Tuesday, March 30, 2010

like little children

Yes, it's true. I'm doing this again. Moving. For the past six months, I've been asking God where He wants me. Through a gauntlet of changes and happenings, I started thinking about returning to Meadville. When the thought first entered my head, perceived probability was dreadfully low. Job. House. Ugh. Where to start? So I told God that if He wants me in Meadville, He's going to have to find me both.

So here's the run-down:

1) Job.
Still working on paperwork for the job. of. my. DREAMS! at a redidential facility for teens in state custody. Please pray everything goes off without a hitch. The "paperwork" is a source of sheepish embarrassment, actually. I home-schooled my last few years of high school, which equals a dearth of an accredited diploma. I had every intention of taking a GED test, even pre-testing in Maryland before moving to PA to teach school... but the actual test got shoved to the back burner in the busy years that followed. So... as uneducated as this makes me appear, the agency checked my references, then instructed me to notify them once I've taken a GED test. I feel reasonably optimistic I'll be hired... but will most definitely be breathing easier once it's official. I'm scheduled to take the GED next week, after which I'll most likely wait a few weeks to receive the coveted paper. Red tape, red tape. I just want to get this show on the road.

2) House.
My friend Bekah and I rented a dear little house in Meadville. Its backyard is seventy-five percent garden. Yes, garden! Living in town and having your own garden is definitely "having your cake and pie both". Even better? The bedroom Bekah insisted I occupy (she's a really, really nice friend) opens to a little balcony overlooking the backyard. And get this: the room we'll use as a sewing/art/project room sports an actual window seat. Sound idyllic? Once we have it cleaned (and some of the rooms repainted), it will be. I've been driving the eleven-hour round-trip to Meadville the past few weekends to work toward getting the house livable. Bekah and her friend, Cyndi, helped this past weekend. Does the fact that we're nearly finished cleaning the first floor and haven't started the second floor tell you anything about its grimy condition? From all appearances, neither the previous tenants nor their predecessors owned bucket, nor rag, nor soap, nor any such thing that belongeth in a house. One thing we quickly learned: everything is never as it seems. Discovering original colors on walls, ceilings, and oven splashboards adds an additional incentive to clean. :)

All this planning, working, waiting, bill-paying, and decision-making is wearing. Does it have to leave me as exhausted as I have been the past few weeks?

Last evening, while playing Reuben and Justin, I felt the start of a re-birth. I had forgotten how much fun it is to play with little boys. We raced matchbox cars down a ramp, again and again. Whose car won was irrelevant. The greater the wreck in which the cars came to rest, the louder we cheered. Any cars not wheels-in-the-air towed their buddies to the "fix-it shop". Then, the race began again. Seconds before the eleventh race was about to commence, Justin, aged three, froze. Wide blue eyes contradicting his impish mouth, he warned me, "Da fox is comin! He gonna eat you ALL UP!" This verdict necessitated frightened screams until Reuben, aged four, drew himself to his full kneeling height and proclaimed, "Don't worry, I'll protect you. When he comes, I'll SHOOT HIM DEAD!" Being much relieved, I helped array another race. Suddenly, the fox DID attack! True to his word, Reuben shot him dead. Hereafter, our races were delightfully interrupted by the rampages of the resurrecting fox. (Hey, if cats have nine lives and foxes are cooler than cats, how many lives must THEY have?) In fact, his maraudings grew to such ferocity that Justin had to join Reuben in protecting me from a gruesome death.

In laughter, imagination, care-free play, and downright silliness, Reuben and Justin helped me do something I hadn't succeeded in doing for several weeks... relaxing completely. Letting go.

No wonder Jesus tells us to become like little children.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

celebration of spring

not unlike the flowers
leaping silently from rich earth

not unlike the weeping willow
draping herself in gauzy green

spring has come
to my world and i

stirrings of life
of possibility

would spring be so delicious
if it did not follow winter?

i'm off to dance with
the God of seasons

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

prayer for a friend

stroking her hair
and letting her cry
what more could i do, God?

i wish You'd blessed me
with a magic wand

i'd banish the despair
from her heart's
dance of hope

i wish i could promise
her dreams fulfilled

i know the path she's on
my feet ache at the memory
of the long climb

i wish i could spare her
the halting journey

You've sustained me
so i trust You with her
what more can i do, God?

Monday, March 15, 2010


Much has been said

of the irreplaceable quality


lends to life.

Much has been said

but not too much.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mourning Dove in Sycamore

While spending delicious hours exploring the riverbank and actually doing some trail running... and sitting quietly until the rhythm of my being matched the river and I felt at one with the trees and ducks... I saw a mourning dove. Quiet in a sycamore that stood in bleached and shadowed contrast against the blue, blue sky. 

I wasn't sure why she captured me until I drew her. The style looks a little too simplistic, but I had to be abstract enough to portray what I saw.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


In an earlier post, I made comment on focus being important. Wanting to offer further explication, but lacking the words that made any sense outside my head, I've been ruminating.

Attending an evening of stellar music with Derek Webb and Jennifer Knapp yesterday, a comment made by Derek perfectly encapsulated the essence of my disturbance: "If we [the church] is known more by what we hate than what we love, something's wrong, folks."

Very wrong.

Sit in coffee shops. Read comments to articles on CNN. Listen. People are sick of Christianity. I don't blame them, really. I react to a religion that lulls people into a warm bubble-bath sort of comfort, conditioning them to disengage themselves from the hurting and "messy" people in order to "keep themselves unspotted from the world". (Might that verse be warning against those very behaviors?) If the only time we engage people outside our circles is when we are militantly defending our beliefs, we have just discredited ourselves with a glaring duplicity. Will waging verbal and written war on evolution and alternative lifestyles gain us any credit with God or other people? Evidence would dictate a negative, at least where people are concerned. Jesus' careful attention to how we treat others might offer some insight where God is concerned.

If faith equals a lack of doubt, then Christianity only amounts to a conditioning of the mind and emotions to seeing the world, life, and the search and relationship with God through rose-colored glasses.

Onlookers want something more real. Something that engages life in all its complexity. Something that offers a hope that is not mere denial of reality. Something that respects people instead of claiming to have all the answers.

Am I right in saying that we Christians are human enough to have a preoccupation with the means rather than the end? When the teachings receive more focus than the Teacher, we miss His intent with astonishing completeness.

So this is my confession. I have much from which to repent. Bigotry and pride are no more excusable sins than hate and harlotry. I want my Christianity to amount to loving others the way I am loved... to telling how I am continually redeemed by the Love that I don't deserve.

Oh, and I was utterly thrilled to hear Jennifer Knapp live! That woman can play a guitar, yo! Her raw vocals, combined with her honest lyrics, make her one of my favorite female artists. Three years and three records into a promising music career, she disappeared from the music scene entirely. She took an indefinite hiatus from the Grammy nominated, Dove-winning hype and moved to Australia. Seven years later, she's back. I discovered her music rather by chance at age 17. "A Little More", "Breathe On Me", "Martyrs & Thieves", "Romans", "Say Won't You Say", "Undo Me", "Whole Again"... these songs in particular have given words to and offered solidity to the most fragile, formative times of my life. Her courage in returning to making music offers me courage as well...

Derek Webb's insightful sarcasm makes for some pretty great songs. He played a few of my favorites, like "Heaven", "Ballad in Plain Red", "I Repent", "A King & a Kingdom", and "Wedding Dress". Here's some advice: if you're looking for the relaxing sort of beauty in a musical piece, listen to classical. I think I feel a classical streak pending. Too much hard thinking and wrestling for long months. It's been real. It's been good. But I miss the magic. Sometimes life was made to be figured out; other times it was just meant to feel, to live. That said, I think I shall seek out the company of my favorite tree... down by the riverside. ;)

Friday, March 5, 2010

[a borrowed prayer]

Take my life, and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee;
take my moments and my days,
let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
at the impulse of thy love;
take my feet, and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing
always, only, for my King;
take my lips, and let them be
filled with messages from thee.

Take my silver and my gold,
not a mite would I withhold;
take my intellect, and use
every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
take my heart, it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store;
take my self, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee.

Words: Frances Ridley Havergal, 1874