Message In A Bottle And Other Places

I love a sweet story.

Heck, I  just love story and stories. Stories allow us to peek into places and people and amazingly woven lives.  Lives lived out colored in hope.  Drawn in love.  Painted with wonder.

But I especially love tucked away stories that have a tender sweet hiddeness to them.

The ones that call you  to look a little deeper, seek a little longer, and go a little further with the eyes of your heart. To see the good, the miracle, the Grace.

Do you have one.  I’d love to hear a piece of it.  A part of it.  Or all of it.

Because stories encourage and stir us and point us toward hope.

The hope of the what’s to come.  The hope of God’s hand in our tomorrow and our today.

I love the creative ways of God.  And how he finds us ,speaks to us in and through our circumstances, through our families, and through the lives around us.

And just like a message in a bottle, sometimes they are tucked away a little bit.

Precious girl of mine was asked to walk on the beach.  And there buried in the sand was a message in a Coke bottle asking her to go to the prom.  A man after my own heart, tucking away a little bit.  Creating a stumble upon moment to pop this little milestone question.  Creating a moment of discovery and surprise.  And allowing a sweet moment of joy.  Simple sweet joy.

So I am heading out to look for the sweet simple joy today.

And I’m bending my ear to hear His stories of Grace.  Your stories of Grace.

And to look for buried messages of His love.  And the messages of His love which are out in plain view.

I asked for two groups to pray for me.  And I see God moving already in that area.

Thank you my friends.  Thank you my God.

Your messages wrapped in Love are Gift.

You offer us Hope.  Bring us Hope.  Show us Hope.  Deliver Hope. Your message, your word is clear, so clear.  Thank you for sending us Hope.  By the cross and through your Son.

May we see all that you have for us this day.

Wishing His Grace,


A Day

Do you know about the Mariana Trench.

Do you know of this amazing place, the deepest ocean trench in all the world.

How simply amazing, this unfathomable place of deep and dark and hardly even explored.  Not really known.  Not well.

I am amazed at the unknowing of such depths of place.

And I amazed too at what simply amazing things are yet to be explored by this explorer of beauty.

In my one zip code town.

Right now, right here in my world at the end of my nose there is much to see.

So very much to see designed and formed by the hands of Artist God.  Creator God.

And everything He has made allows me a glimpse into knowing Him deeper.  More intimately.  Because in the daily and in the simple and mundane ordinary life He presents who He is.  He breaks through to me if I am awake.  If I want to see His art.  And I do.

How can so much wait for discovery.  How much can one day hold out, extend.

I take my camera and go.  And like a surgeon carefully removing the sutures  after healing, I look back on one day and say really?  That was one day.

Oswald Chambers writes, “Simply obey Him with unrestrained joy.”  This is what I want to learn.  This is what I want to be taught.

Unrestrained joy.

In a day I am privileged to be called Quailla’s lady friend and to hear thank you a dozen times from mouthes of sixth grade girls, smiling over greasy pizza.  Thank you.  How many times can they remember to say it.  It is like a chorus of sweetness like tree frogs after rain.  I stopped counting there was so much gratitude, it rained down love.  It was only pizza.  And I ask them about “The Hunger Games” movie and in their sixth grade wisdom they say don’t read the book first see the movie first then read the book.  Oh, okay.  And one rips the cheese off and all the toppings eating crust first then the other.  And we each have our way.  Is it two slices or one and one was so hungry no breakfast, my friend, I worry.  And what unrestrained joy I feel in being called a lady and a friend in one mouthful.

And middle one fusses and argues and pressing in on the heart,  and later says words so sweet, so tender, so joyful. This blend, this mixture, this life.

A stranger works hard, so hard, to connect lost car keys to a teenage child, my own and she reports to me her joy.  How they travel from carwash to her hands because of stranger kindness. Momma guess what happened always goes to the heart.  With joy.  Because the momma heart wants to know it all.

A receptionist extends an extra measure of grace, working out scheduling fine points to help this mother and this child.  Helping with joy.  Helping with bowed up smile on face and eye glimmer when I say my thank you’s.  Sixth grade girls are good teachers of gratitude.

And an email from a childhood friend proclaims an encounter with the one who carried me in her, who birthed me in to this God home.  She says my momma is her hero now because of what she’s witnessed.  My heart, like surgeon’s hands, removes all parts and pieces of this day tenderly in the looking back.

The Mariana Trench.  The below the ocean depths, unfathomable place holds mystery.  Unexplored. But so does this dry above ground place.  This life.

What sweet and tender heart behind the window.  She asks me, prods me, walks me through a way to save on medicine.  It is so expensive, this tool for living.  This ADHD remedy for child of mine.  She cares.  She pauses.  She suggests.  She prompts.  And it is grace and love in an unexpected place.  And its gift.

What follows is gift too.  From the Artist, Creator. Yesterday my camera and I saw these things.  I see pinks on brown and shadows.  I see weeds of beauty.  And crosses in rubble and grey and lavendar and green mingled and mixed.  And you might see beauty too.  Enjoy scrolling down and resting where you like and skipping past where you choose.  Bless you each as you look out for life today.

Wishing unrestrained Joy.

Always Remember To Call On Joy

Don’t forget to invite Joy to your next gathering.

You will be so glad you did.

She’ll bring her belly laughes, her love and outstretched arms.

She’ll brighten up the places which felt a little dark and sad.

She will shine friendship all over the room and sprinkle like confetti her glad heart.

Don’t forget to ask her to bring her friends Grace and Goodness.

They really light up the room with their gracious goodness.

“Proverbs 3:14 She’s worth far more than money in the bank; her friendship is better than a big salary.

Dd Do a  favor and win a friend forever; nothing can untie that bond — Provers 18:19

Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. — Proverbs 18:24

And if you ask her to come you won’t regret it.

Not even one little bit.

She will roll out the red carpet and shower the day with her silly laughter. And delight will  rule the day.

Don’t be surprised if she brings gifts and radiant smiles and encouragement along for the ride.

And abundant, gracious hospitality will likely come with her.  That Joy.

She never disappoints.  She is a girls best friend when life bumps and bruises.

  She will bring Encouragement and Celebration along, if you will just graciously allow her some  room to spread out and spread her Glory.

Delight in her always.  She is a Joy to have around.

She’ll help you celebrate the life of friends, the gift of friends, and the precious goodness of life with friends.

And you’ll never want the party to end, once  she lights up the room , that Joy with her amazing power to heal and bring blessing.

Every bite of food and sip of drilnk will be enhanced by her presence.

And you will feel loved, cherished and embraced by the warmth of her sweet sweet spirit.

For more beauty and joy click on the link below for some Joy notes.

Wishing you a joyous week,



Color It Joyful

The dessert before the main course, stealing some crumbs of Hope and Joy from the Easter Banquet.  Early, too early. Maybe.

Dipping into the Easter chocolate as a child before church on that glorious morning.  Perhaps.

The hot pink banner, the purple font.

The music.

The proclamation of whats to come.

The stories told and retold of God’s Grace ifuse life with the Easter New.

She sits in my home, the life notes spilling out and over lips like music from the saxaphone jump and jive.  Eye ball to eye ball.  She testifies to God’s amazing weaving of intiricate detail.  Thread upon thread He has begun what only He can do.

He is blessing and working in her life.  She sees.  She tells.  Her smile would have told it all, but there was more.

The embryonic work, the new of her life and life’s work fragile yet growing in Love.

The metaphor of her new life is of a baby.  Still in utero.  Not yet birthed.  My mother’s heart can wrap understanding around this picture of the fragile nature of each new part being formed in Love, with Care.

He is growing it with carefulness and tenderness.  And they, called to this, witness each tender shoot of the new.  Pushing forth and out into the world, like lime green life stalks press through chocolate soil to present their bouquet of color.

The story fragments of up to this point form a beautiful extravagant mosaic of His faithfulness. Each fragment, each shard of pottery from the Potters hand forming a masterpiece.  Stand back a bit and focus your lense of love and its clearly there.

Her story. Its hers.  Its His.  Its ours.  Its mine.

Beautiful shards and pieces and fragments coming together over  time to form the masterpiece.

The love of this women for her new baby in utereo, this church plant, is a wondrous thing. And I sit eyeball to eyeball, resting on the babysteps and sharing the joy.

And baby downy woodpecker interrupts and turns our attention.  Our gazes shifts to the downy new with a swipe of red.  A breathe, a break in this conversation is ushered in by feathers on feeder.

His new and his beauty catch us up in his moment.

His hunger at feeder at needed seed for his growth slow us down.

He lingers and builds strength, allowing us to watch.  And we do.

Partakers in the beauty of this fleeting stage of his developement.  We women.  We freeze our eyes on wing and beak and wisp of red.

And we talk of our little lime green shoots. Her three and my three. Growing and going on.  Some walking out His plan for after college, in college, heading to college.  We bear witness of their growth and we take in where we are.

Color it all joy.

Name it all His Grace.

Cherish each shard and fragment of this life, these pieces, these gifts.  Each were it only a single piece would be abundant life.  But there are hundreds and thousands of life gifts. Wrapped. There to unwrap.

We break bread together and we gaze too at my Easter tree.  Each wooden egg a symbol of her story of new.  Embyonic. Breaking through the shell, life moments. The whats to come and what has come.  New life.  New beginnings.

And they tell of my story and your story too.

Color it JOY. Colored by Grace. Bold and bright and new.

Unwrap His Joy, His Gifts of this day.

Looking toward the Cross, looking toward Easter Day.

But waiting too for all He does in this waiting.  He does great things in the waiting.

Coloring it Joyful in the waiting.

Gracefully yours,