Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Baby

A baby will make love stronger,

days shorter,

nights longer,

bankroll smaller,

home happier,

clothes shabbier,

the past forgotten,

and the future worth living for.

Thankful for a day with my sweet granddaughter, Malli.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


As I watched the leaves fall from the birch trees this morning, I began to take notice of the stretching, reaching form of their limbs. Shedding their garments. Baring their nakedness.


Yet, rooted deeply here for years. Weathering many storms. Standing strong.


I,too stand naked. Nothing to put on. Nothing to wrap myself up in. No covering. Or threads of pride, accomplishment, gift, talents, or ministry.

Vulnerable. And, yet, I am still standing strong. With roots that reach even deeper now.

...the benefit and vulnerability of being stripped naked of the things that defined me, becoming dependent on finding my identity in Christ.
from Emerging Grace

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.” J. R. Tolkien

Over the past year I have struggled with "institutional church."
I discovered this particular writing by Mark Berry on his blog at http://markjberry.blogs.com. I can relate to most of his thoughts.

Is Church" like living in a cold climate? Odd question to ask during the summer I suppose but the more time I spend outside of "Church" the more it looks like a bunch of people trying to survive in sub-zero temperatures... we huddle together for protection, we surround ourselves with layer upon layer of insulation from the climate (culture) around us and pray for Summer... we pull our lifeblood back from the extremities into the centre spending more and more time at this meeting or that, this group or gathering or that... I know many good Christians whose whole life is lived in "Church", whose diary is jammed with "Church" events (the workplace being the only exception) and whose social life is spent entirely with "Church" people (families often the only exception) trouble is it seems to me that living like this means sooner or later the extremities will die and ultimately it is not the way to survive... some Christians can't stand the waiting around and the self preoccupation and head off into the cold regardless of the outcome... some seem able to take the risk and acclimatise, adapt, so that they can survive and even flourish... though perhaps in a new way! I want to be hopeful, I really do, maybe I'm just the type who can't stand standing around in a huddle facing in with my back to the weather (like those penguins do on "March of the Penguins"!) I'm not saying I have the answer, not even saying I know how to survive just that I'm not sure "survival" is enough or worth it in it's own right... I guess I'm more of a "blaze (or freeze) of glory" type! My Rural Dean said at the interview for my post that the role should be "meeting light and relationship heavy" I guess that's part of the reason I'm here in Telford and why at this moment I'm more than happy being outside "Church".... with my face, not my back to the storm!

Happy Fall Y'all

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
Emily Bronte

He is for me

The victory lies not with us, but with Christ, who has taken on him both to conquer for us and to conquer in us. The victory lies neither in our own strength to get it, nor in our enemies’ strength to defeat it. If it lay with us, we might justly fear. But Christ will maintain his own government in us and take our part against our corruptions. They are his enemies as well as ours.

Let us therefore be ’strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might’ (Ephesians 6:10). Let us not look so much at who our enemies are as at who our judge and captain is, nor at what they threaten, but at what he promises. We have more for us than against us. What coward would not fight when he is sure of victory?

—Richard Sibbes
The Bruised Reed

Monday, September 14, 2009

Empty but Filled

These times,
these days of less,
these days of need,
I see
Less of me,
More of You,

What does it take to be truly grateful? Is it when the bills are paid, everyone is healthy, and the cupboards are full? Is that when I praise Him most? Can I really be thankful in times when nothing seems to be going my way? When I have more bills than income? When the path I should take is unclear and uncertain?

I have had plenty and been impoverished.
And now...
I have had less and been rich.

It's true...really. In God's economy, less is more.
Less of me, more of Him.
Now unspent richness that I can not contain or use up.
Empty and poured out, but filled.
Filled with gratitude for the gifts.
This feast of blessings.

530. a child's smile

531. giggling children in a classroom

532. encouraging words

533. a small, country school

534. grand daughter puckering up, blowing kisses

535. spanish moss draping trees

536. old friends, familiar faces

537. watching glowing bride-to-be open gifts

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


We can only be said to be alive in those moments
when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
Thornton Wilder

524. car windows down, wind kissing my face

525. a brisk walk-jog, sweat on my brow

526. mid-day conversation, four parents gather

527. words from daughter, appreciation

528. note from friend, love and encouragement

529. call from son, plans shared

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wait for the Lord;
Be strong, and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

This season that lingers attempts to entomb my hopes and dreams, planted long ago. Waiting. Still waiting. Sometimes suffocating here in the darkness I long for a ray, a glimpse that He still cares...that He has not forgotten this one. Living in hope-wait for new purpose, meaning. Longing for direction.

So on my knees, with tools in hand, I plant seeds of hope in your hollow today, watering, trusting that new life will spring forth, resurrecting, awakening new in your life-garden today. In this I discover that I am not alone... While we wait for the Lord; being strong, letting our hearts take courage; Yes, waiting for the Lord.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


...The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, Im learning again
I've been tryin to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think its about forgiveness
These times are so uncertain
There's a yearning undefined
And people filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age?
The trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
They're the very things - we kill...
All the things I thought Id figured out
I have to learn again
Ive been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think its about forgiveness
There are people in your life who've come and gone
They let you down you know they hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby; life goes on
You keep carryin that anger; it'll eat you up inside,
I've been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thought seem to scatter
But I think its about forgiveness

portion of lyrics from Heart of the Matter

by Don Henley of THE EAGLES

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Heart of the Matter

There we sat on the patio of a restaurant on this mild, late summer evening, just the two of us, me and my husband enjoying a meal together. As we finished, I noticed a familiar person out of the corner of my eye approaching our table. I awkwardly greeted her. It had been a while since we had last spoken and admittedly it was a little odd this sudden, unexpected face to face encounter. She politely asked if she could talk to me about something. I offered her a chair.

She said, I have come to say I am sorry.

I reached for her hand...that same hand that I held when we were both children. Playing countless hours together on the fertile farm land of our ancestors.

Through her tears, she humbly asked me to forgive her and apologized for something that had happened over two years ago. She did not try to explain or excuse her actions, she simply asked me to forgive her.

My response? I came out of my chair, embraced her and I accepted her apology.

Instantly, there was releif. The invisible, but very real fortress between us came tumbling down.

With just three simple words.

Springs of tears and fountains of forgiveness watered our faces and our souls.
Hearts grown hard suddenly softened, ready for new growth to take root.

These two. Daughters of the land. His daughters.Getting down to the heart of the matter.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

On my knees

Here I am again on my knees, weeding this same flowerbed. In no time at all this unwanted and unsightly growth has taken over, choking, crowding the gardenias planted years ago.
Now with piles of wilting and withering growth littering the sidewalk, I stop to catch my breath, straightening my stiff back. In this moment, with a hint of Fall in the air, I think of how I need this. This weeding in my heart. Throwing out. Casting away of my worries. Flinging. Disposing. Tossing.
How to do this? How to keep these weeds of worry out? How to nurture the wanted growth and fling away the choking?
Maybe it really does simply start on my knees.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Grace covering

Malli wearing my old-fashioned bonnet

Over forty years ago my grandfather gave me a red checked gingham bonnet. Although it was 1969 and not exactly a popular fashion statement for that day, I loved it. I wore it when no one was watching and secretly pretended I lived in a different century, like Laura Ingles.

The bonnet has covered not only my head, but my daughter's head when she was just a toddler while playing at the beach. Still with an aroma of salt air, I placed it on another head today.

While playing in the front yard, with a hint of Fall in the air , it covered my grandaughter today.

Like the grace from the Father.

Amazing grace covers.

Flowing down.

A covering of His grace in a rich garment of righteousness woven by the precious blood of Christ.

Grace covering.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Giving thanks again...

520. celebrating Savannah-Jane's Calculus Test results-95!

521. napping next to Malli

522. encouraging notes

523. getting teeth cleaned


Malli, perfectly peaceful

Thou wilt keep her in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because she trusteth in thee."
Isaiah 26:3

I watched my grandaughter as she slept today. After hours of play and busy-ness she finally surrendered to sleep.
I have had many restless nights, tossing turning, wrestling, fighting with sleep. Usually this insomnia stems from things that are troubling me.

The lack of perfect peace.
When I think of Him, my mind stayed on thee, trusting,having Him in my thoughts, meditating on His love, His mercy, His grace, and His provision...
then He will give me that perfect peace.