Category Archives: child-like faith

Dream With Audaciousness, Daughter {An Abstraction on Hands}

Driving on the interstate in the dark, we’re speeding toward the huge bookstore chain in our little clunker of a van, better known as my husband’s work van. I would prefer a small, local bookstore, but they’re the only ones open late at night for a spontaneous, must-have-this-book-tomorrow trip. I’ve got a hankerin’ for some coffee shop goodies; this little expedition needs to be worth it.

She is small in the passenger seat next to me, her face hidden in the shadows as we bumble along, the old van making strange noises I just ignore.

We pull into the parking space, and I throw on some lip gloss. She explains, with a little laugh, when I look at her, I’m sorry, but I look horrible, as she quickly dabs on mascara.

I wonder where she heard that? I watch her with a smile, thinking how quickly she’s grown, and did I do everything right, and should she really be wearing mascara at this age, and oh my god, she’s so beautiful. 

We walk into the store, and they don’t even have the book we drove the twenty minutes for, and sometimes I feel like an idiot of a mother who gets everything wrong, and sometimes I have my shining moments of glory, because tonight I get to be her hero.

Earlier back at the house, I’d called her, and she’d slowly come toward me, letting out a deep sigh and an umph, and I gently corrected her because I could tell she was in a bad mood. But the gentle correction pulled out the real problem. Her lips crumpled, and with tears in her eyes, she told me she had just realized we had forgotten to get the literature book she had to have for school the next day.

Tears running down her face, I told her I would take her to get what she needed. I heaved myself up off the couch, shuffled into the kitchen in my slippers to let husband know, and after sliding back into the same clothes and pulling on the riding boots I’d just taken off after returning home from town moments before, we were off. Just us women becoming.

In the bookstore, the smell of coffee is strong, and the warmth of the books all around, feeling like friends, they envelop me. We don’t get to walk out with the book, but all is not lost, because we sit down at a tiny round table by the window to dip grasshopper mint biscotti into a chocolate caramel de-caff latte, and then pick up a Harry Potter movie to watch together on the way out, and we climb into the van with talk of ordering that book on Amazon.

On the way home, spiraling there in this chaotic sort of way, weary to get into bed, it must have been Nelson Mendela’s book she’d asked about in the store that got her thinking. She says to me hey Mama, what about that letter I got about the summer trip to Europe, the one where we go and get experience and help people–am I still doing that? 

Because I think I’d like to be a missionary. And I think it’d be good for me to get the experience. It’s good life-experience, you know?

The world seems to just stop spinning, and the old wheels of the van’s still turning at lightening speeds, but my heart stands still and my breath catches.

I reach over, slide my hand into hers, hold on tight, and tell her Wow, those are some amazing thoughts you’re having. I breathe shallow, wait a few beats, then– and I totally respect that, so very much, Lorna. I wish I could see her face, shrouded by the blackness of night. I can feel her smile.

She goes on in her hurried talk as if she’s blurting it out before she loses her nerve. I want to marry a man with money, so that we can build a business, and go to Africa. 

A rich man, huh? I look at her out of the corner of my eye, a sly grin playing on the edge of my mouth, and she glances at me, the smile jumping over and dancing on her profile in the dark. I wish for light, but it’s almost better this way, whispering secrets of our hearts to one another in the velvety-black of sky and stars whizzing by. I think it makes her braver.

I will build a hospital, she says, and give each family all the medicine and help they need to be healthy. I want to travel from town to town on the whole continent of Africa, building houses, hospitals, schools, and wells for the people so they’ll have clean water. 

I grin from ear to ear and in spite of life’s hardships that make me forget how to laugh, and remembering too often my failings as a mother, not sure if I’m getting it right, my heart fills with such hope at her words.

Those words make me know that just maybe I haven’t messed up as badly as I think.

There is nothing better on this earth than a child. Purity. Innocence. Beauty. Wildness. Courage and bravery. Audaciousness. Unconditional love. Curiosity and appreciation for the world around them.

In that moment, holding her hand in the grey van, as it squeals its way toward home, I feel God’s glory. Yes, He is right here with  me, in the form of a child. I see Him in her face, in her brave words, in her giving heart, in her fierce care for others to have clean water, strangers to her, living on the other side of the world.

She makes me see how we’re all holding hands, how God looks down and sees us all at once, and seas and distance and race and time and prestige and position and money and power and good deeds mean nothing to Him. He sees all of us, his children. He could scoop us all up with his mighty hand. We are much closer to one another than we think, much more connected than we believe.

We slide out of our seats once we’ve pulled up in the driveway, and I start up the steps, only noticing the footsteps right in front of me. But my daughter, she’s looking all around her, and says Woah, Mama, the stars! I can see all of them, so beautiful!  

I look up, really seeing for the first time. This is what she does for me. Glory. They burst, and glow at me, saying something. We’re all connected across the miles. I can see the big dipper! she points it out.

And those in Africa tonight, so can they. So can they, dear child. Dream with audaciousness, and with all courage God’s given, daughter.

His Kingdom has come, here on earth.

What this link-up is about: We “write out spirit” by practicing writing about the invisible using concrete words. In case you are going “what in the world is a concrete word?!“–this just means (using the prompt to inspire) write out what’s around us–concrete words make the senses come alive, gives place. In every story, there is always an above and beneath, a beside, something tucked away, aromas in the air, something calling in the trees or from the street, notes in our pocket, rocks in our shoes, sand between our toes. Go here to see Amber Haine’s take on this. It was very helpful to me–I think it will be beneficial for you, too.

A few simple guidelines:       1. Be sure you link up the URL to your Concrete Words
                                             post and not just your blog home page URL.
                                         2. Put a link to this post on your blog so that others
                                             can find their way back here.
                                         3. Try to visit one or two others and encourage their efforts
                                         4. Please write along with us, using concrete words–
                                             and the prompt–Please no entries with how-to’s, advertising,
                                             or sponsored posts
                                         5. We connect on twitter with the hashtag #concretewords–
                                               please share so others can join!

Today’s prompt is HandsGO!

**{This link up will run until Sunday, the 2nd, 11:59 pm, giving you plenty of time to write and link-up before the next concrete words is posted. I will read your stories and highlight one of them from this link-up on social media. On Monday, Feb. 3rd, the prompt will be *Dirt*.}


For Your Weekend: A Little Madeleine L’Engle, A Little Photography, A Little Link Love

I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be… This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages…the delayed adolescent, the childish adult, but that they are in me to be drawn on; to forget is a form of suicide… Far too many people misunderstand what *putting away childish things* means, and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. When I’m with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grown-up, then I don’t ever want to be one. Instead of which, if I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and *be* fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.”
            ― Madeleine L’Engle

I‘ve been wondering lately, about childhood and why I write about it so much when I’m given a prompt or a 5 minute time-limit. It’s where my mind naturally goes. I’ve also been thinking about how hard writing has been lately for me, and for many I know. With all the noise, and loud voices raising to be heard above it, I wonder about still and quiet, child-like faith and wonder, happiness in simple things, and I wonder about happiness itself and how important it is to God.

I think I’ve about come to the conclusion it’s extremely important to Him.

Warmest wishes of love and happiness as you remember how to be a kid again this weekend, friends.

Need a little push?

I. dare. you.

So, run outside like a wild woman (or man) and swing with your kids, make fires out of brush and sticks and roast marshmallows and get sticky, sing songs, dance to old blues and jazz, lie in the hammock and read and smooth back their hair ’til you fall asleep, have conversations with little ones that stir wonder in them, chase them around the yard, and dare your daughter to see if she can out-run you with her long legs.

What do you think about Madeleine L’Engle’s quote? Tell me in the comments how you relate/don’t relate? Or meet me over here and let’s discuss there!

And just to prove that I walk the walk, not just talk the talk, here ya go:

Jump-roping challenge during the Easter games my Lorna set up

The girls and I playing on the trampoline in late afternoon, us a rag-tag bunch

Me about to do some amazing award-winning gymnastics move. No, not really. 

Now for #concretewords highlight of the week! The writer I’m highlighting this week for #concretewords is:
Ashley Larkin of Drawing Near–The Frame —this made me breathless, made me feel like I could fly–please give Ashley some lovin’ and share her post! (Remember to use the hashtag #concretewords!)
**Also, Kelli Woodford will be our guest writer for Concrete Words Monday, and our prompt is the Cup!**

Some lovely reading & laughter for the weekend?

All the best links for me this week:

On voice in a noisy world…getting back to basics in writing..

Sarah Bessey —In Which I’ve Got A Song to Sing

Alia Hagenbach: Small grace

Ashleigh Baker– Simple Stories [An Invitation to Old-Fashioned Blogging]

Sarah Bessey —In Which (love looks like) an Unsteady Mother’s Day and an Anniversary at Wal-Mart

Seth Haines —Lyricism, Church Infighting, and The Creed–I keep coming back to this over and over…

Jennifer Camp– Waking Up–The Path to Experiencing and Creating Art–this deeply encouraged me.

At Bibledude:..
Cara Sexton– On Crumpled Bills and Broken Souls

Because we all need laughter in our lives:
Diane Bailey– The Exit Is Part of the Arrival  
Amanda Johnston Hill–Things I Tell My Six-Year-Old–have you been to Amanda’s site? If not, you should visit often. I’m in love with it. She seasons life with humor, wit, and fierce love.
This hilarious video– Pumpcast

Cowgirl Manure-Princesses Get A Seat Next to Daddy {An Abstraction on the Truck}

I can hear Daddy tromping quietly as he can through the house, and my young ears are tuned into my father’s leaving even in slumber. Sunlight rays hit my blonde locks, and all of the sudden I know it’s morning. I know what’s coming, and I’ve caught him before he can make his getaway before the rooster’s crow, so I rub sleep out of my eyes and throw the covers back hard.

“Daddy, I’m coming with you!”

He’s shoving his brown, weathered boots on, lacing them.

“I’m leaving now; I don’t have time.”

“Please, Daddy! I can get dressed real quick, I promise!”

My little sister is chiming in now, too; she’s three years younger, only about three or four, her dark chocolate hair all disheveled, looking adorable falling around milky chubby cheeks.

He ruffles around for his wallet, looks for keys.

“Alright, alright, if you can be dressed in five minutes, you can go, but that truck is pulling out, whether you’re dressed or not!”

A thrill runs through me and I fly to my room, throw on jeans and a t-shirt, frantically look for my socks and shoes.

I know what this means as I dash around: I get to ride in the truck with my Daddy, and feel the hum underneath my bottom, feel the lunge and pull as he changes the gears between my legs, eat ice cream sandwiches with him, drink coke, and play in dirt and hay in sunshine and chase cats in barns.

I run outside and climb up into his pickup truck, which is nothing more than an old blue Chevy-style cab with a white work truck body which holds all his tools. And I love riding in Daddy’s truck, because it smells like him, like gasoline, and horses, and sun and sweat. There’s horse hair and dirt and grit and I’m a little cowgirl so I don’t care. We pull up into this winding gravel drive, out in the country, trees heralding our coming, waving at us along the drive, and my body tingles with excitement to see what kind of place this will be.

He pulls around to the barn, and it’s huge, and I love that because that means lots of horses, and a large tack room to explore, and probably cats and maybe, if I’m lucky, even kittens. But then I look out of my window and on the other side of the truck, I can see a huge open field with bales of hay.

Daddy lets us roam free while he shoes the horses, and my sister and I run down a little path from the barn, downhill into the open field, summer sunshine on our face, and we run toward the bales of hay, and I’m thinking I will climb on top and jump from one to the other. They look small and close together from the top of the hill. We get closer and climb and climb with all our might and then see that jumping over to the other one isn’t gonna happen. We have our fun with the hay until we’re bored with it; the scent of it reminds me of a hundred summers. We run back uphill to a large mound of “dirt” we saw.

We play and play ’til our hearts content in that pile and get as mucky and grimy as we like. Daddy tells us later it was really manure. Tiny cowgirls are like that, see, we’re not afraid to get down and dirty.

We trod earth and make our mark and nothing is too big in this open field of life and no hay bale is too high in our mind’s eye. Nothing can stop us or stand in our way, and if it tries we’ll give it a kick in the pants with our cute, worn-in cowgirl boot.

We stomp this ground, make it our own, and climb the mucky manure mounds to get to the ones we love, to save them, we would climb over a thousand of them, and we do our native-dance that tells the story of how our hearts are tied to this land. It rips out of us in an unbridled, involuntary way, because it’s nothing we control–it’s the way we were born. It’s where we were born.

I’ve made this land mine for the day, though it belonged to someone else, and it’s made me. It’s become apart of me, the red earth, the thick scent of it in my bones, the sunshine warm on me and it’s all I ever wanted, to run free in a field, to be one with the dust from which I come.

When it’s time to go, after Daddy’s packed up all the tools, and we’ve petted all the horses in their stalls, been brave enough to rub their soft, silky mouths, we jump back up into the truck. I ride by Daddy. You know, Father doesn’t care if little girls roll in manure, there is always a seat by Him. He stops and lets me pick out a Mississippi Mud ice cream sandwich, my favorite. I feel Daddy changing the gears between my knees, moving them in rhythm, I’m anticipating the next gear change. I hear it grinding up and he pushes, clicks it into place again and now I can relax my small, bony knees.

I watch Daddy’s big, strong, calloused hands, his fingers so thick, his fingernails bruised and pieces of nail missing, and I know it’s from all the hard work, the toiling to make a way for us.

My sister licks her ice cream beside me. The hot southern summer sun beats down, the wind blows hard in the windows as we fly down the highway, and I feel like a princess next to Daddy, a cowgirl manure-princess.

Gratitude: {even when it’s hard–especially when it’s hard}

all of my family being in church together, three generations–grandparents, parents, and my family…

my mother asking me to sit with them on one long pew, though I would prefer to be unseen in the balcony, I make her happy, and it’s not that bad…

Easter dinner at my house with my family…

conversation with my Daddy about things important in life…

sunshine in the girls’ hair; I never tire of this…

Easter games in the rain made up by my creative daughter….

a rainy afternoon and egg hunt in the house, chocolate “Life” flowerpot cakes for dessert…

our beautiful grace garden and the beautiful little butterflies the girls and I made…

the tiny, miniature clothespins holding them together, reminding me of the frailty of life…

Friends, I appreciate you helping me get the word out about Concrete Words! Be sure to use the hashtag #concretewords. Please use the “Share” feature at the bottom of this post–thanks!  

What this link-up is about: In the lovely Amber Haines’ words, we “write out spirit” by practicing writing about the invisible using concrete words. In case you are going “what in the world is a concrete word?!“–this just means use the prompt to write out a story, a memory, a feeling and make me feel what you felt, describe the scene around you, the textures, the emotions, the tastes, smells, the light. Tell me what you touch, see, hear…

A few simple guidelines:  1. Be sure you link up the URL to your Concrete Words
                                             post and not just your blog home page URL.
                                         2. Put a link to this post on your blog so that others 
                                             can find their way back here.
                                         3. Try to visit one or two others and encourage their efforts
                                         4. Please write along with us, using concrete words–
                                             Please no entries with how-to’s, advertising, or 
                                             sponsored posts 
                                         5. Consider sharing via social media to help get word out!
**Today’s prompt is the Truck

Next week, our Concrete Words prompt is the Moon.

**Because of what I shared * here,I cannot always answer comments and visit very many blogs, but I will do my best to visit those who link up here! I would love for you to feel a sense of community when you are here, and I hope you do feel right at home–I just think–though we all search for so much interaction and approval from others, that sometimes, maybe in some seasons, sometimes very long seasons, just a quiet place is what we truly need. Just a place to reflect, pray, dream. 

I cherish your words, and the beautiful soul God made you. I am nodding my head, teary-eyed, as I read your hearts here. I’d like you to know that when I see you here, my heart just leaps out of my chest to connect with you–to let you know I hear you! And while you leave such sweet words here, I am probably somewhere cleaning a precious 3-year-old baby girls’ messes, listening to an eleven year old playwrite’s brave words, or teaching my crew. If you are here, know you are loved, and you’re the seasonin’ in my soup. 

{This post shared with AnnJen, LauraHeather, Emily, and Jennifer for #TellHisStory}

Let’s have some fun with concrete words! (You can join in anytime this week until the linky is closed!) **When linking, please check out the one-word prompt first! Thanks!** 


A Stirring {An Abstraction on Spirit}

When I close my eyes, and picture sunlight, I’m a girl again, riding horseback, playing games amongst the pines.

The whoosh of the wind in my hair as I run her down the hill again and again elates me and makes me feel like an Indian princess in the beautiful frontier before it was invaded and cut down and colonized. I feel her pride, her strong spirit, and together we soar like the eagle. The hooves drum in the ground, dirt flies up against my thighs, and I feel the beating of wings, of my heart, of the animal’s might beneath me, the sinews of her stretching taught and powerful, her beauty preaches to me, talks to me of God. We are one, the beast and I, the Indian girl and I, as I lean over the saddle horn, give into her great prowess, my body rolling in rhythm with hers, copulating, us fused together, I can smell the scent of her thick glorious hair.

I grab her mane, the dry thickness of it so coarse it’s like ropes dredging me up out of water, and I hold onto her for dear life, because I have control but it’s because she lets me, so meek in all her raw power. I let out a yell, “Yee-haw! Yee-yee-yee!!” I’m strong. I’m fierce, unstoppable.

My mind rolls back and over those better days, swinging from large old oak, the wooden plank under  my young bottom, I don’t even feel it, me all light and weightless, swinging out over the hill, it dropping off beneath, like I’m flying, sun blinding, I close my eyes, tip head back and laugh wild.

I capture them like this now, when I watch them run and play, spirits soaring, and the light in their hair–it speaks to me. Speaks to me different, not in words, but lightens me, makes me exhale. Something inside is stronger and brighter and breathes easier.

God captures me like this. He watches as I rise, sunlight in my hair all askew, as I pitter-patter barefoot in yoga pants, warm sweater wrapped round my cold body. I wonder if God sees as He watches, how that when the horse tried to kill me, it made me afraid and I stopped riding, if He sees my weakness, my fear, my pitiful life and begs like a baby screaming for milk for me to to not be afraid, to ride again, to soar again. I walk across wooden, sun-soaked warm floor and God made the warmth for me. And He speaks to me there. He’s in the morning light pouring in on the pine.

I walk outside, tip head back, close eyes, blinded by light through the Sand Plum, and I walk toward the children. Baby girl calls, “Mama, play!” And right here and now, I get to be brave.

I shake off my fear and I love fierce, climb onto the trampoline and tickle, giggle, squeal, and laugh and jump the afternoon away, and I know this is how I learn to get back on the horse, how to not let spirit die.

Friends, I appreciate you helping me get the word out about Concrete Words! Be sure to use the hashtag #concretewords. Please use the “Share” feature at the bottom of this post–thanks!  

What this link-up is about: Since this is my first week hosting #concretewords, I am using lovely Amber Haines’ words to describe what we do here. We “write out spirit” by practicing writing about the invisible using concrete words. In case you are going “what in the world is a concrete word?!“–this just means use the prompt to write out a story, a memory, a feeling and make me feel what you felt, describe the scene around you, the textures, the emotions, the tastes, smells, the light. Tell me what you touch, see, hear…

A few simple guidelines:  1. Be sure you link up the URL to your Concrete Words
                                             post and not just your blog home page URL.
                                         2. Put a link to this post on your blog so that others 
                                             can find their way back here.
                                         3. Try to visit one or two others and encourage their efforts
                                         4. Please write along with us, using concrete words–
                                             Please no entries with how-to’s, advertising, or 
                                             sponsored posts 
                                         5. Consider sharing via social media to help get word out!
Today’s prompt is Spirit. (You can link up anything you have written 
past or present that applies to writing out spirit–the invisible–with concrete words)

Next week, our Concrete Words prompt is the Truck.

**Because of what I shared * here,I cannot always answer comments and visit very many blogs, but I will do my best to visit those who link up here. I would love for you to feel a sense of community when you are here, and I hope you do feel right at home–I just think–though we all search for so much interaction and approval from others, that sometimes, maybe in some seasons, sometimes very long seasons, just a quiet place is what we truly need. Just a place to reflect, pray, dream. 

I cherish your words, and the beautiful soul God made you. I am nodding my head, teary-eyed, as I read your hearts here. I’d like you to know that when I see you here, my heart just leaps out of my chest to connect with you–to let you know I hear you! Oh friend, I’m so glad you understand, and thank you for so much grace!  And while you leave such sweet words here, I am probably somewhere cleaning a precious 3-year-old baby girls’ messes, listening to an eleven year old playwrite’s brave words, or teaching my crew. If you are here, know you are loved, and you’re the seasonin’ in my soup. 

{This post shared with JenLaura, Heather, Jennifer for #TellHisStory}

Let’s have some fun with concrete words! (You can join in anytime this week until the linky is closed!)


The Rhythm of Rest {The Way of A Child}

I lie down in a grassy field, roll down it’s hills, and the rolling it could go on for days
for a child carefree
The sun melts me, revives me, sets me free
I love it’s light on my face
I squeal and scream and I hear the muffled squealing of her next to me
That the lumps and bumps mush up against hips and backs doesn’t matter
I don’t feel the thorns, just the rolling, the excited tremor
like waves, lapping against my legs, my face
the warmth of the orange orb on my face
I feel it always in summer time
How free I am
I relax in it’s rest,
Free fall into it’s arms and drift off,
like ripples gently pirouetting on a lake
I watch them keep rhythm
And the steadiness, it drums, and I hear the music all around
It’s humming me to sleep
The birds call as I pick spider lilies on the hillside,
I take them into my mother, with a smile and she mirrors me,
twinkles, and she gives them water, places them on the sill
I run back outside in a whoosh,
roll down the hill again. laughing.

How free she looks, friends. Can you see it, feel it? I want to be just like my kids when I grow up.

On Fridays, I link up with Lisa-Jo’s community of flash mob writers to write for five minutes, no back-tacking, no editing, just for the fun of it, to remember why I love writing, to not worry if every i is dotted and every t is crossed, to write like I mean it and leave it that way. Honestly, I’ve never had more fun–if you’d like to join in, or read more, look for Lisa-Jo’s button below and click.

“This is where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and sharing ’em over here.”–Lisa Jo

Today’s word prompt was REST.

Five Minute Friday


Missing Jesus {And Gratitude}

Ivy dancing in the morning light, golden waves triveting around her shouldersher child-reverent face, turned up to the light, arms spread wide, and I think how she must be worshiping right before the throne.

The song plays…

 “So how can I thank you, What can I bring?

What can these poor hands lay at the feet of the King?

I’ll sing you a love song

It’s all that I have

To tell you I’m grateful for holding my life in your hands.”

She doesn’t know I’m watching and then she catches a glimpse of me and I smile warm, heart right proud and the oil of my approving love, it pours over her head and saturates her head to toe, cleansing out so much uncertainty.

She smiles shy. My soul sees hers. “You are precious.”

She turns down the music, looks at me. “Really?”

“Yes, you sure are.”

She smiles and continues to spin, this whole world, the morning sun and my heart spinning with her. These old wood floors and 100 year old walls creak and groan in honor of the Creator.

I can literally feel the weight of His glory come down like a thick cloud, a good cloud, like the haze of sweltering sun in a 17 year old girl’s free summer on the beach.

I am brimming over now.

Peace descends and in the fury of her innocence,  I am turned inside out and my heart swells, all the cracked, stony places soaking up the grace.

Because I’m thinking, “When was the last time I spun around like that, arms thrown wide open in abandon, face and heart lifted up to God?

When did I last forget about time and this space of all that must be done now, this moment with all the worries it holds and just breathed in and out?

Just breathed in and out the God-grace, the living waters that quench my aging and weary parched throat.

When did I last become like a child and turn face up to Heaven, to the light, in wild hope and trust?

When did I last have that child-faith that doesn’t question the One, the only Father who takes care of the child?”

And I heard God say through my daughter—that I don’t hunger near enough.

He has awakened me to it, though–really stirred life within–told me I am His own–His beloved–He is wooing me–the God of all creation. He loves, He loves, He LOVES me! He tells me when I wake in the morning to the sunrise softly glinting through curtains, “This is for you! It’s all for YOU!”

His pursuit of me makes me hunger more for Him. And this revealing of my lack? It is Him lavishing love so thick.  And I want to love that thick.

Oh, that I could abandon everything, leave behind myself just to follow hard after him.

That my words with my girls would be tender, that He would love them through me, that the truth in my ways would speak of Him, that I would find myself rocking and soothing the orphan babe who has no human touch– no one to hold her, that wisdom would be on my lips.

That I would show them grace because we dance to Elvis Jailhouse Rock , Black-Eyed Peas Boom Boom Pow, or Toby Mac, and we laugh, and wine is on the table, and we pray for God to help us love one another and take care of one another better, and our evenings aren’t filled with sitcoms or internet gaming and socializing, but we are playing love-games at the supper table and running and swimming and living life, and reading that we are God’s princesses at bedtime. We read how that when we’ve been the prodigal, our Father King, He always embraces us with tears in his eyes and overwhelming love and puts a ring on our finger and a crown on our head and there is no shame in the presence of Daddy-King.

And as my daughter twirls in light, I have this growing, gnawing ache.

I miss Jesus.

Gratitude: #902-916

Through giving thanks for the small, everyday things and snapping shots and noticing these brief moments captured in my lens– a frame of light caught in her hair, angling the camera to get a different view of the sun streaming through leaves, running through my backyard, awe-inspired–to get a shot of a hawk–I have learned something extremely valuable in life: through thanksgiving and awe, praise and glory-giving back to God for His creation, for all His gifts, is where I find joy, this elusive gift I have sought for half my life-span.

#902 trip to Destin with just my mom and sister…bonding time…

#903 girl talk with my sister about real-life issues…

#904 hard eucharisteo…one of the hardest talks I’ve ever had to have and probably ever will–with my mother—all of us working through difficult emotional spaces

#905 relaxing on the beach…listening to waves…

#906 napping on my beach blanket…all of us quiet…

#907 “What happens in Destin, stays in Destin”—a little saying coined by my mom…~smile~

#908 sunburns and fighting through physical pain and being grateful for today, a good attitude and laughter our medicine

#909 Bella’s argument: “It’s. Not. My. Birthday yet!!” when we would tell her happy birthday. Apparently it isn’t really a birthday until there’s a party?

#910 Her five-year-old-lisping into the phone to her daddy that she had a great birthday and had a cake—a chocolate one, and everybody enjoyed themselves at her birthday.

#911 My eleven year old daughter who isn’t very affectionate, crawling into my lap or hugging me and nodding up and down when I ask if she needs Mama love. Melts my heart.

#912 Hard eucharisteo…confronting issues and growing in Christ with sisters, in grace and love—seeing the fruits of this in me and others…

#913 My director calling just to encourage me and to tell me not to be nervous…

#914 How I, usually so unprepared, up ‘til 2 am, somehow arrived more-than-enough prepared and I for once felt what it was to be a leader…the grace of God growing these skills in me I didn’t know I had inside…Him pulling these out—me being brave and following him…

#915 My amazement at the confidence He has given…

#916 Learning that humility isn’t a heavy cloak of being less than that we wear, but it is an action, a serving, a loving, a confident knowing who I am in Christ, forging ahead in the path made straight for me, using the talents He calls forth from within, abandoning the things I hold onto so tightly—fear, distrust, pride, selfishness, woundedness and I answer His call, unaffected by others’ criticisms or praises. Giving praise to God that this is finally. becoming. truth for me and reality I can see as I walk out my daily life!!!

**Friends, your comments mean so much to me–they soul-drench me in grace and minister to me. And your prayers mean even more. I am not able to answer each comment–I am probably making vegan pad thai or whole-wheat cookies with my girls, cleaning up potty-training baby girl’s messes, reading a good book with my kids in the hammock, {or dancing to hip-hop with them while they roll their eyes}, out running, having a glass of wine with Husband, or lying in a warm bath just trying to breathe, friend! I hope you understand? Thank you in advance for grace. If you are reading this, you are awesome and I already love  you!  Head here to get to know me better and to read why during this season of life, I am just quietly writing, and not visiting via social media as much….

** Thank you for so, so much grace, friends. My heart cannot express in mere words, my thankfulness. I love all of you.

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Little Ballerinas

Papers scattered, computer on my lap, soft couch cushion underneath, I look at the little faux fire blazing and type away, lost in a sea of cyber-words. Four year old Bella’s large blue-orbed eyes find mine, grounding me, and she asks, “Mama, will you come play ballerina with me?” My legs crossed indian-style, a smile playing on my lips at her angel cuteness, I tell her yes, in just a minute.

When I finish writing to a friend, I walk into their room, toys strewn about, pine floor barely peeking through. “I’m ready to play ballerina now. What should I do?”

“You be the teacher, Mama. Yes, you have to wear a ballerina outfit like us, a teacher-ballerina outfit.” Excitement lifts them up on their toes, and their voices jump decibals higher. I laugh at them, and tell them the first thing to do is to pick up all the toys so we have room to dance, and I will be back.

So feeling extremely silly, I go find tights, a slip-skirt, and black leotard-like top. Their eyes shine when they see me and when I turn and twirl into their room, clapping my hands and calling, “Okay, class, line up” in a sing-song soprano, they little-girl giggle and I see them really looking at me, in a new light. Their innocence betrays them and their fresh God-image faces reflect rapturous joy and that I must be doing something right.

I put in Handel’s Messiah and I have them to plie’ and do stretches on the bar and I spin and teach them a dance. They go leaping through the air. The early morning sun’s rays catch them in all their beauty–just in this one moment, this moment that will never return.

I have never felt sillier nor have I ever felt more free.

I go over to the player at their request and we play “Musical Ballet”. When I stop the music, they are frozen in their lifts and little girl twirls, and this is a perfectly freeze-framed moment for a mama.

Time really does seem to stop. 

They hold hands, all four of them, and they go ’round and ’round in the neverending circle of sunrise’s gleaming hope, it streaming across their faces. The shadows fall but I don’t see the shadows–I only see their souls radiating and shining light, and it makes them so alive.

It bedazzles me and I’m enthralled because I don’t know how it happened, but I am caught up in the way a dimple beams at me, the way a soft cheek captures warmth right there, the way Lorna’s wavy golden locks waterfall over her small framed shoulders, glinting light glorious.

In our crazy kid-energy afforded by play, I sat on the little woven rug in front of the dollhouse and helped them shine it new, and glued down miniature furniture so tiny hands could not break it–a love-project put off for many months.

When we were finished, my daughters were so proud and I was proud too, to call myself Mama.

We tasted contentment’s sweet milk and it delighted us and we drank in the nourishment at joy’s swelled hope.

We danced wild, laughing, letting the morning carry us smoothly along right through freedom’s doors into wide-open joy.


#584 How when I ask Bella to help Lilly into her boot, she says, “I can’t–I promise, because I’m just a little girl.”

#585 How Bella furrows her brow at me, “Mama, Ivy slapped me on my ankle,” holding up her elbow, and I absent-mindedly lift up the elbow of my sink-water drenched shirt, she says, “No, Mama, not your ankle, MY ankle!”

3 ugly-beautifuls gifts…
#586 taking care of sick children
#587 with Hubs sick, eldest daughter helps
#588 germy, dirty house now sparkling

3 gifts from the past–that help me trust the future…
#589 relationships in church body mended–stepping out on a limb trusting Him to catch me
#590 hurts in family past getting some healing
#591 my favorite book, old and tattered, given by my Grandma, being the first read-aloud the girls and i do together, taking turns

a gift dull, a gift shimmering, a gift cleaned…
#592 antique table given by Granny showing wear and marks from children as I snap a picture of little hands grabbing cinnamon rolls
#593 beautiful floral designed diamond engagement ring given by Husband
#594 knit blanket washed and couch scrubbed, floors shiny for sister to come over to watch nieces while me and Husband go on day-date

3 gifts at 3 p.m…
#595 warm, soft breezy day,
#596 blanket on the porch w kids piled up & popcorn,
#597 me on the swing writing my thanks

#598 Ivy’s reverent whisper of conviction as she stares out to the yard,”It’s a beautiful day today.”

3 gifts green…glorious signs of Spring!
#599 thick clover in the backyard

#600 shoots of life coming up in pots

#601 tiny buds on my favorite spring tree blooming

3 gifts wore…
#602 turquoise studded silver bracelet given by Granny
#603 soft, comfy scarf given by sister
#604 gorgeous shirt gifted to Husband that looks smashing on him!

3 gifts hard to give thanks for…
#605 making it on very little these past few weeks until our finances get worked out–being creative with making money stretch
#606 muddy, swampy back yard, rain making green life come up, me and girls sloshing around in rainboots and clogs
#607 nice, huge pile of tree limbs from tree that fell in yard to make a bonfire–smores makings bought, weinies, drinks, and wood too wet to burn–so we take our smores inside to the stove and happily eat up

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How Everything Can Be Made New {31 Days to Holistic Christ-Centered Living, Day #14}

My mother, sister and I set out on Christmas eve for a four mile run through the hilly country.

Black asphalt beneath the rubber of our soles winds it’s way through curves and I hear nothing but the soft rhythmic pounding of our feet. My shoes kick up loose rocks and we pass over a tiny bridge. I hear the gentle stream moving underneath and I think how this is a first for us, how this seems new for the little community of us three women.

My sister and I run together in steady stride for a little ways and then she slows. They both trickle along behind me and I circle back for them. We talk a little about what they’ve cooked for Christmas eve dinner.

They take another walk break and after a while I grow tired and want to finish up my run. Craving some alone time, I run on ahead and I look up at the sky, watch the treeline of pines along the hills on this country road.

I think of the three of us, how there is so much between us, how we have all hurt one another, how we have demanded too much, and how we’ve had a hard time sometimes forgiving wrongs.

But somehow, through all of that, God’s love redeems.

His love rushes in, a team of mighty stallions and tramples out all the thorny briars of hurt and unforgiveness that would choke out His agape, His heartbeat for us..

As I run, I look up at the sky–all laid out bare expanse of blue banged with massive puffs here and there–and I think how this past year was a year of mourning, a year of ash and sackcloth, a year of being in a dark pit I didn’t know the way out of.

In a blinding flash the entire past year’s scenes and more all dance through my head–my darling baby I ignored while doing online classes, the many failures as a wife and mother, illness, the doctors, the medicines, having to quit school, seeing my dad lying on a hospital bed with a deep cut in his chest from triple bypass open heart surgery, my baby who was mal-nutritioned now having turned two, the severing loss and grief over a 19-year friendship and the slow road of recovery that God used to redeem it back to Him, trudging my way through writing and learning to heal, the isolation, not being able to attend church normally, all the days of trying to keep my head above water,

the days that the sun felt warm, but too bright, too intrusive on my pale skin and I tried to wrap myself inside in a black sweater like a butterfly in a cocoon, not wanting to come out

I look up to the sky again, as the road beneath my feet begins to descend downhill, and I see the trees shooting up, the sky reaching further than I can see. I spread my arms wide, hands extended, reaching out–I close my eyes and just run fast, fly down the hill, wind in my hair, welcoming the bright sun on my skin.

And as I fling arms horizontally, the new year flings wide open before me, vertically and horizontally and every way further than I can see and it’s a little scary.

My arms stretched out, inviting it, eyes closed, I sense it but I don’t give into the fear.

I just trust like a child that my foot will find the next sure footing along my downhill path and that God is redeeming it all–all the past mistakes of this long year of 2011 and all the holes and hard places in relationships, all the times I’ve been hard against Him–He’s redeeming it all and setting it right.

And at the end of my run, I leap, black frees into leaves toward home, and I am just so thankful to Him that I can be fully present to feel this freedom, this moment of redemption.


1. See the offense from the other person’s viewpoint. What makes them tick? How is their personality opposite or like mine? How would I respond if I were in their shoes? What paths have they walked in life that might cause them to see the situation differently from me? We all have a story and each of us are made different and sometimes there is no way of knowing why someone behaves the way they do. “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”–C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

2. See the offense through God’s love lens–they are His children too, and He loves them just as much as He loves me. We all walk this pilgrim road together through a strange, weary land. Let us walk hand in hand. With unforgiveness in our hearts, we walk alone.

3. See the offense through Jesus’ perfect example. God made himself low and took on the form of a servant and when they spat upon him and ridiculed him, when they beat him until his flesh ripped, when they crucified him he said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He walked in humility.

4. See the offense from the shadow of the cross–I look at myself through God’s eyes without the cross and then with the cross. Without the cross, im filthy and deserve hell. Without the cross, so does my friend who walks with me and may unintentionally or intentionally hurt me. With the cross we both are redeemed to God and redeemed back into right relationship with Him and with one another. Only God’s love–the love of the cross–can create such a miracle–cause people who have hurt each other deeply to not only forgive, but to grasp hands and embrace one another in prayer and brotherly and sisterly affection.


#425 how his tender kisses make everything inside of me come alive

#426 a night of laughter, talking, games, and popcorn ’round the table with some of my most precious people–my husband, my sister, and my children

#427 a toast to the New Year at 12:01 with my husband and sister

#428 an exciting church service–casting vision for 2012–much to look forward to

#429 an afternoon of Southern comfort food–chicken and dumplins, turnip greens and black-eye peas–coffee and games with my family on the first day of the New Year

#430 peace–real peace–the kind where Jesus is really the center and there hasn’t been any argument between Husband and me in the longest time and i haven’t yelled at the kids and the Prince of Peace truly reigns over our days

#431 i am so very, very glad that God exists, that He loves me, that He died for me and has gone to Heaven to prepare a place for me where i will forever be with Him in eternity.

#432 i am so grateful for all the comforts He has given me while i am in this place separated from Him–his Holy Spirit, my husband and children and family and church family.

#433 i am so, so grateful for all He’s done and all He’s given and that life is not meaningless, that im not here just to exist and then die. we have a hope and it is glory.

#434 how when i hug Lorna goodnight very tightly, lean into her, breathe in the scent of her, nuzzle her hair and tell her I love her, she leans back and looks at me, a question in her eyes and wonders aloud softly, “Mama, why do you love us so much?”

#435 how it feels to land in my girls bed as they all snuggle around me with blankets piled high and we settle in to read Stepping Heavenward. how Lorna asks me questions and i get to gently explain spiritual mysteries through a story.

#436 redeemed relationships

Join me at Ann’s for more thoughts on gratefulness to God and maybe even begin writing your own list of thanks?….

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Child-like Faith

Faith, such a hard word to grasp, wrap my mind around. What is faith? The Word of God defines it as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

To me, this means believing with no evidence.

What am I really saying to my Creator when I have lost faith? Lost hope? I am making Him non-existent. I am displaying no evidence of Him in my life when I am without faith. He is non-existent in my life and to others around me–only because I have fallen away, not because He has gone anywhere. They can’t see Him if I don’t have faith–they lose their way, and we are all following one another down a wrong path–the blind leading the blind.

Though I would never breathe the words, I say God doesn’t exist, when I shout and scream anger and bitterness at the world, and in a moment of frustration and hurt pouring out, I throw my hands toward Heaven and with much ungratefulness and unbelief say “Thanks a lot for all this”.

So how do I show faith? How do I make this untangible thing tangible? How do I grasp it, this imaginative, mysterious thing that is so curious that it seems unreal?

It is continuing and persevering in spite of circumstances that say “just give up–it’s hopeless”, persevering not only for myself, but for others.

It means staying with my spouse and lovingly building a marriage and life together that reflects Christ even when all seems broken and the pieces are scattered, and I don’t know how to pick them up.

When my flesh fails, and everything in the world says “give up on this relationship”, I persevere and the spirit of God in me rises up in faith…bonding me back to God and His goodness…always hoping, always believing the best.

I continue to pick up the pieces of relationships with my spouse, my children, and loved ones, even when damage seems irreparable, and in hoping for something greater in the Spirit, I flesh out His promise by holding hands and sacrificing my flesh until there is no more me and only Him.

Faith is a thing of the heart–not a thing of the mind. It’s something I feel, not something I know, and yet something that I continue to hang onto in my mind when my emotions are not feeling it. God plants a tiny seed in my heart, and then my mind begins to accept like a child, and then moves on to figuring out, testing out, and the more I know, the more I find out that I don’t know anything, and that I have to trust with my heart.

It’s funny, the believing, the faith of a child…how I naively told friends and strangers, that the reason I knew God exists is because I could feel Him in my heart and mind–I feel Him with me, in me, and working through me. I knew, there was a part of me that that knew, that I was small, ignorant, and insignificant, needing to learn more of the knowledge and wisdom of life–the experience of life. The sheer shortness of my years made me not a scholar.

Who was I to answer the biggest question all men have ever asked as long as man has existed?

Who was I to say that I knew the answer to knowing how God existed?

And yet, now as an adult, I realize that that this answer was not so bad at all, and I knew more of the important stuff then than I do now. Now it is easier to doubt God, now that I am “wise” and experienced in the world.

And I believe that is why Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say unto you, whomever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Luke 18:17 (KJV) The NIV says: “Unless you come with the faith of a child, you shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven.”. This is convicting to me, straight down to the core of me. I swallow the scriptures down, and they splay me out, uncovered and naked, they reveal my true heart before Him, and I am undone.

I know that I can only come this way–like a child–unaware and unashamed of my nakedness, of my vulnerable heart–that is the only way that I can see and be able to follow Him, to please Him.

But what happens when those closest to us–family, our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ–hurt us and cause us to lose trust and faith?

What happens when we lose loved ones, lose our own flesh inside of us–our hope of new life? What happens when death comes knocking? Or chronic illness rears it’s ugly monstrous head and threatens to tear us and our home apart?

What happens when the church does not look like or behave like the scriptural body, the God-breathed sacred body of Christ?

What happens when we lose child-like faith because of the depravity, sin, starvation, dying, and injustices of the world while Christians sit back and throw wounding darts at one another?

What then?

Well, for me, God has to bring me to this place of breaking over and over. This place where He breaks down the calloused walls of my heart–callouses put there from the inflicted wounds of the labor, fighting and toiling that I must do while I’m in this world.

He rubs his oil in and dissolves the scabs and built up layers, and He cleans out my heart, restores my child-like faith.

The most amazing thing is that I don’t have to do it–His grace covers me, and it restores and redeems and reconciles me back to Him. I don’t have to do the work–I just have to allow the work to be done by Him, in me–like child, eyes round and wet-rimmed, looking upward, countenace shining trust, looking to Father to take care of everything. Maybe this is faith…the faith of a child.

A song for you…Don’t we all, in our severe, lack-of-child-faith depravity, need some soul-nourishing words? If you don’t mind, closing out the player’s music at the bottom and playing the video? And just ignore the blue dress traipsing around 😉 or close your eyes and listen to the words. If you can’t play the video, you can go here to watch.

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