Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Take heart. Romans 7 is always followed by Romans 8.

Our Teaching Pastor, Mike Suh, connected us brilliantly this week to what goes on with us in our life with the struggle toward transformation. He started right off with that truth about comparison. (I don't commit felonies, or live with obvious sin. I'm probably ok.) But we become lulled into some sense of hiding the real truth about our gossipy nature, our addictions, our, well, sin. And that's where the enemy pulls us off into the corner to talk about his truth. It's deadly. Ugly. Unjust. He focuses us on comparing our behavior in his sphere of influence, the world. Our eyes are on us, rather than God and we're sunk. Just like it was with the law.

What do you think about Eugene Peterson's brilliant interpretation to the "law code." We measure ourselves and we don't measure well. So we hide from God. Rather than allowing Him to create the connection. The beauty. The truth. 

I look for the THEREFORE of Romans 8. But first - the predicament:

Torn Between One Way and Another
1-3 You shouldn’t have any trouble understanding this, friends, for you know all the ins and outs of the law—how it works and how its power touches only the living. For instance, a wife is legally tied to her husband while he lives, but if he dies, she’s free. If she lives with another man while her husband is living, she’s obviously an adulteress. But if he dies, she is quite free to marry another man in good conscience, with no one’s disapproval.
4-6 So, my friends, this is something like what has taken place with you. When Christ died he took that entire rule-dominated way of life down with him and left it in the tomb, leaving you free to “marry” a resurrection life and bear “offspring” of faith for God. For as long as we lived that old way of life, doing whatever we felt we could get away with, sin was calling most of the shots as the old law code hemmed us in. And this made us all the more rebellious. In the end, all we had to show for it was miscarriages and stillbirths. But now that we’re no longer shackled to that domineering mate of sin, and out from under all those oppressive regulations and fine print, we’re free to live a new life in the freedom of God.
But I can hear you say, “If the law code was as bad as all that, it’s no better than sin itself.” That’s certainly not true. The law code had a perfectly legitimate function. Without its clear guidelines for right and wrong, moral behavior would be mostly guesswork. Apart from the succinct, surgical command, “You shall not covet,” I could have dressed covetousness up to look like a virtue and ruined my life with it.
8-12 Don’t you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of “forbidden fruit” out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless, and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead. But the law code itself is God’s good and common sense, each command sane and holy counsel.
13 I can already hear your next question: “Does that mean I can’t even trust what is good [that is, the law]? Is good just as dangerous as evil?” No again! Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me. By hiding within God’s good commandment, sin did far more mischief than it could ever have accomplished on its own.
14-16 I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
17-20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’treally do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
21-23 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The end of the road.

I know, I've spent a lot of words on the Sweet Peas and all the learning. But here we are, the last bunch, the end of the road. We're done. These are a little birthday greeting for my friend Mary Ellen. These darlings have taught me a lot. Provision, Grace, Sharing, Enough. 

But summer comes and overpowers these cool, dampness seekers and they go from beauty to a bit weather beaten pretty quickly.

When I pulled them out, I found my hidden rose had gone dormant. So, there will be new offerings to come. And everything around them will get sun and air. It's time for that kitchen gardening I so love.

Tata until fall to my Sweet friends. I've enjoyed the learning and growing. (See what I did there?)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Enough:: enough, already.

Seriously. I've learned so much about myself and this word enough.

I've found I worry. Too often. About not having enough.

I have enough.

The perfect example is these beautiful Sweet Peas. From the first bloom, at the end of February, I worried somehow that the five seedlings and all the seeds tucked in the ground in November a year ago wouldn't produce many bouquets.


My friend Bob at the gardening store reminds me each time I see him to get the blooms off the plant within 2 days. I do and all the time I'm concerned the plants just won't produce more. This idea holds firm in the face of a 6-ft bush of Sweet Pea vines in my back yard, along with the small meandering vines from those tucked seeds, climbing up my ficus wall, a rose here or a trumpet vine there. I even stuck a few seedlings into the ground out front late in the season. Each time one blooms I'm conflicted. Cut it? Save it? And then my friend asked for a big bouquet and I was so glad to gather, but all the while I was panicking.

I need to let go. This is truly an important confrontation with truth, grace and my whacked thinking. Breathe. Think. Cut.

To prove how nutty I am with all this, let me say, I've cut a big bunch twice for Mary, for Bob, for Mrs. A, for the receptionist at the orthodontist (1 Gigantic bunch, 1 smaller), for Mary Ellen, for Alice, for Di, for Mom, for Margaret, and well more than 20 for the house. I didn't grow up in the depression. I don't need to horde. But here I am.

I went out this morning to cut a few from the front. They are astonishing. Deep, deep almost black purple, a coral with blue streaks and a blue/lavender. Again, like the pansy, as long as the weather remains invitingly cool and dampish, they'll bloom if you cut them. And cut I did. Trembling.

Is it change? Fear of loss? Holy cow, what ever it is, meet the word enough. There are, we have had, enough bouquets. Enough. Beautiful, wonderful, comfortable enough.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Enough:: Living in the granted Presence (and How I really pray)

Last week placed me in a new awareness of the tie between enough and today.

On Saturday afternoon, I visited a new vet with my eight year old German Shepherd. The dog had spent the day all too quietly, lethargic actually. I recognized the need for help. I was concerned his stomach had flipped. Lethargy and quiet can be signs of bloat in big dogs. Unfortunately within a few minutes of an xray, he was diagnosed with something much worse. A tumor on his spleen, very likely related to an incurable, aggressive cancer. Over the course of a few hours we decided to go along with surgery at midnight, forty miles from our home. Our dear friend, a nationally recognized veterinary specialist, offered to help us. We trust and respect him like no other doctor.

All along the way: the initial diagnosis, seeing the radiograph of the tumor, hearing the potential outcomes, the harsh percentages with a nasty disease, considering the need for immediate action (the tumor could rupture and cause internal bleeding), hearing the exorbitant cost of surgery at our local emergency vet hospital, transporting the big dog, turning him over to the vet, leaving him, making it through surgery, bringing him home, I realized something new. My prayers aren't always running through my head. They emanate from my heart, my soul, my spirit, where I know and trust God the most, the best, the deepest. My heart cries out to the One I trust with every detail of my life. I remain present. Hearing. Considering. Discerning. And I let my heart and soul and mind pray. Without my intellect getting in the way. Oh, occasionally I touch base and ask for mercy. But I realized how much I wasn't accepting human thinking and was just listening for what I have to do next. Walking out the details I'm provided. Asking questions. Consulting with our vet friend, my husband, and the only child participating, my 14 year old.

When we were finally arrived home in the wee hours of the morning, heading for bed, I considered my prayers. "Oh God, we love this doggy so much and he's only eight years old, please have mercy on us. Let him live." Selfish prayers. For good reason.

I was reasoning with a friend on the phone that eight years isn't very long with the dog you love. She quietly asked me, "What's your one word?" Hmmm...enough. She responded, "Today is enough."

I awakened over the next days to the idea that eight dog years is a long time. But more importantly, that living in God's kingdom is a daily awakening. A daily realization. Where all we have is granted, including the life of a pooch. So I began living in the days of frosting on the cake. Counting each day granted with the dog. And my husband, my kiddos, etc. I find myself appreciating each situation afforded me. The breath of my life.

On Thursday my husband called with an "are you sitting down?" moment. The first round of biopsies came back benign. Impossibly possible. Surprising. Wondrous. More breath. More air.  More granting. More appreciation.

Realistically? Things may change. The statistics could come and get us. But, that's not where I'm living. In the "coulds." I'm living with grateful children, a grateful husband and a grateful heart. We're counting days of gratitude for this four-legged life. Gratitude for living in general.

And, more present, more aware, more voicelessly prayerful.

These granted experiences are enough to change the trajectory of our thinking and our lives. I have the choice to live in the present, in His presence.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Enough:: From abundance.

My flowers in Laura's home. 

When we recognize all we have, really notice all we have, we see that we live in abundance. 

And in that, there is much I want to share. The fun part is this: I think it's gone, whatever it is, and somehow, it returns. 

This morning it was cutting from my pink and lavender abundance. Within an hour, my heart filled looking at the picture of the Sweet Peas in Laura's house. 

Last weekend it was offering these same beautiful flowers to my sweet neighbor, Mrs. A. Within minutes, my other neighbor Anne passed a handful on to me. 

Love is enough when you pass it out, hand it off, give it away. 
Like the Sweet Peas it keeps blooming. 
But Love, unlike the Sweet Peas, is eternal. 

And that is truly enough. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Enough:: a budget

Truth: I don't know where the line is. I'm learning, but that's it: I'm learning.

Before I even knew there was a My One Word journey, and picked the word enough, I ran a $30MM budget within a giant company, lived a life, had kiddos, made a living, and put money in the bank. But somehow, understanding the difference between a budget, and spending what I have available to spend missed syncing.

In late December I purchased budgeting software: You Need a Budget, YNAB. I started using it right away. It's wonderful. Simple, but for the "pretty aware of my expenses and what I'm spending type" not so easy. For January, February and a lot of March I was doing well. I had a handle on where my debt and expenses sit and, of course, what I have coming in. Sounds like budgeting, right? Well, yes, but, in a huge wall-of-a-moment, I saw what I do with credit (forget about it) and true spending planning (huh?). In the process, I cleared a couple of credit cards and was feeling snappy when I noticed this notation on the budget: Over Budget in January: $xxx, Over Budget in February: $xxx. (It compounds.) Oh dear. I learned that when you account for all your spending and set plans for every dollar (this is the beauty of the YNAB Gain Total Control of Your Money promise) you can actually know where every dollar is supposed to go and where it's actually going. You can assign it a task. I just seemed to be letting some of my spending go into a void. (That would be the credit card/debt void of "I'll get to it later.") I see that without a significant amount of monitoring, money can be sneaky, running off with someone else; a store, an on-line bookseller, a child, without notice or without at least without waking you up to the fact that it is departing. Then it's gone, poof!, gone.

Let me be clear, I'm fairly certain right now that money is a metaphor. Time seems to do this as well. Plan or it's gone, poof!, gone.

This budgeting business has brought a new friend. This one, with whom I'm becoming quite cozy if not a bit uncomfortable is a warm, inviting, quiet and well considered life mate. I introduce: Detailed Planning, a calm, reserved, easy-going but exacting pal. (Ugh! Spur of the Moment Spontaneity, you'll have to take a break, I'm listening through the other ear for now.) There's a pleasant evenness in the relationship. We haven't quite hit peace yet, but I see it in the distance. We are walking through a process together. Me, in non-judgmental awareness, learning, learning, learning. And D.P. with quiet facts about reality and choices.

I pray that my intentions and plans will meet without crushing dreams. Reality is good. Dreams are good. High expectations are good -- when they work together. And being both awake and aware in the process provides excellent stepping stones for this beginning of a new process.

So now, enter MyOneWord: enough.

I have to wonder, how this came to pass in this order? Its my biggest and most appreciative question. And all this while, I'm discovering enough in the midst of what's true, right, and right in front of me.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Enough:: John 12

Considering my one word, enough, takes, well, consideration. And time. And noticing.

This morning, studying a chapter in our church-wide read, THE STORY, I was caught up by words from John 12:

42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

I had to ask myself. Is praise from God enough for me? Of course, I want to believe so. But I know my dark and human heart. I perform. For accolades. From man. Call it the plight of a first born. Or one left by a parent. Or just the way my family raised people - to be productive and therefore accepted.

If I don't have a handle on this, if I can't see the truth of it in this earthly life, I'll live on in blissful unawareness. 

Fortunately, I'm awake right now. And the words resonate within: Is this love (for human praise) halting my kingdom purpose here on earth?

Is God's praise enough?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Enough:: a profusion from a few

I'm astonished by God's design in the garden. I plant a few plants -- a color pack or two and get to snip handfuls of flowers daily.

Would you call that enough?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Enough:: Not enough

Every morning we head to school, we see the homeless man at the end of the off ramp, just before the turn at the traffic light. Every day. He sits with a sign or no sign. Sometimes there are lunch bags of food next to him. Some times he wears a hat. For a while my my daughter or I made sandwiches or lunch for him. We handed the bag out the window. And yes, we've given him money.

Last Friday, on my day off, I drove my kiddos to school and there he was again. We had the first spot at the turn and when the light was red, my daughter grabbed a cookie and tangerines from her lunch box. I opened the window and turned to him and he came to the car door quickly. I handed him the food and made eye contact. He seemed closer than he'd every been to us and looking into his face, I was deeply, deeply moved. Tears came immediately. I was overwhelmed by his swollen hands and features. There was a helplessness in his eyes. And my more-than-enough rose up to meet his not enough. I cried and prayed the rest way to school. My teens were silent. I was lost.

Lost in his lacking days of sitting on the freeway offramp. Lost in his weathered features. Lost in the driving by with nothing. Lost in a comment, "He needs to do something besides sitting there every day." Lost in my doing nothing but also knowing not much about what I can do. All these thoughts and feelings have lived in me for a long while. We've brought him sandwiches, but clearly there's more I have to do. Gratefully, I work with an amazing man who runs a brilliant service program in our school. He's my first stop. Then I fully expect my next step will be finding someway to park somewhere down the road near him to offer more.

I don't really know what that will look like. It's an open ended want. But it comes from my enough and there's blessing just seeing.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Growing me in the garden.

I am a learning gardener. I'll admit to anyone that while, walking the road with my Aunt Nancy or either grandmother, I learned the names of lots of plants and flowers, and I enjoyed the process, I am just beginning to know anything. I took in lots those years ago, but I had to learn so much by default. Once I moved into my own apartment and worked in advertising I was in constant learning mode. Then, I was a trainee in a huge international agency and was expected to learn and learn and learn and perform. It was a decidedly difficult position -- learning while directing others, but I digress. I share it to say that much of my brain space during those years was  dedicated to work and then, of course, learning about my life as an adult.

So, I'll ask you to forgive my many gardening foibles because they are simply my truths: I tried to grow Gloxinia and Delphinium indoors. I killed three ficus trees (also indoors) because they needed sun (too). I expected flowers from non-shade plantings in the sun and forgot to water plants like hydrangea (the name didn't provide enough of a hint for me).

But in my dedication to trying and learning, I started keeping notes here and there and gained understanding that sun at the base of a plant is important. That noticing when and where the sun landes during the day predicts a plants success -- if success is a flower show or fruit.

A couple of years ago I went all out near the end of summer, when the Coastal Eddy, which brings May Gray, June Gloom and that year July haze, had departed. I nurtured some of the plants through into spring replacing the waning summer plantings with lettuce and broccoli.

It was fun. Not a heavy task, but fun.

I commented to a friend at one point that I was learning a little about myself in the nurturing and the weeding. There's much to be said, perhaps on another occasion, about the pulling of weeds and even spent favorites, for the sake of what's taking hold and growing. It's a useful metaphor, chock full of thought and intention and understanding.

This year, the older, wiser, longing gardener in me was blessed with a brilliant opportunity. The lengthy story about invading roots from a neighbor's fig tree stands in the background, but in this process, grass was removed, watering slowed and new garden spaces were added. My main garden, a cottage-style rose and this-and-that garden was rethought to roses and herbs, arugula and broccoli, brussels sprouts and carrots and onions and strawberries.

Much of his occurred in late fall and there was all this "patch of dirt" business around, that I was inspired to tuck some sprouted Sweet Peas, Sweet Pea seeds, English Peas, carrots and arugula into the ground. I had plenty of extra seeds so after the garden patch planting and also planting here and there I waited. That was November and yesterday, the first of March I cut my first two purple Sweet Peas and displayed them on my mantle. While planting a blueberry plant, I snagged one of the last carrots and discovered the English Peas. (I haven't learned to mark them -- thought they were small Sweet Peas with tiny flowers.)

Later, as I hid tulip bulbs deep into the pot where they'll gestate, I thought this: I am experiencing such joy in patience. Nurturing joy, nurturing expectancy, nurturing love for the task. As a mom,I don't miss the analogy to carrying a baby, but truly, more importantly I see that God is teaching me -- experiencing the fruits (I didn't miss that) of His Holy, Holy Spirit.

Love. (of the project, the process, the fruit)
Joy. (in the planning, the doing, the waiting)
Peace. (in the early morning, birdsong filled stillness as I observe)
Patience. (as I wait with great expectation and thrill at the movements)
Kindness. (my God provided all of this for my benefit)
Goodness. (a Potager garden is full of goodness -- in flavor, in nutrition, in sight)
Faithfulness. (in the watering, the tending, the weeding, the visiting)
Gentleness. (moving a vine, lifting a berry)
Self-Control. (see Patience -- waiting for the bud to bloom, the fruit to ripen)

He's growing me in the midst of all this fruitful beauty.
And I'm learning from my Father in the garden.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Enough:: a word

How about this for a Word?

Jesus Christ didn't die on the cross so I could be good.

Spoken by Jenna Benton, regarding Mercy and you can listen here.
That's enough to think about for a bit. How does that strike you?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Enough:: First fruits

When I planted broccoli late Fall, I was worried there wouldn't be enough. Tonight it's just me and my girlie. We'll have a little pasta and share this just-ready beauty. From the first fruits of the broccoli bushes.
My guess is we may have more than enough...

Well, what do you know?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My One Word: enough:: Pan Shopping


In the process of considering my one word, enough, I bump up against this truth: I have Royal status at OpenSky.com. Royal! This means I've spent more money than I have on an ongoing basis and have earned all these points and now I get a $20 credit twice a month which usually covers tax and maybe part of the shipping cost and all I have to do is just keep on buying from these curated sales and get all this cool stuff that I kinda want and really do need and really, really, really, what, I ask, does this have to do with enough?

Maybe it's the part where I just think of the word with a period at the end and rest.

I like the pans Tom Colicchio has added to his sale collection and is sharing. I could use them in many ways. But there's a little tap on the side of my head. A note. A beat, that begs the little question, "don't you have a few pans and could you stretch to make that cast iron pan work to sear the steak the same way the Mauviel's extra thick stainless steel pan (that comes with the extra thick stainless steel crepe pan) would?"

I hear my husband's voice: Where does this go? (Which also asks what does this do and why do we need this?)

I hear Krissy's words of her Grandma Dora: Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without. (This is why we have these sister-friends we have.)

I feel freedom. Even if only for a moment, I the sense that I don't have to do anything.


I'm (non-judgmentally) aware that I've climbed or maybe even jumped onto a hamster wheel of invited sales with rewards and free and wants and sensational and more-than, spinning under my feet and into my home. And while I end up with a beautiful cabinet of lovely things, I've lost perspective, space and a reasonable degree of breath.

What is there to gain? Where is my heart? Is any of it really treasure?

I'm watching. Listening. Seeing. Enough.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Enough:: Seeing it in the trash

We have the weirdest trash situation. Weirdest.

For all the right reasons, my husband wants our trash to be put out in the morning just before the recycling and trash pick up. It makes sense to me. We've had more than one identity theft experience: the checks with our old address and someone else's signature, the credit card with the gift card reload to a store I've only been in twice in my life, the stolen wallet. So, I truly understand the shredding of almost everything. I even understand not putting the cans out at night, but, I have a hard time, none the less, with getting them to the street when trash pick up day happens on our earliest day at school. 6:30 am is early enough for departure but walking cans out to the curb can be almost brutal. Especially for a boy who really wants to sleep and really wants to honor his dad's request.

A few weeks ago I, the very early riser, took to moving the cans from the other side of the backyard gate to the driveway. Easier. Participating. Honoring the one who honors.

I should say here, we've gone a few rounds on why this can't be done the night before like all the other neighbors. But there's no winning with this question. I was here when our next door neighbor's trash can, which was half way down his driveway and under our bedroom window, was set on fire at 5:00 in the morning. One of our running neighbors saw it and put it out before the winter-dry vegetation caught flame. I fully understand the rationale.

So, with that gift of submitting to one's husband's authority (oh yes, hear the groan, feel the pain, know the blessing) we just do it. He's right anyway, right?

This morning, trash day, I found myself with an extra hour. Dad was driving the early birds to school so I had time to make amazing lunches, a yummy breakfast for the teens and went out to move the cans - with a very light heart.

What I noticed was this: only one can needed to be moved.

Less trash. Very little recycling. An easy task. One can to the other side of the gate. And somehow in this morning I see enough. Enough with the arguing already. Enough with taking ground, standing ground. Enough with the consuming consumeristic mounds of consumer-driven boxes that come in the mail. Enough with the three bags full life we often lead. Less. More. A light heart. A surrendered will. A simple view. A helping hand. Some ease. Enough.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My One Word: enough:: Women who Love

My one word journey led me to a wonderful women's online magazine: SheLoves. I've read a bit, you'd like it. And as I perused I noticed a manifesto for women who love completely. It starts with

Let us be women who Love.
Let us be women willing to lay down our sword words, our sharp looks, our ignorant silence and towering stance and fill the earth now with extravagant Love.
Let us be women who Love.
Let us be women who make room
.Let us be women who open our arms and invite others into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.
It goes on. You can read it here. But before you go, really read these words. "Let us be willing to lay down our sword words..." I think about the girls on my daughters volleyball team who can level each other with a word, "...move your feet," or an eye roll at a misstep. I think about my friend who is proud of the fact that she needs only one word and a look to make her point. I recall the biting words leaving my mouth in frustration at an co-worker, a sister, my child. I wonder what it would be like if we all agreed that we didn't need to take ground, show some one, or make a point. But instead, loved. Made room. Opened our arms and invited others into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.

We'd have enough and we'd offer enough. (Extravagant love rears it's beautiful head again.)

For me, I'll live in the first stanza this week and I don't think I'll wait for the rest of the we. I have the will and the Spirit driven power to simply love, without the sword words, offering room.

I have that to offer and to share.

Monday, February 18, 2013

My One Word: enough:: Your Love

This word enough is interesting.

Last Monday, I was invited to a private concert with Casting Crowns. Me, my lovely friend Lori, and about 148 others I've not yet met. We were sitting in the chapel at Mariners Church and then, all of a sudden, we were singing with Casting Crowns, listening to their stories and worshipping.
That is more than any enough I can think of. 
It felt a lot like abundance.
Especially when Lori bought lunch.

Today I was listening again to Casting Crowns.
And I began to muse over the words of Your Love is Extravagant.

These words connected so beautifully to my one word: enough.

In God's economy, extravagance, His gifts, become my enough.

Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate
I feel like moving to the rhythm of Your grace 
Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place
Your love is extravagant

Spread wide in the arms of Christ is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known You considered me a friend
Capture my heart again

Spread wide in the arms of Christ is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known; You considered me a friend

Capture my heart again
Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate

How about it? How do you connect with the extravagance of grace?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One Word: enough :: the secret of contentment

This morning, sitting at my kitchen table, I was listening, again, to Kenton Beshore's thoughts on Journaling. (You can always connect from the right panel, too.) I'm a writer. I love morning pages (three pages straight, no stopping, no editing, first, first thing in the morning). Love.

As I seek after what my One Word will reveal, I was moved to revisit the simple plan Kenton shares. And listening, I stumbled onto the most divine truth. Truth because I know it. Truth because I live it. And truth because if we test it, it proves itself.

The secret of contentment.
And it is simply this:

Love what you have.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

One Word: enough :: a phone call

Last night I went through the endless phone messages that we just don't get to on the answering machine. Well! I guess I use my cell phone more than I thought. Note. And there was that mishap with Kohl's where in the midst of the holidays a bill wasn't paid and they called fifteen times. Note. Paid. Done. Oh dear.

About seven calls in I heard his voice. My wonderful pastor Harold. "Beautiful ones. I noticed you haven't been here in a couple of weeks and just want to remind you, you're loved..." And while he goes on it hits so hard.

The weeks away, first a sick child.
Then a group oversleep.
Then just a week away.
They all added up and they all mattered to someone else.

I felt, I knew, that my little choices to be home for a bit might be noticed or counted. Might be.

My church is going through upheaval. Upheaval is to be expected when your stated mission is to plant 100 churches in 40 years. One and two went by and the shift wasn't so big. Three was painful, my favorite young pastor and his sweeter than sweet wife moved into Compton to establish their church and of course, friends went with them. Friends I love and friends I haven't met but made up the tapestry of our church, their side of the room, their row. Many church plants later we're ok. The occasional twinge of loss is there, but overall, we're good. But then two pastors felt called, together, to plant fairly nearby. Several people, mostly from my service felt moved to move.

The pain comes slowly because families think and decide and stay away for a while and then go. A month ago, it felt to me like I was wearing twenty bandaids and they would be taken off one-by-one and rather slowly. Painful.

So when my girl wasn't feeling well, I climbed into bed and with her and snuggled. Safe and warm. I didn't think of the feeling. I was away. But as I write, I see we became an empty set of chairs. Someone else's removed adhesive.

Then the words: "Beautiful ones..."
I heard the voice of the man who taught me the words, grace stacked on grace. I hear his inflection, his determination, his love. For a moment, I remember how he asked me to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to work and love and watch what God would do. Remembered his reminder at my grandmother's funeral and then my other grandmother's graveside memorial, that God's oceanic love is enough.



It takes courage to carry on. It takes grace and peace and it takes just a word to remember that courage and love and peace can all be borrowed and shared and that much of the time, we don't even know we're loaning. We just standing there. Shoulder-to-shoulder with word of song coming from our hearts and it matters.


Friday, February 15, 2013

One Word:: a necklace

Liz Eaton One Word necklace
Here's another token of One Word. This necklace is made by another talented Etsy artist, Liz Eaton. She also created a few others like this one.

I think they're wonderful. And I find myself so engaged in the One Word notion, that it became momentarily comical when I realized how enough was already bumping up against more. Well, what do you know?

For now, I'm not really doing anything about this. Just noticing. Noticing and being aware are good journey partners, don't you think? I can go deeper into what I've learned about this, but for now I'll just say, non-judgmental awareness is one of the best concepts I've encountered. And, I'll be happy to learn all there is just watching for now.

I will say that as I noted my wants jumping for joy I heard a voice in the back of my head, from my other favorite pastor in the world: Kenton Beshore, at Mariner's Church in Orange County. Kenton said, with such grace and boldness: "What's the one thing most people in Orange County don't have?" (sustained pause and the answer is?) 


And, isn't the necklace just lovely?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

One Word

I'm very, very excited to be embarking on a new journey.

One Word.

My beautiful friend Krissy called me Saturday and suggested I look at the One Word 365 website. She wanted me to think about joining her on the journey this year. I was instantly intrigued and thought I had a word right away. Kris, being very wise, suggested I try on the word for a while. So I did.

That night I got into bed with a book I'd purchased online, rather randomly, during some after-Christmas shopping. The title truly intrigued me, especially the simplicity of the cover, so I bought it.

I started to read and within a page, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my word had found me.


Something I don't always know that I have.

Since the call, I've read a bit. Prayed a bit. Settled on the word. Joined a FB page, connected with an Etsy artist who shoots pics of words on the beach, ordered that picture of my word and through the miracle of God doing what He does, found the website of the pastor (that would be the photographer's pastor (I know...right...)) who started MyOneWord. Whew!

All I can say, is watch the video, listen to content, read, look around and think -- would you want to join a few of us who are holding a word with God, one word, for a whole year?

My 13 year old is in. Trust.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter light

I was surprised this morning - in the dark and cold kitchen - how lighting one candle could change the room so completely. The light reached into corners and fell far from its position, its place. High and low. My vision changes, my sight and also my heart warms to light. Of course, I can and need to see the analogy to Christ, the Light in the darkness, and to love and lightness of spirit.
I can bring light.
And while light doesn't have the same effect in light conditions, it is still light and still, attractive -- warming as it shifts ambiance.
There is so much about light. The Light.
And the analogy to this new learning in the Messianic influences relates so clearly. As we learn of the Feasts of Israel, so much light is shed on what God is saying to His people. Especially at His ingrafting. These olive branches from another tree -- us.
He made all of this intimacy for His own created and chosen people and allows them to demonstrate how fickle and temporal we humans can be. How we see things. How we in our earthly lives have assurance from the pillar of cloud by day and still fear He won't give us what we really need. Or want.
I see it.
We have the same condition.
I have the same condition, my vision is dim when I don't focus on the light in the day, the light in the darkness. His sun rises. A given that He is here. The creation sings of His glory. Even in the barrenness of winter the Redbud tree grows. It doesn't display a leaf or a flower but His work, His design continues to grow and flourish.
And ah ha! It may not look the way we want it to - but it grows and we wait.
If we trust and enjoy/experience patience and its required exercise -- we have the great gifts of that pleasing show of spring buds and the green-to-yellow glow of covering leaves. We are blessed in season.
But we, the watchers of Israel's old behaviors, forget the folly of the ones we follow and we/I, don't appreciate the wintering for our growth.
Light in the darkness.
Illumination to His design and perhaps, even, His plan.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

God and resoutions

God is showing me lots of new things.
He's calling me into more exploring and joy and purpose.

And then I read this great post from Lindsay McPhail.
What is God breathing into you?