The Earth is the Lord’s and Everything in it!

Earth Day 2014

I believe that! This sphere, in all its amazing splendor, beauty and creativity – ALL a gift of the creative imagination and infinite ability of the Maker of heaven and earth.

Oh how I wish we were taking better care of it, being better stewards, enjoying His creation like we should, and really – could.

Earth Day and Christians: 7 Ways to Observe it

I just read this blog early this morning and LOVED it!  The writer referenced Isaiah 11.9, which is a favorite-favorite-hope-filled scripture!

For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.

The sun is shining here in Denver today. The grass is brilliant spring-green and the skies are blue with puffy white clouds. The shrubs are flowering.  And the dandelions have once again blanketed the nearby fields, not to mention how they are traipsing boldly right down the block in this HOA-protected neighborhood, with great glee as if they weren’t sternly chased out last year. *sigh  Must be Earth Day! Happiness.

Hard to believe, but true – in my lifetime, I have known Christians  who have resisted things like “Earth Day,” allowing it to be spoiled by supposed political associations or some fear of earth-worship.

Psshhhht, people. The earth is His. “Bless the beasts and the children” and get on board today by thanking the Creator and Maker of all the incredible, life-sustaining beauty in the earth! He has surrounded us with His very glory, this Great God of ours!

Note to my children about your children:

Please get them outside often, out-of-the-city on purpose when you can (read the aforementioned blog post to see why – I know you’ll want to, then). Teach them to lie in green grass and watch clouds and to run barefoot, plunge their hands in to black soil for planting, get muddy, splash in puddles, go where there is no cell signal and listen to birds chirp, throw rocks into creeks and rivers, and yell really loudly where no one can hear. Give them Psalm 23 experiences for their body and soul’s health.

And you, too, my sweets. You get out of the city and go where you can see a million stars in the night sky and hear nothing but the beating of your own hearts – just long enough to regain your bearings.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.”  Psalm 23

drive me wild
Happy-blessed-joy-filled Earth Day, everybody!

Thought-Collage Thursday // I gave up perfection{ism} for Lent

If you happen to see me and I look dazed and confused

It’s probably because I have been collecting songs for the fashion show. And high-energy club music makes — me — craaaaaaaaaazzzzeeeey!

I may or may not have a throbbing pain behind my left eye, while my right eye is twitching. I won’t say. But I am enjoying these three songs, only the first of these made the show cut. But the other two are fun, too!

Sometimes a small phrase turns a very nicely written article into something quite fanciful~

Dessa Wedding

Nibbles, Tredessa’s wedding 2011

That happened with a Laura Gaskill piece at Houzz on Sunday. She was advising us all to “Cultivate Everyday Joie de Vivre.” Upon her fourth suggestion, “Entertain with Abandon,” in which I felt fully encouraged to have guests over often without worrying over perfection, she wrote,

“Offer aperitifs and nibbles as soon as guests arrive to put everyone at ease.”

“Offer aperitifs and nibbles.” Doesn’t it just sound divine?

Well, it does, but of course, I don’t do alcohol {teetotaler, here}, so I won’t be – serving aperitifs. I’ll serve lemonade or green-sherbet punch,  and root beer floats a-plenty, instead. Sorry.

But there will be nibbles. I could not and would not have guests without nibbles. Of this you may rest assured.

I LOVED this blog post today:

How to Fail and Still Win, a Guide to not losing your cool. Donald Miller. Big fan of his writing and life’s work.

Because yesterday, I was feeling completely ill-prepared for an important meeting with people whose time is very valuable. I really wanted to cancel, even though I knew I would be enriched by them.

Then this simple Donald Miller post, just spotlighted my rather exuberant tendency to treat any bump in the road like a major wreck , to beat myself to smithereens when I have not achieved perfection. How did he know what I was thinking this morning? The conclusion:

“The next morning I got up, made my to-do list and pushed on. It’s a long season, after all. You’re going to drop a couple games on the way to the Superbowl.” -Donald Miller

Thank-you, Donald Miller.  And so I am pushing on.

They just don’t make TV like they used to

My silly little secret is that I loved music so much, any kind of music and song, I used to watch Lawrence Welk on TV every Saturday at 5 pm – when I was 14! I knew his bubbly brand of American standards and Martini music weren’t “cool,” but if there were going to be singers with bouffant hair in fancy dresses and fabulous, colorful sets and antics, I was going to watch!

Last Saturday evening, PBS was airing a Lawrence Welk “special.” They sometimes take a theme and air the best of his many years on television. This particular theme was the month of April, all bright and spring-y and hopeful and romantic.

I totally got sucked in to the special. Of course, it still isn’t “cool” for some one of my generation to be watching Lawrence Welk, but I was thinking – these people, these singers and dancers and the orchestra – they worked so hard to entertain. They are certainly considered quaint by any of today’s standards, but I found the show beyond enchanting.

lw collage

Check out the “rain” in this video. So low-tech, So perfectly charming.

Effort. Lights, Pretty clothes. Color. Sentimental songs. I loved.

Lawrence Welk would absolutely have served aperitifs with his nibbles!

Lumosity Brain Train

I love those silly Lumosity things. It’s my brand of gaming. Sometimes I do the daily suggestions then try them several times to beat myself. :)

I assumed my weakest area would be “flexibility.” But it is my highest scoring area, with speed and problem solving right behind.

Attention (What? Where were we?) and memory are tied for my weakest areas.  I used to have this amazing memory, like – AMAZING (In 1974 April 17th was a Wednesday – that type of memory)…but I can’t quite recall when that was…before the flood or something.

Sometimes I just don’t know what to do.

Or what to say. Or what to think. Or which way is up or right or the best. I feel surprised at this age and stage to not know as much as I once thought I did, to not know what is expected of me or how to make hard things work.  Sometimes I just don’t know…which is tough on a striver like myself.

And this is really the bravest thing I will admit today. Or maybe over the course of many days.

I did try to give up perfection for Lent. But…

I was remembering my younger self – back when I thought I knew an awful lot about a great many things. And even if I didn’t know, I still had a strong opinion. I really miss those days, sometimes. I really thought I was going to conquer everything before the end.

Now I know much better, which is to say I know very little. In my life, there is so much I will absolutely never know, ever learn, never experience. And while it wreaks havoc on my pride to know less than ever, to be less certain and able to tout my absolutely correct and utterly right viewpoints and finely tuned belief system, I’m wondering if that isn’t the point, anyway?

But it boils down to this, I really want to know {need to know} and never forget this thing: Jesus loves me. I am in my 50s and I have yet to comprehend the depth and breadth and width and height of it – this lavish love.  “Jesus loves me, this I know,” and that knowing  is still where I often find myself stuck. I am glad the Ephesians needed understanding for this, too. :)

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3

Anne Ortlund, in Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, said she jotted in her Bible margin next to that passage, “How do you put the ocean in a teacup?” That is the question!

His love

Amelie was practicing her cutting and gluing skills in pre-school with Nonna today. I masked off the shape of the cross and we talked about all the things for which we thanked Jesus – besides dying on the cross for our sins and then beating the devil by being raised from the dead.

amelie and her cross

I may or may not have misspelled “Easter.” Proving my point. Ha!

But as she cut and glued and looked through the newspaper and found more images, she just kept saying, “I know Jesus would love this – let’s give Him this!” Instead of thinking about what He has done for her, her love response was to give Him something in return!

“We love Him because He first loved us.”  1 John 4.19 NIV

This, is turns out – is pretty perfect!

And then there was the baby

“Last-borns tend to be self-centered, attention-seeking people who will wrestle the spotlight from others if need be.” – from an article on birth-order at a parenting site

stormie at wedding 1087

Not so, our Stormkins. She never fit the profile of the typical baby of the family. She, in fact, nurturing spirit mixed with careful thoughtfulness, is adored by her siblings all, for she has enriched their lives and adds to them as people. She never wrestled spotlights from them nor manipulated to take their place. She is loved deeply for how she has loved them. She is loved fiercely for all the ferociousness with which she has protected and covered and served and loved them.

And on her birthday, they can’t say enough. She is festooned with praises, this particular baby-of-the-family.

stormie and me

Last year on Mother’s Day – I have the black eye. Stormie is flawless.

Can you even imagine what it is like to get to be her parents?

She lives in our town. She lives in a house she is making her own and it is designed with detail, though it may seem quite casual because it is so relaxed and unpretentiously welcoming. But it’s reflective of her utter sophisticated coolness. Everything around her, including the giant German Shepherd, Saber, is structurally Stormie.  Light rebounding from carefully curated usable collections of her heart and soul: her books, her kitchen tools and dishes, her music and her scents - all clues to a most unique and copacetic home owner. No one else could possibly live in that particular early 1900s house. It pulses with the beat of Stormie’s life-giving existence, her panache, her style. Don’t tell her I told you she has one. She would blush.  :)

Stormie – as tagged on FB

stormie on FB

“Tax-Day” forever redeemed. 1986 a best-year ever.

April 15 was never the same after 1986. The IRS never once more could claim this day, for this was the day our family became **7** and it was perfect: Dave and Jeanie (aka dad and mom), Tara**Stephanie**Tredessa**Rocky and finally, fantastically, phenomenally ~ Stormie. Our Stormie Dae (it really was icy and blizzardy on the day she came). And for that matter, of all the things that happened in 1986, jobs and a new house and church stuff and life in general, the *best* thing of the year was having Stormie, a sweet-natured baby who has grown up to become a  trustworthy, responsible, longsuffering, compassionate, missions-minded, loving, doting, worshiping, praying, wry, funny, intuitive, deeply-connected, intensely-loyal, attentive, utterly-amiable and oh-so-likeable girl. I guess she is a woman, but she is my baby girl, too.

“Hold tight to the sounds of the music of living, happy songs from the laughter of children at play…We have this moment today.” I sang this, holding you, when we dedicated you to the Lord (a Gaither song)

Good grief – how did you turn out so well? Must be all those older sisters and that older brother helping hone and shape you.  :)

the seestas on christmas morn in their jammies

So, my sweet baby girl – of course I bless the day you were born. And I bless you.

Let us pray on the occasion of the celebration of your birth and the life you are living:

I pray you live, Stormie, take the deepest breath, inhale the Holy Spirit, the ruach of the LORD, and be energized and live. **Live!** Live deeply and hidden, unseen and true. Live loudly and bright and in the light, in the open, fearlessly. Live to delight the One. And live to make happy the places in you only you and your Maker know anything about. Be quickened and energized with that same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead – let your mortal body reflect the glory of God (remember our homeschool rap from 1 Cor. 6.20, “therefore – glorify God in your body,” haha).

I see His countenance on you, my sweet. I see a twinkle, a sparkle dancing in those eyes.  The stars are casting light on your nights, the sunglow doesn’t match your days. Damn self-sufficiency, baby-love. You could do that in your sleep. You possess fortitude and ability and are able, but you, my daughter, were meant for the wild passions of the things of God. You have tasted eternity on your tongue. Your hair has been blown by the winds of the Holy Spirit. Your heart expands in the Presence, your longing for the Divine opens doors to see Him face to face, to be so close you hear His still, small voice with utter clarity.

You are like David. He did not strive to come out from among the rest. He was doing what he did. He was honoring God and singing songs that blessed the Lord – when no one heard, and no one saw. And God invited him to come out, to come up, to be seen, to do what he was born to do and was already doing in secret places. That is how it is, my sweet. God sees you. He knows you. It’s ok when He calls you forth. You’re no Johnny-come-lately. You are true and real, you are an honest version of who God says you are.

And all the things the enemy has ever done to try to take that away – well, to *h*with the devil. God rebuke the enemy on your behalf, I pray! May God be your Protection, your Guide, your Guard, your Friend, your Father, your All. And when He invites you to the seat of honor, all of us will know why and we’ll be cheering loudly and raucously, Stormie’s fans and family, with hearts fairly bursting in love.

I bless the day you were born and all the days you have left, in Jesus’s Name, in His great love and grace, and with gratefulness for the forgiveness and healing we  have received for all the wounds and wrongs and sins {redemption has come – He has made all things new!}, my darling daughter - in HIS name, I bless you! Amen.

Your momma loves you. Be-member. ;)

The Birthday Blizzard

Right around this time, our spring-season birthdays start appearing in a flurry of cakes & gifts & celebrations!


Amelie Belle was born on a spring day, a few days after Grand-poppa’s birthday. We celebrate them both just as spring has sprung.  Then April happens and things really heat up! Bailey-Baby and Stormie have celebrations. Then we have Tara, Stephanie, Gemma May in May with Gavin, Tredessa and DP just as spring is about to turn in to summer.

Ten peeps of our family-of-20 happen in this one little season.

Then there is Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, May-Day, last day of school, and the sun shines bright in blue skies while flowers emerge in full color and the green grass starts its’ wildly renewed growth as lawnmowers criss-cross over subdivided lots creating  an emerald plaid any leprechaun would be proud to wear.

No wonder I love spring so much!

Plus there are those other people we love, from our families of origin (like my Mamala in early June). And ~ who remembers what I was doing on Stormie’s birthday (April 15) last year very early in the morning??? That is right! I was helping birth baby-boy Wryder of Holyoke. Now – I didn’t do much of the birthing work – that was his mom, but I sure do think that kid is handsome! He and his sweet sister dropped by for a few minutes Saturday afternoon and I got dandelions. :)


LOVE these people – so glad they were all born to be in my life!

My little brother, Tim, just had a birthday Friday.  I called him “the gorgeous one in the family” and he acted surprised. Please. He’s a handsome fella and he knows it. Plus – he is an excellent Elvis impersonator. I will try to share video with you sometime on that.

joey and timmy november 1964

Joey was 3 1/2 and Timmy was 1 1/2 in this November 1964 photo.

And tomorrow is Joe’s birthday. He was my first younger sibling and has been my most enduring friendship. I wish he were here today with his guitar and we were singing and reminiscing on life because no one else on earth shares as much early-life history with me. He knows where the bodies are. I mean, there was my mom, but Joey saw things from my eye-level. And I will always have the Joey-Joey-Joey-Joey down in my heart.

Here is a song for you, Joe-Joe, to say I LOVE you on your birthday! “May your party never stop”

And the years go by

And we don’t know where they went

We just let them fly

‘Cause they were all heaven-sent

We’re on borrowed time

And we still owe half the rent

For soaking up the sunshine

‘Til we’re dead gone

We will laugh until we drop

Here’s your birthday song

May your party never stop

Singing on and on

We go stumbling down the block

Soaking up the good wine  –Chris Trapper

Speaking of blizzards -

Must be Springtime in the Rockies because is was hot-hot-hot yesterday and today – sleet and snow. Good grief.

But just beyond the white, dancing flakes, where the birds frolic and sing anyway, I see the pink blossoms of the flowering pear tree just next to the sunny yellow, forsythia. I am not deterred in my springtime hope…Oh it is true:

“See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.

The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.

Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”  ~Song of Solomon 2.11-13

It’s the season of celebrations and many birthdays. It’s the season of singing.

Dear David Cassidy,

That’s right. I am in my fifties and writing a fan letter like I’m 11. What of it???

Happy Birthday, David Cassidy, oh love of my young life, increasingly admired the world over, outrageously talented, perpetually youthful and darling boy of the 70s-set

david cassidy dot com 1


Happy Birthday, David Cassidy.

I always remember your birthday. It doesn’t matter that I am getting {way} older (I have a huge family and  9 grandbebes now, David Cassidy!) and that somehow – you are having birthdays, but still not getting older (at least not where I have you in my memories). But I always remember.

I may or may not have mentioned you on this very blog a time or two. Or thirteen. Whatever.

How are you, birthday boy? You doing ok? You doing better?

Because I don’t like seeing mug shots of you on seedy websites. I don’t like thinking about the pain of life that caused you to turn on yourself, or hearing you’re making choices that could be disastrous for you and others. Not at all. You are better than that. That isn’t you – that isn’t what you were born to do or to be.

And I am not just saying that because I am some raving-lunatic fan who thinks she owns you and can tell you what to do. That’s not me. I am actually rather sensible. And I only visit a few times a year, just to check in. Like on April 12th.

I am just saying it because you were born with a gift and you worked to build a platform and you should be very careful with that. Don’t give anyone a reason to trivialize the good you have done in your life, who you really are.

You are beloved and adored and have a long-lasting fan base (like me) and you still have so much talent to share, songs to sing, smiles for heart-melting. You have influence and admiration. You still have the power to make an impact.

So be very careful, David Cassidy. Be very careful with all you have worked for and with all that was divinely bestowed and guard your heart with gusto. Take advantage of support and any help that is offered.

Then be David Cassidy. Because everybody LOVES him!

And, David Cassidy? You are invited to any of our family functions anytime. Bring your guitar and we will all sing along (my kids have twice surprised me with a song of yours – best gifts ever!**).  Anytime, really!

Have a happy birthday, David Cassidy, a really happy, joy-filled, sweet-peace and satisfaction kind of day. You were born the hero in a wonderful lyric-and-melody-filled story (Psalm 119.13-16). It is treasure. Guard it and share it. Happy Day, David Cassidy.  :)

Singing along since September of 1970, {Jeanie}.

I know it is silly. But I still love me some David Cassidy!

**My kids: & because I taught them good music!


Bailey is ONE!

Baby Bailey-Sophia ~

Light as air, soft as the Pillsbury Doughboy, sweet as cotton candy, and pretty as a sunny, April day – oh, yes, that is you, little bundle of love!

The day you came was a miraculous, divine, lovely day, indeed. You came strong and healthy and full of life and I got struck by the invigorating trail of  your refreshing, buoyant arrival. I had stars in my eyes for days – new, beautiful, dark-haired, ravishing beauty. Oh you made life so happy!

bailey newborn

Now, sweet little baby girl – you’re one. You’re one in a million. You’re one of a kind. You’re one of three sweet sisters and one step ahead of us now that you know you can be. You’re one happy little girl and you’re one contented baby. You’re one big blessing to us all and one of the babies we like to brag about. You’re such a special ONE!

bailey 3 months

My blessing on you, Baby-Bailey~

bailey in black and white by stephanie

Photo by Stephanie

Oh, Jesus – you see this girl and you see the delight and joy she has brought to our hearts. Watch over her always. Protect her. Be her nourishment and Healer. Feed her from Your table of goodness. Walk with her.  Talk with her. Share Your secrets with her.

We give her back, out of gratefulness and deep love, to You, Savior of the world! She is Yours and we give her to You to teach and lead and guide and love and lavish good things upon and oh, do please dance over her with rejoicing!

May all the days of Bailey’s life, all the days that were written in Your book, Lord, before she was even one day old – may they bring You a smile, may they bring you honor, may they reflect Your glory ever and always. May she receive from Your abundance, just as we read about in John 1.16, ONE gracious blessing after another ONE gracious blessing after another ONE…and so on.  I know it pleases You to love her even more than we do. So, do – and let it be evidenced her whole life through! AMEN!

bailey and sisters

Bailey-baby, your Nonna is wildly in love with you. I am just crazy about you and I will always be on your side!  {love x 1000, Nonna}

xoxoxo bailey in pigtails bd

Oh, don’t do that

And so, I preach to myself…

Don’t do that, my sweet.  Don’t dismiss some one else’s pain and affliction with pompous platitudes and sanctimonious scrutinies.  Don’t rattle off Bible verses like an automatic machine-gun clip meant to prove your prophetic prowess and settle your spiritual superiority. Remember how that cuts.

you are valuable quote

Don’t speak of the weak with haughtiness, as if you can possibly know the attack they have just endured.  Don’t dismiss the sensitive soul for feelings that are transparent.  Don’t assume because you can see the tears that they are weaklings, inconsequential, insubstantial  humans too fragile to be of value to kingdom warfare.  Disclosing pain doesn’t reveal a flimsy, powerless soul, but a heart of flesh, not yet gone to stone.

There is nothing wrong with that.  Feeling agony while suffering through a situation almost unbearable to share is not a sign of ineptitude or of being some feeble, worthless body part.

leave your capativity scripture quote

Be encouraged.

note to self, more than to anyone else…when I am tempted to roll my eyes and dismiss some one who is not as strong as I think I am… {bleh}

…how do we see the life of Jesus and act so contrary and haughty?  how do we have the written words of God and still not understand that it is not by strength, nor by human power in any way that accomplishes anything at all, ever?  it is by His Spirit.  get off your high-horse, self.  the way up is down.  the first shall  be last.  don’t despise the weakest one just because you can…because that is where His power will be made strong…

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.   Matt. 5

Be nice. For the love.

cheered up the sad print from etsy
 Etsy Print by romawinkel

Thought Collage Thursday // shameless

It’s a shame isn’t it?

When you catch one of those awful, terrible, no-good, super-nasty, gross and disgusting food bugs and the meal you had last gets the blame – so sad, ne c’est pas? It might be your famous chili recipe or KFC, but whatever was “in there” when it hit, that horrid ugga-bugga, well – you won’t like that food again for a long time, a very long time. It’s the blame game.

I am a grape

So says one of those online quizzes:

You are Grape

You’re adaptable and intelligent. Always one step ahead of the rest, your friends often rely on you to know the answer to any question or help update their resumes. If everyone would just let you write ‘The Rules for Life’ that everyone must follow, the world would be a better place.

You can’t argue with truth. That last sentence pretty much sums it all up.

“Nothing stays in Vegas” – Gretchen Rubin

Probably good to remember that.

#tbt Throwback Thursday

Easter 1970. I actually asked to have my hair fixed like that. My mom’s friends took me along to a beauty shop the day before and they ratted and spray and piled and swirled. It’s all my hair. I had to sleep with toilet paper wrapped around it, haha! I felt like such a mature church lady.  Oh my.

Easter 1970

Remember when these trucks delivered potato chips right to your door? No? No one else is that old?


We never had potato chip delivery, but our friends, the Courtneys did! And oh how fun it was to look in the pantry and see several giant cans of potato chips there for the snacking.

Those were the days!

When the chips are down

There is a major non-chip chip craze happening. Potato chips are out. But kale chips are in.  And spinach chips, turnip chips, zucchini chips are all ok. Butternut squash chips, eggplant chips, Brussels sprouts chips, and beet chips are on the acceptable list. And of course apple chips are fine, and carrot fries – not a chip, but who doesn’t love a fry?

But check this out – right now, while the spring radishes are large and well-hydrated and tasty, but not too spicy from the heat of summer, I just found out you can make radish chips – which was actually what got me on the chip train, anyway. I was enjoying a whole bowl full of beautiful red radishes and wondering if anyone in the course of humanity has ever cooked them (I am very sheltered) and OF COURSE they have. Radish Chips. I shall try them soon and report back! CLICK FOR RECIPE

Possible Chip Theft!

Speaking of which  – I just pinned a paint-chip birthday “cake” on Pinterest, but Pinterest has an awful lot of “paint chip” projects that may or may not be using stolen paint chips.  I mean , ok, maybe make yourself a bookmarker with a paint chip from Home Depot once you have chosen a color and are finished with it. Maybe even make 6 notecards using them, but when you are covering an entire wall in paint chips – I am thinking you are not buying enough paint to cover that expense. I suspect you only buy the mis-mixed paints on occasion.

paint chip cake

And I sincerely hope you’re not ordering paint and returning it to re-buy it cheaper later because that would be way bad! Let us not steal paint chips, people.

We should all give up our shame for Easter

Since Jesus died to set us free from the law of sin and death and everything…don’t ya think?

“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”  -Brene Brown

I have been thinking a lot about shame and how it sticks to us like glue and we walk around under the weight of it. And I just wanted to say, to anyone I have ever cursed by saying, “Shame on you,” I do hereby withdraw it and strongly encourage you to be free from it. Really – run like the Dickens, as they say – I take it back, I release you from it. DON’T be ashamed anymore.

As a priest in the kingdom of God, I can pretty much do that.

In fact, let me turn it around. I’ll trade you:

Don’t be ashamed. Be forgiven, if there is something that needs forgiven. You know how, right? “If we confess our sins, He [Jesus] is faithful and just and He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”(1 John 1.9) So – do that simple thing and be forgiven.

Or, don’t be ashamed. Because I was maybe judging you wrongly and made you feel bad when I shouldn’t have. In which case, please be blessed, instead. I approve you, I esteem you now. Better than that, God does. All good things are from Him, so please avail yourself of them and forgive me for making you feel shame or ashamed.

 “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.” Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 This week’s mission: be shameless.  :)

A man falls in a hole…

From The West Wing, season two, Leo to Josh – when Josh is covering his deepest fears (and post-trauma, troubled behavior) so he won’t lose his job/identity/purpose/friends/center-

“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out.

A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on

Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole.

Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.’”

First minute and a half:

Sometimes people fall into holes too deep to climb out on their own. Don’t ask me how I know. Sometimes, if not for the one voice saying, “I’ll help you out, you’re worth fighting for,” we’d fall deeper, become more lost than ever.

That West Wing exchange (I am watching it on Netflix, currently), reminded me of this RSA Short. It’s an incredibly smart animation of a Brene Brown talk about empathy and it makes me so mad at myself for all the times I have been the person looking down in the hole offering a sandwich or a silver lining or an “At least…”

And it makes me so thankful for the times I have thought I was doomed to die in the hole, alone, afraid, trying so hard to look like I meant to be there and had it all under control, and some one just came and picked up the burden with me – even when I couldn’t ask for help out.

True confession: I have been among those people standing on the sidelines, shaking our stupid heads, giving dumb narrative to stories we can’t comprehend.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4.15-16 NIV

I am so grateful that Jesus still shows up, through flesh and blood people, He remains touched by the very feelings of our infirmities. He enters our chaos and our pain in the form of a friend with skin on. And through people so like Him they fairly glow reflecting HIs true nature, we are led out of captivity, out of the hole.

And finally, we can become those who can now (ridding ourselves of the head-shaking and wholly unhelpful commentary) jump in and comfort and help others out of their steep despair.

What a great plan. Jesus in us.