Life’s Ooh’s and Aah’s

We have a little family joke that started with my grandmother.  She would ooohhh and aaah at every gift that was opened at Christmas and  any and all special occasions. It was delightful behavior  to be around as a child.

Pure joy.  Pure excitement.  Unrestrained rejoicing.

She, my Gama, was a child of the Great Depression.  One of thirteen children, she was appreciative of everything.  So when the bows and the wrapping were thoughtlessly tossed aside, she would gather up the bows and salvage any of the wrapping she could.  She’d gather and save.

And as each gift was revealed she would say, with her beautiful big smile and her beautiful big eyes, oooh and then aaaah.  She just simply delighted in the gift and the moment.  Large. Small.  Modest.  Simple.

The gift didn’t matter.  It was just the moment and the exchange, ever so small between family.

So we adopted this custom.  Truthfully we poke mild fun at her dramatic response as we  have family fun ooohing and aahhing over the unwrapping of gifts. We remember her.  Her joy.

But truly, isn’t life more fun when we celebrate the small unwrappings.  Delighting in the small things that border on just mundane.  When we celebrate small milestones, or small joys.  When we take a moment to rest in a moment of beauty.

Breaking out a smile, broad and wide, all toothy and glistening over a kind remark from a devoted friend, a text of encouragement or endearment from a woman who walks out life with you, an email that says simply. ” I am missing you terribly.”

Aren’t these moments worth busting out cheerfulness and joyfulness.

I delivered news this morning to a friend which I felt would disappoint and maybe cause her to feel that I had let her down.  Her response was one of affirmation.  You are choosing rightly, you are doing as you should, go and enjoy and have fun.  This is important, she says to me.

We have been deep cleaning and spring cleaning my house.  I look on the fruits of the shared labor, and smell the clean, and see some progress toward de-cluttering. I smile and say this is good.  This is better.  I am encouraged.

Such small things often delight the heart.  And they are worth taking a moment to say, “This is good.” To give it a simple label of “nice” or “good” or “beautiful” or “kind”. To release an ooh or an aahh over a favorite meal when fellowshipping with family or friends.  This is good. This is yummy.

Finding the moments that are gifts of life, ever so small and allowing them to be named as good.  To savor for more than a second.

This morning for me it was the smell of cut grass.  They say that the sense of smell is the memory which we hold on to the longest.  I don’t know if that is true, but a wave of memories poured into my bedroom and delighted my soul as I thought of times that were good as fragrant cut grass stimulated my memories, all tucked away and resting.

Words were said.  There was a disagreement.  I would not have won any mother of the year awards for my part, for my responses to the situation.  But in a moment of reconciliation my child told me how very much he loves me.

I was humbled.  I am deeply touched by a love that forgives and works through and doesn’t stay stuck.  This is good.  This is healing.  I stop and say this is unexpected grace.

I am looking for things to celebrate this weekend.  We are cheerfully and happily celebrating a graduation of a precious young woman in our life.  We love her so and we rejoice at this milestone.

But I am looking to rejoice in the small things too. The little oooh’s and the little aaah’s.  The shell on the beach, the giggle around the table, the crisp spring air with birds singing overtime, a clean fresh start for some places in my home, a comment in love, a comment in friendship, a word of encouragement. A gesture toward forgiveness.  A gesture toward healing.  A word of praise.  A word of thanksgiving.

I am seeking to rejoice in all that He gives.  And while I don’t have my Gama’s eyes which saw the world so differently than I, I can seek to  see what the Lord has placed before me as blessing and gift.

The tide comes in, the tide goes out.  The bumps and bruises and dust ups in life will come and go.  But I choose today to look for joy.

Will you join me. Won’t you join me. It’s more fun doing life together.

Wonderful Weekend Full Of Grace, to you all.

And may you ooooh and aahh all weekend long at all the joy that comes your way.



My Favorite One

I don’t know why this is my favorite one.  

But it sings to my soul.  Gentle.  Sweet.  Tender. This picture.  On the surface it’s really nothing special.  But to this momma it is filled with foreshadowing.  It knows so much.  It holds so much within its frame of what will always be.

There is this  perpetual path that leads  out and away.  And this reminds me so plainly in its black and white way that it is daily and it is certain….

There is a breaking away with bits of us. Pieces and parts of the ones that held hard with blood and often tears. Or held on hard in hope and with prayer.  Or held on to deep longlng for with trust and an assurance. That He gives us gifts.  Including these.  These children.  We steward their lives.  Watching over.  Guarding.  Protecting and sheltering.  While a slow and steady breaking away rips and tears and takes.   We give.  We give in love.  Sacrificially.  Lovingly.  Sometimes with teeth clenched, and hands white knuckling love.  We loose the grip and allow the breaking.

We say good bye, hundreds of times.  We hear the door shut, the gravel rumble and tires spin.  We see the backs of the head.  The backside of lives.  Off to school, off to play, off to camp, off to war- to fight the battles of their day.  Off to joy, off to pain, off to just be and suck on slushies.  Or to just be over a slice of pizza at youth group. To talk of life with trusted adults about how to navigagte the seas in a rocking boat. How to be wise and brave.

But the back turned, facing away, toward the sea.  Turned away.  Turned from me. Its what I see as beauty. The head down looking on the path.  Avoiding splinters in the barefeet.  Or avoiding worse pain. The hands held in love.  For security.  Held like three strands of a braid.  Holding like we all do to another.  To steady.  To balance.  To feel warm blood rushing through another, to sense the pulse of someone else. Huddled up.  Grouped up.

That with all the teaching and preaching and telling, showing, explaining, admonishing, cajoling they will navigate more on their own everyday of their lives.  Every day brings them closer to independence.  Every day takes them a step away from this home.

I have a deep assurance that they won’t ever go too far, or be gone too long, or have long periods of absence.  In this short term. But life could really take them far and wide and oceans of space could separate us one day. I trust.  I release. And I pray that God keeps them tethered tightly to this momma. Leaving is natural.  Going is part of living.

But there are those who sacrifice and release in ways that I will probably never have to.

We have known one such mother very briefly.  Time is hard to measure.  How long were we in her presence.? Time stood still.  Each moment of joy magnified time.  New and tender mercies take all attention.  Time has no form of measurement.  It is a blur. Heart pounding joy stops clocks, stops the earth.  Stops all but the joy moment.  It calls all things to itself to be and watch and listen in love.

She impacts my life daily.  Her love and her releasing take my breathe away. Her life touched mine. Then changed mine forever.

She is sacrifice.  She is love.  She is the birthmother of our son.

It has been 17 and a half years since I stood in a room and had her pass in love indescribable her son, our son, into my arms.  How God orchestrates a moment like this leaves me numb in love. Seeing brave bold love and looking it right in the eyes changes. It writes on a place in your insides.  It carves deep lettering in the flesh and right on the heart wall.  It scribbles out love, selfless love.  It carves out stark and plain and simple. A deep giving of tremendous sacrifice.

I don’t know brave that speaks like this.  I can’t find places where I can show gratitude and gratefulness here at Mother’s Day, for her.  I can only tell her story in a shadow, but tell it boldy and proclaim the enormous space it takes up in my heart.

She turned and walked out of our lives 17 years ago.  But she left a mark. A precious child.  I know she would look on him becoming a man and I know she’d see him through momma’s eyes as I, that he is fine.  And he is special.  And he is love with flesh and bones walking.  He will do and be great things. He knows he is loved.  He knows God.

Happy Mother’s day to a kind, brave, and generous birthmother.  We love him deep and wide.  And if you could look right there, you would see, in black and white,that he is loved by one adoring brother. And by one adoring sister. And hovering in the background, one momma too.

Its a favorite one. I just had to share.

Mother’s Day is really something more, its Givers Day and humble Receivers Day. To all the Givers and all the Receivers of life, and children. And love.  Happy Day.

{This photograph was taken by Gail Lunn many/several years ago!! I am grateful.  She is talented. Thank you for this wonderful favorite picture, Gail}

My Head In The Clouds

I had my head in the clouds this weekend.  Resting in quiet.  Resting in light.  Resting under the clouds and  studying their beauty.

I, student of art under white moving design.  Gallery of blue backdrop, moving exhibit of puffy perfection.  Creation on display. He, Creator God, designer of beauty.  Loving presenter of beauty. I watch them move and drift, change and delight. I grateful.  I throw out a line of love to catch the light, catch a piece of heaven’s rays, heaven’s brilliance.

The Patient one fishes. I study.  We rest.  Under a blanket of heaven.  Grateful for all that He gives, graciously, lovingly, gratefully.

Place your head in the clouds, and rest in Him.  Rest in His love.  Rest in His beauty.  Rest in His loving arms this day.

His new Mercies wait around the corner on the morning after this evening.  Gift. Bowed up in love.

Seek.  See.  Thank.

What Grace.  What Love.  What a gallery of perfection all puffy and floating we see when we look up into the light.

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.