Saturday, March 30, 2013

Coffee Time - Ties of Love

I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
Hosea 11:4

"I have seven my cousins," my daughter stated as she sipped her coffee this morning.  We were talking about upcoming plans to visit with family this summer.  "Tristan, Katie, Kali, Ty, Bo, Justyn, and Jessie," her list was surprisingly in order from the oldest biological cousin to the youngest.  Biological because she also included spouses of cousins in her list.

That's the way she is - including everyone.

We were on the phone with my mom later, while driving to the commissary for our weekly groceries.  Sierra was talking about the planned week again.  "Hey Grandma, beach condo, Aunt Lynnie and Oscar and Bo, this summer..."  My mom told her she might be a little jealous, maybe she could go, too. So Sierra invited her.  "Yes, and Grandpa, and my cousins, Justyn and Jessie."

Mom and I laughed about how easy it was for her to include everyone in her plans.  Sierra's world is definitely a more-the-merrier place.  Family, friends - that phrase - she never meets a stranger - totally applies.   In fact, it has caused me stranger-danger worry on occasion.  My husband and I have had to lay down some ground rules about hugging - she's not allowed to hug someone if she doesn't know their name.  (Wouldn't you know she's really good at remembering people's names.... ) She has to high-five and handshake new acquaintances - especially boys she's meeting for the first time.  We've taught her about shoulder-to-shoulder girl hugs.  I'm not saying they always work - Sierra tends to have a selective memory about some rules.  And, it's pretty hard to uphold the rules when practically everyone who knows her looks forward to her hugs.

Here's my thoughts.  Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where there wasn't stranger danger?  Where you really could be friendly to everyone without having every gesture and nuance misconstrued?  Where everyone is included in the family?  I was thinking about this random acts of kindness movement (which I love...), and how it really could change our world.

Let's see, according to geohive.com, a website dedicated to population, there are an estimated 7,109,733,282 people in the world as of today.  If random acts of kindness were actually not random, but put into a geometric series instead - starting with one person to another, and each continuing their random acts so the kindness is essentially doubled every hour (one act, then two, then four, then eight, etc...), it would take somewhere between 32 and 33 hours for eveyone on earth to have experienced an act of kindness.  I know, logistically impossible, but isn't it a tempting thought??  Honestly, how hard would it be to be kind to someone every hour - a compliment, a little help, a smile, including them, a sincere thank-you, an unexpected gift, sharing, even a heartfelt hug... I believe it counts even if that kindness is directed at yourself - we need to learn to love ourselves a little more.

My daughter teaches me all the time.  She may not have the clearest speech, and she's definitely not the smartest.  However, she has a smile that can light up a room.  She's full of good hugs.  She's a natural at inclusion and relationship.  Everyone is welcome in her life - she binds them with ties of love.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Just One Life


Teaching is not my first career.  And it's not a piece of cake.  There are things about it that I enjoy: the lesson planning, the delivery, and I know this sounds kind of corny - but I really love those light-bulb moments when students really get a concept or a skill.  When something they've been doing finally makes sense to them - when they start connecting it to other learning, or to real life.  When they can start applying it.  Sometimes it's as obvious as if a cartoonist has drawn it - kind of a Diary-of-a-Wimpy-Kid moment.  Sometimes it's not quite so obvious; the understanding and learning shows up in homework and tests.  I'd be lying if I said those moments happen all the time in the classroom - I wish they would happen more often.  I work for them to happen more often.  But, more often than not, they happen at home, or later in life (oh, that's what my teacher was talking about....)

What I don't like about teaching is documentation and never-ending paperwork.  I don't like the having-to-prove that what we're doing in the classroom is what we're supposed to be doing.  I don't like being micro-managed by administrators and district higher-ups who have lost touch with actually being in the classroom - who forget the day-to-day.  When I first started teaching, my husband was surprised by the amount of work I brought home from school on evenings and weekends.  He asked why I couldn't get it done while I was at school - after all, I was there from 8 till 5 everyday.  What he'd apparently forgotten, was that I was in front of students teaching most of that time.  The grading, the planning, the parent contacts and bulletin boards and record keeping all had to be done outside of the school day.

Oh.

Truthfully, in the fifteen years I've been a teacher, the record-keeping part - the documenting and disaggregation - and the micromanagement have gotten worse. Classroom management is more difficult.  Not to mention the added stress of high-stakes testing...a subject that carries issues all it's own.  I don't know that I could be a new teacher in the midst of today's public school expectations.  There are many times when I have to weigh those light-bulb moments against the sheer burden of everything else.  I want to do something else.  Often.

And then I hear that phrase But if you make a difference in just one life...

About two-thousand years ago - on this day - Jesus was mocked, tortured, put on trial and sentenced to a horrible, painful death.  He was innocent.   He did it for me - just one life.

Oh.

                Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."
                                                               Luke 23:43  NIV

Thursday, March 28, 2013

That's How It Is



Whatever was, is. Whatever will be, is. That's how it always is with God.

Ecclesiastes 3:15 The Message

I've never been very good at chess.  My father loves the game.  I remember him trying to teach me to play.  It wasn't the variety of moves each piece made that was difficult for me.  It was the planning - the strategy.  I could never wrap my head around the if's.  If my opponent does this, then....  The problem was not the next move - it was the one five moves and ten moves into the future.  Even writing about it draws a picture in my brain of possibilities branching out to infinity.  The point of the game, apparently, is to narrow the choices of the opponent so they are forced to move into a checkmate.

My husband and I met at a bar.  His sister was the manager, so he filled in as bartender.  I went because of the karaoke.  We got to know each other over the pool table.  My husband happens to be one of those people who can do the same things over and over in the exact same way, which, combined with his ability to see angles on the table, made him an excellent player.  I used to watch him run the table from break to banking the eight at the finish.  It was actually a joy to see him play against other good players - they each stepped up their games in order to win, and some of the shots made were amazing.  He was a good player.  I wasn't so much.  It used to frustrate him to play against me.  I didn't make the expected moves against him.  The balls ended up lying in more difficult positions because I was pretty much inept at getting them to go in the pockets.  Not on purpose.  The problem for my husband was that I was only playing offense; my only goal was to get my balls in the pocket.  I didn't try to make it hard for him to make his shots, but because I wasn't very skilled, his choices ended up being difficult.  He had to step up his game to play against me.  No matter the opponent, his game improved.


I believe that God has a strategy.  A plan that takes into account the infinite number of possible moves - yet guides and directs so that in the end it doesn't matter the route, we will find ourselves in the same place.  Like chess, he will use our moves in combination with His, to carry His plan forward.  Like my husband, we become better players - no matter the level of practice.  Nothing can separate us from His plan and His love. It started when He spoke over the waters; it was carried forward through the sacrifice of His Son, it lives today in forgiveness, grace, and the hope of a new world.  God's plan for us always was, is, and will always be...  It is the perfect love story.  That's how it is with God.



Thank you, God, for your love.  No matter who we are, or what we do, you always love us.




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wings of Morning


Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
Job 38:12-13 NIV


Getting ready for school 
I opened the blinds in the kitchen 
As I do 
Every day

And there
Right outside my window
Across the yard
The light of morning

The trees parade
Their Easter finery
Red buds
Touched by the dawn

Full of the clear-light
Promise of sun
Wicked has been shaken out
Of the day

A gift for the soul
Fresh and clean
A new start
Like resurrection

God's spirit
Ever present
Holds me
On the wings of morning


Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
Psalm 139:7-10  KJV

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

God's Breath



The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen. 
Job 37:10 

It snowed again, the deepest snow we’ve had so far this year.  We watched it from our kitchen window, watched it fall like rain, wet and heavy.  We could see the trees bending beneath the weight of it – branches curving away from the trunk toward the ground – great glistening hoops of black and white.

News stations were full of broadcasts about the winter storm, about the winter weather that arrived after spring.  Newscasters pointed their way through maps that showed its size that showed the way it stretched and swirled across the land.  Predictions of depth and breadth transformed to pink and white bands on the screen.  Photos sent by viewers paraded.  Cameras rolled down highways and byways to record the roads, the drives, the get-arounds.

My phone buzzed.  It was a text photo.  From my sister in Illinois.  A good six-inches of snow was perched on the wrought iron rails of her back deck.  At least a foot lay over the patio table. It was a muted-gray world.  Like mine.  From 860 miles away – we were sharing the same storm.

It’s been a few years since my husband was deployed.  He was literally half a world away.  But every day, we managed to contact each other – by email, Skype video, or Skype instant message (technology is an amazing thing…).  Every day, he told me he loved me.  Every day, I told him I loved him.  Beside the physical distance, our messages were often separated by distance in hours.  His day started eight and nine hours before mine.  One day, he wrote something that I will never forget.  He told me that I would see his sun…. Half a world away and we were sharing the sun – It was like he’d given me a gift. He’d given me the gift of being near, of feeling his presence throughout the day, as long as the sun was in the sky… And then the moon.  And the stars.  In that moment, I realized that we weren’t so much separated as joined.  Joined by the things we shared.  What a precious gift.

Today, the snow is mostly melted where I live.  I am tired of the snow.  I am tired of the cold.  I crave the warm-weather days of spring and summer.  I look forward to trees with leaves, and green grass, and flowers.  I love flowers.  But, if snow and rain is what we get, it’s ok.  We shared – my sister and me. The breath of God fell on us both – at the same time.  It felt like family.

Thank you, God, for common experiences. Thank you for family.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Words



We cannot be too careful about the words we use; 
we start out using them and they end up using us.

Eugene H. Peterson
Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places:  A Conversation in Spiritual Theology 

You hear it on the playground, in the classroom, among children who probably don’t know any better. But it also blooms like a weed on the big screen – in comedies - intended to incite the laughter of the mob.  There are non-verbal references, mocking motions – awkwardly curled hand beating chest – imitation of physical challenge.  There are jokes – using accents that mimic speech difficulties.  That word, those motions, those jokes – just playing around, just teasing, making fun.

Retard.  The word comes from the Latin retardare, "to make slow, delay, keep back, or hinder.”  We see it in music direction – ritardando – slowing down gradually. It is a verb.

And then it became a noun.  It became a noun used in a medical/psychological sense to describe conditions involving cognitive and developmental delays.  It became a noun used to replace previous nouns: cretin, idiot, imbecile, moron…..  It replaced those words, those nouns, those labels because somehow they had become derogatory.

Somehow?  Here’s the thing.  Retard is short for mentally retarded - a person whose learning is slowed, whose development is challenged.  However, when a child on the playground, or an adult in a movie calls someone a retard, or calls something retarded, they are not using the term as a medical or psychological description.  They are using the word as an insult, a mistake, a stupidity.  Which means they perceive the condition of being mentally retarded to be offensive.  Which means they find people who are mentally retarded offensive - insults, mistakes stupidity.

And then there’s my daughter – who has Down Syndrome.  And there are her friends – friends with autism, friends with seizure disorders, friends with Fragile X - any number of conditions that cause them to be differently abled.  Differently labeled.  They are not insults.  They are not stupid.  They are not mistakes.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

It Had to Be


Palm Sunday.  That triumphant parade into Jerusalem.  And Jesus knew that his time was short.  He knew what was coming.  I am so humbled, so amazed, so in awe - of his strength, his grace, the discipline he must have had, to know what was coming and yet to minister.  To know what he would have to suffer - not only the physical pain, but the pain of betrayal, the pain of mockery, of the doubting and the denial.  He was wholly man and wholly God.  God in the knowing.  Man in the feeling.  Yet he taught.  And he cared.  And he blessed those around him - with his joy and his peace.  And finally with his sacrifice.  Hosanna.


It Had to Be

You took the forty lashes; you wore the thorny crown.
You had to bear your cross through mocking crowds.
Did you cry out when they nailed your hands onto the splintered tree?
It had to be hard for you to know it had to be.

It had to be hard to be your mother
With memories of her babe.
It had to be hard to be your Judas,
To know he would betray

It had to be hard to hear you praying,
And then to see you seized,
To try to stop the soldiers
As they took you from your knees.

It had to be hard for Pontius Pilate,
To have to wash his hands.
It had to be hard for Simon Peter
To deny you’d been his friend.

It had to be hard to hang beside you
Knowing you had never sinned.
It had to be hard to see your final breath,
And the whisper, “It is finished.”

You took the forty lashes;  you wore the thorny crown.
You had to bear your cross through mocking crowds.
Did you cry out when they nailed your hands onto the splintered tree?
It had to be hard for you to know it had to be.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Let All Creation Rejoice



Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Psalm 96:12










The beauty around us amazes me - I just have to be willing to look at things I sometimes take for granted.  Hmmm.....There are more pictures on my Flickr page - you can find it here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Welcome to Holland



Blogging is kind of a trip into experiments and new experiences. This is not my first blog, but it is the one I've been most faithful to (there's actually a little story behind that, but I'm saving it for another post, another day). The fun part - beside the writing - is designing how the blog looks and reads. There are templates for the meek-at-heart, and there are customization buttons on the templates for the brave. I suppose there are actually some out there in cyberworld who write their own code, design their own templates. I fall somewhere in the customization zone. I choose the layout, picture, fonts (type, size, and color), as well as the 'gadgets' at the side of the page.

What I want you to know, is that I made my background picture choice with a definite purpose. My daughter has Down Syndrome. She is a huge blessing in my life. But having her, makes me the mother of a child with a disability. The following is not something I wrote - but I wish I did. The author, also a mother of a child (now adult) with Down Syndrome, expressed the experience best in this wonderful metaphor. It is completely true. Even the part about the feeling of loss never going away. Sometimes in my bed, alone in the darkness at midnight, I find myself playing the what if game. What if my daughter had been born without a disability? What would we be planning, where would she be, how would our lives be different. The what if's sometimes end in tears. It's just a fact, and it's ok. Because I love Holland to the depth and breadth of my being; did I mention that tulips are my all-time favorite flower?  I've never known Italy; Sierra is my only child. And I couldn't be prouder of her - who she is, what she is, and where she is. I wouldn't trade her for the world - certainly not for Italy

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this...

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans...the Coliseum, the Sistine Chapel, Gondolas. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting. After several months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go.

Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland!” “Holland?” you say. “What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy. I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It’s just a different place.

So, you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.

But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around. You begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. And Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” And the pain of that experience will never, ever, ever, go away. The loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.



Emily Perl Kingsley - 1987 


Thank you, God, for my daughter. She is perfect in every way.

Math




We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.  And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.  We write this to make our joy complete.
1 John 1:3-4

I remember exactly when I discovered the satisfying nature of math.  My bachelor's degree is in something called Industrial Design.  It was conducted through the College of Architecture, alongside degree offerings in Interior Design, Environmental Design, and of course, Architecture.  I was fortunate to have been accepted in view of the portfolio I submitted.  I really came to the table poorly prepared for the actual performance of art or design - art had not been my priority in high school.  Because the degree itself was a Bachelor of Science in Design, it ended up being about a 50/50 combination of art and design, and engineering.  Projects consisted of designing products and then drafting them, rendering them and building models of them.  Presentations included manufacturing methods, exploded drawings, graphics, plus defense of our design.   There were only six of us in my cadre - six students who together practically 24/7 working in our studio, or in our required classes.  

I remember spending hours building the models of our designs - wood had to be magically made to look like plastic.  Bondo, glazing putty, primer, paint, and sanding and sanding and sanding.  I learned my way around a wood shop - I learned to operate a lot of machinery:  table saw, band saw, drum sander, lathe, jigsaw, and router, to name a few.   I learned to draft in pencil and ink, to render in marker (cool and warm gray as well as color) or colored pencil.  I learned to present using pantone films and rub-on letters, as well as cold press and hot press and spray-on adhesive.  Computer graphics and design was in its infancy, so those tools were unavailable.  Everything was hand built, hand made, carefully crafted, and yes, lovingly presented.

The presentations were the killer.  In the end, it didn't matter how much time, effort, or care had gone into the design and presentation of our products.  Bottom line.  If the instructor didn't like the color, or didn't agree with the 'lines', or took issue with the design reasoning, then the final grade fell short.  It was subjective.  

I learned to look forward to my classes that weren't subjective - my classes that required math.  There was one in particular that was just plain satisfying to me.  It was called Statics and Strength of Materials (oh my goodness - I still remember the name of the class after 30 years...).  We used math.  I would do my homework and bring it in to class, and the answers were either right or wrong.  If they weren't right, I could pinpoint the reason why.  The thinking was logical and sequential - no creative leaps or out-of-the-box solutions.  Straightforward.  

It balanced me.  

So, now I teach math.  To fifth-graders.  The funny thing is that the teaching challenges all of my abilities.  In a good way.  It challenges my creativity - taking the required learning and breaking it down to present it in a way that the students will grasp and understand.  It challenges my logic and sequence - how to most efficiently and effectively organize and order the lessons into the calendar days and class times.  It challenges my people-skills - in a classroom of pre-adolescent kids, their parents, and the administration and staff at my school. 

Here's the new eureka moment.  While I was reflecting on one of my lessons the other day - ratios and proportions - and I was trying to analyze why the kids were having such a hard time with it... I came upon the notion that math is all about relationship.  I think the kids are still doing what I used to do - thinking about math like a factory:  you put the numbers into a series of abstract rules and processes, and numbers come out.  The old input/output machine concept.  Numbers are the building material and numbers are the product.  So they get confused in the numbers.   It's abstract.  Isolated.  

In relationship, numbers represent something.  The somethings have a connection; connections show up as patterns, processes, or rules.  Math finds and defines the connections, the relationship.  

Like us.  We are in relationship.  We have a connection - to ourselves, to each other, to God.  People in the Old Testament used to give ‘fellowship offerings’ as a way to give thanks or establish fellowship between themselves and God - peace.   I think numbers in relationship – math - is God’s fellowship offering to us.  He shows us connection in everything around us.  He reveals Himself – even in math.  There is joy in that.

Thank you, God, for eureka moments.



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

David's Conversation



By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42: 8


How to begin...  I suppose it would be best to keep it simple.  So here goes:

My mind doesn't rest.  Incessant thoughts, myriad images, music, conversations, what if's, and maybes - it is in constant motion.  When I read, I see connections to previous reading, to current events, to people and places.  When I hear music, I smell and taste memories of past events;  I feel, my heart sings or weeps with the notes and mood of the song.  I find it difficult to be in single conversation without testing alternative scenarios, alternative dialogues.  Word to phrase, phrase to thought, thought to idea -  testing against prior experience, selecting the right path, the socially acceptable, politically correct path. Inner turmoil - weighing actions against deeds, working through decisions and choices.  My thoughts invade my sleep with dreams of interminable traffic - I can't pull out onto the road because of the unending lineup of vehicles moving by.

Enter daily scripture.  I prefer to read the Bible in chronological order - especially the Old Testament.  Seeing the stories in context helps me to consider their application in context.  I have found a website that suits my curiosity and study.  Not only does it provide different translations, it also provides several other tools for study - concordance, dictionary, and my favorite - commentaries.  You can link to it here.

So, today I was reading Psalm 42.  As the deer panteth for the water... (King James Version)  I recognized the hymn - one of the melodies that reminds me of a lullaby.  But the words didn't sound very lullaby-ish.  It's a craving - calling out for God.  Lullabies settle us, cover us and tuck us in; this song pulls us out.  Images of David's struggles - both external and internal passed through my mind.  I understand him; this is Old-Testament-asking-for-forgiveness-separated-from-God stuff.  David misses God, misses the good times, yearns to have them back.  I get it.

Deep calls to deep...  I love the poetry.  I so appreciate David as a master of metaphor.  The phrase intrigues me.  I feel the pull - away from lullaby - away from sleep - away from comfort and security.  I feel David's downcast soul.  

But the psalm itself doesn't feel downcast.  It feels hopeful.  Why?  Calvin's commentary gives me the best answer (and the most fun, believe it or not...)  He considers the psalm to be a conversation - "But David here represents himself as if he formed two opposing parties..."  The idea!   Now I can look at the psalm in a new light - Watch!

David:  As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”  These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Holy Spirit:  Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

David:  My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan,the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.  Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.


Holy Spirit:  By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.

David:  I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?  Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”  My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long,  “Where is your God?”

Holy Spirit:  Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. 

Don't you love it!  David, in the midst of his misery and all of his feeling sorry for himself... David is being comforted by the Holy Spirit.  Reminded.  It IS a lullaby!  Here are the things that really make me think...  I am intrigued by ...why so disturbed within me?  It makes me think of us being inside of God, instead of the Holy Spirit being inside of us.  It's no wonder He never leaves us - we are part of Him!  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him....  Oh my goodness!  Yet means still - no matter what - always and forever - like in heaven.  What a vision - what a God - unending, enduring, everlasting - ever hopeful, ever faithful - always praising, God of life.

End with this.  Music.  I found two versions that I liked - and I couldn't choose between the two.  So, here they are, guitar and piano.  Maybe they're having a conversation of their own...


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Coffee Time - Rain



My daughter is awake.  "Rain, again?"  Her tone suggests that she, too, is tired of the gray.  "I hate it, the rain."  She sits at my desk with her coffee.

"We need the rain.  It helps the grass and flowers grow.  We need the water.  You shouldn't hate the rain.  God gave it to us.  The trees need rain.  The rain will make everything green again.  You'll see, soon it will be green."  I don't like to hear my daughter say hate.  It seems somehow profane, coming from her.  Too strong - too dark - too passionate.  I'm not sure why I'm surprised, though.  She is a black and white girl...

"Ok, rain is ok," she takes a sip from her cup.  "It is Spring.  My shorts..."  My daughter is a summer child.  She loves warm weather - even hot weather.  Skin.  She would wear shorts year-round if she could.  Shorts, sandals, and tank tops.  Pointing to her bare arms with one of her Sierra smiles, she shows me her skin.

"Not today, Honey.  It's still cold.  Spring is next week.  It's not time for your shorts, yet."  We had a beautiful, warm spring-like day last week.  Sierra took it upon herself to switch out her winter and summer clothes (girl after my heart - they are hanging in order by color...).

We compromise.  Shorts are out, but short-sleeves are ok.  Boots, no - sandals and tennis shoes, yes.  I have to draw the line at the dress she plans to wear to church on Sunday.  It's a spaghetti strap number that worked fine with a Texas Easter, but just won't work for March in Virginia.

"I love it, the purple dress", she insists.

"I know you do.  I love it, too.  It looks very pretty on you.  But, Sweetie, it's going to be cold on Sunday."

"No, it is Spring."

"Yes, it will be Spring, but it will be cold.  You can wear the purple dress when it gets warmer.  You might want to think about wearing pants on Sunday.  It's going to be cold."

She actually turns her head away when she doesn't want to hear something.  It's a signal.  She's full - she needs to process.   It's time to change the subject.  Redirect.   Soon she reaches for her coffee again.

"I love it, the Spring."

"Me too."

You know, sometimes you just have to accept - it is what it is.  Rain is here.  Spring is coming.  We may not like the rain, but we like it's results.  Sometimes you have to go through stuff you don't like to get to the stuff you do... Like rainy days.  Hmmm...







Monday, March 18, 2013

Universe Fellowship

This is a picture of one of the sculptures designed, and created by the youth from Bob's Diner.  You can read about this unique youth group by clicking on this link.
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When the morning stars sang together 
all the sons of God shouted for joy...
Job 38: 7

Fortunately for me, I get to accompany my daughter to her youth group meetings.  She started attending  when we lived in Texas.  Fort Hood has an amazing, active group of up to 100 middle and high school youth, who attend Wednesday night meetings each week.  They call it Bob's Diner.  It is a different kind of community in that it's military - people come and go.  In fact, the leaders make it a point to let the kids know that they are always in transition.  At any time, about one-third of the youth are getting ready to PCS (the military member is making a Permanent Change in Station) away from Fort Hood , have recently PCS'd to Fort Hood, or are actually holding steady.  The kids were really good at welcoming new faces, at fellowshipping, and accepting one another.  They were wonderful with my daughter.  

Imagine being the leader of a group this size and this fluid.  Imagine trying to channel all of that energy, and youthful creativity, and curiosity, and impulse...  The couple in charge did (and continue to do) a great job!  First, they truly love the kids - each and every one of them.  They share their gifts with the youth - he, as an artist (kids from Bob's Diner made the statue in the picture under his direction), and she - as a musician.  She leads a Bob's Diner praise band composed of some very talented kids... They share their passion for Jesus.  

So, this morning, I was thinking of God's speech in Job - the poetry and majesty of Chapter 38.  You can read it here.  And when I came to the verse about the morning stars singing - I thought about a video played for us one Bob's Diner night.  It combines all of the gifts and passion of the youth leaders in a format that held all of our attention that night:   How Great is Our God!!!

Here's the thing.  I love how there's someone out there - Giglio who pulls the technology of YouTube and SETI and even an ipad mashup app, with praise and worship, together to present to someone like the youth leaders at Bob's Diner.  I love how the leaders at Bob's present this to us; kids and parents who live in transition.  I love how it combines science and the Bible.  In relationship.  Everything falls together, works together.  Kind of like fellowship.  Yeah, universe fellowship.  I like that.

God of the Heavens, thank you for praise and fellowship:  in art, in music, in groups like Bob's Diner.  Continue to guide and bless your messengers and leaders.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pi Day



I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever.

Psalm 86:12

My partner and I missed celebrating Pi Day with our classes.  If you're not a math person, Pi Day is on 3/14 - the first three digits of pi, which is defined as the ratio between the circumference of a circle and it's diameter.  Technically, celebrations for Pi Day aren't supposed to begin until 1:59 (the next three digits of the ratio).  We could've had pie and we missed it!  Darn!  So, long story short, I was listening to the radio on my way home from school on Thursday, and the announcers were talking about pi.  Did you know that someone has actually taken the digits of pi (which, by the way, has not been totally mapped - it is a non-repeating decimal that has been calculated out to over 10 trillion digits - you can find the wikipedia article here), and have used those digits to musically represent the number?  Cool, huh?  Here's the music of pi.

Here's my thoughts.  God puts His imprint all over our world and our universe.  There is wonder and pattern in everything we see, everything we hear, everything we touch.  The closer we look, the more evidence is revealed.  We are smack dab in an amazing creation, put there by awesome God - who astonishingly - cares about and loves us.  Why would we ever want to do anything but praise and worship Him?

Heavenly Father, God of the Universe, thank you!  Thank you for this marvelous work - your creation. Let me glorify you today and always, in my thoughts, my words, and my actions. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Selah


You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.  Selah
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Psalm 32: 6-7

It's that word again - Selah.  I am fascinated, mesmerized, hypnotized, obsessed... I keep seeing that word stuck at the end of lines of psalms - songs - meaning rest, pause, take a moment.  

Figurative language can really get my wheels turning.  I remember when first learning about oxymoron - thundering silence  (probably Example 101) is still one of my favorites.  It brings to mind the looming of thunderclouds.  Not the thunder or storm itself, but rather the threat.  And when I put the image together with circumstance, I envision that calm before the storm of verbal tirade, or the moment before battle... It's a concept of duality - it doesn't really matter that two things are opposite, you're going to get them both.  It's an anticipation of something coming  It's kind of a skin-tingly, hair-on-end feeling.  

I believe oxymoron goes beyond figurative language.  That duality happens all the time.  It ends up being a bottom line kind of thing...  Once upon my first marriage, my husband told me stories about his life that were kind of on the scary side.  Stories about his tours in Viet Nam, and his training, and his actions.  But the stories didn't really add up when I put them on a timeline...  So, here's the bottom line. If his stories were true, then he was a scary man - if his stories weren't true, if he had made them up, then he was a scary man.  In the end, it didn't matter which was truth; the result was the same.

Selah feels like a thundering silence.  Imagine a drum solo without the time between beats, waves on the ocean without the receding water, breathing in without breathing out.  When I look it up - selah means a musical mark like a rest, a word expressing think on it, or amen, or forever.  Apparently the roots of the word are arguable - from the Greek for always or from the Hebrew to hang as in to measure/weigh by hanging.  Sometimes it's like someone saying period after a particularly strong point in an argument.  Sometimes it's like that rest you need after doing a wind sprint - catch your breath and get ready to go again.  My favorite interpretation, however, comes from Bullinger, who believes selah to be a conjunction between two contrasting passages - a cause/effect relationship.  I like that.  It's an oxymoron of life.  It's the bottom line when it doesn't matter which truth you choose - the end result is the same.

So, what about this selah - the one between verses six and seven in Psalm 32?  Here's the pow.  This selah is all of the above.  David just finished telling us about the nature of God with us.  He is our strength and protector.  He is our hiding place and our deliverer.  Selah - rest on this, and Amen, period, the end.  But David isn't done - here's where the cool part of selah comes in - the oxymoron part.  The next verse changes person.  It's either God instructing David (God as 'I'), or it's David taking it upon himself to instruct others (David as 'I').  There's a world of lessons in that transition...  God will care for and instruct us or because God has delivered and protected and cared for us, it is up to us to take that out into the world - to others.  The pow?  It doesn't matter which way you go - the bottom line is the same.  The teaching and counseling will happen.  It's kind of a skin-tingly, hair-on-end feeling of anticipation.  Selah!

The link at the top is to a song by the group Selah - one of my favorite groups.  It seemed appropriate.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#TellHisStory: Letter to a Friend




I can't get you out of my mind.  About a week ago, I happened on a comment you made on Facebook, a comment about having a different-than-Christian point of view because you are an agnostic.  The word brought up memories of a time when I said the same thing.  You want to hear something funny, though.... I actually looked the word up again, yesterday, just to make sure that what you said and what I was thinking were one and the same.  And once I read the definition, I knew we were.  Because I see the searching in you.  I see the logical thinking, the fascination with science fiction, the taking reality one step further into an infinite universe of possibilities.  Agnostic: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable...

I remember days of being open-minded.  If God exists and truly created the universe, then earth and mankind would be so small and insignificant as to be completely unnoticed - I believe I compared us to a drop from a sneeze...  Thou shalt have no other gods before Me - meant God was not alone.  If there was more than one god, then the whole premise of Judeo-Christian belief fell apart.  When a group of Jehovah's Witnesses came by, I asked them what made their beliefs different.  They said they believed that Jesus was on the throne in heaven.  My response to them was "Why? Is God dead?"   Open minded, right?  I loved Bible stories, but I didn't believe they really happened.  I believed just as equally in the possibility of fairies.  There seemed to be enough evidence that Jesus had actually lived, that he had been an amazing teacher of moral good, and that he'd had a huge following in his day, but Messiah?  Savior?  God?  No.

I wasn't in love with religion.  History had shown me that evil had been done in the name of God.  The Old Testament showed me a jealous God, an extreme justice, eye-for-an-eye God, a God of thunder, fire, and storm.  I was pretty sure that I didn't want to be a part of religion.

But, I also remember feeling left out.  Good people tried to do right, they cared about others, they gave to social causes.  That was me.   I tried.  I cared.  I gave.  I didn't say mean or ugly things.  I wasn't a monster.  But I wasn't a Christian.  People around me were Christians.  They said things like Have a blessed day.  They held prayer meetings.  They listened to praise music.  They talked about grace and forgiveness.    I wanted to join their faith club, but I couldn't.  My intellect wouldn't allow it.  I would have to believe in something that I couldn't prove.  I would have to talk to someone I couldn't see.  My integrity wouldn't allow me to fake it - I couldn't just pretend to go along with the group.  Not that group.

Faith was the answer, I decided.  Faith is that ability to do those things that I was rebelling against... to believe in the unprovable, to speak to the invisible.  So I asked a friend about faith.  "Faith is a gift from God," she said.   Back to the drawing board for me, then.  It hurt to think that this God of hers would choose to give her a gift and not me.  Tears.

Well, I couldn't very well call myself open-minded if I chose not to listen to the side I'd been fighting against. The side that had caused me to feel unwanted and unloved.  Another friend suggested a program at her church and I convinced my husband to attend with me.  It was called the Alpha program, and it changed my life.

Classes met every week; I ended up going to every single one.  See, the people who wrote the program knew me.  They knew my arguments.  I was an agnostic - I could argue either way about the existence of God.  I was open minded.  Jesus, a good teacher, had existed.  And that's where they started - with Jesus, not God.  The mind-blower for me was this quote from C.S. Lewis:

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic, on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse - but let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to.

We are faced then with the frightening alternative.  The man we are talking about was (and is) just what he said or else a lunatic or something worse.  Now it seems to me obvious that he was neither a lunatic nor a fiend; and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem.  I have to accept the view that he was and is God.  God has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form.  

Mind blower?  For me, it was.  Because this statement put the missing piece of my illogic into place, turned it around, and made me believe - not only in the divinity of Jesus, but in the existence of God.  In logic, you know the outcome once A equals B, and B equals C....  So, yes, I went to every single class in the program - sometimes kicking and screaming, because I have to tell you, being a member of the faith club is not without work and expectations.  That gift from God?  Faith is given because we ask Him for it.  Simple as that.  Jesus?  He is waiting for us to ask Him into our heart.  Simple.

Here's the thing.  I know that we - you and I - don't really know each other that well.  We worked together - we talked a little.  I keep thinking about that saying from school - that thing we talk about when we analyze good teachers.  They won't care how much you know until they know how much you care.  I care about you!  I care that you are honest, and logical, and searching.  I care that you probably feel left out sometimes.  I care that you're trying to do this thing - this living right - all by yourself.  It breaks my heart to think of you without God.  Without Jesus.  Without the Holy Spirit.  The most amazing thing that I found in my journey back to God, is that He really never left me.  He hasn't left you either.  He loves you more than you will ever understand, and that's ok.  Sometimes you have to let go of that control and intellect and just know that All things are possible with God.  It's Theology 101 - He is God and we're not.  Period.

Please let me know how you're doing.  If all of this is just too much, it's ok - I still care and want the best for you.  Of course I'll joyfully share anything and everything else I've found on this journey - it's been quite a ride so far, and I'm looking forward to SO MUCH MORE!!

Love,

Janet

Just a note - I did actually write this letter to a friend, for all the reasons stated.  It was a first for me - I don't know exactly how I would have taken receiving a letter like this during my years as an agnostic.  But I just couldn't stop thinking about how grateful I am for God's grace, and how very different my life has been since I invited Christ in.  I was lost and now I'm found.  Admittedly,  life here on earth isn't always happily-ever-after  rosy, and I'd be lying if I said it was.  But having Jesus makes all the difference.  He truly strengthens and comforts.  I know that I am a child of God.  I know that I am loved and forgiven (!)  My redeemer lives!  

So,  I thought maybe someone else might be feeling lost...someone else might chance on this blog - might be lead to read this post... and maybe this personal letter would lead them to search - as I did.  I pray that if it's you, that God puts the right people in your life to help you, to teach you, to show you.


But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deuteronomy 4:29


Another post from the archives - until I can get to writing again - which I sorely miss! Linking with Jennifer, Emily and Jen.




Roller Coaster



A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:34
"Fellowship, the scripture is about fellowship."  Arms crossed, leaning forward, the woman spoke to the gathered group. Silence stretched languorouly across the room.  Again.  The quiet glazed eyes and set mouths like formal photographs.  She looked around, searching for the next speaker.  Guessing from where the next voice would come.

"We need to get to know each other."  A man across the circle began.  "Jesus said to love your neighbor - you can't love your neighbor if you don't know them."  The head swiveling was almost comical.  Speak.  Look around.  Speak.  Head swivel.  Attitudes of listening.  Well intentioned.  Sincere.  Nice-to-meet-you smiles fading, the effort to keep them too much.

This gathering - this meeting - was awkward.  They had two things in common:  they were Christian, and they were involved, in some way, with church youth.  This circle was their opportunity to discuss and gain insight into what their youth were studying in their groups.  The theme:  super-glue for a broken world.  The super glue?  Fellowship.  Caring for one another.  Kindness.  Getting to know each other.  Empathy and sympathy.

Civility ruled.  Speakers took turns - mini statements about their backgrounds and beliefs.   The conversation swam tentatively in shallow waters seeking acknowledgement and agreement.  Self-conscious - searching for validation.  Contrived.  And I knew why.  Fellowship.  We were strangers.

Years ago, I lived in a very social world.  I had a lot of friends and we did stuff together.  We went dancing; we had parties; we met at happy hour; we played and laughed together.  Good grief, we even exercised together.  Conversations centered on books and movies, clothes, cars, food, places...sometimes we even talked about our work, and rarely - we spoke of our families.  We were experts at 'bar' talk - that shallow pool of conversation that doesn't require emotional commitment.  We were fun.  We were happy.

I stayed there, in that shallow pool, for a long time - living a kind of double life.  I was in a relationship with someone who was in a relationship with someone else.  That was a roller coaster ride.  There was a lot of pretend involved - pretending that everything was ok, making our time together happy when I was dying little by little inside, not knowing the future.  There was a lot of crying.  I didn't believe in God.  I didn't want to feel deeply; I didn't want to cry, so I purposefully stayed away from the depths.  Truly, I was lost - at the surface.

So, here I was at this youth conference.  Years later.  No longer lost.  But I could see the shallows swimming around me.  Well-meaning, experienced youth leaders and pastors were having a hard time getting to the deep waters.  I could relate - no one knew the struggles of anyone else.  In order to really fellowship, we needed to share our struggles.  Giving voice to that sharing meant we each had to face the demons of our past and present - we had to take that E ticket ride through our own emotional baggage in order to let anyone in.  And then, quid pro quo, we had to ride shotgun on their emotional baggage.

God made us in His image.  We feel for each other because He gave us emotions and the ability to express our emotions.  If our world hadn't fallen, perhaps our expressions would stay on high ground - love, encouragement, kindness, hope, faith...  But we are a fallen world and we stray to anger, frustration, disappointment, fear, anxiety.  Fellowship means getting to know each other.  It means sharing beyond the surface; it means learning why feelings are sometimes muffled or restrained.  It is situational.  It means confessing.  It means trusting, listening, laughing, and crying.  It means getting on a roller coaster.  It means giving up control.  It means changing.

I love God's perfect plan.  He knew we'd be in for a ride.  He knew the best fix.  Fellowship.  But fellowship isn't easy; it takes time.  It takes purpose.  It takes getting through the awkward and moving to comfortable.  It means sharing our situations - our choices, both good and bad.  It means suspending judgement.  Job's friends sat with him silently for seven days.  Seven days of just sharing time with him.  Fellowship means we have to be willing to feel; we have to be ready to laugh and cry together.  Ups and downs - you can't fully have one without the other.

We were in the right place at that conference - we were doing the right thing.  It was a beginning.  Awkward, yes.  Tentative, also yes.  But a beginning.

Getting to know one another, koinonia, Christianity itself, truly and completely, is a wild ride.   C.S. Lewis described God/Jesus in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, like this:

It's quite alright.  He'll often drop in.  Only you mustn't press him.  He's wild you know.  Not like a tame lion.

Our God isn't a tame God.  Christianity isn't a tame thing.  The fellowship that drives it is frighteningly uncontrollable - We have to be willing to get on the roller coaster and go for the e-ticket ride.  I like that.

Thank you, God, for the opportunity of fellowship.  Help me to give up control.  Help me to dive deep and to ride the ride.  Thank you, for wild Christianity.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Music of the Spheres



My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.

Psalm 57:7-8

Music fills me. It is in my head from the time I wake up until I go to bed at night. I think I'll have to blame my mother. She has a song for everything - for every occasion, for any circumstance. I remember a trip our family took, one year, from Arizona to the midwest, to the East Coast and back. I think my mom sang the whole way - and never repeated a song. She learned to play the guitar when we were growing up. That guitar and singing around the fire are the basis of my favorite memories from camping - with just our family and with others. Visits to my mother's family always included pulling out the guitars and singing. I have some very talented relatives. I remember doing dishes with my sisters and playing a game. One of us would start a song, the game was to interrupt with a different song - if you repeated, you lost. Yes, it got a little noisy in our kitchen...

As we grew older, my sisters and I sang in choruses and choirs. We sang in church. We took piano and played and sang. Music filled our home.

Yesterday, I was struck by a section from the book Tuck Everlasting. The plot involves a choice - to drink or not to drink from a fountain of youth. The writing is excellent - luxurious even - full of the kind of figurative language a reader can really savor. There's a section where one of the characters is trying to explain why everlasting life would not be a blessing. It's that circle of life speech, but done in pieces. It creeps up on the reader. The final realization that death is part of life comes to the main character, a young girl, through the wise words of Tuck:

Your time's not now. But dying's part of the wheel, right there next to being born You can't pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that's the blessing. But it's passing us by, us Tucks. Living's heavy work, but off to one side, the way we are, it's useless, too. It don't make sense. If I knowed how to climb back on the wheel, I'd do it in a minute. You can't have living without dying....I want to grow again...and change.                           
Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting



Bear with me.  So, the passage had me thinking... as Christians, we look forward to our heavenly life.  To life everlasting.  It made me wonder what heaven is going to actually be.  I mean, we've all heard the Bible stories - we will be made new, heavenly kingdom, hosts of angels, life everlasting - There it is again - the theme of the book, the theme of the bible... so I had to do some research.

I found an excellent article in "Christianity Today";  Peter Kreeft, a professor of philosophy at Boston University answered 35 of the most frequently asked questions about heaven.  You can read it here.  Yup, I read the whole thing.  I'll probably read it again - it's a lot to take in with one reading.  But here's what I found;  we won't be bored.  Unlike Tuck, we will be changing, growing for eternity, learning about God and one another in order to love more perfectly.  AND - there will be music!  I love this next quote - imagine the prose, poetry, and music of heaven if what we know in this world already moves us through the spectrum of human emotion...


Music, according to widespread tradition, was the first language, the language God spoke to create the universe. I strongly suspect there is more to this than we think. We usually think of music as ornamented poetry and of poetry as ornamented prose. But God is not prosaic. I think prose is fallen poetry and poetry fallen music. In the beginning was the "music of the spheres," and so it will be in the end.                

Peter Kreeft


Thank you, God, for music, for family, and for the promise of a heaven filled with both.

Monday, March 11, 2013

#TellHisStory: Guess What



Make a joyful noise, all the earth.  
Psalm 100:1

"Hey, guess what, Mom,"  my daughter turned to me in the car - big smile on her face.  We were on our way home from the commissary.

"I don't know, what?"  I thought I was playing our game - the one where the first person gets to say that's what with a big giggle.  But no, she had an answer.  A clear-as-a-bell, no Down-Syndrome-accent answer.

"I'm going to sing on the microphone tomorrow."  She means that she's going to sing with the praise band on the microphone at church...

I could barely reply to her, for laughing.  "Hey, guess what, Sierra..."  She looked over, full-on smile beaming, "You're not going to sing on the microphone tomorrow."  Emphasis on the not.  Then it was her turn to laugh.

Meet my girl.  Surface silly, emotion deep.  She's twenty-one, soon to be twenty-two (as she reminds me on a regular basis).  I've written before that she lives out loud - there are no secrets with Sierra.  The surprise is her sense of humor.  She was teasing me.

Ok, so there's a bit of a story behind this...

Music is huge to Sierra.  Her ipod has close to 2000 songs loaded on it - and they shuffle all day long for her.  She loves CMT, VH1, and American Idol.  She loves to perform.  She has a Sierra-sized, pink guitar, and of course, the requisite Garage Band instrument set.  When I hook up the karaoke machine (another story....), she's right there, karaoke-ing.   She air-guitars and drums in the car;   We can hear her singing with her headphones on, while she 'works' in the other room.  Did I mention that she lives out loud?

You would think, with all this playing and sharing and acting of music, you would think it would be ok for me to sing along to the radio every now and then.  Nope.  Sierra shushes me every time I start to sing.  And I sing ok.  Really.  I sing on key - I know the words - I have rhythm....   Really.  But every time I start to sing along - there's Sierra.  She either shushes me, or she tells me it's too hard for me, or she starts punching the air around me in annoyance.  It's annoying to me...

Of course, my rebel kicks in and I start to sing more, louder, and off-key.   I turn the music up.  And eventually I get her to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.  But, honestly, it kind of hurts my feelings...

So, we're driving to the commissary, and I start singing along with the radio, and Sierra tells me to stop singing - and I turn the radio off and have a conversation with her.  I tell her that I love music as much as she loves music.  I tell her that I love to sing along with the songs just like she does.  I tell her that it hurts my feelings when she always shushes me.  And I tell her that I love her, anyway, even though my feelings have been hurt.  She turns her head away - I know she's processing something that she doesn't want to hear.

We run our errands - gas for the car, grocery shopping.  And now we're on our way home.  The radio is on.  I'm singing along, and for once, Sierra is not trying to get me to stop.  Instead, I hear, "Hey mom, guess what...."

I suppose I''m going to have to consider a way to get her on that microphone at church someday...

Thank you, God,  for the gift of my daughter and her sense of humor.  Thank you for her guidance toward joy.

Linking with Jennifer at TellHisStory

** Note:  I've been slammed-busy with a long-term substitute position for a woman who could really use some prayers for healing, strength, and peace.  I miss writing, and I miss this community.  Today's post is from my archives.  Thanks for reading, and thanks for prayers.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Enjoying the Day







I was out enjoying the day while my husband cleaned up his bike from last week's snow.  The temperatures were in the upper 60's, the sun was out, the sky was Arizona-blue.  It was gorgeous.  I managed to play a little with my camera - catching those small moments.  I can tell that I'm going to love Spring!