Friday, September 2, 2016

The Right Path

I don't like bugs. Creepy, crawly, squishy, leg-gy, no see-ums. Yet I'm kind of fascinated by them. By their industry, their sense of purpose, their amazing super-powers of strength and agility.

So, about mid-summer, before the drought up here in the North Country really hit, I was out by the field taking pictures of the newest plants and colors. Believe it or not, I'd never seen chicory before - bright blue flower on spindly stems, standing tall above the lawn, and popping out of the borders of tall prairie grass.

I bent down low and pulled the camera lens out so I could see through the viewfinder. I wanted to fill the screen with blue. And I did. Filled it with blue and bugs. Two different kinds as far as I could distinguish. Shepherds and sheep, I've been told.

Which brings me to my point.

The Lord is my shepherd; 
I shall not want. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures. 
He leads me beside still waters. 
He restores my soul. 
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

God reminds us all the time, every day, that He loves us, that He will always care for us, that He has a plan for us, and that His plan is to lead us back to Him; it places us on the right path to Him. 

The things of nature remind me of Him. It's one of the reasons I take pictures. The camera allows me to see the world differently, detailed, color-saturated, and focused. Simple things become beauty, or become metaphor. Beautiful blue flowers in the field remind me of Him. Even when they're filled with bugs - after all, I don't have to understand His purpose for the little critters - for a second they brought to mind one of my favorite scriptures. 

That's not an altogether bad purpose.

Linking with Kate and the gang at Five-Minute Friday

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Beauty and Wonder

Sierra and I went out on the boat this morning to watch the sun rise. The water, thick and satiny, flowed beneath us all the way deep past 200 feet in places. I won't lie. All of the pictures have been adjusted for color and balance. My camera couldn't handle the volume of light. I shoot on automatic, so the aperture and shutter adjusted, making the photos darker automatically.

I see metaphor all around me. The sun rose on the horizon, not in a blaze, not with a saturated sky of rose, and purple. But rather with gilt-edges on distant clouds, like unwrapping a precious gift. 

How often do we adjust automatically to situations that are too intense to handle? Do we shut down the bright, or amp up the darkness? Are we disappointed by gradual light, rather than blazes of glory? Do we stay long enough for the light to work it's magic on the world around us?

My daughter, again, pointed to the sun rising from the calmness of the water, and told me that Jesus was here.

I am sharing my bible reading with these photos from this morning. Coincidence that there was so much mention of the heavens and light? I don't believe in coincidence. 

Praise and worship. 

God is good. 

I hope your morning is full of beauty and wonder. 

to him who alone does great wonders
for his steadfast love endures forever; 
to him who by understanding made the heavens, 
for his steadfast love endures forever; 
to him who spread out the earth above the waters, 
for his steadfast love endures forever; 
to him who made the great lights, 
for his steadfast love endures forever; 
the sun to rule over the day, 
for his steadfast love endures forever; 
the moon and stars to rule over the night, 
for his steadfast love endures forever;
Psalm 136:4-9 (ESV)

For I know that the LORD is great, 
and that our Lord is above all gods. 
Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, 
in heaven and on earth, 
in the seas and all deeps. 
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, 
who makes lightnings for the rain 
and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
Psalm 135:5-7 (ESV)

Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD,
who stand by night in the house of the LORD! 
Lift up your hands to the holy place 
and bless the LORD! 

May the LORD bless you from Zion,
he who made heaven and earth!
Psalm 134 (ESV)

I will not give sleep to my eyes 
or slumber to my eyelids, 
until I find a place for the LORD, 
a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.
Psalm 132:4-5 (ESV) 

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

Besides this you know the time, 
that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. 
For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.
Romans 13:11 (ESV)

The captain came and said to him, 
“What do you mean, you sleeper? 
Arise, call out to your god! 
Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, 
that we may not perish.”
Jonah 1:6 (ESV)

Yet a little while, 
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
Hebrews 10:37 (ESV)

Linking with Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Real and Present

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, 
and every eye will see him, 
Revelations 1:7 (ESV)
My daughter is talking to me; we're on our way home from Post. She volunteered all day, compiling folders for in-processing troops, making copies, labeling CDs, shredding papers. I've been working with soldiers, interviewing, scheduling, explaining, emailing, polishing resumes, tracking progress, annotating records. Encouraging them in their transition from military to civilian life, listening to them. Ironically, my mind isn't fully on what my daughter saying.

"Janet. It's Jesus; He is coming."

Janet. There it is. She's had to repeat herself. She only uses my first name when she's exhausted any other options. Like 'Mom'. It's not disrespect. It's perseverance, and it makes me smile. I hear her this time. She has my complete attention.

"It's JEsus." (Emphasis on the first syllable...) He is coming." There is a hint of excitement in her voice, anticipation. I feel the hairs raise up on my arms.

"Are you ready?"

This is classic Sierra, my daughter with the extra chromosome, the extra dose of concrete understanding.

I'm driving through fields of future hay, probably waist high, green and gold with flecks of purple and yellow, native grasses and flowering weeds. They ripple and move with each gentle breeze, with each breath of air, like sea anemones in ocean currents, brilliant, sinuous, alive. The fields are alive; the wind is alive. It is a God moment.

Am I ready?

It is not the last time she mentions this casual Jesus to me, this real and very present Jesus, the one who is coming, my daughter of outrageous statements and questions. My daughter who lives in the here and now, like an old reel-to-reel film of never-ending ever-moments.


She walks down the stairs, right hand brushing the wall, left hand hugging the rail. Maximum stability.

"Mom, Jesus, He was here."

I'm in the family room and I feel a goose-bump prickle, skin raising along the back of my neck. My thoughts crowd my brain, clamor inside my head. Here? In my house? I look around at the dust gathered along the baseboards, at the wisps of dog hair crouched in the corners of the floor, at the papers and books on the coffee table, at the unfolded pile of clothes on the sofa.

"Maybe we should clean the house," voice purposely flat and expressionless, eyes acknowledging my girl. "Do you think he noticed this dirty house?" Oh, shades of Martha in my reaction!

I sneak a look. She's processing. Eyes forward, hint of a smile; her hands like birds by her waist, lift up, turn at the wrists, down on the lap, up again. This is a habit, probably related to one of the neural pathways in her brain. The movement is my cue that she's concentrating on her words, on her communication, on being understood. It is unconscious and hypnotizing.

"He is coming. Are you ready?"

I don't know that she understands when she uses tenses. It is one of the language things we work on: yesterday, today, tomorrow. In Signed English, hand positioning designates tense. Throw the hand behind, over the shoulder, means an action occurred in the past. Behind equals the here and now. Push the hand toward the front, the action will occur in the future. In front equals before the here and now. It is a concrete way to perceive time, and we use it.

"Jesus WAS here? (hand over shoulder), or Jesus IS coming? (push to front).

Laughter, giggles. She wraps her sleep-warm arms around me in a good-morning hug. It is our routine. She doesn't answer the 'which'. It may be one of the most difficult thought processes for her. She has to evaluate the better answer.

I let it go.

But the thought haunts me. I share the exchange with my mother, with my husband, with my sister. We have all agreed that Sierra knows God, that she manifests an unusual and direct connection to all things spiritual. Is this prophecy?

I want to be ready.


We sit together at the breakfast table. The kitchen door is open, propped by a ceramic vase, screen door stopping the summertime flies. Sierra takes a sip of her coffee and points to the fan of dawn, beginning in the eastern sky. 

"Look, Mom. It is Jesus. He is here."

I see the lighted horizon, rays of sunlight stretching toward clouds with reluctant gray underbellies. Color has begun to bleed into the sky; it promises to be a beautiful sunrise.

"Here?" I ask. "Here in the sky?"

"Yes, Mom. Jesus. He is the sky."

I think about heaven, how I've tried to explain heaven to this daughter, heaven that I don't even entirely understand. The concept of heaven is convenient. God is in heaven. Look to the sky. God is in the sky. 

But she said Jesus IS the sky, not that He is IN the sky. 

I wonder if she's missed a word, or if I've missed a point. I think I may need her to explain heaven to me. He IS the sky. God IS the field, and the wind. Jesus lives. In us. With us. Heaven.

He is coming. 
He is here. 
Are you ready?

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for Sierra and her unique outlook. Thank you for teaching me through her. You are here, always, with us. You will never leave us, nor forsake us; we are yours. I am yours. Thank you for helping me to realize the difference between my convenient explanations, and the very real and present gift of Jesus.

Linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee #TellHisStory, and
Kelly at RaRaLinkup

Friday, December 11, 2015


Welcome to my little corner of the Five-Minute Friday community, where a group of dedicated bloggers link themselves with Kate Motaung and engage with a word prompt for five minutes... Just five. No editing, no revising - just a five-minute thought stream....

Today's prompt is... REFLECT.

GO --

We study light in fifth grade, reflection, refraction, and absorption. It's amazingly mathematical, the movement of light, bouncing off of surfaces at the same angle it bounced on (hmm...can you bounce ON to something?). Transmitting through objects and surfaces; emerging changed in predictable ways. Waves of light, measureable by height, amplitude, and length.  Resonating, vibrating. In synch and absorbed, never to be seen again, and out of synch - changed. There's science here. And numbers. Equations -- open and shut, done and done. Electromagnetic radiation -- those are the lightwaves -- the length determines the frequency which determines visibility. And here's the cool thing. Just because we can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there (yes, double negative intended).

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Genesis 1:3 (ESV)

Science and math can explain what it is and how it works. And the explanations are logical and satisfying. Opened and closed. Like visible light. Now you see it - it's easy to believe it.

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 
John 12:44-46 (ESV)

Not equation. No numbers. Not open and shut, not done and done.

Jesus as light.

Reflecting from us, in acts of kindness, in compassion, in loving one another as He loves us...

Transmitting through us - our attitudes changed by Him, choosing joy, choosing belief, choosing hope...

Absorbed inside of us - Holy Spirit cocooned in our hearts, never to leave, dependable and steadfast...

Out of the darkness. Jesus.

And today - I leave you with a quote for our world - 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; 
only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; 
only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, December 4, 2015


We argue, on occasion. True confession. It's a question of expectations and opinions and belief in the right or wrong of a situation. A question of statements, and disagreements, and finding common ground to go on. Never loud; no yelling, not even volume raised, but argument nonetheless.

And my daughter knows. She's sensitive to tone and innuendo, to body language, to abrupt silence. I don't know what goes through her mind. A storm cloud looming? A rocky path? It's ok that she witnesses our disagreements; she needs to know that people have disagreements. Even people she loves. Even her parents. She needs to witness respect in the difference. And resolution. It's ok that she recognizes things are not always hunky-dory. That life goes on. That love goes on.

And that's when I learn from her.

"It's e-lationship, Mom," she tells me. "You and K...., it's e-lationship." She puts her arms around me, the empathy master working on comfort, and all I can do is smile at the Sierra-ism. She skips first letters on her words sometimes, in this case, turning relationship into e-lationship.

But isn't that just like her. To show me the joy?

Elate - the verb means to make someone ecstatically happy. It originated from a combination of two Latin roots: ex -- meaning 'out or from,' and ferre -- meaning 'to bear.'  These became 'effere', which then became 'elat' which means raised - which then travelled over to late Middle English as the verb we now know.

I like that. Relationship and Elationship. We raise up, we bear. From two minds, from two people, out of two hearts -- we raise up.

Love is like that.Relationship is like that.
"At that season Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes: yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight. All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:25-30 (ERV) 

Five-Minute Friday and the prompt is Season. It is the beginning of Advent and the sometimes crazy Christmas season is upon us. In looking for an anchor for this post -- a scriptural anchor -- I came upon this passage from Matthew. In every translation except English Revised, season translates as time. As in - in that time... Curious. 

I tend to do this thing - this choosing of the 'underdog', so to speak. This choosing of a scriptural anchor that only uses season in one translation. When the whole prompt is season.


I'm sure it's because of the reference to children -- to the wisdom of children. Because I am a witness to this through my daughter. My 24-year old daughter who is not a child, yet, because of her unique capabilities and differences, perhaps because of her extra chromosome, shows me a different perspective.

In Matthew, Jesus was most likely at his wit's end (if you can imagine), revealing himself through supernatural means -- miracle upon miracle -- over and over, in cities and towns far and wide, yet realizing that the people he came to redeem still did not see or believe his true nature. How frustrating. So, instead of ranting and raving at those people, he turned the situation around and thanked his Father for the children - children without the burden of worldly knowledge - who believed through heart rather than head.

It reminds me of my daughter - who believes through heart rather than head. 

"It's e-lationship, Mom."

Of all the seasons of the year, it seems to me that this is the one where we need to stress the elationship in our relationships. 

Love is patient and kind; 
love does not envy or boast; 
it is not arrogant or rude. 
It does not insist on its own way; 
it is not irritable or resentful; 
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, 
but rejoices with the truth. 

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)