Monday, March 28, 2011

sun flare

"Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God"
~Elizabeth Browning~

I love to catch some sun flare in pictures, transforming a normal picture into something a little bit magical. We finally were lucky enough to have a few moments of sun today after a thorough soaking for the last few days. It made these little friends very happy. Spring has been beautiful around here but if you blink you could miss it. First the pear blossoms and magnolias came and went and now the red bud and roses and wisteria are starting. They are more blessings to add to the multitudes that show me His love daily.

In the wake of the disaster in Japan this month, it's a harsh reminder that we are as fragile as a bloom in Spring, there one moment and gone the next. It's nothing short of heart breaking to watch from afar the devastation on this scale. Children that lost parents, families torn apart, businesses and homes and dreams swept away in moments. May our voices go up in collective prayer for those suffering. May we open our hearts to ask for mercy and provision for our Japanese brothers and sisters. It could be our family, it could be yours. So thankful that though the earth shakes and storms come, we never leave His hands.
I thought I'd share a video made by Aradhna whom we first met several years ago at Cornerstone festival. I love how their music leads me into worship even though it is not my language. There is something transcendent in their music. Here are some of the words in English...

"Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy
Praise the name of the God of Liberation!
Sing my soul, Sing my soul
Those who are poor in this world
Blessed are they, blessed are they
For the kingdom of heaven is theirs
Blessed are they, blessed are they
Praise the name of God of Salvation!
Sing my soul, Sing my soul
They who mourn in this world, will have peace
The meek in this world, will rule
Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy
Those whose hearts are pure in this world will see God
Those who make peace will be called the children of God
Praise, Praise, Praise, Praise
Our Father, who is in Heaven
Holy is your name
Your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


I suppose we will be doing a lot of expecting this month as we get closer to the arrival of the newest family member. I'm bursting at the seams and ready to meet this little acrobat, but he has a little more growing to do, to the dismay of my stomach ligaments. I smiled when I turned the calender to March this morning. How fitting to see the image of the little girl hugging the very pregnant mama with two playing in the back round. And what's more perfect to welcome March than the first snowdrops of Spring? In like a lion, out like a lamb, so they say.

You may have noticed that I added a blog list to the side-bar. I thought I'd share some of the blogging wealth and it seems like a handy way to see who has updated. I can't say I regularly keep up with all these blogs but if I have extra time these are my online happy places. These are some of my favorites for different reasons. Each one encourages, inspires, or just tells its own beautiful story. Some are women I know and love, and some are people I've never met but whose words bless me. There is such power in words for good or evil. Why not flood the Internet with all this goodness? I'll tell you a little about some of them.
My good friend Amy introduced me to Katie at some point this year and I've been hooked ever since. If you don't read this blog, you should. I actually went all the way back and read it like a book. Her story will challenge you and bring perspective. As a kid whose heroes were always Amy Carmichael and Mother Teresa, I found a new present-day hero. It's the stuff I always dreamed I'd do. We share some passions and burdens and I think that if I had some extra lives, with one of them I would join her. She lives in Uganda with her 14 adopted daughters, teaching and feeding hundreds more. Her story is incredible but what I love the most about her is her wild and passionate pursuit of Christ and how she lets His love flow through her. (p.s. You may want to turn the music player down to read this one, I always do.)
Next is Journey Mama. She and her husband are incredible photographers, she's an awesome wordsmith and she lives in India. Those things drew me in, but then I discovered a very honest, funny, beautiful spirit also pursuing our God on this journey.
Then there's Christine, who I like to think of as my online kindred spirit and fellow NJ girl. Her blog is full of lovely pictures and well-told stories of the beauty in her everyday. Her words refresh, encourage and inspire me.
I discovered Andrea over at Hula Seventy and found an instant connection in a love for words,film photography, photo-booths, color and general creativity for the artful soul. She's a bit of a creative genius.
If you have some moments to spare these are well worth a look.
That's all I have time for right now so maybe I'll add a few more later.
Happy March, friends.
Betsy Holt Pierce
October 17,1925-February 28, 2011

~reposted from 2008~

A little while back we went to spend some time with Josh's little grandma. My time with her always feels bittersweet. The first time I met her she was quick to link her arm in mine and immediately made me comfortable in that grandmotherly tender way. Though I never really got close to her before she began to suffer from Alzheimer's disease.

I can say unequivocally that I hate this disease, anyone who's been touched by it can echo its devastation. There is often a look of utter confusion and fear in her eyes as she has no idea where she is or who we are. Little things we take for granted have become the most troublesome feats, like what to do with a tooth brush or a spoon. It breaks my heart to see her strain for the memories or the words. We all feel a little lost and a bit like a stranger from time to time, but to live in a constant state of disorientation, I can not imagine. So we are sure to say in loud clear voices, "Look at your beautiful grand-daughter Naya." and "so your grandson is four years old now," to help her know she is with her family.

Do we ever anticipate our body or our mind betraying us? One day do you just look down at your veins through paper-thin wrinkled skin and wonder when did this happen? Do we not feel just the same in our hearts as the years pass? With ageing comes so many endings and losses: loss of loved ones, of health, of energy, of clarity. Even with the promise of glory, and as natural as physical deterioration is, I don't think we're ever really ready for it. Our spirits weren't made for endings; they were made for eternity. It is this that makes the most natural process feel so completely un-natural and painful. I didn't mean to sound so dismal; my mind can just get lost in such things.
Betsy is certainly anything but dismal; through so much struggle she still takes so much joy in watching all her little great-grand babies. She may not know their names or gender but she laughs as she reaches for their soft hands and still has that protective mothering instinct whenever she's with them. My hilarious husband can still make her crack up with the most contagious giggle.
I watched her try to sing along as I sang hymns. But perhaps most amazing is that though the most ordinary bits of knowledge fail her she can sit down at her baby grand piano and from somewhere deep in her soul, she can play. Though they may start slow and she couldn't tell you their titles, song after song they come, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "New York, New York" and various other old-timey classics. She was once an accomplished classical pianist and by some measure of grace despite what she has lost, she can still remember how to play. As I watched her frail fingers grace the keys I thanked God that her passion for music was so embedded into her hard-drive that it now provides a place of peace and familiarity. How powerful music can be in that way and how much more beautiful.