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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 31.

day 31.  
a gift found on paper

in a person
this mother who is the very picture of redemption and so recognizes it in her kids and cheers them on when they are in the desert, a place she knows well.  who is comfort and safety and warmth all rolled into one and lives an invitation to roll up in her and snuggle and who blesses me daily.  who is the first to pray and the first to come and the first to volunteer and the last to complain that there are thirteen kids wreaking havoc on her basement.  this nanny-burd who could eat her babies up.  who speaks to them with clenched teeth because she can hardly stand it, she loves them so.  this person is a gift.  seriously.

in a picture

this is me being real.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

january 29.

day 29.
a song heard
    Jesus paid it all
    all to him i owe
    my sin had left a crimson stain
    he washed it white as snow

a soft word

where you saw light
   genesis 44 when joseph plants his chalice in his brother, benjamin's grain sack, and judah, the black sheep lays down his life for his brother.  asks joseph to take him instead.  judah who sold joseph into slavery.  judah who slept with his daughter in law after refusing her a kinsman redeemer.  judah who paints the very picture of a life lived poorly, but then laid down and redeemed for a new life.  judah who made me squint up at my husband and breathe a breath prayer that the work God is doing in him, the work of making him into a judah, a leader, is work that saves us all by proxy.  you too.  because there is bright light in empowering our husbands and teaching our boys that these, his, are the footprints they walk in.  not a perfect life, but one laid down in humility borne of suffering.  greatness doesn't come of perfection; it comes of brokenness.  and that: the promise of redemption, of beauty from ashes, is light.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

january 28.

day 28.  three graces found in your friends
ok, so i'm just catching on that this joy dare i've been embarked on doesn't necessarily have to be photos.  which is a relief since i couldn't for the life of me figure out how to take pictures of:
1.  prayer (the kind that responds to email pleas with a knee-jerk reaction to pray)
2.  laughter (the kind that is centered around topics women a hundred years ago would have had the vapors over and that takes place over a cuppa steaming tea)
3.  transparency (the kind that allows you to come over without wearing your bra, but bringing it in your picnic basket just in case you feel like putting it on later)

We are returned from our skiing jaunt.  Three lovely nights in a condo big enough to hold us all.  Pics to follow.  But suffice it to say we had a magical little away and returned to our first and second blue egg and one big enough that it made be blush when I held it.  Pics to follow of that too.

This is me being real.  Happy to have gotten away.  Happy to be home.  Happy for friends who provide grace over and over.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

january 24.

day 24.  i'm taking a few days off.  it's not that i'm not thankful.  i am.  very.  but we're flying the coop in favor of spending a few days on the slopes with our snow bunnies and when i shut this door in a few minutes, i'm leaving technology behind.  because we are powering down for a long weekend of snow and swimming in hot tubs and living in long johns and eating junk.
we'll catch up later, ok?
this is me being real.  eager to blow this popsicle stand.  wondering if we can get our money back if all the snow goes away in the three hours it takes us to get there.

Monday, January 23, 2012

january 23.

day 23.  3 gifts found in Christ:


"He came that we might have life and have it abundantly."
John 10:10


"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden.  Like a spring whose waters never fail."
Isaiah 58:11


"For freedom Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Galatians 5:1

this is me being real.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

january 22.

day 22.  one grace wrinkled
this wrinkled bed i fell into last night and in which, once ensconced, slept for seven hours straight.  which if you've ever struggled with sleep is grace.

one grace smoothed
this same bed, smooth, waiting to welcome us tonight.  is there anything cozier than soft flannel sheets on a cold winter night?  and i don't forget that it, and this warm house that holds us tight and our down coats and furry boots and all that keeps us buttoned up, they are all grace.

one grace unfolded
these new (smaller) yoga pants, guaranteed to not fall down when i run with grant, bearing witness to the fact that it's sunday and therefore a day that calls for cozy clothes and afternoon naps and some kind of hearty stew bubbling on the stove while dan builds a fire and we settle in.  these are luxuries.  and they are grace.

this is me being real.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

january 21.

day 21.  one thing from the sky

one thing from your memory

one thing that's ugly-beautiful

this is me being real.

Friday, January 20, 2012

january 20.

day 20.  a gift you saw only when you got close up:
this book that i've read lots of times.  this book of matthew that i'm reading again with dear friends who gather in yoga pants, hands cupped around hot mugs of tea, getting often off subject talking out our kids and going gluten free and how we got the stain out of the carpet.  this studying of the Bible that is firstly about Jesus, but secondly about studying each other and how we can be the hands and feet.  secondly about building a home team and being in community with each other.  secondly about smoothies and taking her arm (or not) and wondering if it gets any better than this.  this digging so deeply into the book of matthew that we find each other and Jesus and they're all wrapped up together because that's how Jesus works: curls us around each other, tethers us to the Body and then anchors us to Him because then we won't come undone in a world that seeks to make us unravel.  we're digging our heals in and digging deeper and finding many good gifts.

this is me being real.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 19.

day 19.
a grace in the kitchen
a gift i bought myself yesterday then stayed up way too late poring over its recipes

a grace in the weather
two extra hours to doctor up hot oatmeal with strawberries and syrup and to stay in our pjs and make tracks in fresh snow

a grace that might never have been
a chance to gather as women and cry out to the Lord for the health of someone we love.  and a boy who had the sniffles so could be here to witness what the body of Christ looks like when it mobilizes, as it should far more often. an open door and a call to prayer and people spending themselves on behalf of others.  it is lovely to witness. this, surely, is grace.

this is me being real.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 18.

Day 18.  3 gifts from God's word:
1 Peter 5:6-10
"Humble yourselves therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety upon him because he cares for you.
Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are facing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, while himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."

Zephaniah 3:17
"The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

Psalm 34

1 I will extol the LORD at all times;
   his praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will glory in the LORD;
   let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the LORD with me;
   let us exalt his name together.

 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
   he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
   their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
   he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
   and he delivers them.

 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
   blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the LORD, you his holy people,
   for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
   but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
   I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Whoever of you loves life
   and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
   and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
   seek peace and pursue it.

 15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
   and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
   to blot out their name from the earth.

 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
   he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
   and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

 19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
   but the LORD delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
   not one of them will be broken.

 21 Evil will slay the wicked;
   the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD will rescue his servants;
   no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

this is me being real.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January 17.

Day 17.
one gift that made you laugh
 our very own version of cupcake wars, staged in my once clean kitchen and with a fairy theme, of course. i laughed into my apron as she threw out such exclamations as, just leave it!  and are you kidding me there's only ten minutes left on the clock? and this frosting is never going to work out-we should have stuck to our original recipe.  this is how she staged the table.  the judges will be daddy and the boys.  we're totally hoping we win.

one gift that made you cry
this chemical imbalance that leaves me awake a good part of the night lately.  and last night found me on my face in my family room crying and calling out to God for strength for this road.  because the road through the desert is hard and seems really really long, but it always leads to the promise land.  always.  and even though i hate feeling this way, i've long seen this struggle as a gift because without it, i would still just be lost.  no one gets fixed who doesn't first get broken.  could cry again at the compassion of a Father who loves us that much even though it must hurt his very heart to hear us call out in anguish and frustration.  still a gift even when it doesn't feel like one.

one gift that made you quiet
this cozy spot where i totally on-demanded an episode of cupcake wars for tess so i could catch a nap this afternoon.  and even though i slept for bit, just laying there and watching the snow come down outside and having this sweet girl curled up by my legs and praying for dear friends who are hurting, that was peace for my soul.  just more quiet time with Jesus-something i can never get enough of.

this is me being real.

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16.

Day 16.  3 ways you witnessed happiness today

 cousins sledding together on a stay-home day, trying to soak up these fleeting flakes before they melt into nothingness just in time for everyone to go back to school tomorrow

 while their mamas and their nanny burd catch up 
and keep watch out the window

and discovering that, while there are two boys who look just like this, only one has a freckle on his lip.  this one doesn't.  that means he's luke.  and that means that for the first time in their almost nine years, their aunt can tell them apart.  and that means that she's very happy.

this is me being real.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 15.

Day 15.  
one thing you wore

one thing you gave away

one thing you shared
my time.  why is this the hardest thing for me to share?  but sharing myself and my time with her while the boys did boy stuff outside and she stayed inside feeling left out was more important than reading or napping or any of the other plans i had for this afternoon.

this is me being real.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January 14.

Day 14: 3 ways you glimpsed the startling grace of God
this man who took me on a date last night and we spent an hour huddled over msg-free chinese food while we caught up and shared honesty and i woke in the middle of the night, as i always do, and marveled over how far we've come.  how broken our marriage has been, how seemingly beyond us and how feelings are trickling back in and wounds are healing and how, surely, this is grace.

all winter we've waited for this, this blanketing of everything that is yucky in our backyard, this renewing. and now it's here and it's taking my breath because it reminds me of what God is making new in my yuck and ours and yours and this, surely, is a picture of grace too.

clearly not taken today, but a reminder as i thumbed through my archives that spring always follows winter.  always.  and with it comes seeds that land and take root and grow beauty and with it comes too, fresh smells and sights and sounds and all of them give testimony to the fact that no matter how cold and dark and long the winter, spring always follows and that is startling grace.  seriously.

this is me being real.

Friday, January 13, 2012

January 13.

Day 13. 3 sounds you hear
 the sweet sound of gluten free pampcakes and sausages sizzling on a morning when we've been given the gift of no one having to go anywhere, an announcement made happily as kids pad down the stairs in their sleepy feet (another sound I love)

 the sound of boots coming in the back door and stomping the snow off

the swish swish of snow pants on this first real snowy day, mine too as i join them

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 12.

Day 12.  
Something above you
this chimney blowing smoke from the fire that is keeping us cozy as we settle in for some fairy reading, just my girl and me

Something below you
this carpet that i hate.  but every stain bears evidence to the life that is going on here.  and this vent that is blowing hot air to keep us warm and the money to pay the bill when it comes next week already sitting in the bank and those are luxuries i often forget to thank for.

Something beside you
this lovely mess on the counter because it whispers of the Holy Spirit's prompting to spend time in the kitchen with my girls which, frankly, is not my favorite thing and it gives evidence of the fact that i listened even though i knew it would involve sweat in my bra and a roll of paper towel and would necessitate a total wipe down for lucy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

january 11

Day 11.  three yellow things that strike you as fresh mercy
yellow is my least favorite color.  except maybe burgundy. so finding three things to photograph that are yellow was a challenge.  and yellow doesn't speak of fresh mercy to me.  it speaks of dog vomit and sour milk.  blue is a mercy color.  but blue wasn't the challenge.  yellow was.
 there is fresh mercy in being cracked open and being spilled out.  even though it hurts.  even though it's messy.  even though others see it and it makes you feel embarrassed and a little ashamed.  it's still more merciful than being left to rot in the hard shell of your own sin.  fresh mercy to be poured out.
 yellow light bathing my books at four this morning when God woke me up to spend time with him.  there is fresh mercy in having the decision to sleep past your alone time taken from you.  fresh mercy in God just waking you up so you won't miss it.  
what could be more merciful than strangers giving of themselves to help a dying grandmother gift her grand babies with a piece of herself after she's gone?  fresh mercy indeed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January 10.

Day 10.
a gift that's sour.
maybe my favorite stocking stuffer this year

a gift that's sweet.
oh no, wait, this was too.

a gift that's just right.
this is Teddy.  We met him the last time we had the honor of serving here. he sat next to tess and helped cut her meat.  when i asked him what he really wanted for christmas he replied, only to be with my friends and family.  he was sick a long time ago, died four times on the table. Teddy went to heaven, but Jesus told him his work was not done.  i'd move heaven and earth to give this man a lemon pie every day for the rest of his life.  he sent us this card to remember him by.  as if we could ever forget.
i think i might be just the teeniest bit in love with teddy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

january 9.

Day 9. 
a gift in your hand
love letters from my dad.  all of them folded in half and hand written on his personal stationary.  why, oh why, didn't i keep all of them?  how could i not have known how precious they would be?

a gift you walked by
happy early birthday to me from a man who loves him a good smoothie and who will find out soon enough that we've already spent nine hundred and thirty two dollars and sixteen cents on fruit.  Or almost.

a gift you sat with
could there be a better thing in the whole wide world than a squishy kid on the stool next to me with spinach smoothie all over her face and finger painting my counters with her sausage?  could there?

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Day 7.  3 graces from people you love
husband-made gluten free waffles trimmed with homemade strawberry sauce 
and garnished by a son who thinks the new blender is his alone

 a fire roaring when I came in from my run just because he knew I'd get chilled sooner than later and that I'd love to slip on my moccasins and cross-stitch in front of it's warmth

this dutch oven hastily given away many years ago then returned by the one who has seasoned and loved it during the interim just because she knew I could use it again

Day 8.
light that caught you

a reflection that surprised you

a shadow that fell lovely

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Day 5.  something you're reading, you're making, you're seeing

Day 6.  one thing in your bag, your fridge, your heart