Friday, December 9, 2011

Morning Reflection - A Moment to Linger

This fire is burning warm and delightful before me this morning, and I invite you to share in its beauty. This is my here and now.


Join me for a moment of quiet? A moment of linger? A moment of gentle approach to the gentlest of fathers... The Father? His desire is our here and now.

The flames leap high and the embers whisper quiet. And in the midst of gazing at the dance of the fire, I lift my head, my hands, and my heart. His voice whispers in the embers of my spirit, sparking a flame for His glory alone.

In the solitude and quiet of my here and now, He speaks ... Hear and Know. 

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."  Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep His commands.  Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Quietly. Gently. With a tender heart.

I offer no excuses. None. I haven't been here in a long while, and I apologize. I could offer all the familiar reasons for my absence, but I won't. I simply haven't been here. I'm sorry. Please, will you forgive me? 

And now, simply, here I am. Quietly. Gently. With a tender heart. I've asked the Lord whether or not He's granting me permission to pick up my pen once again. I humbly believe He's answered yes. But I also believe He's hovering protectively as I move quietly into the realm of opening my heart again. 

Just a stirring, my daughter. 

Yes, just a stirring. And while I wait... 

I'll linger in days of the Holy Advent. Loving my Lord Jesus. Quietly. Gently. With a tender heart.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Linger... a magnificent portrayal of God's care

Like so many of my friends, I've been enjoying an eagle's nest livestream video coverage. From the laying of her eggs to the exchange of duty between mother and father eagle during incubation, to the hatching and care of new life, all of it captured on a camera hidden strategic, from the eagles' view. The eagle family's day-to-day events are taking place live via

And what a magnificent portrayal of God's care for us...

I watch smiling as the mother eagle tenderly tucks her tiny eaglets in. And then, like any other toddling youngsters, they stray from the safety of their mother's feathered shelter. Diligently, patiently, she tucks them in once again. And when the the little ones sleep and all is still, mama eagle never lets down her guard. She scours the landscape and sky above ready to protect her young ones from danger. I watch as she spots something loom too closely above, perceived as a possible threat. She hovers close her head and breast dipped low, but never her eyes. She, guardian of life downy, is fully present. The danger passes.

The chicks hunger. And mama responds. Her nest full of lifeless prey. Fish, squirrels, chipmunks... they are all there. A platter of delicacies to fill the child princes and princesses of this majestic bird. She rises from incubation as tiny beaks squawk impatient. Gingerly she rises and walks powerful talons around her young. She takes a small bite of a fish, works to prepare it for easy digestion. The eaglets stretch and lift beaks high and open, ready to receive nourishment they trust is coming. They bicker over who's beak finds food first. Sometimes one receives more than another. I'm sad for the neglected one. But their mother knows best how to raise her own, and I have no say in the matter. I trust her chicks' care to her.

I do the same for me...

... and mine. Alert and present fully He watches and protects.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:4, NIV)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

the still commotion of His Creation...

A headache keeps me home today, yet the day is beautiful and good. The tempo of pain out of sync with breath drives me to quiet. Physical body slowed, mind settled with raw concentration of rest to restore.

I'm outside, and the sun is bright today. I lean back gentle in my wicker chair and capture the warm comfort. Breathing deep and even, I close my eyes and listen. And then a fluttering and a melody. I raise my head careful and slow to find a pair of red birds on the feeder. Yes, a couple. He, vibrant and crowned. She meeker in color. Cardinals. I smile and thank my Father for painting Creation lovely.

The phone rings and I answer. The love of my life on the other end of the line. I melt in love all over when I hear his voice. He asks if I'm feeling okay. I think he hears the headache in my voice. He wishes me better... I tell him about the pair of red birds on the feeder, and how they still feed even as I speak quiet on the phone.

... and then another lilting song. The familiar tug on the sides of my lips and I smile, careful to be tender. A bluebird sings on the fence. I share the view in words with my husband, and he says, "Sounds like Sharen heaven in the back yard today." And I laugh light and say, "Yes, it is, isn't it?" Before we hang up... "I love you." And "I love you too."

A coolish south breeze lifts the fringe from my forehead, soothes the thrum, thrum, thrum of the headache. The cardinals still feeding, the bluebird diving from the fence to the grass and back up again. A commotion calm and delightful.

I lean back into the chair, and a tear squeaks from the outside corner of my eye. Not a tear of pain, but a tear of grate-full-ness. I know the aching pain will pass, but even in the midst, today, I find another smile light. And the warmth and comfort of the Son brings peace. I praise Him in the still commotion of His Creation. And I feel it... He delights in me, His daughter.

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

linger... even in the clutter

The Kiwi carpet guys came by today. It was a last minute sort of visit. I let them into my son's house to repair a puppy chewed corner of carpet, and they asked if he needed a carpet cleaning. I told them his carpet was only two months old, so not yet. But a good carpet cleaning piqued my attention. And the idea of another job, piqued theirs.

So, they hopped in their truck and drove right over. I asked them to start in the loft because I needed to pick up some clutter in the master (mostly the closet) before they started in there.

... and then the mad dash. Stuffing unused pillows here, dusty silk vines there, an unhung picture on top of the stuffed pillows, and bags of various kinds hither and to. And more. The carpet, now completely visible, was ready for a good cleaning, deodorizing, and Scotch Guard-ing. Finally finished with preparation, I took my worn out self upstairs to let the Kiwi guys know.

As they sprayed and buffed my bedroom rug, I sat my weary mad dash self on the couch to catch my breath. I did my part, and now it was their turn to complete the job. De-cluttering takes effort, but finishing the job is for the pros.

All of this leads me to ponder...

A simple fact: sometimes I'm just a mess. And to clean all my life clutter would leave me exhausted, and mostly... unfinished.

... and still a mess.

Yet thankfully, God invites me to Him just the same, clutter and all. So in the middle of my sometimes messy life journey, I can simply rest in these Truths:

1) Jesus invited children to come to Him. My mothering days made it very clear that children are seldom clean. Mostly dirty from play, and messy from mudpie baking, Jesus held their messy bodies and loved them in spite of the mess.

2) Jesus washed the filthy feet of His disciples at dinner. Those sandaled feet had seen the dust of many dirt roads. And He actively invited each disciple to offer their mess to Him, so He could make it clean.

3) Jesus made mud and placed it over a blind man's eyes. Yes, He used a mess to heal.

The fact is, I can de-clutter my messy life only so far. But there is only one way to make it clean, and with no effort on my part.

... except complete surrender.

Monday, April 4, 2011

four seasons in as many days...

These past four days I've cried. I've also laughed. I've smiled sublime - yes, a gentle, reflective, liquid smile transformed then to a smile preceding laughter, unwavering and planted there.

... and then, quiet

This thoughtful place, Linger, has suffered my absence. Yet maybe it hasn't, but I have suffered as result of its neglect. I haven't written words of what Linger looks like in real life. Authentic, raw, time-consuming, emotion-draining day-to-day life. So many seasons - days four - a fast, a fury-some journey.

A friend remembered... and laid to rest. His wife grieves deep emotion from a place where only one who has lost the promise of, "until death do us part." Her dad holds her, patting her back tender as she pours hot, heaving tears. Winter as day one. (And will you pray for Kay?)

Day two begins as day one draws to a close... Not in the thought of day as between sunrise and set, but day two in season. An evening of celebration (and public signing) with a dear one who's words are finally birthed new - as spring - in print for all to see. Her wisdom available to any who need a warm, tender book "conversation" offering support to parents of adult children. (Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child, by Nancy Williams)

Day three rises with the sun... and laughter, summer and carefree. Not with anyone else; only me, alone. A day unfolding with joy. A gift, I believe. A grace moment of holy joy. And a time to learn, and linger with sister-friends who gift my life with presence.

And as the sun cools and the evening breeze blows twilight near, the love of my life and I shared dinner, family style with the dearest of friends. And then movement of twilight into dark night brings slumber. Day four... Autumn settling the flow of four seasons in as many days.

And my soul is transiently quiet...

And again... another set of seasons arrives today, morning autumn strikes furious with storm, another beloved family. And they set their face as flint...

I pray this Scripture.

Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50:7, NIV)

... and I prepare to journey through the seasons again.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Linger over thoughts of laughter...

Today, I woke up laughing, and for most of the day, I've enjoyed at the very least, a smile. The day started like any other. Morning woke to bird songs and a puppy stretching at my side. A typical spring day. But there was this feeling of joy bursting. Not the kind that needs a precursor of something to react to, but a rogue tickle-type feeling. No, not a physical sensation, but one that came from nothing I suspected.

So what did I do? Well... I went with it. I giggled, grinned, and laughed at myself for being so ... so ... tickled. And I continued smiling and chuckling through the day. Scrubbed floors silly, danced with the mop. I swished toilet bowls, and polished countertops. I tackled the vacuum cleaning with equal humor.

Really, it's been a nonsensical sort of day... but I've enjoyed it.

... and I remember with lips upturned (which makes me laugh more)...

God named Abraham and Sarah's son: Isaac. His name meant laughter, yet God established His covenant with him. An everlasting covenant. Almost a conundrum of sorts... laughter in the mix of a serious Promise. I think that's why I love this portion of Scripture so very much. God has His plan for all of humanity, and in the midst of our reactions and actions, He goes with our "oh so human flow," and allows us laughter.

I wonder...

Does He know how simply overwhelmed we would be if we really attempted to understand His entire plan? Maybe... just maybe, laughter is a joyful reprieve for our human hearts.

But God said, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son indeed, and you shall call his name Isaac [laughter]; and I will establish My covenant or solemn pledge with him for an everlasting covenant and with his posterity after him.
(Genesis 17:19, Amplified Bible)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

a chain of swaying friendship unbroken...

Today, I'm lingering with thoughts thankfulness for precious friends...

I've heard it said there are friends for various seasons that fade through time. Perhaps. But I much prefer friendships that span the years - and even miles.

As a Brownie, I remember a circle of little girls, including me (and my mom, who was our leader), crossing arms and clasping hands. A chain of swaying friendship unbroken. We sang...

Make new friends,
But keep the old.
One is silver,
the other's gold... (author unknown)

My husband's career has relocated our family three times over the years.
Friendships forged through time blessed in each place are all (and each) golden to me. Email, Facebook, Skype... keep us in touch. Even though warm hugs may be lacking, warm hearts are abundant. And together, we form our own swaying chain of friendship unbroken.

And to quote the last line of the above poem/song...

Across the land,
Across the sea,
Friends forever
We will always be...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

His ever open arms...

I remember the open arms, the pure availability. Those arms that wrap warm and tender, that never grow weary from my attendance. Yet if I choose, I can wander as they release me bidding exploration, to enjoy the dwelling place... and others (family) - also equally welcome to the open arms - who reside with me here.

Yet the arms which release call me, not with a voice that calls for an obedience of attendance, but a beckoning invitation. A wooing of gracious, forever Love. I smile, knowing the always open arms, and am welcome to come and go as I please, by His grace and prompting... but always in the cover of His dwelling. Never far from His presence. Always in hearing distance even though I explore far and wide. His Creation is lovely and all expanse. I wander, and enjoy. It is all His.

And then, I return to... He. Altogether beautiful. Altogether lovely. Altogether worthy. He... Jesus. His arms. The Shepherd, and I His lamb.

And I gaze upon the One Who loves me pure and wholly as He holds me in His ever open arms.

One thing I ask form the LORD, this only do I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

Monday, March 28, 2011

transition... not yet finished

I bathe in the sun, not with intention of a blush, but for the comfortable warmth it brings in spring. Yet still, my skin mottles red. Buds, a promise of emerald, sage, olive, jade, and lime burst open with life anew and dance upon meeting the breeze. And I gaze upon the first rose of the season, brave with color, paving the way for the flamboyant procession sure to follow. All of nature transitions, and I am startled by beauty, even if I did expect it.

And then the north wind blows once again. Cooler air settles over the bursts of color carpeting the ground. Flowers shiver beneath the breeze, and so do I.

Transition is like that. Transitory. Seasons come, recede, and thankfully (or sometimes regretfully) come again. The movement of life does the same. Seasons come; they go. Sometimes they are all welcome and stay for a time. Other times they are unanticipated and stay far too long. Sometimes they offer beauty and sweet fragrance, comfort and warmth. Other times they cut with frigid cold and long storm-filled nights.

But by grace, all of life is transition. It moves, undulates, and is shaped by the hands of a Potter who knows His art medium intimately. And we, the vessels of His Hands know the change. We live it moment-by-moment, change unto change. In transition always... Not yet finished.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

return to authentic heart...

This weekend, I am pondering in linger moments a return to authentic heart. Spending vulnerable moments with the One Who sees the deep crevices of me. My own unawareness of hidden things - in me - are brought to Light when I kneel before the All-Knowing Father, Divine and Hallowed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I wonder ~

I wonder ~

Why do I craft words on this lonely page? In random quiet moments of the day, I open the laptop and load a program that offers the ability to communicate.

I wonder ~

What words will spill from my fingertips today? I ask the Father for guidance in penning a message. What can I possibly say... ? How do I unveil You... ? Am I self glory seeking or God Glory giving? Please weave the words before they fill this screen, Yahweh...

I wonder ~

If I had no followers. No friends or family to read the words poured out with prayer. Would I continue to visit this lonely screen each day?

And because I wonder ~

I ask the Lord... Is all of this really for You? Are You pleased? And I face the screen, ready now to please an audience of One. All of this, for Him. All of this, for You.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

a day to pray...

My neighborhood mourns one of ours today. And I am without words. Today is a day to pray.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

a thought about seed faith... and a dream

Today I read about faith in four different texts, One that counts far above the rest.

Mine is the Night (by Liz Curtis Higgs) weaves a fiction story similar to the Book of Ruth in Scripture. Man, The Dwelling Place of God (by AW Tozer) speaks of faith humble, gentle yet firm. Jesus Calling (by Sarah Young) pens the Father heart, increasing faith with God Word. The Holy Scriptures, The Word of God (inspired by God, Most High) reveals Him, that we can know Him.

This from His hand... The Apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you." (Luke 17:5-6)

And not only this Scripture, but another...

He replied, "Because you have so little faith, Truly I tell you, if you faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)

I desire faith increased. I need more faith. I want more faith! Lord, increase my faith! I shout with the disciples. I read God Word surrounding the verse texts above and discover the how of increased faith. The journey is hard... Experience of this nature comes at great price. Battle avails... and the weapons are not of this world. Yet Jesus offers the seed. But oh! to have a million seeds!

And the dream...

In the half-wake hours of slumber before sleep, I see a seed. Barely it comes into view, so small and inconspicuous. Yet I know, here in this time, it is a seed. It is peaceful, its presence in my near sleep. And then movement... The seed trembles powerful, and multiplies rapid out of itself. Thousands to a million seeds fill every pore of me and I can't contain. I am jolted awake fully. The half-slumber dream closed abrupt.

And I wonder...

One seed can move the impossible... What can a million do? Oh! to pour out those multiplied seeds! And then, I understand. Only one is needed. How many can I humbly give away? How can I spread the seed (the Good News)? Is this my labor?

And I wonder out of my heart, trembling in spirit... Am I serving well?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

all moments are fleeting...

I've never been first to leave a gathering. On the contrary, I often linger longer than expected. Not that I wouldn't want to make a hastier exit at times, but once the door closes behind me, moments of smiles, hugs, encouragement, and face-to-face relationship exit with me. I wonder if anything is left unsaid, or anyone's heart untouched. Do I make a difference in moments fleeting? It's not me I want them to see...

Am I a reflection of Christ?

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with an ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Monday, March 21, 2011

the everyday-ness of everyday... and tomorrow

Four-thirty this morning. I see it again. The raccoon feasting on seed and berries the birds leave behind. I see it there. Eyes shine piercing from below the feeder; and unsure of the masked creature, the Lhasa sees it too. Every morning sameness. The raccoon, the seed, the berries. At 7:00 AM, the squirrel pudgy with spring plenty arrives and takes his fill at his own table (of my suet setting). The sun peeks through the forest, and wakes birds from their slumber. They too, gather fluttering to feast. The morning dove coos gentle atop the fence.

I watch the scene unfold day after day. The sameness, the everyday-ness. And there is beauty in it all, grace unfolding provision. Morning-by-morning, new mercies.

And for a moment I wonder about tomorrow, and then, listen to Word whispers...

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matthew 6:34)

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Praying this weekend offers opportunity to spend time... still... with the Father. His presence is comforting, peaceful, Love deep. Jesus is calling.

Oh Father, may I always answer. Time with You is full of wonder, and alive with Your glorious presence. Your invitation draws me. May I always be thirsty for more of You, so I will take more time to be Still...

Friday, March 18, 2011

two days and cattle on a thousand hills

On the road with the love of my life. We didn't go far... eight hours up the road. Oklahoma. A quick trip this time, but sweet fellowship with my husband's brother and his wife. We share over thirty years of together memories. Has that much time really gone by? Our children, cousins, now grown are making their own remember years.

Life there is different than mine. Cattle moan deep close to their home. A solitary cat roams the back yard, waiting for prey. And Martins flutter around dwellings atop tall polls, preparing to raise families (and make memories) of their own. My sister-in-law, like me, delights in watching colorful, singing birds enjoy seed and berries on feeders hung in strategic places, just outside of picture window views from inside.

Camera in hand, Lhasa trotting by my heels, I take some alone minutes and wander toward open field. A family of another kind (making memories) gathered in community, doing what they do. They surprise me with their interaction. Cattle. Eight month old youngsters fight imaginary battles with each other, the adults ignoring their antics for the most part. Though I see some tender nudges... A white-faced, two-week-old calf watches too. And his mother keeps watch over him.

... And I remember The Word.

I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the field are mine. (Psalm 50:9-11)

He has no need of them, but I feel Him smiling warm over my delight of His Creation. I smile in return.

I love lingering here... It's peaceful. And I'm grateful for family who opens their home for wanderers like us. So generous, caring. With an abiding love for Christ, Who shines through conversation and hospitality.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

grace to pray

There is a heavy place in me today. That catch in the throat that threatens tears. Desperation in the middle of catastrophe unprecedented. And I ache desire to fix something I can't. To help those so far away I can't reach. Longing to comfort grief, offer hope, share a shoulder.

Miles, seems a million or more, separate my world from those on an island quaking in the Pacific. But one thing I can offer, is prayer. Words escape me though. The need is unspeakable. I meditate on the God's omnipresence. He is here; He is there. He knows the need. He knows the beyond words feeling I carry in my heart. But He is beyond words.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are you ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts.. than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

There is a covering. It blankets all of creation. It is grace. We wear it humble when we believe. It clothes us pure as we pass through the torn veil into the presence of our Father. It gives us audience. This gift. And He sees us there, knows our presence with Him. He knows our understanding is limited in times such as this. And I believe He knows that we, ourselves, though we are not shaking a million miles away, we tremble with trepidation of the unknown. For them; for us.

Words may escape me, but I can be in His presence. I can utter half-sentences or even fragments of words. He knows.

Before Him...

Under His Grace...

To pray...

Monday, March 14, 2011

today is all prayer for the shaken

Trophies toppled from their high places on shelves above my baby brother's bed. In supposed slow motion, I pulled him from his rest to run from our shared room. My grandfather's trophies fell, but none scathed my brother. I was nine, and he had just celebrated his sixth birthday two days prior.

One room away, our mom leapt from her own bed and pulled us under her bedroom door casing. Grammy told us to stay there until the shaking stopped. We did as she said, and when the shaking stopped, we held to each other until our anxiety eased. News of bridges collapsed, a hospital destroyed, buildings crooked on foundations, and homes scattered with debris.

But my grandparents' house stood.

And the Earth moves still, and again. Other families are shaken, and worse. I cannot help but lift the lives of these before our Lord, the Creator of All... our Father, Who cares deeply, passionately for His Creation. He never stops calling.


God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High Dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; and the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:1-7)

And today, I trust in Him. And today is all prayer they will trust Him too.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

weekend wandering

Buds, barely visible, line bare branches. Blooms wake to the sun's warmth. Birds flutter frantic, dancing with mates and fighting for their place on the feeder. Dustings of yellow bring tickled sneezes. Yes, spring moves life slow into view. May you take moments to weekend wander through God's creation ...

Friday, March 11, 2011

when love is extravagant...

These days leading to Resurrection Day leave me in awe of Christ's passion for us. Can I fully comprehend His Love? His deep, deep Love... It defies all human explanation, all human knowledge, all human emotion. His Love is beyond...

I remember, as a child broken, how He loved me tangible. Outward circumstances remained, but His Love, Jesus, my Savior... His Love never fails. Make it stop! I ran to Him... every time. I took shelter in Him. He sheltered my spirit, my soul.

I remember, as an adolescent, nearly woman, yet a girl still. Confused. Who am I? Love?

I remember, a young woman undone. Hiding from emotion raw. I just want everything perfect. Everything has its place. Each nook and cranny filled. Like Tetris. But the edges ground irritated. Harsh.

I remember, a woman healed. How tears flowed down. And heaving shoulders pressed heavy. Crumpled to the floor. Freedom came there.

And Love extravagant... He caught the shattered pieces of my heart, and pulled it whole to His. And grateful, thankful, I move to the rhythm of His grace.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

before the 40 days...

Heavy with child, I wade careful into the water. Grey hair, grandfatherly concern, he takes my hand to be sure of balanced footing. I'm twenty. I have loved God as long as I can remember, yet never have I waded into these tepid waters.

I turn shy and look through the faces of our congregation for the father of my child. He is there. And he smiles... encourages.

I turn toward wrinkled eyes and wispy grey hair and nod. He asks if I would like to say anything. I do. I can't remember my spoken words, but I remember the heart, the spirit guiding. I feel gentle movement of the little one hidden in the warm liquid of my womb, gently lifted in the waters surrounding me.

I think of Him, Jesus. Him, led by His Father (our Father) to His cousin. John invites the repentant into cool waters of the Jordan. A voice of one calling in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord, make st
raight paths for him. (Matthew 3:3) I baptize you with water for repentance. [John says] But after me comes one more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry... (Matthew 3:11)

Jesus, Son of God, Son of man, God walking the soil of His created Earth. He approaches John for baptism. Jesus colors outside of humanity's line. He, perfect and holy. He, righteous and just. John, unsure, tried to deter him, saying I need to be baptized by you... (Matthew 3:14). Jesus knows the why. He explains to his cousin. And John consents.

I hear the pastor. "I baptize you, my sister, in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit." I hold my breath, buried in warm waters, only for a moment. He helps me find the ground underneath me again, and I stand. He helps me climb the steps toward a woman waiting with a towel.

I recall... And a voice from Heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17).

And I pray silent... I hope you are well pleased with me, my Father.

And Jesus walks toward the wilderness... for 40 days.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I wonder about the cross of ash...

I wonder about the cross of ash on foreheads. About the fasting of this time. The giving up of something here meaningful (is there really such a thing?). I think about the word, Lent. Something I don't fully understand, yet the essence is carved deep in my spirit.

What Jesus did. The offering of Him, by Him.

For me.

I can scarce take it in. It disturbs to the very core, what He did.

For me.

Appalled by by the cruel lashes, 39. Prostrate under the burden of the Cross. He, making the way to Calvary.

For me.

I don't have an outward cross of ash on my forehead to be seen. Yet, I'm wearing it inward. And I'm remembering, this 40 days ahead are about Jesus, and what He did.

For me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

a million tears

How many tears, Lord, do you keep an accounting of? How many bottles are full to overflow?

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. (Psalm 56:8)

A million is a number inconsequential as I consider the abundance of life here, in this world fallen. Though I also see through tears of purest joy. Yet You say, all my tears, yes, You say, All.

When tears flow down, no matter the cause, You place Your bottle - just so - to catch with compassion each one.

Lord, I trust You with my tears. They are the expressive part of my heart. Deepest grief; furthest reaches of delight. They are personal, vulnerable. Tears are the essence of my authentic self... And if they are sincere, they are humanity's gift of expression. God-given.

Monday, March 7, 2011

tears from memories past

Breezes gentle paste wisps of my hair against my damp face. I face the open window and weep in the wind. I am eight.

Why do young children suffer so?
Daddy clears his throat. I turn slight to face him. Is he going to speak? Just the slightest sound of his voice will tear my heart in two. I watch his Adam's apple bob up, and then down on his neck. He clears his throat again.

"Daddy?" My brother, unrestrained in the back seat stands, feet on the floorboard, leaning close to our father's ear.

"Sit down, son," Daddy whispers tender and pats the side of my little brother's head. My brother sits.


Why must a child's heart pound with pain profound?

Without turning to look, I reach for my daddy's hand, and it envelopes mine complete. He holds my tiny fingers with gentle fervor. I feel safe. I can't think about it now. It's not real. But I know in my heart it is. I hate divorce!

No longer able to contain my tears, my shoulders tremble and I cry. My daddy's grip tightens on my hand, and he steers the blue sedan to the side of the road and stops. My stomach churns.

"Daddy, I don't feel good. My tummy hurts."

Raw emotion cuts deep, even in the heart of a child.

"Do you feel like you're going to be sick?" He brushes the back of his hand light over my forehead. And I nod.

He helps me out of the car, into the muggy June night. Crickets and locust surround us with night songs. "Do you feel better, now?" I shake my head. He scoops me secure into his arms and I lay my head on his shoulder. His familiar cologne wafts heavy in the humid air.

"Better?" And I nod barely.

My daddy. Rescuer in midnight hours, chasing away monsters and soothing fears beyond nightmares. Singer of Jesus Loves Me in the middle of thunderstorms raging. "Daddy?" He sets me on the ground and kneels beside me.


"I'm leaving tomorrow with Mommy and my baby brother..." My eyes fill with the sting of fresh tears. My little brother opens the back seat car door, and wipes his own damp face. He runs toward us wobbly on four year old legs. The two of us, wrapped in our daddy's embrace. It's real.

Fairy tale stories of happily-ever-after only exist in the land of pretend.

"Will we ever see you again, Daddy?" I barely have voice to ask, but he hears me.

"Oh yes, you'll see me again. I love you. I love you both so much." He holds us for what seems hours, but not nearly long enough. Finally, he lifts my brother, takes my hand and walks us back to the car.

"I don't want to go home now, Daddy. Not yet."

"Your mom will be worried if I don't get you back soon." He pulls a handkerchief out of his pocket and wipes his tearful face. He starts the car and drives us home.

Today I linger in prayer for children wounded.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Release... to Linger

This weekend...

Release me, Lord and all my sisters, to see You in everything we see, to hear You in everything we hear. Our eyes; Yours. Our ears; Yours. Our hearts and every beat; wholly Yours. Each one of us; Yours.

And thankful...

Friday, March 4, 2011

heart and fragrance

White roses smooth like satin wired to grapevine backing. A gift of heart for my grandmother, Grammy. I remember the act of giving, my heart toward her. All precious, all sweet, all caring, and kind, Grammy. If only I could have used roses unfeigned on this gift, dream of fragrance never ending, color never fading. Greenery fresh surrounding the beauty blooms. But my desire for her enjoyment was meant for an enduring time. The real would not have lasted.

Grammy's mind, failing with Alzheimer's, her life, short for our world. But if she could see beauty, and if it would make her smile... To the Father, will You breath Your breath and exhale a sweet fragrance through my gift?

And now, the roses home with my "I love you infinity" mom. She added pink to the white, a touch of her. I love her touch... And again... Father, will You breath Your breath and exhale a sweet fragrance through my gift?

I linger in thought of heart and fragrance and Mary comes to mind...

Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:3)

Jesus, well pleased. And how I desire to be Mary, washing the feet of my Lord with tears and hair mine

And then...

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

when it takes a second touch...

Morning breaks with shades of grey. Distant treetops barely visible, except to the discerning eye. I wonder - if sometimes - God clouds our vision of the distant. Futures we aren't meant to see... yet. Days we aren't meant to experience... yet. Emotions we are incapable of processing... yet.

I wonder about the blind man...

He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

(Mark 8:23-25)

Full healing came as a two-step process, at least as we can see. Yet, I wonder how long was the process, really? What series of events placed him in front of the Healer in that very moment? Why did Jesus spit into the blind man's eyes? Why was the man incapable of focusing initially? Why did it take a second touch of Jesus to clear the blind man's vision?

For some heavenly reason, the process mattered.... and the man's sight was restored. I don't know why. But I trust in this: all experience with God is grace and love.

And the offense clouds and sin mist were swept away... Because when Jesus heals, He heals from the inside out.

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. (Isaiah 44:22)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

beautiful gathering...

Beautiful by MercyMe

I'm late, I know. This post is showing well past the norm of daily time. But today started early... and sweet. Sisterfriends gathered around wooden tables, and supped on a variety of French cuisine. Today... a beautiful gathering.

Each of us with a story inside. Each of us with a past. Each of us having suffered pain somewhere along this journey, life. Some of our pain self-inflicted. Some served from misguided hands of others, sometimes purposely inflicted. And some hurt, some pain a result of the Fall, and some pointedly enemy-driven.

But as I gaze around the room I see grace. All grace. All mercy. And joy. Even in the human weathering of seasons gone by.

And I wonder...

Does each one know their value before the King? Do they know He is captivated by their beauty? The past is put away. He's calling. Jesus, calling...

Now listen, daughter, don't miss a word: forget your country, put your home behind you. Be here—the king is wild for you. (Psalm 45:10-11)

But today, each of us embracing others with smiles and lightly brushed kisses on sides of faces. New sisterfriends and golden sisterfriends.

How I pray each one knows her worth

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

... of few words

Quiet. In my mind, in my heart, in my soul. All is quiet. I listen. Noise is all around me, like a tuning of fine instruments before the symphony, random in tone, yet equal in note.

But still...I am quiet.

Today is a day to listen.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

Monday, February 28, 2011

linger pondering for today...

I remember yesterday...

Sunday begins with worship, yes, as everyday. But Sundays are different. Cooperate worship brings the faithful (and some unfaithful) into the chapels, churches, cathedrals all over the world. Church bells ring, choirs voice songs of tradition and contemporary. Stringed instruments sing, trumpets praise, percussion beats with heart keeping time with shouts and whispers. I lift hands and tilt head upward, fall on repentant knees, and bow in honor of the One and Only, God. I listen to those standing close voice their praise, like me, not always in perfect key, but raised to the One Who hears all beauty in a sincere heart.

I keep my eyes closed...

The worship leader shouts directive, interrupting, "Now, sing!" I wonder, who is she shouting to? Does she see lips unmoving, hearts unstirred?

I open my own eyes.

Music continues...LIghts dim and lift in color keeping rhythm with the piano keys. Screens portray pictures that reach for my attention. And I watch for clues of music direction. I see all smiles, all joy. All sway to movement of (worship?) Distracted.

I close my eyes again...

I wonder about the Cross. The rough hewn wood, the thorn crown, the blood shed. The flesh torn, unrecognized. Death. And I remember the Resurrection, the raising by the power of the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit Who lives and moves freely in me (and in millions of others who have surrendered lives to our risen Christ). And I wonder... What does all of this really mean. Am I living the essence of Truth?

Musical notes ebb and flow, and they are beautiful. Yet I ponder still. Is the new "cross" opposed to authentic worship? Is the Cross, the rough-hewn splintered wood lifted with Jesus remembered in the new worship? I wonder, is this all show? Do I understand that the message of the Cross sometimes makes unpleasant demands of me? The Cross slays completely, all of me.

Abrupt end to song opens my eyes... The congregation sits comfortable.

Announcements come, brusque to my hearing. "I will be teaching a new Bible study..." I cringe. "My ministry..." I swallow hard. Words from one so human. And I remember my own words past, similar, but shaken through the years. The Cross demands more. The Cross Jesus suffered on, the Cross of Sacrifice for all, for me... The rough-hewn splintered wood does not run parallel, but intersects at the very heart of the One who loves deep and eternal. This intersection changes the course of humanity, if we allow it. It is abrupt. It is good.

The gathering of believers ends and with eyes wide open now, I exit the house and give thanks. Today, the message of the man is outweighed by the Message of the Son of Man. I linger, even in the busyness of the day to come, with this pondering. And slips of tears warm my face throughout the day, I laugh, I smile, I work, I eat, I hug, I dance. I love this Sunday, all. It is full of family. And it is full of Truth and Light.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

weekend morning

Weekend morning slumber awakens to gentle waking stretches and tender husband kisses. The Lhasa stirs at my feet and morning growls. It's her sweet habit. I wrap my shoulders in the cozy robe and listen to the click of the Lhasa's feet as we make our way slow across the wood floor. Perfect morning cool embraces us as we step across the threshold. Finches skitter from the feeder and the Lhasa wonders at their hurry.

Such is the beginning of my weekend... and all is calm.

Praying your weekend is gentle in spirit and joyful in meaning.

Friday, February 25, 2011

LINGERing in the mess of stress

Sometimes, days are all a mess. Stress digs, scratches from the inside out. Every sense heightens, adrenaline rushes, and the head pounds a rhythm awkward and tempo undefined. Louder, stronger, heavy and deep. It rattles the core.

... and in the middle of the cacophony, I put out a flare. A prayer of "help!" A prayer of, "I know You're here, I just to hear You're here." it's not so much that I need to hear His voice. I need to hear myself speak to Him, to remind myself in the messiness, He's never gone anywhere. He is here. He is... Yes, I hear You, Lord.

... I AM.

... and I breathe steady. Circumstances unchanged. My hands still busy, mind engaged in the chaos of what is today, But I am all changed. A settling of fretful thoughts, the ragged peaks of anxiety ease.

I hide in the shadow of His wings, and I sing whispers of thanks.

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.(Psalm 63:7)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

all today is awe

I am in awe of Him today. In awe of His creation. In awe of His relentless love to the very individual of His creative hand. How does a God Who fashions all existence through the furthest galaxies (yet unknown to humanity) find it in Himself to know and love me intimately? I have no earthly idea... and most likely that is the very foundation of my lack of understanding - of God.

He is Spirit. He is Truth. He is Life. He is Salvation, Redeemer, Counselor, Friend, and Father.

And selah... I must pause and let those truths penetrate deep into my soul again and again.

I offer thanks, whispered.

And more now... He is Healer, Banner, Provider.

And selah...

He loves me with Eternal Love -one that never fails or changes. His Love is, as He is.

These are the thoughts I'm lingering with today. And words are hardly adequate to express them. And if they ask, Father?

And God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM and WHAT I AM, and I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE; and He said, You shall say this to the Israelites; I AM has sent me to you! (Exodus 3:14 Amplified Bible)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

today is all rest, restore, renew

Sometimes, a day is all a blur. And the movement leaves me unsteady on my feet. A sort of vertigo traps life's delicate balance in her web, and I sway. And I reel. And I fall (or do I leap?) into a pit of murk and mire. I wander there, slog there. Wonder how to make my way out of such a bleak, black place. I moan and cry and yes, I take handfuls of murk heavy and press them on my own head. The weight of it, oppressive and choking brings me to my knees (I should have been here in the very first place). Breath labors under the force of mire. Voice struggles to be heard. I strain against the battle (and it is ferocious).

I realize in the bleak, one catalyst spurred my fall/leap. And I ponder my reaction. How human of me. How dare I, really. I whisper, "I'm sorry" to the One who holds the Universe, including the pit of murk and mire. And murk begins to cake hard upon my head. Cracks and breaks in a million pieces and falls far below. Only then, I realize I'm cradled in the palm of His hand. He is lifting me out. Slowly. And there is purpose in the slow. I watch the walls of the pit as they pass by. Each cracked foothold represents the ascent, my ascent. My footprints, at the edge of the pit. And I look further away. Dragging footprints. I see the trap door, how it opened, beckoned. And pulled too.

I watch. And I learn. And I cry. Tears puddle in the hand of my Savior. He receives them, changes them. Like water from the sea, He turns them to clouds, pregnant with grace. Louder than a whisper now, I voice, "I'm sorry."

Tenderly, He sets me on solid ground, far from the slip of the edge of that pit. I watch as He moves earthen dirt, filling the pit of my stronghold. He touches my dusty face, gathering one last tear. And the rain begins! Drops gentle. I tilt my face heavenward. Open my voice in glorious thanks-FULL!

Soaked in warmth of His reign, cleansed from the mire and murk, I bow. He wraps me in garments white. And He says, "Rest now. (Mark 6:31) There will be other battles to fight.(1 Timothy 1:18-19) But I'll always be there. (Hebrews 13:5)"

And today is all rest... all restoration... all renew.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

all todays are praise

Golden rays peek shy over over a tree-lined horizon and in the breaking through the quiet dawn, birds begin to sing. One lilting song joined by another in harmony. And the whole chorus in treetops crescendos as birds take to wing. Wings soar in precision. Climbing heavenward and swooping earthbound. The mass of many becomes the whole. And it is beauty... all.

... and I empty my mind of human aspirations, desires of the flesh (which I am) and offer "I'm sorry," where I walk closely to a pit of, "I want." I offer "thank you," a million times over. "Thank You" to Him, but most of all, "thank you," for Him. He fulfills. He is all gain. He is all desire. Human aspirations, desires of the flesh (which I am), disintegrate and crumble away. Yet sometimes, not without scars...

All today is praise.

And all todays are praise.

Monday, February 21, 2011

gratitude is hearing "you're welcome"

Gratitude changes perspective. It does. Yes, I know. But sometimes it's hard - life challenging. Like the discipline of physical exercise, gratitude needs determined, resolved practice.

So... today I'm grateful for: a car alarm beeping the arrival of our youngest for a visit... a text message relaying a showing on my oldest son's house... spinach stuffed sandwiches and few dark chocolate squares to satisfy the sweet craving... naps, which really help when the night before was long... a playful Lhasa exhausted after games of fetch and belly rubs who now sleeps curled up beside my thigh... a phone call from the delivery man who says I'll be there shortly with your TV table and an end table to dress up the "wild west" upstairs loft... watching my hubby REALLY relax for a day or two...

And that which had me perplexed, befuddled, fades to light. Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:12)

Most of all... I'm grateful to have someOne to express my gratitude toward. Without Him, I'd have no one to say, "you're welcome." And each time I express the sincerest thanks, "you're welcome" is the part that really makes me smile. And again, I give thanks.

What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

the weekend unfolds

Lingering moments of weekend mornings move slow. Syrup puddles and drip over crusted waffles. Sadie yawns lazy and stretches, purring.

The Lhasa takes her place on the "bridge" upstairs watching the domain of her neighborhood. The "lion dog."

Later, we'll wander the forest path, and if the Lhasa is still, my lens may glimpse a squirrel or a bluebird, or cardinal. My mind quiet and my heart thank-full... my soul content and spirit fed.

And the weekend unfolds...