Five-minute Friday {tomorrow}

I will

Eat better

Start exercising

Watch less TV/Netflix/YouTube…..whatever 

Get enough sleep

Do more

Start following a budget

Stop complaining

Read my bible every day

Be nicer, better, smarter, thinner, healthier

Give myself a break

It’s a full To-Do list for a day that never comes….

Tomorrow

Hard as it can be, I’m choosing to live in the today’s. 

Linking up with Kate Motaung and a friendly bunch of bloggers to free write for 5 minutes on the word Kate gives and GO! Join the party!

For the Wanderers

He was sitting crouched in a chair, the blue hoodie over his head. He stood to give me a hug as I walked toward him, this skinny kid with a talent for rhyme and a bent for drugs.

His voice is soft as always but the silence he used before gave way to quick words of It’s good to be back. It’s hard out there.

The night before we’d all sat in the chapel. I’d heard that maybe he’d come back and maybe that was him curled up on a cot, the 100th person in a 99 bed facility. Let him stay I said to Gavin. We know when anyone first comes in their body is a shell and their mind a sponge that has dried hard from the toll of addiction. He didn’t need a bible class. He didn’t need to try to make himself listen or sit up. He needed rest.

Our gathering that night was different. Rather than two bible study groups we joined together to recognize the Lenten season. For some, to learn what this kind of lent is and for others to be reminded of the symbolism. For all of us to understand it’s personal how we do this giving and receiving.

Some sat with open hearts and I suspect some sat with unwanted yearnings for the poison that wants to claim their life. The magic cure alludes them because it isn’t magic but it’s work and surrender which is a lot like work.

The closing song lingers, its words echoing in my mind from the moment I woke.

Oh wanderer come home, you’re not too far

And he did. This wanderer whose face can’t even grow a decent stubble has come home.

He is just one but there are so many more. Some will come home to peace, to hope, and some will wander still.  But no wanderer is too far.

I’ve done my wandering and still do. I wander from gentleness and gratitude to cynicism and complaining. Both are equal poisons that threaten to steal what God wants me to have and to share. They won’t cause me to lose my family or a job like an addiction can but they can cause me to lose who God wants me to be.

Come sit at the table, come taste of the grace

I carry my burdens refusing to share and on days when they weigh me down I become that dried up sponge thirsting for grace.

It’s important to me not to think of how we’re helping these men who come through our doors but to consider how they are helping me. How alike them I am in wanting my will rather than God’s.

God uses the humble to confound the proud, perhaps.

We sit at the table together, he and I. This man-child who hasn’t given up. Who is ready to stop wandering. He has come home to grace and hope.

When the office sings glory

For years I was the night person. The one who got the kids bathed and in bed waiting for daddy to read their nighttime stories. I stayed up until the house quieted and found my quiet time after all were still.

Life changed and babies weren’t babies and their energy outlived mine and then I turned 40 and got this new burst that flipped our worlds upside down when the night person turned morning.

The kids turned the lights out at night while I woke up the sun and the life changed again.

It seems to keep changing, this life, and I can’t always keep up and, honestly, I don’t try as hard to keep up. I’m not sure who I’m keeping up with and I find myself sleepless at an hour I’ve not seen while healthy since rocking a grandbaby.

I leave the bedroom to read. I’ve been behind on certain reading, another keeping up that hasn’t been lately.

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sunset logo

sunrise 4909

I find Emily’s blog and am rewarded by her gentle words. There are some voices, that while I only hear them in print, their sounds are gentle like the lapping of the outgoing tide. Hers is like that for me. And her prayers are about the most beautiful I’ve read, simple and deep, felt all at once.

It was one short line that grabbed me this time:
“We are the megaphones of glory.”

Do you hear the beauty in that? Not the word megaphone because they are often louder than you want and have a harshness to them, but that word glory? That one word changes the whole thing. It changes an amplifier of sound into an instrument of glory and we are that instrument.

Me and you. We can be loud voices of glory.

I can be loud. There is no doubting that. I’ve told it before, we are the loud family. But most often I’m not shouting glory. Oh, God, forgive me of the megaphone of complaints and grumbling I use most often. Of venting when it’s an excuse for not getting my way. Forgive my selfish thundering and trumpeting my way over your way.

We are surrounded by glory but walk on by, failing to call it out in shouts of praise.

morning sun logo

He sat in the office today, a new young man. He said ‘the Major’ told him to talk to me, that he felt a stirring yesterday when others were sharing their words of glory. He wanted to share but he wanted to do so in song and he didn’t know if that was okay so he waited and he asked.

I told him to sing it for me and Michael was a megaphone of glory right there in that office with Eve on the other side of her computer and me listening to his glory sing right before us. He sang about praising in good times and bad because he’s meant to praise. Lord knows these can’t be the best times for a man who finds himself living at The Salvation Army. They are far from the worst but glory? Here? Yes, here, because You are here.

We are the megaphones of glory.
His glory.
Here.

Five-Minute Friday {relief}

It’s scheduled every 8 weeks. On my calendar with text reminders 3 days ahead.

I barely need the reminder, only to be sure of the time as it hasn’t been constant lately. But I need no reminder of the need and the relief this one hour will bring.

It’s not hard to say it’s my favorite day of the month. Or, every other month. An hour that is one of the most selfish times, and money, spent. It’s downright indulgent and I’m not the indulgent type! Except for this luxury.

I’ve asked Hudson if it’s too much? It’s more than I’d spend at a walk-in but he assured me it’s not and I’ve rationalized that what I get for it, and it’s just every two months, yeah, I’ve settled it’s money well-spent.

Today, is hair cut day.

Oh, but it is so much more.

hair stylist

It’s time spent in a dimly lit room with no talking, did you hear that mom’s of wee ones and everyone that lives in a world crowded with live and virtual voices? – NO TALKING, head laid back in a pool of warm water while the bubbles scrub deep in. And then, then the real luxury starts: the hot towel is placed over my hair to let the conditioner sink in deep, an herbal mask over my eyes and the relaxing hand/arm massage starts. That’s right, this is part of the standard shampoo process where I go every time. I am spoiled and I love it!

Relief.

Leah does an outstanding job with the cut but it’s that 15 minutes in the shampoo room where I do nothing but let someone pamper me. Where that herbal mask has brought relief to more tension and headaches over the past 4 or 5 years than I care to recall.

haircut days are also selfie days :)

haircut days are also selfie days :)

And I walk out of that place feeling like a million bucks on the inside and out. The Mr. knows what he’s talking about – it’s worth it.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the friendliest group of bloggers for a 5-minute flash-blogmob, writing prompt-party. Party crashers welcome!

And you are?

The words spilled out of her with ease.
“I’m a chef, world traveler, car washer and artist. Oh, and an architect.”
It wasn’t hard for her to lay claim to any of these titles.
She is 7.

car washing

Somewhere between 7 and where we are now some of those words got lost and we got lost a little with them.

at Granny's in Ft. Smith

Debby

It was thirty plus years ago when daddy sat with our daughter, his first grandchild. We were visiting him in California when he was caught in the awkward position of identifying his grandchild.

It was that unexpected, fun moment of awkwardness a child, especially the grown child, relishes seeing in her parent. It was the simplest of moments, making introductions.

The words introducing me as his daughter posed no problem but then he looked at this little one and his words froze. Words don’t generally stop spilling from an Irishman, especially this one. But he looked at Heather and paused a bit too long causing our words to collide.

Your granddaughter” I said as he was fumbling with “and this is……her daughter”.

I still think about that moment when daddy was caught unawares and an unexpected part of him was revealed.

He could have identified himself as many things with great ease and confidence but someone’s grandpa? Of course it was short-lived, quickly erased by the smile of this brown-eyed princess with bent pinky fingers just like his.

Like our granddaughter, there are so many titles we could use to describe ourselves. Some come quickly and others we are working our way to owning.

Words can make a mess of us or they can claim us and some days it seems a struggle to let the true words lay claim to being loved by God, whatever title we carry.

This is grace. Grace that loves the lier, cheater, and hater as much as believer, saint and follower.

“As a bird cannot exhaust the air in the sky nor a fish exhaust the water in the sea neither can we exhaust the grace of God.” – C.H. Spurgeon

Caught in His grace, this is who we are.

We are His.

The unmistakable cross

art journal

This painting is a mistake. It’s not what I set out to do.

We go to this place in North Carolina every summer. There is an old stone chapel with a stone cross on top. I’ve many photo’s of it as the setting is not only beautiful but conveys a deep sense of peace. I wanted to sketch it but I messed up. I drew lines where there weren’t suppose to be and suddenly it wasn’t what i wanted. But I didn’t want to give up. I’m trying to expand my vision of art, my abilities which have mostly been to copy, as closely as possible, whatever model I’m using. I need to push myself but the pushing is marked with hesitation and doubt.

Looking at the final outcome of this project gone wrong, I thought of the mistakes I make daily in life. And I thought of the cross that covers all of those mistakes. The cross that inflicted punishment and pain to the least deserving is the cross that erases my mistakes, that paints over them with colors of grace.

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Five-Minute Friday {good}

We work in good and bad.

We meet each Tuesday around the table with our Production staff. How are donations? How are sales? These two things vital to our providing for the 99 men in our Center.

Thursdays we meet in the same room, around the same tables with our Program staff discussing the residents, new men, periodic reviews, those who left and why.

30, 60 and 90 days their file is brought up and the questions asked:

Appearance and neatness? Work therapy? Recovery program?

Our answers range from poor and fair to good and, at times, excellent.

Our days are filled with casual conversations about how this man looked so bad when he came in or how good this other man is doing in his program. Good and bad aren’t academic or professional terms but they are the everyday language between staff to which we know the deeper meaning.

We recognize the good because we have seen the bad.

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Is that why today is called Good Friday? We know the accounts of Jesus’ mercy and grace, of the great love he showed to the forgotten and outcasts. He showed what good really is in the life he lived and showing us this good reveals the bad. It reveals my bad.

There’s a verse that talks about wherever sin is grace will be more. Wherever the bad and ugly, the wrong and unjust, in the midst of that grace will be deeper. It seems without the bad, we don’t see good.

It’s hard for me to be completely mournful on Good Friday because I know the anguish of the bad he suffered. But the good that is coming….that is the cross to which we cling. The one stained by his blood of sacrifice. The cross He left empty in his victory over death, victory over life. His ever lasting victory over good and bad because we have been redeemed.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and word loving bloggers to spill out unedited words for five minutes on the prompt she provides. Join the party!