Leaving Quite An Impression

Counting gifts with Ann over at a holy experience dot com. This is a beautiful way to start a Monday.  A day of new mercies.   Before counting gifts, and there are many, I want to express my gratitude to readers.  Thank you that you are here. Thank you for your encouragement.  You bless me with your feedback.  I look over my shoulder and see and hear you there, on this journey.  I am praying for each of you, may His grace mark your day with a deep groove of the holy on this day in the midst of May.  May the landscape of your life be touched by His Mercy, in the joy, in the hard, in the soft, and in the muck.  In the mundane middles,  in the fresh new starts, and in crossing the finish lines.

Looking down the bridge of this nose on this face and counting the right smack here gifts in this very messy living. This life.  The one  with the bumps and the bruises, the turns and twists, the highs and the lows, the peaks and valleys and the ebbs and flows. The gifts are underfoot and might even get stepped on if we don’t step lightly and walk softly through the very messy living.

Counting the multitudes on monday:

middle son’s weight loss, still amazed and impressed by his determination(90 pounds is a lot to register on this momma’s heart)

sweet unexpected surprise in my comment box from my daughter, love in the words, love in her heart

kayak’s and how they offer a way to quietly see life, slow paddling with The Patient One and sitting for hours in solitude while the kiddos took the SAT

Our favorite worship song in church yesterday led by beautiful voices and an elbow in the rib from sweet girl of mine, followed by her singing loudly her praises….grace IS an ocean…..

Going to take home communion yesterday as a trainee –shifting the lense of life and seeing the bread and the wine bless one who is bound by a wheelchair.  

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.

Its Like The Normandy Invasion But On A Larger Scale

This is Tuesdays story. And yes its Wednesday.

It rings.  Or vibrates.  Or more likely its muted and I see there is a call.  I reach for the lifeline in this life.  Its red phone, its  black box important. Its part of a multi-level communications plan that involves email, carrying  life plans delivering the latest top level security updates.

She is Patton. I am MacArthur. This is war.  This is their lives.

Red pen, push pins,  tools in the battleplans laid out in the heart and mind.  Marking the critical, identifying the hour by hour movement of troops. And we strategize.  We move pieces around the map of life. The map of their lives on this night.

We momma warriors plan out how to keep them safe on this night of their lives.  Point A to Point B movement is critical to safety and well-being.  Its a jungle out there, these roads of life.  Danger lurks.  Hearts and bodies, fragile with youth, must naviagate through decisions, confusion, temptation, and dark night.

She tells me a story and I tell her one too, this co-general momma planner.

Our boys, one half a step from manhood, are tall, grown in stature  and  raised in this community of believers. My daughter, one year behind these sons growing into womanhood.  These children linked up and doing life together. My son, her son such deep friendship carving out.  My daughter, linked in friendship.  These woven lives all threaded together in community of youth.  We have much to steward. The flowers and shrimp for the battle night are distraction wrapped in details of the pre-battle party.

She goes first.  Words paint story of three year old school kids off to the pool after three year old kindegarten.  And she, plunges down in and swims with the playmates. She caring for a child for these hours, whose life she has been a participant in from before the beginning.  She comes to the surface, all momma cleansed, her make-up and hair no longer as before.  And he stares, my wide-eyed one, blue saucers, blue orbs piercing her in numbing confusion.  He, always this recorder of events, never missing one.  And always, always speaking out in raw truth.

And after long pregnant pause of childhood wonder, he asks what he questioned all along.  Are you still Taylor’s momma.  Change so subtle, wet haired momma swimmer now could be someone else.  Now could be for mine a stranger in this pool.

She giggles and I belly laugh. This story of over a decade ago blurs time and space and races back and delivers simpler.  Drops her in my lap, simple.  The easy to explain.  Of course I’m Taylors momma.

Its my turn now.  Story rises up all warm, like white flour biscuit oven ready.  Story hot out seeking open mouth to savor her and enjoy how sweet, all honey-covered she is.

Do you remember?  Do you recall? The time my husband popped into your office eighteen years ago and you pointed him to Bethany Christian Services? His heart broken by my pain, and  his, and  ours. This battle with infertility. This pain of long wait for baby.He, seeking a God path out of the pain. Black tunnel life moments, the coming out seeing light.

And do you remember you were the one there on that day? He was a stranger.  We were from somewhere else.  This was before.  Before we were drawn to this place.  This was a beginning and you marked this community as one of Hope and Love.

And she, belly full of baby.  Working at the church.  She directing and moving push pin strategy plans of the heart, pointing toward hope, gently lead by the Spirit. Leading us to a place where family would grow out of and from.  Where comfort and blessing and our adoption story would be birthed.

So story reminds of beginnings of friendships between boys.  Hers on the way into her home in her warm ripe belly.  She a directress of Hope and Encouragement. Ours, nine months later birthed through a precious life-giving birth mother who would lovingly release our cherished and prayed for one into my arms.

And now the warrior mothers plan and scheme of safe life travels on the night of Prom.  Planning all Normandy Invasion, how to feed the troops, what tanks will carry these young people off into the night. How will they move from Point A to Point B to Point C. What happens when the enemy lurks on the highway, dark night covering their paths. How will they find their way home to us to the mothership? Dodging each obstacle in their path with skill, on their own in this night.  Her son and my daughter, traveling companions on this jouney, paired up she with his best friend.  And my middle off with another group.

This battle, this plan has dimension and depth that challenges a momma battle planner.But we have each other.

Whether mother or not.

We have community in life.  Ones whose gifts come alongside and lend strength and comfort.

We have the other story-tellers who tell of their messy and their struggle.  Who shine bright light on the you are not in this alone. Who tell of over-coming challenge, pain, grief, and disappointment.  Who tell of times of rejoicing and flat out Joy.  Who shout the Mercy times and the Grace times when just before they stumbled hard they were caught in Love.  By community.

He wove this momma warrior back into my life.  He weaves these threads of support in kind word tapestry.  Ones who tell story of life where we see clearly He carried us.  He fought that battle for us and with us.  He prepared.

And we’ll release these young brave-hearts into this night and this life.  Covered in His love, covered in prayer.

And the mothership will keep watch for safe return. Always longing for their return, from playdates in swimming pools and first prom nights.

And trips home from college.

This is not the end of the story.  By no means is this the end of the story. Because its Wednesday’s story and Thursday,  she will have one too.


The Art Of Eavesdropping Slash–Honing Your Observation Skills

This is a story.

This is a story of yesterday.

And actually the day before yesterday too.

I drive to another zipcode to grocery shop. I know thats shocking for a one-zip-code dweller.  And I stroll down the isle of the frozen things.  The day before yesterday part of the story goes like this.  My family had a very odd on-the-way-to-church conversation on Sunday.  It was all about crazy coupon shopping.  There is a name or a title or a badge of honor that goes with that skill.  The Patient-One wants me to do this.  This is not the current me.  Might be the me he wants me to be.  Going to another zipcode to shop in a much less expensive grocery store was part of me trying to be more cost aware.

The isles are quiet.  Very quiet and calm.  There was almost an echo.  Monday must not be the day for all the mad coupon mommas.  I digress.  That story stays in the former paragraph.

And  I hear a beautiful story.  I hear a painting and I hear a poem.  I hear art. The eyes of my heart hear a sliver of a life story.  They see the art in the life moment.

The words were tender.  The transaction between two men was small but it was huge.  Beauty in the moment.   Threads of life weaving between two men.  One young.  One old.  Both working on this day.

I slow down.  I am captured by their sweet interaction.  I am moved by the exchange.  This life transaction tendered before my ears and eyes touches place in me.

Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering — Winnie The Pooh

Take a life slice, stab it with your fork, place it on the taste buds at the tippy of your tongue. And savor.  Move it around from the sweet to the savory, those buds that register different flavors.  Suck long and suck hard.  Make them last for a long forever.

Pick up the paint brush of your inner knowing and paint a picture of the life you see.  Record it in a place for keeps.  So you can know you lived. Know you live.  Remember the all.  The glorious and the unglorious.  All the parts and pieces of the mosaic that is yours.  Your one.  Your only.  Your life.

One isle over I see my special friends mother.  I am not a good friend.  I don’t mentor well.  I have not returned her child’s call.  I say I missed Quailla’s call.  She smiles and tells me all good things.  I think.  I believe it to be good.  The fact that there are changes.  I send my love.  And I bury my guilt in the knowing that they seem well. I hear of spring break and a trip and new things.  And we smile.  This time between two mothers.  And we talk about one child.  I celebrate spontaneously in this isle.  I don’t know its name.  But its a good place to celebrate change.

Go grab a pen.  Be your historian of your one life.  Scribble it down and put it in a place for safekeeping. Jot it down all messy and real, its yours.  Give it a grand heros welcome.  Roll out the red carpet for it, for them.  Memory will take good care of all that is preserved.  Guard it all.  Guard it well.

And the bees were next.  Lots and lots of bees.

Look and see all the bees.

I took pictures of bees and more.

They are there for you to see. ( Dr. Seuss may be creeping in. Oh my.  First Pooh then Dr. Seuss. smiling here)

And there were words.  Some were good and sweet and tender.  And some were not.  Some gave encouragement and were life affirming.  But I take the all and I mix it, blend it, taste it, and name it mine.  There were moments that taught and words that cut.  There was a blur of beauty and a swirl of pain.  There were pronouncements of new birth coming from across the way in the house looking out in Hope and new life.

The end.

Not really.  Its not the end of the story.  Its Tuesday. And Tuesday has a story of her own to tell.