Saturday, May 26, 2012

Foreign, Beautiful...and Deadly

Sacred and glittering with gold, it lay in the open, uncommon for this masterpiece of treasure and value. Strange eyes admired its beauty and a tall stone figurine of a god towered over it eerily, as the sun set this Mediterranean evening. It felt so out of place. The unfathomableness of its untouchable glory, faded everything about it, even in this grand, foreign temple.

The Force behind this object of power began to wreak havoc on its strange surroundings. It killed, ravaged, and even tore down objects in the dark of night, without so much as a subtle warning. This happened so often, that the rulers of the land gathered together to decide how to best and safely expel the pure golden treasure acquired through war. "It must go! We will put it in the cart, with these oxen pulling it, and let it go where its Power will choose. We will put gifts and treasures with it for those who it chooses to grace with its presence and power, as they plainly must be worthy to be able to coexist even in proximity!"

As the oxen began a focused excursion cross-country, led by a Force stronger than nature, the people looked on with awe, and strange wonder. "The gods save whoever gets near that!" they called out as they stepped out of its wending way, keeping a safe distance. When it neared its destination, joy flushed the excited faces of those familiar with their treasure once taken in war and now coming home! "It has returned!" They sang out and literally danced through the village streets. When an oxen stumbled, a kind-hearted man reached up to steady the glorious prize: he crumpled to his well-meaning and misguided feet, dead.

Finally it arrived. When it was in set into the perfect place, designed to have and hold its sacred beauty, the Power that protected it thus far, in turn blessed everyone with life and success who so much as came close.

May I tell you a secret whispered to me about that treasure?
It is me.
It is you.
I didn't write the story either. God did; in I Samuel chapters 5 and 6.

There is not even a shadow that can harm the people who house the Spirit of God, without His permission. People cannot even innocently and unhelpfully try to help you, outside of His will and protection. We are completely utterly safe as we yield to His guidance and wend our way homeward. And when we arrive at the destination, the treasure you bring will be the blessing upon the one who is deserving.

So, I'm going for a ride. Watch out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Physically Stuck: Together

Every moment of long-term illness, is a moment spent your mind. Days go by with their opportunities, seconds, minutes, hours, leaving you stuck back behind even the starting line sometimes. It is only when you cannot move, that you see everyone else is, carelessly and carefree.

One after another in Matthew 8, Jesus instantly heals a leperous man, a Roman centurion's servant, and Peter's mother. In each instance the individuals are better equipped to serve, and leap to their feet to accomplish more specific actions of service post-healing than they were before He touched their lives. As I read that on Sunday, the sun warmed my skin as I leaned my back against a railing on the arched, wooden foot-bridge where I sat.

I shut my Bible, with my finger keeping my place, and squeezed my eyes shut. "Why, Lord? Why must I be sick for so long, when I just know I could serve you more if I were healed?" I swallowed hard and raised my free hand up, "Here I am. If I can be better used by You, healthy, then please, please make me better. I so desperately want to just get better, once and for all! But if I am the best servant to You in my current condition, then I will stay here...completely alone, and honestly...hurting so bad."

Sighing and opening my eyes, I flipped the book back open on my lap, catching back the pages from the breeze's grasp. I continued to read along, admiring the kindness, and wondering at the impossible schedule of my friend Jesus in His packed schedule that day. And then I read, "...Himself took our infirmities, and bear our sicknesses" (Matthew 8:17). That's when I shut the book.

Wait. What? He even feels your body's pains. He even takes on what we are physically enduring upon His own consciousness. How could He possibly care enough about me to do a thing like that?  Its unfathomable already to actually grasp His desire to cleanse our minds, spirits, and save us and all that of spiritual import. But He bothers to actually bear with you, your mere physical sicknesses

I stood to my feet and leaned against the rail, squinting back the sun and some guilty tears. "You didn't have to do that, You know." I half mumbled, stupified that I would begin to complain when He obviously knew all about it and feels it with me, to the last little detail. "In fact, how? I mean, why? Why are you so kind? You are here with me in this: the two of us. I'll never be sick and alone again." It just doesn't matter anymore to physically suffer: it's the least I can do patiently, if He is doing it with me voluntarily.

He's really the Best Friend you can't possibly begin to imagine. Whatever hurts you in this life, my friend, it is hurting on His clock, too.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Giving Away to Give Way

I beat the dirt trail through the woods with my feet, because it is the best thing to hit. I swallowed harder everyday. Tears were honestly only millimeters away from overflow, despite my sincere smile. My head hurt. How could it be? Years had passed me by, along with his value up until the past few years.

The truth is, I finally realized I was losing my father. But wait, I never "had" him. If not today, next week, or next year...someday he would be gone. I never realized that I thought he belonged to me. His cancer is said to be spreading by some and by others to be clearing. What I know is that he is in pain. What I know is that he is here now.

A friend walked along beside me through the woods a few nights ago. My secret tears found their way out without permission while we talked. She told me of the day her father died -- almost. The glaring details of the hospital moments, expansion of infection, and the fading of life touched a chord. I could touch the cold steel of the hospital bed, hear the beeping of monitors,  and the clamor of the personnel racing to save what narrowly remained. I heard the door close behind her as she fell to her tired knees and cried out, "Lord! Save my daddy if he will bring glory to You with continued life, and take him away if he will be a dishonor Your name! He is Yours." He lives and he lives.

That's when I realized I held my daddy so close to my heart that I had not let him go. We are not supposed to carry that weight, as it does not even belong to us. We are not to "have" anyone, ever. So, I raised my hands in the woods and gave him away. So much gave way. If mental pressure gives a headache, then I have the cure.

With the phone to my cheek, I told my dad before I fell asleep that night. I told him I would be OK if he has to go...and absolutely thrilled if he can stay. God is good.

Who do you think is yours?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Strife Inside

An inner tension with no root and no destination, has both. Untraceable, unquenchable, undefinable, it must be confronted. What to do? He that asks, receives.God wants to reveal the true source of the trouble of our heart into our present--so we can be free. Often when we struggle with the same failure repeatedly, no matter how often we confront it, we must realize that it goes deeper than we presently know. But be warned, God will tell you, if you ask Him.

"It doesn't really matter! It's not like it doesn't happen to everyone, too." I told myself, when the truth hit me of what yet remained unresolved. When it comes down to it, we live alone with our own conscience. If you have given in to God and truth in the past, it will chase you down on this earth. So when we know what has gone wrong, what can we do?

  1. Repent - turn away with the intention to never return
  2. Confess - to spiritual authority
  3. Take back the ground given to Satan - he has taken a place inside
  4. Make it right - restitution if necessary
  5. Move on in freedom - feel and it and glow it

Source: via Johanna on Pinterest

A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
Benjamin Franklin

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.
George Washington

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.
Thomas Paine  

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.
Mahatma Gandhi 

You should not believe your conscience and your feelings more than the word which the Lord who receives sinners preaches to you.
Martin Luther  


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Sharing Post

I must share. I cannot keep the best of little things to myself. I never could.

This is a sweet family that I love to keep up with their adventures and creativity. The mother's photos are beautiful, not to mention...herself, inside and out. Check out their Easter party.

I got to meet these sweet sisters just recently and I hope I can spend more time with them soon! Love me some radiant, wise, hard-working, cool young ladies like these.

We were privileged to get to attend the Christian Heritage Home Educators of Washington conference last weekend as  a family. The focus is on discipleship and mentoring your family in the faith and I have volunteered with their staff in the past. One of the main speakers this year, Voddie Baucham, really gets me thinking and I appreciate it. I'm still processing some of the things he said...but I just might quote him. He's rather controversial with one part sarcasm and three parts love, and I rather like that.

The young ladies conference that we held on April 14 was amazing! We are planning the next for July 7 and you can register on the website pretty soon! Here some photos from just a couple weeks back.

Me. Hopefully talking about important stuff we all need to know.

The beautiful audience and new friends.

Ruth Rogers and I overdoing the bling on patient Emily to demonstrate a point.
I am dieing to do another concert. Yes, a vocal recital of good old spirituals in concert! I debate with myself if anyone would attend in the current music climate, and then I remember that spirituals are my dad's favorite and that's why I want to do it. I haven't told him yet...I am plotting. Would you come? I'm thinking Kathleen Battle style with special guests and all kinds of musicians...

And now I continue design work on the grand old hotel in Chicago, IL. You can see some of the inspiration for my work here.

And last, but most emphatically not least...I have a darling niece, that I must also share with you.

Me and her!
one week old

There's always more to share...But I just had to tell you about those few things.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Plain and Simple

In the crowded restaurant, people who thought they knew us surrounded us. After all, they had watched us grow up. Twenty different conversations swelled about us and children scampered over us. The waiter waved from across the room with a wink, and few people scooted into the long booth with us with a “Hey!” But, all I really heard was the real girl next to me, living a real life through its craziest moments. When we finally dried our private tears in the public throng and said “goodbye,” I wished for the entire world to know some thoughts.

Everything passes.

Nobody stays the same.

Nothing is what it looks like.

Preaching at does not make a listener.

Children actually do want to like their parents.

Being trusted is as important as love or respect.

What will make you “happy” is not what you think it is.

Know the anwer to your probing question before you ask it.

Even the selfless one can be the most selfish person to be found.

Chocolate is a marvel, a necessity, an undertaker…sooner or later.

If someone is gorgeous, they probably do not think about that very much.

If a man has “unspoken intentions” for a woman then he has no intentions.

A teardrop is the tip of an iceberg melting over from the boiling heat inside.

Our own worldview can hinder us from obtaining true fulfillment in our lives.

If all the girls like the same guy because he likes them, then you definitely should not.

If someone is different from you, they are not wrong because of it—and they need respect, too.

Parents, your children love you so much they actually will not tell you the extent of how you hurt them.

If you mention something about their appearance every time you see someone, they will find you creepy.

After age eighteen, the cultural expectation is—unintelligent—if the individual was not ready for it at sixteen.

You can let go verbally, while you’re heart hangs on—and your loved ones will know when it is still incomplete.

Press someone consistently with your fears for them, and they will be closer to the fears coming true than they were before they knew them well.

That’s all.