Monday, December 28, 2009


Words have stinging power when tongues are unloosed and lips are unguarded. Words flow freely out of unintentional mouths. I shudder to think how my careless utterings must pierce the heart of God. Out of habit, how easily complaints and grumblings spew forth over little incidents. When His gifts rain down, I soak them up and then wring them out as refuse.

Baby wakes in the night.  Grumble.  Boys yell in the house.  Sigh.   Grocery bill strains the purse strings.  Whine.  Cups spill, plates tip, crumbs scatter.  Nag. 

Why, when He has given much, do I require more?  For when I look around me, I realize I have everything to be thankful for.   My very life is a gift from Him.

What a blessing it is to read how friends are filling buckets with praise.  I read of the shared journey of motherhood and friendship and long to dip my finger in this well of goodness.  I read of  another's daily pleasures with husband and son and feel her joy that emantes.  I stumble over an old list from a new kindred friend and whisper my own praise. 

But only strain against the familiar will break stubborn habits.  Old grooves must be sanded smooth and new lines etched in their place.  And so I purpose in my heart to look for His gifts.  Not to let them roll as rain off my back, but to soak them in-- drink of their goodness...and remember. 

And so I embark on a journey to notice each drop of his goodness and mercy.  As I have a particular fondness and sentimentality for pen and paper, my daily journalings will be recorded there, though I may quietly share a page on occasion.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

At the dawning of this new year, won't you consider joining me?

holy experience

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wishing you a joyous Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009


As we have a high old time this Christmas, may we who know Christ hear the cry of the damned as they hurtle headlong into the Christless night without ever a chance.  May we be moved into compassion as our Lord was.  May we shed tears of repentance for those whom we have failed to bring out of darkness.  Beyond the smiling scences of Bethlehem, may we see the crushing agony of Golgotha.

Nate Saint, martyred missionary pilot

Thursday, December 17, 2009

visions of baking day... in our heads.

For all the buttery details, visit my sister, Kati. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Simple Gifts

A blue Tootsie Roll bank adorns the top of Gavin’s dresser and a yellow one decorates Maddie’s. Sharing space with a jewelry box and ceramic rabbits, photo frames and a mini chalk board, these banks, nonetheless, hold a place of honor. Coins are added clink by determined clink. Eagle eyes spot a stray penny in the grocery store parking lot. Clink. Mama awards an unexpected dime for a job well done. Clink. A tooth wiggles loose and loose change is found under a pillow. Clink. Papa digs in his pocket to retrieve cents and smiles. Clink. And the “picture sales” set up on the kitchen table, opportunities for Daddy to admire crayon masterpieces? Clink. Each coin is treasured.

Last winter both children saved their coins until banks were brimming, until nickels stuffed through the slot could not utter an echo. Then, oh happy day, it was time to dump the banks out onto the floor, sort the coins into piles and begin the chants of, “One, two, three…” and “Five, ten, fifteen…” Their grins lit the room and instead of money, we then counted days until the day of the special shopping trip to spend their savings.

Then the coin clinking and accumulating began again—more searching and saving, planning and grinning. But this time, the banks still rattled with space when my two spilled their change and began to count. Fists full, they approached my husband and me. Gavin was appointed spokesman. “Here,” he said. “We want to give this to a child who doesn’t have anything to eat.” I started to question, ask if they were sure, but my husband stopped me with a single head shake.

Fighting tears, I gathered four months worth of coins and dropped them into an envelope. Deed done, Maddie lifted the now-empty banks back into their places and within minutes, the notes of “pretend” sang out. Not realizing the impact of their simple act of generosity, two children had returned to the land of make-believe.

But I am ever changed.

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins."I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."   Luke 21: 1-4 NIV

live the gospel

Friday, December 11, 2009

Here We Come A-Caroling

It all began with a little girl, her aunt-friend and their conspiring whispers behind the recliner one Sunday afternoon.  Or was it a little girl and the movie she watched about colonial Felicity?  Maybe it was both, but somehow the little girl determined that this was the year to go Christmas caroling.  Her idea began brewing in October so many weeks passed, weeks of planning and hoping and more secret whispers with her 8-year-old aunt.  Weeks of excitement when she pleaded, "Can't we carol in the fall?"   Weeks of paging through her Christmas carol book and learning lyrics and asking Mama to sing along. 

And suddenly there was only one week to go.  The days seemed to move slower than the weeks had as excitement mounted.  The little girl and her young aunt planned coordinating outfits.  Outfits that were to be worn in the dark night under coats. Outfits that did not take into account the frigid temperatures and blustery wind.  Outfits that had to be tweaked by more-practical mamas. 

But tonight was the night.  We ate an early hearty dinner, hoping to store warmth in our bellies.  Then we all bustled up the stairs where Mama had clothes and more clothes and socks and hats and mittens laid out for each little person.  Then the little girl put on her boots and hopped on one foot by the door, waiting to venture out.  Baby was the last to get ready.  Alas the little girl's magic had not rubbed off on him for he screamed as his hands were encased in mittens and his snowsuit made it too difficult to toddle without falling over.  Daddy pulled the wagon out of winter hibernation and nestled our boy onto the seat.

We moved out into one of the chilliest nights so far this season.  But caroling just wouldn't seem right if  cheeks and tips of noses didn't tingle, you know?  And so the six of us filed out and joined the rest of our group on the sidewalk and began our neighborhood trek.  We sang songs of praise and songs for fun, but each came bubbling out of joyful  (and did I mention cold?) lips.  We sang "Jingle Bells" one too many times as the children marched out in front of our procession.  We sang "Joy to the World" as families gathered around their steamed-up doors to listen.  We sang "O Come All Ye Faithful" as an older lady stepped out on her stoop to smile at the children.  We sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" as a little boy opened his upstairs window and peered down on us with a grin and called his grandfather to watch, too. 

Later as the little girl sat at the kitchen table sipping hot chocolate, her pink  flannel nightgown wrapped around still-cool legs, I asked her, "Was it what you hoped it would be?" 

And she replied, "Can we go again next year?"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

We Wish You A Merry Christmas




Oh!... the flurry of the Christmas season, this blessed time of joy!  I am pausing amidst the preparations to link to ideas of yesteryear, in hopes they may inspire you!   (Is it cheating to re-post my old material?)

Names of Jesus garland
Christmas book selection
clove oranges
etched Christmas candles
simple (and delicious) Christmas treats

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Much of our family chatter, of late, has swirled around gifts.

Gift choosing.  Gift making.  Gift wrapping.  Gift wishing. 

Needles fly through fabric and crayons glide across paper as each of us hand-crafts for another.

Secrets are held close as Mama wraps a gift for Daddy.  Owen, my helper (and firm secret-holder!) carefully places the tape between my two pointer fingers and whispers, "I hope he'll like it." 

And little ones long for special somethings. 

Seven years ago, this very day, I received a gift.  It was small but etched out a large place in my growing heart.  It was wrapped in love and patience and joy and hope.  In return, I am learning (continually learning...) to give wholly of myself for another. 

It was the gift of sleepless nights and drooly grins and noise and grass stains and tire swings and Lego scenes. 

It was the gift of motherhood.

It was the gift of Gavin

And as fiercely as I want to relish each moment, time is flowing through my fingers. 

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord.  For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.  1 Samuel 1: 27, 28

Happy Birthday, Gavin!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Do you see what I see? (sights of the season)

a contemplative boy...

...a twirling angel with pink wings...

...another boy in footies...

...and a baby swathed in Christmas lights...but you'll have to go here to see that one!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More tea, less me.

I always have an excuse. 

"It's almost dinnertime." 

"I am in the middle of something. Maybe in a bit." 

"Not now.  I just sat down!" 

But this time I pushed aside all the reasons against and decided to go for it.  So after pulling the bathtub drain and sending little ones off to choose pajamas, I hurried downstairs to set up a surprise tea party.  And when they came down, freshly bathed and brushed and pajamed, it was waiting. 

Maddie's blue eyes sparkled and the boys gladly played along.  We sat around the table, nibbling chocolate chip cookies and sipping pretend tea out of tin cups.  We spoke in soft voices and held up dignified pinky fingers.  We said delicate pleases and thank-yous as we passed around the teapot.  When we were full, we turned cups over onto saucers to decline more.  And every moment that I could have been sweeping crumbs or tidying the living room or throwing towels in the wash was worth it.

How many other moments have I disregared because I'm too busy?  How many joy-bringing opportunities do I turn down in exchange for lesser things?  And how long really does it take to stop and shower love?  It takes only a moment to read to the new walker who toddles over, turns backward, and plops down on my lap with his book.  It takes only a moment to swaddle a doll in a flowered blanket and hand her back to her "mama."  And it takes no time at all to sing along to "Jingle Bells" for the seventh time while standing at the sink washing dishes or to listen to a stream of Lego facts while I eat my lunch.

These moments make life full.  Moment by moment by moment, sloughing off  the sin of self and giving more of myself to others-- to them.

Every moment offers a choice.  I intend to make the right one.  Won't you, too?

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