Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Absent but working

I just looked at my posts for 2010 and found there were only five. Five! Hmmm. I didn't do so well at blogging this year.

New Year's Resolution, anyone? (smile)

It isn't that I haven't been writing. I just compiled a book of forty scripts for church service! And I've been working on a new book. It will be called, "Just Shoot Me". Yeah, I know you want to know more about that one.

I'll tell you after I hear back from the contest committee to whom I submitted it. Pray for it/me! Thanks!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Change. If it had a facebook page, I would neither “friend” it nor “like” it.

If it were up to me, I would be typing this in the version of Word that came with Windows 3.0. I still have the same cell phone I got the summer before my daughter went to college. She graduates in May. I resist change like a two-year-old at naptime.

Get me my blankie and a cookie and maybe we’ll talk.

Change is inevitable, at least for the living. So why the drama? Why the pout and tears and heel-digging?

Moving forward requires effort. Complacency does not. I like my warm, comfy blankie.

The church I attend and adore is going through change. At times, the discomfort, the uncertainty, the upheaval have been alarming. For a year, I questioned whether it was a ship that was going down or whether it was a ship that was simply turning.

The ship is turning.

It is time to get all of our oars in the water and row together.

In a multi-person boat, the rowing must be executed in precise synchronization with all other rowers. An article on rowing states, “Coordinated timing is imperative to avoid "checking" the boat, or slowing its forward progress.” Is this the unity spoken of all throughout Scripture?

Heel-dragging and pouting, gossip or cutting remarks, passive hand-wringing or aggressive attack: all prevent or slow the forward progress. We can’t afford these behaviors, whether we’re talking about a church or a relationship or a community or whatever obstacle.

Brothers and sisters, it is all hands on deck. It is not time to “bail out” but to “bail water”. Patch the holes. Raise the anchor. Train the rowers. Gird your loins. You can always tie your blankie around your waist.

And don’t forget the cookies.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hyssop and Heartsong

Last year, I was inspired by the flower-saturated border and scalloped picket fence of a quaint, mountain-town restaurant. What pleasure!- to be able to sit at the table and look out on all that loveliness! So I built and planted along the front walkway of my house, in full, glorious view from my kitchen table.

May I tell you what a joy it has been to me?

Climbing roses, lavender, lime basil, and sangria-purple dahlias; black-eyed Susans, sunny marigolds and soft, wooly lamb ears: all embrace the fence with color and texture. But my favorite of all has been the tall, airy bush in the center.

Wandering the garden center aisles last fall, I was first attracted to the hyssop by its soft purple color, but ultimately chose the feathery perennial for its biblical symbolism: Jewish priests used hyssop in cleansing ceremonies. Psalm 51:7 exults, “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” It was used to sprinkle sacrifices and sanctify homes. Hyssop speared a sponge that was lifted to Jesus on the cross.

I placed the plant in the herb and flower bed, across from the Jesus statue which holds court amid the sage and thyme. And it flourished there.

Beautiful as a cut flower, the hyssop joined hydrangeas in an arrangement for a couple who lost their unborn child. It graced plastic-bottle-vases of zinnia and lantana for friends who needed encouragement, for an acquaintance who had regained her health, for a random stranger at a gas station. It announced the chosen color at my daughter’s wedding shower. The more it was cut, the more it grew. Last year’s 18” spikes have become this year’s five-foot spires!

And, oh, the hummingbirds! And butterflies! And the hemaris diffinis! (Oh, my! The hemaris diffins! This clearwing hummingbird moth’s name comes from two Latin roots. One is “blood”. The other is “end”. Ponder that with your knowledge of hyssop as it relates to Christ and sacrifice. Another little “coincidental” treasure from God! How many do we miss?!)

Watching the feasting as I also partake of lunch, I am struck by the connectedness of living things and sit stunned in awe of their Creator. A heart-song expands in my soul, the hymn I loved as a child, the one that always swells over me in these moments: This Is My Father’s World. I become aware that my voice has joined my heart, and for a moment, I am transported, washed with hyssop, on wings of worship.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I had never seen a flock of robins: I have seen only one or two at a time, usually in the spring, bouncing across the lawn, cocking their heads as if listening for subterranean clues. But there they were, twenty or more, kicking up the dry leaves in the side yard.

My reaction, on that unusually frostbitten Carolina morning, was to feed them.

I sprinted out the side door, still in my nightgown and robe, and tossed a bowlful of crumbled, stale bread onto the asphalt drive. From the warmth of the dining room, I watched. No takers. They all resumed the tossing of leaf litter, each in his or her own square yard, ignoring the food that lay two feet away.

Hmm. I logged on and googled “robin”. There I found that the birds flock together in winter and eat worms, insects and berries. No seeds. No bread crumbs either, evidently. They did not recognize my offering as food.

It got me to wondering: would a robin starve to death surrounded by food, just because it did not recognize it as such? And then God whispered. People starve to death spiritually all the time, with a Bible just a few feet away. With a Christian just a few feet away.

Outside, a squirrel had discovered the bread. Rapid-fire, she buzzed through several larger pieces before springing up, alert, to survey for competition. Finding none, she grabbed another piece, held it in her mouth, and scampered to the base of a tree where she buried it beneath the leaves. After several trips, she caught the attention of a robin.

The robin investigated. It tested a crumb. And tasted again.

And God convicted. You have the bread of life. Are you publically partaking? Do your actions show that it is good? Are you taking the treasure out into the field? Or will you let the hungry die from lack of knowledge?

I looked for the robins this morning, but they were gone.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Forgiving One’s Self

God has my attention.

In the past two days, the same subject has arisen four separate times. The first was in a Sunday School lesson. The next, within hours, was in my facebook inbox. The third time was in a book I was reading. And the fourth time? During a detox massage. Pretty unrelated occurrences, wouldn’t you think? That’s why He has my attention.

The subject? Forgiving one’s self.

Oh, great. Time to open wounds. Yay.

Not so fast, my friend! You may be as surprised as I was to find out where this goes.

One path I take when exploring a subject for writing is to find out what the Bible says about it. Guess what? The Bible doesn’t say anything (that I can find) about forgiving yourself. Don’t you find that odd? How could that be? Certainly there are pages and chapters and entire books devoted to the subject in the local bookstore!

The Bible does speak repeatedly about forgiveness. It is something that God offers to us. We get the first taste of it when we acknowledge our sin, repent, and accept Christ as Lord and Savior. Our sins are forgiven. Read the beautiful imagery of Psalm 103:12 (NASB): “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Therein, I believe, lies the answer.

God’s forgiveness is completely, wholly sufficient. It is permanent. Therefore, if I say that I cannot forgive myself, I am implying that God’s forgiveness is not enough. I must realize that it is not necessary, or even scriptural, for me to forgive myself. Did I take it to God? Did I ask Him to forgive me? Then, God has taken care of it. Period.

Our real issue, I think, is in letting go.

Would you believe that one day before the “forgiving self” topic came up, God gave me a script to write? It was about letting go. Fancy that. Why does it still surprise me when God sets me up? (smile)

In that script, one person stands holding the string of a balloon which represents something they claim to be giving to God. The problem is, they will not release the string.

Are you still holding on? Why?

It all boils down to a faith issue. Do you believe God has forgiven you?

Let it go. Don’t hold onto the string. Release the grip. God places blessings in an OPEN hand.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Perhaps it was the discovery that there are NFL players who weigh about the same as I do (and I am not talking punters or kickers). Perhaps it was the picture someone posted of me, taken when I was unguarded. Maybe it was the realization that someone I thought looked like could be three or four of me was actually only twice my weight. Regardless, I am now aware.

The scale in the bathroom was not kind in its estimation of my weight. Ugly, round numbers glowered at me, laughed at my state of shock. Disbelief gave way to anger.

How? How did I let this happen?

It is not the heaviest I have been, but I never thought I would see 180 again.

And so, my friends, I declare war.

War on weight. War on fat. War on complacency.

I am choosing my strategies and weapons. I am studying the enemy. And I am rallying my troops.

This is my recruitment effort. Would you like to join me?

Here I will be posting my progress. I will share my journey. You can share yours with me and we can keep each other accountable. We can share what is working and what is not. We can encourage and cheer one another on!

Weight War 2010. Healthy again in 2010. Begin again in 2010. Help me choose a battle cry! Post your comments!