Saturday, April 30, 2011

Prayer Request

I have a friend.

His name is Mac.
(Well, not really, but that's what everyone calls him.)

He hates for wooden cigar boxes
 to be broken up for kindling.
So he rescues them and
gives them to little children.  
For-to hold their treasures.

He nursed his cat Blackjack back to health
after a raccoon attack.

He's a writer.
His dad wrote, too: 
during WWI.  In the trenches.

Mac isn't feeling so well.
He didn't get out of bed, tonight.
Even for music.
Even for babies.

Everyone who knows him is worried
(including her).
Because everyone who knows him, loves him.
To pieces.

He's the kind of guy who's apt to say something like
And make it sound just right.

Please pray for him.
(I really, really love him.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

100th Post: Still Small Voice

This is my 100th post since I started blogging November 10, 2010. 

(I'd no idea I'd so much to say.) 

I've been planning a special 100th post called "Why Smooth Stones?," but you're getting this, instead.  I can't feel sorry because I need to write out some of the madness of my day.  Only some, because some of it doesn't belong to me for the telling.  And some of it, if written here, might be hurtful to others. 

As to the rest:

I had a bad morning.  I was sad, stressed, and sorry in the wee hours because--after tossing her outside for the first time in her life--I hadn't seen my cat for 24.

I slept fitfully and woke up on the wrong side of the bed (literally) because the phone was ringing.  The conversation: not terrible, but not great or even good, and, afterward, Clementine heard me creeping downstairs, and I couldn't persuade her to go back to sleep.  I'm really not up to mothering Clementine prior to 9 AM.  7 was a giant stretch. 

I went outside and called my cat, and I heard her mewing from under the house, which scared me to death because what if she were hurt and trapped?  I was considering how I might pry apart the planks under the porch when she came slithering out beneath, none the worse for her great, outdoor adventure.

Next came a crazy storm.  I witnessed something out my front window like I'd never seen before.  Everything was flipping, rolling, and turning in very violent ways, and I heard the strangest of sounds.  By the time I had the presence of mind to gather the girls, it had ended.  (Later, when it started to storm, again, the girls and I hid in our pantry.)

Check out my jungle front yard:

I thought this poplar was strong and healthy.  As it turns out, not so much, so I'm glad it's down and didn't land on anything important!  Also that my neighbor is more than happy to chop it up and cart it away.

Let me reiterate: this is just the part I can tell.  But--at the point at which my friend Julie called this morning--I'd suffered extreme guilt over tossing my cat outside; fear for my cat's wellbeing; fear for my daughters' and my wellbeing; and several other emotions over a couple other situations I can't share in this forum.

No part of my mess seemed related to any other part of my mess.  It just seemed like random mess: mess flying from all directions like so much debris in a tornado. 

Then Julie prayed with me, over the phone.  (It's important to mention that others were praying, too, but Julie was praying aloud with me.)  And all I can tell you without telling you what I can't tell you is that suddenly--in the most epiphanous way--I understood very clearly that all of my mess was related, after all, and that half of it was analogous to the other half.

You'll just have to trust me: what I came to understand (as Julie prayed) equipped me to lunge into the rest of my day with empathy, to see with Christ's eyes.  And I needed His eyes desperately, today, for the task at hand.

After Julie and I hung up, I stood and asked God, silently: "Was that really You, just then?"

And--as I gazed upon the giant, felled tree in my yard--God reminded me: "I am not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire.  I am in the still small voice (I Kings 19:11-12)."

P.S. I will never, ever, ever throw my cat out again, no matter what she does.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Are you missing your friend?

Has it been too quiet in your corner of the world?

Are you wondering if you really have been forgotten, this time?

Take heart!

Cast all your anxiety on him [God]
 because he cares for you
(I Peter 5:7, NIV).


Consider the possibility that,

even now, your silent little friend

is thinking of you.

Perhaps baking you a cake?

I'm Sherry's Daughter.

In three days' time, I'd visited twenty-seven relatives in my extended family.  Fourteen (including Grandma) on Mom's side, thirteen on Dad's.  Twenty-seven: only a small percentage of those in my extended family, but I'd run out of time.  I'd enjoyed every moment but didn't feel satisfied.

I stopped at the assisted-living facility on my way out of town.

Her door was closed, her room dark.  She was sleeping on her side under a blue blanket.  I didn't think of turning on the light, of getting her up, of helping her dress. 

I climbed into bed with her.  I didn't consider I might frighten her.  I can't say why, only that spooning her seemed the right thing to do.  I made my voice like butter and honey and said, "Hi, Grandma.  I'm Sherry's daughter."

"What're you going to do?" she asked.

"I'm going to lie beside you," I answered, "and talk to you, and rub your arm."

"Well," she said.  "I guess that's alright."

I talked to her about the cool air outside and cooed what a perfect morning to linger in bed.  I reminded her, "I'm Sherry's daughter," and rubbed her arm.  I told her about my other grandma and how the two of them had been best friends.  I spoke of their adventures.  I reminded her, "I'm Sherry's daughter."  (I rubbed her arm.)  I told her she'd been my best pen pal, that I miss her letters. 

"I used to like to write letters," she said.  "But I haven't written them for a long time."

"I know," I agreed, "I stopped writing to you after you stopped writing to me.  We should write to each other, again."

"Yes," she nodded, "We should."

I reminded her, "I'm Sherry's daughter," and I rubbed her arm.

I told her she'd taken me to Vacation Bible School and church: that she'd helped me find Jesus. 

"Yes," she said, "Mother made sure we went to church from a young age."

I reminded her, "I'm Sherry's daughter.  I loved staying with you, going places with you."

"I always have been a person who likes being with other people," she said.  I rubbed her arm.

A nurse opened the door, turned on the light.  "Oh!" she exclaimed, and she smiled at me lying with Grandma in the same bed into which I couldn't scramble up, as a child.

"I just wanted to lie with her awhile," I explained.

"That's alright," she said.  "Are you Joyce's daughter?"

"No.  Sherry's," I answered.

She smiled again.  "I should've guessed.  Sherry likes to crawl in bed with Mildred, too."

Those were the words, at last, to break me.  Maybe because I'd said to Grandma over and over about being Mom's daughter (all the while hoping for something of Mom in me), and the nurse believed, acknowledged, saw it.

I still don't know exactly what I'm trying to say, here.  Something about Grandma's being so much gone.  Something about loving her enough that I want to lie next to her--though she doesn't know me--and hold onto what remains.  Something about longing for my children and grandchildren to love me enough that they would (will?) do the same. 

Because I always have been a person who likes being with other people.

Something about finding (on the bright, flip side of what hurts so very much) peace, satisfaction, and the thing for which I'd gone seeking.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Resurrection Day 2011

$5 Thrifty Dollhouse!

Mikey! She likes it!
Ready for Sunday School

Sidda, Cade, & Cade's Play-Doh Tomb

The stone was rolled away!
Wild Orange on the Way to Linda's & Mike's

Marshmallow Pop from Mrs. Rena

Bunny from Mrs. Rena

Clementine & Charleigh with Boggs Besties

Egg Hunt at Linda's & Mike's

Play Shoes

crumbs from His table Guest Post

I'm excited, on Resurrection Day, to welcome my first-ever guest blogger: Christina R. Moore "tinuviel" of crumbs from His table, who has graciously permitted me to share one of her posts here, in my space.  If you're unfamiliar with Christina's blog, I encourage you to visit.  I follow blogs for different reasons.  I follow Christina's because of its no-nonsense, succinct, scriptural truths.  I find her writing relevant to my life in the hardiest of meat-and-potato ways.  Here's an excellent example (my favorite!), published originally on her blog on March 17, 2011:

The Lesson of the Loaves

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest a while." For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they went away in the boat by themselves to a remote place, but many saw them leaving and recognized them. People ran there by land from all the towns and arrived ahead of them.  So as He stepped ashore, He saw a huge crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then He began to teach them many things.

When it was already late, His disciples approached Him and said, "This place is a wilderness, and it is already late! Send them away, so they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat."

"You give them something to eat," He responded.

They said to Him, "Should we go and buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?"

And He asked them, "How many loaves do you have? Go look."

When they found out they said, "Five, and two fish."

Then He instructed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks of hundreds and fifties. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Everyone ate and was filled. Then they picked up 12 baskets full of pieces of bread and fish. Now those who ate the loaves were 5,000 men (Mark 6:30-44, HCSB).

Little over a dozen years ago, I sat in my first class, 601 Spiritual Life, of my first full-time semester of seminary.  Dr. Bill Lawrence, with abundant energy and clear enthusiasm for his subject and students, was a good way to begin. He told us over and over, "Repetition is the key to learning," and perhaps he was right.  Again today, as I read the account of the feeding of the 5,000, I heard his voice reminding us of what he called "the lesson of the loaves."

The first clause of the lesson describes the problem in the passage: more than 5,000 (if women and children were also present) hungry people in a remote wilderness, late in the day.  What does Jesus say?  He tells the apostles to feed this impossible multitude with five small loaves and two tiny fish.  In Dr. Lawrence's words, "You must do what you cannot do with what you do not have."

How many of us feel that way on an almost daily basis?  Whether the "must do" involves mothering, a difficult job, the lack of a job with financial pressures that continue on, health problems, or just the ordinary pressures of life, most of us understand this feeling of overwhelming demands and inadequate resources.  I certainly do.  In the Scripture passage, though, it is Jesus who places the demand on the apostles, so in that instance, at least the impossibility was His will.

Thanks be to God that the lesson doesn't stop there!

The second clause provides the solution: "BUT He will do what He can do with what He does have."  Jesus took His followers' inadequate resources, blessed them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to distribute.  In His hands, they became not only a start, not only enough, but too much.  The great crowd ate until satisfied, and still 12 baskets of leftovers remained. "He will do what He can do with what He does have."  Jesus' resources are adequate for the overwhelming demands of following Him and seeking to serve those He brings us.

This morning I was feeling like those disciples, the list of responsibilities, projects, paperwork, and prayer requests longer than the day ahead and greater than the strength in hand.  Reading Luke's account of this event in my daily portion reminded me of my teacher's words, and I found courage to bring the needs to Christ and take His strength, one basketful at a time.  It only felt right to pass the basket on to you.

Dear Crumbles, whatever your overwhelming need today, take heart:

"You must do
what you cannot do 
with what you do not have,
He will do through you
what He can do
with what He does have."

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11b-13, ESV).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My 37th Birthday


We would give anything for what we have.
-Tony Hoagland

(Thank you, Lord, for my birthday and life.)