Pages

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Button Man

“Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.” Kahlil Gibran

A man told me a story yesterday that is now part of my story. It is one of those moments that puts down roots and refuses to budge- as if you would ever want to forget it. It is a story-of-stories and it is as great as it is humble.

The storyteller is my husband who has recently become the chaplain at a rescue mission that serves the homeless. Homeless is an inadequate description of people who are not just lacking a home but all the other necessities. Hope is also often in short supply.

He told me a story and then placed something precious in my palm. Precious like homeless is also too small a word.

The chapel service ended and a well spoken man approached John and asked for a moment. He had no home and all he owned he wore or carried with him. He had been watching and listening to John interact with someone in the service.

The man wanted to give John a gift and John assured the man that no gift was necessary. The man persisted. He looked into John's face and told him he had seen the way John behaved towards someone as well as that individual's response. Then he reached down and pulled a silver button from his jacket and placed it in John's hand as a gift of appreciation and encouragement.

He had found a lovely button in his poverty and had sewn it into the inside of his coat just over his heart. It was his only treasure. The one thing that made him feel as if he had "something." He had nothing of real value to give as the world assigns value, nothing the world considered precious, but he did not let that stop him from giving. He trusted John to comprehend the weight of the gesture.

One      single      button.

I looked at that tiny offering now growing warm in my hand and I heard a faint beating sound that grew more distinct as I held its silver goodness. I heard the beating heart of a God who treasures such sacrifice. A God who understands that something even less than a widow's mite can be irreplaceable treasure.

It is an irrefutable fact that John will give you his saxophone before he will part with the button. It sits in a place of honor and in his line of sight in his office. It has fastened John to the work and has bestowed a generosity one has to go to Calvary to fully appreciate.

We are humbled and blessed by the button man's contribution to our Christmas and to our lives. His gift and friendship enriched us. He taught us to be aware of people's eyes upon us. May we unfailingly look to others like the One who loves them best.


You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. You know that Christ was rich, but for you he became poor so that by his becoming poor you might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9










(The button above is from an ad on Etsy as I did not have a picture of John's which is similar but has a lily on it.)



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pirates In The Orchard


Milkweed drifts
on honeyed breezes.
Silken nets
breathe
with the wind.
Glistening webs
stretch
between cherry branches.
Eggless nests
cling
to her limbs.
She is home
to spiders
and climbing boys.
Boys who tasted
her sour and sweet
and dreamed her
a pirate ship
sailing
in blue waters-
far from orchard
or bathtub.
High summer games
will soon
go the way
of picked cherries.
There are oceans
to navigate
and treasure
to plunder
before her leaves
yield 

to crisp
school book pages.
Eager branches
lift and
embrace
the sweaty men
of tomorrow
who will remain
pirates with
a taste
for cherries
past this boyhood
summer.
The sun
burns away
cool autumn's 
momentary threat
leaving boys
and spiders
to sail and spin
in peace.


From Pirates In The Orchard
-Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia


The New Year approaches. I have several friends and family who have seen 80+ New Years come and go. Who have seen the world "spin" one way and then reverse itself and spin another way.

All of them enjoy one thing in common, a fresh faced, young soul that lives inside of them in spite of those years. A hopeful, optimistic child heart that remembers trees long past but yet looks forward to cherry trees unclimbed and inviting, "Come up!"

You all inspire me. 
 
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you’re always young in His presence.

God makes everything come out right..Psalm 103 (The Message)

http://library.byways.org/assets/51635
Photo by Dennis Adams




Saturday, December 15, 2012

As Good As Eggs


You lay blue plates upon the table

Chipped, they are still good for us

and for friends who are never company

Eggs like steaming, golden clouds

fill the room with goodness

Such joy and nourishment from broken things

Our eyes meet over Grace and know

we are as good as eggs.

Breakfast from Since You Asked Me to Dance
by Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia 2012


...You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you... Joel 2:25-26

http://www.hermanstudios.com/egg.jpg

Monday, November 19, 2012

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.

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 summer sunset when bugs are buzzing and fireflies are blinking. (If you live where the fireflies do.) 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.

pe·num·bra:

- 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.  May there be 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


Reposted

Picture is Moonlightning from APOD web site

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap041007.html

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Husband

Another "John LaMantia" story. Once upon a very loooong time ago when we had been married about a month, and I had been working in a new job at the Army hospital in Germany, and was exhausted from late night love and early morning work- I forgot to pick John up. We had one car and everything was so spread out and I was the one with a German driver's license. 

John was doing a Bible study in the evening for the soldiers in the Stockade. I took him there then went home to lay down for an hour. Except it was not just an hour. When I woke up it was dark and March cold and the rain was half frozen and pelting the apartment windows. I was in a panic.

I drove the ten miles to the Stockade. No John just sheets of cold rain. The night was a real stinker. I followed the road all the way into town and no John. I drove to our church, which was having a gathering for new servicemen, to get help looking for him. One of John's friends told me John would "kill" me when I caught up with him. (Such a help.)


I was already killing myself when in walked John soaked to the skin from a long, cold, wet walk. When he came over to me I blubbered my apologies, my regrets pouring out with the force of the rain. I told him how I was only going to nap for an hour. How I overslept. At the end of my speech John put two wet hands on my shoulders, looked into my eyes and said "Oh, I am so glad you got some rest. You have been so tired." I knew then whom I had married.

Fast forward almost 40 years. It is Nov 6, 2012. I have locked my purse, keys and cell phone in the car at the gas pump. It is the middle of a work day and a Tuesday, which is the busiest day John has all week, often without adequate help, and he is still fighting a cold. I borrow a phone from someone who says, "Girl, that man's going to kill you."


15 minutes later John drives up smiling and before I can explain how I had left the door open but it somehow closed on its own...the John from that long ago rain storm says, "It sure is wonderful to see your face in the middle of the day!"

In a world that is sometimes apathetic, often hostile and unforgiving, there is a constancy for me-
John LaMantia, a good man, loves me still.

my husband

my faults are invisible as glass
you look clean through

my graces you gently multiply
and those accrue

oh the blessing of living my life
palm to palm with you!


kl


I urge you who have been chosen by God to live up to the life to which God called you.  Always be humble, gentle, and patient, accepting each other in love. Ephesians 4:1-2

Friday, September 28, 2012

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.

Yet...

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 carry 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.
L-e-p-e-r-s...

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,
transformed.

(Holy Baggage by K.Cavanaugh LaMantia)


Not much writing time this month but I was reading a devotion that spoke of living loved and it made me thoughtful about how extraordinary our position is in the world. What a unique opportunity we have to be Christ's arms wrapped around broken people and to be broken ourselves, as bread, in sacramental love for all that is or would be His. I found this older posting and hope it makes you thoughtful. Blessings. kl

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Wake Up, Kathy!

As, therefore, God’s picked representatives of the new humanity, purified and beloved of God himself, be merciful in action, kindly in heart, humble in mind. Accept life, and be most patient and tolerant with one another, always ready to forgive if you have a difference with anyone. Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you. And, above everything else, be truly loving, for love is the golden chain of all the virtues. Colossians 3:12-14

How God loves us is translated: discriminating affection which involves choice and selection.

We are representatives of a "new humanity" hand picked to wear the virtues of God's own character as our embellishments. A lovely and lofty ambition but sometimes it is not so easy.

I was recently exposed to some vile comments made by someone who makes it a habit to disparage anything honest and good. This person redefines crass in some breathtaking ways.

In one of those misty moments between sleep and wakefulness God whispered to me, "Kathy, I want him."

I sat bolt upright- shocked wide awake with the truth of God's wild, "irrational" love.

"Well, yes, I know You do, Lord, but You might not get what you want."

"What if I want you to pray for him? Will I get that?"

"Will it work?"

"It worked with you."







Worth a re-visit:
http://iamcallingshotgun.blogspot.com/2012/02/hiding-place.html





Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Love Thee


I love Thee, God, in ways old and new

I love Thee as a bride at first blush
when a lover's touch awakens her

I love Thee as a wife laying her first meal
upon the table

I love Thee as one full wombed
caressing the life buried inside her

I love Thee as a mother pressing the hand
of her first born to her lips

I love Thee as a shelter, a safe place
for the child growing into a man

I love Thee wise-hearted as one
you made his counselor and friend

I love Thee as the wife beloved of one man
through age and storm through hallelujah and hurricane

I love Thee in green seasons and gray
in sun and shade, full basket or bare earth

I love Thee in the days of second springs
of bearing and fruitfulness from late sewn fields

I love Thee hopefully

I love Thee ambitiously

I love Thee gratefully

I love Thee in ways old and new and forever

I love Thee

kl




To the wives and mothers, my friends, who love God and family and me. May God's matchless love and inspiration plant new fields and grow grace in every area of our lives.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Immersed In Christ

Galatians 3:27 - For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.*


Our friend Kim is recovering from just having a baby. How she will recover from raising three boys will be fodder for her own blog for years to come.

Not long before Samuel Elias made his debut, Kim emailed this lovely picture to me titled Sweet Girl. I looked at it today and saw my heart. I woke wanting to wrap myself in a mystery, wanting to strip off the outer layers of my life and dive to the bottom of the Ocean that is Christ and take a cleansing breath. I wanted to feel all that is Christ flooding and filling all my desperately un-full places.

Christ-hunger.

Sweet Girl pecked at my shell and said, "Kathy, jump into the dish!"

I imagine that she landed on the deck rail and cautiously sampled a few far flung seeds. Then she moved a bit closer, casting about a sharp eye for competition or danger. A few more delicious seeds and the bounty became overwhelming. At last we see her feet buried in the irresistible goodness inside of its source.

How is it that a bird understands what eludes us?

The occasional seed distant from the source is tasty but it was never meant as our only nourishment. It was intended to draw us closer to immersion. We are wooed to be immersed daily, completely and gratefully into the bounty of Christ. To cease concern for competition or danger and just jump into the dish.

Fill us today, Lord, with all your great, gasping mystery- with your immense, bountiful goodness- with your soul satisfying communion. Fill us with yourself. We, like hungry birds, come into your hand.

Selah


* The Greek preposition eis "into" used in this scripture tells us that our baptism is not simply into water (a symbol) but into Christ Himself.


Special thanks to Kimberly Lorentzen for her Sweet Girl. Special congratulations to the entire Schulz-Lorentzen family on the birth of their Sweet Boy, Samuel Elias.





Friday, August 3, 2012

Midnight Snack Moose Style

You visit the earth and saturate it with water; You greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; You provide them with grain when You have so prepared the earth. Psalm 65: 9


OK. So we set a record in Anchorage last winter for snow fall. Now it would seem we are going for one for summer rain fall. You would think we were living in Juneau.

We have had so much rain it has been hard to get the grass cut but we did our best last Saturday. Set it high and made several passes and mowed around a moose and her baby who helped us prune the trees. They were still in our yard at midnight which is when this video was taken.

God sure has given His Kingdom character and we get to see a lot of it here in Alaska. But my heart needs a beach sometimes so I am going to cook oysters and make wind chimes out of the shells.

Rain, sun, heat or humidity may God bless your last weeks of summer.

kl video

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Escapes Routes


Escape Routes

It takes a lifetime to learn how to love
It starts with a flicker that bursts into flame
Then it fades to an ember with fights
and with fingers pointing out blame

Oh to exercise the act
of falling in love with you over and over and over

Let’s close off all our escape routes
Let’s not put it off tonight
Let’s close off all our escape routes
We can have it all tonight

It takes a lifetime to learn how to love
Most the time I’m taking too much in my turn
But I yearn for your closeness and a gentle return

My arms snake around yours
Your lips open explore
These promises we have saved
They hold us
They hold and maintain

by My Brightest Diamond, sung by Shara Worden

On July 31, 1988 John and I experienced the beginning of our most difficult and revealing married season. It was truly horrible but God was truly God for us in those days. I am talking the water into wine kind of God. The loaves and fishes kind of God. The rise and walk One. The "fear not" Friend.

John and I met the real versions of ourselves. There was no time to get to minimum safe distance before catastrophe was upon us. Unguarded mouths and woundedness open doors better left closed to the enemy.

"But God" asked for the pieces and we did not withhold. The result was divine and enduring. We closed off all the escape routes when we placed our lives and our mess in His hands. All that old baggage we brought from our childhood homes was intent on running us off our land. God closed off all the roads out of town then began to rebuild our lives from the sub-basement up.

Here we are years later celebrating our best-worst-anniversary. We celebrate every year as we remember the One. The One whose full third of our marriage covenant was strong enough to hold and heal the others.

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. Song of Solomon 8:7 In all the seasons of our love there is always Christ.

There is no out.
There is only up!

Gratefully,

John and Kathy
(Still in love)


Painting by Sue Crow. Visit her site for a real treat.
http://www.suecrow.co.uk/id16.html

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Table of Celebration

A surprising, humbling, story. A loaves and fishes musical miracle. Bring some tissues and a joyful heart and be prepared to never look at what you lack in the same way. This is good news and it feels good. Get past two commercials and it is 10 minutes of soul-celebrating sweetness.

Come to war-torn Kinshasa, Africa and see lives built on hope put to music. Experience friendships tied together with piano wire. Look at your own life and give thanks. Come. Cry. Clap. Rejoice.


Click on 60 Minutes story here
http://www.goodnewsgazette.net/Video/2012-04/joy-in-the-congo-musical-miracle.html


For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21


Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17


I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13


Kinshasa Symphony Home Page
http://www.kinshasa-symphony.com/index.php?id=8&L=0%20aND%208%3D8

They are also on Facebook

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Righteous YES

God, your Redeemer, who shaped your life in your mother's womb, says: "I am God. I made all that there is..." Isaiah 44:24


I woke up this morning to the continuing coverage of the heartbreaking story of injury and loss in Aurora Colorado. Yesterday and today my thoughts are with all whose lives have been so cruelly altered or destroyed by the choice of one man, whose own family must be crushed by the enormity of his actions.

It truly was The Dark Knight. Twelve innocent people dead. More than five dozen wounded. So many who had purchased a movie ticket but became instead a major news event. Shock and sadness. I pray God's comfort and healing.

I had another thought this morning.

Another thought about innocents.

I could not keep it away.

How horrified we were to watch the scene unfolding of the brutal death of twelve. How blind we have become to the savagery inflicted on one of every four babies conceived.

In procedures that pull limb from limb, crush tiny skulls and destroy spines, in horrific "procedures" that stab into the heads of living children and suck out their brains, we have murdered our offspring. All with the help of the courts, paid for by our government and encouraged by our public schools and the media.

The death of twelve moviegoers halted two presidential campaigns, cancelled a major Paris premier, caused our national flag to fly at half staff over the White House and all government buildings and eclipsed the Olympics. The deaths of millions of tiny aborted voices, the extinguishing of all those infant promises is less than a whisper.

Shame on us.

I will not preach on about this at this moment. America has become tone deaf in matters of faith and morals. Some may have deleted this blog already and dismissed it from their thoughts. I will instead offer you a simple contrast between the sacred and the profane. A contrast between a Divine view of children and the view of those who fail to see the Creator in the mirror or in the womb.

Judge for yourselves:

I will pour my Spirit into your descendants
and my blessing on your children.
They shall sprout like grass on the prairie,
like willows alongside creeks.
This one will say, "I am God's". Isaiah 44:1-5 MSG

vs

Any reason we have for choosing abortion is a good reason.
These are our bodies and our lives.
No one has the right to force us to have a baby,
or to punish us for liking sex.
Non-profit, Coalition for Positive Pregnancy web site "Just Say Yes"

"YES" is a word that has many meanings.

I am going now to phone John David and tell him again how much I love him and how dearly I treasure his life. I can do so because when a pregnancy surprised me I said one particular kind of "YES". I wanted a baby but he could not have come at a more inconvient time.

What we say "YES" to personally and nationally will speak to the future and determine what kind future it will be.

God help us to be brave, generous and good.
Let us offer whatever help we may for those in Aurora.
One life lost is still too many.

kl


Coalition for Positive Pregnancy (a misnomer)
http://www.positive.org/JustSayYes/abortion.html

Facts on abortion from pro-life site
http://www.realchoicespcc.org/abortion.html

2 min video In the Womb
http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/national-geographic-channel/specials-1/science-technology/ngc-in-the-womb/

Do You Know About The MIRACLE? (Beautiful)
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=7PKD6LNX

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Oars Are Washed Away

A raft am I on the sea of time,
My oars are washed away...
-From the Golden Flute by Sri Chinmoy

A Jobesque opening if there ever was one. "My oars are washed away". Been there? That place where you have rowed all night with still no sight of land? You have done everything in your power, beyond it actually, and still no headway? Fingers frozen to the oars or unable to hold on they slip below the water. How often marriage, motherhood and my job felt like that tiny oarless boat.

I would get up earlier, go to bed later, not wash my hair to save an extra five minutes and would be not one pace further ahead at days end...well, at the place where it was supposed to end. That oarless boat can be a very scary, exhausting place. That oarless place comes when your hands can no longer hold the oars and they fall away, lost in the storm that has consumed the last bit of your strength.

In reading the places in scripture where Jesus interacted with vicious waves and terrified disciples it always ends happily. He wakes up or walks up and makes everything hush up and like magic they are in the place they intended. I often wondered if those stories were placed in the Bible so we would know it was possible to have such an outcome. I, however, have read the passages in between backbreaking strokes, wiping salt spray from my eyes.

I will share this with you. It was an arresting moment for me not long ago. A dear friend was working hard (rowing into the wind) to accomplish a spiritual goal. This was no flight of fancy, God had launched the boat Himself, but up sprang the wind then the waves and no progress as being made. Soon the boat began to take on passengers- fear, doubt, discouragement, you know these nonpaying freeloaders.

My friend was wise however and kept a lookout for Christ. He continued to pray and trust and say hopeful, grateful things and overboard went the freeloaders. There is room for them or for Christ but not both. In time the wind ceased but my friend continued to strain and pull at the oars. At one point he called out to God, "Will I ever get where I am going?"

And God answered.

The Lord let him know his continued rowing was of little use at this time. "Put up your oars. You are in the current now. It will take you where you need to go. There is nothing more you can do."

That is an almost impossible position for many of us who trust in our own strength. The idea of laying the oars across my knees, leaning my head back and just letting go seems almost a sin. Trust and row I can do but just trust...that is a challenge. To become oarless by accident, much less oarless by obedience, goes against my nature.

Such is the point.

My friend is downriver now, nearly there. Jesus has built a small fire on the shore and you can smell the fish cooking, just waiting for the current to carry him on in. He is rested and tanned and hungry.

A funny old song called The Gambler said, "You got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em." I am learning when to row and when to rest. I am such a bad pupil. For me that is the hardest thing. I have great forward gears but hate the "break" pedal. I know that if I fail to acknowledge the current and continue to strain I will lose even the oars and simply be adrift.

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2 ESV

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Isaiah 40:28-29


When you have done all you reasonably can it may be time to lay your oars across your lap and listen to the water. Let it go. Let Christ, just Christ, be enough in the moment. Release it to Providence.

There is a time to row and a time to rest. Whatever time it is for you or me, Jesus will live with us in that moment empowering, strengthening, loving us- with His hand on the helm.


Fish on the beach with the Savior is too good to miss. It is what matters most.

I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have oppression; but cheer up! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 WEB



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When God Sang, "Enjoy Me"

LAUGHTER CAME FROM EVERY BRICK

Just these two words He spoke

changed my life,

"Enjoy Me."

What a burden I thought I was to carry -

a crucifix, as did He.

Love once said to me, "I know a song,

would you like to hear it?"

And laughter came from every brick in the street

and from every pore

in the sky.

After a night of prayer, He

changed my life when

He sang,

"Enjoy Me."

by Teresa of Avila


In her book, An Altar In The World, Barbara Brown Taylor recounts being in seminary and all her fellow students were talking about God revealing to them His perfect plan for their lives, where they would go, what they would do, with whom they would do it. She however, only heard silence.

So she hatched a plan that was certain to compel Christ to reveal her specific destiny. She planned to climb out on the roof of an abandoned building and call out to God to answer. She would show up every night at the same time and offer herself. God would surely show up with tickets to Mexico or call her to a celibate lifestyle. Maybe He would give her the blueprints for an orphanage in Calcutta. Something.

After a month of silence she was desperate and cried out to God to tell her what He wanted her to do. A soft answer came back, "Do what you love and belong to Me."

When I read Teresa's poem and yielded my soul to the invitation, "Enjoy Me", I could not help but feel the pure, lovely, unembellished truth of it. The humble, graceful truth. The truth set free like barefoot children on the beach, toes in the sand, connected to life. The truth that Christ is in all and calling out for us to be simply joyful with and in Him.

My every day life needs laughter that descends from the sky and rises from the street. I want to hear Jesus sing to me about the fullness, the pleasantness of it. I want to take off my socks and toss then into the ocean. The ocean where my sins have sunk into the black deep never to be resurrected.

Two words and I am all toes.

"Enjoy Me."


Are you coming with me?


He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy. Psalm 105:43


Grace's Toes by Kimberly Lorentzen










Saturday, July 7, 2012

He Is Unapologetically My Way

The way of Jesus cannot be imposed or mapped — it requires an active participation in following Jesus as he leads us through sometimes strange and unfamiliar territory, in circumstances that become clear only in the hesitations and questionings, in the pauses and reflections where we engage in prayerful conversation with one another and with him. Eugene H. Peterson, The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way


There have been times when well meaning people (I am giving them grace here) have chastised me for not moving forward faster or for having questions about what in the world God was doing when I just didn't seem to see the way or couldn't make a decision. I have at times chastised myself and felt like those fishermen friends who rowed all night without coming close to shore. That was until Christ showed up.

Showed up? Maybe He was there all along- do you think? Maybe we just feel alone at those times and aloneness can feel like lostness. Maybe we confuse waiting with inertia and our not "seeing" God with His absence or worse, His disinterest.

Maybe those times are just the warm up. The time to stretch before the race. Maybe it is the busiest time for Christ and we just don't see it. Our heart has not learned to "know" it yet. That takes practice.

One of the most popular religious images (icons) used in Orthodox Christianity is that of Christ Pantocrator*. I am crazy for the art in this but its meaning transports me way further down the road than does its treasured, gold-leafed imagery.

The Greek is translated from the Hebrew names of God YHWH Tzevaot "Lord of Hosts" and for El Shaddai "God Almighty" and frames the thought in terms of His omnipotence. God who is all powerful. I get it.

Here is where it gets good. Here is where I find myself taking the very deepest gulp of air and diving into the wonder of it. The online encyclopedia elaborates:

"Another, more literal translation is "Ruler of All" or, less literally, "Sustainer of the World". In this understanding, Pantocrator (Pantokrator) is a compound word formed from the Greek for "all" and the verb meaning "To accomplish something" or "to sustain something" (κρατεω). This translation speaks more to God's actual power; i.e., God does everything (as opposed to God can do everything)."

Did you see it, the subtle difference that makes all the difference to those of us who wait? It is God who is doing rather than merely a God who can do. I dive and find the pearl that proves I am not really waiting at all in the sense of God-Time for God is always in action. He is the God-Who-Is-Accomplishing-Something when I "see" nothing, when I can go no further. My perception of quiet on His part is in itself God accomplishing something. My God is God being powerful not just sitting on the sidelines capable of power.

My waiting, praying, drinking in the encouragement of the word and word-filled friendships until the way is revealed, be it a step at a time or a sweeping revelation, is anything but passive. He is the Way I take. No apologies needed.

You may think it a small thing but for me it is the white daisy on the canvas that upon close observation is really made up of blue and purple undertones and a foundation that is all about the underpainting. Prayerful conversations discover the wonder of it, that the brush never leaves His hand.

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. Colossians 1:15-18 (MSG)

To the One who is the Way the Truth and my Life. The God who does everything. May I allow you to do in my life what You are capable of.


* Pan-TOE-cre-tor (This will get you close to the correct way to say it although a Greek scholar would have a fit.)


Christ Pantocrator image
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/monreale-cathedral


Fresh as a daisy by Karen Margulis
http://www.karenmargulis.com/

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Laying Up Sweetness


















Soft purple scent captures me
Bees hum their diligent
honey making humming
laying up your sweetness
in perfect combs
Face in your blossoms, I, like the bees
tuck your memory away for winter
Sixteen years from tiny twig to high bush
Sixteen summers since the day we planted you,
the one who loves my face and I
You will bloom and cast your perfume
when we no longer stand upon this ground
but linger in the honeyed hearts
friendship has combed.

Laying Up Sweetness
Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia

Several years ago when John had to go ahead of our family to take a new position I greatly missed him. One Saturday found me standing in his closet, face buried in a black wool jacket, inhaling his sent. I was home.

Our wonderful old dog, Jazz, did the same thing with our son's boots during his tours overseas.

My front door is a riot of lilacs and lavender. The scent wraps itself around you cocooning you in perfumed delight. I found myself, face buried in blossoms, just like that old jacket, inhaling the telltale fragrance of His own scent the Creator breathed into His creation. Home. Be it done on earth, home.

We were meant to remember and to celebrate in remembering the One who is unforgettable. The One whose mercy, love and beauty were just made for us. Made to be saved up and savored and shared.

There are lilacs filling every room today. Mostly they are filling me with the sweetness He saved just for today.

His miracles are unforgettable. The Lord is kind and merciful. Psalm 111:4 NCV


Hint: To my pregnant family and friends, treat the baby to lilacs, roses, honeysuckle and anything else that is delightful. It will fill up your womb with unutterable sweetness and bring the joys of summer to your baby.

http://www.sharecare.com/question/when-smell-develop-in-fetus


"It used to be that scientists believed fetuses had about as much of a sense of smell as they had a sense of fashion; that's because smelling typically depends on such basics as air and breathing. Now, though, it's believed that amniotic fluid jets though the nasal and oral cavities to actually help a fetus smell. That ability starts at about 30 weeks; before that time, tissues plug up the nasal cavities.

The sense of smell begins developing much earlier, as olfactory epithelial cells form in a fetus at 9 weeks along with nostrils. These cells connect to molecules that bind with the olfactory nerve (which leads to the brain).

After your baby develops a sense of smell, he can actually smell everything that you eat or inhale. The lesson: Mom should eat what she wants her baby to like to smell."

You: Having a Baby The Owners Manuel To A Happy Healthy Pregnancy by Michael Roisen, M.D.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tea With Rhonda


















I am blog-surfing and loving it.

Have resisted writing to do some other needful things and I am eating at the table of friends in the interim. Yummy!

Had to pass this wonderful piece along from a golden friend.

Grab a tissue and fill your heart with the least of these.

kl

http://soulspanting.blogspot.com/2012/05/we-are-like-birds-so-fragile-and.html

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

His Favor Lasts a Lifetime

One does not have to be in active ministry to be aware of just how frequently you hear someone say, "If only I had made a different choice." One does not have to be a Catholic priest to feel you are sitting in the Confessional listening to, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned." Across a lunch table at work, over coffee, in desperate midnight phone calls come those words of opportunity lost, "If only..."

How many times have I said it to myself with regret and clung to the comfort of Christ's words from the Cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

But the fact is I usually did know and made a choice to ignore the flashing lights that said the bridge was out, or failed to weigh all the options before making a life changing decision or ignored the wisdom of God's Word, or took the feelings of a friend or loved one for granted. The result is always grief and loss.

The jails are full of "If only" stories. So are the scriptures. So are we all but there is small comfort in thinking that everyone has made the same mistakes you have. That is the logic the dark side applies to keep you writing another chapter in your "If only..." story and to make sure it does not have a happy ending.

The merciful love of God is confrontational and at the same time relational. This is no impersonal judge handing out mandatory sentences. This is someone who has made an investment in us.

When I was a student nurse I was on a hospital floor and the chief of the surgical services happened to be in the nurses station. He looked at my name tag and said, "Cavanaugh. I know you. I made an investment in your family."

It turns out that 15 years earlier when he was a resident and my mother lay dying on an operating table, having gone through all of the available blood of her type, that same doctor gave her a pint of his own as a direct transfusion. It helped to saved her life.

The Son of God gave us all He had to give on Calvary so that we could one day know all He had to share with us in Eternity. Eternity starts here and it is vast enough to out weigh all the "What if , if only, coulda, woulda, shouldas that could ever be spoken.

Consider this verse:

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

As I looked at that scripture in a devotional on Psalms John has been reading, what stood out to me was the part that says, "His favor lasts a lifetime." The blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. No exception for stupid, thoughtless sin. All sin. All our sin goes into the sea that God forgot. All the "What ifs" belong there as well.

That sea has a "NO FISHING" sign posted so we should quit trying to bait the hook. Can we just "Take God at His naked word," as Spurgeon calls it and soak up the truth of that scripture?

His favor lasts a lifetime. His favor lasts a lifetime. His favor lasts your lifetime, my lifetime. God's favor. We live and move inside His grace and good will all the days of our lives. His favor out lives our sins and errors and it certainly out lasts our "What ifs."

Need proof. Look at David. He always comes to mind when I think of a soul-jarring example of "How could you?" We know he looked where he was not supposed to look and took what he dared then murdered an innocent husband in a shameful cover up that enlisted the help of subordinates to pull it off.

If you look further you read that 19 soldiers in all died in the pull back that killed the husband. 19 mothers in Israel lost sons to the passion and cowardice of its King. Yet Christ was not ashamed to be the Son of David. David's confession, repentance and renewal points the way to a joyful morning with its sure mercies.

Titus 3:4-6 (The Message):

"But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God's gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there's more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this."


The favor of God trumps it all for us and makes today brim over with new opportunities, new adventures, new possibilities, new broken-bone dance steps to learn.

He has made an investment in us.

His favor lasts a lifetime!

"What if" we believed it?




(Re-posted from an earlier date)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spring Cleaning











Spring Clean Up In Alaska

Empty pots stare open mouthed from the shed
"Feed us." They demand, "And work the flowerbed!"
Bee balm and lavender are not close at hand
in our flower-famished northern land

Winter has overstayed the spring
and wears a dirty snow covering
Wind-snapped branches fill the yard
Spring does not come sweetly here- but hard

Our Winter season falls deep and cold
only the spruce and fur are bold
Spring life lies burrowed deeper still
Time to coax it out if it will
Time to come out and play from seed
and bloom the life span of fireweed.

The roses demur, refusing to grow
but dinner-plate dahlias bloom just so
and red burnet, the color of wine,
peeks around the columbine
to show off next to pink pussy toes
and snub the chocolate lilies (hold your nose!)
Shooting stars and iris, quite a lot
beg to be remembered to forget-me-not

If I'm to have color I'll need to get busy
I'll shovel the moose poop and mulch till I'm dizzy
In my mushy old yard you'll see me slogging
and understand well why I am not blogging!

Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia


In a land where it is light in the summer almost around the clock it makes up a bit for having six months of winter. Time for me to fill the pots and hang the baskets.

I am going to disappear (except to scratch and occasional itch) to tidy the yard, work at illustrating a book I finished, dig into Creating a Life with God by Daniel Wolpert and read some of your past blogs and offerings. I also promised John we would empty the garage of 39 years of unnecessary life we have been dragging around. That will be even more daunting than the moose poop in the yard.

I wish you sweet, green spring days and the juicy fruits of summer and long evening walks with the One who brings it all to us year in and year out. The One who is Faithful. The One who comes sweetly.

Now where are my yard boots? Don't tell me...this could slow things down...they are in the garage!

-Kat

http://www.adn.com/2012/03/13/2368355/reader-submitted-gardening-2012.html#id=2528834&view=large_view

Alaskan Wildflowers and locations (images, except the poop, are from this link)
http://www.turtlepuddle.org/alaskan/wild/flowers-2.html





Monday, May 14, 2012

The Spring I Wish I Had
















Spring
-By Karla Kuskin

I’m shouting
I’m singing
I’m swinging through trees
I’m winging skyhigh
With the buzzing black bees.
I’m the sun
I’m the moon
I’m the dew on the rose.
I’m a rabbit
Whose habit
Is twitching his nose.
I’m lively
I’m lovely
I’m kicking my heels.
I’m crying “Come Dance”
To the fresh water eels.
I’m racing through meadows
Without any coat
I’m a gamboling lamb
I’m a light leaping goat
I’m a bud
I’m a bloom
I’m a dove on the wing.
I’m running on rooftops
And welcoming spring!

Karla Kuskin, "Spring" from In the Middle of the Trees.


AHHHHH! Spring. New things. We get spring in Alaska. It just comes late and dirty like a nine year old called in for supper.

I saw this poem, made peach tea, pulled the vase of Mother's Day flowers my own mother sent to me closer until their fragrance was competing with the steam from the cup...and just became 'bud and bloom' for a few minutes.

I wrote a poem of my own for spring. Nothing like this beauty as you will see for yourselves tomorrow. But spring needs a "Hello. What took you so long?" Spring needs to push up green shoots of new moments and new possibilities. Spring needs to declutter and let the roses breathe. Those outside the door roses (that are hard to grow here) and also the roses blooming heartside.

Take some time. Say "hello" to spring and welcome the One who brought it into your life again this year.

-Kat

"Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love."

Vivaldi Spring
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmOwlf99V64&feature=related

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Where The Heart Is

The Nest

Today I found an empty nest.
I looked long, deep inside.
I looked below, I looked above
wondering where her birds hide.

Had they gone south to Mexico?
Had they flown north to Nome?
Did they ever give a backward glance
to the nest that had been home?

I had a little bird you see,
my love had kept him warm
and held him safe on the highest branch
through sun or sudden storm.

He flew away to find his life,
and that's as it should be.
Snug in his heart you'll find a nest
and in that nest lives me.

-Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia


A book on mother-love made a statement I could not deny when it observed that once you have a child, your heart will forever walk the earth outside of your body. That is one of the great truths of Creation. It is true for this mother's heart and it is also true for the One who started it all. "Let's make a man who looks like us."

What was He thinking? Unlike the rest of us who had no real grasp of how bruised and exulted parenthood could be, God knew everything before there was anything. He saw what would happen to the house when we left the playpen- but He took the understanding and eternal part of the Trinity and the soil from the Garden and made us. What a risk. What a hope.

There is a song I enjoy that says, "Everything rides on hope now." Indeed it does. Every baby is born into it. Every mother who longs to make someone who looks like her, seeds her womb with hope, like the robin who builds her hope out of mud, spit and twigs.

Faith, hope and love. They are the nest builders. They are the world builders. They make us look like the One whose heart is our nest.

To all the mothers old and new and to all women living in anticipation, I bless you and wish you a Mother's Day that is happy and hopeful and above all grateful.

To John David who made me a taxi-driver, cupcake-baker, story-teller, medic, frog-catcher and devil-fighter, I will love you forever and a mile beyond. You are the silver my life has sent on ahead.

He flew away to find his life,
and that's as it should be.
Snug in his heart you'll find a nest
and in that nest lives me.

Blessings!
-Kat

Robin's nest pastel by me. "Hope Counts To Three"


Treat yourself to wise words over @ A Holy Experience.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Set Your Face Toward Beautiful

I have a friend that God once described to me as a "Builder and a mother of builders" and she is just that.

If you are a mom you build. Inside your own body and then outside of it. You build life and rebuild the world around that life one prayer, one gesture, one encouragement at a time. Or...if your own world has been broken, maybe you take that life and dash it to pieces, twist it and bend it into a shape of no use to the Kingdom of God.

If you need to change, if you need to build better, the good news is you can!* The Kingdom is also about change and resurrection and God is a trustworthy and accomplished parent who has written wisdom into a book. Such a special book.

I heard it said that the Bible is the only book that, in addition to you reading it- it reads you. Does it ever. Love and redemption are there. Soul searching is there. Cleansing and a fresh start are there. How to build a home and a life are there. All the nest making materials you could ever want are in one place.

Encourage yourself and unroll the blueprints.

By wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
And by knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches
Proverbs 24:3-4

Motherhood is not about one day in your life. It is not about one season. It is a new opportunity every day as the days stretch on ahead. Growth is added in small, almost imperceptible, increments until one day you realize that the things that drive new moms or the moms of toddlers or teens to despair are easy for you.

You know the scripture that promises 'He is making everything beautiful in its time'? It is no lie. There is a country called Beautiful and you have land there. You have water rights and mineral rights and the right to build as grand as you can and to fill every room with pleasantness. It takes wisdom and here is the very best part- Jesus has been made wisdom for us. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

We are on the eve of another celebration of Mother's Day. Your Beautiful land may be cutting her own hair or the dog's with round edge scissors. Your Beautiful land may have flushed all the Playdoh down the toilet. Simple stuff- or your Beautiful land may be oppositional with a 'No Trespassing' sign posted for your benefit. Your Beautiful land may have another detention or have to go to summer school or do community service. Your Beautiful land may be unmarried and in her sixth month of an unplanned pregnancy. Your Beautiful land may be in rehab. Your Beautiful land may ignore you tomorrow and forget you the day after. Take heart. He who is the Faithful One is making everything beautiful.


Tomorrow would be a good day to embrace hope.

Tomorrow would be a good day to let courage chart a new course if need be.

Tomorrow would be a good day to set your face toward Beautiful.

-Kat

*If you are not yet a Christ follower you may appreciate that is a good place to begin a journey to better parenting. This link may help.
http://www.intouch.org/resources/all-things-are-new/content/topic/how_do_i_accept_jesus_as_my_savior_all_things


Parenting tips.
http://www.aholyexperience.com/10-points-of-joyful-parenting-printable/



Personal/Family Counseling
http://fatherhood.about.com/od/parentingadvice/a/family_therapy.htm

Friday, May 11, 2012

Unknown But Well Known

"...as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." 2 Corinthians 6

OK. OK. I know who Paul was describing...himself and his co-laborers in the faith. Is it my fault I read myself and my numerous ecstasies and difficulties as a mother into those lines? A few similarities jump out.

The not yet killed part? That was me working nights in intermediate care, with one uncooperative toddler, who refused to go to sleep so I could lay down myself for an hour before having to be awake and sharp all night. (Night after night) Not to mention days and nights with croup and vomit and overflowing diapers...and new teeth. Did I mention my heart when he ran away and got lost at the park? Oh... don't let me forget the fall I took when JD gave me a skateboard lesson for my 40th birthday. I had a hip click for six weeks.

Sorrowful but always rejoicing. The 3am call from a teenager after a busted curfew. I answer, "The only excuse I will accept for you not being asleep in your bed right now is that you are in jail or the morgue." "Mom, will you come bail me out?" Thankful that it was the better option of the two.

Poor but making many rich. Glasses. Replace broken glasses. Stitches. More stitches. Even more stitches. Wrecked car. Wrecked car again. Guess what? Again! Full fare plane ticket home from the base because the Army messed up his leave dates when he came back from Iraq. The hug at the airport made me the richest woman on earth.

Having nothing but possessing all things. I wanted to be a dancer. I married and had a baby instead. (Well, I really wanted those things too.) I wanted to go to France. I went to Six Flags instead. I wanted to write books. I read The Cat in the Hat, The Secret Garden and The Velveteen Rabbit instead. I love roses. There were dandelions in Coke cans on my window sill...But my husband dances me around the living room, I have $127.56 saved for a ticket to Paris, I bought The Cat in the Hat for my wonderful grandson and so far all my dandelion wishes are coming true.

I am not famous. Powerful people don't carry my business card but my son has me on speed dial and there is a Mother's Day package addressed to 'Grandma' in my son's handwriting that came in the mail today. It is here beside me as I type this. I am well known by the ones whose opinions matter.

Like Paul, I know that in a life of comparisons, I am ahead in the areas of life that feel like Eternity.


Hallelujah! You can call me "MOM". I've earned it. (Smile)


Five Cheers For Mom
http://www.insight.org/library/articles/parenting/five-cheers-for-mom.html?t=Parenting

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Title of Honor

If I were hanged on the highest hill
I know whose love would follow me still

If I were drowned in the deepest sea
I know whose tears would come down to me

If I were damned of body and soul
I know whose prayers would make me whole
Mother o’ mine, 0 mother o’ mine!

Rudyard Kipling (edits mine)


This is the highest, deepest, damnedest truth. I know it for that in the place where my own soul lives. The place where I would throw my life away for John David. I would have thrown it away for a plump, purpley infant with a stump of an umbilical cord still damp. I would throw it away now for a grown man with a family of his own.

I would face lions and tigers to save him. I would chase the devil with an umbrella and have. I would eat the crumbs and give him the meat. I would swallow down the gall to give him sweet days. I would make any moral bargain with life, pay any debt, work at any task to better his lot. I love my son fiercely, tenderly and absolutely forever.

Mothers know how to pray whole-making prayers. We have such access. The scepter extends and we say, "Lord, that my son which is dead may live," and he lives. We say, "Lord, that he will walk before You," and his path is altered. We say, "Lord, that he would find a good wife," and we step aside.

Still, the place of our parental authority to pray good into our children's lives, we never yield. The place where we stand on the necks of their enemies, we do not surrender. God's ears will get no rest from our whole-making intercession. Mom is relentless even when tired (or old).

In Judges 4-5 we see Deborah, a prophetess of God, the fourth Judge of Israel, a counselor, a warrior, and a wife. Deborah who went to war and won, yet when she sings her victory song the title she gives herself is "mother". She doesn't just list what is most important first, she lists it exclusively.

Mother and probably grandmother Deborah went to war for the eggs in her nest. She had heard from her big God and believed for some big things. She put feet to her belief and secured 40 years of peace. The span of a generation.

So it is with us. The International Standard Version says it perfectly and could be speaking of the love in a mother's heart:

She bears up under everything, believes the best in all, there is no limit to her hope, and she will never fall. 1 Corinthians 13:7

My personal favorite whispered to me by a loving God:

And blessed is she that believed, for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke 1:45





The scepter is extended.
What then shall we ask?






Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Star Mother

Only chance made me come and find
my hen, stepping from her hidden
nest, in our kitchen garden.

In her clever secret place, her tenth
egg, still warm, had just been dropped.

Not sure of what to do, I picked up
every egg, counting them, then put them
down again. All were mine...
I blinked, I saw:
a mighty nest full of stars.

Excerpted from A Nest Full of Stars
by James Berry


Jesus was born and bundled up and put in a straw bed to keep warm.
So He came to nest with us like all the birds He once designed.
Straw sticking out of a manger and the King of Creation on top. Amazing.

Mary looked into the straw. Joseph looked and all the shepherds. What did they see? A baby? A poor child? The Father of the Stars?

The world sometimes looks into our nest and sells her contents short but Heaven looks and sees a mighty nest of stars and a mother who can spin straw into gold.



Proverbs 31:29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When He Needed Her

Prayer For a New Mother by Dorothy Parker

The things she knew, let her forget again-
The voices in the sky, the fear, the cold,
The gaping shepherds, and the queer old men
Piling their clumsy gifts of foreign gold.

Let her have laughter with her little one;
Teach her the endless, tuneless songs to sing,
Grant her her right to whisper to her son
The foolish names one dare not call a king.

Keep from her dreams the rumble of a crowd,
The smell of rough-cut wood, the trail of red,
The thick and chilly whiteness of the shroud
That wraps the strange new body of the dead.

Ah, let her go, kind Lord, where mothers go
And boast his pretty words and ways, and plan
The proud and happy years that they shall know
Together, when her son is grown a man.


...Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. Luke 2:19

Sometimes the trusting way is the hard way of bare feet over sharp stones. Mary's poor, poor feet.

We know she was with Him, her boy, at the foot of His cross but what were their private moments like these two who were pea-pod likenesses? These two who would deny the Father nothing.

I think they laughed. Had private jokes. Insightful observations. I think they were fun, this mother and her son, and deep. I think they liked each other and respected each other and teased each other. I think neither one took no for an answer.

He was gone all too soon but when He needed her she was there and that is the most any mother wants said of her by way of praise.


-Kat

Dedicated to moms who show up.

Picture from Notre Musique

Monday, May 7, 2012

Holy Adventure from The Upper Room


"FREDERICK BUECHNER invites us to listen to our lives. According to Buechner, God calls you to “listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is.”

Our lives are a holy adventure in which each moment provides new possibilities for Spirit-filled living. Take a moment to relax, breathing in God’s calm presence. In this quiet moment, remember the moments when your life most reflected God’s creativity. Experience the joy of being fully alive. Rejoice in those memories. Take some time to journal about these spiritual high points if you wish. Give thanks for God’s creative presence in your life."

-Bruce G. Epperly
Holy Adventure

From page 42 of Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living by Bruce G. Epperly. Copyright © 2008 by Bruce G. Epperly. All rights reserved.
http://bookstore.upperroom.org/cart/upperroom/p-16263.htm


I started to draw a nest for Mother's Day. My mini adventure. You are welcome to join me. An egg for each child? An egg for the hope of one? An egg that was you? You must have a pencil, a crayola, some paints at your house. Try a little something. If it turns out, go to Kinko's and reduce it and make a bookmark or put it in a really expensive frame for fun and hang it where it will remind you of the good time you had. (Remember to sign it when you finish. I am such an amateur. I signed it half way through.)

Remember how special the motherliness in you is to this world. It is you know. It is an essential gift. You have it.

I will finish this before Mother's Day.

I have pastel dust everywhere! Pastels are new for me. I am a colored pencil girl but remember those new things?

-Kat

Nests
http://iamcallingshotgun.blogspot.com/2011/04/nests.html