Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lavish Love

It’s four days past Christmas.

And maybe you trimmed your home with sentiment and cheer this month…

Maybe you traveled or maybe loved ones gathered in your home….

Maybe you maked-and-baked in preparation for time together...

Maybe you shopped and placed presents under a tree...

Maybe you reminisced about the old days or made new holiday memories…

I heard a story on the news last week about a community of "Secret Santas."  Anonymous strangers who pulled out wallets at layaway counters nationwide.  Families who walked in to chisel at payments were shoved off their guard with good news: balance paid in full.  Wet faces and swollen hearts carried home presents...and hope.

As December packs up and 2011 waves goodbye, I'm thankful for a God who showed up, opened wide His heart, and slapped down payment...the gift of Himself.  Peace on layaway?  Paid in full.  Hope on layaway?  Paid in full.  Forgiveness?  Purpose?  Bright futures?  New tomorrows?  Paid in full.  Celebrity born to obscurity.  Majesty...lullaby-ed in a manger.  Creator, Author of Life, bent down low.  Vulnerable and weak, an infant - dependent on the tender care of a mother, the protection of a father.

Maybe you were able to breathe deep and soak it all in - family, traditions, friends, love, laughter - everything Christmas. Or maybe amidst the busyness of this holiday season your inner Zen stepped out on you.  Maybe now that the gifts are unwrapped, the magic is fading like a child grown up.

But Christmas isn't over. 

The Great Gift-Giver keeps giving and giving and giving.  He cannot help Himself.  He gives because He loves.  And He just keeps loving and loving and loving.

Maybe it was your first Christmas without him.  Maybe her seat at the dinner table sat empty.  He gives Himself.  Alpha and Omega, The One Who Never Leaves.

Or maybe the life you carried inside slipped from your womb to the grave.  He gives Himself.  His shoulder for your tears, the One Who Sees...Hears...Knows...

Maybe you found yourself alone again, when you thought for sure that this would be the year.  He gives Himself.  Protector...Provider...Husband.

God, squeezed into man.  The answer to all our hearts' questions; the fulfillment of every longing....asleep on the hay.  Emmanuel.  God

The people who walked in darkness 
have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—light...
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants...
Is gone, done away with...
For a child has been born—for us! 
the gift of a son—for us!
He'll take over 
the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor, 
Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness.
...there'll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
Isaiah 9, The Message

He gives Himself.  Happy for-God-so-loved-the-world-Christmas, all. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Red Rover

It's been a year...

I'm not sure where the time goes, but a little over a year ago we moved from our first home, off to adventure life in a new city.  Our move sputtered and stalled, four weeks turned into four months and crescendo-ed with a broken ankle - mine. 

I was looking at 30 just weeks prior, determined for newness, a list of resolves folded and tucked away in my heart...

  1. Listen for God.
  2. Less fear; more love.
  3. Try; it's okay to fail.
  4. Mess is good.
  5. Give grace.
  6. Use my words to empower.
  7. Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion...(Zech. 7.9).
  8. Treat all equally.  Be intimidated by and look down on no one.  We are all just people, after all.*

I never would have chosen this year of detoured plans and clipped wings.  But looking back, it was these very circumstances that watered my little list and made it shoot down roots to my soul.

If we let them, if we give them space and time, hearts and bones mend.  They come back stronger, more resilient, more sure.  And it is amazing to me how the good and bad of life can mold and shape...and then release us.  And while these seasons leave their mark, they no longer hold us.

This year, as I turned 31, I wanted guests for dinner.  Because when I wasn't sure how to keep up hope and see good, these precious people linked arms and deflected the darkness that tried to red rover my soul.  I loved them before, but now they are forever branded on my heart.

In a society that screams independence, that promotes and applauds the self-made and DIYers, I am thankful for a circle of friends, a small band of hope-ers who loved, full and fierce, refusing to let gloom break through.

Raise a glass to friendship
And to knowing you don't have to go alone
We'll raise our hearts to share each other's burdens
On this road.
Every burden I have carried,
Every joy - it's understood.
Life with you is half as hard
And twice as good.


Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Don't go alone.  Be seen, known.  Raise a's to going together.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I think she's picked her song.

Each of our littles have snuggled up with Aunt Kenna early in life, bonding over lyrics and melodies.  They smile into each other's hearts, discuss, break, regroup, try others on...  And at some point walk away with a lullaby pact.  A sort of secret handshake.  You sing THAT song, you're in.  I'll be happy.  Deal?  Deal.

Eden's - Three Little Birds

Silas' - Pack Up Your Troubles


Who's my pretty baby?  Who's my pretty little baby? 
You're my, my pretty little baby. Hey, hey, pretty babe.

And we will keep up our end, let me tell you.  We like happy babies.  Hey, hey.

I love this time of year.  Dear ones gather, the faucet of togetherness on full blast.  Thanksgiving fades to Christmas and graduates to New Year's.  Family and friends leave the grit of routine and step under the reuniting waters of love and tradition.

thankful (adj.)
conscious of benefit received; expressive of thanks

Coming to the end of a year of change and uncertainty I can say with conviction that I am thankful this Thanksgiving.  Thankful for the adventure of life, broken ankles and all.  Thankful for the ways it changes us.  Thankful for new days.  I'm thankful for forgiveness.  I'm thankful for family that are friends and friends that are family.  That hard seasons pass.  That good seasons come.  That through it all, no matter the season, the Alpha and Omega - the Beginning and End - of our souls stays.  And if we made a pact with Him, if He sang a lullaby over us, I think it'd sound something like this.

I pray you know His arms this holiday.  I pray you pause between the stories and pumpkin pie.  I pray you hear His melody wash over your soul.

Happy giving-thanks-Thanksgiving, all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Souls Ajar

cel·e·brate (v.)
to mark a special occasion or day; to praise something publicly

I'm a big believer in the awesomeness of life.  Fragile but fierce, life deserves our applause.  Okay, it deserves more than that - it merits world-wide standing ovations.  And so I can't help but reply to Facebook statuses of soldiers returning to their, sound, home.  I can't help but share good news for Kate McRae (latest MRI update here.)  I can't help but weep over a boy in the Amazon named Jonathan, neglected by family and pursued by Compassion.  And I can't help but cheer when I read of hundreds of India's daughters changing their names from the one of their parents gave them - "Unwanted."

The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.
Emily Dickinson

Life is wild and precious...fighting the waves of war and cancer and hunger and cruelty that break hard against its shores.  Shouldn't we pause to give life the credit it's due?  And then C to the E to the L to the E to the B to the R to the ATE?

Each year we circle the miracle of life on our calendars with birthdays.  'Cuz when so many things could have gone horribly wrong in a womb, we were born.  Simple days that mark time...and scream of life.  Another year - more scars, more stories, more laugh lines, more...

We've celebrated a whole lotta "more" over the last few weeks.  Princess and costume parties, a brunch to honor my mom's 6-0.  A bonfire with my siblings.  Wii tourneys and the baring of hearts with out-of-town friends - blessing the "more" together...

Sunday, we celebrated my husband.  I'm grateful for Jon, for his life, for what it means to my life. There's a line from the movie Eat, Pray, Love where Felipe says to the main character, "You don't need a man, Liz.  You need a champion."  Jon is mine.  And I'm so thankful for more life with him.

I suppose it's easier to shut a soul up; to close a soul down.  To believe life doesn't begin at conception after all and even if it did, it isn't all that special to be here anyway.  Easier to walk away from a friendship or a marriage when hearts are shattered.  Easier to check-out of nurturing a child when connection is a struggle.  Easier to ignore the poor or the cast-off.  Easier to view people as commodity or resource rather than sacred, holy, precious, life...crafted and loved, fashioned by a Creator-God for purpose and delight.

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Souls ajar.  Fighting.  Celebrating.  Imagine the life that would rise up from that place...

Happy Birthday Zai, Anya, Jael, Mom, Judah, Jon.  And welcome to another beautiful year of more.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More love

Hello November 10.

October vanished at our house, as I'm sure you can imagine.  After two weeks of help from my Momma Metz, my hubs, and my mom, I braved the transition to three on my own. You know you aren't on top of things when you're picking carpet fibers out of your toothbrush and deleting nursing pictures off your phone.  Sorry mommas...Mother of the Year Award is all mine.  Maybe next year?  Mmmk.

Three kids in three years is busy, I won't lie.  And the days are full of running.  At times I'm tempted with impatience and long for quiet.  But in the midst of the crazy, when all three littles need something at the same time and I'm subbing coffee for sleep, a Clif bar for breakfast and carrots/hummus for lunch, I find myself praying for more love.

Love to hear that my three year old needs to talk and my 20 month old needs to cuddle.  Love to stop and play Elefun when our toilets need cleaned and dishes are piled up at the sink.  Love to snuggle a newborn when all I want to do is dive into my bed and sleep.  Love to enjoy and relish this sweet season where months disappear and littles grow at lightning speed. 

And this God of Angel Armies?  This Creator-King?  He stoops down to hear the prayers of a tired momma.  He gives me clear vision and fills me up.  Exhausting as it is, I'm loving the challenge to dig deeper.  I'm loving my role as "mom" more than ever.

We'll hit a new stride and I'll be back to posting more regularly, I swear. But until then, O Lord, let me see well the beauty of now.  O Lord, give me more love...

And above all...put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony...
Colossians 3.14

Monday, October 24, 2011


There's a new girl at our house.

Hat courtesy of Anna at Classy Colors.

She came as babies do.  The kids and I were headed out to the store.  Jon's mom was in an airport on her way to our house.  I had just scooped Si up from a spill on the stairs, and my water broke.  Six-and-a-half hours later, we were holding our sweet Maizy Tam.

Photo by Kenna.

A nickname for Margaret or Marjorie...

Pure, innocent, honest
My grandma Marge's middle name...

Tuesday, October 4, 11.42p
7 lbs. 12 oz., 20 1.2 inches

Photo by Kenna.

The last few weeks have been full.  Friends and family have traveled and called and sent gifts and face-timed and loved on our girl. 

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

Photo by Kenna.

"With my good news you're dancing on the tables..."
Sara Groves, Twice as Good

And it blesses me like I can't even say to know that Maizy has been so sweetly celebrated.  That her new life is precious to those dear to us.  I look at her now, asleep beside me.  Breathing in and out and smelling like only newborns can.  I wish I could say that every soul born to the world was met with such unguarded love.  So, thank you.  Thank you for the gifts of your words and time.  We are sincerely humbled by so much kindness.


Even more "thank you's" are in order.  October 13 marked the one year anniversary of this little blog.  A shy dream to use my words slipped into a white dress, married the encouragement of some dear friends and Becoming was born.  You've come along, celebrating with me and unveiling your own hearts along the way.  I am honored.  Thank you for being here.  Let's continue to grow and stretch and become...more lovely all the while.

Here's to so much more life ahead.  Live it.  And celebrate it in the presence of the One who celebrates loudest.

 The Lord your God is living among you...He will delight in you with gladness...
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs...(Zephaniah 3.17)

Photo by Kenna.

Happy Monday, all.