Monday, November 28, 2011

His Seabed Is Love Without End

There's a ship out
on the ocean
at the mercy of the sea
it's been tossed about
lost and broken
wandering aimlessly
God somehow you know
that ship is me
'Cause there's a lighthouse
in the harbor
shining faithfully
pouring its light out
across the water...*

The last few lines of this swaddle me in soft blankets and pull me in close. I can smell the myrrh and cassia of His robe, the aloe in His hair, spice and salt mingled. Strong arms wrap around me holding tight. I am weightless. He bears it all. I need do nothing else but be here in this moment of silence as His chest rises and falls.

I am the baby otter floating peacefully on mother otter's belly. Baby possum safe on mother possum's furry back. Downy gosling snuggled under goose wing. Be it done on earth.

He is light pouring out across the water- lonely, cold, dark, forbidding water. He is light and shore and hope. He is warmth and buoyancy and direction. Pouring. Pouring. As the wine poured in Cana. As the water poured in the foot basin at Supper. As love poured forgiveness, grace, at Golgotha. Dark waters shot through with the heart life of God. Sorrow transformed into the best of wine.

His heart contains all the oceans of this world, of my world, your world. Arms stretched full out- all that exists fits from palm to palm. Our world and all it consists of is baby otter floating on God's heart. "Surely, He bore our sorrows..." He holds us and all that is about us with gentle strength.

Psalm 144 has David wondering, "...why you care, God— why do you bother with us at all? All we are is a puff of air; we're like shadows in a campfire." That is us. Smoke and black water.

I'm with David. I don't know why He cares when I have often given Him reason to do otherwise. I only know He does. His Word promises it. His love is the white of the snow against a dark mountain sky. His seabed is love without end. Its depths beyond reckoning.

So tonight as I need the height and depth of His light and love poured out, it is poured out. Not squeezed out in stingy drops but in waves flooding up from that seabed of love. Shimmering and alive and mine. It is grace falling and falling faster, as snowflakes on my tongue, tasting God. My Father's affection is unrestrained in the embrace of Christ.

I weep a sweetness only known in Him.


(This posting is my heart at His feet. No strings offering.)

*Until You Come Back To Me by Garth Brooks

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Coming, The First Sunday of Advent

Advent is from the Latin word for "Coming." Christ is coming. This is the season we open our hearts to a tired couple and their faithful donkey, wise men, shepherds, angels and the Gift of The Father.

We prepare with Mary the clothing in which the Son of God will be received. He is not looking for silks. He is looking for souls.

Will your soul be His adornment this Christmas? Not fine enough? Let Jesus be the judge of that.

I offer you some places to rest and think in this season of busyness.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus (Revelations 22:20)

Web Devotionals:

Rev. Norman Lindsay Thoughts on Christmas:


(Floral art from the Upper Room site)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And John Has Kept It

I found you under the apricot tree, and woke you up to love.
Song of Solomon Chapter 8

I found God.
God found me a lover.
He gave me one of His sons to hold my heart.
To whisper to its unspoken gifts.
To tease me out into society.
To shave down my tearing teeth.
To make my heart quiet.
He gave me someone to cradle my secrets
not forge them into weapons for use against me.
He gave me someone who would embrace me unveiled.
Who would keep a record of my victories
but would bury my mistakes in unmarked graves.
He gave me someone to satisfy love's thirst
and make our bed a grassland.
He gave me a man who offers friendship, honor and preference.
God made me a promise and John has kept it.

I am so glad God woke me up to love. I plan to stay awake forever.



holy experience


Monday, November 21, 2011

The Time In Between

The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined...They rejoice before You according to the joy of harvest... Isaiah 9:2-3

I have a friend who has been chasing the moon. Sneaking out of bed to see moonlight and shadow, snow falling over the mooncast landscape outside her window; pulling on boots to crunch her way through to a good spot to cast her net. Her pictures are winter jewels as are her words and a link follows.

She knows I am a moon lover as well. I love everything God flung out into space and commanded to stay put. I love the light He made to rule the day and the one He fashioned as a nightlight.

I love the time just before dawn when the birds are up and calling. I love the moments at sunset when bugs are buzzing and fireflies are blinking. I love in between times full of expectancy.

We are approaching one such season. Just past Thanksgiving, Advent. A forward looking time of preparation. Advent and Lent are treasures I savor. Looking to the time of planting or harvest, Easter or Christmas. The rising and the reigning. The miracle that follows the cleansing and the giving of thanks. A transition time.

Transition times can be wicked hard in life and dangerous. Some people liken them to desert seasons. Maybe so but I see it with different eyes.

Many years ago John wrote a piece of instrumental music and named it Penumbra. It means the shadow of a shadow, sort of. I add the definition here.


- A partial shadow, as in an eclipse, between regions of complete shadow and complete illumination.

- An area in which something exists to a lesser or uncertain degree.

- An outlying surrounding region; a periphery

Doesn't that sound like our transition time? The holiday season on the small scale and Christ's return on the larger. What a thrilling time it can be this time in our lives between complete shadow and complete illumination. Between salvation from sin and rapture. This time of lighting lamps and putting them out and relighting them a day closer. These are our days. Our warm hours. Our work hours. Followed by a celebration.

As I look to the days of holidays and holy days, I have cleaned the kitchen and swept my heart. I have set the bread to rise and let hope also leaven my spirits. Our King is coming and our reward is in His hand. This sad old world will change under the full sun of the Illuminator of universes beyond imagination. Blinding love in full gaze. Jesus! The Son to rule a nightless day.

Our praise and thanksgiving has the power to alter the course of rivers of sin and wretchedness. The scripture gives us a wonderful imperative:"Let us arise and be doing!" Let's do that very thing with all the thoughtful preparation and heart we can lend to the task in these middle hours.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifleth himself even as He is pure. I John 3:2-3.

A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to all of our friends and family. A candle lighting ceremony in your hearts each day of Advent. A mystery wrapped in swaddling clothes to be discovered anew. You are loved by these two people who pray the richness of Christ's affection upon your lives.

Looking forward,
John and Kathy

(PS to The Berry, Glad you can read this because you are above ground.)

Picture is Moonlightning from APOD web site

Sunday, November 20, 2011


This keeps coming back to me today so I am thinking someone needs to hear about how beautiful they are and how loved.

Follow the link and let God convince you.

I see you in there, that loved person.

Picture credit:

Blogger Blessing

Thoughts and dreams plain spoken,
lives close or far apart, words find a home
in shared hearts.

Special Thanksgiving wishes
to the folks following our
blog and to those of you I
follow. You pour oil on my


Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.
2 Peter 1:2-3

Saturday, November 19, 2011


God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. Genesis 21:19

Poor, thirsty, cast out Hagar; poor mother empty of resources, feet bleeding, lips cracked, heart-sore. I embrace her. I have been her.

This exact time of year in 1978, I sat upon my bed in a strange city with a pantry nearly as empty as my checking, away from family, with a homesick, hungry little boy sleeping in the next room.

I sat with an infection and a fever burning me up. I sat and listened to the most sorrowful of sounds...I heard my own soul cry. Open mouthed and soundless at first, like the ocean drawing back into one tremendous wall of hope-crashing destruction...then came such bowel-deep animal sounds of suffering, wave upon endless wave smothered in a soaked pillow never meant to hold such grief.

One word. Only one word cast up out of the bile of my soul, "Father."

One word and arms came to hold me, to hold such pain and share it. When I looked for Him, God was there holding a shaking, desperate woman with such tender strength.

I will never forget His coming or the comfort of His Presence. I also have long remembered the provision that followed. Like Hagar I had found "The God Who Sees Me." This seeing God became a journey companion who walked with me through the valley and up and out of it over time.

Whatever you are in need of there is a well of water at hand. God Himself will draw it up and bathe your lips.

Look for Him.


The Lord is my shepherd and nothing is wanting to me. In green pastures He hath settled me. Psalm 23


(Rhonda, if you are reading this, you mailed the money you received from your wedding shower to me and I receive it right after I called on my Father 33 yrs ago. Thank you. A friend loves at all times.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Tendril's Faith

God, gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. Romans 4:17 NKJV

This has always been a favorite scripture describing the faith of Abraham and the Almightiness of Abraham's God. The God who likes to do the calling. "Light, BE!" A really breathtaking example of His creative utterances comes immediately to mind.

He is a plan ahead Sovereign. The Plan is the reality. When He plans a thing it exists from that very second, seen or unseen. How wonderful then to consider Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Feeling less that prosperous, hardly hopeful? Me too sometimes but The Plan is the reality. Let's not let our feelings convince us otherwise. God's world is brimming over with creative utterances about us. All of His Kingdom is coming into agreement with His Plan for those who are "the called." Those whose surname is "καλέω" Called. Isn't that an awe inspiring thought? No matter what names you have given yourself or other have named you, flattering or otherwise, your family name, your surname is Called.

It is below zero today. Way, way below in some parts of Alaska. Snow and ice dominate the landscape but underground spring is waiting for her call. The coldest winter will not prevent her welcome arrival. It cannot come soon enough for me.

I found a lovely poem in my wanderings. It spoke to me of hope underground, of calling those things that are not as though they absolutely are. I offer it here as an encouragement to myself and to you.

The Tendril's Faith

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Under the snow in the dark and the cold,
A pale little sprout was humming;
Sweetly it sang,'neath the frozen mold,
Of the beautiful days that were coming.

"How foolish your songs," said a lump of clay,
"What is there, I ask, to prove them?
Just look at the walls between you and the day,
Now, have you the strength to move them?"

But under the ice and under the snow
The pale little sprout kept singing,
"I cannot tell how, but I know, I know,
I know what the days are bringing."

"Birds, and blossoms, and buzzing bees,
Blue, blue skies above me,
Bloom on the meadows and buds on the trees,
And the great glad sun to love me."

A pebble spoke next: "You are quite absurd."
it said, "with your song's insistence;
For I never saw a tree or a bird,
So of course there are none in existence."

"But I know, I know," the tendril cried,
In beautiful sweet unreason;
Till lo! from its prison, glorified,
It burst in the glad spring season.

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD

(Is that you humming?)


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Surrendered Seconds

I have found the paradox,
that if you love until it hurts,
there can be no more hurt,
only more love.

Mother Teresa

"Unless a seed falls into the ground and dies..." *

I am such a little seed but I cling to life with such tenacity. I have embraced that falling and dying part on one level...that part of my brain that thinks it is a great idea for everyone else.

That part of me that wants an offended friend to cut me some slack when my behaviors and opinions don't line up with the Word and I am hanging on tight. That part that begs a put out spouse to believe I was only kidding when I laid the sharp edge of my tongue against his unwalled heart. That part that will do anything for Christ if He will let me have my way. The part that loves Him in the beauty of holiness but the holiness is my own.

What a stinker you might say and I could cringe and get all self protective and hang on and do everything else except die. I will not go gentle. I will not go at all. Not if left to my own way. I am not alone here. Neither would you. Surrender does not have a large sales force for a good reason. It lacks sufficient popularity.

It takes a God who is the essence of love itself to love people through us while we struggle to get out of His way. It takes a God who laid His own life down to show us the way to the surrendering place. The place where life and death trade places. The place where loving until it hurts, heals. That place will always and forever be Calvary.

Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Galatians 2:20 Message

It seems to me that living a surrendered life is really about living surrendered seconds. It is Christ living as Lord within us moment to moment throughout our lifetime. Years of walking with Him are really days of coming into agreement with His will. Mary's terrifyingly obedient, "Be it done unto me according to Thy word," was the result of her Godward leanings over the years of her young life up to that point. Paul's Galatians declaration, "I am not going back," was a matter of daily renewal or as he put it, "dying daily."

So there are people I could nurse a spite over and I would, but I would have to look away from Calvary to do so. There are people I could serve for duty sake but there is Christ washing all those dirty feet and putting His heart into it. There are people I could love until it gets uncomfortable but there is Christ urging me past the pain to the joy. There is always Christ showing me how to please the Father in the moment. "The life lived by faith in the Son of God." A daily walk to Calvary and renewed surrender. It all passes through Him.

I am seed made willing.
I have not come gently
but I have come.


* Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal. John 12:24 Message

Monday, November 14, 2011


Your words burn heart and sear soul;
spoken they ignite tongue and imagination;
light the way for you to find my overheated bonfire-heart
fuel heaped upon already burning affection.

Can they see this love-fire from space?
Is it visible from across the supper table?
Palm to palm does the world feel its warmth?
I will not bank this fire for the night or a thousand nights.

Tell me this will burn sure and clean and forever
until I see your pierced heart, the first drawing fire,
that spilled its red-gold goodness upon my cold love.
I am wick and wax and yours.

Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia

But [his word] is inside me like a burning fire shut up in my bones. I wear myself out holding it in, but I can't do it any longer. Jeremiah 20:9

Pentecost, Acrylic on canvas board by Don A. Schooler

(Ardere from the Latin "to be on fire")

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Unbound Hair

Love makes us take bold steps.
Love risks our pride being wounded.
Love looks into dark places and calls to the Light.
Love gets what it asks for.
Love celebrates!

1 That day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:

2 When they let down their hair in Israel,
they let it blow wild in the wind.
The people volunteered with abandon,
bless God!

3 Hear O kings! Listen O princes!
To God, yes to God, I'll sing,
Make music to God,
to the God of Israel.

4-5 God, when you left Seir,
and marched across the fields of Edom,
The Earth quaked, yes, the skies poured rain,
oh, the clouds made rivers!
Judges 5 (The Message)

When the ancient Irish went to war they terrified their enemies because they let out their very long hair, colored it, spiked it all over, painted their naked bodies and carried a war club. They also had a battle cry that would wake the dead. They were impossible to miss. Impossible to ignore. They definitely got their enemies attention. (Not acceptable church attire but I focus more on fearless than naked.)

When JD was in Iraq the epicenter of my prayer life was in my downstairs family room. When I was home alone I would put on my most rhythmic Celtic music and my most flowing skirt. I would do up my make up, spike my hair all three inches of it and put on my best perfume. I always put on earrings that had bells... and I would begin to welcome the Spirit. I held a picture of JD in uniform on a Humvee in one hand and a pre-war picture of him on his bicycle in the other. I would ask God to protect and deliver the soldier and allow him to keep the good heart of the man on the bike.

Since in the days of Herod a woman belonged to the man she danced for, I decided to belong to Christ in the dance. I would dance and be His and He would extend the scepter to His Beloved and grant every desire of my heart for my family.

I let the Spirit order my steps. They were beautiful even violent. I waved the pictures as I danced, spoke, sang and prophesied as the Holy Ghost released Himself into my worship. I felt the shields and weapons forged in Hell crack and break before my steps. Borders were secured, protection was appropriated, the future was provisioned.

All my spiritual hair blew wild and free in the wind. I was a River Making Cloud and Iraq was the desert that drank in my worship and washed my son beyond its borders to home and wholeness.

How can we fear to dance? It is Hell that fears our dance and our wild free flowing unbound hair. It is Hell that sits stunned by our cloudburst of uninhibited praise, unfettered joy. Heaven turns on such worship. Its engines are powered up by the fuel created by such surrender and confidence and it will match us stroke for stroke.

I will dance and be His! I will dance and be His!

Christ will not make us ashamed or leave us feeling foolish. He will come and dance with us to the delight of the Father. And He will hear our prayer and answer to the cheers of Heaven.

I am a contemplative prayer who Prays the Hours and can worship in High Church Latin but I am also a full on Pentecostal holy dancer unashamed of the power of freedom.

Can't dance? Don't know any steps? Let it be as Abraham answered his son, "The Lord will provide..."

How long will you gather moisture and not release it?

It is time, and past it really, for God's daughters to unbind their hair.


Spirit Dancer

Fire Dancer by Stephen Sawyer @ Art for God purchase link:

Afro Celt Sound System

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Loved on the Hour

As I write this the street is quiet. Snow falls silently. The wind is not even a whisper. The house is cold and quiet. The heat pipes are not knocking. The only perceptible sounds are the tap of these keys and the tick of an old cuckoo clock. Back and forth, back and forth, thousands of times a day a wooden oak leaf marks the passing seconds.

Last summer we cleaned the garage and discovered boxes that came up the Alcan Highway to Alaska with us many years ago but remained unopened. In one of them was a beautiful clock. My heart pounded as I lifted it out of the newspaper protecting it for two decades. (It went from Dallas to Amarillo unwrapped before beginning the journey north.) This clock has history.

A new bride and her horn player husband had just arrived in their military home of Nuremberg, Germany with wedding money in their pockets. Thrilled with eachother and Europe they went exploring in the cold German winter.

They bought black bread and cheesecake at the bakery, sausage at the butcher and then they found the clocks. Clocks everywhere in so many different styles. Clocks with birds, with deer, with carved horns and leaves, with alpine scenes, with dancers, with cuckoos and chimes and playing the Emperor waltz. One had most all of the above and the wedding money flew out of their pockets as fast as the cuckoo announcing the noon hour.

That clock graced the wall of our first home together almost forty years ago. Now it again ticks by the seconds and hours of young love ripened into something really wonderful.

There was a season the clock was hidden, forgotten. When rediscovered we needed the help of a European watchmaker to restart it. You know me, there is a story in everything, Jesus in all things. I thought of how constant Christ's love for us is. How unfailing, dependable, timely. I considered how His intervention in our lives is like the watchmaker whose patient, skilled hands brought the silent pendulum back to life.

Constancy: The quality of being faithful and dependable.
The quality of being enduring and unchanging.
Freedom from variation. Steadfastness of mind.

How precious to love and serve a God whose affection for us is a set mark. Established forever, unchangeable. Nothing can uproot it or wash it away. It cannot be lost, broken or tarnished. It keeps time forever. "Loved. Loved. Loved. Loved." Hear it. Feel it. Know it for the truth.

I'm absolutely convinced that nothing, nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:37

Because of the way Jesus has embraced us.

So here I sit listening to a cuckoo clock announce another hour in my life in Christ where I am loved, and the "emperor" of my married life is awake now and waltzing toward me from the bedroom in flannel pjs with reindeer on them.

Faithful, dependable, enduring and unchangeable.

Should love ever be anything less?

In this grateful season my heart and my cup overflow with it.

May Christ restart all of our silent clocks in need of His special care.

May they chime all the hours of our lives until His Kingdom comes.


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow. James 1:17

Dedicated to Casey and Adam on the occasion of their 1st anniversary. Blessings and many more to come.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Sing To The East

I am alone in the dark, and I am thinking

what darkness would be mine if I could see

the ruin I wrought in every place I wandered

and if I could not be

aware of One who follows after me.

Whom do I love, O God, when I love Thee?

The great Undoer who has torn apart

the walls I built against a human heart,

the Mender who has sewn together the hedges

through which I broke when I went seeking ill,

the Love who follows and forgives me still.

Fumbler and fool that I am, with things around me

and of fragile make like souls, how I am blessed

and to hear behind me footsteps of a Savior!

I sing to the east; I sing to the lighted west:

God is my repairer of fences, turning my paths into rest.

Jessica Powers in Repairer of Fences

When John David was young it was not uncommon for John to be out late playing sax, especially if it was New Years Eve. That is the best paying night of the year for most musicians. One such Eve I promised JD he could stay up to watch the first sunrise of the new year.

We pulled out the sofa bed, made popcorn, watched old movies, played GI Joe and tried to stay awake. Although I tried my best, sleep overtook me just before dawn. I woke to find a disappointed little boy sitting in a west facing window. The next gift I purchased for him was a compass.

Jessica Powers, who is a favorite writer of mine, so beautifully describes someone who has been given back the directionality of her life. She can stare the close of the day in the face and just as transparently embrace the dawn. Christ is found on every point of her compass. Nothing hidden. Grace embraced has breached her walls, cleaned house and left an open human heart behind. A heart open, not naked, radiant and unashamed to meet the morning.

When was the last time you sang to the east?

If the morning holds some dread is there something that would be awkward if seen in the light of day? A body you forgot to bury, an old sin, maybe a cancelled sin disinterred, a friend unforgiven, an obedience not yet embraced, a vow unpaid, too much of yesterday allowed to stay up late? Are you sure you are looking in the right direction?

The Holy Spirit can help you with that. Our guide and compass, He will help us find our way to our song. To a full life in Christ worth singing about. A song about rebuilding north, south, east or west in the Kingdom.

Begin in the morning. Sing to the east and hear her harmonize with you. She has been saving up her song and waiting at the window just for you. Give yourself and the day to Christ with enthusiasm. It may be the first day of a New Year after all.

See what Isaiah 58 tells us in the Message:

"If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people's sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,

Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—

You will have firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins...

I sing to the east; I sing to the lighted west:
God is my repairer of fences, turning my paths into rest.

The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. Psalm 19 The Message

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nor Die the Strains of Praise Away

The day you gave us, Lord, is ended;
The darkness falls at your behest;
To you our morning hymns ascended;
Your praise shall hallow now our rest.
We thank you that your church, unsleeping
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.
As over each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor die the strains of praise away.
John Ellerton

Tonight we turn our clocks back an hour. I would have to turn mine back about four months to really catch up it feels like. I envy the God who lives outside of the time He created. Some time in the future when time itself will 'be no more' I will be as unconfined by its dimension as He is. But for now...

I found the verse above in a devotional I use to pray the hours. My heart was swept up in the "...voice of prayer is never silent, nor dies the strains of praise away." Ellerton was writing about the 24 hr clock that finds the Church in praise and petition. Everywhere on the planet, at any given snippet of time, a voice is uplifted. Somewhere in time may that voice be mine.

Walking the wall, shouting out for God to "Remember", head bowed over a meal, arms around a friend in need, in the visual prayer created on canvas, in the love lines penned in a journal; whispered, shouted or sung, spoken only in the heart or drawn in Spanish-Orange, may I have minutes on the clock that live before Him for a thousand years.

May you have the same.

Tomorrow may you gain a thousand years plus an hour.

Let the Name of the LORD be blessed...from this time forth for evermore. From the rising of the sun to its going down...let the Name of the LORD be praised. Psalm 113:2-3