Monday, July 29, 2013

Know what can make you miserable?

Know what can make you miserable.  Hands down?
Trying to win someone's approval.  A feeling of not measuring up.
Coming from them.  Coming from you.

And on the day it crashes.  For you.
The ungrace - like shards of glass, broken sharp edges, around your feet.
Crazy scary. Unsettling.
Much to clean up.  Carefully.

Because what happens.
Blaming and criticizing and ruminating - and it's in your head.
And it's all about you.

Not measuring up.  Not meeting the standard.  Failing.

Surely, in the Christian world, not an issue.
For the whole concept of faith is wrapped up in grace.

But do we get it?
The awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping incredible gift.


And even for the humanists.
Those embracing man as the answer to life.
Doesn't life come crashing down?  A seeking.  There must be more.

Why don't we get it?

A chasing.  A running after. To fill the empty. 
The search for significance.
This lust - so pervasive in post-modern culture.
In the cinema, in the music, in the glossy covers.
Even our homes, our schools, our churches.
Culture everywhere. Striving.

And in the striving, the twisting of our lives into a charade.
The wearing of masks eventually.
Too painful, the real.  For failing to meet the standard.
For just plain failing.  Even in our own minds.
Falling short.  Again and again.
And then failure even to try.

Nothing more unattractive or painful.
The judgment, the guilt, the shame.  Falling victim.
To perfectionism and striving.
Desperately trying to make a life count for something.

George MacDonald put it succinctly.

You need not be a Christian to build houses, feed the hungry, or heal the sick. 
There is only one thing the world cannot do. 

It cannot offer grace.

What the world needs.
Almost defying description.
So good the Gift.

And in accepting the Gift.
Something happens.

In place of the striving, the chasing after the wind.

In it's place.
A quiet strength with humility.
A joy from forgiveness.
A life of purpose; understanding intrinsic worth.

Restored relationship with God.
With ourselves.
Nothing to prove.  Only to accept.  

And the ungrace.
When it comes calling.
Something to discard, to run from; a destroyer.

Because no matter who you are or what you believe.
If extended Grace, you are grateful.

A powerful gift.
The only thing the world cannot offer.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summertime summertime


Images of summer.
Crazy good moments.

Salty air.  Spray in your face.
Skimming across water.  Sun warming.
The jaw-dropping everyday ordinary.  Of summer.

From a boat and from a beach and living large.
A lazy afternoon; mind-numbing, spirit-soaring goodness filling.
Earth crammed with heaven.

Counting the gifts.
Living them large.  Thankful.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

10 on 10

Welcome to 10 on 10.  A celebration of the beautiful things in a day.  Everywhere we look with eyes to see.  Texture.  Color.  Symmetry.  Design.  Creation.  Happy July 10.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I'm counting

The first day since recovering. 
Seeing the 4th from behind the window. 
Lying low.

And today. Rejoicing in feeling better.  Loving normal.  Really appreciating.

Windows down.  Breezing down the road.  Enjoying a summer day. 

Music taking me back.  You know, now the oldies.
Singing.  Smiling.  Almost painful the feeling.

Another summer.  Long ago.

Carefree.  Barefoot.  Days on the beach.  Best friends.
A boyfriend too. Sweet romance. 
Still riding my bike.  All over town.  Innocent carefree days.

But today.  Another season.  Still summer but another season.

Empty nest. Getting older.

A new chapter.  A new kind of summer.

Still feeling the girl.   
But only a glance in the rear view mirror.  Reversing the daydream.
Seeing the gray.  Seeing the years.

Nearing another birthday.  A big one.

What happened to the girl?  The summer?  The dreams?

What happened to us all?  Those fortunate enough to share the view from here.

No life without scars.  Often deep pain.  Still. 

But this I know.  One thing I have learned.  To stop living life like an emergency.

Because the moments.  All we have.

Our choice.  How to live them.

And I am counting these days. 
Not the days until I turn sixty.  No.  Not that.

Counting the gifts.  The everyday gifts.

The unfolding beauty of the moment. 

This I learned from Ann. 
Ann "without the e".
Not a Pollyanna sort of thing.
No.  Not that either.

A deep abiding faith in the hand of the Creator.
Sovereign over life.
Redeeming.  Turning ugly into beautiful. 
Loving unfathomably.
Giving gifts daily - if we see.

So I am looking.  Being reminded daily.

To appreciate.  To see.  Not to miss.

And so I count.

Singing in the car. 
Blueberries sweet and juicy in buckets.  Fuzzy peaches heavy in a brown bag.
Laughing with a friend.  Windows down.  Carefree.
Seagulls wheeling.  
Fields full of corn standing tall.
Flags waving in the breeze.  Roadside stands.  Produce piled high. 
Fluffy white clouds, jaw-dropping; reminders of tropical trips.
Mailbox stuffed full.  Aqua door welcoming.
Sharing a sweet kiss.  Husband helping with dinner.  Best friend goodness.
Dinner with a guest.  Laughing some more.  Summer food filling.
Patio overflowing in the warm; flowers, butterflies, bees.
A hummingbird.  Birds twittering; a cacophony.
Sun sinking low.  Tall pines a silhouette.  Sky smudged with pinks.
Dusk velvety and soft.  Fireflies. 
Barefoot warmth.  End of day slows.
Nothing more beautiful. 
Than the moment.

Slowing down to see.
Counting the gifts easy to overlook.

And when a day is hard.  Even many days.  Or most.
Still I choose.
To be grateful.  To be thankful.  To count.  

Always something for which to bend the knee.
But, indeed, a discipline.

Easier on a summer day such as this. 
But still counting on other days.  Because a decision.
To live this wild and beautiful life full of joy.

For it is out of His hand that we accept the gifts.
And in the counting; worship.

There may be hardship.  There may be pain.  But always gifts for the one who sees.

And in the looking; living a life.
Where every moment is "holy, ordinary, amazing grace".

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Lady Liberty.
Standing as a beacon of hope.  For those arriving.  Over the years.
Refugees weeping; grateful.
Sailors returning; celebrating.
Tourists marveling; taking pictures.
Amazed at the grandeur.  Never disappointing.

Lady Liberty.
Not a symbol of power so much.
But standing tall; welcoming.  More a representative of faith. 
To those seeking a better life.

Because until you lose it you don't know what freedom is.

On this July 4th,
Lady Liberty is reopening, the first time since 9/11.
A symbol.
To help us remember.
Processing refugees at Ellis Island; desperate to be accepted.

Because on another July 4th, our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence.
Aware of the great sacrifice to themselves and their families; war.
Hardship, loss of life, separation from loved ones. 

Pursuing freedom; whatever the cost.

And then, welcoming the downtrodden to our shores.  Giving hope and a new life.

As we celebrate do we remember?
What has been and continues to be spent for us to be free?
For today - a different kind of war.
Involving entitlement and oftentimes disappointment with the American dream.

Paul Simon pens it in a song, "American Tune".
Disillusionment.  Sometimes for the refugees.  For citizens here.

Poor living conditions upon arrival; some in NY City tenements, some digging ditches.
Hard, back-breaking toil in order to eat.
No handouts.
Maybe more than they bargained for.
Even today.

But, interestingly enough, very few got back on the boat.

Because life is hard.  Then and now.
And maybe the American dream isn't worth it if it's all about materialism and success.

But we forget.  It isn't.
The most important thing; living in freedom.
Worth the personal cost.

On this July 4th, in a land where we have such high expectations, let us never forget.
The sacrifices then and even now.

And in the remembering; the symbols.

Flags waving, fireworks, cookouts, a lady standing tall in a harbor and an aged document under glass in Washington, D.C.
Symbols all of freedom.

After all, isn't that the issue right now in Egypt?
Risking everything.  For freedom.