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WORDS--NEW YEAR'S BLUSTERY GOAL

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The answers to my new year resolutions are all wrapped around this one word:   WORD.

The statement is gigantically simple.    On the cusp of the eve of a new year, blurred frames are becoming clearer for this new year's blustery goals.  And this is a simple word to start what is clearly fuzzy: 


"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known." 
--Winnie the Pooh (A.A.Milne)
I too trust the quiet moment alone with the Divine.  WORDS absorbed...and...WORDS spoken...and Words refrained...and WORDS reflected.  

WHEN YOU WANT TO BE BORN IN A STABLE

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Oh, the secret life of Cherie Roberson ponders the heart of Christ at Christmas.

Christmas day celebrates the birth of all He was to become...all the days that He would walk this slippery quicksand of earthly life and not sink below the pressure of it...

all the days of constant travel toward the end of His earthly life that birthed a promise for me of a spiritual life ever after...

all the days that He included Himself in the heartaches of life so that I would let His heart carry mine one day... 

all the days that He would live as ALL in ALL so that He could consume ALL of my heart.

Perhaps Christ was first born in a STABLE to show us what it is to have a STABLE love: a love that faithfully endures the trials time tests us with and a love that is devoted to others despite the daily disasters that dare to destroy our love. 

Perhaps, Christ was first born in a STABLE that I might know the full measure of His humble heart. 

Perhaps, Christ is then born in my heart that my life might become His…

PONDERING OUR HEART'S TREASURE

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Every Christmas, as I place Mary within the nativity scene, this deep painful emotion overwhelms anew of the life Mary must have endured. The mother of Jesus stands gazing at Jesus, treasuring and pondering who she has birthed and what He will be to this world. Should she stand to the left or to the right of baby Jesus? Should she be kneeling nearby or standing? I don't want to make some arbitrary placement,  I want to situate Mary in the right place.

I wonder why Mary isn't holding Jesus in her arms in all these scenes?  I always proudly held my children tightly in my arms for portraits which I knew would be posted for eternity. Why this distance created in the manger scenes between Mary and her newborn babe?  Why this formality?  It always makes me feel the gap we have in understanding this woman and makes me ache every Christmas for this young teen that God blessed with His physical presence.



And so  I want to place Mary accurately in the scene as Jesus' earthly mother…

ON BECOMING "REAL"

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Self-righteous: Confident of one’s own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others. (dictionary.com)

It is probably a rare moment to be called self-righteous because few really want to enrage a person by calling her out on her behavior and listen to the irate person's forthcoming tirade defending her behavior.
And what does it mean to have this annoying personality trait? And why do I make people feel this way? Looking inside, the best definition of this term is that it is a measurement of my behavior, attitude, and responses as compared to the person's who calls me this. I appear to think I  am superior, holier-than-thou, play by the rules better, stay in line more, manage a situation more appropriately, respond better, and only care what someone thinks if he is going to take my advice.  All of this means that I discount the value of others opinions, ideas, and ways of doing things that are different than my own. 

Ouch! …

ABOUT WHEN WE LOST JESUS IN THE BOX

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I am quietly elated when my artistic and analytic son agrees to empty the boxes of seasonal decorations. As he unravels the protective newspaper layers and styrofoam from the boxes, the Bethlehem creche pieces are randomly displayed and I hear my voice ask, "Can you make sense of this mess?"


For we cannot keep God in the box. I think about Jesus who was never purposed to be stored in a  box to be set out later on a single celebratory occasion for display. This Messiah who was born into an unraveling mess was never purposed  "for display only." Certainly, there is no limit to God's  grandeur. He is to be adored and revered and praised, but He desires commune in both our delight and our distress.  

His life was designed for all generation's and all people's messy history.   His life was Divinely destined to be used and spent and broken and bruised that we could make sense of this gift of life we are boxed in.  He is the gift of the beat up box and the anti…

THE OFFERING OF A KISS

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Sitting at the end of the couch, I tighten the grey flannel cover around me on this cold November evening, less than one week before we gather around a table giving thanks for all that we are daily given.

Homework complete, my senior boy loads his heavy backpack and stand stretches to stare his last look at the football action on TV, and with a"goodnight,"  he turns to make way to the stairs. But with a slow halt in step, he stops and steps back where I sit reclined on the couch. He slow leans, long, and positions his cheek before my lips with a "goodnight" benediction, waiting for my lips to give him a final kiss goodnight. 

I  smile kiss the stubble cheek offered me by my 18 year old man-boy. And I am suspended in time. I am captured by my raw emotions  that whirl at the awe of his gesture.  He has no idea how one simple cheek leaned toward his mom tonight warms my insides. 
My memory quickens to a soft kiss on the cheek of my sleeping baby being held closely in my …

A DIRTY LAUNDRY STORY: WHEN YOU'RE GLAD IT'S "I'M TELLING YA" AND NOT "I TOLD YOU SO"

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A group of moms folding report cards together pass the time talking about their sons.  We taper the swelling pride of their recent football accomplishments with sarcastic remarks about their clean rooms, always an easy teen target for complaint.

We discover our spaces are no different.

Walking through piles on the floor is like managing land mines.  Sarcastically, I share my son's three pile organizational method: the obviously folded pile which is sometimes still in the basket, the dirty laundry pile, and the already worn but can be worn again pile.  Another admittedly perfectionist mom offers her solution of Saturday grounding if the rooms are cluttered with clothes.

A couple other moms and I, the recovering perfectionist mom, admit we gave up the laundry grounding ghost a while ago. Our logic  their space is now their space, unless it invades ours.  We recommend closed doors.  I recall my fair warnings to my eighteen year old senior son: "I'm telling ya,
you are going …

WHEN YOU WANT TO BE HEARD

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If you want to be heard in this screaming, noisy world, lower your voice and whisper grace.






I'm not sure if this is good pedagogy, but I have used it on many occasions in the teaching arena. 

When the room begins to buzz with scattered corner conversations, focus becomes blurred, bodies turn to nearest neighbors, collective voice decibels quickly rise as in released excitement, and the energy somehow swirls like a tornado, a good teacher realizes that if she wants instruction to continue, it just might be time to gain control before the class is swirl-swept down the drain. 

It always happens this way eventually. Some attentive student first notices that the teacher's lips are heading south into a possible frustrated frown while her eyes are intently scanning the crowd for the chaos infiltrators.  

And the weighted-worry of wondering grabs one student by the throat who silences another with dagger eyes and a finger lip hushed-weapon. And depending on the noise and chaos swirling in…

A DEVOTION TO THE STANDING OVATION

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An hour and fifteen minutes floated ethereally by Friday evening as my sister, mom, and I absorbed stories.  We agreed with nodding heads in the common knowing about life and family, smiled at his high dimpled embarrassment, laughed out loud at his family's antics, but we also fell silent and our breath stopped at his pain. They were stories...just his life stories.  Stories from the life of Pat Conroy, author of many great books including one that became a movie many people, at least my age, would remember, The Prince of Tides.  

Okay, admittedly his stories had southern charm, and he was cute in a way that only a nearly seventy year old Irish man can be depicted. But the human heart bled from the hate he bore from endured abuse by his father, and yet our hearts along with his heart were cauterized by his discovered humanity within his father and by the miraculous arm of forgiveness  wrapped  around his father near his death. 

At the end of his telling, there hung that compelling m…

WHEN IT IS PRIVATE AND NOT YOUR BUSINESS

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It's a cold autumn fourth grade day, back to the day I began teaching 27 years ago. It's expectations of me to lead  with watching eyes fairness and clear directions and to listen to their routine to become part of  their every day.

But I'm  subbing, and  their days are  not really my daily business. My intrusion into their moments today finds remarkable acceptance. Wanting to help--needing to help-- is a fourth grader's crown jewel.

And it starts with questions--always questions--mostly they are comments masquerading as questions. But thank God for questions.

Straight to what matters questions: "Where is my teacher? Is she sick?"  And it is an unclear answer but close to I don't really know, but  she is "under the weather" and "it might be her hip." And I abide with their conversation for a bit, but but  my thoughts quicken to pray for their everyday fearless leader to subside  their growing undercurrent of speculative fear. Followed…

ELASTIC HEARTS---THANKSGIVING WHEN LIFE STRETCHES US!

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ELASTIC HEARTS

Moments...all of life is but the moments that we face.
Moments...how many in your lifetime? 
Heartbeats...how many in your moments?  
Our moment upon moments creates a life.  And often these moments can stretch us thin, can stretch us wide, can stretch us weary, can stretch us hollow, can stretch us dry. 
Our rubber band hearts must remain elastic, and boy are our hearts often moment by moment exercised to remain elastic.  
When our hearts are stretched, they are infused with blood, 60-100 times a minute.  And only when our hearts are stretched, do we really become clear of being infused with the living power of the blood of Jesus.  In these moments of stretching, we panting count the beating of our hearts in our ears and in our throats.  
In these moments, we must count and recount His goodness. Our hearts and souls are rubber band stretched through this life’s journey.When we allow ourselves to be stretched in circumstances, and then can full gaze turn and say
"thank Yo…

YOU KNOW THE MOMENT!

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You know that moment when your friend you trust says something that you want to smack her for because you aren't really sure it is true.  Then you wonder if she is just talking out of her head and not using her heart.  You know that moment that your friend says something that stops your breath because you didn't expect her to say that to you while she knows the anguish you are in.  You know that moment when your friend says something that is really stumbling brick hard and your heart fell with your knees and you knew she would pick you back up.  
You remember that moment when you began to trust that her heart could really handle knowing the real you and would always embrace who you become.  You remember that moment when she kept your heart strong though it beat faint and held your hands steady through the shaking.  You remember that she will whisper the hard in the dark places to expose the ugly in its hiding, You remember that for every word she speaks, she tempers vanity and …

THE WARRIOR STILL BATTLES (a note for Lane)

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To the warrior who has for four years with heart and soul and body accepted the charge of weekly battle to stand at the line and hold back the storm.  And the warrior tackled to the ground lying still will still stand at a line.  For his real strength was never just in his body rising to face the next play, but the strength of spirit he lead the team with in his never giving up his heart to play.  

His spirit still stands each game on the field  at a line, now fortified by the body and soul of another.   And now his heart for his team still stands strong at a side line with fist clinging fierceness to raise a banner that cannot be taken down, a banner that says I WILL STILL BATTLE WITH YOU BROTHER. He is our wounded warrior that continues to battle in spirit from the sidelines. You are the warrior that pushes those weak legs and hearts on the field with your yelling lungs and your leading spirit.    



He doesn't listen to well meaning pleas that football isn't everything. FOOTBAL…

ONE RIPPLE

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You cannot know the future 
or even the

ripple effect of today.

A life well lived today 

matters for tomorrow.