Saturday, July 31, 2010

the lake

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." - Muir

This is, I think,
what holiness is:
the natural world,
where every moment is full
of the passion to keep moving.
Inside every mind
there's a hermit's cave
full of light,
full of snow,
full of concentration.
I've knelt there,
and so have you,
hanging on
to what you love,
to what is lovely.
The lake's
shining sheets
don't make a ripple now,
and the stars
are going off to their blue sleep,
but the words are in place --
and the fish leaps, and leaps again
from the black plush of the poem,
that breathless space.

~ Mary Oliver ~

Summer is winding down with only a little over a week until school starts. We got back this weekend from a little get away to the woods. I went with a bunch of moms and a bigger bunch of kids. We were very outnumbered. It was everything summer should be. A multitude of sun- kissed happy kids swam and boated and fished in the lake all day. The cabins were filled with kitschy art work with a large screened porch for meals and board games. There was lantern -light card games, smores around campfires, nature walks and rope-swinging.
Some of the highlights were...
~the talent show the last night where Juden shyly announced that he made his song up and played his harmonica and the little girls did ballet
~late night conversations with a dear friend over stringing bead necklaces and exhausted laughter
~ watching Juden being so big and independent, fearless on the rope swing, paddle boating by himself and anchoring boats
~ holding a tired Naya while laying on blankets and star-gazing when she asked, "can we reach up and touch them?"
~ being with so many friends
~ the noise and the chaos and the few stolen moments of stillness on the dock at twilight
~ the smell of fire and pine trees and the songs of crickets at night
~ being held in the embrace of God's boundless artistry

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

history maker

I was looking at these pictures of Naya tonight marveling at how precious and complex my little girl is. They reminded me of these I took of Ella in the same dress last year.
Naya has been on my heart a lot lately. My little history maker has been making life a little crazy lately. Three is a really hard age as I recall with Juden.
I've been doing a lot of disciplining and a lot of praying with and for my girl. Sometimes I wonder, 'where is all this anger and hyper-emotionalism coming from, over the tiniest thing?' I always try to make sure we are okay after I have to discipline her, that she knows I love her even if I don't tolerate her behavior. But really there is just no formula to this parenting thing. Believe me, I've read lots of good books. It's all about humility, prayer, grace, forgiveness, love and more love. My, it can be wearisome too though. I pray that God will give me patience to shape my fiery little daughter, to be wise and firm but always full of grace. That I might study just the way her little heart works with all its needs.
It dawned on me, just how much I am like my little daughter with Jesus. I'm hard headed, fretful, angry, and untrusting at dis-believing that he loves me and knows what's best. But how blessed it is when I rest on His bosom with faith like a child to embrace His love and care for me.

The last picture is of me at three and it reminded me a little of Naya now.

Monday, July 26, 2010


things I loved about today...
~rain and thunder and more rain bringing a break from a relentless heat wave
~ receiving at least five drawings by my little artist full of rainbows and butterflies and bunnies
~ being with a friend that feels like a sister
~ Monday is library day, books and more books, I love the way books smell.
I love how excited the kids get to have a whole new stack to snuggle up with. This book of poems was a favorite of mine when I was little. The pictures are absolutely lovely. Aunt Amy gave it to Ella for her birthday and she loves it too.
~ and tea...of course

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rabbi's heartbeat

"I knew there was only one place to go. I sank down into the center of my soul, grew still, and listened to the Rabbi's heartbeat."
~ Brennan Manning~

" Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself with all your sinfulness to God who sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only his child redeemed by Christ."
~Thomas Merton~

Have I mentioned how much I love Brennan Manning? If you have not read his books just start from the top and go through them all. Start with Ragamuffin Gospel and Abba's Child and then The Rabbi's Heartbeat. They are treasures. Once I had the privilege of hearing him speak at my college. He was a small white haired man with a humble demeanor and torn jeans with patches all over them. A man well acquainted with the poor, hardship and the deep compassion of God. His spoken words moved me as much as his words on the page.

I love that quote from The Rabbi's Heartbeat. I turned to that book sometime last week when I had sunk to an emotional low. It doesn't happen very often but when it does, ugh...
We women have the need for such a delicate balance of hormones and I could physically feel that I wasn't myself. I wasn't sleeping and my patience and energy was thin. It probably didn't help to have a string of inconveniences, which I'll spare you from (although strung together make an entertaining list) culminating in Naya having her worst fit ever. I read this quote from Journey Mama and felt like she said it well.
"To be perfectly honest, on any given day I go through about a hundred different emotions. I’m like some five-year-old girl with outfits. Now the pink dress! Now the leggings with the tinselly t-shirt! Now the overalls!

Except for me it’s Melancholy! Melancholy with a slice of nostalgia! Anger! Self-pity! Overwhelming joy!"

I can relate. The truth is that most days are filled with an array of tiny little happinesses. I am pleased with simple things; tea, the sounds of the mourning dove, the smell of my garden, books, my kids imaginations. Everyday God's hand is everywhere calling my attention, taking my breath away, awakening gratitude. God has given me so much, but there is still so much that is hard. Relationships disappoint, I over-commit, I disappoint myself over and over. I feel deeply the sorrows of others especially people I love. I few months ago I held the hand of a friend who had just given birth to her first son, a stillborn. I felt her sorrow. I listened to a young friend struggling and longing for a home. The beauty and sorrow, the ebb and flow, sacred fellowship and loneliness. In the midst of these I choose to cultivate joy. I think I am slowly learning to embrace the way God has wired me. God has made me to feel things deeply perhaps to move me into action. My emotions can be both a source of weakness and strength. Discouragement is not dissatisfaction with God, nor is it ingratitude. Just look at the Psalms and even Jesus himself was a man of sorrows.
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows..."
Isaiah 53:3

What comfort that my God knows well exactly the depth of human struggle and longing, and he made us so that our restless souls would find home in Him. I pray that my heart is sorrowed by the things that sorrow the heart of Jesus and that I would rejoice in what He rejoices in. I pray that I would learn how to be tender and just, discerning but compassionate, compelled to action always to love, servant-hood and God.

In the mean time I continue to do what the child in me has always done. I seek calm in nature, the wide open sky, a quiet bed of grass, strength in the rolling mountains where all the complexities of humanity grow small and your worrisome spirit sighs in surrender. There are many glimmers of his love all around me, family, brand new babies, amazing worship, cleansing rain... my precious children. I think as I have time I'll try to write and photograph more those simple joys that fill up my days, that inspire,and place them here. The mundane and even the painful is always threaded through with the sacred.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

vacation days

It seems we are starting a summer tradition. Josh took a few days off to have some vacation days with us before he takes his bike trip. My this summer is flying. It's good to have a few days to break from the norm. I so love my little family.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Louis is here...

"I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and my soul knows very well."~ Psalm 139:14

There are seasons in life. Lately it has been one of watching my family and friends blossom, new life, freshness, and promise. Three weeks after the birth of baby James my other brother and his wife gave birth to their first son Louis. Here he is only one day old. Such a lucky Aunt I am. He is beautiful of course. I loved holding him and I melted a little when I saw him in the same little gown I put Juden in, just a few days old. We thank God for his safe arrival after having a difficult time making his entrance. It's amazing what are bodies can do. Good work Aimee! Welcome to the world little man.

"One look at a baby's fingers and you just know that those little bundles of flesh and tiny bones are more sacred and spiritual, than any idea or theology... There are glimpses and whispers of the divine all through the daily, if we let ourselves look again, if we let ourselves believe that the world all around us is threaded through with divinity." ~ Niequist~