Friday, October 30, 2015

Bacon Bacon Bacon

Today, I am excited to join a community of writers. A one-word prompt and five minutes. Now, what in the world to do with this:  BACON!

I read the word 'bacon' on the page and my mind goes right to that commercial with the low-camera following a dog on his way through a spotless, gleaming kitchen.

"I smell bacon..." The voiceover is an adolescent, voice-just-changed, emphasis-on-the-BAcon. And the dog's front paws slide out sideways as his rear end tries to keep up with the nose in the air and the tail wag. Excitement on both ends.

"Bacon, bacon, BAcon...." Voiceover enthusiasm intensifies until he finally gets his treat. His bacon-flavored treat. From loving hands in that gleaming kitchen.

Yup! Our family does the commercial every time we cook up some bacon. Which really isn't very often, but special, just the same. I'm smiling just thinking about my daughter, with her little bit of a Down syndrome accent...

"Mom! Bacon bacon BAcon!!" And she literally breaks into peals of laughter.

"It's my favorite."  Yup. Of course it is. Because EVERYTHING is her favorite!

Ya know, I wondered how this would work. Five minutes and bacon. How the words could somehow turn a 'pig's ear' into a silk purse....  (you know....)

Well, maybe it's not a silk purse, but I'm smiling, and it's early early. And these moments, these simple things, these uncomplicated memories are precious.

Aren't they?

My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 131 (NIV)

So thank you, Five-Minute Friday community. Thank you for choosing this yummy word today.

Friday, October 16, 2015

I Have a Theory

Today is Friday; it is the day a community of writers set a timer, take a prompt and write. It is an opportunity to spill unedited thoughts across the blogosphere for better or worse. I'm working toward that five-minute limit; I can't seem to corral my thoughts before the timer dings. But I know this is a community of grace and encouragement, and blessed fellowship. The Five-Minute Friday links can be found here. They are always worth the time to read. Today's prompt? Green.

I have a theory about Fall color.

No, it isn't scientific. It isn't provable or quantifiable. It doesn't lend itself to experimentation. It really doesn't sit well in a world of measurement and precision.

In fact, it kind of leans toward the romantic. As in Romanticism. As in the art and literary movement of the first half of the nineteenth century -- with its emphasis on imagination and emotion as opposed to the Enlightenment values of reason and order. Yes, I had to look up the definition - thank you very much to the Metropolitan Museum of Art...

I adore the colors of Fall. I love to watch as the leaves turn, day by day, from deep, summer green to frosted tips of bright yellow and orange, to full-on sunbursts across the spectrum of warm - red, pink, neon brilliance. Just like Paris has it's fashion parades, the trees have theirs; and God, the designer outdoes himself. Season after season. Year after year.

Did you know that the colors we see are actually the reflection of the colors in an object? Light comes in waves. Objects either absorb or reflect those waves. The lightwaves that are reflected back to our eyes, are the colors we see. So when we call a leaf green, we are actually calling it by the color it does NOT contain, by the color it has reflected.

Interesting, right?

So, here's my theory about Fall color. We see green leaves all summer because the leaves are busy absorbing all of the warmth of the summer sun. Not just the warmth, but the warm colors. The reds, the oranges, the yellows. These are being banked, like a savings account, for the future.

And the future is Fall. These amazing colors we see, this cacophony of show-off brilliance, is that savings account.

It is the trees giving back the sunlight of summer.

But what if the future wasn't Fall, but was the future of God's Kingdom. The one Isaiah spoke about: the Glory of Zion? What if Fall color is God's promise to us, like the rainbow, of our future with him? God made the light. He made the trees. He designed the colors of Fall. Why not remind us of the day when He will be our everlasting light and glory.

The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Isaiah 60:19 (NIV)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Out the Window

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. 
When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 
1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

It is raining and the sky is grim and gray. Fall colors lay muted on the windowpane, smudged and running in rivulets down the glass. Joy in the rain. Joy in the clouds. Joy for the promise of growing, of life. Joy for the vision of sunlight beaming from heavy clouds like a crown for glory. Joy in rainbows to come. Joy in the colors of October like an artist's palette of warm sunlight -- a masterpiece in fluttering leaves of gold and orange and red.
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.                                                                      Luke 11:34-36  (NIV)
I think about finding joy, about choosing joy. Sometimes it's about as clear as mud, this joy thing. James wrote to consider it pure joy to face trials.  Paul wrote that joy is a fruit of the spirit. Jesus said his joy is in us. That through his words, he would make our joy complete. He said our grief would turn to joy. That no one will be able to take our joy away. Joy walks hand in hand with peace, with salvation, with trust, and with hope. Joy is found in the presence of love. Joy is found in the presence of God.

Words. Part of Christian-speak, like code between believers, like a magic spell, an abra-ca-dabra. It's in there. In Scripture. Listed 422 times, according to my concordance. Four-hundred and twenty-two times - stolen joy, given joy, filled with joy, be a joy, go out in joy, pure joy, complete joy, receive with joy, jump with joy. Four hundred and twenty-two times.


More than happiness. More than circumstance. Then versus now, of this world and in this world, choosing good over evil, His will over ours.

Choose joy. Find joy. It's not just Pollyanna glasses. It's a conscious effort to see the cup as half full, to find the positive, to honor, to respect, to love -- even the unlovely. It's letting go of fear and giving in to trust. Trust in a good and holy God. It's belief that Jesus is real -- as alive and caring in 2015 as when his sandals, covered in the dust and dirt of everyday, carried him, carried his love in the year 30.  It's faith in what can't be touched, or seen, or heard. Faith in the Holy Spirit who sparks our thoughts and actions, who speaks for us when we no longer have words.

Choosing joy is not a Christian 'thing', not an add-on, not an accessory. Not a secret membership or password. It isn't jargon. It's a way to understand, to honor, to love. It is a way to live In Christ. Always in Him. Those who have eyes, let them see.

What do you choose to see? What do you choose to believe? How will you choose to feel? What will you find? How will you understand? What discoveries will you make?

Do you see in light, or in darkness?

Who will you find?

Joining with RaRaLinkup and TellHisStory today.

Friday, October 9, 2015


Another week, another Five Minute Friday. Thank you, Kate, for the prompt today. Trust. I didn't write for five minutes. It was definitely longer. October, among others, is Down Syndrome Awareness month. If you are curious, or are doing your own research for your own reasons, I have a page linking to posts about life and learning with my daughter. Who happens to have Down Syndrome. I love her beyond the moon.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)

"You'll spoil her."

"No, Mom. Spoiling is what happens to rotten fruit. I'm teaching her to trust me."

I bent down to scoop my daughter off the floor where she lay in a puddle of sunshine, soaking up essential light. The hospital people said it was good for her; it would combat the little bit of excess bilirubin still in her bloodstream, those sloughed off red blood cells causing a faint yellow tinge to her skin. Better that she was home with me than under the lights of the chamber in the hospital. They also said to feed her more often. If I could.

Four weeks ago. My world turned inside out. Down Syndrome. Heart murmur. Jaundice. Premature. My daughter was born weighing five pounds, two ounces, a tiny, fighting, scrap of a baby, filling the operating room with the sound of her cries.

I remembered sewing all night with my watch next to me on the table, timing the contractions, sending my husband to work, and finally calling the doctor. I didn't want to be sent home and this baby was at least five weeks early.

"Come in."

My neighbors drove me the 25 miles.

I was admitted and hooked up to the machines that indicate strength of contractions and heartbeats. I could have told them, but they had to read numbers. They said the baby was in distress, something about the cord, and had me change my position. Knee/chest they called it. I called it (excuse the visual...) butt in the air.

My doctor came in. I could see his feet. Shoes, no socks, he had been called from swimming laps.

"We may have to do a C-section," he said. "But it would be better for the baby if you can deliver without surgery."

Baby. My only thought. I'm going to have a baby.

They wheeled me into an operating room with a surgical team standing by. Just in case. I pushed my girl into this sterile, echo-y room. My girl with the purple face, the plastered hair, the grasping fingers, and the cry. Between cries, the pouty lips. She rested a moment on my chest and then she was whisked away.

I was released the next day.

"We'll have to keep her here for awhile. We need to settle this thing in her blood. If the numbers don't go down, we may need to do a transfusion."

They sewed me up down there. The stitches were still tender when I drove to the hospital to see my girl, when I sat beside her, talked to her, sang to her. They had her in a special crib - enclosed - with little rubber tunnels so I could reach in and touch her. She wore a doctor's surgical mask like a string bikini, soaking up light to help break down those extra red blood cells.

I timed myself to her feeding schedule, pumping breastmilk in the middle of the night. I said yes to counting chromosomes. It's called a karyotype.

She stayed in the hospital for a week.

The test results came back, telling me what I already knew. Sierra, my beautiful, fighting girl, had Down Syndrome. I spent the next two weeks researching, calling, contacting, loving.

Four weeks. My parents visit. We had finally broken the hospital habit of bottle feeding. Sierra was gaining weight - loose-limbed - pick her up like a broken doll - questions, references, love.

I think my mother was teasing. "You'll spoil her, giving her all that attention."

Smiling, holding my beautiful daughter, "No, mom. Spoiled is rotten fruit. I'm teaching her to trust."

We are children of God. 
Nothing can separate us from his love.
His childbirth was creation.
It was his Son on the cross.
We have his full attention. 
He is good. 
He is faithful. 
He is sovereign. 
In him, we can trust.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Don't Be Afraid

They followed his instructions, laying on the ground in the classroom.

Then one at a time, he called them to stand. "Are you a Christian?"

My husband says to never show a gun unless you intend to use it.

Twenty-six years old. What could entice him to use the gun he held -- to pull a trigger that sent a bullet thudding into vulnerable flesh -- Christian flesh. The body of Christ. Family.

My sister and brother-in-law drove out of our driveway on Tuesday. Just Tuesday of this last week. After spending four and a half wonderful days visiting. We talked and laughed. We visited and caught up. We talked about family, and God, and being a Christian. We loved on each other. It was special.

And then I watch the news.


Why, why, and why?

I hear words.

Reeling. Shocked. Anger. Prayer. Heroes. Gun control. Sickened.

There have been 45 school shootings in the United States this year, according to The Independent and the Huffington Post.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:27-31

Linking with Kate and the wonderful family at Five Minute Friday