Monthly Archives: March 2011

tonight: early sunday morning

so the quiet, a discipline?
yes.
and the hope, a lesson?
yes.
and the steadiness, needs anchor?
yes.
a burrowed head, bent kneed, God-wrestled, conversation?
yes, to the limp,
yes.
see life. blessed.

today: flowers out

“The water soaks into the earth and I watch it go. Water in, flowers out, miracle there on the porch.”
Ann Voskamp p79, One Thousand Gifts

Last night, two overtired bodies, we went to dinner and the store. Food for that moment and the next day, required duties at hand. We ate; we bought. We returned to my apartment, and he helped me put groceries away. We didn’t even walk the dog, and by 9 o’clock, we sat down to pray. I hunched my elbows over my knees and dropped my head. He draped one arm around my shoulder, using his other arm to prop his head. We did something I am learning to do, thanks to Ann in the masterpiece quoted at the top of this post. We thanked God for the gift of restful sleep- a gift insomnia robs me of often and him of recently- and then we asked God to grant us each a full night’s sleep.

Ann feels like a friend as I’m working my way through her book, rereading chapters and underlining nearly a third of the content. She says thanks always precedes a miracle, over and over again. She refers to Jesus feeding the 5000. Jesus gave thanks and broke the bread and then the multitudes were fed. He does the same thing at the Last Supper, gives thanks and then breaks bread. And then he goes to that cross and dies, to be resurrected. Water in; flowers out.

We thanked God for the gift of restful sleep, and after that he went home to iron his shirt for work and to try to sleep. And then he slept. All night. I did too.

It’s not that Ann writes a formula in her book when she says thanks always precedes the miraculous- even when there’s nothing to make something out of. It’s that she writes to cultivate a thankful heart; she coaches her reader on how to see. This may seem simple, but it is utterly revolutionizing me. That’s not even an exaggeration. I so, so, so need and want and hunger to see. Thankfully.

tonight: today, remembered in washington d.c.

“Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.”
-Kahlil Gibran

my heart dances at these love songs lived out before me,
new melodies, distinct stories
a baby
a child
a youth
a commitment
a wedding
a marriage
a birth
a family
a party
a story, a story, a story
all these, songs lifted to heaven
in places same and different
all this hope etching smile lines into my face, permanent
for all these clicks of shutter
record the notes, permanence
as i see, i see, i see
all these
and i do believe (help my unbelief)
all is grace, gifted- my heart aches at the goodness
and i yield to these dance steps wonder-fully. thankfully.
seeing pieces of the mystery of a world called good
solved right in front of me,
these hearts in their stories. wonder-fully. thankfully.

(today, remembered in Washington D.C.)

tonight: when.

“love wins.”
-Rob Bell

when it’s all said and done,
i hope i lived as the kind of girl
who erred on the side of wonder and beauty
on the side of grace and reprieve
who forgave relentlessly
who lived thankfully.
when it’s all said and done,
maybe that’s the mirror
reflecting a better Way
a more real world
a whispered to child: believe. this. mystery.
(love.)
thankfully.

tonight: eyes dancing

eyes dancing, though weary
and rest on the dust of day
quiet surrender to not all answers
without wandering away
deep contentment unencumbered
do nothing more than stay
do nothing more than stay
and in this place remained
sturdy truth: invited so do play

today: spring(ing. into life) is here. and lent, too.

“Lent isn’t about forfeiting as much as it’s about formation. We renounce to be reborn; we let go to become ‘little Christs’. It’s about this: We break away to become.”
-Ann Voskamp (buy this book, though the quote is not from it… and you’re welcome.)

it’s your love that we adore; it’s like a sea without a shore
-David Crowder, Sometimes

On Ash Wednesday, two photo shoots sandwiched a meeting and then a quick run. I headed to my sister’s house to help her pack boxes, because next month she marries and moves east to North Carolina. A day so full left no time to have my forehead crossed with ash, that external symbol a smearing reminder of repentance, that human glamor will come to an end. Instead I crossed my heart and hoped to be present in this season’s invitation to new life. Easter comes in a few short weeks, and new life blooming all around testifies of the beauty we are made to live, that beauty held in tension with an earthquake pushing tsunami waves reminding us to be mercy. This beautiful world is cracked, fragmented, broken, and I believe we are invited to heal, to hold, to redeem. We accept that invitation by yielding to a God who humanizes humanity…

Trying to grow a business while working for another as well keeps me busier than I’d like, and I want to pause on this season and be present to God and to those in my community. I hunger for transparency, for change. I hope it comes. I believe it is possible.

Daily, though, I pull away, to walk the dog and run some miles, and my head clears. The wind cools, as the sun finally warmed winter away. The pace of a walk or run through my neighborhood allows me to see the subtleties of the season shifting: a new bud yesterday, flowers today; nests cover once naked branches; the earth between sidewalk cracks speckled green. Nuance, perhaps, but they tell me that new life arrives in season, with time, unforced. It is natural.

I wonder, then, if perhaps when new life is not appearing in this life it is because I have set my sights short, and settled for poor-replacement synthetics instead of allowing God to be himself in circumstance, identity and the combination of the two. His way, higher than mine or ours, provokes these thoughts, I think. And my soul humbles. My knees fold. How I want that way to grow within me. The possibility of healing the broken, holding the hurting and redeeming the world beg for belief in this grace that is new life…

(Thoughts incomplete.)

today: on Sunday Kate frolicked

“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.”
-Henry Beecher Ward (one of my favorite quotes… have used it before and will use it again)

On Sunday, Kate frolicked. I caught a glimpse of her pint-sized frame blurring across the sanctuary at church. She looked like childhood with ladybug tights and a red tutu, and her mom said I could take her photograph. I wanted to remember the picture of who she was right then, on Sunday, a little girl in her pretty costume with a captivating smile and abundant energy. She laughed and danced and chirped toddler whimsy. I thought, “goodness looks like this, a little life so alive.” I think I saw God smiling at her in the wind catching her hair, in the sun lighting her face.

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon with two girls very dear to me and their precocious little brother. Emma pulled a hat on her head and asked, as she often does, if I’d take her picture. She looked me in the eye, “It’s not like at school when I get my picture taken,” she said. “It’s like you see me. You know me.” Some of the children I photograph for my job are not children I know and I work hard to see them (and I love it), but I count Emma and her siblings friends. Sometimes friends come in family units, and Emma and her family are a five-for-one steal of a deal. I took a few pictures and marveled at how she’s grown up this year. For a moment I felt impossibly old.

Her sister’s day had been challenging, so while Emma got ready to go to the park, I asked Aba how she was doing. Eleven is hard sometimes. Her eyes begged me to understand that her smile was surface. That day she learned she faced a hard goodbye. So we talked. Grief is hard sometimes, and it seems a lot to ask of the young, even when the circumstances are not earth-shattering. Which they weren’t, but she was sad. I didn’t have answers for her at all, but I listened. And I said goodbyes were hard for me too. My lack of words made me feel impossibly young. We went to the park after that, and she ran with her sister, and her eyes lit up in the sun. I heard her laugh. It infused me with hope for this girl, learning to love and learning that it costs sometimes and learning that it’s okay.

It’s Tuesday night and I am holding thoughts of these three little girls, my weekend’s memory. They slowed me right down, and we had some moments of life together. And they helped me to be still and breathe.