Sunday, September 25, 2011

The most effective kind of education for a child is to play amongst lovely things.  -Plato

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Hand That Made Us Is Divine

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun from day to day
Does his Creator’s power display,
And publishes to every land
The works of an almighty hand.
Soon as the evening shades prevail
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth;
Whilst all the stars that round her burn
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings, as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball;
What though no real voice nor sound
Amid their radiant orbs be found;
In reason’s ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice;
Forever singing as they shine,
“The hand that made us is divine.”

–Joseph Addison

It is a great presumption to ascribe our successes to our own management, and not to esteem ourselves upon any blessing, rather as it is the bounty of heaven, than the acquisition of our own prudence.

Joseph Addison, The Spectator, Feb. 5, 1712
 I came across this poem in my reading last week, (It is available here to download - I'll eventually buy it) and I liked this quote so much I decided to find out about Joseph Addison. 
My visceral response to the words Mr. Addison penned was shared with another moment yesterday. We are presntly teaching our twos about the fourth day of creation.  There is something mystical when littles respond to "What else did God make?"  "God made all things" coming from tiny little mouths with shining baby faces - it always blesses me, it resonates the truth that He alone is center.  “The hand that made us is divine”- God made all things and we are to glorify him in joy, in expectation, in truth, in trust  whether in the surrounding dark clouds, benevolent bounty or somewhere mid mix.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just a thought...or two...

"One never gossips about the secret virtues of others." - Jan Comenius

"Sow an act,
           reap a habit,
sow a habit,
          reap a character,
sow a character,
          reap a destiny."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Father's Breast

Peace, be still.
God often gives us glimpses of Himself in daily life...He all about a good story. We understand stories, they speak to us in a way that reaches our heart and filters into the intellect. Sometimes we try to learn things the other way, but a story is almost always best for internalizing truth. Here's mine for the day...

Last night there was a ruckus at our house, our two year old grandnephew was overtired, distraught, and completely discombobbulated. His young Momma needed to get up early for work and had tried for two hours to get him to sleep with no success. C. was given the ultimatum, "Sleep for Mommy or you are going to sleep with Uncle Eggy and Auntie". He ended up between us in bed - we read a Bible story, said prayers and then he came unwound. We waited for the crying to subside, it didn't, after about 10 minutes, E. laid C., a sobbing little heap, upon his chest and patted his back firmly, steadily - coupled with the deep, calm "shhh" of his voice.
Within five minutes C. had calmed to a whimper and within another five E. and I were softly chuckling about his audible baby snores and when if might be safe to roll him over. Mayhem averted.

There is something about the strong, constant, gentle hand of a father - it brings peace, safety
, assurance - stillness.

Stephen Curtis Chapman has a song "Be Still" - I heard it for the first time several months ago and immediately downloaded it. It is beautiful.
Psalm 46:10 / Zec. 2:13
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy
Be still oh restless soul of mine
Bow before the prince of Peace
Let the noise and clamor cease
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that He has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change
Be still
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still
Be speechless
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know He is our Father
Come rest your head upon His breast
Listen to the rhythm of
His unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come
Be still
Be still

Come rest your head upon His breast
Listen to the rhythm of
His unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come
Be still

How much more does our heavenly Father love and comfort us in times of discombobulation and distress? His hand is steady, His voice is sure - He bids us "be still".

Monday, September 12, 2011

Porch Sittin...

Our favorite view - is the "front porch look'n in"!

As I meandered through town with my niece yesterday the porches caught my attention.  Some with worn furniture, some with the newest look and others with no sitting places at all. I wondered do people use these porches - do they gather there to love and laugh...To decompress the cares of the day?  I'm guessing our front porch gets more use than many, a byproduct of having a mini "girls dorm" of sorts.  It is where discussion moves later in the evening - where cordial glasses filled with red wine paired with billows of  E.'s fruit scented cigar smoke and candles set a stage.
What will the topic be today girls?
Boxing Matches?
Theology of Food and Celebration? (menu big at our house
Check Lists for Potentials?

Anyway,  two thoughts as my eyes peruse through the warm animated faces and over to the asian lilies buds, tall begonias, freshly blooming hydrangeas and flowerless but brilliantly green new Guinea impatients:

Ahh! I didn't water again....
             and more substantially...
The grass withers and the flowers fade but the word of the Lord stands forever.  - Solomon

For fun-
In the words a few country songs...This is "Good Stuff", it's "Just Another Day in Paradise
enjoying the sweetest view, our  "Front Porch Looking In".

Saturday, September 10, 2011


In some ways even though we have a household of six, sometimes I feel still like an empty nester.  My K. is now so busy with college, boxing and tutoring I rarely get to enjoy her.  The only substantive way I get to love on her is well, through sustenance. Today, she called to ask if I could get something ready as she was starving and ETA was 15 min. - in twenty minutes we were both happy.  Food is her love language and I love to cook - so it works out well.

Tonight, we hung out on the porch and she gave me the long version of a few of her classes, told me about barely missing the Ace on her first Anatomy and Physiology test and then, she read me a paper she wrote this week.  She proceeded to discuss its meaning and content.  I asked her if I could share it and she said yes. (I have deliberately not shared here about our work overseas but it being this  particular weekend I thought it apropos and  what she wrote puts darkness in its proper context.  Life's darkness is always a backdrop showcasing the brilliance of the one true Light) 

That being said, her writing never ceases to move me, and I always end up amazed at the bits of life God uses to speak to her. Glimpses of Christ's workings in a child's life is indeed, is a most  priceless, glorious gift and a favorite sustenance to this momma.

Reflections -
 September 8, 2011

Perhaps you’ve heard of Iraq. Perhaps you’ve heard a stiff collared, clean cut news reporter describe the car bombs and tribal strife and American lives lost. Perhaps you’ve even heard about that country’s notorious dictator and the hundreds of thousands he slaughtered. If you have, you know the land of my childhood. My parents did missions work in Iraq, and, as their daughter, I spent six of my most formative years in its obtrusive culture. In my tenth year, shortly after Iraqis deposed Saddam, I visited a newly opened museum. Amid all the horrors I saw that day, a hall way sobered me the most.

A forlorn Kurdish elder guided my family and me through the battered museum. He imparted that Saddam had used the sand colored, concrete structure as a prison. Bullet holes indented every square inch of the exterior, for as he relayed soldiers had used it as a holdout near the end of the war. As I walked, my eyes met bars, rags, and rubble. The guide took me to the torture chambers and described how men were strung up and electrocuted. Next, he showed me the cells, the concrete boxes into which throngs of men had been packed. Saved till last, the hall way seemed to promise reprieve.

Dark, long, and crooked, the hallway slithered out of view. As I stepped over the painted threshold, the black belly closed in around me, constricting me within its powerful walls. The darkness squeezed the air out of the room. To my relief, dim light pooled in lamps attached to the ceiling. The bowl-shaped lanterns so wholly contained the light that darkness yet obscured my slight waist and legs. Around me, on the satin draped walls, hung tiny, glittering shards — fragments of mirrors reflecting slivers of my image back into the darkness. A rough Kurdish voice broke my stupor: “Yhes, Yhes, zheese mirrors, see, zheese mean a dead, a dead killed by Saddam.” Understanding slowly cut into my dull consciousness — each sparkling piece represented a life Saddam had shattered. Gravity tore at my bowels, ripping them earthward. It shoved my shaking shoulders down, further down towards the floor. The weight of each Kurds’ death crushed me, as if each victim had joined me, squeezing into the narrow hall way. I later learned that nearly four hundred thousand shards must have surrounded me, suspended in that hall.

For the first time in my young life I understood. I understood the concepts philosophers ponder and laymen try to forget. I understood what it meant to be broken, to have the mosaic of your life shattered, to die. Here I stood, a story yet untold, a yarn yet unwoven, but how long would I remain whole? How long until I joined their number and hung upon the satin wall? Every shaft of light each piece reflected promised I would not long remain unbroken. The enclosing darkness seeped through my skin and extinguished the light of naivety that had once burned so brightly within me. I could not rage against the dying of the light — death and darkness had defeated me. The hall way and mortality were the only reality. But then a thought flickered in my weak and weary mind. Perhaps, thought I, perhaps these mirrored walls reflect beyond my shadowed face. Perhaps an image larger than my own, larger than the hall way, looks back upon me. These many broken pieces, I considered, imperfectly reflect the image of a living God and my piece, just as fragmented as the others, already hangs upon the wall, already reflects divinity. Surprised by the joy of life in death, I realized that the mirrors would not long remain broken. They would be forged anew, and the darkness would flee. Everlasting life awaited me.

Perhaps my experience that day impacted me so deeply because I saw more than a hall way. In a dark hall way, in a dark country, in a dark world, I saw my soul, and I understood that even in its brokenness the light of God shines forth, and that that light will never die.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Un WIT ing Blessings

C., my sweet nephew, and I went on an outting to the "duck" park yesterday.  I love that he kept calling the geese the Daddy ducks because they were big and the ducks were little.  I think this must be the age God was thinking of when he admonishes us to become as little children.  These little ones see daddies as they really are.  They can't imagine anyone stronger than daddies.(I guess if could keep this perspective - which is the accurate one of God, circumstances and troubles would stay in their proper place)

After we'd trotted through the park and around the pond, making sure to stop for the planes, train, and even a helicopter we decided it was time for ice cream.  McD's was slammed so we tootled down the road  This is the ensueing conversation about C.'s dripping face.
Me-"C., Wipe your face using your napkin."
C -"Auntie, you gave me two "nappins".
Me - "Yes, Sweetie, I thought you might need a back-up"
C. - "No, I need a bathtub"
Me- Admid poorly suppressed laughter. "I think you might be right.

The exhortation at church today was about seeing God's blessings in the rhythms of our daily lives... ducks, geese and dripping ice cream conviviality - definately on the top of my list of blessings this week.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


There are many things I wish I had never heard.  This is one.  I can honestly say I never imagined it.  What a choice.