Summer Breeze, Makes Me Feel Fine...

...the sun shines, a now-and-again breeze blows, as butterflies make their unpredictable trek across my back yard. Here in the 'burbs, we have "yards", and I couldn't be more proud or content with that reality. Come sit awhile at my table, under the shade of the umbrella, opened to its full width, sheltering you and I - you look like you could use a cold drink.

Settle back, and accept the heat and even the humidity. There is comfort in accepting some things exactly as they are. Relax into it, don't fight it, don't dislike it, because it just "is". You are in my back yard with me, at June's end, here in the luscious, luminous, languid South.

As soon as you begin to unwind, you'll start hearing all the tranquil layers of sound that surround us...the soft strains of a worship song carried by the outdoor son and his friends playing in the pool in our neighbor's back yard....deep voices, laughter and splashing...birds singing...the breeze that makes the branches of the huge oak tree breathe, whisper, and do will hear the windchimes. No one sound overpowers another; it all blends into a soft, watercolor sound-palette, no harsh edges.

I'm taking painting classes this summer, and with each new lesson, I am more and more in love with words. See, my mind is always making cross-applications. I'm the type of person who can watch an infomercial, and be smacked side-ways with a revelation into the ekklasia (the community of the called-out ones).

Words are my first love, in terms of art-form. I love their every nuance, cadence, and shade of color. I am compelled to trick-out my days with words, accessorizing my experiences, maximizing the joy. In more than one way, I am defined by the words I use.

Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks....words. Words spoken aloud, words spoken silently, they both equally will express and reveal what I truly believe, and what I believe will ultimately define who I am. A good woman, out of the good treasure of her heart, will speak good words. The things she says, even inside her head, will be good. Thus, the things that come out of her mouth will be good.

That Greek word for "treasure" (found in Matthew 12) is....well, you won't believe what it is. I just learned this today. That Greek word is....thesauros. Does that not just knock you out? Is that not crazy-delightful? Yup, we get our English word "thesaurus" from this Greek word, found in Matthew 12.

My heart is a treasury of words. As the Psalmist said, "my tongue is the pen of a ready writer."

I'll be quiet now. Sorry. I got carried away. I need to take my youngest son to work, now, but you just sit and relax. Make yourself at home - my back yard is your back yard...there is nothing better than summer in the south.

And a Very Happy Blog-Birthday to Me!

my very first picture, on my very first blog, last year. it took me forever to figure out how to do it! opening the door of my heart to the world was an unforgettable experience.

One year ago, this month, I plunged into the blog world. You can't quite call me "cutting edge" can you? I was a late comer to the blog scene, but that is just fine with me because I have a life to live, otherwise there ain't nothin' to blog about. I had been limping along for years with a used and always crashing laptop, and busy with life in general.

Last year, on Father's Day, Tim secretly got ME a new laptop. That was "his" 2008 Father's Day present. He's like that....and yes, I am blessed to be the most cherished wife in the world. Don't think I don't know. I am profoundly grateful every single day. I couldn't help but think about my husband, my laptop, and the birthday of my blog this past Sunday - Father's Day 2009.

I'll never forget clicking the icon "create blog". I'll never forget saying my first words. It felt like (timidly) opening the door to the world, and inviting them in for June peaches and pound cake.

And you came. You visited me! You like me! (How lame is it, to say that? I can't help it...) Lydia, Jamie, Ursula, Joel, Caryn, Chris and Christine, Dan, Jul, Ann, Donna Jean, Kim, Robyn - and so many more, along with my church family (who have indulged my passion for the computer keyboard, and borne with my need to write above and beyond the call of duty or friendship).

I have shared my passions, my home, my church, my children, a son's high school graduation, a daughter's wedding, birthdays and anniversaries, my heart and my thoughts and even a few of my secrets in this place, over the last twelve months. Blogging has been one of the sweeter blessings of my life, this past year. I am looking forward to my second year of seeing the world through the eyes of a writer - and more than that, through the eyes of a blogger. I hope I have been as gracious a guest on all of your blogs as you have been on mine.

Time is precious. Your time is most precious of all. I count it a joy and a privilege that you would spend even a minute or two with me here. Please come back and say hello when you can.

A toast: to blogging. Ain't it fun?

Collateral Repair

We've all heard the term "collateral damage". The term is defined as "inadvertent destruction." Often, collateral damages are the unintended consequence of war.

Months ago, my pastor-husband began teaching on grace in a way he has never taught it before. He's taught it before, he's counseled people in and inTO the grace of God for years, but very suddenly of late, he has latched onto the doctrines of grace, and began trumpeting and teaching them from the pulpit as if everything depended on God's people getting it. He has not let up for weeks and weeks and weeks. It has been work.

My hero.

And it has been a war of sorts. Only...this war has had much collateral repair. There has been many an instance of collateral healing - both physically (in small ways, so far) and emotionally.

Just today, after our time of corporate worship, a dear friend and sister in the faith came to me and shared in detail about a huge emotional healing that has taken place in her that she wasn't actively seeking. In fact, she pretty much woke up, and realized she has been healed from a deep emotional wound she has carried for two decades.

No one "taught to" her issue. No seminars. No list of "steps to emotional healing". No one telling her to grow up and get on with it. (She's tried that before.) She told me that it has been the emphasis on the grace of God that has brought this amazing collateral healing into her life. This is her analysis, not mine. I witness with it mightily in the Spirit.

Inadvertent, life altering blessing. Collateral repair.

Keep preaching it, beloved pastor-husband of mine! Happy Father's Day. Our God is on the move.


Grace is the unmerited smile of God. If glory is the dance of humans with God, grace is the ballroom – wide and free because there is much room. Grace is not a tiny little dance with thin music and stingy steps. This dance is large and free. It never constricts us. It is never set to measure how wrong the dancer or how foolish his elation. Grace saves with celestial music and redeems us, never pointing out to us the end we might have had, if we had not chosen Christ as our life partner. ~Calvin Miller

Stolen Snapshot

Stolen from Kelly's Blog, "Conformed To His Image" (see blogroll to the left...).

(L-R) Amy, me, Kelly, Lisa, Megan, Rhonda, Sarah, Angela, and our nurseLinda kneeling. Hannah took the picture, so she's not in this one.

I saw the best fanny -pack. Fanny- pack, not fanny. Ahem. Far be it from me, typically, to ever want or wear a fanny-pack. Even at forty-something, I am still slightly conscious of my "cool". I, who hiked without one, discovered they are the best things for a semi-long hike. I saw one with TWO waterbottles, one on each side, and the usual compartment in the middle. It looked very outdoorsy...sporty...I could work a fanny pack like that. I could make it look like the coolest fanny pack ever, and all middle aged women everywhere, who have previously avoided fanny packs as much as they have avoided "mom jeans", would want one.

I just might actually have to walk into a Gander Mountain store, and get one. I, who only darken the doors of the girly places like Ann Taylor - unfortunately to covet, never to actually shop - may actually search out a cool fanny pack. Someone please stop me, though, if you see me trying on the back packs with the weird-y ski poles.

A Saturday Spent With Friends

Ingredients for a Perfect Day ~

Take a moss covered tree, a 6 mile hike, with lots of time for conversation...

Add a gorgeous, tumbling river, the sound of which gets into your soul, bringing deep restoration....

Toss in ten women, each with an acute sense of humor, along with the prospect of LUNCH - stir vigorously...

The culmination of The Perfect Day. (By this time, we were absolutely starving.) See the river in the background? And the dollar bills on the wall? We signed our own dollar bill, and added it to the collection.

Harvest Women. Nothin' and no one in this world like 'em. They will fill you with shock and awe, make you laugh, and bless you so big you can't even begin to understand the lifestyle until you've lived it.

I love you girls! I wish each and every one of you could have come.

A Bit of Dark Humor

Yesterday, my daughter Hannah got her lovely, long brunette hair cut short, and she came by the house to show me her new hairdo. Adorable! Her new husband Justin thought it looked very cute. And I couldn't wait for her twin sister Sarah to get home.

Because before Hannah left, she put a gift on her sister's bed. Sarah had no idea.

Oh, I was howling and cackling. Sorry for the horrible mixing of metaphors (I picture a chicken with fangs...) but truly, I laughed until I hurt and the tears rolled.

Here is what Sarah came home to, neatly arranged in a tiny gift bag, complete with matching tissue paper and a card:

The card, which Sarah read before opening the gift of course, said, "Dear Sarah, I miss you so much! I got you a gift for those days when you miss me too. You can put it anywhere you want...under your pillow...hang it from the rear view mirror of your car...enjoy!"

Yup. Sarah, who adores getting presents, put her hand in the gift bag, and excitedly pulled out her "gift".

She. Freaked. Out. She threw it across the room, in a confused panic.

Hannah, posing with her old ponytail...

The evil plot is hatched...

Gleefully preparing her "gift"...

I don't know WHERE she gets the dark sense of humor. ::sniff:: Ahem. Oh, and by the way, the cut portion is gorgeous and shiny and bouncy, and is being donated to "Locks of Love". Well, that is, if we can convince Sarah to take it out from under her pillow....

What's New and Different These Days... In Pictures

Two generations of married couples...Tim and I on the left, Hannah and Justin, right.

Hannah's old room is now your guest room...when you come stay with us, here is where you'll be. Please pardon my treadmill, but I love having it in front of the window facing our pond!

No longer "the boys' room", now that Josiah has moved out, this is Isaac's room, with new-to-him drums, and TV (for video games only - this TV won't pick up channels.)

Tim got me roses this past week..."just because".

My Mother's Day gift from orchid. (Jamie Weeks - how do I keep this beauty alive?)

Just 6 weeks ago, this was a table for 6. Tonight, my heart finally caught up with reality, and I re-set it for 4. Soon, this will be a table for 2.

Snapped just now, in my back yard...

The butterfly garden is beginning to blossom.

Some new additions! (Foxglove)

Final Picture, I Promise (maybe...)

I think it is funny how Tim, Hannah, and I are looking three different directions. It was understandable! We had our dear friend Lesa as designated photographer...and there were friends, grandparents, aunties, and who knows who else also snapping pictures. You should see the short video clip on my Facebook page, recording the moment Justin and Hannah arrived at the reception. The cameras flashing made it look like some sort of red carpet event! Hannah was a rock star...