Monday, November 29, 2010

Mission Impossible

She knew it would not be easy. She had tried before, on many occasions, never with success. But this time, this time would be different. She would somehow manage the impossible.

It took planning, lots of planning. And coordination of schedules. And secrecy. Up until the last minute, she was afraid of failure. There were too many details that could go wrong. And yet, she pulled it off without a hitch. This mission impossible, this Thanksgiving surprise.

I am still reeling from the shock. And feeling so very grateful for

smiley cookies,


the airplane that brought our Principessa home,

the van that safely carried the Sprittles and their Mommy and Daddy to visit,

wild Indians stomping through the house in a mini school pageant recreated,


the voices of grandchildren,

the turkey that defrosted in time,

"feathers" of gratitude,

being together,

happy meal toys,

tiny arms around my neck,

hugs and kisses,




angel wings on lampshade,




silly sunglasses,


self portraits,


a scavenger hunt for Mommo,

a coonskin cap,

photo 1

balloons and a floor vent,

Sprittle sleepover,

noodle necklaces,

hand-me-down bling,


blond hair + blue eyes + blue fleece pullovers,


Christmas displays,

hallways and self propelled trucks,


eating out,

a light dusting of snow Saturday morning,


a successful surprise,

the mission impossible made possible,

the love and graciousness that accomplished it.

A wonderful Thanksgiving.

"Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; 
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

holy experience

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Joy of Naming

It has been a year since I began the naming of gifts, encouraged by a new friend on the internet. A year to name a thousand. 52 Mondays to stop and think and list the moments of grace that make up each 24 hours.

My mind turns to a photo essay from the early 1990s in which a journalist sought to picture average families from around the world, surrounded by their possessions. Included were statistics -- numbers that spoke of life expectancy, infant mortality, energy use.

Each picture spoke a thousand words and more about living conditions and treasures.

But I sit in my comfortable home on my comfortable couch with the world at my fingertips and can't think of a thing for which to be grateful. In 3 days a holiday of gratitude will be upon us and I can't think of one thing I haven't already mentioned in 128 entries. I know there are many, but the mind refuses to focus.

Only 128 in 52 weeks.

I can name other things effortlessly -- the error, the less than perfect, the negative. But I stumble and stutter to name the gifts. The graces.

The treasures. And there are so many.

What seemed so simple is indeed profound. In my silence, I discover my need to see, to hear, to NAME.

Or, perhaps, the seeing and hearing rise from the naming.

Dare I try again?

I name:

preparing a Thanksgiving meal for my family,

sitting down to a meal together,


conversation around the table,

memories of past Thanksgivings,

the sunrise that dispels the dark,



the moon that lights the night,


the electricity that powers our well and the oven,

the smell and feel of a good book,


time to be alone and think,


the realization of my poverty,

the joy of naming.

"But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him." Psalm 103:17 NLT

holy experience

Monday, November 15, 2010

Life Lines


She told the story of threads woven in love.  Delicate, lone strands that became strong together in the twisting and the crossing and the pressing.  She spoke of how friendship had been her lifeline, how we three had held her from harm.  Then she gave the gift as a reminder of hope and help and healing.

A colorful strand woven in love, ends seared by fire to hold it together.


When he could no longer live alone, he came to us.  In early December, bags packed hurriedly with just what was needed.  He left behind 60 years of memories, his friends, his church, his life.  And in his remaining seven months he battled unfamiliar cold, loss of independence, a failing body and mind.

I battled as well, to love him well: to help him along those last few steps, to care for him, to honor him.  In spite of the inconvenience, the lack of sleep, the raging emotions, our relationship grew.

In the twisting, and the crossing, and the pressing.


She arrived on the scene when I was four years old.  I didn't like sharing my spotlight.  Or my bedroom.  Or my toys.  I tied her to a tree when we played cowboys and Indians, ignored her pleas to play games together, and slammed the door on her toe.  It was an accident she won't let me forget.

We laugh and talk like never before, sisters who have discovered each other many years after birth.  Perhaps we needed distance, space, experience.  And a shared inherited love for gadgets (and a perky Cheekywawa named Spike.)

We sift our early days together now, looking for patterns, for reasons, for explanations.  We find them together.  And we find new perspectives and understanding of ourselves and each other.

In the twisting, and the crossing, and the pressing.


The lines of love that hold us together are formed in the difficulties of life.  Our strength comes from the searing, painful events that melt our hearts into one.

The eternal, purifying Fire, molding us into His image.

Today, I am grateful for--

stories that stir life in me,

the opportunity and heartbreak of caretaking an aging parent,

a close relationship with my sister,


my granddaughter's tears of love when I leave,

my Dear Professor's chronic fatigue that both frustrates and offers opportunities to dispense grace through service,

the endless dirty dishes that offer endless opportunities to think about and pray for the ones who created them,

sorrows that bind us together, enlarge us, and teach us compassion.

holy experience

Monday, November 1, 2010

For Friends

I open wide and swallow hard, like a baby bird with it's first meal. Her words go down smoothly and leave me feeling warm inside. A lasting warmth.

I read them again. And again. She writes about a need, something neglected, and what brings her life every bit as much as breathing fresh air.

We are separated by miles and years and citizenship, but we are the same. The same eternal flame burns in our hearts and leads our path; the same yearning for justice, for love, for truth, and for beauty.


She points the way toward finding all that, and more.

In Him.

In a life spent breathing in the holy gift of a whole God, and breathing out His praises. A life spent turning and pouring and searching for the eternal abundance of the everyday.

A grace hunt.

"He's there!", she says, and she is as right as the spring rains that fall on our familiar fields.


Today I lift my voice in thanks for friends

who write words full of the Living Word, who encourage, who hold my feet to the path,

who weep with me, who laugh with me, who smile,

who listen, who ask, who walk with me awhile,


who offer grace, who show forth His beauty, who share His gifts,


who seek His kingdom, who speak His Truth, who yearn for His appearing,

who pray for me and and with me and love me just as I am.

I thank you all.

"As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight." Psalm 16:3 NIV

I delight in and thank Him for each one of you glorious ones.

holy experience