Sunday, October 28, 2012

And then.

My darling mom brought my darling daughter home from school a week ago Wednesday. It didn't go so well. The toe of her Crocs caught on the top brick step and she fell forward into the door frame. Her Humerus bone took most of her weight and fractured in a spiral. Days, a surgery with pins and plates later, she's here. At my home. Healing, resting and trying to figure out why she isn't whole. And going.

But really, aren't we all broken, some more literally than others? Not able to be who we're created to be without the grace and activity of the Creator. Our God.

So Mom spends more time on the couch. She's just moved from the fancy hospital gown to muumuu like dresses. She's alternately fine and grateful, tearful and frustrated.

But she said two things in the hospital immediately that reminded me of why I am who I am. First, "Well, God must have a plan. I sure don't know what He's doing but I'll trust He knows."  And then later she quoted the sweet pastor friend who married my Dear and me: "We don't ask why me Lord. We ask, why not me Lord."

Right now we're living a study of patience and love.

God is ultimately the One Teacher. Isn't He?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Prayer and listening

This sweet picture found it's way into my inbox this morning from the Navigators. With a question about discipleship and prayer. What I love, beyond the darling heart kites, going up, is the beauty of hearts descending.

The agape.

The agape raining. 

He reigns.

Down. For listening.

Listening changes my prayers. It changes my life. He directs. I hear. I pray and we are in one accord. Harmony with the Great I Am.

Of heart.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

This is my challenge.

Thank you Francis Chan.

What shapes your consideration?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

An Unexpected Grace

God surprises me.

I'm a mom of two teens. I love 'em, God bless them. We have fun together in general, but I see where we've drifted into a rhythm of life and work which has given us some kind of shortened vision. We know each other well and believe we know what each other is thinking or why we're doing something and we seem to think, act and speak out from that place. Two little weeks this summer changed this for me.

Every year, my husband and son go off to Comicon for a few days. My girlie and I enjoy those days in a staycation we really look forward to. We catch up on things we want to do. Nails. Shopping. Cleaning. We just do what we like and this summer I found myself just sitting on a beach while she bodysurfed. I know this is what summer was invented for, but we do busy really well. We're very good at errands and planning. So, on this particular day, we didn't have a plan to go to the beach. We knew we were stopping for a cinnamon roll for breakfast somewhere, but the shift happened and there we were.

There are other wonderful bi-products of this few days, beyond a rich tone to my skin. Like the opportunity to be somewhere with all the distractions turned off and so I could just listen. And hear the words of a middle schooler who is blossoming into a beautiful young woman. Listen and afford her space and time to share without barriers. Or competition. Or even, a schedule. This year, the week was exceptional. I've been seeing the changes my daughter has gone through as she matures and grows in what has been a (more-than-expected) difficult school year. Somehow, with a quieter sense surrounding me, I couldn't help but notice who she's becoming -- the heart of who she is. My love grew as I just opened my heart and my eyes.

Ah. Peace.

And then it happened again, very unexpectedly, during the week my daughter went off to camp with her youth group. My husband is a freelancer. He often works from home. So, summer can mean lots of everyone time. This week my husband was gone working elsewhere and I was home. So, it was just me and the teen man. He's inches away from being the teen man-with-car. But for right now, he's still dependent for rides. And thankfully, a teen man who enjoys home.

I can't tell you exactly what we did on each of our five days this week. Oh, we put together a couple of new wood chairs for the yard. We took on a couple of other small home projects. Did laundry. Grocery shopped. He headed off to the movies with friends. He prepared the main courses of a brilliant meal, Seared Scallops and Lemony Shrimp Scampi, for his dad and me. But again, for most of it, I found myself alone with my son, just listening. Just being. 

On our almost last day together, we headed out with the intention of going to the county museum to see the monolithic rock that traveled from a quarry in Riverside to become "Levitated Mass," on display at LACMAAs he was thumbing through his music library, aiming to share some good tunes as we drove, he expressed his (always) deep hunger. He's a bit of a foodie so when he said he was hungry for mac-n-cheese, I knew we'd be chasing a specific taste. That mac was to be found in a place about fifteen miles from us, but still mostly on the way to our destination. We shifted. We dined and as we sat, he shared a few more things about himself and then casually noted how very easy it is to just hang around together. Ah. What? Repeat? Did the teen man just say he was truly enjoying just the two of us spending time? Amid this life of: Hurry up! Let's go! Is your homework done? When do you have to be there? When do I pick you up? You want to do what? No! I don't have more money this week! Get your laundry done. Where did you put it? We found time to slow and to listen and experienced the people we are. He got to see me as the not-so-stressed mom. And I got to experience him as the beautiful, kind, interested and interesting man he is. I heard how much he loves so much. Movies, good books, ideas, cooking, the Lord, his small group at church. And when he said, "Hey, I know the rock will be really cool, but I'd love to take you to the theater around the corner. Dad and I have gone there and it's the best. You'll love it. No commercials before the movies. Just three trailers. Good seats. Not like other theaters and we could see Batman together. We don't really go alone to the movies much any more." All I could hear was let's go together. And we did. 


The movie was great. He'd seen it a couple of times and was happy to point out nuances as he ate a Milk Dud.

The next day we welcomed Sissy back home from her trip and while it's only been about fifteen hours there seems to be a uncommon peace among us. I know we all feel it. And I know the source. The God of Peace didn't just provide the peace we pray for. He provided the opportunity to experience life differently, right here at home. To regain the peace that come from knowing and experiencing the people you love. The peace emanates from me because God's gift of time and vision has changed me.

I didn't see it coming and I couldn't be happier.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Grace in a cake.

There is Grace in baking and so much Grace in the last couple of days.

I've been challenged a lot lately. A lot. An example would be my Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday progression.

Tuesday I found that my pooch, a beautiful, noble German Shepherd boy was suffering with his reacting-to-summer skin. Off to the vet. We traded a big sum of credit card debt for a lot of different pills and prepared to take him off for a special bath at the groomer's to help him heal. Take my money, help my pup.

The next day, my Dear dropped him off for grooming (nearly 90 pounds Just Says No to water) as I headed to work and summer school and a coffee date with my both kiddos. I dropped her at school, him and the coffee date and went to work. When I picked her up we stopped for her lunch, a burger through a drive-thru where I noticed a fair amount of steam coming off my engine. After a couple of hours waiting for a tow truck (my vehicle requires a flatbed tow, for which you wait), the lovely man at the repair shop fixed the broken hose and sent me off. Both kiddos managed to get to their music lesson and back to my office just fine.

We came home with the clean dog in tow to find our house filled with natural gas. The smell was horrible. And the house was completely closed up with air conditioning on so we really got it. After opening the house up and calling the Gas Company, who fixed the detached hose and relit the broiler pilot, we realized how amazing it was that our dog was gone for the day. Grace.

And then, the day of requests followed. Work, home, a ride to the mini golf place and a ride for the friend, get the ingredients, bake the cake, pick the mini golfers up, grab the decorating tools, decorate the cake, have dinner and then, "Hey Mom, can we get the stuff for Monkey Bread? I'd like to take it for the last day of summer school." She forgot to say: along with the birthday cake we are baking.

The miracle, for me, is that none of it ruffled my feathers, got to me, made me crabby or even got that little shot of adrenalin I'm all too familiar with. None of it. It came and went in stride. And some of it I enjoyed. Time with one the other of my kids, a creative moment and that moment, when what looked like it could be smoke and turn to flame became simply a delay in my day. That's God. That's the changing of a heart. The transformation we all seek after.

Blessings and grace.

For cake details click here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

To my son

I have lots to say to the boy-turning-man we are raising.

All I need to say is within Ann Voskamp's blog post today.

I will be quiet for now.

Monday, July 9, 2012


"So we're not giving up. How could we? Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without {God's} unfolding grace."

2 Corinthians 4:16, The Message

I read this spiritual journal, Weavings. I enjoy it tremendously. Over the years, there have been volumes which have arrived, one in particular, that I could not let go of. God met me in the pages and spoke directly to the concern of my heart at the moment.

So, last Friday night, my beautiful friend, Beth and I had an experience of God we'll not forget. A few weeks ago we thought we'd invited each other for coffee and chai and instead, He'd called us to the table. The stirrings of our hearts spoke to each other and we sat in Starbuck's writing out the outline for a Bible Study for our girls. We need to, want to, desire deeply to help them to understand how to hear God and to seek His choices for them.

I went home and meandered around the interwebs and found our outline in a study. Published. Ready. Line for line. Right there.

And Friday night when we met and started the course, we learned more about what He's doing as we spoke and lead together, unpracticed, with great ease. When the girls went off to buy groceries, my friend shared about how she'd lost heart for a while. How she'd felt like she was walking without hope. Discouraged. And God put speaking about Him in front of her. He walked into her house and said, "Come on my dearest one, I have a surprise for you." We both felt and heard so clearly that we're to be engaged in His world, His creation, His business.

I like this about God. He doesn't really want to teach me all of this life application business. He wants me to see where He's working and become engaged.

Then Sunday, as I rested on the couch I picked up Weavings and read a couple of poems referenced in the first article. This one struck me deeply:

by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars 
waiting with the light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Is it not the perfect reminder that we need not lose hope. The grass grows. The sun breaks through and our faithful Father God is working. Around. Within. Always.

The invitation comes when we are truly hungry.

And the cover of Weavings for volume 27, number 4? Simply this:

Do not lose heart

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What love looks like

Recently, it's been quite obvious to me and a couple of my friends that God is moving in a new direction.
He's moving me.
And I don't always move as quickly as He might want me to move.

But this is impetus to move. To care. To demonstrate love. Love like this. The humble kind that moves because you must move.


God wants us to know and do His will. He wants us to know what He reveals and share this impossibly possible good news.

I'm up to the task and I thank Him everyday for people like Francis Chan who don't take the calling lightly and who encourage me to pick up and use the gifts God is bestowing daily.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Walking humbly.

I do think so much of how I am a citizen of The Distant Country. How I am from a place where we look a little different and have a little different set of instructions and how we are to winsomely share the beauty and the benefits of that Kingdom.

I am walking humbly with Him as He guides. Today, I am listening, listening for the direction I need to manage the unmanageable. To speak with words I don't have. To love from a much deeper well. He speaks loudly.

And I love this walk.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Painfully true

Lately, in gratitude and aware of gratitude, I have been complaining and grumbling about the manna.

I wanted nothing more than to be a mama. And here I am with the gift of interminable laundry, interminable dishes, interminable teenage hunger, socks, unheeded alarms and the other interminables and I forgot:


It's good. I have. I love. I may need only pay attention.


Modeled by the Patient, Loving One.

With blood and sore feet and holes in His hands.

I can face the interminable with great joy and know that it connects me, in some small sacrifice, to eternal Love.


Friday, March 2, 2012

God's ways make me smile.

Today we had a visit from an arborist visit us.
You see, there are lots of roots running along the top of our lawn. Not pretty and not safe. My Dear figured they were from our Birch trees and found the arborist through the internet, to help us detect the problem and, perhaps, remove the trees. After walking and talking and deciding they are roots from our neighbor's yard, we had a moment where he mentioned his kids and through the conversation we stumbled into our mutual faith.

God has done this dozens of times since we moved to this old house. First the workers were from my church and the area. Then we asked a mason working down the street to give us an estimate on some concrete work. Christian. Big time believer. The kind that likes saying Jesus' name just to see what will happen next.

The electrician? Believer. His assistant? Youth pastor. It goes on and on. And it brings a smile.

I'm sure there have been people here working who aren't of faith. I guess I'm sure. But I love the idea that God knows how much I love the brothers on our land.

We were talking about cutting a little pathway from our patio to the garden when he asked, "is today the 5th?" I looked at him and before I could say no, he recited Proverbs 3:5 (March 5) "and He will make your path straight..." Ok, maybe 6, and yes, today is the 2nd. But the idea that a man, walking around my house is thinking of Proverbs based on the month and the day brings the best smile.

And a new idea to share with my people.

God brings the people I need to talk with to my home. And I smile.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Can we talk again about the Speaking God?

Our Father is so amazing. Directly into our lives (my life) He speaks. The trick is to be listening.

I just started following this sweet blog a few days ago. I checked in this morning to find words just for me, like:

each of us has a choice about how we look at life

     God wants you to be content in your circumstances

give you anxieties to God

          pray specifically

choose to be thankful

          choose to dwell on the positive

Really? This is what I find today? And yesterday God spoke directly from my Dr. Stanley One Year Life Principles Bible:

Feb. 24 readings
Psalms 27:1-3 
The LORD is my light and my salvation.
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

Proverbs 10:9
He who walks with integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will become known.

And Dr. Stanley's Life Example. Just the title pierced me:
     How Adversity Reveals Our Level of Faith
(basis: Mark 4:35-41)
When hardships come our way, do we respond, "God, I trust you to bring me through this"? Or do we tend to say, "I'm doomed, and there's nothing anybody can do?"
God once sent a storm on the Sea of Galilee to teach Jesus' disciples a lesson faith. Jesus had said to His men, "Let us cross over to the other side" and they should have taken His statement as a sure sign that He expected a safe trip. But when a terrible windstorm threatened the boat, they panicked. The terrified disciples asked Jesus, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?"

How many times have we said the same thing? "Don't you care, Lord, that this is happening to me? Don't You love me enough, Lord, to do something about this hardship?"

Jesus rebuked the wind, and immediately a great calm settle on the lake. Then He turned to His disciples and said, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" (Mark 4:40).

God has given to each one of us a measure of faith (Rom. 12:3), and He expects us to use it to overcome our fear. Fear always accompanies adversity; in fact, a degree of fear is what makes something an adversity instead of just another experience. 

Dot. Dot. Dot.

I can see that I didn't pannick, thinking I've been abandoned. I have asked why. I ask why. But I am asking God to show me what He's doing. And He seems to be growing new me. He also seems to be showing a place of dangerous behavior. I know we're human and we're going to behave like humans.

But all too often, we behave like humans and ask God to bless us in the midst of horrible rebellion and disobedience. Gossiping is disobedience. Savoring gossip is too. So, there's more to learn. More to be revealed.

I can see also, a bit more about my question: how do I pray.

Oh! He's teaching me. I need not to fear the circumstance.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blessed are the peacemakers

I thank God (and Ann at A Holy Experience) for the timing of Memorize the Mount.
Over and over. Over and over. I hear the words.

Blessed are the Peacemakers.

I don't even want to hear the, "because." Just the reminder. I hear it as direction from The Father. 

"Vicki, daughter, you are to be the Peacemaker."

Oddly, I finished Peacemaker training not so long ago. And now I find myself in a horrible situation.  A situation many of us have been through: transgression and gossip. 

I was the transgressor.
And now I'm the transgressor not just to the one, but to many.

My flesh wants to fix it. To silence the stories that simply aren't true. To stop the third and fourth parties from talking about who I am. (It's gone a bit beyond my error.)

But God is speaking. "Patience. Strength." and "Blessed are the Peacemakers."
So I wait.
And listen.
And consider.

I have thought about taking the bowl of flour to the other. Writing the words.
Dispelling the thoughts.
Making peace.
Not really so much for my sake, though I would be glad. 
But for the sake of the Body. And not the work community as a body. But for the sake of the Body of the Kingdom. 

For now, I only trust God. I have to take every thought captive. (My hurting flesh thinks too much.)

I have to be patient for more of His guidance. I have to be diligent in prayer. I am called to be the Peacemaker. Even if I never consider the rest of the passage. 

But simply, obey.

Because He has called me out of my fleshly pit and I am listening.

Pray with me?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Discipline, discipling, being in discipleship

The words string together.
          Being discipled.
                    Staying close.
To learn something as important as The Sermon on The Mount or John 15, I have to be willing to accept and agree to a discipline which will help me to achieve the goal.
Make an agreement.
     To follow.
               To do.
                    To find myself in a position to accept the gift I long for.
Agreeing to discipleship.
     For the purpose.
          To be a disciple.
                    To live is Christ.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Today, a big chunk of my gratitude is found in the huge foot next to mine. It belongs to my little girl, who is not so little any more. (And neither are her feet.) But she, who could be anywhere else, is right next to me learning about using her singing voice. Listening. Trying. Randomly enjoying. Randomly trying. Randomly speaking. Singing. Playing.
And all the while the foot on my thigh and the foot on the table.
I am ever so grateful.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Memorizing - The Sermon on the Mount

I'm just beginning to memorize. Joining in with Ann at A Holy Experience. I'm so excited. And my lovely friend, Marjorie, is coming with me on the adventure. So excited for the Word to be tucked in to the crevices of my heart.
Come along?

The Speaking God.

God always amazes me. But I have to be awake. And present. And listening. This week He humbled me in a very beautiful way. I'm part of a speaking/teaching team of women at my church. We're assigned topics based on a study with a rather large women's Bible Study group.

The group is called Woman's Walk. It's a big room of women who meet faithfully each Wednesday morning and, well, walk together through scripture studies. Last year, I was spoke on Rahab and Lydia. I loved every minute of preparation and then sharing. Rahab was prepared and ready to go, complete with a red satin chord for each of us to hold onto and pray that we'd be so obedient to the God of the Hebrews. The night before I spoke, God awakened me at 1:00 to revise my talk. As I reread the story He showed me that Rahab must have been spoken to by His Holy Spirit. Because she knew who God was. She trusted Him completely with her life and her family, obeying. Joshua 2:9 has her saying, 

 “I know that the LORD has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you."

I know. She knew.

It was wonderful fun to share how we meet him through Rahab. My experiences have been wonderful. I learn so much each time and have the pleasure of hearing from women, later, as we go about how the LORD spoke to them in the study.

This time? Limited prep. I shared the story of Jairus. The study had us look deeply into what happens to our faith in the face of death. It was good. I'd told the story more than once in VBS, where God takes me deeper than I ever expect. I reviewed. I prayed, but I didn't get to the real preparation the way I like to. Somehow though, I didn't feel fearful.

At 1ish, God met me at my dining room table and showed me how He wanted us to look at the story. (Mark 5, Luke 8) He wanted a comparison of the man, the (hemorrhaging) woman and Jesus. And He wanted me to precede the entire discussion with a heart-piercing observation from a book by Elizabeth Alves. The author and her husband were in Africa in the 70's and saw huge works of the Holy Spirit. 23,000 people had been healed of illnesses, etc. and she was taken by the fact she was living out the book of Acts. She pondered the why and why not and asked God if it were that we don't receive these healings because we're so attached to doctrine and tradition. She shared His reply:  

"No, Daughter, these people are receiving because they have no fear of man."

The words are perfect. We don't receive because our fear God is eclipsed by our fear of man. But it wasn't for Jairus. Or the bleeding woman. Jairus set aside his status at the synagogue and knelt at Jesus feet. Desperation meets understanding of who Jesus is. And he sets aside the truth that the priests will likely be furious. He risks much.

And the woman, the unceremonially clean woman who can't be touching the people in the crowd, to say nothing of this amazing Rabbi, Jesus, sets aside all fear and makes sure she touches the tzitzit. She knows there is healing there, with Him, and she doesn't care what the people of Capernaum think, or perhaps, do to her. 

My fear of man is on notice. It gets in the way of living the abundant life and has no place in abiding in Him.

So, I got to share more than the story of the miracle, but the reality of what might be stopping us from receiving from the One Who Loves Us. And isn't that a miracle in itself.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A season of prayer.

I was recently reminded of a wonderful journal I used to subscribe to called Weavings.

The articles were longer and so interesting. Expressions of the "with God life," a life I love to live.
It's so easy to be distracted from the specific grace provided in the relationship we're offered.

So when I found myself on Upper Room website searching around for Weavings, I found this wonderful opportunity. And I joined. Just to pray and to be reminded to pray.

I do love the simplicity of these words:

             Loving God, help us to encourage one another to follow your guidance so that we
                     may grow spiritually stronger every day.   Amen.

I pray and I want to take hold of this. It is the way I see life -- the opportunity to live in and experience God.

What do you think?