths sent right from God to this heart of mine in one week. I am grateful and blessed! I soak it all in. Friend, you are uniquely created in God's image. I am created in God's image and can bring him glory and joy. And I tend to think that He loves my forehead.

You are loved, and you are so so lovely, friend.

Do you know that?

I mean REALLY know that?

It might just be time for a trim......