Spring is my un::favorite.

The least of the favorites.

Although there is always something I favor in each season God gives: flowers anew, mud puddles, cool lake on a hot day, ice shining on the trees, pumpkins rolling down the hill after Thanksgiving is over.

{Thanksgiving::: never over}

But I with the voice of thanksgiving… +Jonah 2:9

But Spring: it’s the un:favorite of the favorites, despite the creeping green seeping across the renaissanced Earth.

I do not know why::: really.

I never hasten Winter to leave me.

The cold is when I feel alive in my skin with snowflakes on eyelashes and bundled close in my scarf and I feel the wind on my cheeks and see the world washed white and the sleeping earth rests and I breath in fresh and crisp and listen to the silence loud in the trees and soak in the woodfire crackling and adore cozy nights in pajamas after a long day chilled outside…

I like the blanket swaddled warm on our babies and the lights dimmed settled on the couch for movies and popcorn and me and tea and books while the branches sway and creak outside in frigid air and snowy darkness and I imagine everything quiet in woods and animals nestled and how stars are crazy- visible: bright and burning on nights like these: everything sharp and arctic, raw- beautiful and invigorating…

I am comfortable in Winter. When things are hibernating a bit.

Kind of not moving and not hurrying.

Torpid like the turtle with its head in the mud at the bottom of a pond.

Sleepy like the bear who fattened himself up and dozed off in a dark den somewhere.

In the North where I live, Winter is comfort to me. I prefer it.

My boreal blanket wrapped soundlessly about me in my tiny no-green-light- town in the woods to keep me warm and comfortable.


Spring::: Well, Spring expects something.

Spring wants water running and thirst quenched and rays beating down hard on fallow ground:::

Spring says Wake Up and Get Up and bloom and grow and ripen and rise and thrive and build and flourish and burst and stretch and…


Whoa. Spring. Hold up.

I like some slumbersome Winter.

Nothin’ too radical like that, Spring.

Like breaking ground and shooting up leaves from a seed carcass laying on dry ground.


That is hard. Takes energy. Lots of it.

{by your endurance, you will gain your lives. +luke 21:19}

Strength. Lots of it.

{…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. +eph 6:10}

Trust, too. Like that there will be enough water and the Son will shine bright enough and the growing will be painful but for the good anyway. To break out like that.

Bold, buoyant and believing.

{blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord… +Jer 7:17}

Spring::: you are a new adventure that I can have faith in, aren’t you?

Winter::: you were nice and quite snug, thanks for the rest, for the refresh.

I have to go, though. This is a new beginning.

Because that is what He says.

{The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge… +proverbs 1:7}


Abound in good works.

Abound in love.

Abound in faith.

Abound in belief.

Abound in grace.

Abound in mercy.

Abound in forgiveness.004

Abound in Him.

{and maybe a little rebound, too? He is right there waiting…

…For the Lord will not forsake His people; He will not abandon His heritage… +psalm 94:14}

Let’s abound in Him.

Growing and flourishing and rooting ourselves deeply in all of His promises.

Oh, the gift of that.

And while we enjoy His gift of growth, we can keep looking forward…

to the season of His

Harvest, too.

Until then,

Let’s rejoice together.

In our Springtime.

“Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper may rejoice together…”



Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by  prayer and… with fasting…
Daniel 9:3

that laying out of the mess and asking Him to clean.


Asking my Lord to help me clean.

Asking the King of kings to sweep out the corners and muck out the stalls.

Beautiful and Wretched.

I weep in the wonder:
How He could come HERE, to us, weak and sin-ridden

and scour our hearts and minds and turn us to Him by His

And so I focus on Him, by abstaining from
the meats
the sweetsKingsLanding 010
the wheats

Crisp on He who gives me life:

The God of the Universe who chooses to live in this body.
Who makes His words known to this heart.
Who blesses this life with babies and husband and home.


Who gently, quietly, succinctly said to me on a Sunday, as I swirled with busy:

Fast for 5 days.

And I, without hesitation, for one of the first times without,
checking the schedule,
asking more questions,
coming up with excuses,

putting off my Father,

without the dawdling,

said OK.
Just like that, because He is the One who has me, beginning to end,
And He wants me to live by Him, to seek Him, and so He spoke…

And I felt eager.

Day three of the five He asked of me.

I’m hungry.

(Indulge me for a moment…)
You know how sometimes the fruits and the vegetables need that anchor of pasta and bread and meat.
You know how finishing off a meal with a cookie is completing and satisfying.
You know how of all weeks, your coworkers make your favorites: homemade salsa and pumpkin cookies and lemon bars and put them out in the teacher’s room and say, Brooke! I know you love lemon!
Brooke! That’s the salsa recipe I gave you!
Brooke! Have you tried the pumpkin cookies?

(Oh, the comforts of this life that become normal and consuming.)


But, you know, my friends, what for, Praise God:

I am hungry.
For the way He speaks into my life and leads me to Him.
For all that He has for me that day I walk into Glory and see Him….
For the moments when He teaches me to be disciplined and give away this world so that I can hear Him:
Only Him.

And so,
I am feeding myself this week by His Word,
crunching on my fruits and vegetables,
praying to Him instead, when I would normally reach for a sweet snack,

When I crave the bread, the silly slice with the peanut butter for breakfast,

I am choosing to crave more of Him,
And lay abandoned to Him the


I’m hungry today…
But I’m praying that through my day, I’m hungry for His word and His hand…
… shrouding my thoughts
… protecting my heart
… guiding my decisions

covering me.
Praying that you feel His love, mighty and gentle, on your life today! I pray that you crave Him.

His: despite myself.

208He saves me.

Because that is why He came and took on skin and stable and ridicule and testing and exhaustion and mockery and a cross laid timber on his beaten, world-heaving, sin-bearing back.

To save me.

Not because of anything I am.

Not because of anything I do.

Not because of anything I say.

Because He is Who He says He is.

He IS Who He SAYS He is.

And that is enough.

Because He says it is.

He says He walked this broken Earth and tread on the serpent and gathered His sheep and died on that hill and shed the shroud in that tomb and showed Himself again:::

Just like He promised.

To save me.

To save me everyday from who I am.

A sinner.

A sinner who sins.

He saves me every God-given, God-gifted, God-grace-filled-to-the-brim day of my life.

He rescues me.

He delivers me.

He frees me.

He unshackles me.

He redeems me.

He looses me.

He liberates me.

He ransoms me.

He saves me.

:::: to Himself.

Because He loves me and He forgives me.

He forgives me.

Fall on my knees, lay down at His feet, bow my head to Him, close my eyes, whisper His name, sing softly His mercy poured over me, on my knees, rise up and praise Him for His love with psalms spoken aloud, hands lifted high with thanksgiving, head looking to the heavens, standing on His strength, clothed in righteousness and breathing in His one-way gifted grace to me…

Because of Who He is,

He has told me who I am::::

I am His.

I am His.

:::: humbled.

On the days that are awash with frustration and fear and discontent and isolation and uncertainty and everything that is not of Him… Oh, what can I be sure of?

That I am His.

And He is mine.

My Savior.

The Mighty One Who Saves.


And then again. and again. and again!


Down in my heart.

Down in my heart.

To stay.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. +Psalm 51:12

Hope for the Road

KingsLanding 061After Jesus rose again on Easter day, he met two men walking on the road to Emmaus. He did not reveal Himself immediately to them. Instead, He walked along with them as they discussed the crucifixion and the account of the women who seemed to have found His empty tomb. He took this opportunity to remind them of the scriptures, to remind them of what was promised to them, to remind them of Who He is.

I love this story in Luke 24. It reminds me that even when He is not “visible” to us, He is right there. He promises us that. That is a beautiful thing.

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?”  +Luke 24:32 ESV

Third day.

Stone rolled away but they did not see it themselves

Jesus in their midst but they did not see it themselves

Walking the dusted road

weary in heart?

weary in travel?

weary in talk?

dusted on sandals:

and now

with dusty hope:::

like hope was left on a shelf somewhere: hope: a thing worn and tired:

like a Book, perhaps: tattered and known:

dog-eared and ditched:


out of reach and retired there:

on a shelf.



:::: we had…


They walk.

They talk::

::::::::::::: was a mighty Prophet in word and deed… they said…

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: we had hoped that He was the One… they said…

And on they walked.

Discussing Jesus. With Jesus.

With Jesus.

No, really.


And He opened the scriptures to them and He admonished them and He conversed with them and He loved them and He traveled with them…

and He met them right there where they were.

And He met them right there where they were.

On a road to somewhere.

On a journey to where they were going::: Glory!

He walked with them.

Just like we get to do.

Even when we have left our hope up high, left- weak somewhere

on a shelf.

And they felt Him there, you know.

While they traveled…

“They urged Him strongly”…. +Luke 24 esv

“Stay with us”… they said….

And they broke the bread together and they listened together and they talked together and they walked together and they journeyed together and they returned together…

….together with Jesus.

and their eyes grew wide and they saw Him.

For Who He is…





With you.

With us.

When hope is depleted and our road is worn and dusty and we have forgotten the hope that is in Him…

He is walking with us.

Even when we do not see Him.

He was born for us.

He died to save us.

He left the tomb to give us life!

“… Jesus Himself drew near and went with them….” +Luke 24:15b esv

Dust off your hope.

He has risen indeed!

the breathing out

earlyoct08 014He was out on the old tractor at our family Farm.
Rolling on black tires tall,
Meandering through the high grass
Mowing it away
harvesting his refreshment
Happy to find time alone, although he didn’t say.
A breezy afternoon, red Farmall plaid shirt and jeans with a fleece kind of day.
A little late for mowing this year,
Golden rod bowing their heads in the field by now, swaying in the How Majestic is Your Name chorus,
As my love exercises an Eden- gift of dominion over the land, back and forth, to the edge and return,
Back and forth :::
across the once-pasture
Entering into the praise-song of the Earth,
back and forth::
Praising the Creator on this day, blessed to breathe in,
                                   :: back and forth
And I
busying myself about the farmhouse,
sorting the silver and throwing the gingham dishtowel about my shoulder
hearing the slam-click of the screen door while the kids wildly scream in freedom and laughter
Wondrously realizing satisfaction to the once-eluded primal pull of house and home::
soaking in::
giggling in the moment of sheer peace
My Gramma arrives early for Pinochle
While crockpot chicken-dill stew bubbles
And I forget to make the brownies
So I greet Gramma in her pearls and ice-blue cardigan that matches her eyes
And to find my own Mama, still outside
hurting in the deep- broken- breaking of this world
and wrap my arms about her too and look in those inherited- blue eyes
Let’s go, let’s play a game ::
Can I get you a drink::
Let us sit,
Glad you came,
Today is the day the Lord has made,
A gorgeous day,
The weather you love, right, Mama? Remember?
Breathe it in, Mama, that chorus, do you hear it?
Out in the field, the hallelujah chorus?
The whirr of the tractor cannot out-do it, Mama::
I promise.
The Earth pours it out to Him and you just need listen::
It’s all praise,
Mama, you just breathe, because He cares for the sparrow, you know that,
I know you do.
Praise Him, even when all is hard, Mama.
I inhale deeply, quietly
eyes closed with
thanks, wonderment
                                   :: weariness
as I linger to the screen porch.
The sparrow,
The lilies,
Yes, Lord.
Yes, Lord.
My brownie bowl cradled in my arm,
wooden spoon circling,
I call through the screen to my love who has rested a moment
on the tractor looking at the sky:
::::Gramma wants to watch you mow, I say
I whisper in my heart to him:
{She wants to! To really stare out to the trees and the sky of brilliance and the Son that warms and join the chorus and fill that deep longing to praise she can not quite satisfy!}
Wait, Love, to say hello to her before you go
And my Mom is here too and she’s broken in pieces, Love…
{She says she can’t, Love, she says she cannot find Him now in the midst of this pain. Can I say to her with truth and faith in the middle of this:: praise Him? Can we reflect Him by our doing? Can she watch you refresh yourself in Him as you busy yourself in His Creation? Can I serve her here in this place where I am and where she is and let Grace fill in our brittle cracks?}
He smiles his smile
That God-gifted smile
the one that belongs only to him
and to me:: us, together
The smile that makes me breath
quietly reassured
The smile full of God-given wisdom in the middle of this open, baring field
The smile that knows where I have been
and knows where we are going::
                             {with Him}
             :::: joining the hallelujah::::
the smile of my love whispers to me as he sits atop a farmer’s seat in the sun
I stand in the shade waiting:
{Yes, he smiles, yes, THIS is where we are and who we are in Him and this is where He has us and this our walk in His will today. We are strong in Him. I’m going to mow now. Have fun playing Pinochle! Go…}
And all he needs to say aloud as I watch his smile…
He waves and yells out, loud enough for her to hear,
I set the timer for the brownies,
gather the well-worn Pinochle cards,
while I pour my mama a glass, right full,
peering through the window at the giggles and quarrels in the sandbox,
I settle in a chair on the porch where I can face the field,
so when I look up from my cards, I can see him,
praising God with his hands,
as he joyfully toils,
with the ravens flying
and the pines whispering
and the apples ripening
and the clouds moving
joining in the Everything-That-Hath-Breath-Praise-The-Lord Chorus
And I have no choice,
no desire,
to do anything else, but be right here, in this place
in this place,
Where God has called me to
for this moment,
Where Earth and sky and obedience and brokenness and submission and gentleness and thanksgiving and uncertainty and peace all meet:::
::: in the wide open field of PRAISE.
“Oh, come let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God… In His hands are the depth of the Earth; the heights of the mountains are His also.  The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land… 
We are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand…”
Psalm 95

Fear and Victory

(from May 2012)KingsLanding 062

You know,

When that little fear that you swallow in uncertainty rises in your throat and forms a faith-less lump in the pit of your stomach?

When your priorities are askew

and the pride settles itself in a cozy corner of your pocket and you decide that you can take care of the world,

your world,

and you forget where your praying knees are

and you think you know something,

and it’s all figured out
because you figured it out…

and those bible verses you diligently rehearsed are glimmering somewhere in your mind,

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Phillipians 4

they become a faint whisper on some days when the willy-nilly wind is blowing just right

And needless fear roots itself in the absence of your seeking Him,

and the words fade away
in the whirlwind of decision-making, doubt and dread.


And you end up beaten-down and searching, low and discontented…

…are those words that prompt the steady beat of my heart?
…is the Voice that calms the dissonance and straightens me when my path becomes tired and winding?

With me.
All that time.

All that time I was walking on my own strength,
All that time I feared,
All that time I questioned,
All that time I felt alone,
All that time I was isolated in that deep crook where the enemy and the flesh kept me…

Until, we, with that one weak, yet strong
upward glance,

when you stretch out your arms into His perfect love


He plucks you out of fear’s craggy hand and

Settles you
deep in the comfortable blanket of His Word,

His words,

written on your heart,
in the folds of the pages,
in the encouraging voice of a friend,

dusted off

and spoken right out loud
Yes, right out loud:

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
Psalm 118

out of darkness and into the light

until the fear goes running

and the loneliness flees

and He cradles you and keeps you

and His perfect timing comes knocking to rescue you
Again and always

and you have that moment when you wonder why the worry wallowed so long
and why you allowed your heart to harbor it
and you let yourself languish in a moment of fear when you know the mighty hand that keeps you—-
and you say

and why didn’t I run to you first, Lord?
and He grabs your hand as a loving Father does and quiets you in His blessed assurance…

That He has you.
That He keeps you.
That He knows us.
That He promises us.
That He carries us…

In our heartache, in our celebration, in our laying down and rising up

Forever and always.
We are His.

Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed.
1 Chronicles 22

In a Broken World

In a broken world, things are broken.leaves 015


Are broken.

We ::

:: are broken.

Oh, but friends, we are forgiven!

We are called to this. To be the light scattered and true ::

:: amidst the breaking, the shattering,

the scattering of hearts::::


(With HIM.)


(with YOU.)

This charge we have: to GLORIFY our KING.

This gift we have:

to say HIS name to another in LOVE so they may know Him::


Oh, friends, we know them:

We know us:

They lose strength when they think they have none,

They slip away quietly while they think no one is loving them,

They grip tightly only so long when they feel uncared for,

They get sick and deteriorate without support,

They let go when they feel weak,

They suffer without explanation when there is no understanding,

They become confused and muddled walking on wide roads with too many choices,

They wonder without direction outside of the truth,

They wander without guidance with nothing to lead,

They medicate the bruises with useless bandages,

They search in places incapable of helping,

They rebel in pain masked,

They spill over in excess,

They fill with things that don’t fill,

They breathe tiny breaths that don’t believe,

They miss the simplicity in favor of the too- complicated,

They portray the calm, but outside the volcano,

They yearn for something more and know not what it may be,

They sit:: slumped

just a little.

They walk:: bent

just a bit.

They speak:: joyless

just always.

They just::


Bit by bit.

In this broken, breaking world.

Heavy. With sin.

Laden. With burden.

Bound. With unforgiveness.

Kept. With hopelessness.

Praying, with you, my friends, that we shine among others with the hope that we have in Him.

Look well at my handpicked servant; I love him so much, take such delight in him. I’ve placed my Spirit on him; he’ll decree justice to the nations. But he won’t yell, won’t raise his voice; there’ll be no commotion in the streets. He won’t walk over anyone’s feelings, won’t push you into a corner. Before you know it, his justice will triumph; the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even among far-off unbelievers.
Matthew 12 MSG

Shine on.

Standing in the Rain

budpuddleDriving quietly to work, with the wipers turned on intermittently, having one of those seemingly joyless beginnings…

where I woke up and the weighty world was perched precariously on my shoulder tipping me this way and that way… heavy and cumbersome…

tired and sapping…

Like everything so slippery
Like the 3 days of this rain sliding steadily from the windshield wiping away my strength…

And those few tears that slid down my cheek driving away from my house in the gray morning,
The drops that had poured on the roof and trickled…
seeped steadily into my heart over the last few days…

Leaving my children to go to work after glorious days spent :
Not grabbing the chance to love my husband in the quiet :
Pondering the dollars and the time and the misunderstandings and the transition and the travel and the dishes and the job and the writing and the questions and the Bible and the disagreements and the laundry :

In that one moment where I am still for a few moments: alone:

and the stream swells and floods in my mind :

and, oh, the weakness : : :

And when all has the possibility of crashing down,

When you think it’s crashing in that weakness that comes in the clouds that settle over hearts on days like these…

That moment, when you reach UP, to Him… and decide to STAND.

(like that song on the radio)::::

“Stand up when it’s all crashing down,
Stand your ground
You stand through the pain
You won’t drown
And one day, what’s lost can be found
You STAND in the rain…”


And you find, on a storm-tossed day, on a winding road… with wipers ridding the tears,

in the whispered hush of your heart…

earlysept 077THAT VOICE

Precious and True

Speaking softly to YOU… As only He can when your heart is foggy and mist filled…

Stand, my child,
my daughter…



In weakness, I will rescue you, I will keep you,
I will preserve you under the shadow of My wings.

“Keep me the apple of Your eye,
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings…
My steps have held fast to Your paths…
My feet have not slipped…
Wondrously show Your steadfast love…”
from Psalm 17

May you see Him lift any clouds for you, today, my friends!
Praising Him with you for His goodness in the storms,
His healing that comes… quietly and powerfully… as you stand in the midst of it all
…and put your trust, today, in He that has the victory.

I Will Magnify

june11 086Morning rose rouged- pink and clear with a frigid sunrise today,

restfully, blessedly,

wrapped so warmly,


slapping the snooze singing joy- comes- in- the- morning hymns

waking up 38 minutes later than usual after a long day before,

and a week before that

of fevers too high

and less sleeping

and the grace of being home here with my little one

to quietly

{and not so quietly}

try to make all the tattered ends of twine meet and tie the ribbons I have left hanging into my pretty bows

~ because pretty bows are what is best, right? No matter what? Getting it all done and wrapping things up in sparkles and bows?

And I have felt tired and right- weary this two- month past,

Death came calling and breaking us open with grief spilled staining us for a good long time

Two days til Thanksgiving

raising our hands in blessed gratefulness

for all we could see through the tears of this life

and we chose joy in the pain,

because He calls us to that,

and we must choose His joy

when our flesh tells us to break,

disjointed and suffering and everything upside down and overturned,

and I have not forgotten it even yet,

when sadness slips slowly its gripping fingers around my heart and I remember him,

and I remember him

with smiling eyes and over-told stupid jokes that made

me shake my head and go-jelly with belly-holding laughing

when he picked me up and took me to lunch when life was confusing

and I was rigid

and sometimes

we just sat and watched cartoons while he told me silly stories

and made me better

And I wish I kept his voicemails.

And when he told me, the last time,

You are doing the right thing. This choice you guys made.You stay with those babies. There’s nothing like it. You don’t get it back. I’m so happy for you.

And I sobbed on my deck looking at the stars wondering about the suffering to my Lord,



and yet I asked Him,

Because He tells me I can,

and I thought it could be the last time he talked on and on and on to me about

all the good things in his life,

yes, the good.

and I listened to him, laughing

{did he know I was weeping with my smiling?}

And so it was.

The last time.

And I wish I kept his voicemails.


And November turns bleakly to December and the


People-pleasing-not-Jesus-pleasing days



And I end up

World- weary

Tying my pretty bows all in a row, tattered at the very tips of living,

and I remember my thanks.

And I seek out the thankfulness breathing right through me,

Because I was made for Him

To please Him,

To glorify Him,

To thank Him,

even when life heaves hard,


How can I ignore it? The thanks that I must have for Him?

Give to Him?

He gave me life.

He gives me life.

Over and over and over again.

The grace that pours down on every moment I am here for Jesus-talking and Jesus-sharing,

And Jesus-shining,

When I think of Travis,

Suffering of ten years of cancer and chemo and shingles and experimental drugs and hospitals and quarantine

and three kids who lit up his twinkling eyes, despite it all,

And how I hear people


tied up and tied down and frozen up and bound tight by big- little things in the stuff of life

This world hands out irritations and distractions like no one’s downright business.

Throwing me off the narrow way

He with timber on His shoulders tread for me


Thank You.

breathing out thank You.

Little colds,

and not getting paid on time,

Gifts never received at Christmas,

and the Fiscal Cliff,

Rude waitresses,

and the traffic too thick,

Did you hear what she said?

and I-can’t-wait-for-summer-I-hate-this-snow

on and on and on.

And I think of Travis,

Labored breath, labored living

And searching, still, for Him, in the tiny things that make a life really lived:

To remember the taste of oreos,

To recall a walk on a Florida beach,

To feel his baby’s skin born into his cancer,

To be thankful he woke up,

forgiving the pain,

to walk one more day down the steps to kiss Laurie,

I will heave out those thanks when I am weary.

I will whisper it out weak in my weakness.

I pray I will ~ always.no.matter.what.

Thankfulness is what carries me through this shattered world and leads me straight to Him,

He who gives me strength when I rise up on a dawning, freezing,






When I cannot seem to tie another pretty bow all by myself and am tempted to let the edges lay torn and gray and ripped hanging,

When He shines perfectly, gloriously in my weakness.

He calls me to thankfulness anyway.


I will choose thankfulness.

God help me, I will choose thankfulness in all things.

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 69:30