Archive | patience

what the transfiguration taught me about blogging

smart phone photo

One day, Jesus and I walked to the top of the mountain and Jesus was transfigured, showing me all of His glory. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared and they started chatting it up like old times. And I said, “Jesus, it is a good thing I’m here, because I have an iphone and this totally needs to be on Instagram!”

Besides the fact that it was actually Peter and not me, this story is pretty much a retelling of the true transfiguration story in Matthew 17. The actual scripture sounds just as ridiculous.

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

It may sound like a stretch, but this is what the transfiguration taught me about blogging. Peter has just seen Jesus Christ transfigured and Moses and Elijah, both long-dead, standing and speaking, and yet it isn’t until God Himself speaks from a cloud in heaven that Peter falls on his face. First, as my Bible says in the notes, he desires to set up an appropriate memorial for this moment.

I love that it says that God interrupted him. Memorials are all fine and dandy, but Peter was, as is the often the case with myself, missing the point. God commands Peter and the other present apostles to listen to His son. They fall on their faces and, when they look up, see nothing but Jesus. This is exactly as it should be. We hear from God and fall down and worship, seeing only Him. And yet, I think we have a tendency to go with Peter’s first inclination.

Something amazing happens: a mountain top moment. I hear from God! I witness a miracle, receive a message, see a vision. The next thing I want to do is blog about it, tweet about it, instagram it. I want to share with the world immediately! What great blog fodder that was, God! Now I’ll help you out by spreading that message to the world via social media! It’s a good thing I was there, because this needs to be documented!

Here God, let me tag you in this picture so all the world may glorify you! Let me hashtag #thewondersofyourname that we might worship you! Let me get the SEO just right on this post so we might share your good news! And then God knocks me on my face and says, “This is my son we’re talking about. Listen to him.”

And I lie there panting in the dust for a moment before Jesus touches me and says, “Rise and have no fear.” And for a beautiful moment, I’m actually focused on Him.

Not focused on being a Christian, but on being in the presence of Christ. 

It is so much easier to talk about God and tweet about God and use God as a marketing tool than to actually see Him. It is so much easier to “live the Christian life” than to fall down in his presence and listen to him.

As they walked down the mountain that day, Jesus and James and John and that guy Peter with whom I often relate, Jesus tells them not to tell this story until later.  It was not the time or the place to whip out the smart phones. It was not their story to tell. He would be glorified later, He assured them. And after seeing him “transfigured before them,” his face shining like the sun and his clothes white as light, you’d think they’d trust him on that one. You’d think I would too.

We serve an unseen God who listens to the prayers of unseen people in unseen places and works unseen miracles. Everything that happens on this earth is preparing us for an “eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Just wait for that weight of glory, beyond all comparison. I don’t think social media will even cross our minds when that day comes.

P.S. I understand the irony of this blog post about something God taught me. That’s really not the point either. We are told to share the things God teaches us, but more importantly, we should worship God. He put this on my heart many months ago, perhaps this was the right time to share? 

6

a week since molly

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(sigh)

A week ago today, our beloved poodle breathed her last. It was not. a. good. day.

She was fifteen, we had had her since I was seven. It was an agonizing little funeral. I still cannot really write about it, but I will say that our family and friends have been so sweet and sensitive about our loss and we appreciate that very much. Also, God orchestrated things to be as good as they can be on this broken earth. We were almost all home when she went, Joey was able to get off of work early (when he’s usually swamped) to be with us and she never seemed to be in pain. Still, WE are in pain. Just today, I cried my eyes out driving to the grocery store. She was a dog…but she was not a dog.

So, let’s get back to the part where I’m crying my eyes out. My only hope was that some handsome guy would see me and show some concern/marry me, but alas. I wiped my eyes with my palms like a two-year-old, pulled my cap over my face and jumped out of the suburban. There were groceries to be purchased. Before going in, I remembered to walk around to the back door and slam the sliding seat (you know the one?) back into it’s place. My tearful journey had only been made more nauseating by the fact that at every red light and stop sign, the gigantic middle seat had slammed into the front seats with the force of a torpedo. I gently pulled it forward and then, with all my might, taught it a lesson. I bet that’s the last time that seat interrupts my snotty blubber-fests.

Sloshing through the parking lot, I commandeered a basket and then did my shopping. People were probably friendly, but I don’t remember. I was too busy having a crummy day.

Through the remainder of the day I parked diagonally, squirted soap up my arm, spilled several things, forgot how to do laundry, picked dandruff out of my hair, filled out an application incorrectly, served myself a rotten potato, said angry words to my internet connection, ate potato chips and thought about what I a failure I am. If there were check lists for crummy days, I would be an over-achiever.

It had been a week since Molly died, over a month since Meggie left, a day since I found out a didn’t get the job. Wah.

And then my little sister bought me a ticket to see The Vespers in concert. And a children’s book arrived in the mail. And I ate a Creme Saver. And read my Bible. And prayed. And  listened to music. And (finally) put my laundry away. Maybe this day was redeemable after all.

As I was making my chocolate milk to go along with my peanut butter and jelly sandwich (no cooking today) my older siblings discovered the pile of mail that has been discarded disinterestedly on the entry way table. And there’s a letter. And it’s from Meggie.

We have never received a letter from her before. We had heard nothing from her. And then this-a letter on purple paper! “I love femaly” she writes. And “happy valentine’s day” and “xoxo.” There’s a picture of each of us with our names and then a tiny little picture of herself. The littlest one with the big dreams of coming home to a “femaly” someday.

Though the adoption process is barely moving forward at all, we still hope to see her this summer. God orchestrates everything, even on this broken earth. Come home soon, Meggie. That will redeem every crummy day.

4

dear meggie

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Dear Meggie,

I am sorry that you’ve never known what it is to have an older sister. Mothers and fathers and grandparents may have failed you in your short nine years, but an older sister never even got a chance to do that. I’m sorry that you’ve never been in on the tradition of watching Little Women when it gets cold or passing each other notes between our rooms or secret codes for knocking on the door. I’m sorry that there haven’t been sororal piggy-back rides or late night talks or tickle fights. I’m sorry that you’ve been so solitary while we’ve been so together.

Can you believe that I already miss you and you’re just in the next room? It’s after midnight, but I bet you’re still listening to my keys clacking. I just tucked you into your covers to next to Jubilee (tonight is the kind of night that calls for doubling up next to someone warm) and you asked me to sing for you. Meggie, a big sister is someone who sings you lullabies on nights when Mommy is crying. We miss you already.

You’ve been through more in the past nine years than I might go through in my whole life, yet I see you smiling through the tears. I see you forgiving and learning to hold your own temper. I see you coping like a pro. You astound me.

You have this tender heart and strong moral compass and I wonder who in the world ever pointed you North in your life? Every Christmas when you get a year older, you’ve looked back on a year of chaos and turmoil. Role models seem to be scarce and yet your heart is so strong. You are something I never thought I’d see and you’ve singlehandedly restored my hope in humanity.

I sometimes wish you were born into my family and I could’ve known you and loved you your whole life, but then you wouldn’t be Meggie. And we wouldn’t be us. I wish I could see the front of this embroidery work the Lord is stitching, because from under here, everything looks like chance and loose ends. From under here I cannot fathom why you would need to go through what you have, but God knows.

I told you today while we both cried at the kitchen table that someday we’ll look back and hardly be able to remember this sad time. Before I know it, you’ll be a lovely American lady and I will wrack my brain for the feeling of your soft skin and the smell of your shiny hair. I want us both to remember that you call your freckles “sparkles” and say that they’re a gift from the sun who loves you. You have a little up-turned nose and clear hazel eyes and the shiniest hair I ever saw. You have little square hands and feet and a gap between your two front teeth that makes you smile with your mouth closed, but we sometimes catch your real smile and it’s electric. Oh, how we love you.

I feel fear grip my heart because I think I’m about to push fast-forward on the best movie I’ve ever watched and next time I see you, the credits will be rolling on your childhood. I pray it’s not long until you’re here for good, part of the family, safe.

Stay small, Meggie. Stay small and sweet and soft. Stay silly and bright and brave. Be just like this when you come  home and be just like this the rest of your life, because I think you’re positively perfect just the way you are.

Tomorrow you and Mommy and Daddy will fly out. You will spend one more night together in Chicago and then you’re off. Across the sea, the miles, the barrier between us. You’ll be back to the orphanage and the boarding school, life without a family. That’s what feels like sand paper going down my throat. You could’ve lived your whole life without knowing the love we cannot help but lavish on you. How many more Meggies are out there tonight, just praying that someone would stroke their hair and sing “I see the moon” before drifting off to sleep?

I didn’t know I wanted another sister. I didn’t know I could love another the way I love the ones I already had. But oh how I do. You’re like a dream of  a girl from a book. You are the flourish at the end of our family name. I love you, Meggie-Moo. Hurry home.

7

this is the day

beauty berry: this is the day

I’ve often heard it said that we should live like we’re dying.

Really? Like we’re dying? That sounds kind of panicked if not macabre. What about living like there’s something worth living for, whether you have a thousands of days left on this earth or just one?

I’m in a pseudo college student season. Most of my friends are in class all day, watching their grades, applying for internships and grad schools. They all seem to have a few questions in common, “What should I do after I graduate?” being number one.

Though my lifestyle is very different, our questions sound the same. I’m living at home, writing blog posts instead of papers. I spend 90% of my time with my family, most of that at Eyrie Park. I cook, clean, run errands and goof off with my ten-year old sister almost every day. It’s not the life of a college student.

But I have the same fears. What if I’m wasting my life?

crooked: this is the day

What if I never marry? What if I never become independent? What if I get stuck and nothing comes of any of this effort?

It’s a season of questions and waiting. There is a feeling of rushing down a river toward a waterfall, unsure of what fate might lie at the bottom. Every day bustles by, every iphone has a full calendar app. Plans must be made and made now or you’ll miss the boat! And everyone knows what happens to people who go over the waterfall without a boat…

sisters: this is the day

Sometimes my house is suffocating, but I’m always thankful that I live here rather than in a dorm with a couple of people my own age. I sometimes slip out of the house and walk around in the pasture (less now that we’re building a house there!) and think about what’s changed and what’s remained. I know that some changes come like spirits through all the walls and locked doors we may put up. They appear when we least expect them, but their presence is impossible to ignore. Jubilee is getting tall and losing her baby teeth. She reads chapter books in a day and bravely goes to overnight events at the church. You can’t mistake the fact that she’ll soon be a young lady.

But I think I forget to remember this one thing: today is today. And today is the day. The day that the Lord has given me at this ordained time. I will never wake up and say, “Hooray! It’s finally “tomorrow”! Now I can be the person I always wanted to be!” The future won’t feel like the future. It will feel like today.

photo ala photo: this is the day

And that’s the secret to living life like life’s worth living. That’s the secret to enjoying your life! Enjoy today. And then enjoy today. And then enjoy today.

I’m not waiting for anything. Sometimes I get giddy thinking of what God might have in store for me, but I don’t know what that might be. One way or another, it is beyond my imagination. But I don’t have to “wait” for that. He’s given me something today. Life. Breath. People to love. Things to do.

My rushing about doesn’t change how soon God’s best will come. It’s a daily thing. New mercies every morning. The rising of the sun. The postal service. :)

rainboots: this is the day

I’m done wasting my life while waiting for it to begin. There is so much given to me daily and so little faith in all my plans. God planned this day for me. It would be a sad thing indeed to waste it waiting for tomorrow.

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day..” Hebrews 3:13 

5

tutorial for life

My parents were out of town for an old friend’s wedding and I was taking the day off from the things I usually deem “important” and focusing on what is probably always most important. Hanging out with my family, giving them my attention, making sure everyone is comfy and safe and happy. I decided to take the kids to a yard sale where they were selling lemonade and books and other interesting items and then we came home and ate lunch before heading to the park. We had such a good time at the park. Our completely unpredictable Texas weather (no, it is not always hot) was ideal for sitting on a rubbery bench and reading while Willin and Jubilee played on the jungle gym and roller bladed along the pathway.

The jungle gym was never my favorite piece of playground equipment. I was definitely more of swingset type of girl. I was never very strong or very fast, but I was both on the swingset. The jungle gym wasn’t very entertaining to me, unless we could pretend it was something else entirely, and when I see a jungle gym at a distance that’s just crawling with kids who have their tennis shoes in each other’s faces, making it look like a ball of ants, I feel a little claustrophobic.

IMG_0178Watching Willin and Jubilee play on the jungle gym by themselves, I realized why so many children enjoy them. Willin gave it a good shot, but soon tired of dangling aimlessly from his appendages and went back to rollerblading. Jubilee, however, played on that jungle gym. She hung from her feet, from one leg, from one hand. She jumped from one end to the other, climbed up the straight poles like a monkey and slid down like a fire chief. She did the monkey bars forward and backward, jumped onto the high hang bar and did pull-ups. Aha! I thought. The jungle gym would’ve been much more fun had I been built like Gabby Douglas, here. 

Three cheers for Willin, however, who, though he is like myself when it comes to jungle gyms (learned how to do the monkey bars just before getting too tall to hang from them) he is quite good at rollerblading, something I never even really attempted to learn. He rolled around and Jubilee dangled and I made them both wear their helmets the entire time. A little black girl asked me if I was their teacher. Birdie snapped photos and we headed home in time to make dinner.

As I mentioned a couple of rabbit trails ago, my parents were out of town this day, so I decided to try a new recipe that I didn’t think they would like. A recipe, however, that I was pretty sure my little snaggle-toothed minions would gobble up. Meatloaf.

I had bought the ingredients the day before, so I simply pulled up the recipe on my laptop and set to work. The recipe was fairly easy seeming, but there was one thing that troubled me. There was only one picture.

Now I know this is very upperclass, snobbish, modern whiny-baby of me, but I like pictures with my recipes. I mean, quality photography. I want to know, not only what this dish should look like when I’m done, but preferably what it should look like every step of the way. I don’t trust plain old words when it comes to cooking. If you expect me to try a recipe, you better show me what I’m trying to do. In color.

Meatloaf isn’t known for looking appealing, but raw meatloaf is even worse. After I mixed all the ingredients together, I snapped this picture. Perhaps IMG_0180I just impulsively wanted this recipe to have one in-process photo taken of it before it was eaten. Perhaps I wanted to remember that a delicious meal always starts off looking pretty awful. As I kneaded the cold meat and chopped the onions and mixed in the eggs and obsessively checked the measurements, I thought about how tutorial-driven I am.

I want a tutorial for everything. I don’t always follow the directions, but, in moments of panic, I want to be able to blame the author of the instructions for anything that goes wrong. When I checked the meatloaf and found that it was very runny, I commented on the blog post wherein I had found the recipe and asked her what I had done wrong??? I ended up draining it several times and cooking it extra and serving it to munchkins who never knew the difference. They didn’t know that I had never made meatloaf and didn’t know if I myself would like it. They didn’t know that I thought it looked kind of gross and had poured juice out of the pan just moments before. All they knew is that it was meat (yum, right?) and that I was the cook. They trusted me. They ate the meatloaf. They told me I was “the best.”

I thought the meatloaf was pretty good. I wouldn’t want it every day, but it was a fun change. I like making new things for the kids that’s not on our usual, less-meaty menu. Recently, my amazingly talented chef sister lent me a few of her cookbooks. One of them has no pictures. But I’ve put a lot of sticky bookmarks in it and I’m hoping to try some of those recipes soon. The sticky bookmarks are marks of trust. Maybe this author actually knows what he’s doing. Maybe I can make something and take my own pictures.

Maybe it’s good, not to know sometimes, you know? Maybe it’s best if we don’t know that, before I get to be “the best,” I’m going to have a bowl of runny meatloaf and a decision to make.

everly

p.s. if you’re even thinking about making meatloaf, you need to watch this important video first.

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