Thursday, August 12, 2010

saturate my soul, I prayed...

...this morning as it rained.

This is what He brought to mind:

Psalm 16
You Will Not Abandon My Soul
A Miktam of David.

"1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you."
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.
5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

NIV translates verse 5, "LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure", which is equally true as the format above. I like the ESV because it highlights the truth that the portion He has assigned me is Himself. I keep stopping my work to come back and re-read this chapter, feeling it envelope my soul. The life present in this Scripture (Hebrews 4:11-13) is especially dear this morning as responsibility looms and humanity is evident.

"Beloved friend [sic], I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul propsereth." III John 2

How is your soul today?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

help me love You most, I prayed

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face

‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer;
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair

I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He'd answer my request
And by His love's constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest

Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part

Yea more with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed
Cast out my feelings, laid me low

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
"Tis in this way" the Lord replied
"I answer prayer for grace and faith"

"These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me."

- John Newton

" seems that His servants who are used in special ways often experience commensurate trials. These trials are simultaneously burdens God gives to keep them utterly dependent; and thorns which pin back the veil that hides His face. In a fallen world, they are gifts." - Sono Harris

Thursday, July 22, 2010

simplicity: reduction

I still remember when all my belongings fit in my car after I graduated from college. Born to a long line of creative hoarders, that didn't last long. I had recently expected to do an art workshop for a local kids club; much to my delight the files of 'Teaching Elementary Art' from the spring of 199_ something would finally be put to use. But alas, plans change. I wouldn't need the files after all, but having the box out of the attic gave me a good reason to go through it anyway. Looking through art lessons, ideas, and practice peresentations brought back all the thoughts and feelings of preparing to teach. This little bit of cleaning out sent me digging through other files and collections of notes, ideas and syllabi. Did I mention that I graudated college in 2002. Yes, I've been carting this stuff around. I might USE it someday. Anyway, I kept a few art ideas and the rest of the 12" stack of paper is now reduced to one sheet of paper. It is the back cover from a missions conference packet. It reads:

globally aware
personally connected
strategically involved
Ephesians 5 Re: God's Will

No desires apart from Christ
No ambition apart from His will
No thought apart from His Word
No act without His approval
No alternative from a lifetime of devotion and service
No opportunity but the door of the Gospel
No higher call than His voice.

Carson Fremont

[Carson Fremont was one of my favorite missionary speakers. Google him. I tried, wondering if he is still living and what he is doing now. Last I knew, 8 years ago, he was 70 or 80 something and still teaching English in the universities in China. You won't find much online. He's too busy living his creed.]

2 Timothy 2:21
My hands off His life.

Fitting piece to save, don't ya think?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

everything is in between

this thing on?

it's covered in cobwebs, that's for sure.

there's much to catch up on and i'm about to start by posting lyrics to a song that i suddenly found moving my soul in a way that will likely make sense to only me. life different lately. there are startling moments where adulthood stares me in the eye and others where i'm still 14 and have no idea what i'm doing. regardless, it's changing. the fullness of the last year has come and gone like a breath and i am standing at the bend in the road, remembering the sweet, sweet sounds, smells, laughter and tears of it all.

this song just popped up in itunes a minute ago and arrested my attention from the thank you notes for the most recent funraiser hosted by my workplace that i've been slowly working my way through today.

i feel like much in my life is about to change although much will also remain the same. i want to go curl up on the porch furniture with a glass of iced coffee and linger and reminisce for as long as it takes to sort it out. but i hardly have that kind of time today. thank yous, after all.

so for now:

the end
jason reeves
(i think it's better if you listen. i'll leave that up to you.)

the end is such a scary place to start
everything is torn apart
and i don't know where to go from here
in the end, there's no reason to pretend
i know you won't be back again
i gotta find a way from here..

i don't know where i'll fall down
but i'm sure to hit the ground..

cause it's not over till it's over
every ending's a new beginning
one more chance to get it right
one more chance to get it wrong
its not over till it's over
sometime's nowhere leads to somewhere
and it all starts again
in the end

and it's such a scary place to be
everything is in between
and i don't know where to go from here
in the end i see it's all up to me
to figure out where i should be
im gonna find a way from here

i dont know where i'll fall down
but im sure to hit the ground...

when it's all said and done. no one is leaving. and the only time i'll hit the ground is to fall to my knees and tell my savior all about the things in my heart. the pending changes are all part of his providence anyway. life will be all the richer and fuller for it. i know that he is present in every in between. in the mean time i will try to pace myself in the busyness and savor every moment of the now that is mine.

Friday, May 28, 2010

pilgrim wanderings

today i'm wondering if i will ever get it through my head that God really will answer when i cry out; when i ramble on, telling him all that i know, but don't believe; all that i believe, but don't do; all that i feel, but don't have words to express; all that i hope for, but fear isn't even true. and he pours out grace and brings tears to prove it and puts melodies in my heart like:

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me till I want no more;
feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain,
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through.
Strong deliverer, strong deliverer,
be thou still my strength and shield;
be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
death of death and hell's destruction,
land me safe on Canaan's side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee;
I will ever give to thee.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Drink (To Disconnect)

Drink (To Disconnect)
by Jimmy Ballenger

To disconnect
And live in peace
Embracing now
This sweet release

To cease and desist from asking, "Why?"
For fear that in this, my soul would die
By the underlying worry that accompanies such
When life doesn't seem to be going much
The way I'd hoped
The way I'd planned
The way I thought it would someday be
Even though I know that it still someday could

Be thankful for the things you have
You might not now, but you'd be glad
If, after waking one day to find that they're lost
The sun does not go down without their return
For family, for friends, and treasured memories
Upon which no price can be laid
No cost to be paid
Treasure these deep within your heart

Blink, think, take a drink
For a moment, but sip
Slow down the empty pace of your caffeinated life
And take in slowly
The beauty of all that is around you
And be thankful that God has given you this day
Who knows but that it could be the best day of your life
A little bit of gratitude can give you such an attitude
That you see the good in everything around
Even when it seems that all you see is darkness
Hope lies in the light at the end of the tunnel
Keep moving on

But hide yourself in accomplishments
In all that this world rewards
And ask yourself at the end of the day
When all is said and done
And after all you've said and done
You're all done
Having done
More than Einstein
More than Edison
More than any man, woman, or child that ever walked the face of this planet Earth
Are you happy?
Do you find yourself fulfilled
Having pushed away the weightier matters
Burdening your soul with the lighter substance?

But let's return to our drink
For a moment
Taking in all that you consider precious
And sip
Like I said
Why not stop and enjoy this moment
While you have it
Who knows how long you will?
And if you miss the beauty of it all, can you ever get it back?

So drink, slowly, the sweet substance of life
Even if for a moment, it may change your whole perspective
And take it in with gratefulness in your heart
Draining away all your worries and cares
And be thankful that at least you've been given this much, if nothing else
Take it from someone who's learned the hard way
Thank God, thank God, thank God for this beautiful day
It is a gift from Him just for you, and He would never take it back, no matter what
So why would you?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

" makes my apartment smell mossy"

...can you name that movie?

Anyway, the real business at hand! One of our Re.struct products was featured on a thoughtful life. Click below to see the entire post.

a thoughtful life

Sunday, March 21, 2010

a place on this earth

[photo: ashleyelizabeth photography ]
Find me a place on the earth
Where a weary man can rest
And listen for your voice
In the turning seasons

A quiet place in the world
Where I can bow
And confess that I fear
Where you have brought me,
Mysterious God

All of my life
You have been with me
My comfort in loneliness
My hope in the dark
All of my life
Lord, please stay with me
Be my sustaining breath
Guardian of my heart

My days are passing by
Like falling stars
That blaze across the night sky
Then they are gone

But Father, at your side
I will never be afraid
For you have held all my days
In the palm of your hand

All of my life
You have been with me
My comfort in loneliness
My hope in the dark
All of my life
Lord, please stay with me
Be my sustaining breath
Guardian of my heart

All of my life
You have been with me
My comfort in loneliness
My hope in the dark
All of my life
Lord, please stay with me
Be my sustaining breath
Guardian of my heart

Be my sustaining breath
Guardian of my heart

Be my sustaining breath
Be my sustaining breath
Be my sustaining breath

- fernando ortega

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Monson, Massachusetts cannot boast of much. However, it is home to some of my all-time favorite people. And so it is to Monson that I escape as often as possible, but never often enough. This past weekend was one of those escapes.

Various members of this favorite group of people have been pestering me to come since Christmas time. The pestering follows a pattern of Katie [oldest daugher] first, Cassie [youngest daughter] next, Alyssa [mom] next, and when it's really desperate, Dan [dad] chimes in. When it starts with dad [and the uncle too]'s serious. Between the demands of cost, car repairs and schedule it took till now to actually get there. The pestering got so serious a contract was thrown in. That's right. Contract. That's a whole 'nother post. [Hmm. Good idea.]

There is nothing in the world like arriving at this home. It starts with ascending a winding driveway bewteen tall pines, and continues with stepping out of my car, stiff from the drive to pause in the shadow of the trees, look up at the stars and breathe deep in the stillness. As I step into the garage below the house, I smile at the familiar creak and answering bang of the screen door. The windows lit in welcome above me seem to smile back. Walking through the lower hall and letting my footsteps fall on the green wooden stairs, I know that at the top I will find firelight and friends.

And so begins a weekend of simply being together. Of letting each day take it's own course. Of waking up each day to remember more updates to share over coffee, new sarcasm to inflict, and more memories to make.

Back in the quiet of my own apartment I resolve to get better pictures next time. Yet it feels that to try and photograph this essence would somehow break the spell. In no other place do I let myself so infuse into just being. You cannot photograph infusion. Perhaps someday I will try. I captured a few moments from our day in Rhode Island. Despite the freezing hurricane rain we explored a new state [for me]. We toured a Vanderbilt mansion in surreal European glamour.

The pounding surf caused us to abandon the idea of a cliff walk above the sea around the mansion neighborhood. Next time, we said. Next time and gave up on the outdoors to eat breakfast for lunch at a local cafe. Warm, full and dry for at least a little while, we walked the cobblestone streets of old Newport, ducking into an art store, a cigar shop and the army & navy outlet for brief reprieves from the weather. We wandered down to the water to the fishing wharf.

There we met Janet, counted lobster tanks, peeked in the dockmasters office [nothing else would fit, but apparantly he was in here somewhere. we saw glimpses], noticed the lack of fish in the sea, and snapped the only photo of us from the entire weekend....which was a win on the first try. All around win. We started the drive home via scenic Ocean Drive to enjoy mansions old and new. Add this city to your list of things to do.

My favorite meal...well, one of cheese-bacon burgers, chicken tortilla soup, salsa and guacamole w/chips in case your wondering...was being served back the ranch at 6pm, but we had to squeeze in a few more minutes of sponteneity and so drove on through Providence just to see what there was to see. Again, due to weather, this piece of our adventure wasn't much but a drive through. But with bands such as the Squirrel Nut Zippers blasting through the Ipod, fun was a guarantee. We decided to run in Dave and Busters for a couple quick games....2 quarters in the meter [30 minutes was all the time we had], a windblown hat [safely rescued], entering an elevator at it's final floor but needing to go three floors higher, 4 escalators, $14, 2 driving races, skeeball and 82 tokens later [which wouldn't even buy a ring pop to share], we donated the tickets to a kid and ran back down said escalators to our car before serious tickets were handed out. Whew. And onward home to firelight and that fantastic meal with amazing friends. [spoiled? yea. I know. great, huh?]

The four short days of this visit were packed with an art show, a church study group dinner, church worship, surprise updates with old friends, card games, fish watching, latte making, a trip to another state, dinner with friends, one on ones, thoughts of God presence here and abroad, pilfered music, late nights, sage advice and warm hugs. Good things indeed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

do as I do

I've had the phrase, 'go into homes of the broken' in my head lately. I'm not sure if I heard this song prior or not. It seems to be the theme of the discipleship mission God has for me this season.

You lived among the least of these
The weary and the weak
And it would be a tragedy for me to turn away.

All my needs you have supplied.
When I was dead you gave me life.
How could I not give it away so freely?

Use my hands, use my feet
To make your kingdom come
Through the corners of the earth
Until your work is done
'Cause Faith without works is dead
And on the cross your blood was she'd
So how could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.

And I give all myself... to you.

Who is God calling you to disciple these days? Are they coming to you, or are you going to them?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Will you come with me to lose your life going where you've never been? Are you unwilling to gain your life seeking what you've never seen? - Hiram Ring

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Weight loss tips I heard on the way to the office today....


Shave your head


- unknown
Never roll your eyes at the promises of God. -CB Eder

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

If we want a life other than mere biology, we must deal with God. There is no alternate way. - Eugene Peterson

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If it wasn't a mystery it would be easy. If it were easy, it wouldn't be worth much. - Seth Godin

Monday, February 15, 2010

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 is to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death. -Leonardo da Vinci

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

my imagination is not big enough

Over the last three weeks a friend and co-worker of mine had her pregnancy turn from joyful expectation to fearful uncertainty. Sure people were saying, "Are you sure you're not due till March? Are you sure there's only one baby in there?" People always say such things. Then the doctors started saying things...

Last Thursday, I read this:
"The baby has a serious condition called fetal hydrops, which means he/she has a lot of fluid accumulated in his/her body. Based on today's ultrasound, the baby has fluid accumulation all over: under the scalp, pockets in the chest (which are compressing the lungs and more than likely have not allowed the lungs to develop fully), throughout the legs...everywhere. There is also too much amniotic fluid surrounding the baby..."

And all the testing and waiting ensued. Regardless of the testing, they were told that she would more than likely go into labor before the due date and that the prognosis was not good.

Today she reached 32 weeks.
Today she delivered her baby boy, Josiah, via emergency c-section.
Today they are still here.
Today Josiah is with Jesus.

Have you ever really wrestled with God? For yourself?
How about for someone else? For someone else's life?
Today I found myself thinking, "Where do I get off telling God to do what He wants with someone else? Can I do that?"
I would take a breath to begin a prayer and find my chest totally constricted and my mind empty of words.
Just a deep aching question chained to my heart.
It's one thing to ask God to do for you what would bring Him the most glory, best reveal His holiness. It's something else to begin to say that for someone else.

What do I know of holy?

I think the right question, the only question is: Where is God in my question?
I can't imagine that.
I keep hesitating every time I go to do something "normal" like talk with a friend, or read, or write, or eat.
These things will never be the same for them.
What do I know.

My dear. sweet. strong. beautiful. friend. If you read this in the weeks to come, know that I cry with you; I ache with you, as best I can imagine.

God keeps telling me that He is. And that is enough.
I pray He holds you and your family tonight and tells you the same.

resolved: part 2

Do something creative every day.

Sometime this last year I was told, "There is no grace in imagination." I forget who told me, or who they were quoting. The initial context was directed to how easy it is for us to imagine ourselves somewhere else, or as someone else, or with someone else than what is the current reality. I agree that to live in a constant mindset of fantasy is completely unhealthy, is not truth and therefore is not living a grace-filled, abundant life.

However, in a larger context I disagree.

God imagined all that we see and are.
He created it and us.
If He did not graciously endow us with creativity as part of His image in us, we would never do anything.

To those of you who say with a whine and a pout, "I'm not creative!"
I say, "Horsefeathers! No two snowflakes alike. Ever. Right? The same with us humanbeans. You are simply not creative like [in the same way as] me. Just do something."

This guy agrees with me too. "Too?" You ask.

Yep. God does too.

Here's a few photos of my most recent waste of tim......creative endeavor.
(This one's less useful than others. It was fun. Therapeutic creativity definitely counts.)

Start with some pine cones and the old stubby candles that you are too much of a hoarder to throw away.

Create your own dutch oven [Dutch wha? No wooden shoes or tulips involved, just a bowl in water in a pan. Also known as a double boiler.] I can offer no specifics on the temperature of the water. Just get it hot enough to melt the wax. While it melts, take pictures of things for your etsy store and get your tongs, wax paper and potholders handy.

Then let the wax cool to the point where it will actually stick to the pine cone and layer on with each dip. I had to take the bowl of wax out of the water and let it sit for a couple minutes. Leave the water simmering so you can put the bowl right back when it starts to firm up around the edges. Holding the pinecone firmly but gently [I know that's an oxymoron] dip and roll the pinecone in the wax. The goal is to not squeeze so hard that the pinecone breaks and falls into the wax, splashing everything in reach, or projectiles across the kitchen, also splattering everything in reach. Meh. Hold the pinecone for a few seconds between each dip. Review your ABC's or sing There Once Was a Man Named Michael Finnigan.... once the wax is as thick as you want, lay the pinecone on wax paper on the counter to cool.

When you need to make dinner in the pot you started out with. switch to a smaller pot that actually fits the rim of the bowl and prevents its bottom from dragging in the water. A.k.a. a proper double boiler. Continue melting, cooling, and dipping and remelting. P.S. If you want colored pine cones, use colored wax. Food coloring will not mix with white/clear wax. At least not the average, grocery store sqeeze bottle kind. It's apparently water based.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

On my desk at work is the following:

banquet plans
camera and cable
cell phone
cold coffee
general tso's chicken (three last cold sticky pieces I cannot bring myself to eat)
flash drive
lap top
one dead computer (static+flashdrive+hard drive apparantly do not mix without catastrophic results)
paring knife
phone numbers of pregnant girls in crisis
several sticky notes
to do list

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

in response to wonder at his attention to me

I think that we forget to see
Until we see a child. We
Who grow up tall and grow up fast
Forget to let the wonder last,
Forget our souls were made with wings,
Forget to stand in awe of things,
Forget there’s wonder in a hand,
Forget that God is great and grand.

We are not mesmerized by grace
Or sun or sky or form or face
We are not awed by blood or cross.
This is our pride. This is our loss.

Excerpt from See by David Gunderson.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010