new life in me

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I feel him.

I do!

And it takes me :::

by surprise.

Each and every time.

He’s in me.

This living and breathing.

this gift inside.

And I’m taken.

right now, he’s moving.

yes, right now.

And my heart leaps

in thankfulness.

And I can’t wait to meet him.

… when I see him for the first time…

to see his face.

Oh, the joy

that will come.

so

until then,

I’m his for this time.

for always.

I’m his.

while he grows in me.

while I live these days for him.

and I’m swept away.

He’s so beautiful to me.

and I think

oh, how can it be?

he’s really mine?

he’s mine.

and

I long for the day to hold his hand

and talk with him

and walk with him

and be with him.

oh, what a sweet,

sweet day

that will be.

My soul longs, yes, faints
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.    ::: Psalm 84

In the slow of things…

He takes time.

with all things.

because it’s who I thankfully think he is.

this little boy we have the gift of growing:::

alongside.

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I say to him, Let’s go. Get in the car. We gotta get going.

And he, he puts his boots on the wrong feet and finds two matchbox cars, one red, one gold and sticks them in his frayed little boy pocket and looks for his belt long after I say :

ok. Get your boots on! If you wanna wear a belt, find it now!

He will pause, look for the dog, pet a long good bye and wave to the fish and say I love you! See you later!

He strings his cowboy belt through the loops of his khaki cargos and meanders over to pull his dinosaur coat over his arms and rests awhile before he tries to tackle the zipper zipping.

ok! Lets go! Your sister is in the car! You ready?

He adjusts his silver longhorn belt buckle, tucks his pants into his boots, says almost Mama, almost and I sigh and look at the clock on my phone and I say, well, let me help you!?

And he says no, it’s ok, Mama, I just gotta do one more thing…

and he parks his ninja turtle scooter and “takes out the keys” and stuffs them in a pocket too and…

… Finally… ?

… Walks out the door…

and he grabs my hand…

and it’s this same kind of routine…

something slower I watch him grow in to…

and I’ve started to watch him now…

and I’ve started to watch my words more…

and I’ve started to slow with him…

and revel a bit…

how he walks out the door and he holds it for me… Almost every time…

::: this little man growing…

he lets the door close and then he looks up… Every time…

if it’s raining, he puts out his hand and cups the drops…

if it’s sunny he squints in the light and smiles…

if it’s night, he listens for frogs…

if it’s morning, he listens for birds…

and he slows me to listen, too,

while I fumble in my purse or make sure I locked the door…

do you hear the wind, Mama?

do you see that butterfly?

And I have to stop and I have to not sigh and I have to put my hands down in the dirt like he does when he sees that one prettiest pebble and I have to take time to stroll with him and see how he sees…

And it’s beautiful.

And so I wait in the moment of it…

While the world whirs by…

and nothing crashes down because I stop for a time…

The moment only seems more lovely, with sharper hues and sweeter breath…

and how can I not take a little time to slow with him?

to find the small things of joy?

errands can wait five more minutes…

we can catch three more snowflakes…

I can say goodbye to our cat, too…

Because time…

it’s so fleeting… and

It does not wait…

so why not slow… it… down…

I gotta slow it down…

I wanna slow it down…

while this little boy helps his mama grow.

:::

He has made everything beautiful in its time.   ::: Ecclesiastes 3:11a

Just for her

 

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I watched him wrap it up with a smile, just for her.

A dress, royal purple, glittering with silver and satin.

He slipped it into a bag with a heart felted on the front.

He wrote a note from his father-heart straight to her daughter-heart and set it down, left it waiting just for her.

She awakened slow and early and stumble-tripped down the hall stretching wild with hair and thoughts of a brand- new day dawning

She eyed it wide and happy and knew it was just for her.

Giggles spilled as the dress spilled sparkly and she held it close and waltzed a few steps in the sun.

:::Why did you give me this Daddy?

:::Read what I’ve written to you, Pumpkin.

And she saw the words, written just for her:

I was wondering if you would like to go out on a date with me tonight? For cocoa and pie? Just me and just you? This dress is for you to wear if you want to. I will see you later. I love you, Pumpkin. Love, Dad.

:::Sure, I wanna go… Yay, Daddy….. yay.  {smile.smile.smile.}

and he chuckled and mussed that wild hair and he calmed her sometimes-uneasy heart like only he can.

No one else can do that for her like he does.

                               {This thankful, joy-filled observer I am.}

How her eyes are shaped like his and they dance and glimmer alike when they hear good news.

How they walk with the same quite- confident stroll and how:::

when they are nose to nose and head to head, they are headstrong and heart-strong the same.

And I watch her grow and see her more like who he is

{and it’s this grateful surprise for me}

because I think he’s amazing

and she:::

:::she just amazes me.

And they walk out the door with this chitchat that’s theirs alone

his just-for-her love wells true

and he opens her door

and he smiles at me

and she waves at me

and I stand rooted in the moment, like I want it to keep it written-saved on a tiny prettiest- paper tied tight with a shimmering ribbon and slip it out and read it when my mommy-heart grows weary…

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

and she bursts joy as she bursts through the door

and I hear the conversation never did stop and there were sweet leftovers to enjoy

tomorrow and maybe even the next day,

and I say, leftovers, no, this will last forever::::

the way He spoke His Fatherly love deep into her needy heart…

the way He dressed her in royal purple and took her hand in His

the way He carried her away with laughter and chivalry

the way He wrote His Love Note for her to treasure and keep

the way He invited her to come away with Him and sing and dance and eat and drink ’til she was full

all of this, He did:::

just for her

How she begins to grow and know this father she has,

How she begins to grow and know this Father she has.

The one that will do anything just for her.

The One that did everything.

Just for her.

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord… you shall be called My Delight is in Her… so shall your God rejoice over you…    :::Isaiah 62

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undone.

She was sitting at the table, bound:::

by a science lesson left undone and a sunny day-outside with school work-inside and some grumbling.

Grumbling had been on our breakfast plate in the morning, with a side of complaint and a drink of a little bit tired.

We had talked about it, as we have been for days, we talked about grumbling and prayerfulness and cheerfulness and singing songs that keep our hearts singing steadfast, even when it’s hard.

And we know, some days are just plain raw and hard.

And then we all got to our morning work.

:::: … and the people grumbled… ::: Exodus 15

grumbling.

I had fifteen things left undone, not to mention my grumbling heart.

And she said it quick and it flew straight as the arrow piercing my undone flesh ::: boring through with naked truth.

“You aren’t even acting like my momma right now. My momma is nice to me even when she’s frustrated with me. She talks with love to me even when she doesn’t like what I’m doing.”

un.done.

She was right. She was sincere. She was undone in little girl tears and I was undone in crankiness and conviction.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

{We had sat around the breakfast bagels in the morning, rainbow roses blooming a promise of hope in the center, we read Psalm 8, her favorite, and prayed about our plan for the day, knowing and praying the Lord may have a different plan, but that was ours, anyway.

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His plan was different, and better,

and harder [and more beautiful}.

But His plans are the ones we had prayed for when we gathered at the morning table, right?

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

So, I teetered on the slippery edge of pride and wanting to spark and spit some flaming words :::

:::: I-am-your-mother-get-your-work-done-I’ve-told-you-500-times-and-this-day-stinks-and-I-had-this-all-planned-out-with-school-and-cleaning-and-spic-and-span-dishes-before-your-father-gets-home-and-we-are-doing-crafts-today-and-your-work-isn’t-done-and-I-am-tired-of-disobedience-and-I-have-a-list-a-mile-long-and-you-don’t-wanna-go-to-school-til-July-do-you? ::::

::: that whole statement rolling around in my head and starting its pompous stroll down my tongue :::

as I watched her shrink with wet rivulets like a tiny rill spilling on her sweet face and I watched her pull back her little-girl heart into a deeper place I couldn’t :::

that this momma wouldn’t:::

be able to reach:::

if He didn’t help me get this heart- thing right.

And I heard her words.

and I remembered His:::

::: you will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart… ::: Jeremiah 29

And I looked straight at her.

And I stopped.

I stopped everything I was doing.

The only thing still moving was my heart, praying to turn this thing around and beat like His.

School.talking.dishes.laundry.planning.talking.thinking.talking.walking.tidying.

every.thing.stopped.                       ::::: by His grace.

because He was the only One who could tidy this undone mess up.

And I walked over to her small hands and held them and took her blue eyes to mine and breathed out slow:::

You.are.right.my.baby.girl.

And I prayed His name over my girl and over this undone house and our undone day and my undone heart:::

knowing deep, He has said::: It’s already done.

On the cross.

And so I reminded her. He forgave us our sins. On the cross, right? He came here, walking with us on Earth, to seek us out and to rescue our hearts, remember? He has already done it all….

And so I asked for her forgiveness {and for His} and we smiled and we cuddled and I felt our hearts beat closer to Him…

So we talked about these things wrapped up in a blanket and His love on the couch with her held close to my beating heart::: I told her, oh, these hearts of ours:

they beat because of Him, so they must beat for Him.

Rhythmic and pounding. Steady and resounding. That our lives, they must fill and must beat His love and His music,

because His heartbeat is the only steady one.

The Constant One. And His heart, oh, my little one, His heart?

It beats for us.

{::: amazing grace.}

I told her:

That He paid the price for us already. That He forgave us by giving His Son for us::: for our broken hearts: wavering, wobbly, wanting.

::::::::::::::::::::::: His blood shed, so our hearts could pump pure.

So that He could turn our desperately unsteady hearts to His.

So our heartbeat could, by His mercy-gift, begin to beat out His life-giving rhythm.

Beat out His words.

Beat out His work.

Beat out His grace.

Steady. Constant. Sure. Connected.

Unbroken.

So we could beat out His heart for us.  A heart pulsing forth His love.

And, today? Well, today’s been one of those out-of-tune days, my beautiful girl. But::: we can stop marching to our own tempo and start walking in agreement with His heart for us. We can, and He will show us how. What do you say?

Let’s fix this broken moment.

Because you know what?

He has already mended it all… even our hearts!

For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ::: 2 Corinthians 4

In Him, my sweet little girl, there’s not a thing:

undone.

Remember, my little love, despite this world, despite your momma’s mistakes, despite your wonderings and wanderings…

One thing is always true, always fixed

His heart.

It’s fixed on you.

I said: Breathe.

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you…”  Isaiah 42 (emphasis mine)

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I breathe slow and snagged.

::::::::::::::::::Sometimes.

Because I am caught up.

and netted- fast

and stuck- constrained.

Snared somehow.

::::::::::::::::Sometimes.

By duty and schedule and guilt and should-be’s and too many yes’s and not enough no’s and not waking with His name on my lips and this to do and that to accomplish and good deeds and this flesh and that mop and this dust and fun and summer and planning this and finding the keys and technology and calendar and my sin and the pull of the world and the …… blah. blah. blah.

I realized this two days ago

in the car

that I wasn’t breathing.

Not filling.

Not satiating.

Not complete.

Not brimming to overflowing.

… You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows… +Psalm 23

More shallow and wanting.

I looked at myself in the rearview and glimpsed my little reminder that days are passing. That silver strand at my temple. Tempted to pull it out.

::::::::::::::Shallow, too. In a different sense.

Some weeks, they slip by unseen and I forget to breathe them in.

… So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom… +Psalm 90

It is easy to forget to breathe.

I said to myself with “Give God the Glory Glory” pouring out of the speakers and out of my backseat buckled-in smiles:::: “Give God the glory, glory….”

I said: breathe.

Like I had to remind myself. Who reminds themselves to breathe????

I did. And I even tried to take a deep breath and my too-tight, white-knuckled chest wouldn’t give me up.

I couldn’t fill myself deep and full and saturated and content.

I couldn’t do it.

So my breath came shorter and held out longer.

                            :::::::::::::::::::::::Without air.

It occurs to me amidst the hymns swirling and little ones counting buttercups along the road and my grocery list flying off the seat in the rolled down windows::::

:::::: This is a gift.

This whole 35 seconds of depthless breathing and that gray hair and this moment right now when I have to depend on Someone else for one of the most natural, rote, practiced, life-giving, filling up and out-flowing actions we do all 86,400 seconds of our day.

And that I cannot do it on my own. Praise God.

No, I cannot even breathe on.my.own.

Lord, Creator of my very breath: Can You help me breathe?

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Because I cannot count on myself for even that.

(thank You.)

And that realization:::

That I cannot trust myself, but instead I can trust the mighty and sovereign God of the universe for the tiniest invisible thing is a beautiful blessing.

and I can count on Him right now.

That He commands even my evanescent breath to pour forth from these lungs that He created::: even at this very moment…

that is a grace-saturated gift from Him, to me.

O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in You! +Psalm 84

I can trust Him.

I can trust. Him.

If in the very small and sightless, then also in the very big.

Not only because His Word tells me so, but because He shows me so.

He goes before me.

He helps me breathe.

When I forget how, He shows me again. and again. and again.

::::::::::::::::::::::::: give God the glory, glory…..

He breathed life into me.

How can I ever forget that?

…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living creature… +Genesis 2:7

These photos.

Photos lately.

So many of them.

Things keep surprising me and I keep the camera close.

The sky with the passing cloud. The cloud heavy with the rain. The rain dripping on the leaf. The leaf attached to the stem. The stem holding the flower. The flower grabbed by the boy. The boy chasing his sister. His sister smiling at the father. And the father looking at the wife. And the wife wanting to inhale all the thanks and exhale the joy.Deep.Wide.and lovely.

::::::::::::::: even on the hard days. yes.

And all of these pictures seem silly. Like go do something else more worth- it. Like go wash a dish. Like go read a book. Like go hang a towel. Like go fold a towel.

What have I been doing? Taking a picture of that towel instead.

And then thanking God for it.

:::::::::::::::::::Yes, even for the towel.

How He picked the dots silver on the moth wing and how He breathed breeze on the dawn grass glittered swaying with dew and how He furled the fern on the stream running sweet ripples and how He placed each curly hair on his little head so they drip on his brow just right and how He created her smile making her lashes dance and how He gave me

this husband:::

The husband who meets my am-I-taking-too-many-pictures-here look and steals away my camera while I cook

::::::and picks me a rose just bloomed today because I love the vintage smell I cannot explain: just feels like home:

:and he kisses my cheek and unveils the camera from his shirt::::

:::: a picture-kiss of this rosebud:::

:: because he knows I wonder:::

::::if I take too much time with the joy-thanks magnified?

::: thanks kept fresh by the shutter closing still on the moment.

And he showed me his photo.

his gift to me tonight.

::::::::::::: His gift to me…………..

To settle me. Pete’s I-like-that-you-like-this-picture-thing-I-think-it’s-pretty-great- offering of love to me.

Because among our laughter at a song off-key and our chasing around with the hose and the planting of the pretty flowers not all moments are perfect. Like any day. And we had a sharp glance when we misunderstood and we had a word when we were sweating in the sun with rakes and wheelbarrows and kids buzzing and bugs buzzing and needing a fresh drink of water.

                      ::::::::::::::::::::of living water.

That Living Water that spilled over the soil and breathed life into the plants and the animals and streams and clouds, the roses, too::::

All exhaling praise to He who swept sedges across the marshes, He who filled glens with violets and valleys with rivers, He who breathed life into mountains groan-rising out of earth, He who fanned wind across the desert:::::

He who gifted this all-to-His-glory Earth to us to enjoy and savor and taste and see and breathe

:::::::::::::::::::::::: thankful praise out in all things.

And when I take these pictures::::

When I see His love amplified deep in the raindrop dripping praise to Him,

I cannot help but take another.

:::: and when a day gets long and a cloud comes dark,

I can see the love He intends for us when I look through this lense::: this lense of thanksgiving.

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Creation was made for this! Drench the plowed fields, soak the dirt clods With rainfall as harrow and rake bring her to blossom and fruit. Snow-crown the peaks with splendor, scatter rose petals down your paths, All through the wild meadows, rose petals. Set the hills to dancing, Dress the canyon walls with live sheep, a drape of flax across the valleys. Let them shout, and shout, and shout! Oh, oh, let them sing!

Psalm 65 MSG (biblegateway)

One year ago this week.

I taught at a beautiful school next to a lake, the native word for lake: kuspem… where on most days I watched the latter part of the sun rise over the water. 
 
In the Fall, as school was just beginning, I could peer down at the blue of the water and up at the blue of the sky and see the trees dotted with reds and oranges as the rays broke over a new morning. 
 
In the Winter, it would be common to see a moose or a deer walking on the ice as a yellow glow sparkled over the snow rising from behind the hill and filling the day with His beauty.
 
In the Spring, as the Winter broke its hold on the Point, the mist would rise dramatically and forcefully off the water and ice like a prism and the shining pink and orange of the sun would bounce and reflect and take my breath away.
 
As Spring turned to Summer-like weather, the loons would sing a Morning Has Broken song and I would drive by the fisherman on the lake– all the while anticipating the end of the school year thinking of my babies at home and ice cream and flip flops and swimming… things I knew were just around the corner, until I ventured back to this place on the lake and the bright eyes of my students…
 
And then there was yesterday.
 
Yesterday. When I drove my last day down the school lane and I, for a moment felt broken and weak in myself as I stopped next to the glory of the sun as it peeked over the water– sprinkled with glittery light on a calm day that felt tumultuous in me.
 
As the Lord gave me another sunrise to enjoy on my last day of thirteen years at Motahkmiqewi Skulhawossol…
 
 …and on my first day of new beginnings.
 
I wept.
 
Not uncommon for me these days as I grieve closing this chapter and stepping into the unknown as I turn the page on what He has for me.
 
I said to them,
as they served me cake,
gave me a beautiful sweetgrass basket,
hugged me,
served me lobster in the evening,
 
sang You Are My Sunshine” to me, so silly and loving,
 
but so wonderfully blessed I felt…
 
I said to them,
through my tears, as I told them thank you for this moment of many years:
 
“This. 
This is who I was, you all know.
I was this,
Before I was a wife to my Love,
Before I was a mother to my Little Loves,
 
I was this.
A teacher to your children.
I have been blessed.”
 
And I sat down and they hugged and spoke friend-love words in my ear.
 
And I was by myself at the end of it, carrying my last box and closing the trunk and He who carries me spoke His soft, powerful, voice in my ear, too.
 
Because I yearn, I pray, I desire to listen to that Voice:
 
He said::
 
“Listen to Me.  Before all of this.
 
You were a child of MINE.”
 
:::::::::::smile.
Thank You, Father.
:::::::::I am Yours. Lead on.