A Bubble Bursts In Brooklyn

I think there is a child in Brooklyn that is waiting to teach me how to blow bubbles and to make it art and to point others to Jesus through art, bubbles and a giant yellow school bus.  Did I mention that I do not like big yellow school buses.  Kinda like I do not like green eggs and ham.  Not at all.  Not any way.  Not here or there or anywhere.  But the Great Art Bus Adventure goes on.  I know a tree grows in Brooklyn but so does a boy who blows bubbles reallly really well and needs Jesus. wishing grace…..wynnegraceappears for Brooklyn and soon in Brooklyn from Brooklyn.

How Two Pieces of Mail Change This Blogger(Or This Isn’t Heaven…)

On the way to my meet up with other moms and kiddos I stop at the mailbox and grab a handful.  Two pieces of mail hand addressed with my name there.  The specialness oozes off the pearly white envelope and I rip them open and read.

My eyes glance down to read the cover of a beautiful card.  The words speak sweet encouragment, “It’s what we do for Christ in the HERE and NOW that will make a difference in the then and there.” — Max Lucado. And inside it reads, Thanks for making an eternal difference.

I open it and the eyes of my heart follow like a trail of sweet bread crumbs each individual cryptic signature.  Each one precious.  Each one is that of a child.  And I feel like I have been bunched in the stomache.  I am almost breatheless.  This card was not meant for me.

Looking for clues, I look for a return address and an adult’s name somewhere so I can return this card to the intended recipient.  I search my mind for someone’s name in town who is easily confused with my name.  I plan my route after my scheduled appointment.  I will go to the school and find which class these children are in.  I believe this card, so ripe with thank-you’s, bursting with gratitude is meant for a teacher.

“To the loved; a word of affection is a morsel, but to the love-starved, a word of affection  can be a feast.”– Max Lucado

I had wanted to feast on the gratitude.  I wanted to swim in the sentiment dellivered by children’s sweet fingers and hands.  I want to prop up this card in my kitchen and rest for days in the love and the thanks that so tenderly lived on this cardboard rectangle.

At lunch, I ask my friends to help me review the clues so I can deliver this note to the deserving one.  We study, we stare, we think, we problem solve, we read each child’s name to see what the connection might be, the common thread, why they are thanking, why they feel grateful, what group are they a part of, what do they have in common, these kids.

For an hour my mind is racing and I am rattled by guilt.  Why haven’t I done more.  Why don’t I do more. How can I make an eternal difference in  the lives of children.  Am I making an eternal difference in the life of my three.  There are opportunities I have missed.  Things left unsaid.  Times I could have stepped up and served. Missed chances to make that elusive eternal difference.

With all of the graduations this month of nieces and children and friends,  I want to graduate too.  I want to step off the podium with a diploma in hand.  My heart needs to move on and close out the chapter I am stuck on entitled “Guilt” and “Shame.”  Because I let a card sear my heart with guilt.  And worry and anxiety about balance and volunteering and helping and doing and being.

“When grace moves in…guilt moves out.”– Max Lucado

I want a passing grade in the class on “How Not To Get Entangled In Comparison, It Will Rob Your Joy.”

I just know I will smile and pass this card on to the deserving woman who has made an eternal difference.  Before the day is over, she will be so blessed to receive a note that was penned in love for her.

We sit and chat over lunch and I am pondering how I can serve more, and better and how and where and what will it look like. And suddenly  the mystery is solved.

There was another piece of mail for me that day.  It was beautifully handwritten and it was gracious in its thank-you’s.  Each line of gratefulness inspired me to serve and use the gifts God has given me more often.  But beyond that it inspired me to thank more often with the written word.  I read the note three times or more.  It was gracious and lovely and a gift in itself.  I had helped at a luncheon but I was the one who was infused with fellowship and laughter and left holding wonderful memories of women together doing community.  It was I who was helped, re-charged, and re-invigorated by women fellowshipping together, laughing together, and showing gratitude together.  The note was kind and it inspires me to thank in that way much more often.

So two notes in my mailbox lead me to Max Lucado’s loving word.

“Lower your expectations on earth. This isn’t heaven, so don’t expect it to be.”–Max Lucado

And the children were grateful.  And the card about doing and making a difference was meant for me.  I had supplied pizza for my two teenagers youth group and they graciously thanked me.

But the gift was that I was stirred to give guilt-free pondering on how to serve in my community. Once I settled down from my knee-jerk reaction of loads of guilt and racing thoughts about finding the woman who I am comparing myself to.  And giving her the card. The one that was intended for me.

Comparing myself always and everytime to others leaves a feeling of less than.  Of being not enough.

I want to hold on to the diploma marked “Grace”.  And to politely usher out the guilt that wants to rob me of Joy.

What about you.

Thank you God for your loving, Amazing Grace.  Amen? Amen!

A Wink, A Blink, And A Nod From Heaven

Confusion bends the heart and warps the spirit.  And we cry for peace and we cry for understanding. And the tears like cripples crawl wobbly down the slow rocky path from the eyes  to the chin.

But oh, how His word soothes the soul.

The soothing repetition of God’s word sings sweet comfort to confusion in our world.  Over and over it speaks sweet truth.

And slowly confusion bows to peace.  And peace brings comfort and a restoration of hope.

I stare at the computer screen and try to unscramble the code that asks me if I am spam, am I human.  Confusion looks like that.  Letters warped, unrecognizable, sideways turned, oddly shaped, gross distortion.

And confusion blurs the focus, like this intentional  filter questioning before allowing you to pass go, continue on to the next step.  This code to filter out the bad, eyes strain at the distortion to make sense and attempt to get it right.  To straighten out and make it plain and clear.

Confusion rocks our word leaving a seasick queasy, lost and vulnerable uneasiness in our spirit.

I step outside and throw myself on white rope hammock, fall into the arms of the Master softly swaying on the netted bed.  He has caught me.  I am His .  My gaze goes up.

It always heals, this black lit sky presenting one ultra brilliant star, like eye wink from Him.  Winking, blinking Mercy.  Assuring me there is a way out of misunderstanding and confusion.

The looking up always restores Hope.  The gazing skyward always meets my eyes with Mercy.  In the moment of raw human need.  And raw human heart.  He stares back down to a hurting child, swaying slow and steady under His sky at night and whispers calm in the black of night.

And because He loves so deep and wide and all black sky cavernous, I speak apology.

I know the path out starts here.  So what love falls out of the sky at night to a busted heart seeking solace on the ropes of life, in the woven hammock must be extended horizontal now.  Given out as freely here as it came down from the heavenly eye wink from the Merciful one.

Confusion rocks.  But He steadies.  He gives gift of solid rock to stand firm upon.

Confusion blurs who we are, what we are, and WHOSE we are.  He loves through a lense of everlasting love, with a clear and pure abiding Love, always and everytime.

Confusion breeds pride and anger.  He gazes down with unfathomable Love and ushers in a spirit of humility, peace, and calm.

Steps from the front door of my heart and my home I run into His arms, caught in the black of night.  Tears wiped by the One who extends Grace upon Grace upon Grace.

Winking and blinking and saying from His throne, sweet words of Comfort soothing the soul.  Tender words of Mercy mending the brokeness.  Gentle words re-building Trust.

One black night, one sweet star, and one Tremendous God.

One fresh start with new Mercies leading the way.

Five Things A Field Trip To A Mexican Restaurant Will Teach You about LIFE

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I am amazed at where and when I learn some of the most important truthes.

How God can take  and use the mundane, gray, ordinary. Turn it into a way to grab hold of the eyes of my heart.  Hold firm to my jawline in love and say “See this, right here.”  I love you too much for you to miss it.

How sparks of sweet knowledge fly off the life pages, there.  In the everyday.  In the messy, the plain, the simple. How sparks of knowing and seeing shoot out and turn the head like walking into a firestorm of shooting stars.

Life is messy.  Life is loud.  People are hurting.
I sit and catch up with an oldish friend.( She is  a decade younger so its not she that is oldish, it is this thing in our life which is a friendship). We have done life together for quite awhile but we often go for long periods without having heart chats.  Linking up and digging deep.

But in the middle of the loud and the messy, over the guac and the chips I hear the remarkable.  I hear about God’s love lately in her life.  I sit with what feels like one hundred loud high school students buzzing around us  and press in to hear about her son. How God is doing a loving work in his special life.  The waitress buzzes, the kids are rocking the place with their energy, but God’s mark on his life in the last few days is soft and sweet and deep and wide. One special teacher choosen for one special child.  An amazing choreography in this dance of life–connecting two, partnering up a child with one to walk through life as friend, mentor, teacher guide for a long season.  He loves so deeply, this God of ours.

I am changed in the knowing.  My Faith gets a re-boot.  As she Mom- proud raises her ipad to the table and shares the pictures of him running the good race, then standing on the podium at the Special Olympics, I glimpse a mother’s heart hard at work navigating through life, seeking the best always for her precious son.

Life is unorganized.
There are three of us now.  Talking, sharing, remarking, reviewing, observing life and our children and how crazy this field trip scene appears in its many facets of planning. How they move from Point A to Point B and all the logistics.

But I know now that what seemed like an excessive amout of time away from school was carved out for fellowship and community.  I know that their hours and their days lived out in the halls can be burden.  Can wear heavy mundane.  Can stiffle in the routine of the everyday.  But change the scene and joy pours out like notes from a saxaphone all happy wafting out, inspiring and infusing music and grace notes on the pages of their day.

I know that long expanses of time where we feel stuck and caught are really times to capture community and catch up in fellowship with each other, on life.

Drowning happily in story and shared experience. Freeze framing life, capturing it in one still-frame on one Monday in the middle of messy living.

Life is learned outside of books.
I know that they are learning about sixteen.  They are learning how to order in Spanish and pay the bill too.  But they are learning more I know it about friendship and fellowship.  Because it was there in all caps and all bold.  The things we learn when we heart listen to others.  The sad and the happy, the joy and the pain come out off the shelves when we listen.  When we invite.  When we ask the life story to come tell it all.

Life is best lived when slowed down and there is no agenda.
She calls me from school to co-ordinate my coming on the field trip and I grumble.  Who eats lunch at a Mexican restaurant at 10:30 in the morning.  I pass on a complaint to a child, allowing her to be exposed to my disease, its contagious, of grumbling, whining.  Not a proud parent momment, this, in hindsight.  But when there my heart delights in the energy.  It catches the happy and the smiling while chip dipping and straw sucking diet coke.  Where in the world would I rather be than smack dab deep down in the middle of salsa and chips and children on a Monday morning

Because we can count now, on a couple of fingers, the time that they are here now with us.  We discuss SAT and school and college and futures as Dentists and all such.  And I look with one eye at the Joy of these girls. They were there at the Special Olympics cheering, they were there in pre-school a yesterday ago, they are here and this is now and it is raw and real. This group, these girls, becoming women soon.  Learning Spanish and much more right here on a Monday.  And it smells like spicey, mexican restaurant Grace.

Agenda robs, and steals, and obfuscates the present. And who doesn’t love chips and dip and fellowship all cozied in on a gray day at a long table of giggling girls with their happy spread from one end of the room to the other.

I hug and say good bye and that I must press on down the very short to-do list.  By my design, I keep them short now.  It must be an over 50 charachter trait.  But I leave and I take giggly Joy with me.  And I smell all day like the memories built here with friends, with teenagers, in the middle of a very long lunch catching up on three of  the most important things in life– community, friends, and matters of the heart.

And Counting Gifts, this Monday, with Ann @ A  Holy Experience.

*for running into a friend on the beach.  Catching up and hearing how a gift I gave her years ago is still being used.  How our lives intersecting in the past was a good thing–for us both.  Realizing how I am the blessed one to have had her and to re-connect.

*time on the beach with The Patient One to bask in the sun and just be

*an email, sweet so sweet, from a friend of a friend who was sent here, to check out this blog.  Unexpected Grace on a Monday.

*News of improving health for college man-child and counting the days until he is under this roof again, for a short season.

*Sweet projects around this nest that I am dreaming of, inspired by a big project and garden undertaken by The Patient One over the weekend.

*Laughing often at a new blog I have discovered.  I will provide the link soon.  She is fun, she is funny, and she is passionate about life and the Lord (its contagious).

*New friends

*Old friends

*A month of birthdays and celebrations for people I love.

*A summer plan coming together