Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Day 265 Stepping Stones

October 7, 2015
Day 265

I never know. It could happen any time. I plan for it. I plan against it. But I never know when, or why, or how. I just know it could happen.

What I do know is that every moment is a step on a sure stone. The stone might be sad, tragic, troubling, happy, joyful, full of adventures but it stays firm in the water. It allows me to cross. It does not slip. Moss does not cover it. I move.

The ambulance ride with a son to the Trauma Center, not the Emergency Room, the Trauma Center was a stone. I stepped on it and it carried me safely to the next stone and the next and the next and the next. The stones were placed in scary parts of the water but when I stepped on them, they did not move. They stayed firm against the terra nova and I navigated to another one and another one and another one.

The second ambulance ride with another son was another stepping stone. The six joyful/painful car rides to the birthing center, the births, the telephone call of a tragic death, the call of a sad death, the call of a child caught in sin, these are all stepping stones. I have stepped on all of them and they carried me. None of them were meant as obstacles. They were moments moving me forward.

The river rages, but the stepping stones cross, let's hold hands.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Day 264 The Cupos

October 6, 2015
Day 264

The Cupos! This family blesses me. One small framed, pretty lady, a bearded man, a tenacious teenager, a bubbly young woman, and a young man in Philly going for his doctorate - and you put them all together and what do you have? One crazy home! Honestly!

This family gives. You need something, it's yours. You don't need something, it's yours too.  I do not know how many times we have been invited to their cabin. I do not know how many times we have been to their home for a meal. And the laughter and crazy shenanigans, surrounding the table, do not aid in the digestion process.

Dale and John are authentic loving parents who have navigated their children well. They love their three children fiercely. This is a tight family and they refuse to be burdened by the "look." Rather they are burdened that their children live free and follow truth.

I have so much respect for Dale and John and what goes on in their home. These past couple of weeks the BEST Robotic team has invaded their basement to build a robot. Their son is a vital part of the Build Team - Ben! What fun we have had coming together to eat, plan and laugh. They have been gracious. I am going to miss not going over at least four times a week. I love communal living and John and Dale are prime candidates for it. I really hope our team wins! But if not we have all won relationally!                      

Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 263 SLS Super Crown World Championship

October 5, 2015
Day 263

Waiting for the competition
A road trip to Chicago, World Championships and old friends - this was a winning combination for two brothers this past weekend. Through an Instagram contest that Kelvin Hoelfer, a professional skateboarder from Brazil, posted, Jesse won two tickets to see The Street League Skateboarding Super Crown World Championship. Kelvin said that if you want the tickets you have to comment on a picture he posted and tag a friend. Let's just say, Jesse did just that.

Jesse not only posted a picture of him and Christopher, he then tagged everybody else who was in the competition, including Kelvin. He then said, "Can't wait to see everybody if Kelvin gives us these tickets." Then he sent the same picture in a personal message and begged him for the tickets. He said, "plz, plz, plz, plz, plz,PLZ (along with a flurry of sad faces). I'm the little one plz pick us plz I'm begging you plz and I love watching you skate you the best.

It was cleary not a hoax.
Kelvin then sent him a message and said he was giving him the tickets. We didn't hear the end of this. Jesse was telling everybody, and I mean everybody when I say everybody. He was so excited and I was groaning inside, oh boy, this kid's gonna be disappointed, this is not going to work out. A hoax is what many thought, but Jesse and Christopher were waxing excitement. Next thing I know they are planning a trip to Chicago and in the morning they are gone, snacks and all.

All day Lynn and I are trying to connect them with folks in Chicago, surely we have to know someone they can stay with. Then the call comes at 9 pm, it is Mark and Beth Buckholtz, friends of Lynn's sister, Wanita and her husband Jim. We have also had the good privilege of knowing them as well. They promise food and shelter and there begins the beautiful relationship.
Kelvin and Jesse
The next day they happen to meet the skater dude, Kelvin, the guy who relented and gave Jesse tickets. They were able to get a picture with him and also discover they have great seats. These two experienced a great opportunity.

Kelvin won the championship, he was not slatted to win, but he did anyway. These sons of mine really maximized their time! I love opportunistic folks and I am glad to know at least six of them. Their father has taught them how to ask!

Great view

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Day 262 She Misses Him

October 4, 2015
Day 262

I have a dear friend traveling life without her soulmate. July marked an entire year and her grief is still raw. When she shares, I do not take any of her morsels for granted. She is my mentor, so to speak. I hear, I feel, I see, I cry, and I learn of the ways of grief. Her vulnerability with me and others is the greatest gift she can give. This is not what she signed up for but, as Isaiah tasted and saw that the Lord is good, she is also willing to be vulnerable and used because of God's goodness. Thank you, D'lury for your tears, for your words, for your grief, for your vulnerability. I have learned and I have learned much.

She lives out the phrase - You can not trace His hand but you can trust His heart. I watch her do it every week.

Tomorrow marks what would have been thirty years of marriage between her and Richard. This is a lot of years. Many, by way of divorce, choose not to celebrate these milestones. She chooses, but is not able. Life -  makes -  no  - sense.  

Dear Jesus, tomorrow is a day she wishes would never come. Her thirtieth anniversary is to be spent with her lover. Yes, she knows Richard still lives. Yes, she knows you work all things out for the good of those who love the You, Lord. Yes, she knows you know what is best. But, Jesus, that does not change the fact that she misses and craves for her man. Please, tomorrow, bless her beyond, beyond.

You live inside this woman. You know her every thoughts, her every ways. You love her with an intensity, a fierce love. Tomorrow she needs to feel that. I have been blessed by the way she speaks of you even though she is confused by you. She worships the ground you move on. She will hear you when you speak words of love.

Please, dear Jesus, in her spirit fortify, comfort, 
and assuage her soul with your love. D'lury, you are precious.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 261 Body Life

October 3, 2015
Day 261

When we come together as a family in the Body of Christ, I need to constantly remind myself of what Christ did for me. This makes me want communion every time we meet. For communion is a visual, an act, reaffirming Jesus' completed work on the Cross. It reminds me that I am righteous only because of what "He did." It had nothing to do with me, it has nothing to with me and it will never have anything to do with me. EVER!!!! My ego, demands me to be reminded of this eternal fact, over and over and over again.

Therefore, it is imperative for me as a believer to be in the scripture, book after book, precept after precept, seeing the work of Jesus from the Old to the New Testament. This is not an option.  

It is not what I can do for Christ but what Christ has done for me. Understanding this is the fuel, the energy, the source of gratitude. And gratitude mobilizes the me to do the good works Christ created for me to do before the creation of the world. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 260 Slumber On

Oct. 2, 2015
Day 260
Tonight when you lay your head to rest and the thoughts will not stop, release all your words to Him.
You do not know where the money is going to come from, speak of this to Him.
You do not know how you are going to handle the situation tomorrow, tell Him.
You are nervous about the interaction you are to have when you wake up, let Him know.
This day has been a long day and you are not sure you can have another one like this. Let Him process today for you.
You are walking through the different scenarios in your mind as to what you should do. That's a futile endeavor.

Just fall back. Trust. Speak the name of Jesus again and again and again. Think of goodness and all it means. You certainly know what it doesn't mean. Think of love, of joy, of peace. Ask Jesus to show you peace, to show you joy and to show you love. He will do this for you. He is waiting for you to ask Him.

You have permission to rest. You have permission to put your mind to rest. Do not try to figure it out. He will. For now, peace,  peace,  peace.  

Think on good things and slumber.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Day 259 Envelope Addendum

October 1, 2015
Day 259

Katie Schwartz photography
The "Envelope" image that I began to flesh out, on Day 258,  came on a starry night on a blanket with Katie Schwartz in my backyard. We were pondering significance, something that is often not felt within the context of the church. Many times there is a lack of encouragement, a lifting up and affirming of one another's uniqueness. Too often we do not feel like we fit in. We do not feel like our gifts are being used or even wanted.

The lack of encouragement, to one another, stems from a place of insecurity. When I am unable to affirm you it is because I am not feeling confident. This becomes a viscous cycle and it continues with hamster, wheel-like, fluidity. It robs the church of diversity as we slink off
without going into our envelope, as our uniqueness is not requested. As in nature, however, diversity keeps a congregation healthy.

We are unique. Children think about growing up and becoming famous, almost as if it is a guarantee. But they know better to speak of such things, it is the epitome of arrogance. While Katie and I were pondering this, a thought bolted out of heaven and plopped in my heart. THIS IS NOT A MAN MADE THOUGHT, BEING FAMOUS, THIS IS AN GOD-GIVEN, INHERENT THOUGHT STEMMING FROM OUR UNIQUENESS. Huh?

When you think of someone famous, you know it is because they are significant. Something has made them stand out. Therefore we can conclude, a child thinks they will be famous because God created them to be a one of a kind, unique, significant person. I stand out, you stand out. You and I are significant. We are not meant to "fit in." Banish the thought. The enemy, who loves to shame, starts early working this inherent thought into a twisted mess of lies.

Why does the enemy start so early? Because, you plus using your gifts equals change for the positive. And the enemy wants negativity not positivity.

Your creator stands at your envelope waiting. Watch out family, community, world. Do it!