Tender days

 

There was a plan.

Roger and I have been faithfully working on that plan for many years.

The plan was to be debt free. To have our house paid off along with all the debts in our lives.

Now imagine being able to know that the finish line was only a year away and then…..

A young person walks into my house and compliments us on a lovely home and asks me a question, “what brings you back to Lawrenceville?” To which I answer her with our long term goal of being debt free. She then looks at me with her beautiful big shiny eyes full of excitement and curiosity and asks me, “then what?”

I look at her and stutter, “what do you mean, ‘then what ’?” The goal is TO BE DEBT FREE, to which she says, “yeah, that’s awesome, then what”. Can I tell you that my ears started ringing a little bit. My mouth went dry and my heart was beating a little too fast.

All I can think of was, “oh no, there might be some reason we are doing this other than to ENJOY BEING DEBT FREE.” I don’t know why it never entered my brain. To know me is to know that I overthink everything in life. Everything in life is not an exaggeration. Thinking is what I do in my free time and I believe I even do it while I’m sleeping!

It is as if I literally saw a new mountain arise behind the mountain we were currently scaling. The mountain called debt.

Then the wrestle began with the still small voice.

No, no, no, no, no, no, it can’t be that there is another adventure to be had. Another mountain to scale, another B zone to conquer.

God, you do know that I just turned 50 right? That’s oldish if I do say so myself. Not the time to be taking financial risks and doing daring things (I said in my best hobbit voice). It’s time to grow up and enjoy some of the payoff that living right and hard work has to offer.

Then I could sense that heightened awareness of God’s presence wanting to get a word in edge wise. “You were created to live on Mission Rozy”, is what I kept hearing over and over again.

In my younger years I would have done the not so polite thing of putting my metaphoric hands over my ears and start singing lalalalalalalala, I can’t hear you, by choosing busyness and distraction.

But being older and a bit wiser, I know those are just delaying tactics.

It was time for me to just listen to the whisper of possibility, to pull an old dream out of the dusty basement of my soul and remember it.

When I was younger I would dream about having a house where learning and living and thriving could happen. Where people who were worn and tired or just needed to remember the goodness of God could come and be rekindled. A house of bread and wine, of laughter and joy and surrounded by all things beautiful.

“Home is a place of ministry. Redeeming words, thoughts, and actions are shared and taught, the wisdom and instructions of God is passed along, and God’s love is offered to all who come under its influence.” -From the Living Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sarah and Sally Clarkson

I had packed that dream away and tucked it just out of arms reach. But it wasn’t out of the Spirit’s reach.

After much prayer and courageous conversation, Roger and I decided it was time to house hunt again, closer to where I work in Gainesville.

To find a home where souls could flourish. Where our whole family could continue to thrive together.

I’m happy/scared to say that we found one. We are set to close on March 18th and move on the 19th.

Moving is hard on my sentimental soul.

So if you think of me offer up a prayer.

Sky Cottage

Version 2

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On a lake in Gainesville GA.

Soul Care

I just returned from a soul care conference. The conference time was skillfully designed to go from head to heart.  They had teaching time always followed by a time of reflection and the sharing of our sacred ramblings in triads.  The added weight of perspective by people who know you and care for you was powerful. Image how limiting it would be to walk into a dark room with just your candle and try to see every detail of the room but if you can add others in with their candles it’s a game changer.  When trusted sojourners join the process the exercise turns into an exchange of life and deepened awareness both of God and yourself.

 

As I return home to my beloved family and cottage I have this deepened sense of peace and gratitude in my soul.  I smile as I walk from room to room counting my extreme blessings. It’s as if I can see even more beauty around me than ever before. My eyes keep welling up with happy tears. I marvel at the light that baths the walls and spills into the family room.  The breeze that drifts past me while I sit in the shade under a tree whose leaves trap the light and grant me shade.  I realize that I can see and experience more beauty and love because I have removed more darkness from my soul.

 

As I tinker in my flowerbeds dead heading the dahlias and realize how similar this is to our soul excavations.  I view this lovely heap of color with both life and death intermingles in its form. The old finished blooms can actually start to damage the life around it.  I clip away without regret and examine the gorgeous blooms that still raise their heads to the sun. When the process is complete, nothing but life remains. That which cannot contribute must leave. Just like in life we have situations that leave behind messages that can bring us death. When we don’t take the time to examine what to let go, what to keep, and what to learn from, we end up with mixed messages.  The danger to our souls is that we start to carry as much dead thoughts as living ones. Truth becomes intermingled with lies and we often don’t know how to sift our souls for fullness and life.

 

What great lovers of God and man we would all be if we cared for the conditions of our soul.

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Are you ready to be picked?

Maturity (psychological), a term in developmental psychology to indicate that a person responds to the circumstances or environment in an appropriate manner.

I was thinking about these two simple words today.  Maturity and immaturity words that are diametrically opposed.  In our lives we have to fight off immaturity or it not only ruins the beauty of life for us but also contaminates our community.  We have to choose to strive for maturity.  I have this incredibly huge blueberry bush in our backyard and every year it lends me its bounty.  Blueberries go through stages of development not unlike ourselves.  From white to pink to red to  blue.

Here is where blueberries and people are much alike.

If you pick the blueberries before their ripe they are just bitter.

It takes sun and water and time and plain old perseverance to hang on through the stages of development before they are ready.

Isn’t it interesting that the definition for immature is unripe.

Immature – Not fully formed or developed, unripe

Today my prayers are aimed at the beauty of maturity and what a blessing we can be to others if we will just allow the work of Christ to be finished in us.

Lord I pray that you help us hang on through the storms, through the scorching of the sun, past the wind and every hardship until we are ready to be picked for your glory.

“Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself.”

The human Internet


Culture and communication are fascinating to observe whenever possible. In this country we all find ourselves dependent on the Internet for our source of knowledge and current events.  Each man connected to others and information through his device of choice.  Mine is the Iphone.  I often believe that this technology serves me well but after my last visit abroad I wonder if I serve it and lose out in the process.

I have just returned from a trip to Kenya. There I witnessed a human Internet system.  People actually talk to each other all day long.  I witnessed a fascinating and constant exchange of information through face-to-face interactions.

I met a man named Sammy that took us on a day long Safari.  During our time together he would often stop and speak to the other drivers or pedestrians as we were on our journey.  My curiosity caused me to ask him if he knew the people that he was talking too.  He said they were all his brothers.  Sammy then explained to me that two are better than one and that all his brothers (friends) inform one another on what is happening in the city and on the roads that day.

Sammy learned about a traffic jam that we had not yet met up with instead of using a GPS.  He found out why the schoolchildren were out and practicing in the front courtyard without researching it on the net.  He chatted and laughed as he shook hands and had a brief moment with his brothers.  A definition of a brother is a person who shares the road of life with you in one-way or another.

Sammy was a rich man in friendships and information.  He casually fascinated us with the history of Kenya, his family and his faith.  Sammy knew many details and specifics about everything he talked about.  He didn’t fail to mention how much he learned from people.

I was watching a human Internet system at work and was impressed at the kindness and joy that were also being exchanged in the process.  The human connection holds more power than a flow of details.  It also allows a moment to lock eyes and share a moment of empathy and affection.

Upon witnessing such a beautiful exchange of human interaction I decided to not serve my Iphone by being at its beck and call but to leave it off as I jumped into the community pool.  I ended up having a wonderful conversation with a neighbor I had never met before which lasted well over an hour.  Information was exchanged, community updates were shared and God was glorified in the sharing of two lives as we looked into each other’s eyes.