Archive for March, 2011

Flight delayed.

Normally this would challenge my patience. However, as so many of the people around me have already ditched their cool, the theater of their responses offers experience enough.

I do not delight in their frustration. I’m just happy that in this one moment, I have declined the invitation to throw a temper tantrum. So as I look across me at the frustrated mother that tosses anger grenades on her children like a pitching machine, I know that has been me. I know that could be me. No finger pointing, simply grateful for this reprieve for my own family.

Flight delayed sets the table for an unexpected repast, a welcome opportunity to sit still as my thoughts go ambulatory.

For instance, I realize that I have not been at an airport since my recent binge of the entire six seasons of Lost on Netflix. I admit that I miss Hurly and still wonder why Ben Linus wouldn’t go into the church, what work he felt called to finish. Lost was a festival of brokenness, broken people, broken island, broken relationships. As I look around me, I marvel how intact people appear outwardly in their Ralph Lauren shirts and Reef flip flops that comfortably stage caramel-apple-brown pedicures while inwardly, we’re all like Jack and Kate. Or Libby, I’d rather be a Libby than a Kate, tragic end notwithstanding.

If you were a character on Lost, which character would you be and why?

The Baby just asked if she could peel off with The Husband to help him find lunch. She skipped into his open arms with a giggle joy like you hear in a family neighborhood when the ice-cream truck lets rip its siren song that promises Dreamsicles. She leapt into her father’s arms and knew she was perfectly happy and completely loved. It struck me as she did that she really had no idea where they were going. She was in the harbor of her father’s arms and trusted its safety and his direction. It was one of those Abba moments when I drank in the presence of my Father’s arms that cradle me in every day. Would that I trust His Direction with the purity that my daughter just found in her papa’s embrace.

Flight delayed.

Just the phrase tags associations like kids call “You’re It!” at the park.

Developmental delay.

Delayed satisfaction.

There’s been a slight delay.

Don’t delay, buy today.

Delayed payment.

Traffic delays.

I’ve been delayed.

Running late.

Late fees.

Late payment penalties.

I’m late. (tardy)

I’m late. (preggers)

Regardless of the spin, I’m socially wired to abhor delays.

Oh so, Verruca, “I want it now!”

I want to be on time!

I’m Bard-bent to participate on my own terms, “Hold me not, let me go!”

Delay quickens stress that spins the balance of my over-scheduled paces like the Tea Cups at Disney Land.

As I sit here with a boarding pass that won’t let me go anywhere any time soon and front row tickets to the anxiety antics of the would-be passengers all around me, I realize how ridiculously I strive to drive my agenda on my own strength.

I am not freaking out, because this delay has absolutely nothing to do with the work that I do for others. It’s just an inconvenience, not a hardship to those who count on me. In this blessed context, not one person waits for me to arrive on the other end. I am not late to pick up a child. I am not late for a meeting. I am not late to teach a lesson. I am not late to carry a meal.

No one is disappointed.

I’m not missing anything.

I’m just delayed.

This makes me reconsider how The Baby jumped into her papa’s arms. His embrace captured her delight even though she did not know where they were going or what they might find once they got there.

I need to trust the One that made not only me, but Time itself. I want to jump into the arms of He who breathed Life into the Universe and delight even though I don’t know where I am going or what I will find when I get there.

As her papa carried The Baby down the concourse in search of a chicken sandwich, she looked ahead and smiled confidently.

Flight delayed.

Trust My timing.

I am going to snuggle up in the arms of Love, sit in this chair and smile.

I am not one minute late.

His Love lets me go.

His Love sets me free.

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

The 7 Deadly Habits catalogs them.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is the grandfather of all skills books about them.

It’s even on Twitter:

NoWealthButLife
Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new. -Ursula K. LeGuin
3/30/11 11:07 AM

The Beatitudes pours them upon a crowd from a mountain top

The largest measure of earthly joy we receive and share is relational.

The largest anguish of earthly sorrow we mine is relational.

We are a relational creation wired to plug into each other and create community.

Dr. Covey, Dale Carnegie, LeGuin and Christ all talk about the same list of behaviors that seed and wound relationships:

Behaviors that Wound Relationships

  • impatience
  • intolerance
  • blaming
  • jealousy
  • pride
  • shame
  • selfishness
  • unforgiving
  • malevolence
  • self-righteousness
  • abuse
  • suspicion
  • fear
  • worry
  • hopelessness

Behaviors that Seed/Maximize Relationships

  • patience
  • acceptance
  • affirmation
  • humility
  • wonder
  • Grace
  • honor another
  • keeps no record
  • rejoices in truth
  • protects
  • trusts
  • hopes
  • loves

Each day we are given an opportunity to Trust Love and move in community.

The behaviors we choose bring wounding or fruit to those around us.

I have been given this gift of today.

My children have been given this gift of today.

Together we have an opportunity to follow the Call of Love upon our lives together.

There are relational valleys in the lives of a couple of the girls I most love in this season.

I pray that together we may build upon the wise relational templates all around us.

I trust my Portion Deliverer will fill our every deficit so that we may support each other to not just walk it out, but dance it in a joyous gig accompanied by Praise!

With my love and my sadness
I come before You Lord
My heart’s in a thousand pieces
Maybe even more

Yet I trust in this moment
You’re with me somehow
And You’ve always been faithful
So Lord even now

When all that I can sing
Is a broken hallelujah
When my only offering
Is shattered praise
Still a song of adoration
Will rise up from these ruins
I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise
Is a broken hallelujah

It’s only a matter of time before it happens.

It might be in a tweet.

Or an email to one of the kids’ teachers.

Or at the end of a post.

Or in a comment on another writer’s blog.

Or in a memo to parents.

Or in a letter note to the pastor

Most likely it will be in a text.

Yeah, that’s the most likely, in a text, and without appropriate relational context, like to a parent of a kid spending the night over with one of mine.

It’s really a more a question of when, not if.

Cuz I’m the mother who already accidentally hit Reply All instead of Reply and thanked The Husband, “For the most sweet and gentle of kisses,” to all the parents in The Boy’s then third-grade class.

And I’m the mother who drove to the wrong soccer field twice in the same week.

I’m also the mom who misquotes her own children’s birth dates at the doctors office.

So, now that I have adopted the “xoxo” as part of my email closing to intimates, it’s simply a matter of time.

In order to save time, may I preemptively say:

xoxo to the kids’ principal.
xoxo to the lawn care service that sent us a job quote.
xoxo to the mom who wrote for help with the fencing car pool.
xoxo to the volunteer coordinator.
xoxo to the grocery store credit card slip.
xoxo on the kindergartener’s reading log.
xoxo on the field trip permission form.
xoxo on the Friday folder.

XOXO!

And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

The bed where my husband and I slumber seems to time travel and space shift.

There are nights it seems as small as a postage stamp and others when it feels as wide as an ocean.

Naturally, the number of people that camp in our bed, and how we feel about each other at the time, directly impacts our perceptions of our bed’s size.

There was a time it was the sweetest of play mats, and just married we were like delighted kids with new toys on Christmas morning.

Our bed can be telephone booth cozy, the only place of refuge we can talk alone without the kids.

We’ve knelt beside it to pray.

It’s where we brought our babies home from the hospital to nest.

Our bed was also the ground where upon we grieved the babies we lost.

It has taken more than one tour as a sick bed for each of us.

Sick people camp out in our bed.

In it we’ve collectively recovered from ten surgeries and more tummy bugs than we care to count.

Sad children turn to our bed.

Frighten children snuggle in our bed.

Heart broken children cry in our bed.

Our bed makes a big nest for snuggle time and reading books.

It can also be a divided island.

I am always amazed how the bed in which we usually spoon can become two hostile territories we keep even as we sleep.

How crazy is it we can walk walls and maintain hostile guard over an inane fight even when asleep!

More than any other space, however, our bed is the place we simply hold each other.

So often, I fall asleep with the love song of your breathing as my lullaby.

I bite your shoulder,
or hold your hand in mine against my chest,
as I flirt with sleep,
and thank our God,
_who gives and takes away_
for this precious husband,
this gift of time,
and this wonderful place to rest.

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure ev’n
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heav’n;
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-master’s eye.

The weapon Milton wields to battle anxiety is faith.

He vows, “be it less or more, or soon or slow,” whether his accomplishments are regarded as more or less than the accomplishments of his contemporaries, and whether the pace of his race runs faster or slower than others in the race is irrelevant. He commits to finish his own race well.

What does matter above all else lifts Milton’s cry, “(i)t shall be in strictest measure ev’n/To that same lot, however mean or high,/Toward which time leads me, and the will of heaven.”

The rate, pace and merit of personal success is a hallow shadow of our work here.

Faith promises personal progress will always be on level with or equal to the perfect timing God measures for individual.

Milton’s Faith reigns over all personal anxieties, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.,” he sings in iambic pentameter over his own life.

The irony that he gets down and jigitty with the idea in the closed format of a Petrachan sonnet simply delights.

Liberty inward metamorphosed form.

Milton keeps good company with Pindar here:  “But, whatsoever excellence Lord Destiny assigned me, Well I know that the lapse of time will bring it to its appointed perfection.”

Milton consoles himself  and his reader with the assurance that his abilities are God-given, divinely metered, and perfectly timed to open and ripen at the pace and will of God’s own dictate.

“All is, if I have grace to use it so,/As ever my great task-master’s eye,” alludes to  The Parable of the Talents in the On His Being Arrived to the Age of Twenty-three‘s final couplet.

Personally, I find a measure of relief that Milton was anxious about his ability to perform.

Sorry for you, a more brilliant mind never composed verse, and yet, he published a sonnet that documents his very real doubt that he had what it takes.

Mind you, this is the same poet that later sets out to, “Justify the ways of God to men.”

Today is a good day to trust God’s timing.

He perfectly times our portions and always delivers.

He held John Milton when he was 23.

He holds Ashley.

He holds you.

He holds me.

We shall be in strictest measure ev’n
To that same lot,
however mean or high,
Toward which time leads me,
and the will of heaven.

Our journeys are God-given, divinely metered, and perfectly timed to open and ripen at the pace and will of God’s own dictate.

Rest with confidence in Light of Love and sing Praise!

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

You Are My Sunshine
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away
A day off school.

3 5th graders.

1 Kindergartener.

1 Pre-K lad.

2 babies.

3 cases of mixed Florida citrus.

7 hearts hungry to serve.

The other nite, dear,
As I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms.
When I awoke, dear,
I was mistaken
And I hung my head and cried
32 quarts of Strawberrys.

37 baskets.

7 kinds of sunshine shinys to decorate cards, “Thank you for the Sunshine you bring to our lives every day!”

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.


2 schools filled with hard-working teachers worthy of celebration.

4 families in need.

I’ll always love you
And make you happy
If you will only say the same
But if you leave me
To love another
You’ll regret it all some day;


Door to door and face to face deliveries.

Eager hands serving.

Grateful hands receiving.

You Are My Sunshine
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away

Lessons about Community Service imprint hearts.

Children walk out Love’s greatest command.

Intentional love freely given.


And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen in the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

Dear Father God,

We glorify your name. Beloved Lord, we rejoice always as you are our Rock, our Fortress, and our Salvation. Father God, our rock, in you we find protection and power. You alone are our shield that saves us. Though you dwell in the secret place of the most high, you abide with us. Hear our cries Lord, we are hungry for your comfort and Love. We thirst for your wisdom and the refuge of your Word. Anoint us so that we can hear the passion of your heart that breaks with love for us and promises healing.

Blessed Father, hallowed be thy name. We are your people. We rejoice always Father and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is your will through Christ Jesus. We will say of the Lord, you are our Refuge and Fortress, our God, in you we will trust. Surely you will deliver us from the snare and bathe us in the Truth of your Light and Mercy.

Father, we gather together today in solidarity. Draw us near, Lord, hear our hearts that seek your comfort and healing. Invade us with a unity of purpose that will break down walls and heal people.

Open, up the skies of Mercy and rain down upon our hearts. Help quiet the storms that rage all around us and help us hear your Love Song play over our lives. You made it so bright and beautiful out there today, Abba, help us drink in that Light. Help us forgive ourselves and heal our relationships through forgiveness and Grace. Rush in upon every aspect where are strength wearies and please continue to grow our characters to bring Glory to your Name. Help us measure others by the Hand that knit our lives together and abandon all judgement.

We want to hear your Love song. Help us listen to the music you play in our lives with Thanksgiving. Where there is Light and Laughter let us hear your Love Song. Where there is Light and Water, let us hear your Love Song. Where there is Light and community gathered, let us hear your Love Song. Where there is Light and work, Let us hear your Love Song.

Sing to us in the morning, Sing to us in the day, Sing to us in the evening, we can only love each other because you Loved us first.

We ask for the protection over our lives. We cannot know and do not understand every situation we face, Father, but know You entrust us to Love one another. Give us the wisdom to serve with generosity and intention that can only come from the Spirit.

We declare your majesty under your sovereignty and trust you are more than enough to supply our understanding and direct our course. We ask you to cover our hearts and community so that nothing can dissolve our unity of purpose. Father unite us such that the enemy can not gain a foothold upon any heart or divide us. We entrust our needs to you; we entrust you to prosper our families in health, even as thy soul prospers. For the thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: and Father you come to deliver us, that we might have life more abundantly.

Unify our hearts to Love you and serve each other as we seek to do only your will in our lives. You know our every need spoken and unspoken. Hear our Hearts cry, hear them cry, “Abba we adore you!” Gird us with the fortitude to fast worry and rely solely on you. Help us see challenges as a way to trust you more.

Guide our hands, feet and choices, Father and help us be of good use today.

We believe that in the Truth of your Love Song. You say to us Father, Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever. Verily, verily, we Praise your Name and shout out, you are our rock! Nothing will tear us away from your refuge and hope. We will sing your Praise forever in Jesus name. Amen.

We love you,
Women of the Well

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

The Oldest Girl turned 11 last week.

She blogged about it on her brand new birthday blog, Hooligan’s Hollow.

Her birthday and sweet, eager, innocent and hope-bathed perspective made me think about when I was 11.

My 11 year-old daughter knows more about Faith and Love than I.

Top Ten Things That I Wish I had Known When I was 11:

10. You are worth more than you think you are.

9. Hershey Kisses taste better if you let them melt in your mouth.

8. Surround yourself with people you value.

7. Never shave your legs above the knee.

6. Almost everyone who gets a tattoo regrets it.

5. There’s a cost/benefits rubric for every risk.

4. It never, ever really matters if my butt looks big in those jeans.

3. Food is neither medicine nor poison.

2. God loves me exactly where I am.

1. It’s not my fault. It was never my fault. It will never be my fault.

And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen in the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

Today was one of those days.

I actually try to avoid blogging on days like these as I prefer not to leave a negative stain on the page like a muddy footprint on a just-waxed kitchen floor.

This day, though, was like having an freeze-headache and being forced to keep gulping a bucket-sized Icee on fast forward.

My frozen lips are dyed cherry red and I can’t feel my tongue.

Part of my dilemma is very Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. My schedule is synchronized like a beam routine and demands similar precision in balance and timing. My days are metered in moments,”I have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” A traffic detour, one extra red light  or a forgotten spelling list wreak Helter Skelter on the dominos, and I’m late. Running late when I am the only one consequenced does not get my panties in a bundle. When I run late during my work day, however, another child or family’s service is affected. I am constantly against the limits of the clock and my best and continually grasp the short hairs of both.

Then I get news that stretches me on the tippy-toes of my faith about two families in the middle of gritty, medical dramas. I believe God makes all things work together for His good, but I am often dumbfounded by my own limited and deeply human perspective. At ground level, these situations simply baffle me.

Next, one of the girls and I go another round on character issues, and I wonder how to support her in a way that will enable her to create the changes she genuinely desires in her own situation.

Tough session with a client makes me reconsider core tenants about esteem and healing. This is another dynamic where meaningful, measurable help may only be achieved though collaboration, and to say the client didn’t want to drink the water does not even begin to cover it.

Limits.

Lids.

Icee headache.

The Husband and I almost managed to get in a phone fight.

Phone fights are like relational cigarettes and oh, so much less hot than phone sex. I know they are bad for me, but I still occasionally light one up. Needless to say, my strategy to call and alert him I perceived a significant shortcoming in his execution of a parental function when he was stuck out-of-state at an obligatory, work dinner bore a conflicted result.

We pulled it back from the brink together, he got The Boy the necessary Math tutoring, and were able to have our first, and only real conversation of the day after 9:00 p.m.

We lit from topic to topic like fireflies dance across the night sky and filled our space together under common stars.

He asked about the blog.

For those of you that don’t know, I have experienced a bit of a slump lately.

The combination of time pressure and my desire to quality stamp content with authentic experience finds me short on both.

More short hairs.

Another Icee gulp.

The Husband asked me if I was in a blog desert.

I told him that I knew that there was sand, but that I do not wish to over generalize.

As I tucked my girl in tonight, I told my daughter that I think one of the reasons that God gives us a unit of tomorrows is to grow our Hope.

Today was an Icee-headache day, but I hope that tomorrow will drink like organic, green, jasmine tea well brewed by The Water of Life.

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

The Oldest Girl turned 11 on Thursday.

Her favorite gift was her own blog:  Holligan’sHallow.com:

She has already invested tween hours in her first two posts as well as many journal entries that plan future ideas.

I hope you will give her a hit and read her worthwhile words.

For example, what I didn’t tell you, is she tried to make-it to school on her birthday, with visions of Klondike-bar-class-birthday-treats (now in family freezer) in mind, and projectile vomited all over the back seat two, short minutes from school.

She had a GI bug for an uncovetted and unwelcome birthday gift.

In lieu of feeling sorry for herself, she decided to pray.

Yeah, I know, sounds like pulp-fiction, but that’s what she did.

If you choose to read her own report of her birthday celebration in her own words, you will see, and be uplifted by her take away.

She is oh, so new-blogger excited.

I so remember that charge… everywhere she turns there is a post ready for her to flesh out and get on Holligan’s Hallow.

She realizes that there is space enough on this highway for her voice too, and she’s got important stuff to say.

Her saying it is her own Hallelujah!

I lift my voice in Praise!


I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!