A Total Eclipse of the Heart – Sing it, Bonnie Tyler!

Sunday night, in Colorado Springs, I sat outside by a blazing fire with strangers and watched the gloriously white full moon turn the color of a blood orange in a total eclipse. It was amazing and beautiful – but it could not compare with the total eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017. It is one thing for the moon to have its light from the sun blocked but to watch the light of the sun disappear is a whole different thing.

 Did you see it? Do you remember the slight chill in the air? Travel back with me to that week of the sun going dark – I am glad I wrote about it then.

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The Slimy Pit

We are all standing together in a big hole. It is deep, with slick steep sides. We can look up and see light – the blue sky above us – brilliant and sparkling. But when we look down, obscured by shadows, our eyes gradually adjust and we begin to see the ground moving beneath our feet.

 It is mud; sandy and thick and wet. It is much too soft to find a solid foothold. We shift our weight, and it fills in around our ankles. Quicksand; the stuff of Tarzan movies.

 It holds tightly to our ankles, gradually creeping up to encircle our calves. We lift our knees high, trying to step above the thick bone-cold mud that holds us in its grasp. We look at each other; we are in trouble.

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You Have Called Me Higher

There he was, running away with little in his arms, but a blessing on his head. His name was Jacob, and he had a bad reputation for being a liar and a thief; a deceiver without integrity, only seeking his own advantage. Willing to destroy any relationship to elevate himself. He could play the perfect dark and disturbed hero on a Netflix series.

My new friend sitting across from me in the coffee shop leans in to admit in a whisper, “I really don’t like Genesis. Those people were supposed to be the heroes – but look at Jacob – I just don’t get it.”

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Romance Rekindled

I was afraid that it would never be that good again.

 You know the feeling. That giddy feeling of happiness. Your heart beating a little faster when you were in his presence. The time of intimacy spent alone… just talking…and just hearing his voice. The comfort of being able to pour your heart out when the world stopped on its axis and started turning the wrong way around.

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Extravagant Abundance

A cup full and overflowing. Extravagant abundance. These are the words that fill my mind this early morning before the sun has risen. Turn out the porch light and pour a cup a coffee. The house is quiet for the first time in eleven days.

Counting. Numbers have bounced around in my brain all my waking hours these past days. How many nephews and their children can fit into which bedroom? How many to prepare a breakfast feast for? How many to reserve a table at the restaurant for? How many bowls to put out for soup?

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Good News of Great Joy

Dare I write of a manger and a virgin giving birth? How do you possibly put pen to paper about such things?

Angels have sung songs about it; shepherds have crowded into a dark and foul shelter to see a newborn in his mother’s arms. The planets shifted in their orbit to send one star closer and brighter than all the rest. Stargazers charted their course and Herod slept fitfully in his bed unaware that a new king had come to town.

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Come On In

The most important thing in our house is a little post-it note stuck to the inside of our front door. When people are coming over, that little post-it note is placed on the outside of the door so that anyone who approaches our home has no need to knock, but simply follow the directions handwritten there to “Come on in!” It is an open welcome, hopefully making all our guests feel like part of the family when they walk through the door.

This is a reminder I need right now; that this house my husband and I have built is not ours alone – it is a home that God has created through us – with the purpose of welcoming others. It is not our house; it is God’s home.

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Fragrant Words

There is a woman in my neighborhood who has homemade signs in her front yard. I don’t know her, but her signs speak volumes to me. Her signs are colorful and hand-lettered. She displays a popular slogan against a political candidate and carefully letters out an acrostic of negative name-calling. When I walk our borrowed dog past her house it makes me sad to see such ugly sentiments permanently on display, marking her space.

This is my own struggle lately. Harsh and judgmental words. 

Almost every morning I awake with my own words that I spoke carelessly the day before haunting me.

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Dancing in the Moonlight

I watched her, gorgeous and tall in her ivory jumpsuit, four-inch heels with ankle-straps, brown hair flowing almost in slow motion. Unbridled joy filled her face as she danced within the circle of teenagers, the music from the wedding DJ lifting the dancers as they clapped and spun in circles, faces and arms lifted high.

 Occasionally her husband would face her, pumping arms to the beat, before moving off to dance alongside others. 

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And the Rain Will Fall…

I wake this morning to the sound of gentle rain falling on my roof, and outside my windows. It is a gentle rain.

I wander through the house, cup of coffee in hand, looking out through discs of water clinging to glass, and beyond to the pine-straw dark and rich with moisture, the bamboo bowing down gracefully under its new weight. Rain. I am thankful for its arrival. But after three days, I will be happy for the skies to clear and the sun to shine again.

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Wrestling Against Evil

Are you a little overwhelmed with the horrors you are hearing about and reading about these days? I am. It seems every morning there is a new heartbreak, another voice of crazy shouting words of hatred and ugliness into our world. Anger marches down the street to destroy the innocent. Corrupt minds plot deception in their dark rooms. Words rip apart our relationships and diseases attack our fragile bodies. Each morning there is the newest daily dose of bad news.

"What is going on in this world of ours?" I think with dismay.

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Saved

The invitation.

The chance to respond.

What if it was never given?

What if the question was never asked? 

“Do you want to accept Jesus into your heart as your Savior?”

And I said, 

palms sweating against the back of the wooden pew in front of me,

knees shaking and legs like jelly,

pushing past my cousins lined up beside me,

“yes”.

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This is a Yes Moment

I am more than what I do. I struggle with this thought here at 2:35 in the morning. I hold Come Matter Here in my hands, my cup of maple ginger tea beside me. I try to concentrate and let Hannah Brencher’s words sink in; 

“At some point, you decide to get over your fear. You say it’s time to not be afraid of whatever decisions you have to make or direction you need to take. 

I look around the room as I work on managing the fear that has me awake at this ungodly hour.

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Daddy’s Favorite

My head is in the sink, her hands in my hair, water streaming the chemicals down the drain, as I overhear her explain the meaning of her name; ‘Morning dew on orchid petals’. She is finishing a conversation with the woman who just stood up from where I now sit.

“I was the youngest of three daughters and my father named all of us. He wanted to give me the most beautiful name of all because, he said, I was the most beautiful… his favorite. Her accent holds to her Korean origins.

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Squishing God into a Small Box

We like to keep God small and manageable. We may visit Him on Sundays from eleven until noon. We may look up into the night sky and exclaim His wonders. We may talk to Him when a friend has had a heart attack or our children are late arriving home. But we like to keep him contained. Not too big. Not too out of control.

We forget that the shepherd David was also outlaw and warrior before becoming king over a divided nation. He saw God larger than life. And he wrote love songs to Him. 

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Dying Flowers and The Water of Life

The sun was already high in the sky as we took off for our neighborhood walk. My niece, my daughter, her baby in the stroller, and me. The neighborhood is hilly, the streets are winding with no sidewalks, so we walk in the street, at a leisurely pace in our leggings and athletic shoes. Pretending to get exercise. Mainly to talk women-talk and share our lives.

It is on the crest of a dangerous hill, where cars cannot see us because of the steep approach and the sharp descent that we pause near the driveway of a 1960’s once-modern house. Deep down its wooded slope, the shell of the house is undergoing extensive rebuilding after a kitchen fire. Construction rubble, charred framing, a trash dumpster. My daughter reaches down and picks up a small handful of wilting flowers. 

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The Arrogant Boy and a Bloody Coat

Do you have family you would contemplate selling off to traveling merchants? Family that you wouldn’t mind too much if they found themselves far, far away in a foreign land with little chance of ever showing up again at Thanksgiving dinner? 

 Most everyone has heard the story of Joseph. 

 If you read the story for yourself, you will realize that the children’s version of Joseph as a young man glosses right over his obnoxious personality.

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Seven Months and Crawling

This is the way we grow, I think, as I watch his sturdy little calves push him across the blanket and propel him around the room. It is the room where I watched my son take his first steps, delighting his dad and me, that evening after day-care and work.

Now my grandson explores the peach quilt with bunnies in a basket and three white kittens in a teacup that was his mother’s.

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