Showing posts from December, 2010


It has been a long while since I have posted anything here. I have been busy completing three years toward my B.A. in English and my senior year is underway. My current class (Creative Writing) has finally given me the space to take off the tight harness of academic writing rules, and it feels SO GOOD!! After reading my first assignment, Mom and Daddy gave it their thumbs up and suggested I make it a blog post, so here it is. It is my story and their story. It's a little longer than my usual posts, but as with everything I have ever posted here, I pray it encourages you to run "up the sunbeam to the sun" (C. S. Lewis).

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV

I sat above them on the stairs. Looking down through the window-like openings in the partition between the living room and the stairway, I listened to the basketball players, football players, baseball players, wrestlers, track athletes, both the lettermen and the also-…

Of Falling Buckeyes and Buds in Winter

In shades of winter white, the buckeye tree waits, hushed and still. It stands outwardly dead and cold in the rain and mist that drapes it in a pale shroud.  A fleeting moment of diffused sunlight touches the almond-colored bark and it brightens coolly.

A few tenacious buckeyes cling stubbornly to the tree, not ready to fall . . . not just yet.

The buckeye tree speaks to me in the days leading up to the turn of the calendar that drops the final leaves and buckeyes on the old year.

2010 has been more than I ever expected . . . and less.

It has been MORE . . .
. . . busy,
. . . rewarding,
. . . painful,
. . . terrifying,
. . . trying,
. . . victorious,
. . . grace-infused,
. . . celebratory,
. . . people-full
. . . and love-soaked than I knew it would be.

It has been LESS . . .
. . . plentiful,
. . . complicated,
. . . home-bound,
. . . sad,
. . . distant,
. . . tentative,
. . . fear-driven than it might have been.

I am thankful for all the bad things that could have happened, but didn't.

I am thankfu…

Living Backwards in the Upside-down Kingdom

"What I'm about to tell you is true. Anyone who will not receive God's kingdom like a little child will never enter it."  Luke 18:17 NIrV I've told you before that one of my all-time favorite movies is the 1967 musical, Camelot.  In that movie, one of my favorite characters is Merlin, who lives in a tree, keeps a pet owl who sits on his shoulder and has eyes that look like mercury--pure magic to me when I saw Camelot for the first time in the theater, my first movie ever!

In the beginning of the story, a nervous King Arthur finds himself at a loss to know how to do and say the right things to his bride-to-be, and he laments that his teacher, the wizard Merlin, isn't there to tell him what to do.  He tells Guinevere that Merlin "is the wisest man alive--he'd know what to do!  He lives backwards."  She is understandably incredulous, wondering what he could possibly mean.  Arthur explains further, "He doesn't age, he . . . youthens."


When Mama Grizzly Comes to Christmas

Celebrating is the easy part.  Lights, laughter, favorite food and sweet treats, songs that set bells a-jingle and us all warm and tingly with joy, and the Baby in the manger . . . yes, celebrating falls easy into our Christmas lives.

It's living Christmas out in the gritty grind that is sometimes very, very hard.

I must choose my words wisely to write this, I beg your patience for being deliberately vague about details.

I don't WANT to be nice.  I don't WANT to pray for them.

Mama Grizzly is growling low and menacing in me and I would like to unleash her to tell them about themselves.  I could have stood it if they had hurt me, but they hurt my cubs, and now are adding insult to injury--the Mama Grizzly crouches, ready to spring, everything in her screaming for the chance to put them in their place!

All stirred up inside, alone in my living room, I called home to my parents to vent my molten emotion.  I wanted sympathy.  I wanted vindication for the way I was feeling.  Mo…

Labor of Love

Here it is!  There is one box I must find first--the 22-year old cardboard box with yellowing shipping tape and Grandma Laurene's lacy handwriting with our used-to-be address in Oakland on it.  This is the decoration that goes up first every year!

The contents are just as they were the first time I opened this box--two pieces of heavy foam sandwiching the prize between them.  The excitement is the same in 2010 as it was in 1988! Our very own jewel tree, designed and hand-crafted just for us by Grandma Laurene and Grandpa Dale.

Like others in the family who had these special customized trees, Hero Husband and I, married just 8 months when we received ours, were being acknowledged as the beginnings of a new family, a new branch on the family tree.  I loved that!

I looked at every single detail!  There were so many lovely vintage pieces of costume jewelry I vividly remembered being worn by both my Grandma and my Great Grandma before her.

Oh, and look here--using an old brooch as a p…

Love Wrapped in Flesh

Word became flesh.
The Flesh-wearing Word lived and breathed and moved among us, sharing our space-and-time existence, for a span of 33 years.  In that mere blink of history, He spanned the chasm between divine love and human desperation.
Christmas . . . His coming.  We so easily envision His birth, the praising angels, the Joy to the World, the Peace on Earth, the Good Will to Men, shepherds, wise men, drummer boys--the Christmas card comes to life in our mind's eye.  But do we rewind a little further, go back to the moment where He took off His glory like a glistening robe and left it hanging on a hook in Heaven's hallway?  Do we envision the moment He handed His crown to His Father and said, "Don't worry--I've got this!  I'll go!"  Do we reckon with the sacrifice it was for Him to limit all that He had always been to the permanent wearing of humanity, just so He could rescue us from the dragon . . . and ourselves . . . and our ugly sin? He, who…

Stacking Lack or Gathering Bounty?

Northern California is rainy this time of year.  While many of you are eagerly anticipating the beauty of a white Christmas, here we get rain.  Some people don't like it and can't wait for the return of the sunshine, but I like the break in the monotony of weather that doesn't have 4 distinct seasons to follow.  Rain is also lovely for turning the hills an almost Irish shade of green (at least how I imagine Ireland to be).  Then there's always the fact that I hate it when the powers that be talk about drought and rationing water and expecting me not to flush toilets--so yessirree, I do love the rain!!

This week brought rain, really more heavy mist than rain, but so heavy you could actually hear it. It soaked and soaked and soaked into everything.  For a day and a half it lingered.  It gave some people all the reason they needed to complain.  I just listened to the lovely soft sound it made and breathed it in.  The morning it stopped, I drove up a street that is lined o…

Simple Simplicity

I love Christmas lights!!  I love the color and dazzle they bring!  I love that they illustrate the truth that Jesus came as the Light of the world!  Every year there are a number of houses I can't wait to see decorated! Some of them are so elaborate, I think the people must have to start around the 4th of July to get all those lights in place for the next Christmas season!  I love it that there are people who will go to these lengths, but it makes me tired just to think about all that work!!  Here is a video of one such magical place (I've never been there, but would love to see this in person!)--more power to 'em!!

Pretty great, huh?!!  I think so too!

Of all the houses that I love to see decorated, there is one house I look forward to more than all the others.  They came through for me just this past weekend, much to my delight!!  My son called me a "creeper" for going and lurking in front of this house, quietly snapping pictures to capture it, but I LOVE THIS …