Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fresh Orange Slices

Nothing is random. Life is filled with choice.

My life moves forward in the tension, belief in the Creator, the dignity of free will, and His plan for every breath of my life.

Orange Slices is devoted to celebrating the sweetness, pushing back the murky shadows in my peripheral vision and centering on a celebration of life. This year
I am committing one blog a month to a retrospective of goodness.

Books, Poetry, Prayer:
Wounded Heart by Dan B. Allender
Wounded Heart workbook developed within Valleybrook Church
The Marks of a Spiritual Leader, an essay by John Piper
The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey ... Anguish to Freedom by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Prayer Against Torment, which ends: I have committed my life to God,
and He has established my plans! (Prov 3:6, Prov 16:3)

Excellent Choices:
A Monday morning meeting at North High School
A walk in the woods of winter with Vicki, Reggie, Jo Anne and Bill
Lunch at Pizza Hut with Morning Glory, her insights and her courage
Daily prayer
Morning coffee
Prayer and Coffee on Thursday mornings
A son who can cook, dinners and movie with closest family
Lunch with my friends Kate and Emery
Time alone with God
Strangers exploring Wounded Heart, seedlings in the garden of friends
Sunsets enjoyed from a second story window, a sanctuary, mid-winter trees

Special Blessings:
Felt hearts and heart-felt words, notecards of encouragement
Inspiration from Saint Valentine and Saint Marius who performed wedding ceremonies in secret more

I wonder, when we’re caught between the familiar less good news
and the potential of the better Good News, we feel frozen.
And the words of the angel are, “Don’t be afraid.”
It's worth the risk.
 —Steve Argue, more


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Go into the Place of Your Pain

No thanks.

I can't.

I don't want to.

It is a waste of time.

My father wouldn't approve of this waste of time - an excellent excuse not to make this journey, this Wounded Heart journey, don't you think?

As I prepare for Week 4, our dining room table is again a complete mess.

Yesterday, I sat in a rocking chair not to far from this table and cried as I read The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen. A friend is reading it too. She and her husband brought me the book this week, left it on our front porch with Cheetos and Oreos and dark chocolate, my comfort foods. She is in my prayer group, one of the women picking up the pieces of me, assuring me that God - our Father - would approve of this journey.

The thing that is killing me is that there is no pattern of classically defined abuse, physical or sexual, no incest or satanic rituals. And yet I am crying.

I am crying because there are isolated incidents, like the Little Red Riding Hood joke told to me by my high school teacher, exposure to the provocative images of women in Play Boy magazine at age 12, an ongoing battle with my father over my hair in sixth grade when my confidence is already badly shaken by middle-school boys who define beauty as NOT ME - a time when life is so very awkward anyway, without being a girl taller than everyone around her, a girl who wants to shrink and slouch, who is expected to play basketball because she is tall and finds she is completely uncoordinated too, suffering the shame of going up for a jump shot in her first game and coming back down with the ball still in her hands.

I am crying because I am so blessed. I am blessed by plastic bubbles of Grace that seem to surround me each step of the way, a pattern of God protecting me when I am unable to protect myself.

On page 26 of The Inner Voice of Love, Henri Nouwen writes:

Go into the Place of Your Pain ... the experience of not receiving 
what you most need ... a place of emptiness where you feel sharply 
the absence of the love you most desire. To go back to that place 
is hard, because you are confronted there with your wounds 
as well as your powerlessness to heal yourself.

I devoured Nouwen's words in one bite, one sitting, in spite of his strong suggestion in the Preface to take it slowly, a page or two a day, over time.
I returned the book to my friend, dropped it off at her house, picked up a hug from her husband, my friend - the man who drove her get away car the day she left the gift bag on my front porch, a man who knows my story.

We are powerless to heal ourselves. I am powerless to heal myself.

God knows this. Papa is there, has been there, every step of the way.

Jesus looked directly at them and asked,  
“Then what is the meaning of that which is written:
“‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; 
anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” 
—Luke 20:17-18 NIV

I am broken to pieces, crushed. And within this journey, within this Wounded Heart journey, my Father is reaching out to embrace me.

You have to begin to trust that your experience of emptiness 
is not the final experience, that beyond it is a place 
where you are being held in love.  
—Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love more


Friday, February 24, 2012

Parable of the Shrewd Manager

satan's biggest lie is that we are capable capable of earning God's love. Each time we fall short of our illusive goal, each time we are disappointed by the outcomes achieved by our inputs, satan whispers: "Try harder."

I am reading through the New Testament online: listening with my ears and following the text with my eyes. On screen. On a computer screen. There is no bookmark neatly awarding my progress. No neat checklist tracking Scriptures read. There is only a familiarity when chapters are repeated, a sense that somehow I've been here before. In my imperfection this morning, I could not remember exactly where I was in Luke.

"Now here's a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? 
Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter 
in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for 
angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way 
but for what is rightusing every adversity to stimulate you to 
creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, 
so you'll live, really live, and not complacently just get by 
on good behavior." —Luke 16:1-9 MSG

The first time I read this parable I struggled to understand its meaning.

As I hear it again, I wonder if being an American a citizen of the United States is a curse. We grow up in the tidiness of ten commandments with God neatly partitioned in Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Our concentration is not on bare essentials, but dream houses, nicer cars, bigger churches.

In our focus on the 'must haves' of the American Dream and securing 'nest eggs' for our children's children making our own plans for their lives are we modeling complacency? Getting by on good behavior? Are we cheating ourselves and our loved ones, swindling from them God's greatest gift: Eternal Life?

In this parable is Jesus asking all of us to open our tight-fisted grasp on the letter of the law and actually listen to what God is teaching within our hearts? To believe that God will care for our children's children, that we can share our abundance wildly with others, live fully in today?

satan's lies are boldly evident in my Wounded Heart story. I grew up believing that if we talk about how we are hurting, bring our pain out into the open, we will some how diminish our chances of getting into that better college, being awarded that good job, getting ahead, an earthly success.

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager declares the opposite to my broken heart: keeping secrets, focusing on earthly success works against us, diminishes our capacity to focus on our greatest opportunity: Life earthly AND eternal with God.

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

... What if a thousand sleepless nights 
Are what it takes to know You're near?

—Laura Story, Blessings

Morning Glory once pointed out that even the self-label "American" is arrogant, intended to signify membership in the exclusive country club of "United States" when in fact, the letters A-m-e-r-i-c-a-n encompass the much broader geography of South America, Central America and North America. Smart woman, that Morning Glory!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Healing in Faith

Our enemy is dishonest and tenacious, picking on children, hiding in the shadows, speaking simple repetitive lies into our pain.

Our God is Truth and Light, the Creator who loves us and knows our hearts,
our deepest fears, our unspeakable wounds, our greatest joys. God celebrates, knowing the plans laid out for us, plans for good - not disaster - gifts in hope
and a beautiful future. Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

In Wounded Heart as we examine our childhood pain and satan's lies we discover Light in the darkness, Plans for Good and not disaster.

We return to the feet of Jesus and we are more than healed.
We are healed and made well.
We are saved.

It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, 
he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. 
As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. 
They kept their distance but raised their voices, 
calling out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"

Taking a good look at them, he said, 
"Go, show yourselves to the priests."

They went, and while still on their way, became clean
One of them, when he realized that he was healed, 
turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. 
He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. 
He couldn't thank him enough
—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus said, "Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? 
Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?" 
Then he said to him, "Get up. On your way. 
Your faith has healed and saved you."

—Luke 17:11-19 MSG

I lift up the women and men tentatively and courageously exploring Wounded Heart, pushing past the inaccurate and often debilitating label of "abuse victim" and walking into God's Light!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Cheap Trick

As a Freshman in high school, I remember being invisible.

The next year, my sister is a Freshman, and people make the connection,
"Oh, you're HER sister. She's really great."

When I am a Junior in high school, Heaven Tonight will be our prom theme, the title cut from the album by Cheap Trick.

There is a Cheap Trick concert nearby,
probably Minneapolis. In a moment of
bravery, I ask my parents if I can go.

I am told no.

I am disappointed.

I do not ask again.

A few days later a couple Senior girls ask my sister to go to the concert, invite her to see Cheap Trick with them. She asks and our parents say no.

Is she disappointed? I do not know.

What I remember is that she asks again. And again. And again. And again and again and again. In my mind's eye I can see her, smiling, asking, begging. Finally, my parents say yes. My sister, a Sophomore, goes to the Cheap Trick concert.

I stay home. My sister rocks.

In the hierarchy of high school, this is not a good outcome for me.

When Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son, I am not the child who takes her inheritance and tastes life. Instead, I am the other daughter, the one who waits at home for her parents' blessing, is embittered by the freedom her sister tastes.

Most days, I am still bitter toward those with perceived authority. I often move forward without asking permission, bully my way through barriers. I've gotten pretty good at saying I'm sorry, begging and cajoling forgiveness in the aftermath.

"The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in.
His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't listen.
The son said, 'Look how many years I've stayed here serving
you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever
thrown a party for me and my friends?'"
—Luke 15:28-29 MSG

I am a daughter. I am a parent. I am a mother who has experienced both joy and pain, watched her children leave and welcomed them home.

The prodigal is still my least favorite parable.

Is it because I can see myself in multiple roles? Or, because as I try to fit into the role of prodigal, I find myself unworthy of forgiveness?

And I am walking the Wounded Heart journey again WHY?

Photo Credit

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Silenced by Fear

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden
that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark
will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered
in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
—Luke 12:2-3 NIV

Jesus is talking to the apostles, warning against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

A couple days ago, in writing Little Red Riding Hood, I felt uneasy about exposing the duplicity of my mentor, my teacher, my father's friend, smudging his reputation in the court of public opinion. The man is dead. I am friends with his widow. I'd rather she didn't know. There is risk is telling my story. I am afraid.

Fear kept me silent for decades.

How many other girls' voices were silenced by fear?

Our family folklore reveals that my aunt(s) found Elvis oh so dreamy! Was my grandmother shocked by Elvis Presley, the perceived indecency in the way he moved? The producers of the Ed Sullivan Show were definitely concerned, instructing the camera man to shoot Elvis from the waist up during Don't Be Cruel, a live television broadcast.

As a teen, I remember my mother standing in our shag-carpeted living room, shouting up the stairway, telling me to turn that noise down as I listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd What's Your Name. In my senior year of high school I taught my upper body to shimmy, practiced for hours before our pom pon squad (dance team) performed Gimme Three Steps at halftime during a boys' basketball game.

The year my son was born a coworker and mother of teen girls, a woman who shared her office with me, is offended by Bruce Springsteen, "Hey, little girl is your daddy home..." more.

This morning as I tune to music from the 1950s and '60s, I am offended by The Big Bobber, the lyrics to Chantilly Lace.

As more and more women reveal their stories
to me, I realize it is not the music and lyrics we needed to fear, but the behavior of our mothers' husbands, brothers, fathers and friends - and our mothers' silent complicity, the deadly prison cell Shhh. Don't tell.

As I listen to the music, I recall my grandmother's catty comments about my beautiful cousin, a radiant Christmas bride - comments not-so-quietly whispered in the vestibule of the church - and I come back to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

My maternal genealogy remains unpublished out of respect for my grandmother, or is it fear? Will I be cruel in revealing it here?

In our humanity, we want to paint ourselves as innocent and good, splash others as fully evil. No one person is fully good or evil, in our brokenness we are a duplicitous combination of both, split right down the middle from our foreheads to the soles of our feet.

You can't whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; 
the day's coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.  
Luke 12:1-3 excerpt MSG

Photo Credit

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Little Red Riding Hood

A collection of photos culled from albums and boxes rests in a left-over tin of thank you notes, cards celebrating Gratitude and Abundance.
As I touch the photos this morning, swells of emotion accost me like waves from a turbulent sea, threatening to fill my lungs with deadly water, steal the breath from my trembling lips.

And I am walking the Wounded Heart journey again WHY?

In the vast ocean of panic my humanity seeks an anchor, solid ground, hell I'd settle for the sifting sand of a dry beach.

Sifting sand. An interesting turn of phrase.

I realize one of the anchors I am putting down is reliance on the processing dates gracing photo margins at a time when 12 pictures - a roll of film - might contain a whole year. APR 63 is the date on this photo of me in a coat and hat made by my mother. Spring, not Christmas? Digging out a magnifying glass, I take a closer look.

What I'd always thought was fuzzy white little-girl-fake-fur trim turns out to be lace, the bodice appliqué is daisy-like flowers, not snowflakes.

I put down my magnifying glass as this Little Red Riding Hood image begins sifting time, propels me forward to my senior year of high school. A mentor and trusted teacher, a close friend of my father's, takes me aside after class, tells me a joke, a Little Red Riding Hood joke... ending with a gruffly-feminine voice representing an indignant Little Red Riding Hood:

"You're going to eat me like the book says!"

The overtly sexual reference seers me like a branding iron. Shame rushes in.
I stand in the silence of my teacher's laughter, paralyzed within his leer. I want to vomit. I want to run. I want to scream.

I go home, never tell anyone, until now, until this journey through the pages of Wounded Heart.

In the storm of my panic, when I am screaming and thrashing in fear, God is neither silent nor disengaged.

God is vast and calm like a quiet tropical beach at sunset. God is waiting to embrace me when I choose to quit thrashing around and trying to save myself, when I open my heart to accept His help, His healing grace.

One day he and his disciples got in a boat. "Let's cross the lake," he said. 
And off they went. It was smooth sailing, and he fell asleep. A terrific storm 
came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about 
to capsize. They woke Jesus: "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"

Getting to his feet, he told the wind, "Silence!" and the waves, 
"Quiet down!" They did it. The lake became smooth as glass.

Then he said to his disciples, "Why can't you trust me?"

They were in absolute awe, staggered and stammering, 
"Who is this, anyway? He calls out to the winds 
and sea, and they do what he tells them!"

—Luke 8:22-25 NIV

I often struggle with embracing the biblical images of God as Father.

Focusing on Jesus brings me through the pain.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Snow Day

Snow fell overnight. A soft white dusting had already blanketed our sidewalks when Morning Glory left with her packet of pictures for Wounded Heart. We'd paged through neatly organized photo albums and dug through chaotic stacks in random boxes.

Among her own school photos and dance recital memories, she took home a cub scout from 1968 and a girl who created this Q-tip snowman a year later.

Wounded Heart asks us to focus on our past, to examine and tell our stories.

We begin with photos of our parents, then us at our birth; the child we were as
a toddler, in preschool, elementary, middle and high school.

We tell our stories. Touch scars left by the wounds of childhood, pain held within memories associated with our parents and grandparents, perhaps teachers or pastors, our siblings, our peers.

Wounds inflicted, a sense we were ignored, abandoned or betrayed, a voice of criticism, a sense we were not cherished nor loved, the misuse of Scriptures by those who would manipulate us, exposure to pornography or the abuse of others, the angry voices assaulting our tender ears while we were inside our mothers' wombs, the child or teen witnessing or experiencing physical or sexual or satanic ritual abuse.

In our broken humanity, we are all wounded, we are all perpetrators of wounds.

Truth, not lies. Healing, not blame.

Healing. Truth.

We push past the WHY and fall like beautiful snowflakes into the hands of God.

"Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier.
Give away your life; you'll find life given back,
but not merely given back—given back with bonus
and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way.
Generosity begets generosity."
—Luke 6:38 MSG


Monday, February 13, 2012

Integrity and Isolation

Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what
you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you
want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it
might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in
harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on
what you believe, and not what others believe.
—Barbara De Angeli, Roots of She

“Speaking your truth… conflict or tension” perfectly describes the start of my week. Looking backward from 50, I am examining my childhood through Wounded Heart. My nerves are raw. My heart is bruised.

Somewhere between my mother’s “Shh don’t tell” 1960 Camelot facade and my father’s critical voice of advice, the child me lost the ability to articulate her own needs. She was loved. She was not heard.

This past Sunday morning my heart is bruised. My nerves are raw. I select the
red shirt, definitely a sign of danger within. I arrive, meet friends for breakfast. When someone tells me where to sit, how to order my food, I am not silent.
I am not cruel. I articulate that I am capable.

The child me is amazed.

Wounded Heart was given to me when WhisperedHopes began. The questions held within its pages prompted a self-awareness. I discovered no overt abuse, simply a nagging negativity into which the child me was immersed. A dense liquid blackness splashed on my heart.

This time, on my third journey into the pages, I am exploring my life in community, with a handful of friends, within an intimate group of strangers, in a sanctuary filled with songs of praise on a midweek night.

In solitude the child me - and the adult me - is restored. Solitude is not isolation. Even in the quietest moments, I am not alone. God is with me.

"... Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." —Luke 5:16 NIV


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Little Catholic Bubble No More

I unsubscribed from "Little Catholic Bubble" today, after reading her Feb 8, 2012 post and all the comments. I believe is it necessary to debate when we disagree, and to do so in love. I am unsubscribing because I just can't take anymore of the bashing. Too much clanging for me, not enough Christ in the blog.

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV

I am not giving up. There is much beauty here and much to celebrate here and often surprising tenderness amid the satire here.

I want to study in the Library of Theological Agreements, build on the Cornerstone that is Christ.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mary's Song

I'm bursting with God-news;
I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It's exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
Luke 1:46-56 MSG

I'd never read this part of The Story ~ beautiful.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

He causes his sun to rise

But I tell you, love your enemies 
and pray for those who persecute you, 
that you may be children of your Father in heaven. 
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and
sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  
—Matthew 5:44-45 NIV

As I read the words, He causes his sun to rise, the image that greets me is from "City of Angels" — the angels standing on the beach listening to the music embedded in the beautiful sky, the light. more

And so it begins ... the choice to love, the choice to love those who nourish us and to love those associated with our pain, the humanity that knowingly or unwittingly left wounding marks on our souls.

Wounded Heart ~ session 1
I am moved to tears at these words:
Not being cherished by and celebrated by ... simply because you exist.
Not having the experience of being a delight.

Asked to select an object from the plastic box of random objects, I choose a familiar toy from my childhood, a remnant of a game I did not often play. The metal speaks to the pervasive feeling within me for most of this past year: that I am unfit for human consumption, pointed and cold, with thoughts and words like barbs.

Holding my selected object I realize there are 6 points, that only 2 are sharp, the remaining 4 softly rounded.

I hope my object selected is a measure of the work God has already accomplished within me, an indication that God and I are well beyond the halfway point in my healing journey.

I have not been given a spirit of fear, 
but of power, love and a sound mind. 
—Who I am in Christ, 2 Timothy 1:7

Photo Credit: Jacks

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bedroom Windows

A few years ago, my husband and I moved our bedroom upstairs into space slowly vacated by our college students turned homeowners. Though the bathroom remains quite a ways down the hall, we now inhabit a spacious two-room 'suite' separated by pocket doors, the room with the best old house closet, with windows on three of four walls.

The empty nest has other advantages, like taking my afternoon nap bathed in the light of west facing windows. The nap habit began as respite and escape, in a season when anxiety and night terrors crept in relentlessly and darkness stole my evening slumber, leaving behind a physically and mentally exhausted shadow of me.

The nightly haunts of the moonlit hours eventually receded.

The comfort of napping remains.

This past night, after Super Bowl Sunday, I was restless, often awaking and checking the clock.



2:37am ...

then a dream:

I am bathed in the beautiful light of west facing windows.

I can feel the warmth of the sun.

I often nap in this space with great afternoon light and without waking sense this light is different. It touches my face very gently, inviting my eyelids to open.

The century-old newer-vinyl-sided west wall has been altered, replaced with a brilliant expanse of new windows.

Light caresses my being ... pulsing Brightness.

Photo Credit

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Celebrate Compassion

Sometimes ... there just isn't time or energy or inspiration.

Is it ok, instead, to share another's words?

Today I find hope here:



Saturday, February 4, 2012

Baby Feet

Carefree dogs make me laugh.

Naked baby feet make me smile.

A friend's Friday Photo Dump
brings joy to my heart.

This cropped photo is from a formal portrait of my great niece just before she learned to walk on her own. Her dress is palest pink, overlaid with sheer fabric embroidered with flowers. A big satin bow ties above her waist, cascades down the back of her dress, long and lush. Her baby plump arms and perfectly dimpled hands rest on a child-sized Victorian sofa upholstered in a tapestry of ivory, pink and sage framed by richly stained and intricately carved wood. The background is rich dark chocolate shadows, faded images evoking an ancient garden wall. She is turning her head to the right, smiling over her shoulder at the camera. Her body is tilted slightly toward the sofa, her dress the perfect length to reveal her bare feet.

The portrait is breathtaking and timeless, capturing her essence, 
revealing the radiant beauty of her spirit.

Then [Jesus] took the children in his arms and placed 
his hands on their heads and blessed them. —Mark 10:16 NLT

Photo Credit

Friday, February 3, 2012

Can I see your body of work? Ouch!

As I read Covey's The 8th Habit, I found myself rolling up my sleeves 
and doing the work. I culled through a year of scribbled appointments 
in my calendar and the box full of disheveled receipts in my office. 
I examined the trails of my own time alongside my husband's 
money, then made changes. People with worthy projects fell 
away from my "Giving To" list as I intentionally concentrated 
on people and passions closest to my heart. —Rw, Legacy

Today, Seth Godin asks:

Are you leaving behind an easily found trail of accomplishment?
Seth's Blog: Can I see your body of work?

A little research indicates that my time spent with Covey was most likely in the winter, possibly late in 2009. How much more unaccounted for time and money has trailed through my life since then?

If the work you do isn't worth collating and highlighting, 
you probably need to be doing better work.
Seth's Blog: Can I see your body of work?


Who wants to spend time collating? Categorizing? Filing?

Who wants to sort through the bushels of apples called 'my work' looking for the shiny crisp reds amidst the shriveled browns of unmet expectations and the rotting too-soft fruit of brokenness revealed?

Not me. Probably not you. Seth invites us to do it anyway, reveal the better work.

Shiny Crisp Reads:
06 Jun Come Alive
09 Jun A Heart Not Big Enough
13 Jun The Dance
21 Jun I Want This
23 Jun Easily Crushed
28 Jun Simple Inclines
05 July Vietnam
06 July This
12 July Legacy
22 July Morning Glory
14 Aug 4am Cucumbers
27 Aug Delight
28 Aug Puffed
01 Sept Rising Darkness
06 Sept My Heart Knows This Place
10 Sept Cave
13 Oct Perfect Fit
07 Nov EZ Coffee Rules
11 Dec Cascading Light
23 Dec Snow-Woman Delight
25 Dec Messiah


In my studies this morning, this scares me:

“Get behind me, Satan!” [Jesus] said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” —Mark 8:33 NIV

Jesus is not talking to Satan. Christ is addressing the apostle Peter ...

a writer and witness to The Story ...

a human in broken humanity,
a man held up as a mirror,
a brother in which I see shards of me.


Photo by Toronto Rob

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Marshmallows in Hot Cocoa

my friend Jc calls on his way home from a conference,
he offers fresh insights, his words bring comfort, i tell him i am looking forward to coffee with my friends, especially a favorite friend, ladies only ~

a friend, someone close to my mother in age, sends an email, she says she wants to get together soon, yet in her email i fail to find even a hint that she read my invitation
to coffee this morning, ladies only ~

while i sleep, a young woman sends an email asking for prayer,
she is concerned about her grandmother, she is awake ~

i am praying for the young woman and her grandmother. i remember lunch on Sunday, this young woman promising to consider joining us for coffee, i look forward to seeing her, i hope ~

a favorite friend texts she won't be with us for coffee, she is not feeling well this morning, is not going to join us in this a place i know she will find friendship, be embraced, ladies only ~

blinking back the tears that want to form at the corners of my eyes, i feel my heart melting into sadness like marshmallows in a too-hot cup of cocoa.

my words are inadequate.

i often feel i am a woman who is deaf and can hardly talk.


Jesus looked up in prayer, groaned mightily, and commanded, 
"Ephphatha!—Open up!" And it happened. The man's hearing was clear 
and his speech plain—just like that. Mark 7:31-36 excerpt MSG

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Today, while catching up with friends' blogs, I took a quiz at Coffee With God.
I didn't follow the directions, "Answer each question True or False..." Instead,
I printed the list and marked those that were True. I ended up with 9 Trues,
10 Unmarked, and 3 Falses behind #14:

... revealing that I am possibly an Ambivert with a tilt toward Extrovert.

I also struggle with following the directions Jesus gives:

"And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, 
leave that place and shake the dust off your feet 
as a testimony against them.” Mark 6:7-13 NIV

I tend to shake the dust early, bringing testimony against 'them' as I announce my arrival by kicking down the door.

There is so much I need to learn!