December 12, 2011

THE LOVE PEARS




So tonight my husband made Peras al Vino.  For those of you “foodies” this may seem like a perfectly normal husband thing to do.  Let me assure you that in my house the gourmet ceiling for my husband is pancakes and tapioca.  So for him to tackle these rich pears simmered in sweetened red wine is right up there with miracles.

How were they you ask?  Were they divine like they were at our friend Begonia´s house where we first had them?  Not exactly.  They need tweaking.  But it was the adorable, excited twinkle in his eye as he made them that caused them to ooze with deliciousness.  It was the incredible out-of-the-box-out-of-the-ordinary that made this gesture extraordinary.

And here´s the most touching part.  He is actually planning this for our daughter´s return for Christmas from college.  She´s been gone for one year and we are all dizzy with joy that there are only 5 more days until she returns.  Since she loves them, he called our friend Begonia, got her recipe, bought pears and made them.  And this is the thing:  he´s practising.  For her.  To welcome her with something special and unusual that she won´t expect him to do.

Isn´t he the best?

Let me know if you want his recipe! 

December 11, 2011

THE VOICE THAT SHAKES YOUR WORLD





“The voice of the Lord shakes the desert…”

  Ps. 29:8



My world has been shaken this week. God spoke into my desert.  Spoke into a desert time of restlessness and uncertainty.  A time of feeling the need for something new and different but not really knowing what that inner gnawing was all about.

He spoke into a desert of a certain growing boredom with the same kind of work year after year.  Spoke into inner stirrings for something more.  Spoke into my sense of personal call to a greater convergence of who I am at this stage of my life with what my hands are to do.

His voice is shaking my familiar journey. It is exciting and it is scary.

The voice of the Lord sometimes comes as a whisper like when He called to Elijah from the cave.  In this amazing encounter, God sends a powerful wind, an earthquake and a fire.  But 1 Kings 19:11 & 12 tells us that the Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire. Only after those obviously powerful attention-getters is the real thing sent: a Gentle Whisper.  Elijah immediately recognizes The Presence and The Voice.

I have had some amazing Gentle Whisper moments and they are truly sacred.  But this week held up unexpectedly a Voice that shook my desert.  The kind of Voice that “thunders over mighty waters...breaks the cedars...twists the oaks...strips the forest bare...”  (Ps. 29:3,5,9)

The Voice was unmistakable.  Arresting.  Course setting.

My journey deepens...

November 29, 2011

Top 7 Worst Selling Lines I Heard Today at the Market (in Turkey)





  1.  “You have nice teeth.”   (his pick-up line needs serious re-tooling)
  2. “For you half price.” (gets the prize for most original)
  3. ¨Today last day of season - you are lucky.” (it’s only lucky if you give me the right price, dude)
  4. “What you want to pay?” (what does he think I want to  pay?!  Next to nothing, of course!)
  5. “Where are you from?  Ah, España!  Bellísima!” (speaking in a romance language does NOT make you romantic, buddy.)
  6.   ¨I give you two for the price of three!” (ok, I’m not good at math, but really…)
  7. ¨Tomorrow Turkey is closed, you come on right day.” (and if you believe that…..you should not be at the market!)


November 28, 2011

PURE CROC



Never say never.  It’s simple, timeless advice.  It’s not that God is capricious, wondering how He can make you do what you don’t want.  But it is uncanny how many times we are tested on the things we say we’ll “never” do.

I sometimes have thought “I would never want live in a cold or wet place.”  Then I quickly, internally whisper  “I totally take that back, Lord!”  I already live overseas; where else could He send me, right?  Oh no.  It could be worse.  Much worse.

My latest sampling of this principle came in a recent “minor league” experience.  It was minor league because this “never” isn’t really of much consequence.  But let me explain…

My daughters have given me “Training 101 in Fashion Crimes”.  Since teens are  the essence of all that is cool, I pretty much take their word for it.  And on THE LIST of CRIMES were crocs.  I didn’t like the way they make your feet look wide.   I mean, my narrow feet are one of my best features.  It’s not the first thing you see when you look at me but hey, I’ll take all the good features I can get!  So a long time ago I said I would “never” wear them.

So you can imagine my chagrin when at a recent 2-week training course in a country of our region we had to remove our shoes upon entering our building 3x/day and put on the crocs provided. Crocs.  And not just any old crocs.  PINK crocs.  As soon as I saw them, I thought, “I must really need some serious Holy Spirit work!”  And so God began using the crocs as an additional teaching element in that time.  It worked in beautifully with the morning teachings on Humility.  No, I’m not kidding.  Two weeks on Humility.

It was comforting not being alone in that.  We were like 50 adults wearing pink and white crocs (the guys quickly grabbed up the minority white ones).  We croc-ed our way through humility together.  It became rather beautiful by the end; I didn’t even notice them after a while.

For some, it never was a problem.  They are far more mature than I.  They don’t mind crocs.  They actually like crocs and have a pair at home.  But I’m pretty certain it’s mostly because they never said they wouldn´t wear them. 

I might have to buy me a pair to put on when I sense that familiar Holy Spirit whisper to deeper life…

I could never say never to that.

November 11, 2011

STRADDLING TURKEY



I am on my way to Turkey.  That amazing straddler of a country with one foot in Europe and one foot in Asia.  A unique secular Islamic state, land of the Turks (obviously).  Colorful, historical and vibrant it boasts apple tea, water pipes, carpets, music, Turkish baths, Turkish delight, baklava and shwarma.

My trip today has been a “straddling” trip…At my first airport I felt really grown up ordering a Starbucks soy latte.  I could have been a business woman for all anybody knew.  I like being mysterious like that, anonymous.  No one knows I cleaned bathrooms yesterday or carpooled or made mashed potatoes.  They just see me as a traveler with her computer and colorful scarf and warm sweater & boots.  I feel so cool.

The next airport (still in Spain) was classy Barcelona.  I took in the official Barca fútbol store and artsy Gaudi souvenirs and walked by tapa bars before I settled down to do some work & call home.  When I got hungry for lunch I felt less cool & more concerned about airport prices.  I felt bad that my husband can go all day on a candy bar when he travels & he stubbornly refuses to pay those prices to get any real food.  I ate my minimalist sandwich & diet coke with less gusto.

In Munich I got a lot of reading & writing done, walked to stretch (all the stores were looking the same by now) and finally ordered a cup of tea.  It was lovely & warming & gave a sort of companionship as I read.   It’s been 12 hours since I left my house this morning and I am still only in Germany.  But these hours are helping me transition.   

I’m on my way to a language course.  A full two-week course open to all but pulling mainly from people in far away places doing far out things for God – on a low budget.  I’ll be at a retreat center out in the boonies and they’ve already warned us that “there is nothing nearby, bring everything you need with you”, “bring your own mug for hot drinks” “be forewarned you cannot put ANY toilet paper down the toilet or there will be disastrous results” and so you can see how I started my day feeling “business traveler-ish” but am headed into an upscale campout. 

Did I mention it will be cold?  “You may want to bring warm sleepwear and long underwear” they wrote.  Long underwear!  Those words strike fear in my heart, people!  Long underwear means EXTREME cold.  Long underwear = “you will suffer”.  So I am transitioning, straddling, moving from classy Starbucks coolness to humble learner-sufferer.  

I can see, though, that this in itself is cool, too.  That I can do both.  I can live in both worlds (if I put my mind to it).  When I land tonight in Turkey I will have one night in a hotel.  My own room.  My own bathroom.  WiFi.  My last hurrah.  Tomorrow morning I go to the camp.  Limited internet.  Dorm room housing.  Shared bathrooms.  No tp down the toilet.  And…great teaching, amazing people doing great things in cool places, getting tools for my work, and no cooking! (Then again, maybe we have to take turns on kp!)   

On the weekend there will be a chance to see some things.  What I most want to do is experience a Turkish bath and shop at an open market (for Christmas!).  And skype with my family.  And blog & take pictures.  Smoke a water pipe and drink tea with the Turks.  Bargain.  Is my life cool or what?!   What a straddle-life I lead!

October 24, 2011

DESPERATE



Make me desperate, Lord
the desert-wandering, thirst-producing kind
with hunger driving deeper -
Take me to that place.

Make me mournful, Lord
of plateaus & normal
& all things justified -
Pull me deeper.


Make me unhappy, Lord
with self & habit & routine
with ordinary & safe & acceptable -
Deliver me.

Make me hungry, Lord
for intimate secrets, passionate moments
for things unseen & unsung -
Call me ever further.

Make me desperate, Lord
for tastes & sights & sounds
of glory & vastness & love 
I have yet to know.

Make me desperate, Lord...
for the things
that only come
from a place called
DESPERATE.



pjs  24/10/11

October 20, 2011

DANCE WITH ME by Jesus Culture (See post below on the Seductive God)


YOUR LOVE IS EXTRAVAGANT by Casting Crowns (See post below on the Seductive God)


HOW SCANDALOUS! (THE SEDUCTIVE GOD)



Someone had the audacity in a prayer time today with our team to pray that God would "seduce him".  He begged God to make Himself so irresistible, so attractive, so inviting that he would have no choice but to surrender before THE LOVER.  Wow.

I read The Sacred Romance (Brent Curtis and John Eldredge) quite a while ago and there is a beautiful song by a similar title - Divine Romance - by Phil Wickham that my girls really love  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF0p4I9a1nw)   But today the concept pierced me afresh.

Isn´t this what we all need and long for?  Isn´t this the secret desire of every heart: to have a LOVE and a CAUSE worth living - and dying for?  One that is so completely captivating, thrilling, intoxicating...so beautiful that it´s divine?  And wouldn´t this revolutionize our prayer lives?  Wouldn´t we go out of our way and do those crazy in-love things fueled by the adrenaline of passion? 

I have really been missing out.  And so yesterday I wept.  I cried out to Jesus to reveal Himself in this way to me, too.  To return me to my First Love.  To help me remember the crazy passion and divine romance and its sweeping effect on me.  I want to live CAPTIVATED by this SEDUCTIVE, SCANDALOUS GOD.  Maybe you want to add this to your prayer list, too.  It should probably be number one.  And I´m guessing that the rest won´t even matter.  

My all-time favorite intimacy love song:  Your Love is Extravagant by Casting Crowns.  Check it out.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF0p4I9a1nw)

September 8, 2011

ABLE - AND WILLING!



In some of my darkest days I have cried out to God that I believed He was able to save me, rescue me, lift me from the pit where I found myself.  My theology in His omnipotence was intact.  What waivered, though, and almost broke my heart, was the ensuing question:  if You are able, but don´t, that must mean You are not willing.  Why are You not willing?

All Powerful.  All Present.  All Knowing.  Where does the “willing” piece fit?  

As parents, we are all challenged at critical points to let our child reap consequences or learn a lesson we have the power to rescue them from.  Yet our greater knowledge of life coupled with our love which drives us to do even the most difficult of love tasks – watch them suffer when we have the power to rescue them – enables and motivates us.

If our child were dying from a terrible illness and we didn´t have the power to save, that would feel very different.  To be unable is very different from being unwilling.  A child may cry out to you for help but will also instinctively know when you have done all you can.

Have you ever used the phrase “I love you too much to let you disobey”?  Did your child like it?  Mine didn´t!  Yet today they are starting to see in numerous friends the results of permissive love – and it ain´t pretty.  They have classmates whose parents have harvested children who cannot wait, have no respect for authority, try to get attention in inappropriate ways and are completely self-centered.  Curiously enough, children intuitively know that love also must involve boundaries.

Might our hearts be somewhat like that child who knows their parents love them but dislikes the process they use to show it?

The obvious breakdown of the parental example, of course, is that we are imperfect.  Our love is flawed.  Our knowledge falls dreadfully short.  And we can certainly not be everywhere (some moms come close!)  Yet like our children, is it not possible to grow in our trust of His perfect love and knowledge in the use of His power?  To rest in the fact that power will be released only in harmony with perfect love and perfect knowledge?  This perfect triage always works together.

Like the dear one in Mark 1:40 who verbalized our heart question “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” the Saviour compassionately answers, “I am willing.”  But it is a healing guided by and in complete alignment with His Omnipotent-Omnipresent-Omniscient character.  It is perfect in distribution, timing and in catalytic-kingdom-producing results.  It prioritizes the Kingdom, His glory and our good.

Is He willing?  Yes!

It just looks differently than what we would like sometimes.  Rest on His character and His harmonious triage of work in you.

He is able – and willing.



August 20, 2011

TWENTY YEARS WITH YOU




(for beautiful Jenna)


Twenty years with you
Mystery and beauty and artful laughter
Profound yet genuine, tender yet wilful
These are some things
That we love about you.

We prayed, desiring, for you
Rejoiced in the knowledge of you
Fell in love the day we met you –
Those big browns – so captivating, so focused...
Unashamedly, we melted.
And throughout the years as you
imagined, discovered, tested & learned -
You grew.

There were moments when time stopped.
And there are certain scenes -
Tender-moment scenes, close-call scenes,
 hilarity-scenes, serendipitous-scenes,
Forever etched
Upon a mother-heart and father-heart
And these, we treasure.

But there is a certain magic to now -
To these years of becoming.
Of self-discovery, of mastering relationships,
Of life lessons, hard and pulling.
There is an enthralling foreign film
"Now Playing" in front of us.
And your God rises up in you
And calls those around you to attention
To truth, to mystery, to beauty
To all that is Him
Crafted out uniquely in you.

Twenty years with you –
Treasure and collage and adventure
Soulful yet joyful, global yet homey
These are some things
That we love about you.

pjs 19/8/11

SIGNATURE SCENT


(For Karis as she turns 13)




There is a fragrance that is yours.
Only yours.
No one else has it or ever will.
The world calls it your signature scent...
Your favourite perfume that on you smells differently than on other people.
You may recognize the perfume somewhere else but
On you it will smell slightly different.

Did you know Jesus doesn´t smell the same on everybody?
Nope.
Your body-temple, your personality & traits, your Spirit-given gifts...
All the unique essence of you
Makes the perfume of Jesus unique on you.
How cool is that?

As you grow up & get to know yourself better,
Always be yourself.
Be real.  Be genuine.  Be satisfied with the unique you.
Jesus sure is.
He delights in you, calls you His princess, sings over you.

Your unique self plus Jesus are unbeatable!
Unforgettable!  Head-turning!
The magnificent fragrance of Jesus in the unique you
Is there to engage this world in a picture of the Savior
That only you can give.

Your signature scent is uniquely Karis.
It´s full of grace & good fruits.
It´s attractive.  It´s  irresistible.  It´s addictive.
So, go on and wow the world, already!


“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and
 through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.” 
2 Cor. 2:14



March 6, 2011

BLESSED "BUT"


I know you´re a good speller so we can skip all the jokes and guffaws about my title. (There´s certainly nothing blessed about mine.) But here´s my point: Little things can sometimes pack a powerful punch.

Look at some of these "buts" in the Scripture:

"The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain...But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord." Gen. 6:6,8

"The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horseman - the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground..." Ex. 14:28,29

"Not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times - not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers...But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it." Num. 14:22-24

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Sam. 16:7

"They band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge." Ps. 94:22

"You have heard that it was said, ¨Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.´ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...¨ Mt. 5:44

"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Rom 5:7,8

"All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved." Eph. 2:3-5

"BUT" is the tiny word of contrasts in the Scripture. Of man and God. Of the faithless and the faith-filled. Of our lives pre-Christ and post-Christ. And it´s my choice today. Will I allow a "BUT GOD" to transform my day? my attitudes? my plans? my desires? my sinful nature?

Here is one of my personal favorites and the one I am claiming today in a sea of challenging personal situations:

"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Is 40:30,31

May you, too, have a "Blessed But" day!

February 23, 2011

LETTING LOVE COVER



What happens when there is a conversation between a left-brained person and a right-brained person?

Do harmony, happiness and bliss come to mind? No, they do not.

I´ll tell you what happens at my house: Intuitive, feeling-sensing types end up hurt and the rational, practical ones believe the intuitive, feeling-sensing types make absolutely no sense! One is looking through an intuitive, more visual holistic grid of how it affects people and the other is peering through a lens of logical, sequential steps from A to Z. Do you know what I´m talking about?!
One study put it like this: "The left side of the brain is the seat of language and processes in a logical and sequential order. The right side is more visual and processes intuitively, holistically, and randomly."
Do you know what "logical" and "intuitive" or "sequential" and "random" have in common? Nothing.

It is said that "Love covers a multitude of sins." When Mr. Adventure and I were newlyweds, our blind, new love did indeed cover up many, many sins. But through the years reality set in, decisions grew more and more complex, life became extremely busy and there are times we seem to be less and less willing & able to let love cover.

Whether the issue is a simple "Should we invite so-and-so over for dinner?" or a complex "Should we move to another continent?", I am still learning to practice loving listening, to not let his "practicality" shout "uncaring!", to allow myself to push past my own myopia to get inside his head and see things the way he sees them. Tonight I have been challenged again to let love cover.

When we were in Morocco we were in a study program with some others and one of our assignments was keeping a journal of our emotions. This was separate from our journal of cultural observations. Personally, I thought it was hilarious to watch us all turn in our assignments: my "emotions" journal meant multiple photocopies and the guys´ journals were about the size of a 3x5" index card! There is never any lack in the emotions department for me. I got the highest grade in the class on my journal! haha

I like to say that I "think emotionally". I´m not sure Mr. Adventure would believe "think" and "emotion" belong in the same sentence! But we desperately need each other. Just think if someone had a perfectly balanced right-left brain. Well, that´s us! It´s just that he has one half and I have the other half. Bringing them together is the goal and the challenge. Let´s choose to LET LOVE COVER.

February 22, 2011

MY TRIP TO THE SPA


I don´t mean to whine but why do spas have to cost so much? Now that I live in Europe I see certain advertisements of chocolate covered faces, fruit & herb baths, clients in one of those fluffy white towels getting a massage, etc. The price is a crime. Especially when internationally there are such economical versions of the spa around the world.

The year we lived in Morocco I visited the public bath called the hammam. It cost 70 cents. I was there for at least 2 hours. OK, so it wasn´t exactly the pampering kind. The floors were hard tile (and you had to sit on them). My neighbors stared at me. I had to haul my own buckets of water. It was stressful linguistically for me. BUT I always came out feeling amazing! When I took my two girls, they slept like logs afterwards. I felt a part of the female community in a small way. And the price was right!

The Turks have a bath that is quite famous and I really wanted to go when I made it to Istanbul one time. But we were just passing through and would have been relegated to doing a pricey tourist version so I had to pass it up. (After all that shwarma, baklava and Turkish Delight, I was pretty much out of money anyway.)

Then I was in Indonesia last year with Mr. Adventure visiting some friends and we got to go to the FISH SPA. No, I am not kidding. See?


The price was right so he went for it!


So, here´s how it works...you put your feet in this pool...and the little toe-jam eating fishies eat all your dead skin cells! Isn´t that amazing?

Here´s the close-up. Yes, it does tickle.

There was a female client who was there getting "preened" but when my husband & his friend stuck their feet in there, they abandoned ship for this fresh carnage who had never-before-been-cleaned-at-the-fish-spa feet and gave them a lot more to work with! Did I mention that these fish had never seen a foot larger than a size 5? This was a BIG day for them.
A small crowd formed to watch the foreign feeding frenzy...
hahahaha


My girlfriend and I decided on a foot massage for about the same price.

Do we really need to have a vote on who made the better choice here?!!

So, while I am terribly curious about European spas and somewhat jealous of those who can afford them, I am thrilled to have experienced some international we-the-people versions of spas. Plus, I can take advantage of my international spa know-how and use my Moroccan scrub of puréed olive pits or my Dead Sea masque from Jordan. Haven´t made it to the pet store for fish yet, though...



LINGUISTIC MULTI-TASKING


Are you a multi-tasker? Are you at least a wannabe? Try language learning!!

After struggling in 3 new languages as an adult with varying results, I know how hard it can be. BUT I also know about the victories inherent in the process. For those of you still in the throes of it, you are probably looking forward to MAKING RELATIONSHIPS, COMMUNICATING, becoming a PRODUCTIVE MEMBER of your community and gaining INSIDERSHIP into your HOST CULTURE.

But have you considered the following advantages?

1. The ability to reprimand your kids in a language no one around can understand.
2. The ability to reprimand your husband in a language no one around can understand.
3. Being able to have more friends (you probably thought of this one).
4. Being able to choose words from more than one language to express your exact sentiment.
5. Having an excuse for early onset Alzheimer-like symptoms as you stuff all that new information in your brain.
6. Mixing languages within your family and having a good excuse for miscommunication.
7. Being able to laugh (in private) at others´use of English because (1) you know the struggle and (2) it´s just so funny!
AND
7. Being able to multi-task.

What do I mean , you ask?

Sometimes you come across words in your new language that mean several things at once. In Morocco, I loved learning one word or phrase that I could milk for about 15 minutes of conversation. For example:

you: Labas? (how are you?)

friend: Labas. (fine.)

you: Labas Fatima? (how is Fatima?)

friend: Labas. (fine.)

you: Labas Mohammed?

friend: Labas.

"Labas" is one of my multi-task words. I learned one word and could use it for both "How are you?" and "I´m fine." Can you see me smiling? This works in Italy, too, I found. Learn "ciao" and you already know how to say Hello AND Good-bye! The same in Hawaii with "aloha" (you might not get to use that one very often).

Then there are what I call "free" words. They are the ones that you don´t have to learn in your new language because you already know them! How cool is that?! Like coup or á la mode in French. Like zapat in Arabic (zapato in Spanish). Like taco or siesta in Spanish. You gotta love these little freedom fighters.

It goes without saying that you can also do cultural & linguistic multi-tasking by doing such things as: reading the newspaper in Farsi and drinking your tea English-style, cooking up some Italian pasta while you talk on the phone in Mandarin with a friend, kill filipino cockroaches while you correct an American kid´s homework or jam with some gypsies on Spanish guitars in a Moroccan-style salon in an American home (that last one would be yours truly)! I know you can think of so many other cool ways.

So, I´m gonna fix me some Argentine mate while I write in English for an international audience just before my Mexican fajita lunch!



February 17, 2011

Laser Saber Prayers



Today I prayed for a "laser saber".

I had never prayed for one before.

But today I "HAD TO FIND" a laser saber for my son who thought the world could possibly come to an end if he didn´t have one for a carnival tomorrow at school. You see, tomorrow he will go to this festival at school dressed as the coolest Darth Vader ever and our former laser saber from the dime store was trashed a long time ago.

Yesterday we had walked all over our pueblo looking for one. This was a test of my patience and selfish weighing of "all the more important things I could be doing". It was a test for him of surrendering his "ideal costume" to a potentially frumpier one made of cardboard toilet paper rolls duct taped together or some other homemade version. We both came home discouraged and out of time to do anything more about it. Unfortunately, I did not have the spiritual insight & sensitivity to do a laser saber prayer together then. He had a rather sad face at dinner.

Later on I was convicted that there are way too many times that I am overly demanding of something I want or need. It may not be very important in the bigger scheme of things but it´s important to me. How many times has God looked with mercy on me in my immaturity and given me something I totally didn´t deserve? How about every day of my life! Sometimes even asking for spiritual things - ministry results, multiplied time or insight, even miracles - can be selfishly motivated. In His wisdom He knows that my version of a request can be off target from what His hand full of mercy is poised to do.

I resolved to set out this morning and find a laser saber. But I prayed as I got in the car. That I would find it (for a good price!) and be able to bless my son´s day. That he would know gratefulness. That I would walk in selflessness. That buying a laser saber would make me very conscious of my own sword of the Spirit. That I could bless someone while I was out. That my son and I could talk of good and evil, Darth Vader and the Force and be glad to know Jesus, the Victor. The laser saber prayer led me down a sweet trail.

I can´t wait to give it to him!

And I can´t wait to pray another laser saber prayer tomorrow...



DELIVERER


























You are my strong Deliverer
In every day, in every moment
In every darkness, in every emotion
Changing, moving, transferring
From kingdom of darkness to light.

You are my strong Healer
In every pain, in every wound
In every memory, in every weakness
Touching, ministering, curing
From pallet to rejoicing walk.

You are my strong Redeemer
In every confusion, in every sin
In every beguilement, in every habit
Transforming, saving, lifting
From desert to beautiful garden.

You are my strong Lover
In every season, in every stage
In every state, in every age
Wooing, embracing, intoxicating
From unlovely to beloved.

You are my strong Warrior
In every gene, in every cell
In every experience, in every self-battle
Overriding, warring, triumphing
From victim to victor.
Pjs 12/18/10

Photo by: Matt Brandon, Digital Trekker
Used by permission

February 16, 2011

A PSALM: PRESSING IN


There is a pressing in, a cloud around us

It threatens to overwhelm – and to overcome

It came, unbidden

It is a heavy companion.


There is a pressing in, a reckoning with self

A confession drawing us to God and to those who love us

A crushing scent and taste

It is our sober companion.


There is a pressing in, a soulful stirring

The saltiness of tears and brush of hyssop

An attending of wounds, a new, light rain

It is a deepening companion.


There is a pressing in, a lifting of head

A fixing of the eyes, the shadow of a cross

The earthy perfume after a rain

It is a deciding companion.


There is a pressing in, a certain resolution

A band of colors in the sky, daring us to hope

We lift our hands, surrendering

It is a startling companion.


There is a pressing in, a new leaning

A song from the garden gaining strength

There is praise - and an altar

It is an anointing companion.

Pjs 12/10

Everlasting | SONICFLOOd

February 3, 2011

SOMETHING COOL ABOUT MIDDLE-AGE




I hear our organization is middle-aged.

I don´t know about you but that sounds to me like B-O-R-I-N-G with a capital B! It´s not young (energetic & passionate) and its not old (sage & respectable). It´s just so....in-between! It´s the never-never land of middle-ness. And what is REALLY frightening is that I am one of the supplements to that statistic!

My journey into the middle years has been wrought with self-reflection, fatigue, rebellion & fruitless efforts to be someone younger or older than what I really am. I have been forced to reckon with forces of a changing body, the reality of teenagers in my home and its accompanying "wake-up calls", emotional crises and spiritual reckoning (as He reminds me that my truest identity is age-less).

Now mind you, I started my 40´s off with a bang: a new baby! (whom I wouldn´t trade for all the world!). And athough psychologically that should have helped me feel younger, I actually just felt more tired! But it did throw me into the baby, toddler, pre-schooler crowd afresh and drew out those young-mother years for a decade longer. Being in that role actually helped me maintain a certain youthfulness and attitude during what could have been potentially more traumatic. (ok, so "dramatic" is part of middle-age!)

The other thing that has seriously helped is the driving desire to stay connected with my kids who are teenagers. Because, they are, after all, cool. The epitomy of cool. And let´s face it, us parents are the epitomy of all-that-is-not-cool. We´ve worked through that now and have come to a happy balance of respect (sometimes my girls even borrow my clothes!). It took time to talk through, be interested in their topics of choice, their friends, staying up late, certain movies, books & music, etc. As our teens mature, our relationship is changing to more of an adult peer relationship and it is fun and it is COOL.

I was thinking about some older workers that I like to be with in our organization (and others outside of it). The ones I most enjoy seem to have a settled sense of who they are but also a sense of appreciation and interest in younger generations and EVEN the humility to believe they might learn something from them! They really blow me away. I mean, I´m supposed to learn from them, right? (And I do.) But I love it when they try to connect with trends and interests of a newer generation and stay relevant to us. That is COOL.

So, wouldn´t it be COOL (please forgive my morbid over-use of the word!) if in our middle-aged organization we were absolutely convinced we must not act typically middle-aged? That we must stay connected to youth (and recruit them!), valuing all the unique things they bring that we might not really understand or embrace? And that we must honor, provide a place and platform for the more sage among us? What would it take for us to be active recruiters of the young and active "honorers" of the old? To have a fluid back-and-forth movement between the generations so that we can have the best of all these worlds?

Let´s stop criticizing the young for their lack of commitment, techno attitudes and issues! Let´s take the elderly among us off our emotional shelf and draw them out! Let´s bridge the gap. Let´s do what we´ve been trained to do in the first place - cross cultures. We´ve got the skills to do this. Let´s move in LOVE as if we were ageless.

Now THAT would be COOL.

Disqus for A Life of Interest