A Few Things I Learned In June {Joining Emily Freeman}

I learned a few things in June. What a month. Packed with life in all its wonder, glory, joy and pain.

I am still processing so much of what this month revealed to me. And if you have been reading along here for awhile you have heard me say “I am a slow processor.” Think the crockpot of cookeries up against the ultimate microwave. I process the things of life which I ingest over a longish period of time. Hours not minutes. Days not hours. Often.

That is to say, I am not ready to share all that I have learned. But here are a few things which I am longing to share.

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1. When we choose to do that one small thing, its impact is multiplied. Simply put, simple things can and do become grand things. Small gestures can and do become life-impacting.  The Small and The Simple are to be embraced, cherished and sought after. They take on the attributes of the magnificent. Capitalizing the lowercase things of this world.

They, after all are the game-changers, the life-changers, the emotional softening of the hard and crusty places. In June alone, I have seen this played out over and over and over again. My eyes leak and my heart hurts at the beauty and wonder of the transformative power of small. Look with me. Do you see how beautiful the small things of this world are. In a wink, a blink and a nod there are pieces of beautiful waiting to be captured, recorded and cherished. Cataloging life this way fills me up to over-flowing.

And I am learning this again and again. I am learning and believing that this is the way we are meant to see the world. I am a slow learner. And slow is really okay.

2. As a writer, I am called to use my words. And as a reader, you are invited to enter in and see the picture on the canvas that is the page. Have you seen the gold balls that drop down from the heavenlies. I found two pods this week.

(If you follow my instagram feed you may know I am in the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for a respite). You can Google with me….there is a tree which drops gold, rounded pods. And they are fragile as parchment paper, bumpy like a golfball, golden like Oriental silk. And beautiful. I am always looking for wonder and posting what I find on Instagram. It helps me to stay awake at the wheel. And no I did not take a picture of the golden balls. But we will find them on Google together.

The day I found one, I proclaimed. Gold balls are falling from heaven. No anomaly was that. I found a second. Don’t we love Google for solving the earthly mysteries, like gold balls which nature has made. Amazing.

3. Voxer is my new best friend. This I did not learn in June. This I have had amplified in June. As I am writing this post I am Voxering my very special friend Shelly Miller in London  (which by the way this “What I Learned Series” is a favorite tradition within the bloggy world  – thank you very much Emily Freeman)

Voxer is a phone app which allows you to talk, walkie-talkie style, text and send photos. Welp. That is pretty much a communication dream package, you hit the lottery, what more could you ask for. I know there are some downsides somewhere in there, but for me (and I haven’t even up-graded to Pro yet) it is the bomb-diggity. People. I get to stay in touch with writers, bloggers and friends all over the whole wide world.

4. Releasing often, maybe always involves trust. A young couple approached me at the gas station last week. They asked me for one dollar and fifty cents. For the bus. I cannot stop thinking about their need. Their circumstances, because they told me the Reader’s Digest version of their story. I am still thinking about them. Hoping for them. And when I remember to I hope I will pray for them. That small interchange, eye-ball to eye-ball, exchange of money from my hand to theirs leaves me changed. Who asks for so little. Why didn’t they go for a 20 or more. They had a need for a bus ticket from one town to the next. Small again. I wish I had been willing to give them more.

5. People like to talk about their gardens. If you know anyone who has a garden, ask them. How are your radishes this year. How are the rainfall and the soil in your world. Ask them what is thriving and what is wilting. I think the vocabulary of gardeners is the vocabulary of the soul. And if you want an ice breaker, conversation starter, or if you just want to connect on a human level with another human being, ask them about their garden. Open the garden gate and see what transpires. And you can ask yours truly about hers or follow me on instagram, where beginning July 1, it is all about my garden and chickens. AGAIN.

Gardens are a beautiful, never-grows old, metaphor for life. A place of paradox. Life and death, thriving and struggling, flourishing and floundering.

How does your garden grow?

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In Which I Quote The Apostle Paul and Anne Lamott

March really did come in like a lion. We felt the wind blow through our family, shaking us up. Waking us up. And the wind burns and the wind deposits a chill in the bones of man.

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And the greatest of these is Love.

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love

1 Corinthians:13 – The Message

And sometimes prayers are best reduced to “Help,Thanks,Wow” as Anne Lamott suggests in her new book about prayer.
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The best of the three is love. Really.

I know this in a newer and newer way. I have known it. But there must be many definitions of “know” like the Greek has four definitions of love. This knowing takes on a richer covering of understanding. Like the tapestry has more colorful threads. And the weaving is more exquisite and intricate. This tapestry of knowing love.

March 1 knocked us around a bit. And then on March 4th it knocked us around a little more. Sweet daughter was driving when a blue hand crank smashed her windshield as she was motoring down the highway. At highway speeds. And minutes after or before, trauma blurs time, I fell down the stairs and we were really shaken up. The green and purple and blue running around my flesh was an outward sign.

But days after the highway shake up, we are still numb in our rejoicing. That the greatest of these is love. And that God protected our child.

But the hands and feet of Jesus were at work in our suffering. And the body of Christ was loving us through all of our pain. And we prayed a variation of “Help, Thanks, Wow” as Anne Lamott writes in her book on prayer because sometimes these are the true cries of the heart.

We look at the blue metal hand crank and we say “wow”. And we look at the impact on the windshield on the passengers side where there was no passenger that day. Wow, truly. Because we hear the mechanic when he says how close this was to going all the way through.

But we are even more amazed at the friendship that erupted on the scene of the accident. Our friends who came and loved our daughter. The father, mother, and child, a trio of angels ready to love our family in a difficult time. And we say “thanks”.

Our hearts are ready for the lamb part of March. The lion part is still growling and roaring a bit. But God…is growing our faith and showing us Love through His body. The body of Christ.

As I fell down the stairs and wept and shook, I was helped by two godly men. My husband and his accountability partner and best friend. And I wept at the trauma that appeared to be coming in rapid succession. The kind that leaves you shaking and asking and what’s next.

But what’s next is more Love. Because love wrapped around our pain. It bound our wounds and eased our suffering. March 1st left us shaking a bit. We had to pull together and move forward from unexpected change. And love together, The Patient One and I. We processed a big change in our lives under the mantra of we are moving forward.

But forward was paved by love to the left and love to the right. We were hemmed in by it.

Without the pain, without the trauma, without the shaking up in our lives we would have missed this action verb breaking through into our lives.

God allowed us the privilege of seeing Love cover us up. Friends blanketed us with words of encouragement, refocused our pain, and checked on us with words, written and spoken.

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I read the words of a blogger friend to The Patient One. And his response was “keep banging away.” We do feel like this, often, we writer/bloggers. That we are just banging it out.

But if I can bang out love, words of love, manifestations of love and God’s grace then bang away I will.

Though I wish there were a more poetic expression of writing than banging. But I bang like a loud cymbal or a drum if I am not writing and speaking of love.

So today I swim in the ocean of Paul’s beautiful words, again. And again. And every wedding and every occasion I can dive back into to this beautiful truth, I will.

When you have soaked in love and bathed in love and basked in love, you want to give it.

These days leading up to the cross, to the Lamb of God, I want to bang out love and point to the amazing love of Christ on the Cross.

Oh I am ready for the Lamb days of March. But I am grateful for what the roaring lion showed us too. And I want to pray “thanks” to a God who loves us so much it is sometimes unfathomable. Often incomprehensible.

And “thanks” to those precious friends who love us when we are hurting and scoop us up when we fall down. Broken, bruised, banged up but loved.

The best of the three is love. Truly.

Joining Jennifer today for #tellhisstory, Ann and Emily for Imperfect Prose

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Have I Told You Lately That You Bless Me?

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Have I told you lately that you smooth  rough patches and make soft grooves of grace in my very soul?

Have I whispered lately that your words are balm and healing ointment on my aching head?

Have I breathed  gratitude and thankfulness over all the spoken, written, holy words that come from You and yours?

When I read the words of Yours and all the Saints who drip and drop the words of gentleness on an stirring soul, I have to stop and say,

Have I told you lately that you bless me?

Do you know the power of words so tender on the tough dry patches, where the world can wear a callous on the spirit of a child?

Where all the tears and rips need healing from your very lips, the words, a  salve on grooves left by salty tears?

Have I told you lately how your grace poured out, blesses in the crevices, running deep and staying there, a soothing sought after lather on the wound.

I will tell you often that you bless me.

And bury my soul in the words from your Holy mouth and listen gently with a tender heart to the words from all your Saints.

Can you hear me tell you that you bless me?

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Joining Jennifer, Duane, and Ann.

Through A Daughter’s Eyes-The Call And Reflection

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life”.–Mary Oliver

Why I Am On The Art Bus”–by my sixteen year old daughter

When I first heard about this journey I was so not sure if I wanted to go or not. I was thinking I would have just gotten out of school so why would I want to get back on a bus again the first week of summer? I know, so selfish and so not the right state of mind.

So then I began to pray and pray about it. I felt the Lord was calling me to go. There I would be the youngest on the bus with not much experience. However there is nothing that I love more than art, children, and Jesus Christ. The more I thought about it the more excited I began to get. This was my calling and the Lord was telling me to go.

Telling people about Christ and having an art studio on wheels is just so amazing. Watching people love on this bus just brings so much joy to my heart. The fact that we can bless others as well as the Lord with the bus is just so incredible.

I have learned lots of thing while along this journey. Number one, patience is key. Trust God no matter what happens. This brings me to one of my favorite verses…”Be cheerful no matter what happens.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19. Throughout the trip I was reminded that He has a plan for us and the bus and even if we were not able to see it, He can.

I can’t believe I ever doubted being apart of this team. This again is where I will thank God. He let me see that He wanted me to be apart of this and I thank Him again for giving me the ability to be able to listen and to obey Him. I was blessed with many new friendships on this trip that I wouldn’t trade for the world I thank God for that, also.

I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for it/us when we bring it back home. It can’t be anything but good. This has been one amazing journey and I am so glad I was called to hop on board!