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.


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!


Alaskan Wildflowers and locations (images, except the poop, are from this link)

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Spring I Wish I Had

-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.


"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

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.


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.


*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.

Parenting tips.

Personal/Family Counseling

Friday, May 11, 2012

Unknown But Well Known

" 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

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.


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.

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?



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Uppercase HOPE

In Run with the Horses Eugene Peterson says that ..."much of our hoping is really little more than wishing but genuine biblical hope acts on the conviction that God will complete the work He has begun even when appearances, especially when appearances, oppose it...that hope-determined actions participate in the future God is bringing into being...that every situation in which we find ourselves must be included in the Kingdom that we are convinced God is bringing into being."

"Hope-determined actions" that sounds like a mighty thing to me.

I just completed my Mother's Day blog and I become thoughtful whenever I consider Mother's Day. There were good ones and horrible ones for me. The good ones speak for themselves. The bad ones, let's just say God and other mothers got me through them.

HOPE got me through as well. HOPE in uppercase. If there was such a thing as super-dooper, extreme uppercase HOPE, well, that was the HOPE that got me here. HOPE with a prayer life. HOPE with spiritual weapons. Hope that testified to goodness. HOPE with soothing reassurances and dog teeth. HOPE that stuck a fork into the rump roast of despair and said, "DONE!" That was my HOPE.

My HOPE had hands and feet and swords and pitchforks. My HOPE cried for a night then got pushy. My HOPE had friends and all of them were pushy. Maybe that should be "pushy" in capital letters as well. HOPE-filed prayer saved me. It saved my son.

The HOPE I was given was a participant in the future being dictated by the Kingdom of God, as Peterson describes.

Mothers are never bystanders. We may step aside to let our children run past us as they grow but we are always in our own race. We never lay aside our parental authority to pray, "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done..." in the lives of our children.

I have friends I love beyond my ability to articulate just how much. There is no word picture that can do them justice. These women, mothers all, know how to burn a rump roast. They burned one of their own (I helped) and they helped me burn mine. The devil isn't eating so good this Mother's Day.

My son lives physically and spiritually.

This Mother's Day we will remember the victories won by prayer, friendship and Divine agreement...

...and by HOPE.


Dedicated to The God of Hope. My Rock. My Friend. My Lord.

Try this for a HOPE-REWIND:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Prayer Bracelets

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5

If any man loves God, the same is known by him.
1 Corinthians 8:3

I came to these verses tonight adorning myself with them in prayer as bracelets on my left wrist and on the right. Hands raised, they catch the light and ring as Sanctus Bells at the presentation of the Eucharist, "Holy, Holy, Holy".

I am celebrating the life of a teacher, a son, a warrior. I am celebrating honesty and sacrifice and endurance. I am celebrating, before God, a soul I have no firsthand knowledge of. I see him through his mother's eyes and know him only as "K" the hero of many of the stories Marsha publishes and shares on her blog. Marsha who deserves a "V" for valor.

Women don't seem to need a lot of introductions. Two women on an elevator for a few floors emerge knowing all kinds of information about one another. Marsha opens the elevator doors and I get on. Sometimes we go up. Sometimes we go to the basement. I am always the better for the ride.

Marsha's son has some questions. His journey has been hard. He has been to war, health wise, and he has worn his armor a long time. The weight of it is exhausting. Mom isn't sending care packages long distance, she has been riding shotgun on the Hummer as machine gunner and medic. That too is wearying.

"K" has really been suffering (see link below) and, understandably, has voiced concerns that maybe God does not really know or care about his situation. He identifies with that "pelican in the wilderness". A state God understands and Jesus felt firsthand.

Comfort comes in those prayer bracelets. Those lovely, strengthening and revealing verses that describe God's relationship to us when we are beset.

With the bracelet on the right hand, God covers us in His sacred tent. The Greek informs us that His hiding of us, His covering, is what one does with treasure. He protects us and preserves us as having great worth to Him. He hides the treasure (us) in a tent that is in a conspicuous place, if I am reading the footnotes correctly.

He intends for our enemies to know He is hiding us! Hear the Lord calling to our distress, " I have precious treasure here. The dearest in all the world and you cannot get to his (her) heart. See this tent? See whose colors fly above it? Mine!" (I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. John 17:15)

The bracelet on the left hand is the man (woman) who loves God being known by God. God is not telegraphing His love. This is face to face beholding the beloved. Help Notes puts it like this: The Greek, ginṓskō means to know, especially through personal experience (first-hand acquaintance). To "experientially know" is used for example in Luke 1:34, "And Mary [a virgin] said to the angel, 'How will this be since I do not know ginṓskō = sexual intimacy) a man?'"

We may have questions. We may have more doubts than answers. The word is reassuring, if we love God we will experience intimacy with God, first-hand. God wants this and even if all the answers don't come in this lifetime we can trust the love, trust that His heart towards us is good. Christ won't object to a hand in His side as more tangible proof.

So. Tonight I am not begging or pleading. I am approaching the Lord for Marsha's son the way the Lord had me approach Him for my own son in difficult circumstances, I am celebrating life and courage and relationship. I am freshening up the tapestries in the tent. Spreading fragrant rushes on the floor. Lighting welcoming candles. Sending prayers to rise as incense. Pouring honey into the wine. Smoothing the cushions for "K" and Marsha.

I am agreeing with another son's mother when she plants her faith between her family and despair and makes her boast in the Lord even as I can hear her heart breaking:

"Nevertheless, here is my real hope and my honest conviction. God is bigger than my son's doubts. He is stronger than my sorrow. He is greater than the sum of our fears and disappointments."

Join me. Agree with me for good for our family even if we have never met them. One bright day we shall, when the elevator goes all the way to the penthouse and the doors open to glory and we all cry, "Holy".


Crash of tempest, roll of thunder,
lightning flash from pole to pole,
but the storm of love is stronger,
brighter flashes in the soul,
While the peace of Christ the Bridegroom
holds you still and keeps you whole.
From the Breviary

Read Marsha's heartfelt blog here and read a blessing.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

52 NEW

Go for it!

Today I did something I have never done. I enjoyed it at the time. I am still enjoying it as I write this and may enjoy it even more as the day unfolds. Part of the fun is keeping it to myself for the moment...well, except to tell you that I did something.

It is not a bucket list thing because I do plan to experience Eternity in the presence of One who would consider a mere bucket small potatoes. This is more my trading wishing for doing and doing it now.

There is a fund I have to go to France "someday" and I deposit money, a bit at a time, into it. This is not that. This is not me throwing caution to the wind and maxing out a credit card to get it NOW either.

This is me stretching and trying something new for myself. New in miniature. This is a different "new" than the newness God brings. We sometimes neglect ourselves or an awareness of the life around us.

The plan is for me to identify small, easy opportunities, tiny itches and then to scratch at least one a week. That would be 52 new things experienced over the next year. I invite you to join me and make a list of your own.

Opportunities could be by way of example: A restaurant never tried. A recipe never made. A spice explored. A vegetable never eaten. A charity never donated to. A hair color or style that has been tempting. A woodland trail never walked. A person never spoken to. A new author. A new position for love making. A daring nail color. A foreign film with subtitles. A planetarium show. Trying a new caliber bullet. A different guitar. Planting a kitchen spice garden. Collecting for the food bank. Writing a poem. Drawing a face. Riding a horse. Sharing your faith. Getting contacts. The possibilities are endless.

The criteria is that you have never done it before and it is moral, legal and affordable. (I am not suggesting pap smears and prostate checks be put on the list. Hopefully, that has already been taken care of. This is a fun list not a legalist's tally of bricks.)

There is a notebook I plan to keep to start a list then to keep track of each thing I tried and how it was. Along the way I expect I will discover people and experiences that will beg a permanence in my life and I will joyfully make room. Some new minutes may become vital. Somethings will be relegated to the "dustbin of history" having obtained a poor review.

No prayer time, family time or work time will be injured in the making of my time.

If truth be told, each of us probably does any number of new things each week. We do them accidentally, thoughtlessly and often not recognizing an opportunity for fanfare. I will anticipate, plan (small) and execute new things and then keep record of them to celebrate if they produces a celebration. No more same-old, same-old.

A wise woman once said, "What an interesting life I had. How I wish I had realized it sooner." (Colette)

Start today and the next time someone asks, "What's new?" you won't even have to think about it.


(Hint: Keep the lovemaking discoveries between you and your spouse.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How Good We Are

Promise me you'll remember
This love together today
We may not have tomorrow
It's not for us to say...

Whenever we're together
I feel time standing still
I only know I love you
And I always will

If we should lose each other
Somewhere inside the dark
Promise me you'll remember
How good we are...

Time isn't kind to lovers
It breaks the hardest hearts
Promise me you'll remember
How good we are

by John Bettis for The Godfather III

Up early. Kissed the back of John's sleeping head in my hasty exit, just so that in the event a tree should fall on one of us or or worse, there would have been some semblance of a tender parting. It was a long day. More work than time.

Tonight supper was simple in contrast to the day. Homemade vegetable soup and breadmaker bread. TV trays and a few minutes of an old movie we were watching in stages. The movie ended with a love song and our real day began.

There we were two old, married, working people, dancing in the living room to a movie theme as the credits scrolled by, surrounded by empty soup bowls and bread crumbs and love. "Promise me you'll remember how good we are." What a lyric. What a commitment.

We have had to make ourselves remember that goodness, that God-ordained fit, when lostness and darkness had a different and less glorious ending in mind for our story. Those times we called on the God of light to remember with us. The God in whom there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:15)

Maybe we can't buy everything we want to buy or go everywhere we want to go, do everything we want to do or know everyone we want to know but we can stop time. We can make it stand still, be still and remember.

We can always clean up the dishes tomorrow...if it comes.