People often ask me about the name of my blog... click here to read the story.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I've witnessed father's abandon their children, wives throw out their wedding vows like yesterday's garbage, children of all ages disrespect and dishonor their parents, wayward children wreak havoc in their homes, parents swiftly hurl insults that cut their children off at the knees, leaders in the community live lies-cheat-steal; again and again and again I've seen people hurt one another by their words and actions. Rarely do people who've wounded deeply ever understand the pain they leave in the wake of their choices.
Thank God I've also seen reconciliation and healing: marriages put back together, forgiveness among siblings, and individuals restored. But I'm convinced that none of us truly realizes the impact of our actions on those around us. We don't get how the littlest word can cut deeply and leave a festering wound. It's interesting to me that we think the world revolves around us and yet, at the same time, somehow, think that how we act doesn't have a deep, lasting impact on others. It's an odd little game we play in our minds- putting ourselves in the center of the universe, playing little gods, and all the while not owning the pain we cause or even seeing that we cause it.
If we realized how much we've hurt others could we handle it? Some of us would be crushed under the weight of our sin and would curl up into little balls of guilt and never recover. God is so patient with gentle. I believe as we seek Him, honestly seek Him, He slowly shows us our sin and the impact of it on others. No one else can do it--can show us our sin--we probably wouldn't believe them or think they over reacting.
But truly, as we realize the kindness and compassion of God-- the amazing gift of forgiveness we have through Him and His Son--we are
led to repentance...led to forgiveness...led to wholeness. Not in our time or other people's time, but in His perfect time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I was up early this morning. Groggy, wiping sleep from my eyes, I stumbled down stairs at dawn-- the light barely showing in the east. Why, you ask, was I up before the garbage man?
To go for an early run?
To meditate?
To savor the pristine beauty of the quiet morning?
To get an early start on cleaning my house and being a perfect wife and mother?
Shyah- right.
No. I was up at 5 a.m. to shop. After throwing in a load of laundry, I immediately went on line and started perusing J.Jill for dresses and sandals.
Do I have money for new clothes? No.
Do I need any clothes? Absolutely not. I have a closet bursting full.
So why? Why was this tired, worn out, busy mom up at sunrise to Internet shop?
Yes, I have a wedding to go to. Yes, my sandals are are wearing out.
But really? Miss the beauty and quiet of the morning to stare at a computer screen and shop for things I don't need and can't afford?
What's the point?
As I came to my senses (around 6:03) and realized I was still really tired, I went and laid down on the couch. All I could think about was what I 'd been doing: wasting time, energy, and sleep on a frivolous, meaningless, purposeless activity. As I tried to get comfortable and perhaps fall back to sleep, a quote from Blaise Pascal kept going through my mind: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing.
It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.”

Obsessive eating, shopping, exercising, planning, cleaning, cooking, working, playing all points to, what I believe, is the truth of this quote: namely that we're searching. Vacuums suck up everything in their paths until they are filled. All the gods in the world can't fill the vacuum that's God shaped. No person, passion, experience, religion, learning...nothing can fill it except God himself. So we all keep sucking everything up but are still left with the void. Even those who profess Christ (like myself) fall quickly and easily into looking to everything but God for the source of Life. Why? I think because it's easier to look for meaning in what we know and can understand and is tangible than to work on a relationship with a Being we can only begin to comprehend.
I'm an extremely relational person, and yet, there I times I want to avoid every contact and be a hermit. Why? Because relationships are messy...we get hurt...we have misunderstandings... we set up unrealistic expectations...we look to others to be more than they're meant to be....
So why wouldn't all that "messy" apply to our relationship with God? Because He's perfect? All the more reason on our end for it to be messy and complicated. Our relationship with God is messy because we're messy, imperfect, searching, vacuuming people...and He created us that way. He could have created little perfect mini-me's or automatons. But He didn't. He created us, and all our earthy-ness and set Eternity in our hearts so we'd seek for Him.
May my vacuuming not be in vain today, God.
*Photo by Robert Donsker Photography, "Prairie Sunrise"

Friday, June 4, 2010


Is it true that some opportunities only come once in a lifetime? Or are all opportunities, every event we face, only once in a lifetime? We'll never get each specific moment back. We never see the same sunrise or sunset twice. Sometimes in my ordinary life I think that each day is like all the rest. There's nothing special or significant, just the sameness of living.
And yet, there are moments when we grasp something more. Moments when we're acutely aware that we can only experience them once...or at least that there is something unique about them.
Last night I enjoyed a wonderful (and *free* yay me!) jazz concert out in a park in small town America. Kids were playing on the playground and riding their bikes and skateboards. People were chatting. Families gathered on blankets and enjoyed the free popcorn and lemonade provided by the sponsors of the event. The threatening rain held off until the last song. It was a unique moment. And I soaked it in. Every time I listen to live music or watch a play I know I'm witnessing something that won't be repeated exactly the same way ever again. A unique moment...a unique opportunity.
But isn't all of life like that? We get lost in the everyday-ness: seeing the same people, performing the same tasks, listening to the same music, driving the same roads, buying the same food. Fooled into thinking there's nothing special about an everyday encounter, we go through life half awake.
We lost a dear friend to cancer this week. He wasn't part of our everyday life. In fact we hadn't seen him in a few years. Now he's gone. Rejoicing, no doubt, with a health we can only imagine, but still absent from this earth. There are no more conversations to have, no more birthdays to celebrate, no more meals to share, no more golf games to play. When I heard the news of his passing, I couldn't help but feel bad for all the missed opportunities to interact with him...trips we didn't take, phone calls we didn't make, and times when we could have adjusted our schedules to allow time together, but didn't...regretting each missed opportunity.
I guess this morning I'm struck with the fact that everyday is not ordinary. Each moment is an opportunity to either be enjoyed or missed. There are countless songs about living life to the full so obviously we know there's more, and yet we go through most of our lives in a blur, always looking past this moment to the next thing.
I don't know how I'll feel tomorrow, maybe I'll be too tired or jaded to think moments through, but today, I want to be in each moment. I don't want to miss conversations or sunsets or laughter or tears...I don't want to run from life today or worse yet, sit it out. I want to be an opportunist today.

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Paul to the Ephesians (5:15-16)

Thank you for not running from life, Jim. We love you.