Through Thorny Ways

MasonJarRosesHymn{Gracia Rose turned two this week. I plan to post photos from this year’s party soon, but for now, here is a little background about her name and some recent reflections along with some pictures from the Rose Garden Party we hosted to celebrate her first birthday last year.}

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My thin sweater did nothing to ward away the chill in the air. The smell of wet earth hung on the wind. I slopped my high heels through grass and mud on the way to the stadium where my littlest brother would be sliding the tassel from one side of his cap to the other, crowded in by hundreds of other robed students doing the same.

Murky water seeped into my shoes on my walk to the concrete. I wanted to grumble, but all I could think about were the waterlogged feet of a woman on the other side of the world, a woman wandering with holes in her boots and a gun to her head. She had walked that way for days, then weeks, then months. By now it had been almost a year since she and her husband were forced from a bungalow on their second honeymoon by a gang of rebels.

The woman’s name was Gracia. And I prayed for her. Continue reading

Burn Out vs. Everlasting Light

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I’m burned out again on man-made things, the light of screens that trigger something in my brain or my self-esteem and keep me up at night thinking, thinking, thinking, spinning in mental circles, striving in thought, my imagination making up new ways I’m lacking or overlooked.

For all the good in my social media (picture social justice insights, ways to simplify my life, happy news about a friend’s cancer going into remission, and video footage of my brother rocking out to a radio fanny pack), time spent there often clouds my life with problems in the world that I can’t fix, arguments I can’t win, prolific peers I wish I could keep up with, circles where I’m not invited, and, yes, time-consuming cat pictures.

Man-made screens. Man-made light. Man-made overload. Man-made problems.

I remember years ago dragging my feet toward the car in my university parking lot in downtown Indianapolis, frustrated both about the foreign language class I’d just finished and about a failing romantic relationship. Just then, in interruption to my pity party, I heard a crackling sound over my head. Continue reading

Where to Start? {A Geneva Recap}

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Where do I start? There is so much to tell between the beginning and the end of this season’s story, but I’ll go ahead and give you the punchline…we arrived safely. There and back again. Better for the journey. And there were more invitations for adventure as we stepped out of customs on our home soil once again.

In our comings and goings after that, on a road trip in late June and in time spent with out-of-town family the first two weeks of July, I’ve imagined probably fifty different ways to tell you about our writing adventures in Geneva and eastern France. But, if I wait to pick the perfect way and perfect time to type it all out just right, the weeks of silence here will turn into months. Continue reading

Gift at Low Tide

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{I’ve just rolled in from the shore and am reaching two years back into the archives to share with you my favorite Palm Sunday ever. Enjoy as you align your heart this holy week.}

Palms waved on Palm Sunday, fronds rattling, applause in the wind. I walked hand-in-hand with my firstborn toward our abandoned umbrella, its fringe fluttering near the shoreline. Bare feet shuffled over sandy cobblestone, felt the grit, the heat. I clicked my tongue like the clop-clop of hooves on that old Jerusalem road before crowds laid down coats and branches to dampen the sound. The rightful King could have come in on a high horse but He picked a beast of burden instead, the animal with a cross on its back, a humble donkey…and a baby one at that. Continue reading

Frankincense and Mercy {A Birth Story and a Thank You Note}

merciMerci. It means “thank you” and it means the things I’m thankful for, all the ways you, my doula, acted out the full meaning of the word in “providing relief from suffering,” and showing “compassionate treatment of those in distress.” That was me when the water broke on Good Friday, life flowing out in the restless dark of Golgotha, like the spear to Jesus’ side. Continue reading