Thursday, March 31, 2011

Original....thanks be to God!

" You were born an original, don't die a copy."
John Mason

The dregs of winter cling to the curbs and are mounded up, dirty and grey on my north facing front lawn.
I watched the dawn come this morning, through slitted, heavy, sandy eyes...
my wounded body shifting restlessly on my couch.
I counted the minutes like drips from a leaky faucet...slow to build...reluctantly moving on.
I wrestled through the darkest night of the soul I have had in a long time.
Failures and faults, limitations and choices slammed into me from all sides.
The sameness of my days this year, thus far, battered me with insignificance.

What's left after the dark scourges?
After the long night wrings every last drop of strength from even the marrow of your bones?
Who am I?
Underneath the skin of my days?

 As dawn breached the dark and night gave way I fell into a short slumber, waking three hours later with the realization that the question asked is mis-spelled....
The question is not who am I?
It should be :

Whose am I?

I am an original.
one -of-a-kind

I was purposed...

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:13-16

I read about the precious gift of my intentioned life and I swell with thanksgiving.
Pregnant with purpose.
The weeping of the night turns to joyous laughter...
Weary limbs stretch high..and wide in praise.
Courts are entered.
Shoes removed.
Holy is the Lord God Almighty!

I turn the pages of "one thousand gifts" and startling truth sears through...
Ann Voskamp echoes the cry of my heart..
...forged in the fires of His love...
tempered by the knowledge of His goodness...

" change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change."

It is well with my soul.
That soul that makes it's boast in God alone.
The One whose strength is made perfect in weakness.

This is His day..
I will rejoice.
He is the Original.
I am his.

..and so are you....

An original work of his hands.
Never to be repeated.
Hairs numbered.
Days ordained.
Thanks be to God...
Who does ALL things well.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In Everything....

I sat on the couch yesterday morning, half reclining with an ice pack on my shoulder and a hot coffee in hand...watching the snow swirl down on cold arctic air... on this, the second day of Spring. Weariness assailed me, built up from weeks of chronic pain and compounded by a sleepless night. My sons gathered round, anticipating our devotional time... I stare into their faces, memorizing, appreciating...thankful.
I lay aside our regular devotions and pick up 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
This book has become a companion these last weeks. a friend that whispers, provokes, cajoles, encourages and shatters.....
God is who he says!
I dare to read aloud to young minds, immature sons...
I am gripped with urgency:
In this world you will have trouble:it is in front of you: in my very body: trouble with a capital T. ...
But... HE has overcome the world.
Do you wonder ..I ask..gazing deep into soul depths yet unexplored... inexperienced.... still unknown by their possessors...what is the will of God?

Can you know ???

Infants...still...embryonic faith...still linked to mother's resources....trusting her life source....tied...anchored

"In everything give thanks," ... I whisper into the day...into their fertile hearts....
" For this IS the will of Christ Jesus concerning you!"....
I proclaim the last with bold assurance...and fragile body quakes...
Why? How?
They question , bewildered...... as they watch me shift in pain and wince...stretch out legs shocked by nerves uncontrolled...pale faced and shadowed eyes...fierce fire blazing hot deep within leaps outward...heart caught by truth:

It is possible.
It is necessary.
It is essential.
There is no salvation without thanks.
No true freedom...without gratitude.

"It is possible to say yes..and live no. "
(Ann Voskamp)

I have in many ways...for years.

The yes way is narrow.
It is dangerous...unsafe...uncomfortable...pain-ful
It is a place of naked wanting. ..only God.
Knowing only him.
Whom have I but you?
Joy commeth.
It is here.
It is now.

I offer my sons, the deliberately woven in the depths...intended creations of a mighty God...
Those sons....
I offer them..their maker.
All in all.

I pray that they will hold up their "not enough" ...thank Him...and  know that He is "more than enough".

That they will live and love and follow
That they will know the will of God....and give everything.
Thank-you Father.....

Saturday, March 19, 2011


It's a scary word.


In past times that word associated with your name could mean death.
Or worse.

Nowadays we tend to gravitate towards the word unique.
It is more socially acceptable.
It sounds way more mysterious and permissible.
But only in specific situations.
With certain people.
We are still ducking and weaving in our society.

We live in a world hell-bent on education.
Their way.
In their schedule.
On their time-line.
Or else.

Proof demanded.
Interpreted... accepted or rejected.

What's proof of a life growing and learning and developing, expanding, enriching..impacting....
What does that look like?
Who decided?
How it was going to be?
How long it was going to take?????

We live in a society that watches.
Watches and evaluates.
How has it improved life?

We are more diagnosed.
Than ever before.

We have lost sight of the value of the individual.
Their life is chopped into measurable sections and held up for inspection.

He's not reading yet.
She can't divide.
He can't even write an essay.
Her reading comprehension skills are a little behind for her age.

When did we start majoring on what wasn't instead of what was.
When did we start micro managing the processes of a life.

We live on the planet for such a short time.
We've forgotten the whole of a life..

It is a WHOLE LIFE we are living.

How many years do we have?

What is the reason behind the living?

Make the most of your life they only get one shot...

I can't believe I have lived 43 years already.

But in all these years one message has never changed:

Education is the key ..they say...

What is this mysterious education that is the answer to all our woes?

From what I have seen the world has not improved.
We have more stuff.
More knowledge.
More technology.
We are faster and smarter than we have ever been.

We have more suicides.
More murders.
More illnesses.
More depraved acts.
More ..more..more...
The list goes on.

When did we start making the majority of life the pursuit of approval.
The measuring of worth and value.
The placement on a scale.

Un- _______

Who gets the most time?
The most opportunities ?
The most attention ?
The most effort?


Where do you go to be that?

Thinking differently is dangerous.

People want to help you change your mind.
They say things like..
But what about...
Will they measure up...
But ..your kids..they still need to make it in the world...
Won't they be missing out?

I am scared some days.
I know what beats deep inside my heart.
I know what resonates in the depths of my being.

Different demands a separation of sorts.
Not a lack of community...
But a digging in ...finding a healthy climate in which to grow.
A place to flourish.

People want immediate confirmation that what you are doing is right.
If something doesn't work out as they define success.. 
they scream and holler...point and shout..
smile knowingly...
frown disapprovingly...
see .. being different in that way was wrong..
You believed wrong.
I knew it.
The funny thing is.
When you are doing something the same as everyone else and you isn't blamed on the is blamed on extenuating circumstances..something random...

What is the proof of a life?
A good life?

Is is acclamation?
The approval of your peers?
A diploma?
A house and property?
A 401K...or retirement fund?
The ability to read or write an essay?
Knowing a little bit about a lot of things?
Being well rounded?


We are so NOT comfortable with different.

It escapes our tidy boxes.

It demands questions.

Most of the time I hear the words..
Oh I could never do that....

Then don't.

That's the beauty of being different.

I let you be you.
Walking out your days...your way.

The key is to let me do likewise.

There is a freedom in letting people be different.
Liberating yourself from measuring.

Our society is not set up to accommodate this well.

People used to be thrown in jail for Home Schooling.
They still are.
People are imprisoned and tortured all over the word for their Christian beliefs.
Racism exists.
Violence runs rampant.

Sin abounds.
Grace much more abounds.

I am walking out my life ...a leaf trembling in the wind.
I think differently about the world.
I have choices.
I choose.
I live.

Life is good.
Not easy.
The voices invade.
The yard stick is very evident some days.
Opinions fall like rain.

But I still dare.

Just relax.

It looks good on everyone.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pain, Bloodwork and Psycho Xray Techs...

Photo by Bill Mangold

Life is definitely several sideways steps away from normal in our house.
It has been a year since I have been able to sleep on either left or right side..
Since I refuse to sleep on my belly...because when I do my arms fall asleep, the only other option is my back.
It is a no pain.
The body is an amazing machine.
It is very mysterious.
Processes happening at the speed of light.seemingly without a thought.
breathing, heart pumping,synapses firing, fingers typing
sit stand laugh cry hiccup burp....far*
And then whammo...
Something is wrong.
Capital W wrong.
I was scared this week.
My shoulder has been bothering me for over a month.
Then the pain expanded to somewhere deep in the center of my arm.
My lower back gave up its supporting role and is now on fire and shouting at me.
I can't bend to put on my socks..who knew how important that job is.
I now sleep in my socks to solve the morning dressing problem.
I finally muster the will to get to the clinic where a very nice Dr. Lady sends me immediately to X-ray and the lab for blood work.
She is taking this seriously as she questions me about the last time I have a physical... far back I can't remember.
She with the head of gloriously gray hair slants her eyes at me menacingly and gets her point across with no words at all.
Across the road I go to x-ray where my experience with Mother Earth Dr quickly disintegrates into a wrestling match with over-compensating  power hungry aggressive dominating psycho x-ray tech man.
He grabbed, shoved, pushed, maneuvered, his hands were everywhere..and more often than not he grabbed my sore shoulder.
I winced.
I grimaced.
I even moaned once.
I asked about a position and he said he would tell me what he wanted me to do and when.
I stared into the distance and concentrated on breathing and being still.
I never met his eyes once after that.
Maybe he had a bad day. I usually have copious amounts of grace for people, realizing that they have lives and situations I am not aware of that contribute to their attitudes and actions.
This time I was not only wrestling with psycho man...but also with VERY BAD THOUGHTS.
At one point, while he was positioning my hand forward I imagined grabbing the sensitive parts just in front of me and squeezing tightly, looking deep into his eyes and saying:
"Person here, injured, in pain..handle with care or else!"
My imaginary actions soothed my soul to some extent.
And then I thought...
I wonder who he went home to last night?
What his life really looks like.
I have it good.
I know it.
The lab tech who took my blood at the crack of dawn this morning was the boss of the clinic..the only white man on the premises.
It is amazing the personal history you get from medical people within a five minute window, sitting in a chair while your blood drains into various tubes.
I howled.
I am still laughing, albeit carefully as the muscle relaxant has not kicked in quite yet.
People are amazing.
Diverse, unique...fascinating.
Every one I meet is a living breathing miracle.
Designed. Purposed. Intended.( even psycho x-ray man)

Today I came to the realization that while I frequent the doctors as little as possible...if the world was to succumb to some great cataclysmic event, I would definitely appreciate some pain killers, muscle relaxants and other such medications.
I hate pain.
I have been in pain for quite some time now.
A year and a bit....

The scary part comes at night.
With the lights out and deep breathing sounds filling the silence.
Thoughts of the big "C"
Visions of blood clots moving....migrating...
Neurological Disorders...M.S.
I find myself having to talk myself down from the ledge...quite frequently lately.
I have found counting my breaths and prayer to be a good combination.
Actually...It becomes a monologue.
I talk.
I tell God what I want.
A long full life.
To the point.
The world I live in is fraught with peril.
Disaster lurks.
Hiding deep within the planet....or whirling in the wind...carried on crashing waves...
Buried in our the very marrow of our bones...our blood..
Madness and mayhem breeds...
In the minds of rulers and warlords.
A drunken driver.
An angry parent....husband...child...
A restless, hurting, suicidal teen.
My heart is heavy today.
There is so much to care about.
So much to see.
I want to see.
I don't want a comfortable life.
I need to care.
I need to wake up.
I need to pray.
Today I pray for the crazy xray tech....find God...He knows you.
Blessings upon you and your household.
Strength for today.
Turn to the Lord your maker.
Be healed.
Find peace.
Wake up.
Renew your minds.
Be transformed.
God keep our land.
Shake off your slumber.
Use your gifts.
Healing for the nations.

Life is precious.
Today I want to be spent on the purposes of God..
When he spends..he never runs out...
I don't want it.
I want a deliberate life.
Anticipating every breath.
Focused on seeing what God sees.
Doing what he says.
Aware of the minutes and seconds.
...of the lives I bump into....
Of whose I am.
After all....the pain, the blood work..the psycho x-ray techs...
It's really God in whom I live and move and have my very being.

I am in the best place there is.
It is well with my soul.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

FOLLOW ME.... (or not)

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
Matthew 4:19 NIV

In this crazy world of cyberspace we are obsessed with the concept of "following".
more followers...blogspot...wordpress....


It is the definitive characteristic of success.

How many followers do you have?
She has so many followers ..she must be good..really good...
How do I get that many followers...
Maybe if I follow who she follows..others will see me and follow me too cause she's so great...
I wanna be great like that...
I am great like that..
If only people knew how great I am..
I need to let them know...

Follow. Click.

 (excuse my ...ummm)

It is viral.
We are infected.

It is an epidemic of mass proportions.
You could say it has reached the pandemic stage.

A person is now measured by the amount of followers they have.
By the amount of views.hits.visits.

word of mouth.

Is anyone else scared like I am?

It is a lie.


I have a question,

Does your neighbor know you?
Have they been to dinner?
Have they seen how you live?
How is your face to face time with the people on your street?
Not your church.
Your street.
Your neighborhood.

Not "hi " as you go out your garage door through your open window of your SUV.
Or " hello, how are you, " you pass each other in the local Sobey's or Whole Foods.

How about in your own house?
Do they get your heart as much as your blog followers do?????
Or are they interfering with the beauty of your alternate reality?

Here's another question.

If you are following 150 blogs.
A couple hundred tweeters.
Writing your own blog.
Following the news.
Watching videos on youtube.
Tweeting for hours.
Meeting up for cybercafe.

Who are you really following?

Have you ever thought that the online persona of an individual is virtually unable to be confirmed ?

We can say what we want.
Be who we want.
Portray what we want.
Sell what we want.
Market ourselves.
Package ourselves.
Insulate ourselves.
Lose ourselves.
Deceive ourselves.
..and everyone else....

"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?"
Mark 8:36

Now I know this verse can be used in the area of possessions/wealth etc....but lately it seems to be burning up all the waste in my soul, with regards to this online life.
We have the world at our finger tips...or so it seems.

Thousands of followers just waiting to be had.

We crave recognition.
And we are pursuing it...with all our might!

We sell it under the banner of sharing the truth...
Encouraging others...

But we own it.
It's ours.
We package it up and sell it like we came up with it.
 Don't forget to link back to me.
Give me the credit.
follow me.
Follow Me.

I am dying here.
Shaking in my boots.
Crying out .

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
Proverbs 9:10

How then should we live?
How then should I live ?

I am working on it.

But I know today who I follow.
And the way He walks is very narrow.
I chose Him because He first chose me.
He is getting the most of my time.
He gets my full attention.
He is the filter through which everything else flows.
He fills my mind as I do the rest of my living in my 24 hr day.
The next largest chunk goes to those within the range of my eyes and the reach of my hands.

I read everything I write to my guys.
I pour out my heart and share it first with them.
They get my best.
Most often.
Precious fertile fields of the Lord they are.
Cultivated. Watered. Weeded. Guarded.
If you read my's all good.
You can follow or not as your heart leads.
I write because I am compelled...
It's how my brain works.
Take what you need.
Leave the rest.
Live your life.....grow at your own your own space.

Great is the Lord...and Holy is His name.
I will bloom in the real world.
On the ground where my foot treads.
I will shine with His light.
In front of the people who are present....
...the ones in front of me...around me on all sides.
I will give an accounting for their from God....
Treasured Responsibilities.

Word of God speak....wash our eyes to see....

Monday, March 14, 2011

In Pursuit of an Uncommon Life....

Life has a way of surprising me.
Moving me.
Shaking me up and setting me back down... all a flutter.
I guess I could replace the word 'life" with 'God' and it would make more sense.
It would make it more meaningful.
More real.
Decisions more important.
Reasons more relevant.
I  always wonder why I attribute active participation to an intangible: makes me...
It's a strange thing to say.
It creates distance between me and my I see and what I do.

Today I feel like a Martini that has been both shaken and stirred...

 It has begun.
I have begun...

To.Question. Everything.

It's not pretty.
But the freedom that I am finding in simply looking is phenomenal.
Taking stock.

I can feel the strings falling away.
....the rose colored glasses slipping off my nose.

How did I get here?
And where did all this stuff come from?

It is humbling.
To discover that I am owned rather than being an owner.
To find that I am more dependent than independent.
More possessed than possessing.
More defined than defining.

I feel like I have been copied and pasted.
Ctrl C
Ctrl V

Over and over.

There is a story being told today.
It is more than a bedtime story...
It is THE STORY....
And I have been listening.
It is so common.
It kills uncommon things.
It tells me what is popular...what is good or bad for me..what can make me beautiful... keep me younger..
Make me happier...
It speaks of the next best thing...the greatest ever solution to...the strongest, fastest...smartest...
Most successful...most efficient... THE BEST THERE IS...

Wish it.
Want it
Crave it.
Dream it.
Chase it.

OMG...for real!




So much weight.
So much.
So empty.

And the time... oh God...
The time I spend.... on NOTHING....


This is my declaration of independance:
I am bowing out of "the story"
I am in the process of excavating...dumping....eradicating...eliminating...
I am shutting down...
Turning off...
Tuning in...
Opening up....
Shedding... Shredding... THE STORY.

It's a radical move towards an uncommon life...
The pursuit is on and it is invigorating... terrifying....liberating...

Simply. Divine.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Experiment in Loving....

This is the phrase that keeps bouncing around my head this morning and I must put it down on paper...or at least a computer screen.

Experimental Loving

I was contemplating life this morning.
The raising of sons.
The loving of husbands.
The formation of friendships.... and the keeping of them.
Of strangers.
Of enemies.
Of family.

I realized that life in general is somewhat of an experiment.

Put this with this and you get that.
Do this then that and this happens.
Insert A into B and....
Combine the first two then add the third and presto

I realized, as my coffee quickly cooled, that I spend an inordinate amount of time scrutinizing the ongoing experiments of others.

Well that seems to be working. not trying that....

Sheesh..what were they thinking?????




Never in a million.

Look where that got them.'s what I'm talking about!

Raising children to about an experiment.
Developing friendships...that too!
Getting married....ya think?
Staying married....some would say an exercise in futility!

But today it's not about being a parent.
Or a wife.
Or a sister, daughter or friend

It's about something more.

Much more.

Winter gives me lots of time for introspection.
Some days it can get a little over the edge...
But for the most part...this season of isolation and confinement has a way of cultivating deep thoughts and drives me to deepen and broaden as a human being.
Sooo this idea of "experimental loving" just drifted into my mind as I woke up this morning and rattled around inside my head as I sipped my first coffee of the day...

They are everywhere.
Random lives that dance around, and intersect mine at various points in my days, weeks, months and years.
Some are fleeting contacts.
Others stay for a time.
And there are those who form concentric circles within my own path.
Woven inextricably into the fabric of my world.

I read somewhere recently that life is 10% circumstnces and 90% your reaction to those circumstances.

I believe it.

I live a life of response.

The stimuli are everywhere.

The sun, oxygen, the cold, daylight, darkness, food, drink,, clothing, aromas.
Bacteria, dirt, insects, parasites, disease, viruses.....
Hugs, kisses, touch....
Sights, sounds.....


Eveything I do is a response to something.










It is said that the circumstances of life, for the most part, are beyond our control.

It is also said that the only person you can change is yourself.

My response.
Is my choice.

A new day.
Full of situations not yet set in motion...and some set in motion by days gone by

I decide.

The crazy thing is:
I made one decision long ago that actually determines my responses today.
I decided to follow Jesus.
That one decision limits all my other choices.
The way becomes narrow.
Very narrow.
The paradox is..the more narrow the way..the more free I am.


My life has become an experiment in loving.


Almost like I am no longer my own.

Like a pattern of living has already been laid out.

The pattern cut.

See the way..walk in it.




the unlovely.
the user.
the ignorant.
the injured.
the arogant.
the vain.
the lazy.
the self obsessed.
the oblivious.
the husband.
the wife.
the child.
the boss.
the competition.
the parent.
the loser.
the winner
the whiner.

the enemy.

A decision like this is not at all comfortable.

I can rant with the best of you.

I have many...end of my rope moments.

I have many conversations in my head finishing with the words:

" I AM.DONE. "

...but here I am again....

this experiment... the loving one....

I plan on seeing it through....

I might not see the outcome of this experiment in my lifetime.
It might not be well received.
Rejection is assured.
Criticism.... a definite possibility.
Lots of pain.

Risk vs Reward.

I'll take the risk.
The path has been walked before.
Narrow as it is.
Few find it.
It's not easy.
This offering.
It's going to cost me my life.
I'm not coming out of this alive.

But I have decided.

To Follow.

There's no turning back from this one.

What an adventure.

Welcome to .." The Experiment ".....

Feel free to join in.

(Let me know how it's going.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


"Gratitude is the single response most nourishing to health."
Dr.Paul Brand

 It is well with my soul.

More than well.

His Holy Presence..lives within me.

Surrounds me.

His word..spoken.

Keeps me.

Water to quench my thirst.
(humble thanks)

Daily Bread

Food to fill my belly.
(sincere appreciation)



































Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Life...AKA...all the messy bits

Are you over winter as much as I am ?
I am so far past just plain over it.
Miles beyond simply over it.
Over it...doesn't even begin to touch it.


Or if you are me today...dinner kind of crept up on you and you are scrambling...
Pork Loin is sitting on the counter but the rest is still a mystery.
Hubby is due home.
I look like a train wreck.
I feel worse.
I've been wallowing.
My shoulder is in agony.
I have had chronic pain for days now...a strained something or other messing with my already injured rotator cuff....which is seriously interfering with my goal of losing 20lbs in two months because I have my annual trip to see my sister..and some dear which more self loathing is not at all welcome...
Bathing suit weather is around the corner again..
How shallow am I?
The budget is tighter than ever..
Complaining much?
My clothes feel tight.
Well fed?
My teeth are clenched.
Hello ibuprofen..
My inner mantra of love-thyself because you are really and truly beautiful has long since broken down..and been replaced with...she is so beautiful..if I had those legs...and that need those boots...
I can't remember the last time my inner dialogue was positive about my exterior.
Or the last time it was not linked to a comparison with someone else.
Self Obsessed much?
Between winter, self obsession...fear of failure on many fronts and self loathing for my self pity...
I have hives upon hives...
Each of the messy bits of my life has spawned yet another messy bit..
They are multiplying at a rapid rate.
A cascading event...
Crash and burn...inevitable.
Ugggh....I even find myself intolerable.

All my messy bits.
Like dirty snow.

I know there is world hunger
Wars and rumors of more.
Gas prices rising almost by the second.

At the end of this first day of March I have come to the conclusion that...

I am so far past just plain over me.
(Once more)
Miles beyond simply over me.
(Once again)
Over me...doesn't even begin to touch it.

.... help me i've fallen and i can't get up....

As a man is he (Prov.23)
I need reminding.
I don't have a graven image.
I have a mirror.
A television.
The internet.

Today I find myself singing with Chris desperation...

We bow our hearts
We bend our knees
Oh Spirit come make us humble
We turn our eyes
From evil things
Oh Lord we cast down our idols

So give us clean hands
and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Oh give us clean hands
and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Oh God let this be
a generation that seeks
that seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob
Oh God let us be
a generation that seeks
that seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob

I need to bow my heart...
I need to bend my knee...
Turn my eyes away from my own reflection....
My dialogue from self worship...(sister to self loathing)
My life....
All...the messy bits...
My heart...Purified..Cleansed...
My mind..washed..renewed...
The counterfeit...
For the real thing...
True Beauty
True Love
Inexplicable Joy
Peace that passes understanding....

A reflection of Him...

Thank God....
Spring is coming....
He makes all things new... especially those messy bits....