life, Light

My Heart Melts Like Butter

“Nobody’s ideals form them like their loves form them.” – Ann Voskamp

I paused on page 117 of The Broken Way, the morning sun streaming through my bedroom window and across my bed, putting a spotlight on my slumbering, gently snoring beagle.

I thought of an old friend, who turned down open-hearted friendship in favor of fellowship with close-minded ideals.

I felt something stir.

Hope.

Longing.

Love.

Maybe Love would one day draw him.

Maybe, in the end, Love would form.

I read on to a new chapter.  Mean girls and devouring women.

Unexpected tears rolled.

Not sobs, not even a cry, just a few stray tears churned up by a benign sorrow.

p. 189: “I’ve made wide berths around women for years and skirted the communion of community because who knew when smiles could turn into fangs if you turned your back?”

You and me both, Ann.

I closed the book and put in a load of laundry. Socks and underwear.

I love any piece of writing that churns a memory, an emotion, a “me, too.” I love writing that keeps me pondering long after I’ve put it down.

I’ve had far more male friends than female friends in my life.

I thought about my friendships in general, about how I was able to keep my heart wide open, how I was able to turn the other cheek and expect good things as a non-Christian child, yet watched my heart increasingly close as a Christian adult.

We Christians often think that our children’s hearts are in danger of being corrupted, wooed, enticed away from God by the world, but I think it’s much more likely that they will be pushed, shoved away from Him by members of His church.

Waiting for the dryer to dry I jot down that thought.

I love writing that inspires a thought, even a post.

It’s what God called “worthwhile, not worthless words.”

It’s what I hope to someday write.

Good job, Ann.

#churn

 

 

 

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faith

Transforming a Jealous Mind

Today’s daily prompt suggested I write an anonymous letter to someone I’m jealous of. But since my particular monster does not have green eyes, I’m reposting this instead.

But If I HAD to write a letter it would read something like Dear Ann Voskamp, I am SO GLAD that YOU have been given the ability to write beautiful words because I am blessed by them. I am thankful that you have been given such a sense of artistry and poetry because the photography in your one thousand gifts video brings strength and joy to my fragile heart.  Dear Beth Moore, I am SO GLAD that YOU have been given the awesome gift for teaching that I would love to have. This way I can sit in the audience, relax and soak it in – while you do the prep work, travel and carry the burden….

See? How can I be jealous of the gifts others have been given when they are also a gift to me?

Light & life

I used to think jealousy was a victimless crime. I thought it only hurt the perp.  And that might be true as long as it stays a soul-gnawing emotion.  But, as I shared in a previous post, once it takes action it does all manner of damage.

So how do you get jealousy under control?  How do you transform a gnarly thought before it morphs into a gnarly action?  Here’s what I do:

1.  I remind myself that there is enough to go around.  I used to scratch my head at my older sister’s manipulative attempts to push my other siblings and me out of our mother’s heart.  She seemed to believe that if we weren’t there, there would be more room for her.  Her logic made no sense to me.  Even as a small child I knew that mom’s love for one would not diminish her love for the others.  A mom…

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life, Light

On a Sunny Deck in My Pjs

Friday morning:  Sitting here on the deck in my pjs:  Clear blue sky, birds singing, Little One curled up next to me.  Vitamin D nourishing my bones, top of my head warm.  Hope springing anew.

Help has come and my eyes well up in gratitude.  God does not abandon us forever.  He does not leave us with aching bones, heavy hearts, sapped strength.  He sends Nathan, whose name this time is Ann.

He is giving an abundance of sun today to warm the soil for my garlic, strawberries, raspberries and herbs.  I love Him.  I need Him.  He deserves all the adoration I can give Him.  And much more.

Monday morning:  Love language discussion at the restaurant last night.  This morning the hub: “Your book is going to be great!” as he headed out the door to work.  Daughter:  “Go momma, go!” as she headed off to work.  A few words of affirmation go such a long way.  Thank you.

I’m grateful for blogs – a place to share, meet people from around the world, care.

Thank you for icing the cake with freshly painted walls and beautiful new hardwood floors and with a hub who sticks with the task until it is completed, and puts his stuff away.

This morning:  Thankful for the joy of volunteering; for the chance to leave a fingerprint of love on a young soul.  I get to help first graders write stories today!  Yay, yay, yay.

Soft, warm blankets, a comfortable bed, coffee and the nourishment of breakfast.  And a hot shower, which I better get in if I’m going to get to the school on time.

“The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.”  – Ann Voskamp

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life, Light

Molded by Sacred Design

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I changed my mind when I awoke this morning.  I was grateful rather than annoyed.  Grateful that I have only had to endure three rude remarks about my appearance (that I can think of) in my 37 years of adulthood.

Sure, I was called four eyes in elementary school.  My sisters said plenty of mean things when we were kids and I was so skinny that the boy I had a crush on in 6th grade said, “When you turn sideways, you disappear.”  But those comments didn’t bother me.  My mom had told me the story of the ugly duckling turning into a beautiful swan.  That was going to be me.

Besides, we were kids and kids say stuff like that whether they mean it or not.  I didn’t believe that they meant it.

But adults should know better.

So when I was twenty six and two construction workers called me a poodle as I walked past them wearing my perm-gone-wrong, it DID bother me.  What gives you the right to comment on my appearance?  No matter, I thought, you two will always be rude, miserable human beings but my perm will relax and my hair will grow out and I will be right back to being fabulous inside and out.

When I was 30 and I had not lost my pregnancy weight soon enough for my first husband’s liking, God replaced him with someone who would never dream of criticizing my appearance.  (And soon after he left I became screaming fit.  Take that sucker.)  Sorry.

When I was assaulted with rude remark #3 last week, at the age of 55, by a fellow 55 year old, I felt sucker punched.  It’s been 25 years since I last encountered that sort of remark from an adult and I sure wasn’t prepared for it.  My first thought was, You’re an idiot.  And then I wrote the writer of the remark off as someone who, WITHOUT DIVINE, MIRACULOUS INTERVENTION, will never be a grown up.

So, I am praying for divine, miraculous intervention.

And I am thinking about the people who endure those types of rude remarks on a regular basis.  People like my sister who live with a perpetually rude, perpetually immature husband; people who live and work among the perpetually snarly and immature every day. And I am grateful that I can count my assaults on less than one hand.

We started a new book in Bible study this morning: Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts.  It is my first exposure to Ann and I think I am going to really like her.  The first video session was beautiful, heartbreaking and poetic.  Ann’s manner of speaking is warm and gentle.  When she challenged us to list five things for which we are grateful, my mind went back to this morning’s first thought.

And then it went to four more:

I am grateful for beautifully arranged words and the ability to hear, read and appreciate them.

I am grateful for hearts and hands that are courageous enough to open themselves to receive ALL the gifts God has for them.  May my heart and my hands be one day counted among them.

A line from an old Susan Ashton song has been running through my head as I’ve gone about my week:

“I long for the shape of things to be true to their form:
Love in a circle, hearts in a line, molded by sacred design.”

I am grateful for God’s orderliness, for His sacred design, for His molding and shaping of us.

I am grateful that God has not given up, will not give up.

For what beautiful, loving, gentle, courageous, kind, noble, enduring things are you grateful today?  My soul longs to hear them.

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