Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Day 31... Grace Still Happens


And finally
on

the 7th day
the last day
the final day

God "created" rest

not because
He needed it

but because
we do

(return to Day 1)
------------------------------
"God Created Rest"
(originally posted 10/11/15)

He spells it out for us...

create
speak
plant
shine
bless
breathe
rest

and after six days of creating awesomeness
he chose rest

we spend our days chasing

greatness
relevancy
brilliance

(amongst mediocrity)

and are

too busy
too weary
too afraid

to find rest 

But man was created on the sixth day


and I'd like to think that God took rest on the seventh
(not because He was tired)

but

as an example
to spend time with
to enjoy

His creation as

He spells it out for us...

because

at the end of the week God created man, and rest, and
at the end of Jesus is "us" and our rest is found in Him

Monday, October 30, 2017

Day 30... Grace Still Happens


shine me
refine me
define me

don't deny me

as you make me whole

right
new

and true

forever faithfully yours
forever grateful too 
------------------------------
"The Refiner's Fire"
(originally posted 6/10/14)

We boarded the bus for our mini road trip

and before we departed

our docent

prayed
quoted Scripture
and read to us

this morning devotional...
Refiner's Fire
The silversmith holds the silver over the hottest part of the fire,
but he must sit and hold it, watching it carefully the entire time
If he leaves it in too long, it's ruined
If he doesn't leave it in long enough, it's worthless
And when asked how he knows when the silver is ready to be removed,
he simply replies...

I know it's ready when I can look at it and see my reflection

Can God see Himself in you?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Day 29... Grace Still Happens

Pay attention... 

to both
who you follow

and to
who follows you
------------------------
"First Follow Me"
(originally posted 10/4/15)

Dear People of the World,

I know that you are hurting

I see you
I hear you
I feel you

and I want to help

but...

what I offer
you will not receive

what I've provided
you've rejected

So what more can I do?

I know that you are hurting
because

your lives
your media
your actions

are screaming...

look at me
hear me
acknowledge me

and I do

but in order for the pain

to actually stop
you must stop

and first

follow
Me

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Day 28... Grace Still Happens


make an effort to
connect with someone
in person today
----------------------
"Just Go Outside"
(originally posted 7/6/15)

Some days we only had...

one bicycle
a pair of skates and
a JC Penny catalog

but we figured out how to make it work

because it was summertime
we were together
and there was no such thing as being "bored"

With one bicycle we could...

take turns

giving each other rides on the handlebars
pulling the other one wearing the pair of skates

or

chasing stray cats back down the alley


With a pair of skates we could...

share them

each wearing one while sporting a tennis shoe on the other foot to

run
run
run

glide

Or we could always...

play jacks
jump rope
hopscotch
eat Captain Crunch
read magazines
act out scenes from our favorite movies
make up our own
chase down the ice cream truck
run through the sprinklers
wash the car
sing
dance
do cheers
make up drill team routines
look through each other's yearbook
talk about boys

and people watch

Then after all of that...

when we got

hot
hungry
tired

we could retreat

into my grandmother's house to eat fresh meatloaf sandwiches
into her mother's kitchen for bowls of chicken rice-a-roni
then back to my grandmother's for vanilla ice cream and butter cookies

Until finally...

plopping down into her father's rocking chair
opening her mother's JC Penny catalog across our laps
and playing "I got that"

But kids today don't know nothing about that

they'd rather

tweet
text
talk to "friends" on social media

instead of connecting with people who are actually in the same

neighborhood
house
room

with them

They'd rather

lay around
look around
complain of boredom

when all they need to do is get up and...

just go outside!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Day 27... Grace Still Happens (Perfect Together)

She

made biscuits from scratch

sifted the flour
cut in the shortening
hand kneaded the dough

let rest
and baked

until they were perfect

pulled out to cool before

real butter
grape jelly

made them perfect

they were perfect
she was perfect
we were perfect

together

And I wonder if she knew...

because the year she left us
was the same year I met

him

(almost as if she made room for him)

to sit at the table
sharing biscuits

made perfect

and I am overcome with emotion
as I have been blessed once again

because...

this feels perfect
they are perfect
we are perfect

together

Country Gravy or Jelly?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Day 26... Grace Still Happens


resist
or
embrace

change

for those are
the only two options you really have

today
-----------------------------
"The Same Black Dress"
(original posted on 04/05/13)

Early this week I shared with a colleague that I would be participating in Sheyenne's "Dress For Change" Consumerism Project by wearing the same dress every day.  She suggested that I refrain from telling the other ladies, and wait to see how many days it would take for someone to notice


Well today marked the end of the work week, and I have worn the "same black dress" to work

every
day
this
week

and

NO ONE noticed!

Of course I never expected any of the ladies to mention it,
but today, when I mentioned it

they were all clueless

and then when I explained and pulled out my camera
to show them pictures from the week

they were all shocked

Then I thought about...

the erroneous number of times I have complained of "nothing to wear"

Nothing.
to.
wear.

and I realize the truth of the matter is

I have too much to wear
we all have too much

But I love how living a life of gratitude and grace

brings lessons

quiet
subtle

lessons

to promote

insight
new perspective
growth
maturity

and this "Dress For Change" has shown me that...

"Nothing to wear"
simply doesn't exist for us

and I

should never
even think

of muttering those words

ever again!

(follow the journey)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Day 25... Grace Still Happens


some times
just
because
---------------------------
"Code Blue"
(originally posted 3/26/16)

We spent seven days in the hospital...

worrying
watching
wondering

(while waiting for test results)

to tell us what was wrong


and by Day Three

my resolve was to begin to just thank Him for what was right

heart... good
kidneys... good
liver... good


and then her smile returned
and it was all... good

and on Day Six

we heard them call a "code blue" on the roommate

so we prayed
and she returned

and I marvel at how He died
and rose

giving us hope that since

"...He abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel"

we will also live forever in Him!

So when...

the final "code blue" is called
and it is my turn to go

please don't cry

worry
watch


or wonder

but just know that because of Him...

I'm alive!

(2 Timothy 1:9-10)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Day 24... Grace Still Happens


Sometimes the hardest thing to revise...
is your thought about something
--------------------------
"Our Home Remodel"
(originally posted 12/12/14)

This past summer we came home to find our house flooded
and what has since unfolded has been one of the most

amazingly scary
shockingly revealing

experiences of my life
(to date)

I have...

talked to God in new ways
heard Him speak in new ways and
seen Him do things I hadn't even dreamed of

and when it was all said and done

I witnessed Him turn our MESS into a MESSAGE!

(thank you Chanea for reminding me again)


And I've always believed, but now I know for sure that...

God really did make a man from dust

because I have seen Him take

our dust
our rubbish
our tragedy

and turn it into something beautiful

Monday, October 23, 2017

Day 23... Grace Still Happens


work 
play
live

life fully

Spirit showing
skin glowin'
hair blowin' 

in the wind

without a care
-----------------------------
"The Blessing of a Skinned Knee"
(originally posted 9/5/12)

I found this book at a used bookstore and was immediately captured by the title

"The Blessing of a Skinned Knee" 

Isn't that an oxymoron?

I flipped the book over and read the back cover

It sounded...

intriguing
provocative
useful

for me in my career as an Early Childhood Professional
so I brought the book home and have been

reading it and
re-reading it

for over a year now

it is my "go to" book
when I need to remind myself of the importance of letting children be children
 
it is my "go to" book
when I need to look up the Jewish blessings
so simply outlined for someone of a non-Jewish background to understand and

it was my "go to" book
once again today...



Yesterday was my first day leaving my house for work in over 8 years!

As I prepared to leave my house, I told the angels who are assigned to guard me,
"Okay, it's time to go." 

My neighbor (who is also a Pastor) saw me leaving, and said "C'mon let's have a word of prayer.  Winston told me that you start your new job today, and we're asking for God's blessing."

He prayed and sent me on my way...

During orientation the lady sitting next to me (also a new hire) looked at me and said
"God is so good.  Can I just tell you how amazing He is?" 

She began to pour out her heart explaining how she had acquired her new job, giving me chill bumps, and leaving me speechless!

I was

introduced to coworkers
met many new people
and even saw a few familiar faces

Finally finished the day and headed to orientation at my children's school, still floating from the day's events until I suddenly realized that I was on the ground.  I rolled and ended up on my back looking up into the sky and the HUGE tree overhead and to my surprise...

A SMILE came across my face and I found the words
"Thank you Jesus" spilling from the corners of my lips. 

Apparently the tree had tripped me because I saw the roots that had pushed the sidewalk up leaving it unleveled.  I felt the burn on my elbow and my knee mourning the location where skin had just been... and I got it!

The blessing of a skinned knee! 

Yes, it is easier to stay in the house for 8 years because you are far less likely to fall on the sidewalk... but you will never get to look up at the sky and the trees and see God in all of His Glory!

Baruch Atah "blessed are you"

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Day 22... Grace Still Happens


Let the light within
shine without
------------------------------------- 
"He Became"
(originally posted 10/20/15)

He (became) what we needed

an eternal Father
became
an only begotten Son

not another
but the same wrapped in flesh

for there is only One God

We needed to be renewed as sons
so He (became) a Son

We needed peace
so He (became) the Prince of Peace

We were in darkness
so He brought us light

and everyday
He (becomes) what we need

(while having always been that)
as He takes our

temporary pain and suffering
and juxtaposes it against His

Eternal weight of glory

allowing us to

look upon Him
look to Him
look for Him

with gratitude

while waiting for Him

to translate our temporary moment
into His eternal one

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 21... Grace Still Happens


While you are traveling along life's busy way
please also remember to

take time

to 

give thought
give thanks
give praise

for the journey
--------------------------------
"Giving Thanks for the Path"
(originally posted 09/02/16)

I had five minutes on a Friday...

(but I only needed one)

to thank God for

His love
His peace
His power

and the daily grace

He gives...

as I travel along this path

Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 20... Grace Still Happens


The greatest treasure 
  
to find
to learn
to discover

is
the power within

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Day 19... Grace Still Happens

His

big
brave
boldness

gives me permission
to be the same

(while also acknowledging)

I don't have to be
-----------------------------
"When Life Hurts"
(originally posted 12/18/12)

I don't usually read the morning paper, but today's front page headlines caught my attention
 
It read: "Burials begin in Connecticut"

I looked down at a picture of a hearse carrying the body of a 6-year old child and my heart sank  I blinked hard to stop the tears that I felt tears forming in the corners of my eyes

I couldn't cry there.

I turned the paper over as if not seeing it would make it less real,
and was shocked by what was printed directly on the back side of the tragedy

Bold, brightly colored advertisements for

toys on sale
Christmas gift suggestions
pictures of more stuff to buy

(as if what we really need right now is more stuff)

The message rang out loud and clear that sometimes life is...

contradictory
confusing
cruel

Sometimes life hurts

In fact, just yesterday I was thinking about the 5 year-old girl in this picture

remembering the...
 
fear
uncertainty
unspoken pain

she felt as her mother lay sick in the hospital... on this picture day

It's like a tragic headline with colorful ads on the back

"Smile for the camera, sweetie"

But who wants to smile when life hurts?

She eventually managed this forced little smile to disguise the fact
that she had already learned that even children are sometimes left feeling...

helpless
sad and
alone

I understand it all better now

and wish that I could sit down with her

pull her up onto my lap
hold her close
and just let her cry...

I would apologize for not giving her the opportunity to grieve that experience;
for minimizing her pain and lying to her that she was alright. 

I would apologize for teaching her to wear a mask,
and making her pretend to be brave when she was only a child.

If I had it to do all over I would let her cry

and after her tears subsided I would pull her in really tight and quietly whisper

Now let me tell you who to call the next time...

when life hurts