Crossing The Wake (Part One)

She sent me an email and things have not really been the same since.

She stirred the heart up. And the mind joined in. And then the nudges came and the soft tender birthing of words started to form, like a small green tomato appearing on the vine. I held a short vigil over the inspiration and waited.

Waited for it to be red and ripe and juicy.

And then decided that the perfect combination of the thoughts and musings just may not make it on paper.

And that the fuzzy outline and facts may not take shape into an eloquent and thoughtful blog post from me. But that maybe just breathing in Jesus and breathing out fear and taking a first step was really all I was called to do. All we really can ever do.

The subject is a paradox because it is big and looming over me but it is really quite manageable too. And gnawing and chewing on it for days may have been fear of not getting it just right.

But God…. leaning into Him for courage and trusting Him for guidance, is all I need. All I will ever really need. But I want to be a good steward of this passion for writing. And I do want to make something beautiful with words. So worry replaces Trust and fear replaces Bravery.

I have tried to go back and find where I read or heard the notion of breathing out fear and breathing in Jesus because I love the feeling of doing just that. Letting go of fear and breathing in the life-giving breath of Jesus.I needed His breath of courage and His help kicking fear under the bus on Sunday. I was fearful  about speaking and reading in public in church. But God allowed my eyes to fall on these words somewhere and they spoke to my soul. And they speak to my soul and infuse courage into my spirit.

So, she sent me an email and things have not really been the same since. And in it she wrote:
“Hoping you might consider writing a poem about “crossing the wake.” I thought about this often this summer. What I mean is having the courage to go in a new direction or face a problem. It actually refers to crossing the wake when water skiing…..It’s easy to stay behind the boat in the safe zone but what about crossing the wake and seeing what happens…..Scary at times but exhiliarating.”

So I told The Patient One, to whom I have been married for almost, almost a quarter of a century and he is a he. So he googled what happens when one crosses the wake. Oh the facts. And the descriptions. And the technical descriptions. I wanted art and feelings to pour out of my fingers as a by-product of reading this email. He suggested I know what REALLY happens when one actually “crosses the wake.” I love him and know to listen to him.

So I stalled out and couldn’t press begin, much less publish and the words didn’t seem to come. And how ironic. How ironic indeed. I stayed behind the wake in the safe zone of inaction where the waters were calm instead of heading out across to the exhilaration of His inspiration. Staying out of the beautiful blue waters of Trust.

So this is the part where I tell you I want to explore this idea with you all. The idea of going across the wake, crossing into the new places which contain challenge and exhilaration. Getting out of the safe zone where the water is smooth as silk.

Because I do really like green tomatoes and sometimes waiting and waiting on them to ripen is only one choice.

I am excited to have partnered with Compassion International as a blogger. It was time to step off the curb and do something for children in poverty. My heart had been broken after reading a recent blog about a friend‘s two Compassion children she sponsors.

So I am privileged to start a journey blogging once or twice a month when Compassion sends me an assignment. I am so excited to learn along with you about these children who need our love and prayers. And I am honored and privileged to advocate for children in poverty.

Please come along with me tomorrow  as I  continue to explore the idea of “crossing the wake.” I will share with you what my husband, The Patient One, encouraged me to learn of this concept. And I will pour myself into exploring more of the art of crossing into the challenging  places in life.

In pursuit of Him, because of Him, and with Him. Not alone, breathing out fear. Going into the bumpy parts and places. Will you come back tomorrow? That would be lovely.

And today I am turning toward a place of gratitude and counting gifts with Ann at A Holy Experience dot com. So much to be grateful for.

* Good news from a school regarding a child. An answered prayer.

*An email from Compassion in my in box and the joy of the new journey.

*For feeling more than okay about submitting my blog for consideration to go on a trip to Peru with Compassion. Feeling brave and leaning into God’s perfect will for the details, for a no, a yes, or a later from the request.

*Special nights with The Patient One watching the Olympics. Just simply being together. Two happy teenagers with lots of friends and nights being away from home and out of school for summer.

*Beautiful words of a Methodist preacher at a funeral on Sunday. Life affirming and Hope offering words from the pulpit.

*Watching my oldest grow into a man and seeing his soft compassionate heart in action.

*For kind words and comments in the in-box here and friends all over this bloggy world.

*For relationships and friendships with other bloggers who encourage and support in love.

*For two extremely kind emails I received that filled me up to over-flowing with their love and support. A blessing that they took the time to write.

*For a little girl in Peru whom I am sponsoring and what I will learn about love from her. Looking forward to corresponding with her and grateful that God brought us together.

Linking up with Ann, Duane, and Jennifer today and/or tomorrow.

Thanksgiving In July

They move from event to event, stoic, chin-up with game faces squarely on.

Determined, fierce-competitors, steely-glass eyes starring the moment directly in the face without blinking. Unflinching. Taking on the challenges with grace.Brave. Unwavering. Strong. And appearing to all the world as though they have no fear.

Mighty warriors on the world stage. Grace on display in diminuative packages. And they amaze.

I watch these young Olympians strong-jawed and graceful, gymnasts who take my breath away with their poise, beauty,and skill packed in lovely small packages of pure muscle.

They are like marathon runners pacing their emotion. Pacing the celebration and victorious grins and all-out over-joyed thanksgiving for their wins, the milestones.

Because until they are finished, they must pack their bags and unwrap their wrist-wrappings and move to the next big event.

But I am not an Olympic gymnast. Very far from it. But sometimes if I am not careful I will move fists clenched and jaw tight from one event to another without stopping to rest in moments of thanksgiving and praise for God’s goodness.

And I have seen God’s goodness in many areas of my life. So I have to stop. And be still for long moments of the heart. To let myself catch up with my living. To let the soul soak in the worth savoring. Because I have seen break-through’s and they are worthy of noting with praising lips.

They are worthy of big Alleluias and Hallelujahs back to the Giver. They deserve a return of praise. They require a thank you note of the heart.

If I am not careful I will race ahead without engaging my heart and soul in a long grateful embrace. The moment worth the long savor risks being passed over. The answered prayer of the heart and lips risks going by without an outpouring of gratitude.

I will rush ahead of myself and God into the forward moving moments of life. Without rightful praise. Without rightful thanksgiving. Without giving the breakthrough its long celebration of being born into my life. I risk being stalled out and stuck in a place of forward moving living which races into the next without pausing and looking long on the beautiful miraculous milestones of God gifts of the now.

The now is so deserving. The right this minute is so worthy of marking and noting. And of celebrating.

I see these as the happy middles. No longer wanting to desire only the happy endings in life, but rather finding joy in the happy middle moments. The good stuff on the way. The stumble upon small things which are truly grand. Like the small Olympic gymnasts we pack a pint sized punch, these little life-moments are grander and more glorious than we often give them credit for. They are huge if we but stop and marvel.

Just because its good. And just because The Giver of Good Gifts, a holy God, has given with and in Love.

If I miss the opportunity to walk into His presence with praise, I miss a holy moment of intimacy with God. And we were made by Him to praise Him. The praiseworthy moments then, are just what we were created for.

And some just seem due a longer pause, a wider smile, and an even more joyful heart. I don’t know why they seem to stand out, accept that when you journey with Him and cry out to Him, and pray to Him, there are moments which feel so glorious. Maybe its the ones we thought we’d never live to see. Or maybe its the ones that come after long periods of drought or what feels like extra-long waiting. Maybe its the ones which look so transformative as to have God’s mark, His handiwork so beautifully displayed that we are in awe. Of His Goodness. And His Love. Maybe it’s the ones that have a bit of the prodigal son peppered in the narrative.

That God in His mercy works beautiful gifts into  every day is worth an outpouring of gratitude every day. But sometimes it feels hand-stamped,hand-delivered right to the door of our hearts. Because it is.

It always is when it comes from God. And thanks be to Him, the Giver of Good Gifts.

Counting gifts today. And it truly feels like Thanksgiving in July. And grateful to Ann and her book 1000 Gifts for helping point me in a grateful direction of the heart.

*a beautiful worship service yesterday with glorious music and a very very funny guest preacher. Joy in the laughter echoing all through the sanctuary.

*a transformation in a relationship. Restoration, love, and tenderness.

*a moment to mark and celebrate a moment with a mother in church which involved seeing great things in the lives of our sons.Seeing her beautiful tears of joy at God’s hand in our lives. A gift.

*Seeing my man/child in his new home loving His job and seeing glimpses into his future with his career. Feeling God’s hand of protection and love on his life.

*Hearing my middle son say how much he enjoyed our family day together, after not wanting to participate. Hearing him proclaim the joy in the day. Amazing. Grace. A mother’s heart hears how very much we are wired to be in relationship.

* Four of the five riding back from Charleston and my daughter looking out at the marsh and marking the beauty. Then, passing the river and marking the beauty. Her words of longing to be on the beautiful water. Seeing her mark beauty.

* Hearing my son sing in church.

*watching the Olympics with my family

*Mother-daughter time of fellowship with friends laughing and savoring and spending hours, the four, for a celebration of birthdays. It is good. Friendship.

*Finally telling my husband how very badly my heart desires a literal white-picket fence, and having him sweetly receive, and try to see where and how he can provide my silly heart’s desire for one.

*A loving text message filled with gratitude from someone in my life, early this morning. A welcomed-Monday morning sight for these eyes.

*Seeing the joy in a woman’s heart upon receiving home-communion yesterday. Seeing  the power in breaking the communion wafer for someone for the first time. The beauty. The holy of the moment. Grateful for the opportunity to serve. Seeing her touched by the love of Jesus.

Writing in community today with Ann, who is helping me develop a heart of gratitude. And I am joining with Michelle at Graceful today.

Summer’s Simple Joy & All God’s People Say Amen

Hoping for your weekend, time to seek, gather and soak in the simple placed right where you are

Wishing for your weekend ,time to collect colorful memories of sun-drenched summer


And praying for your weekend, time to reflect under the shade of His love on all the He was, is and forever will be in the echoes of the amens.

May you rest in His Amazing Grace all weekend long as you scoop up the sweet and the savory of your good story while you taste and see that it is all so very , very good.

Praying for a grateful heart in my everythings. How about you?

The Big Yellow Metaphor

{This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on  my experiences on a wild and wonderful journey. A big colorful artful adventure, one  from New York to South Carolina as part of a team on The Art Bus Project roadtrip.}

Audrey. And others. They were my teachers.

I just went to summer school. And my classroom was a big yellow school bus.

The bus, my classroom screams loudly the lessons over the din of heavy black tires on I-95. Yells out over hot highway with her yellow zippered lines marking the lessons. Shouts Truth over the swoosh of passing eighteen wheelers in the fast lane and the screech of breaks on near missed turns. Through tolls and toils she lays out the lesson plan to her student held captive within the yellow walls.

My team members on The Art Bus Project, part of the teaching staff. I a student, a sponge soaking in the lessons. Some hard. All good. Life teaches well along the way. In the messy living.

The old, big, gas-guzzling, loud and sometimes hot classroom is a good teacher too.

When God calls us into ministry He is good to change us. And challenge us.And He is wise to teach those he taps . To instruct those whom he woos to come along for the ride. Moving us from Point A to Point B, never leaving us where we were found by Him. Transforming lives with Grace. Mercy moving us along. Increments of Truth and more of Him, measurements of movement.

And He is a gentle teacher. Loving His children and wisely never leaving His rag tag band, His co-laborers, His students of Grace unchanged. He lovingly shapes. He gingerly molds. We show up in a place carrying the now of what we know on our backs like a Patagonian hiker ready for a trek. He adds whats important, filling the pack with more of Him.  The weight of the important strengthens the sojourner’s back. Shoulders stronger, legs less wobbly, back braced for carrying the significant.

We show up ill-prepared. He refines the red clay of the soul on the spinning potter’s wheel.

And He uses His people in a beautiful way. There is no circumstance on the journey that He has not known. There are no combinations of facts or missing pieces which leave Him caught off guard or suprised.

So when I say yes and I show up He tilts the lense and sharpens the perspective. Divine fingers wipe the fog, remove the smudge on the window to the world. And over the shoulder on the looking back, He speaks. In the ear of the rewinding mind, He teachess.

And He takes one little, two little , three little travellers and more and binds them together over the bumps, through the wrong turns, past the monuments, through the dark tunnels, past the missed stops, and onward  on the road of learning.

The one about Him. And the one about us. And the one about the others along the way. The ones with the hurt and the pain. The ones with no one to listen and no one to care.

The weary woman on the way home, eyes blurred from hours in the office. The mom with a whispering heart, bruised by circumstances. The tender recovering soul who in her young life as a mother to two is now a widow and hurting. But aren’t we all.  And who doesn’t.

The eager child with the can of spray paint, eager to find a place to write and express. His name,his identity on the black asphalt, on the sides of the yellow walls. He teaches to listen and look for signs. They have a voice. They want to speak. They want to shout.

They all have a story to tell.

And we would do well to listen.

And we would be more like Him if we did.

{Counting gifts today with Ann over at A Holy Experience dot com. And linking up here at the Extraordinary Ordinary and here with Michelle and also with these two ladies here and here}

* the gift, possibly a first and a last, but hoping not, a mission trip with my daughter

*watching her serve, use her gifts and leave childish ways behind….way behind

*watching my daughter grow more and more into the woman God has purposed her to be

*meeting a freight container full of new friends this week, well I am prone to hyperbole

*seeing new places, exploring new corners, falling in love with the art of discovery all over again.

*regaining my sense of adventure and inquiry

* Asking and accepting the privilege to pray for two women, God grant me faithfulness to pray faithfully and diligently for their circumstances

*Eight new puppies in my world

*Watching my son care for the furry babies and seeing how nurturing He truly is

*getting  a text from my son at camp that he is homesick.  An unexplainable gift.

*counting down the days until we trek up to our beloved mountain home, where memory lives, and story waits to tell us more of the past, the present, and lend hope to the future

* new inspiration from new twitter folks, a welcome surprise. Reading tweet after tweet of words pointing toward the Father