Tuesday, April 22, 2014

60 Little Tootsies

Lydia    .    Kathryn    .    Andrew    .    Melanie    .    Alexa    .    Brooke

'Oh, your family must be perfect,' a client sighed as she left a counseling session.  Where she came up with that fallacy I'll never know, as our family is seldom if ever the topic of conversation in that sacred space.  Not a chance, I told her.  Just because grandma has a bunch of letters after her name doesn't mean that she or any of her kin have arrived.  In any way, shape, or form.

We are a typical family in our struggles, our joys, our pain, our celebrations, our concerns, our hopes, our craziness.

This ain't no granny-blog.  Here and there I've shared stories and pictures, but even though these six are the sunshine of my life, they don't appear too often in my writing.  Some things are best left to cherish quietly deep inside, to be pondered and prayed over and not idly or casually broadcast.  But a week doesn't pass when someone doesn't ask me about the gang, so here they are, barefoot in the dead of winter.  I hear that no matching shoes were to be found.

I love this picture.  You can bet it's front and center on my mantle.  Everyone looks so perfect all lined up in their matching gear.  Combed hair!  All looking at the camera!  Gently hugging each other!  Talk about a rare event.  But I hear that one of the shots featured one set of little hands in a death grip around a sibling's neck.  And I'm sure that some level of bribery was required to pull this huge feat together.

We all live hours apart from each other and to have all twelve of us healthy and in one place is a rarity.  Together, we've gone through the agony of brain surgery and the thrill of adoption.  We've read endless piles of books and gathered up oodles of treasures on more walks than I can count.  I've carried and soothed and fed, crooned and hugged and rocked by the hour.  I've been known to speak rather sternly from time to time.  We've painted and colored and created messy masterpieces on kitchen tables, and cuddled up in a tangle of arms and legs and very long hair to watch evening movies.

The name of Jesus is spoken and sung of often in this extended family.  These little ones love Him so, and He's the golden thread that has woven our hearts tightly together.

This is my life.  I love it.  Even though I have been prostrate on the floor in grief or laid in bed awake for hours banging at heaven's door on behalf of one or the other.  When it comes to issues, I try to keep quiet {not always possible, just ask my daughters} and pray til my heart is empty {the only thing I can really do that matters.}

So if you've got 10 minutes to spare, I'd love for you to pour yourself a glass of iced tea, settle in, and page through this online family scrapbook.  Rejoice in birth announcements, catch some creative play days, and listen in on a few one on one conversations.  There's a potpourri of random photo shoots, the miraculous brain surgery saga, some profound wisdom from little lips, and lots of laugh out loud craziness.  You'll also run into a variety of other relations and ancestors who all meld together to form this rather imperfect tribe.

This is my family.  And I love them.

Sharing the gang with Beth   *   Kristen  *   Beth  *  Lyli
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Monday, April 21, 2014

NOW what?

Easter.  So long anticipated, so late in arriving this year, has come and gone.

You may have gathered with a group of strangers on a windswept beach at o'dark thirty.  A house church, a public school, a sanctuary with beautiful stained glass windows, or a jam-packed civic center may have been the location of your community adoration of our risen Redeemer.


You may have relished a lovely gathering with your nearest and dearest and will long remember the relationships at the heavily laden table, surrounded by the sweet love that permeated the room.

Or you might have eaten a tasteless meal alone, curled up for an afternoon nap, or headed off to the movies by yourself.


There might have been Bible lessons for little ones in the gleeful creating of Resurrection Rolls out of croissants and marshmallows enthusiastically rolled in spices.

Or simply a crazed mad dash for hidden eggs, baskets swinging wildly in little hands as eager feet surged ahead in the backyard hunt for sugar-stuffed treasures carefully hidden.


You may be picking at the leftovers today, nibbling on some salty ham, or peeling yet another hard boiled egg as you clean up the scattered remnants of the celebration.

Or aimlessly popping another jelly bean or Cadbury egg into your mouth even as we speak.


When all is said and done, John 20:10 - 21:25 is a pivotal place for us to land as we pack away the serving platters, the stuffed bunnies, and familiar baskets that have been tossed aside yet one more time.  For there is a post-traumatic stress that emerges for Jesus' beloved companions that must be considered as they emerge from their witness of His torturous death and mind-numbing resurrection ... and the gradual realization that their Savior just might be leaving them forever.

This is a story of deep relationships, a tale of intimate conversations, the processing of untold horrors, and consideration of immense soul-searching questions. The Holy Spirit is given and miraculous signs appear.  An overloaded boat groans with fish and a beachside grillfest is gratefully received. 

Their tears and fear collide with joy and doubt and peace.  Just like our own.  And the question begs to be asked. 

As April wends its way to a close, what's Jesus inviting ME to?

 Debby's eggs adorn her family table

Sharing the question with Laura  *  Holley  *  Emily
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Afraid . . . Yet Filled with Joy

"So the women hurried away from the tomb,
afraid yet filled with joy,
and ran to tell His disciples. 
Suddenly Jesus met them. 
'Greetings,' He said. 
They came to Him, clasped His feet and worshiped Him. 
Then Jesus said to them, 'Do not be afraid. 
Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.'"
-   Matthew 28:8- 10   -
    photo / In the Hands of the Healer   
    celebrating the resurrection with Deidra   

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Friday, April 18, 2014

# 48

She reaches high and gently pulls her childhood Bible off the oak shelf.  The black one, the King James Version, a cherished Christmas gift from her Grandma and Grandpa back in 1964.  She opens the front cover to trace the childish writing with her eyes and fingertips.

And she smiles.

For there in a careful scrawl reads the date of her redemption.  All of 48 years ago.  When she came to Jesus, broken and weeping tears of regret and relief in the front pew of the church.  And He saved her from her sins.  All 10 years of them.  And far too many that were to follow.

This is Holy Week's gift.  Another milestone reached, with gratitude that overflows.  And she remembers, once again, that it was for her that His blessed blood was poured out. 

this recollection is a repeat performance
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Healing Circles

The one with the fevered brow lifted up holy hands for the terrified sister.  And the terrified sister was more concerned for the one with the fevered brow than for her own untold agony.

The weakened recovering one let go of her anxiety so she could pray over the fearful soul.  Who had rubbed the aching limbs of the feverish one.  And the beloved matriarch who lived encased in endless pain sat in a holy watchfulness.  While the steady gentle giant once again lifted his friends to Jesus even while he already had enough prayers that needed to be said.

And the valiant brother who was fighting untold pressure wanted to know how he could pray.  While the exhausted sojourner stuffed with grief sat still with eyes resting closed.  And the faithful women who already carried too much on overfull platters steadily pounded on heaven's door, beseeching the Healer to come down and bring renewed life to the ones they loved.

The friends on the sidelines kept watch in prayer.  And in faith believing, they began to cut a large ragged healing circle in the fragile ceiling, lowering their loved ones on worn out mats right down in front of the Wounded Healer Himself.

The Holy One whispered over and over again, 'peace I leave you, my peace I give you.  I do not give as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.' 

And the hopeful soul gained a clearer perspective as she remembered that a new friend had penned the truth that the trouble with fear is it tells you things will always be the way they are now.  And all that being said, the Comforter cradled her heart and the renewed peace that passes understanding rocked her gently to sleep. 

And the midnight snow silently fell as the springtime moonlight glistened bright.

visiting with Lyli  *  Emily  *  Laura
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Gleanings : : Cool Eggs * Quiet Readers * Bad Reviews * Top Blogs * Best Questions

Gathered from hither and yon . . .
{simply gorgeous}
'You can create this dramatic display with just two 0.25-ounce vials of blue dye you may already have in the kitchen ...'

{I still love knowing you're there anyway}
'Dear Blog Reader Who Has Never Commented, I have had this little letter in my drafts for a while now and I typically don’t talk about bloggy things around here.  Lately, though, I’ve thought of you more because some of you I’ve met in person.  And nearly every time, you mention a specific blog post that has meant something to you, followed by, “I know I never comment. I’m so sorry.”  Please forgive the weird look on my face.  I’m not great on the spot ...'

{sheer honesty}
'You know better.  Of course, you do.  You know better than to read blog posts about your book.  You know better than to Google yourself.  You know better than to troll a list of “best blogs” looking for your own absent name.  You know better than to ignore the 5-star reviews and only read the 1- and 2-star reviews.  You know better than to measure your self-worth by the measuring sticks of another.  Of course you know this.  But some days ...'

{some surprises here}
'There are thousands of ministry blogs to read, but do you ever wonder which ones everyone else is reading?  I do, which is why I have compiled a list of the world’s most read Christian faith blogs.  Keep in mind, this list isn’t an endorsement of the blogs but rather an objective list.  There is a broad scope of perspectives included, so be spiritually discerning about what you read and compare it against what the Bible says ...'

{phenomenal questions that cut right to the chase}
'The average American home size has doubled in the past 50 years.  Still 10% of households rent offsite storage and 25% of homeowners with two-car garages can’t park cars in them.  76% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck.  And the average US household credit card debt stands at $15,191.  It appears we have a spending problem.  We buy far more than we need.  And yet, our filled closets, overflowing drawers, and crammed basements stand as proof that purchases are not improving our lives.  Our discontent is evidenced in our excess ...'
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