Friday, October 2, 2015


Autumn evening, lying on the grass,
The distance between me and God
is miles.
Miles and miles of air, wind, clouds,
and beyond that, miles and miles of
galaxies and stars,
mind-bendingly enormous
expansive and complex;
worlds without number.
I know I am small then.
Me, this blanket, the grass under me,
my baby's feet propped over my stomach,
her fingers in my hair.
The leaves in the trees are falling,
tiny drops of orange spinning downward
on spirals of wind.
And my baby wants to gather each one in a pile between us.
Tiny, tiny leaves
One at a time.
The sky is gray today
and I can't see those stars at all.
Beyond the heaviness in the air,
there is so much I want to touch;
to fly between; my fingers trailing over nebulas.
I want to see the handiwork of God
laid out before me in the farthest reaches of forever.
But whether I look out, or in, or up, or down;
tiny leaves in my palm,
my baby's galaxy-like eyes,
or falling now, a mist of rain,
my soul cannot fandom the vastness of it all
nor dream of anything less.
Endless cycles of life, endless depths and heights.
My voice traveling the distance of a multitude of lifetimes
to a God who sees and hears
and answers now.
Me, infinitely His,
The capacity to create worlds without numbers
an ember in my heart.
Eternity stamped upon me with a permanent mark.
The things of space and time brought to this place
this lawn, this old house
this baby,
these leaves,
His, though I sin.
His, though I fail.
His when I am majestically beautiful and good.
Though I die.
Though I live.
God, my Savior
reaching out, down, down
through galaxies and stars,
through the atmosphere and wind
past clouds and air
to me.
One leaf. One test. One lifetime.
Plucked from decent, spiraling toward death,
By the Creator of it all.
Variable Stars in a Distant Spiral Galaxy
Variable Stars in a Distant Spiral Galaxy, NASA on the Commons

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Women I Admire: Thoughts on Swimming Pools and Butterflies


This post has been a long time in the making. Stirring up inside me all summer. Waiting for that time when it's ready. When I'm ready.

It started at the swimming park. Week after week, I took our passes, my two kids, a black and white bag, and hung out a few hours there.

I wore a swimsuit. I went swimming. I like swimming.

And my children had so much fun, that I didn't care one bit what anyone else thought of me as I walked around in all my mommy wonder.

But sometimes I think about that. I think about my sisters. Not just my blood relations, but the women around me. The grandmas, and the mothers, and the aunts, and the daughters. I think about what we are all seeing, plastered around us: mean, and ugly, and fake, and hurtful.


It's being shouted at us. Belted out with so many voices we can't find our own sometimes.

This is the way you have to live.
This is the only right thing to love, to do, the only way you can make anything good of yourself.

And I want to tell it all to shut up.

I probably shouldn't use those words.

But I will. Shut up.

And one day at the pool, I did just that. For few seconds, I shut up. I shut down all the voices. I stopped thinking about the roundness of bodies, the marks on our skins, the tans, the white glare, everything.

I just looked.

And in that moment, I saw a bit of what God was seeing. Grandmas, mothers, aunts, and daughters, all watching children too small to be on their own. Giving of all the best parts of themselves for someone else, to keep someone safe. The children with us were surrounded by love, splashing about in this miracle we call water.

And I felt love; pleasure.

It didn't matter what a single woman there had on. God loved them. In that insant, I realized that it wasn't about the swimming suits we wore, or the shape of our bodies, or the style of our hair. God, The father of all my sisters, the maker of bodies round, thin, big and small, the creator of writers, singers, painters, sewers, crafters, builders, wonderers, seekers, helpers, and lovers, was pleased with us for giving what we could. He enjoyed seeing us happy. Seeing our little ones with us. Seeing us playing in the water He created.

Can I tell you one more story? I know this is getting long. And I'm starting to talk to much. But it's my gift; talking too much.

My in-laws came in town for a week and one day we all went on a hike. I stopped with the kids by the river. There was this gorgeous yellow butterfly sprawled out over the water, wings floating on top like some reminder of it's last fight against death. I was sad about that butterfly drowning. But I couldn't do anything about it and walked on.

An hour later, we returned to that same spot on the way back to our car. My mother-in-law noticed, for the first time, that single dead butterfly. We were hot and tired and ready to be done, but instead of walking on, she bent over to fish it out of the water.

It was a production. My father-in-law had to catch her by the back of her pants so she didn't fall in. I had a moment of thinking "why on earth is she risking falling in that river for a dead butterfly?"

"It's still alive," she told me.

I didn't quite believe her.

She carried it cupped in her hand to a tree and laid it on a branch. "It's wings got wet. It just needs to dry them out."

My son and I worked our way up beside the tree and sure enough, the beautiful butterfly was slowly fanning it's wings up and down.


She knew something I didn't.

Remember that scripture? About the different parts of the body and how all are needed?
Remember how God made us different for a reason?
Remember how what I do well, doesn't make what you do well any less amazing? Or vice-versa?

I remember that now. I remember how my children are both different. How one does one thing and the other something else. It doesn't make them bad or wrong, just different. And when they do good with what they are, where they are, who they are; from the depths of their little bodies, with all they have; then I am happy. I am so pleased.

So shut up. Shut all the voices up and listen to yourself. Stop reading the next book, post (okay, finish mine), or latest medical finding. Stop listening to all that advice. Some of it's good. Some of it is the answer you are looking for. But just for a minute stop and think about you.

You are loved! Not because you are fat or thin, or healthy or sick. But because you are you. What do you do best? What makes you unique? Find that. And when you take what you have, the tiny specks of incredible-ness that are still blossoming inside you, and use them to help someone else, you can change the world!

Or save one butterfly.

God wants us to do both.