Category Archives: 1 Christ is All

Jesus loves me, this I know. This category is about Jesus, the Living Word, my prayers to Him, my worship of Him, His relentless pursuit of my heart and His invitation to me to come to Him in Sabbath, my Savior, my Rest.

Song for a Sunday // Lord, I Need You

A song for a blustery season…

matt maher lord i need you

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here, I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Simple, but powerful lyrics by Matt Maher, led here by one of my all-time favorite female vocalists, Leann Albrecht. This song is a prayer. Pray it with me.

Lord, I Need You/I Need Thee Every Hour

Starts at 00:48:10 and ends around 0:58:30

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

LORD, I NEED YOU

This should take you straight to the link also

CLICK HERE or copy and paste address into your browser::    http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/54305559

Lord, I need you lyrics

Song for a Sunday // The Mountain of the Lord

Ruthie* was leading this when I walked in to Southlake Worship Center in Hobart, IN a few weeks ago. Even though I could only recall the last few words, I remember loving the gentle strength of the song’s lyrics, and the soulful melody – which remained with me.

Thanks to my godly, anointed and so-so-so beautiful sister-in-law, Dawn, for helping me find it. I love it even more in the re-listen. The Mountain of the Lord, Kim Clement

“‘Cause there is a place for those who are broken in the mountain of the Lord…”

“…you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.”  Hebrews 12.22-24 NLT

My song for this day, a day the Lord has made.

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*Ruthie was the cutest little girl, daughter of church leaders and powerful worship leading. I’d see her shining her light in the church hallways in the late 80s and early 90s while visiting my parents. Now she is a worship leader, and wholly anointed, bright light and powerful leader, still shining away!

Thought-Collage-Thursday // iWrite, iSing, iGarden, iCapture, iBuild, iPray, iLove

Each October, I assess. Or perhaps I could’ve written, iAssess. Ha. iPhone-6+-mania affected my brain, like the rest of the world.  :)

“Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave?” – Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan) in You’ve Got Mail (1998), as written by Nora Ephron

Assessing what I do with my life, a list::

{*writing*}  …this blog, letters, journals, chalkboard birthday messages, pre-school curriculum, scriptures on cards I tuck in my bag, lists with checkmarks [checkmarks are wondrous], doodles while I talk on the phone, and assessments, like this silly thing…

And while I write my blogs for my friends and familia and my mom and because I need a place to put all my words, I am still surprised that I get more than 5 or 6 views a day. But wonder if I should start applying myself? And become a “real” blogger/writer?

site stats

 From the stats the day I started writing this post (I obviously don’t always stay focused).

“He did his best to find just the right words. And what he wrote was honest and true.” Ecclesiastes 12:10

I want to write what is honest and true.

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{*singing*} …martini music (if I could just choose a brand new fabulously successful career – it would be as a lounge singer, shhhh), oldies – mostly from the 70s, country songs are my secret hobby.  I love singing worship songs in the Presence, spontaneous family sing-alongs with my kids or my parents, I also hum a lot. I like karaoke (YES, Adam – our Willie Nelson night will happen),  leafing through old hymnals in times of trouble – singing those words and gaining great perspective. Being all emotional like Diane Keaton in And So it Goes…  :)

A short clip of Tara and I singing in their basement music room a couple of weeks back (she is the beautiful lead, of course). Her husband, Dave, on guitar. Captured via iPhone:

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{*gardening*} …vegetables, flowers, walking with God there – in the cool of the day, my hands in hot soil, sweat dripping down my brow, a red tomato with such complex and intense flavor it would not be possible to purchase it; praying for God to heal our land (the Bible begins in a garden, see Genesis, and ends in one, see Revelation); I grow things, tend them carefully…

birthday flowers from tara

“And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden to tend and guard and keep it.” Genesis 2.15

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{*capturing*} …photos of my family, my mom’s words as they are slipping by, videos of my grandbebes, babies as they are born (I’ve been a doula 4 times now!!!), history as it happens, memories as they are made. I collect moments for recording, feelings for posterity, I chronicle the faithfulness of God towards me and my people…

us 9 25 14

My mom and my baby sister, above. My mom has me create little images like this with her thoughts so she can print them out and not forget them, below.

8 18 2014 mom quote8

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{*building*} …I have never been afraid to roll my sleeves up and get dirty working hard. I build altars, homes, people, ministries, businesses and ideas, multi-tiered cakes, Lego towers, big hair-dos on tiny grand-girls, confidence in young women who question their ability to be and do all God created them to be and do…

gemma and gavin cakesGemma’s ballerina cake, Gavin’s Harry Potter (Rice Krispie) cake, June 2014

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{*praying*} …what else can I do?…for my familia, the people who cross my path, good friends, for God’s favor, because God is so close, all my words are to Him, for Him, in Him, through Him…

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{*loving*} …I love Him because He first loved me (1 John 4.19); I love Dave in response to his selfless, passionate, devoted love for me; I love the family I came from, the one I helped create and the life I have been granted. Love is {actually} all around, as it has been noted, and it splashes on me in abundance. What can I do, but pass it on?

8 18 2014Four of the none grandbebes, and me with a heart full of love, August 2014

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True confessions:

I also waste time, doubt myself too much, over-analyze things, am too melancholy, struggle with depression, wish everyone would like me, get sidetracked easily, bite off more than I can chew and hold good people at arm’s length far too long.

But I am fiercely loyal, too, and zealously protective. I guard the people I love, discern evil, get righteously indignant at wrongs, kick Satan’s butt and love Jesus.

We are all many things, good and not so good. We are strong and redeemed in some areas and weaker and unsanctified in others. But when we see Jesus, we’ll finally be like Him. I have great hope for that incredible day – but it is not happening until the very end. So for now, this is who I am and what I do. A list.

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” -1 John 3.2 NKJV

 Have you done a recent assessment? You haven’t? It’s time! Ready? GO!

On being a grand-mom {nonna}

Yesterday was Malakai day.

malakai day 1

Kai-Kai came to hang out with me. It intersected with my first day home in 17 days. And a more glorious Colorado day, I don’t think there could have been. Seriously – even a few puffy white clouds cannot dissipate the bluest of blue skies in Colorado. The sun was warm, the breeze was gentle and Kai was cuter than ever.

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Malakai Day 3

And I was thinking as my grand-boy and I were swinging and making pictures with chalk on the sidewalk, while we picnicked on a blanket in the cool green grass, as we climbed around on the play set and scooped up pebbles for throwing – I was thinking how amazing I am  as a Nonna.

Malakai Day lunch

Grilled chicken, peas, quinoa and blueberries for lunch. Animal crackers for dessert!

Yes. There. Can you believe I actually said that? Well, I did.

I am really a great Nonna.  :)

I am really good at this grand-mom thing, it turns out. But it isn’t of my doing. It is not because I am accomplishing anything or being especially productive or impressive at all.

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We enjoyed the neighbor’s beautiful autumn tree during our picnic

It’s mostly just because, I have realized, I just accept and receive the grandbebes for who they are. I enjoy them and embrace them and am in awe of them just as God has created them to be. I open my heart to all of it and feel giddy for the honor of getting to watch them and know them and see their lives unfold.

In short, I really do nothing other than enjoy them. I just sit around receiving everything they bring to life, the gift of them.

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Sandy-the-Dog wishes!

I am much better at being a Nonna than I was a mom.

As a mom, I doubted myself constantly. I was sure if I didn’t do every single thing right {I didn’t} my kids wouldn’t turn out {they did}. I was afraid it was all in my court: make sure they get good grades, are well-rounded, excel in athletics, become super citizens, are polite at all times, have the best of everything, never get hurt, {make me look good…true confessions}, and become who God wanted them to be. That last one – well, I was pretty sure God had a plan for them and if I didn’t work hard enough – I could totally mess up His deal.

“Direct your children onto the right path,
    and when they are older, they will not leave it.”  Proverbs 22.6 NLT

And yes, of course, we have a part, as the above Proverb encourages us.  But somewhere along the way (when they were almost grown…it takes me awhile), I began to realize that more than my children were “mine,” they were His. More than any love I had for them, more than any protection or experience I could provide, He had more, so much more – that He had known them from before…(see Romans 8.29 and Ephesians 1.4). My “hard work” in raising the world’s 5 most amazing kids was mostly ineffective, at best, damaging to them at its worst.

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
    Before you were born I set you apart
    and appointed you…” Jeremiah 1.5 NLT

I really did do my best, the best I knew to do with my children. But I over-parented a lot, I obsessed over things that didn’t matter sometimes. I erred towards discipline and creating righteous little children along the way when I should have laughed with them more, let some things slide and just plain enjoyed them. Too often I was set on molding them into godliness (at a level I could never even seem to achieve) as holy human beings to be admired instead of receiving them as the gifts of God He created them to be. And just loving them like the Father loves me, foibles and all. How does He love me?

  • God is mindful of me, always thinking of me (Psalm 8).
  • He created my inmost being and His works are wonderful (Psalm 139.13-14, the whole chapter, really).
  • God loves me with an ever-lasting love and draws me with loving-kindness. That is some deep love (Jeremiah 31.3).
  • He chose me and does not reject me (Isaiah 41.9).
  • I was actually made in His image (Genesis 1.27).
  • His thoughts toward me are countless-like the sand on the seashore (Psalm 139.17-18).
  • He rejoices over me with singing, just like I do over Him, but better! (Zephaniah 3.17)
  • He sees me as His treasured possession (Exodus 19.5).
  • He will never stop doing good to me (Jeremiah 32.40).
  • He is my greatest encourager, believing the best in me always (2 Thessalonians 2. 16-17).
  • God comforts me in all my troubles (2 Corinthians 1.3-4).
  • He comes in even closer to me when my heart is broken (Psalm 34.18).
  • I am precious in His sight (Isaiah 33.4).
  • I am the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2.8).
  • We’re friends, God and I. He has called me His friend (John 15.15).
  • God delights in me (Psalm 150.4)
  • He carries me close to His heart, just like a shepherd carries a lamb (Isaiah 40.11).
  • He doesn’t count my sins against me, not keeping a tally of my failure (2 Corinthians 5.18-19).
  • He forgets my sins – as far as the east is from the west, He has removed my transgressions from me. Awe-inspiring.
  • I didn’t choose Him. He so loved me, He chose me and appointed me to bear fruit that will last. I can ask Him anything, anything! He is my Father. (John 15.16)
  • Nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:38-39).
  • He has always been my Father and He will always be my Father (Ephesians 3.14-15).

So that’s a good start on how to love our kids. And the grands.

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 Look at that little face. I think Kai was telling me, in this shot, “You’re doing pretty good as a Nonna.” As best I can, I’ll reflect the love of the Lord towards me back onto him. And I receive all he is, the gift of him. He knows.  He can tell…

This was in the kitchen upon my return:

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From the Kelley kids. They love their Nonna and their Nonna loves them. And I am really great at that!

Dear Gavin, Hunter, Guinivere, Gemma May, Averi-J, Amelie Belle, Malakai, Bailey-baby, Evangeline and baby-Faaland-to-be: You’re the reason I was born!  :)

 

Celebrating September Love

Happy 11th Anniversary, Dave & Tara!

dp and tp

Our firstborn daughter married the man of her dreams 11 years and two fantastic sons ago.  They are still acting like newlyweds and spreading the love around! In fact, in two days, they’ll be putting on a concert, Decades, featuring love songs from the 1940s – right on up through the present.  Deets can be found at dtp.eventbrite.com. And there will be food.* 

A sample…

Happy Anniversary, Dave and Tara. Thank-you for the 2 outrageously cute grand-boys, the love you are living and all the joy yet to be! So lucky God gave you to us! How can we ever thank Him enough?

hunter and kai sept 14

Hunter and Malakai after the candy store (taken by Aunt Stormie)

Happy 8th Anniversary, Rocky & Jovan!

anniversary

Almost exactly one year ago, you lost so much in the floods that ravaged Colorado and you have been hard at work, tearing out, throwing away, cleaning up and re-building. And the number 8 in the Bible signifies new life, the old is passed away, new beginnings {all things are made new} and wow – that is SO right on for you two! God is just doing new-wonderful things in your life!

anni j and gs

The 3 little women with their beautiful mama

So glad Jovan started crushing on you when she was only 14, Rocky. So glad you fell for the woman she became. Thank-you for the three extraodinarily stunning little grand-girlies you have shared with us. So much life and love yet to experience and you’re doing it well!

anniversary 2

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September is such a lovely month, isn’t it? Lovely and love-filled!

* The Comida Truck will be at the Decades Concert. So good food, too. Hope I see you there! :)

Happy Birthday, Tristan Kelley!

Happy Birthday to our first-ever son-in-law, {world-renowned drumming sensation}, the father of three of THE most amazing grandbebes in the world and handsome husband to our Stephanie!

tristan kelley dancing with his little girlHappy Birthday, Tristan. I love this photo (above). It’s one of my favorites ever of you (from Ryan and Tredessa’s wedding) because of what it says about who you are and how Guinivere is looking at you.

She is looking at her protector, her daddy, the first love of her life. She is looking at her place of safety and her guide in this journey, a man who will make sure she is cared for and fed, tucked in safely and has the freedom to live and love and make mistakes and learn.

It was a moment in time, a celebratory dance at a wedding, yes. But it was also a little girl who knows, really knows deep down, that she is seeing a man who is steady in his character, reliable in his love towards her and sacrificial in his living – making sure his family is covered.

She sees the one leading their dance and she sees a humble man whose strength is not loud and cocky, but whose giftings and abilities are exploding like fireworks, expanding, getting noticed and opening doors.  But in spite of his talents and notoriety, he will always be right there, close – twirling his little girl, loving his wife into deep beauty, fathering his children with dignity and respect.

That’s what I see when I look at that picture. I see what she sees.

tristankelleydotcom

www.tristankelley.com

And I also know, without looking at it, that you were a gift to our family and we still receive you as such. I know that you were the perfect man for Stephanie. I know that you are simply better than most of the men on the planet and your strength is rooted in love:: unshakeable, devoted, focused, whole and holy, and on-purpose love.

Thank-you for loving Stephanie like you do. Your love lights her up. Thank-you for having three children that simply thrill us and for trusting our time with them, our impact on their lives. Thank-you for accepting who we are and what we bring and honoring us there and for letting us be your “in-laws.” Because we know getting Stephanie was the goal, but **surprise** …she came with a bunch of us. Haha! And you have been a honoring son-in-love and we are so grateful. We are SO thankful you live close and loan us the grandbebes. Oh, how they have expanded out hearts! You GET POINTS for this! :)

Thanks to Cherie and Larry Kelley for the honor of getting to enjoy life and family with their son!

Larry & Cherie came for a visit this summer. It was so good to see them. Here they are with our mutual grands:

tristan's parents summer 2014

Thanks to Stephanie for marrying so well! We knew we raised her right! :)

tristan and family

Thanks to the many fans who love Tristan’s drumming for seeing a little of what we see!

You’ve proven to have good taste!

See the MY PLAYING part of his website {{HERE}} for lots more samples. Or check out http://instagram.com/tristankelley

tristan kelley instagram

And thanks be to God for creating Tristan Kelley in the first place.

Much elation*jubilation*happy-dancing*applause here! Let the festivities continue!

And so I’d like to write a blessing, a decree for you, over you. And here is how I pray heaven’s blessing on you:

That you’ll always have enough:: enough resources to live well and bless others, enough time to accomplish all the things that interest you, and enough courage to raise those three children in troubled times. And may those children be the strongest, healthiest and most thoughtful people ever, leaders who change the landscape and bring peace and joy.

I pray your clients and students will receive everything possible thing from you freely, and that you are enriched by them, too. I bless you with the knowledge you need to impart and for you to be re-filled and fulfilled with all the goodness you have poured out (in business, in teaching) coming back to you!

I pray your family increases in love and that you walk in peace and rest on every side, but that when hard times come, you’ll be fierce and unflappable and know that you are strong enough, courageous enough and worthy of the respect so many of us carry for you (but none more than your Creator).

I bless the day you were born and the celebration of it. And I bless all your days to come. May they be amazing in every possible way!

We are so thankful for you. We love you so much. Happy Birthday (a day late). We are celebrating and rejoicing and grateful we know you and get to say you’re one of ours!  {mom}

 

The other sister

Oh, Victoria. {see Huffington Post article here}

I cringe. I think I know what you were saying or trying to say. And I hope it’s what I think: that we are blessed when we worship and when we obey God. I think you were trying to communicate that all of God’s promises are yes and amen, and that in Him we live and move and have our being and that the things He has called us to do and be bless His heart and make us whole and holy and happy and fulfilled by the very holiness of them. I think {hope} you meant to say that He has given us His joy so that our joy may be complete.

I really don’t believe, like many of our “extended family” in the Household of Faith seem to, that you meant to diminish our Father in heaven, or to say that anything less than loving the LORD our God with all our strength in every way possible (spirit, soul and body) is the standard by which we live.

“So [Jesus] answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”  Luke 10.27 NKJV

You weren’t actually meaning to say that we shouldn’t do this, though, right? You just meant that  in so doing, all we were created to do and be brings godly contentment, yes? And that God loves to see us happy and blessed, like in Psalm 1? Right?

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Oh, my sister, dear Victoria. With a stage and audience so large, with our excitement at being able to speak to so many people, I bet a lot of us might have said something that wouldn’t hold theological water somewhere along the line. I’ve screwed up royally before. I just haven’t done it with 6 or 7 million viewers to catch me meandering with words.

I am choosing to believe the best of you because I really think Jesus would have us in a circle and be writing in the sand about now.

The mockery is inhumane. I’ve been misunderstood and it sucks. I have desperately needed understanding and been refused. So, though I cringed at the phrasing, I am not casting you out of the family. I am praying for you.

God bless you and keep you. And I pray He comforts you, too. And if there is correction to be done, just remember it is just a part of the narrative of your life, and not an indictment on your existence.

Hey, um, church? Dearest Household of Faith?

My dear, beloved familia~

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions…Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Galatians 6 NIV

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe she is heading the wrong direction. Either way, the second half of Jesus’s command (from the commandments, people) was to love our neighbor. So how about, if you cannot stand to believe she is actually our sister in the Lord who needs some covering and support right now, you at least treat her like a neighbor and pray her up? Like you would want people to do for you?

Songs for a Sunday // For I Know the Plans

A really old Kent Henry album

Spotify says this one is from 1994, so that’s 20 years ago – good heavens! Kent is my all-time favorite worship leader. He blazed a trail in worship revelation and leading 30-40 years ago, but he has never stopped, he just keeps worshiping and leading people in to the Presence, year after year, decade after decade.

There is so much great musical worship out there, many new songs (Kent’s latest release: HERE). But every now and then – it is good to remember and some songs hold up over time and remind you of the good God has done over many years. I can recall what He was doing in my life when I was listening to these songs…

High and Lifted Up, For I know the Plans, The Repaired of the Lord (a spontaneous song of encouragement and promise), Burn it Deep (the reprise) – those are my favorites.

The promise in Jeremiah

As it happens, I caught a live-stream service from Summit Christian Center in San Antonio last night. Pastor Rick Godwin preached, “Good News in a Terrible Place.” It was about the conditions in which God’s people found themselves when that beloved and often-quoted prophetic scripture Jeremiah 29.11 came.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29.11 NKJV)

God’s people were in exile. They were in Babylon, a godless place and they were going to be there a long time, as per, you know – the God of the universe.

Rick said the truth is, being in exile is a regular part of the human existence and the word of the Lord to us is  build houses and plant gardens and marry and live fully and dwell and increase in that place – in our Babylon, our place of exile. Because even there, especially there, God promises:  I won’t leave you, I won’t quit using you and I won’t quit working in your life the way I have planned. Get used to it. You may be in Babylon a long time. But even there, there in your exile,

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord… (Jeremiah 29.12-14)

So that passage wasn’t about being immediately rescued from a bad situation, but about God being there even in the situation – and using us in exile to bless the people and community and world around us!

god has a plan

So, take heart, friends and family. Exile doesn’t mean you’re washed up, used up, outside God’s will or out of His favor. It just means, He has put you {led you} in to the middle of a place (a Babylon) that needs His glory, His light and love to be shown and He will do that through you! This is good news in even the most terrible of places!

The sermon podcast should be available soon! HERE…update 9.10.14…click here for video OR Podcast here

“Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.”  – Tim Keller, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

 

The Holy Wild

Even in the most suburban of lots, house-bound on every side, a mere speck in the greater-metro area landscape – there are things happening we I too rarely take time to notice.

Psalm 66.4 “All the earth bows down to you;
    they sing praise to you,
    they sing the praises of your name.”

What is this thing, that the older I get the less interested I am in man-made paraphernalia and the more fascinating I find unfettered creation, its endless variations and complete autonomy? How have we come to live so that nature, seeing the Creator in His most beautifully expressed perfection, just enjoying the world God has made –  is confined to the 2 week vacation we have planned somewhere “away from from it all”  or the occasional hike up a mountain and then we are back to car motors and concrete, air-conditioned homes and a tidy, boxed little version of this vast universe?

Created {creative} life is actively engaged and fully alive and we can participate, but we spend an awful lot of time looking at handheld devices, staring at blue-glowing screens, don’t we? holy wild aspen leaves

Aspen leaves shimmer as the sun breaks over the rooftops…

Takes one to know one

I feel land-locked. I have the sliver of a backyard that I actually do work to make enjoyable and as “natural” as possible, suburbia be darned. But I do have to think of the HOA…When I’ve lived in a small town, I have longed for the city lights and easy shopping excursions. But when that is the reality, I yearn for a pastoral setting with chickens for eggs and goats for cheese and a horse, of course.  I guess I am hard to please. And I forget to just notice the miraculous wonder all around me each day.

After reading Wendell Berry earlier this summer {click here}, I knew I needed to just start to see what is happening in the little universe that is my backyard again. So much is going on, it turns out, when I am so unaware, just a few feet behind a picture window. Life is happening, life abundant.

Psalm 65.13  “The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain.     They all shout and sing for joy!”

This is a test.

I went out to be still and quietly observe in the early morning, then the evening. Here is what I saw…

In spite of my predetermined locations, plants go wild and grow where they wish. No-see-ums throw raucous parties, throwing caution to the wind by dashing in and out of sunlight –  knowing they can be seen in that instant, yet daring the birds to get them en masse. holy wild dappled morning light

Morning light dapples its way across the lawn

The sun slowly rises and though the shadow remains very still across the lawn, barely quivering Aspen leaves get caught in the beam-fall of bright morning light and gently shimmer against the dark green velvet background. All else is still, very still while the sacred dance is performed. All creation is at worship…

A black and translucent dragon-fly looped around me playfully at one point, daring me to give chase. Luckily my camera was nearby and when I wondered how I’d ever keep up, sweet thing just landed beside me on a rusty old milk can and smiled pretty for the picture. holy wild dragon fly When he bid farewell and flew to another part of the garden, I decided to walk over and check a patch of sun-scorched grass, which I generally am irritated over, but which I decided to go view with mercy, to determine if I should re-seed or wait for cooler days to revive it.

Lo and behold, there in the middle of the little patch was a baby Mourning Dove!

Two Mourning Doves have made a home for their growing family in my Austrian Pine. Even though they are much too large, they often try to check up on me by lighting on a narrow edge just outside my window. They keep quite busy in their comings and goings and home {nest} improvement projects. And now here, in the brown and greenish corner of my lawn sat a plump baby dove. I asked if she was OK and where her parents were and I saw her heart was palpitating wildly as she checked me out, too. She’d obviously been instructed by her mommy not to talk to strangers. Just beyond, behind some rocks was her younger brother, slightly smaller and much more trepidatious about my presence. holy wild mourning dove 1 I stretched out on my belly in the cool grass, still slightly damp from last night’s rain, and we just looked at each other for a bit. Not long later, mommy and daddy dove returned and the happy family cooed and much happy wing-whirling (the distinctive sound they make upon each arrival and departure) ensued. Family, together again. holy wild mourning dove 2 Mourning Doves, I have since learned, eat seeds only, which explains the choice of the scorched spot – where seeds of every kind get caught on their way by.

Psalm 96.12  “Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy…”

Isn’t life amazing?

I went to inspect a particular pepper plant that seems to have a nightly visitor who enjoys leaf-munching. I mean, it is there amongst a row of pepper plants, and yet, one by one, the leaves of said pepper plant have disappeared to the stem, munched right off. I am sure it is a cute furry something or another, but I have called a neighborhood watch by the nearby tomatoes and basil varieties and given the other peppers a scolding for not reporting this travesty. Thievery in the garden will not be tolerated!

Just then, a tiny toad hopped right onto my foot and then off again. It couldn’t have been more than an inch long and must have thought I was a statue or something. I reached down to see if I could catch him, for wouldn’t the grandbebes think he was delightful? And his hopping became very high and zig-zaggy. I’ve never seen a toad go so fast. Just as well, he’d have peed in my hand, no doubt. holy wild untended garden boxes

Square-foot gardening, my attempt at taming the wild

A few hours later, in the shade of the  Austrian Pine where the Mourning Doves live, where it comes together with mountain rock and the ever-spreading shiny-leafed Pachysandra, we spotted a very, very large spider (aren’t they always very large?) weaving a web for his nightly dinner. It had reddish diamond shapes on its back and worked quickly and efficiently, a 2 foot x 2 foot area.  A peek into the space beyond and you realize there is this whole life system happening and my presence is of absolutely no consequence, even though this is “my” yard.

How did God do this?!?

Romans 1.20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and divine nature…”

I decide I should take a quick look at my woefully neglected garden boxes and see the purslane remains abundant {taking seriously the command to be fruitful and multiply}. It’s a weed because I didn’t invite it there, but it is also a sign and reminder that if I did nothing in the garden at all, if the world went crazy and the stores shut down and food was scarce, there are edible things in the back yard. I could live without starving off the purslane alone. Now add in the sneaky dandelions that plant themselves in established gardens and emerge strong for the feedings and my ongoing war with those resilient garlic chives, I could subsist on some very green and tasty stir-fries.

The setting suns each day are becoming more colorful, more brilliant and deep. And just as  you catch your breath from the painted skies in the west, a super-moon emerges and all over again, you’re in awe of this planet, this place God fashioned.

It’s 11 o’clock pm as I write this and the leftover brilliance of the super-moon is dazzlingly bright in the sky just outside my window. A cool breeze is rolling in and I have the urge to sing  “Somewhere Out There,” like I always have when the moons are big and full. What do you think the neighbors would say??? holy wild afternoon shade I’m just a speck. I’m a blade of grass. I am so lucky to get to drink in the air, enjoy dappled sunlight from my patio on quiet mornings, swing in the cool of the evening, listen to grandbebes splashing in the pool or zooming down the slide. And all around us, even here in this tiny, suburban slice of the globe, all of creation is revealing the invisible God, the Creator of all and all of His eternal power.

Leaves and weeds, grass and seeds, web-weaving spiders and gnats and beetles, ladybugs and dragon-flies, the birds of the air, my old dog…revelations of God, all!

I mean – wow! This is what is happening. Right here in my own backyard!

My Birthday Wishes for the Treasured & Deeply Beloved S-I-L, Dave

dp guitar

To celebrate the anniversary of your birth, I have words…

Of course, I do. Many words. Still, some 12 years since we met, I am so grateful you married our daughter and became a son to us. She wasn’t the only deliriously happy person about that, you know. You were an answer to prayers and a fulfillment of hope and Tara’s dream come true.  :)

If for no other reason than that you chose my firstborn and love her so deeply (and have blessed us with two spectacular grandsons), I’d think you were extraordinarily smart and wonderful.

dp with tara

But there are many reasons I love and admire you and my heart is tender towards you.

There have been incredible times since you became one of us, since the early days when we could suddenly be in the room with you: you, so well-liked, so sought after and admired and we could know, beaming with pride, he’s one of ours. You married the beautiful Tara and got the bunch of us, foibles and frailties and all. As mother-in-laws go, too many times, I haven’t been the one I had planned I’d be and for that, I apologize. I hope for all the times I have failed to encourage and bless you and for all the times I may still let you down in this winding path called life, you can find it possible to forgive me.

But I hope you do realize that I love and admire you and my heart is tender towards you.

Thinking about you turning 33 has had me reminiscing {of course}.

dp kickball

Three sweet memories on your 33rd birthday

1//  I remember years ago, when your hair was longer, some person(s) started referring to you as a surfer-dude, which was a totally erroneous label just because you have the ability to adapt immediately to culturally distinct people groups, one after the other, rather effortlessly. But was a silly summation.

Because, like Paul the Apostle, you can be Greek to the Greeks and a Roman to the Romans, skater to the skaters, or mighty man of prayer among the intercessors. You are fluent in joy-speak and compassion-mixed-with-mercy is a native tongue for you.  Because you’re able to adapt and flow as easily among Christian-magazine-produced minister’s meetings as you are with well-known rockers-saved-by-grace backstage at festivals, an old-timer mistakes you for merely a surfer-dude, with no offense to surfer-dudes.

It may have never bothered you a bit, but it irked me that you might be boxed in.

Because the point was and is – the apostolic anointing, the call. You fit. You have what it takes to be part of many groups and streams and situations. I so very much admire your courage and ability in this.

dp baseball

2//  I was also remembering a late summer night in 2006 in a barn east of Brighton. It was a night of ordination, really, doors open wide and the warmth of God’s smile permeating the atmosphere. The sun dropped slowly giving way to twinkling stars signifying God’s good pleasure as rich worship rose heavenward. I watched as you and Tara, in almost a second wedding ceremony of sorts, the sacredness so palpable, became wholly united (one voice, one heart, one mission), stepping out from the safe into the holy wild. Worship and the Word Movement revealed.

And those of us in that barn that night, the small group of us privileged to stand on that holy straw-strewn ground, were witnesses to divine oil poured out from heaven. We were the yes and amen as we watched this man and this woman courageously say YES with everything they had and we stood in agreement and echoed from our hearts,  yes, so be it, Lord.

You had already gathered the familia around your table a month earlier and we’d spoken blessing and prayed over you, then, for this movement-to-be. But the barn night, it was a night of nights, as we all watched you emerge, your voices blended, such power pulled from deep places of humility. You could practically hear a thunderous “This is my beloved Dave and Tara, in whom I am well-pleased.”

It was one of the most amazing and powerful nights I’ll live, I guess. I was so honored to get to be there, watching, pondering, treasuring the beauty of God’s call on you both, as one. So grateful I got to witness the birth of something of this magnitude, so full of favor.

Philippians 1:3-6 – “I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers…I always pray with joy…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

dp and hunter

3//  Then there was this festival we did together.

Man, those years meant so very much to me. In case I ever forgot to tell you or if time and circumstance has obscured the telling, thank-you for letting me be a part. I mean – God gave me something to share there, but how many men would be brave enough to let their mother-in-law be that close, anyway?

I love how God prepared me ahead of time {I still love the memory of the surprise of it} and you had the discernment to recognize and receive that and welcome me there. I will ever be grateful for that. It was the time of my life.

A blessing for you as we celebrate your life and look ahead this year…

And now, let me bless you and pray over you a little and impart some things I want you to remember. Is that ok? Let me assure you: I have asked God to edit me and I promise to do my best on letting Him! ;)

 “Dave, may the Lord bless and KEEP you. May He make His face SHINE upon you and BE GRACIOUS to you; may the Lord turn His face toward you and give you PEACE.” (Numbers 6:24-26).

I bless your life, David Michael Powers. I bless the days He has planned for you and I thank God we get to be included in your fascinating so-many-cool-things-to-come story. How very wonderful for us! I bless the days we have known you so far {of course I do!} and all the ones we have left!  You were uniquely crafted and specifically designed for God’s great purposes in these particular days on the earth. And to be in our familia. Now that is the coolest part!

I know God rejoiced when He was fashioning you in the secret place, and could not wait to celebrate and boast when you were born. Your parents both beam with delight when they are around you. I know they are soaking in the love of God in you, on you and through you! So I bless you to know {really know} the height, depth and breadth of His intense love for you – not for what you do or have done {as fantastic as it all is and will be}, but for who you are, as a man in his image and after His heart.

dp with tara

I bless your marriage to my lovely Tara-girl. She is the best thing I could ever give you. And we did so gladly present her to you at the front of that church as the setting sunbeams blazed through stained-glass windows but couldn’t hope to match the bright light of love passing between the two of you! There was not hesitation on our part in seeing her be joined to you, become one with you.

We raised Tara to be your wife, to love you, to walk in covenant with you. And we stood as witnesses that day to your marriage union and so we continue now to bless and pray protection over your marriage. We recognize what God has joined together and we pray that you are ever increased in love and oneness and laughter and mystery and discovery and romance and passion and friendship and rest.  I pray that the wife of your youth will bring you joy and delight all the days of your life.

I bless you as a dad to the two magnificent grandsons you brought into my life {and God bless Hunter and Malakai!}. I pray that if there is any special grace or anointing or gift or heavenly blessing on my family of origin or me, that it be poured out on you and Tara and that through you it would be generationally passed on to Hunter-Magoo and Kai-Kai. Just the good stuff, though!  :)

May each of your beautiful boys provide the opportunity for you to impart and teach and discipline and love and advise and find understanding about God’s heart towards you. And I pray you’ll have the wisdom to know how to bring them up, individually, to become the men God created them to be and that your ministry in your household will remain foremost in your heart.

And is it ok to say I am praying for increase and another blessed bundle of sweetness for you, too? Well, I am. Please do not refuse the gift of God in this area, and in fact: work for it!  ;)

dp with his sons

Worship. I bless your song, your music, your worship. I bless the psalmist in you that brings pleasure to the Father and Peace into the room.  Your song opens many doors to many rooms and the song of the Lord, well, it is enemy-defeating, battle-winning treasure.

Word. I bless your leadership and pray you’ll be bold and humble and settled. I pray you’ll complete the things God started in you and through you. You have influence through your words of understanding. I remember seeing a glimpse in February 2003 and saying, “One day I’ll say ‘I knew him when..'” These are those days and I bless the work of your hands, the words of your mouth, and I pray that all the things you do and say in His name will bring God all the glory.

Movement. I bless you as a man of God, a man’s man, strong enough to be gentle. You have everything you need for the next step, the next rooms, everything. Hebrews 13:20-21 – “May the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Finally ~ May you live securely and have full supply (full!). And may you be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God (can you even fathom what that will look like?). I pray your joy is full as you walk the steps God has ordered for you, that you are satisfied and content. But also challenged and surprised!

I pray these things with abandon, I bless you with all I have which is so limited, but also by all He is and all His promises, which are so limitless.

2 Timothy 2:1 – “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

And the birthday guy sings…

He’s one of my all-time favorites. Ever!

I started cautiously liking you from the time we met (May 2002, Could he be for real, I wondered?). Then, very quickly, my admiration grew and I loved you deeply. I still do and my heart is very tender towards you. Always will be. On the occasion of the celebration of your birth {Happy Birthday!}, just wanted to say so. {mom}