Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Most Holy Place

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testifies
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives
(Nicole Mullins)

We know Our Redeemer lives. What we cannot possibly how full and glorious and complete a life that is. One day we will know it as it will know us. One day we will stand in the presence of His eternally reaching, pulsating, creative life. Then shall we be like Him. We will reach out beyond what can be seen with the most powerful telescope, pulse with the music and rhythm of the heavens and create, even as Christ births in us ideas fresh and splendid and heart-bursting for beauty. Finally to be where beauty comes from.

The furnaces that drive the stars, the vaporous pools of colored gasses drawn out by His brush across the face of the galaxy, eyelashes covered with the frost of distant moons, only the outer chamber after all. God will show us His heart, His love in all its ardent and steadfast reality. The Most Holy Place. We will see and be seen. Beauty revealed and unveiled. LIFE!

Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they'll look on his face, mirroring God. Never again will there be any night. No one will need lamplight or sunlight. The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs. And they will rule with him age after age after age. (Revelation 22:1-5)

Remembering Brent born June 29, 1984. Much loved son of our friend and sister in Christ, Melody Dix. Happy Birthday. Paradise drawing made for Brent 4/30/2007 by Kat LaMantia.

The greatest of these is love...and love remains.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Warm Hours

Psalm 90:12 (Amplified Bible)So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12 is my prayer for the rest of our lives on Earth. Each year has its tragedies and triumphs, its "gold, hay and stubble" but every moment good or bad we are on the clock and there are no time outs.

When the psalmist refers to our days, he uses the word yowm (yome) meaning our warm hours. Our days under the sun vs under the ground. The days when work can be done. Those spring and summer hours when it is time to purchase a field, time to plant and time to till, time to see green things pop through the soil. Our warm days are these days. It is now, the present, this moment.

Our warm days are the days of our resolve, our determination, our execution of the will of God in our lives. They are our energy days. Our forward motion days. Our days of AHHHHH!

I have been with many people when they left this life. The body cools quickly. I confess there have been times that, also in this life, I have felt that same cooling in my prayer life, my thought life, my real life. There have been seasons when winter came early.

I realize that all the seasons are needed for growth. I am not referring to the cycle of life where the cold times concentrate energy. I am referring to our premature death and the interment of our God given dreams long before the clock has run out. Our gifts left unopened.

When Christ rose, Spring came, and all the promise of life and success and energy came with Him to name only a few. We are living in the days of His Resurrection and our thought life, our prayer life, our actual life needs to reflect that fact.

I am going for God-gold. The Holy Spirit will reveal to me where to mine, where to pan, where to look, what to invest and with whom to partner. One day it will all be to late for such activity but if you are breathing air as I am, then that day is not today! If you are breathing and reading this blog then today is a Warm Day and a wise heart will know it.

Psalm 90:12 (The Message)
12-17 Oh! Teach us to live well!
Teach us to live wisely and well!
Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—
and treat your servants with kindness...
Surprise us with love at daybreak;
then we'll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
we've seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you're best at—
the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
confirming the work that we do.
Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

I wish all of you fair weather and blue skies and an umbrella of hope for the rainy days. I wish you all the energy of the Resurrection that birthed the Church and put the Bride in her gown. I pray for warm hours for all of us. Wind your watch. You are on the clock and in the game. The bench is gone. We have chopped it up and made it a casket for our failures!

(Bravo to Rebecca Jeter and Kelly Ross for a good run!)

Be inspired:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Holy Baggage

Teach us the Holy Songs,
the Sacred Songs,
the Love Songs.

Teach us the Holy Dance,
the Sacred Dance,
the Love Dance.

Teach us to Think like You,
to Speak like You,
to Look like You.


I want to Heal like you
but I don't want my hands pierced.

I want to Walk where you would send me
but I don't want my feet pierced.

I want to Love like you
but I don't want my heart pierced.

I want roses
but not a thorny crown.

You come with so much baggage, Jesus.
Must I take it all?

Must I be tired, dusty, homeless, crucified
and eat with sinners?

I will sing them your song
as long as I can do it from a distance.

I will show them your dance
as long as I can dance alone.

It's that looking like you part
that is the rub.
You were plain.

How do I look like you,
love like you,
speak like you
if I do not allow myself
to be you to this world?

Yes, there's the rub.
Whole church movements
have sprung up to avoid
facing that detail.

If I take you
I take all your baggage.
All the forgiveness, grace,
hope and healing
and the unending supply
of people you care for
whom I may not.

Dirty feet in the lap,
hunger at the door,
hot tears demanding.
Your world has lepers.

Still, my tongue is longing to
sing the Sacred Words.
My feet itching to know
the Holy Steps.

So teach me
your extraordinary plainness.
I'll find someplace to
put your things.

What are you going to do
with that hammer and those nails?...

Teach us the Holy Songs,
the Sacred Songs,
the Love Songs.

Teach us the Holy Dance,
the Sacred Dance,
the Love Dance.

Teach us to Think like You,
to Speak like You,
to Look like You,
.....Love like You.

Teach us to follow, pierced,
to lead this world, loving,
as we walk in your steps,

(Holy Baggage by K.Cavanaugh LaMantia)

All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.
2 Corinthians 3:18

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Dandelion for God

This is my desire
To honor You
Lord with all my heart
I worship You
All I have within me
I give You praise
All that I adore is in You

Does your heart want to create something of beauty for Him? There are ways to creatively "Gift-God." Even small things done with love focus our attention on Him and go to the heart of God.

Plant something and name it for whom He has been to you.

Put a favorite scripture on a rock, offer it to Him and set it out in your garden.

Cook a special meal or bake something just in His honor and share it with a friend. Write a special Grace for the occasion.

Plant a small pot with herb seeds. Put one of His names on it to thank Him for how His love fragrances your life.

Sing Him a song or write Him a psalm. (You thought David was the only one who could do that?)

Write Him a letter from your heart on beautiful paper. Place it in a safe place and read it every year on your birthday adding a P.S. for each year.

Arrange flowers in a nice vase and speak all the Names of God you can think of out loud over them.(His Name is as perfume poured out)

Draw something simple for Him. Frame it or make a Bible bookmark out of it as a reminder. Paint something on a canvas, a smooth stone, a plate and offer it up.

Take a walk and take Him with you. Let yourself be amazed by His Creation.

Use your imagination.

Make a display of your affection.

Put something in His basket with great love.
(Start with your heart)

Would you like to paint God a summer picture? Try these instructions by a fellow Texan. Not an artist? Don't be shy. God will love it. Remember what Mom did with the dandelions you picked?

Summer Fruit

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close friend of the maturing sun;
Conspires with him how to load and bless
With fruit, the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss covered cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has over-brimmed their clammy cells.

Keats speaks to me. Keats lovers forgive my minor changes to turn a 19th century autumn offering into a 21st century summer blog.

My flowers are jumping out of the pots. Finches are nesting in a boot on the porch. Oregano and marjoram crushed in the palm spreads fragrance like lace. The days of summer in Alaska. Long days of sun ever present. Fireweed and forget-me-not. The treasures of the snow are far away today. God is here in abundance wherever I look.

Do you not know that I am everywhere in heaven and on earth?” Jeremiah 23:24
He is everywhere to make Himself known to the looking and I am looking. Looking hard to find Him in those things that vex, looking misty eyed and welcoming Him in those visions green and sweet. Begging Him to make me as Keats' fruit and filling me with ripeness to the core, over-brimming my life with honey sweetness and replenishing the dry places with dew.

We are the summer fruit He loves and planned for all the long winter of the world.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

There Is No Time Like The Presence

Paradise Lost (Book 1) by Milton

And chiefly you, O (Holy) Spirit,
who does prefer before all Temples,
the upright heart and pure,
you instruct me for you know everything.

You from the first (created) moments were present,
and with mighty wings outspread, dove-like,
sat brooding upon the vast Abyss (the firmament)
and made it pregnant.

Whatever in me is dark, illuminate.
Whatever is slight, raise and support;
that to the highest of this Great Argument (Life in God)
I may assert Eternal Providence,
and justify the ways of God to men.

I had a friend who was returning to school who was moving into a new area of life. She began a creative journey and almost felt like jumping ship and swimming to shore when she saw how far ahead of her others were. I asked God what would encourage her art, feed her on her way and He sent me to this passage in Milton.

Milton was blind but became famous for his vision. In this passage he "sees" the Holy Spirit as a dove brooding over her eggs, stretched out over the firmament in the first of Creation and calling forth life. Milton's "brooding" is actually a better translation from the original text where we commonly read, "And the Voice of the Lord 'moved upon' the face of the waters."

Transition times are hard times even when they are good. It is easy to become discouraged especially when we look around and compare ourselves to others whom we feel are more accomplished. We need to look up into the "Light Be!" face of Creation, feel His body hovering above us, His Will warm and strong, His soft feathers (Christ's intersession) protecting and encouraging. Raising and supporting whatever is slight.

Is there a work of God, a dream, a gift, new life quickening inside of you? If you desire it to live then know the Spirit's breath upon it. At this time in your life (early or late), He is brooding above your unformed parts, making you pregnant, calling forth gifts and talents, raising and illuminating, separating mist from land, earth from sky, light from dark.

What woman finding herself pregnant is ashamed that the seed is so small, that it is not already a full grown baby? Rather she is proud of the knowledge of conception and the moment she feels that first tiny flutter, a love shudder eclipses everything else in life. "Do not despise the day of small beginnings." Exalt the brooding. Be enraptured by it. Live it. You are in those first hours of Creation.

Take that class. Teach that class. Learn to dance. Learn to sing. Start that band. Study Latin. Visit France. Kiss the Western Wall. Run that race. Rescue that puppy. Save a child. Bake bread. Be Bread. Pick up a brush. Point a camera. Draw a circle. Write a line. Connect with the God of, "Hey, that's good!"

"And the Voice of the Lord moved upon the face of the waters," upon your face.

It's all in the we beginning?

There is no time like The Presence!


(Acknowledging Rebecca Jeter who reminds me what it takes to turn a loss into a gain and to nurse a dream to success. Be it done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Run on, Rebecca!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Magnificat Anima Mea, Dominum!

Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
for he has looked upon the low estate of his bondmaid;
behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For the Mighty One has done to me great things, and Holy [is] his name; and his mercy [is] to generations and generations to them that fear him.

There is a long, fine tradition of God revealing to his loved ones exactly who they are. I love Mary's Song, or the Canticle of Mary, or The Magnificat as the Catholics call her prophetic utterance describing who she was in God.

If God calls us He tells us who we are. I especially love that this particular "telling" of her future came with a generational promise of mercy.

As mother and grandmother I claim that merciful dispensation for my family. My family will have mercy and grace because His Name is Holy One.

I want to be a woman who magnifies.

The more my soul magnifies Him the more it can hold and behold. Magnification does just what it says. It makes Him larger. It fills eyes and hearts with glorious belief in our substantial God. The God who is bigger than, who is big enough. When we magnify the Lord we see our problems in the shadow He casts not the other way around and we thrill our own souls in the process.

I magnify the One whose Name is Holy!

Magnificat anima mea, Dominum!

Painting by Sue Crow. Visit her site for a real treat.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stopping By Me

Peace has been stripped away,
and I have forgotten what prosperity is.
I cry out, “My splendor is gone!
Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!”

The thought of my suffering
is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.

Our Father's embrace
is always ready.
His heart open.
His paternity established
by a blood test.
There is no water
so bitter
His encouragement cannot sweeten.
There is not a day
nor a moment of this life
that His arms cannot enfold.
There is a hug and a mercy
just made for us today.
Faithful fresh mercy-manna
from God who is
a sacrificial parent,
a planner,
a searcher
a friend,
a lover,
a protector.
Our peace
when we are
stripped naked
of worldly peace.
The hope we dare for.
The one we trust.
The restorer
of our beauty.
I see Him
this way
Love passing by-
stopping by-

(For The Berry)

"Replenished" Pink Geranium in my garden-kl

Taking the Ark to Heart

In 2 Samuel 6 David asks a question I have been asking myself.

I have been reading a book by Max Lucado who takes the reader to the moment David considers to bring the Ark of God "Home" to Jerusalem. (Praiseworthy ambition on the face of it).

The chapter shows however that no matter how determined we are to have God, no matter how elaborate and deliberate our plan to embrace Him, we must approach Him on His terms.

You know the story. The Ark which was to be carried by the priests on poles was put on a cart drawn by animals. The oxen stumble, Uzzah reaches to steady the more Uzzah.

At this point all of the songs, the band, the plans are for nothing. David is stunned. Afraid. Stops all forward motion. The place is named after "The explosion, or breaking forth," against Uzzah.

I remember a lesson Cheryl Haley taught about the Exodus where the focus was Israel's commitment to the Lord when it was determined that if God did not lead them up they were hunkered down until it was God who moved.

I appreciate the question David ask upon the death of Uzzah. "How can the Ark of the Lord ever come to me?"

I want the Ark. It has within it all the symbols of power, provision and authority as Max points out. It is also only coming on God's terms. What are His terms for Kathy LaMantia? How will the Spirit of God cause me to behold all ordinary elements within me that must be replaced by His sacred ways?

So I am asking the Holy Spirit today and with every sunrise, "How can the Lord come to me today? What needs to be changed, corrected, removed, sacrificed, disciplined? What needs to be reverenced, honored and cherished so that intimacy with the Almighty is flowing and unfettered? Show me how to regard Christ who is the Ark of God to us"

Samuel had the beginnings of an answer, "Speak Lord. Your servant is listening."

If we do not ask ourselves the question in the first place we can never hear the answer.

HINT: The answer to David's question ended in a dance.

(Celebrating the birth of Samuel Lawrence Marsrow to Casey and Amanda. May he be the listening servant his father prays for.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

For Jazz & Sasha

We just passed the anniversaries marking the transformations of our wonderful dogs Jazz and Sasha into the stuff good memories are made of. Two years for Jazz (it seems like a million) and one year for Sasha (her hair is still in the corners of the couch). John and I have more room in the bed these days minus 170 lbs of dogs but we would trade the stretch room for the dog pile in a heartbeat. We will always miss them and will always be grateful that God brought them to us. We recall both with love in this season.

These were written on their last days with us.

Remembering Jazz

Someone once asked me if I thought there were Guardian Angels for dogs. I didn't even have to think about the answer. No. There are no Guardian Angels for dogs because dogs are of themselves a special class of angelic beings.

They love us and protect us, watch over us, give us grace. They also steal our cookies, chew our socks and potty on the rug...and we adore them.

At 12:15 pm today, our 15 year old, faithful friend, Jazz, went wherever really great dogs go. She was suffering from arthritis and had lost her rear suspension as well as her back up gear and was no longer responding to medication. She was becoming increasingly uncomfortable and the time had come.

Jazz was our "FREE DOG" who came into our lives at a special time and became John David's fast friend. She did Crow Creek with him until her paws were smooth, rode shotgun with him and made the spoons with him at night. She ran off intruders, saved injured bunnies, loved cats and ate stale donuts from neighborhood trash cans.

She said her own unique version of Grace before meals and would let you take food out of her mouth. She let a tired, sad soldier bury his head in the velvet fur of her neck and let go of the death he saw in Iraq. She let that soldier's baby grab her ears and drool on her head.

Dogs have healing gifts and The Jazzer was the greatest of them all. At 100 lbs for most of her life and part St Bernard as well as Lab, she could rest her head on your shoulder when you were seated. Many a time when I was sad she would just come and let me know she was there. Head on my shoulder and no demands.

After taking care of our family for many years we took the best care of her we could at the last and let her go with full hearts. She got to eat bacon and cheese bread for breakfast, favorites, and then she got to roll in the grass in the beautiful sunshine. We made our real good-byes there on the lawn and then one last car ride.

The voice she knew and loved best told her over his cell phone from Juneau what a pretty girl she was and how everything would be alright. She laid her noble head with her kind, soft eyes down upon a cushion of John David's favorite hat which carried his scent and she was gone.

Her Vet, Dr. Lewis was the angel God let carry Jazz home and she ministered to all of us with the same grace Jazz had always shown.

Those who have loved and lost an animal know our sorrow but also our gratitude. There are animals who carry within them a remnant of The Garden. Jazz was such a one. A treasure. She was forever John David's pretty girl and our friend. She will be missed.

The Lord gives and the Lord takes back. His Name is to be praised.

With gratitude,

John & Kathy
Spring 2009

(The day after Jazz left us I saw the finches from the lilac bushes fashioning their nests from her hair. Creation wastes nothing and makes its own memorials. The Jazzer would approve.)


You taught me how to "STAY!"
But Heaven whispered, "Come."

"Good Byes" are always hard especially when you have to exchange them with a good dog.

This afternoon our Sasha, our Aussie-Husky Rocket, lover of children, warm toast, dirty socks and head scratches, enemy of mice and squirrels and kitties; left arthritis and deafness and us behind and took a look over the high fence.

Fourteen years old with hips much older and a heart much younger she has been John's other girl since Dr. Bob Wald brought her to work and I took her home. We rescued her and she rescued our lives from any possibility of boredom.

Sasha was a joker who liked to get her way. She had piercing blue eyes and would fix her mesmerizing stare on you and not flinch. To Sasha we were sheep but we were her flock.

This morning she ate things that would normally require a Pepcid, posed for a few last pictures with the love of her life and then took one final ride in the backseat. She was so happy to be in the car looking out the window. We drove slowly.

Now the house seems as if it is waiting for her to return. I know we are. But that is a trick we never taught her. She could stay and fetch and shake. She could climb a chain link fence with her long pretty toes and herd children into a tight circle but she has wandered too far now to hear us call her back.

Perhaps she has found her old friend Jazz who will be sure to let her have her way just as she did in life. Perhaps she has finally found that flock of sheep in need of a shepherd. We like to think that she might have found the Good Shepherd. If she did I hope He likes bossy dogs.

There are dogs who make the world better and sometimes even make us better in the process. Sasha was one of those. Her memory like all the good she did for us will linger.

In gratitude,

John & Kathy
Spring 2010


Beloved animals are the windows that let us catch a glimpse of Eden.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bless Us, O' Lord, And These Thy Gifts

Catholic grace. I must have said it thoughtlessly thousands of times. Hands on autopilot, racing through the words, stomach growling, mind elsewhere. Seldom do I say such graceless grace these days.

In these days of God's unmerited favor I am allowing the Holy Ghost to cultivate not just a thankful heart within me but an abundantly thankful one. He, my eyes, is able to see all of God's gifts to me in the light of Eternity as well as the light over the kitchen sink. The sun does not set on such thankfulness. Too often I have been overwhelmed by a forgetfulness that little remembers what thrilled me yesterday.

Bless us, O' Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty through Christ...

Abundance in Christ. Bounty through Christ. Love heaped upon itself, Creation shot through to the heart with such love as equals His power. He came so that those who believe in Him “may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). No skinflint this God.

Each day contains its own treasure and its own evil. I am reckoning my treasures in a book and letting the bad stuff fade with memory. I am a nurse and there is a saying, "Care undocumented is care undelivered." So I write down the specialness of the days and read to remember when I need to fill my eyes again. I write of His goodness and plump up my heart with it in the thin times.

When John David went to war I began writing my trusting thoughts, my thankful thoughts, my heart of love for God thoughts. I wrote in notebooks, on rocks in the garden, I slipped notes under those same rocks, I drew my feelings on the inside covers of my books then gave them away. Some thoughts I tucked into the coin returns of vending machines.

The entry for September 9, 2005 claims, "I will live each day on what comes from the Lord's hand. Maybe a raven will bring it. My God will be enough through a long winter's war. Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts for I still feel JD's last, crushing, this-will-last-until-I-come-home, hug." I have written long. The list grows.

Henry Ward Beecher speaking of Thanksgiving Day encouraged us to, " Remember God's bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!"

A lovely thought but one day feels insufficient to celebrate my "bounty through Christ Our Lord." The "pearls of His favor" beg me to be worn daily. Daily it is. Pen in hand I map new oyster beds.

Sally's new cup full of great-grandson smiles.

John promising to cook something from his new cook book.

A miniature tea set in remembrance of a little one who has tea with the angels.

A wooden airplane made from scraps and imagination.

The robin full of eggs singing to me in the morning.

The voice of the turtle I hear in the Word, "Come away."


Enough for all.

Bless Us, O' Lord, and these Thy gifts!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Brought You To Myself

I was driving home this morning and I saw a young man carrying his small daughter on his shoulders. He was walking confidently seemingly unburdened. She was playing paddy-cake on his head. I saw God.

Fathers carry their children aloft because little legs are short and I think (secretly) because it makes men look taller. I considered the different ways my own husband carried our son as being godlike.

A father carries his children in his hands, looks into their eyes and says, "Hello, I am your Daddy."

(My sheep hear my voice...I have given them eternal one will snatch them out of my hand ...or my Father's hand...John 10:27-28. Some translations say no one will tear them away from me.)

The day before my own 24th birthday the nurse wheeled a bassinet into my hospital room. John who had attended the delivery was about to hold his son for the first time. Etched into my memory is a young musician with unruly hair, plaid shirt and platform shoes lifting his golden son to himself with gentle hands, placing him snugly under his chin and over his heart. John's first words held all the feeling of immigrants arriving on bright new shores. "Oh, my little buddy! My little buddy!" The pact was sealed. To this day they are Father-Son best friends.

A father carries his children on his shoulders and says,"This is the world I am giving you. You are safe. I'm here. Go get it!" (Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4).

John would put John David on his shoulders so he could reach the things I had put up high (I thought safely) because they were "exploring." He would carry him aloft so he had a better view of the world and so he could travel faster, safer. There were no muddy feet or bee stings high up on Da's shoulders but there was man style wisdom and a confident world view. Strong hands holding on. No fear of falling. John David, though small, had a foundation that raised him up to considerable height.

A father carries his children in his heart and his soul says," You will always be mine and you will always live loved. (I carried you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to myself. Exodus 19:4)

Standing in the airport John wrapped his arms around our now larger soldier-son. A son whose physical strength surpassed his father's. There were heart rending good-byes but when John David walked away to war there was his father still holding him tightly in his heart. His own Father-God, Abba-Daddy, I-will-love-you-forever-and-a-mile-beyond heart, holding our son in a sure, safe grip. His heart had woven his love for his son and his love for God and God's love for all into that unbreakable three-strand-cord. A cord that would hold no matter how far it was stretched. (Even if it had to stretch from this life to the next.)

Many years ago I sat upon my own father's broad shoulders and saw the Lord coming from afar off. I beheld Eternity from that perch and it was one of his greatest gifts to me. I have no lost saints and I honor him for that on this Father's Day.

To my husband, John, and my son, John David, now himself that father with a happy burden (pictures are of JD and family), to my brothers-in-law Jake, Rick and Mark, to all my father-friends, to our fathers here and to those now in Heaven, and especially to our all-loving, ever-present Father God, I say blessings and honor on this day and all the days to come.

You have held us long-loved.

Feel free to leave a comment here if you would like to honor your father as a Father's Day Blessing or In Memoriam. Comments honoring Our Father are welcome as well.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Insistere-To Stand Still On

Some of us have been praying for the complete physical healing of Ruth Schoenleben's son-in-law, Jay, who has been in a battle with cancer for some time.

Kim and I were I emailing back and forth about "insisting" on his healing. I felt that we were supposed to insist. On the third day Christ rose from the dead. I do not believe the sun has set on that day nor shall it ever and I shared that thought with Kim.

1. Demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal. From the Latin insistere to stand still on.

Here is her insistence with my full agreement.

The sun has not set upon your Resurrection day...Nor shall it ever.

We want to see Jay live and not die.
We want Jay to raise his daughter and grow old with his wife.
We want Jay to know that his God is alive.
We want Jay to know that the sacrifice Jesus made for his life (body, soul and spirit) was more than enough for anything that he or his family will ever need.

I do insist at all times under all circumstances, no matter what, that the sacrifice that Jesus made for us was more than enough for anything we will ever need.

We are calling on that truth for Jay's healing, God.



We agree with
Your Crucified body,
Your Resurrected body,
Your Glorified body,
that you are the perfect sacrifice
the obedient Son
the One who sits at
the Father's right hand
having everything under your authority
possessing all the power
Jay's body needs
to fully respond to
Your call to wholeness.
"A three strand cord
is not easily broken."


At all times under all circumstances, no matter what, the sacrifice that Jesus made for us was more than enough for anything we will ever need.(Kim Lorentzen)

Blessed be the LORD day by day,* the God of our salvation, who bears our burdens. He is our God, the God of our salvation;* God is the LORD, by whom we escape death.
Psalm 68:11

Please insist with us. Please "stand still on" this promise that Christ is indeed all sufficient. May His grace, bless, provide and sustain this courageous family.

If you wish to "insist" with us on behalf of Jay, and write it as a comment, I will publish it on this site...Remember one can put 1,000 to flight and two 10,000. Do the math. It is all agreement. Jesus obedient agreement with the will of the Father and our agreement with one another in the Spirit, standing on His promises together for His glory.

The sun has not set on that Third Day, nor shall it ever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Circus Is Over Rated

Meditation by the Stove

I have banked the fires of my body
into a small but steady blaze.
Here in the kitchen,
where the dough has a life of its own,
breathing under its damp cloth
like a sleeping child,
the real child plays under the table,
pretending the tablecloth is a tent.
A brown bird dazzled by light
has flown into the windowpane
and lies stunned on the pavement--
it was never simple, even for birds,
this business of nests.
The innocent eye sees nothing,
repeating what the snake told Eve,
what Eve told Adam, tired of gardens,
wanting the fully lived life.
But passion happens like an accident.
I could let the dough spill over the rim
of the bowl, neglecting to punch it down,
neglecting the child who waits under the table,
the mild tears already smudging her eyes.
We grow in such haphazard ways.
Today I feel wiser than the bird.
I know the window shuts me in.
I know that when I open it
the garden smells will make me restless.
I have banked the fires of my body
into a small domestic flame
for others to warm their hands on
for a while.
-Linda Pastan from Carnival Evening

Sometimes as an adult I wondered if it was too late to run away and join the circus.

I remember once in Dallas when John David was about thirteen and playing me like an arcade game (he has always been the high scorer), I let it be know I intended to pack a suitcase and stay in a hotel. To run away but just for the weekend. It had been an angry day.

The shock, the absolute disbelief, the indignation expressed at the thought of Mom leaving was almost comic and would have been hysterical had I not been positively rabid to go.

Oh, the thought of room service and a movie without car crashes or blood! No one calling me to find their socks, car keys, checkbook, math book, or Bible just as I soaped up my hair. The notion of full rolls of toilet paper and getting to finish a coke I opened (without sharing it) was heady fare. No one to challenge me. Ahhh the lure of peace and quiet. No arguments. The sound of just my own voice, my own thoughts, to be my own better self if only until Sunday afternoon.

The most understanding man on the planet was calling to get me a room at the Anatole but his son was a different story. "Mothers can't run away! Mother's can't leave even for a weekend. It isn't done." This was followed by many attempts at apologies of all sorts that were just shy of genuine. The tired expression on my face must have signaled that I had crossed the imaginary line where I lost all ability to be reasoned with or bullied. The weary side of motherhood with an oppositional teenager had made me its poster child.

I was just putting my favorite old rag of a nightgown in the suitcase when JD rode up to the house on his skateboard with roses in hand and a sincere 'mea culpa' on his lips. He had been to several florists until he found roses he could afford. (I thought he had run away too...again) The petals of those roses mark some of the most personally meaningful passages of scripture in my Bible. Many years later I would hold their papery remembrance of a fragrance long ago faded, and will my son home from Iraq. Mothers can't leave. It isn't done.

Our wonderful, long-suffering God isn't going to ever run away and join the circus either. He won't be dialing up the pay per view or ordering room service. His eyes are on us. Like the gifted, passionate woman in the poem, who was restless and capable of so much more, we can feel our lives are unused or ill used or put on hold. God always has a plan. After all, this is the God who became a man to let the world into His kitchen.

He is here for us and He isn't going anywhere no mater how hard we try to wear Him out. The everpresentness of God says we are not on our own here. "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." Isaiah 49:15-16

Maybe the dough is breathing under the damp cloth and there are things, good things, that you would do now if you could or do better if life would cooperate. Take heart, "He makes everything beautiful in its time," and you are part of everything He is beautifying.

The kitchen season will lend its lessons and richness to the days that follow. Along with the other crowns, I think there must be "kitchen crowns" in the Kingdom . I know there is one waiting for me. It will probably be made from my old strainer John David stole to catch carp with in a storm drain.

On the day a 25 year old son returned to Christ he told me, "Mom, I know God will always love me because you have always loved me no matter what." On the day a 30 year old Sergeant called me from the middle of a war he told me, "Mom, I am going to come home and sit in your kitchen."

Sometimes the very moments we feel the most like we are lost or have been set aside are the moments of our greatest influence. When we feel that all we are doing is just watching the bread rise, maybe we should know it for a blessing. There is glory in the rising. Humility waits on greatness and patience has work to do.

Besides, the circus is over rated. Mothers don't leave.