You will not be rushed

28 November 2012

time and time again
You wrestle control from our hands
we have no power, no hope
apart from You
and You will not be rushed
You will not be changed

but our will
our will...
You will conform
You will change
You will move us

so we wait on You
time and time again.

Inspired by church last Sunday and how He gave Tamar twin sons, and how He gave a farmer patience, and how He gave Christina back to us all... a girl to laugh with and the perfect companion for my children on a Kansas Thanksgiving Day.


What did He give you last week? Or maybe you don't know... but I think, maybe, if you look closely...

The man in red and blue

21 November 2012

Nothing else to say, except, look how awesome my dad is:


We're off to to the other side of the plains, spending the long weekend with the extended family and Eleanor the First. Happy Thanksgiving, friends... See you soon...

Cry, till it's out of sight

19 November 2012

We have a moving tradition: we cry, till it's out of sight.

Our first home was in Oak Park. Matt moved in first, bringing hand-me-downs and woodworking projects to the brownstone apartment. I sat in the living room, under the bay windows, reading in a green chair. This was the life (as my sentimental mind remembers it): young love in romantic Chicago, stained glass over the mantle, a white cat and an antique bed ensuring - no matter how bad our fight was - we rolled to the middle, every night.

After our wedding and summer of getting to know yous (sharing a bathroom with a boy? another parking ticket?), I decided to take a semester off of school. Our parents were severely disappointed, no doubt, as the first sign of marital mediocrity was the wife without a degree. We'd made a promise to them - I would finish school - but I just couldn't go back. Not yet.

So I found a job. An independent bookstore. A large, loving Irish-Italian-Catholic family owned the place and ran it like it was an extension of their family tree (it was). They welcomed us naive newlyweds in, showered us with love and homemade tiramisu, honored our education and Biblical insight. I quickly became the go-to person on the slight semantic differences between the NIV and the NLT, sitting behind the desk inhaling the thick scent of new books and Yankee candles. This was heaven, and about as close to the Shop Around the Corner as I was ever going to get.

I've never loved any place as much as I loved Oak Park. We were surrounded by trees and art and front porches and children. As we exited Austin, turning left on our street, a sign greeted us: "Oak Park, IL is a nuclear weapon free zone." This was not comforting, but it was true to form. The People's Republic of Oak Park, we called it. Taxes were crazy, the rent only went up-up-up, and the hippies... oh, the crazy old hippies. And I loved it there, right up until we left it.

I went back to school full-time (still keeping my hours at the bookshop) and we tried to balance life and school and friends and books. Chicago itself was so busy, so fast. We were exhausted, couldn't keep up. Our building was bought out and I was graduating and paying an additional $200 in rent for our one-bedroom apartment just didn't add up.

The bookshop, too, was bought out. The family we had loved, in the face of big bad Fox Books Borders moving to town, decided to retire and move on. And we were both looking for full-time work that didn't leave us gasping for nickels and dimes at the end of the month. We knew we couldn't stay, we knew it was time to go, so we packed up our hand-me-downs and wedding-gifted afghans and cried.

s. humphrey st

I write this all with the next move at our fingertips. Every two years, this is what we do. We fall in love, we build a life, and for reasons beyond our control, one road ends while another opens up, and we move. 

And we cry, till it's out of sight.

Where was the first place you called home? And how did you leave it?

Matters too difficult for me

16 November 2012

I kept a journal in Israel... but now I can't find it. 14 years is a long time to hold on to sea-stained paper. I'm sure it was in a box, somewhere, before the moves and the floods. I remember writing in it on the bumpy road to Caesarea. At the time, a doomsday prophet talked about the end of the world. Sometime in May '98, he said. I wrote it down in Israel and I prayed, Not yet, Lord. I'm not ready, yet. Though of all places, the hills of Israel would not be a terrible place to spend the last day on earth.

Bombs rain down today and I watch the news on the couch, slippered feet stretched out, coffee in hand and children all around. I don't know a lot about diplomacy, am not particularly well-versed in foreign policy, and don't want to claim to know or feel the nuances of a dark and violent and ages-old conflict. But Israel and her people - Jews or Palestinians, atheists or orthodox - I love them. I love them all.

It could all die down tomorrow; tentative, sensitive peace again.

But I wish I could find and touch and read that journal again, even if just to see the messy handwriting from a bus on the bumpy road.

O Lord my heart is not lifted up
My eyes are not raised too high for Thee
I do not think on things too great or marvelous
or matters too difficult for me 
But I have calmed and quieted my soul
Like a weaned child is my soul within me
But I have calmed and quieted my soul
Like a weaned child with it's mother is my soul 
O Israel
Trust in the Lord
From this time forth, and forevermore 
O Israel
Trust in the Lord
From this time forth, and forevermore
Psalm 131 (Waterdeep does it best)

A gentle reproof over white coffee

12 November 2012

We went on a date, the eldest and I. He's been curious about coffee for some time, and I can only assume this is a result of the frequent "Dad's Meeting Someone For Coffee"-and-"Mommy's Working From the Coffeeshop"-convos we have with the little people. He wasn't so sure on actually trying any of the black stuff, but was curious about this White Coffee his sister talks so much about (she who was known to finish our homemade lattes at the ripe old age of 2).

So we set a time: Sunday, dusk. Cold snap and rain clouds. Tall steamed milk with peppermint (him) and tall nonfat pumpkin spiced chai (me). In mugs, for maximum foaminess, please. We chat over the Sunday paper.

"So, how was your week?" he asks in his very best Man Tone.

"Oh, it was ok. Some good days and some not to good days," I reply.

"Yeah, I know... because of the little ones..." he says out of the side of his mouth, whispering behind his hand. This is our secret: how crazy they are and how mature he is. 


He wants to know about church and Operation Christmas Child and if my coffee is good and how I feel about moving.

"Are you excited to go back to Ireland?" he asks.

We are close now, so close. Really just days away from buying plane tickets, though I've been saying that for a month now. But the end is near, the lease is unsigned, the date to vacate is set...

"Yeah, I am... but I wish we had tickets. Once we buy plane tickets, then I know it's really happening." We can talk like this, I think. He's seen it all. This is his life, this waiting and going and coming back.

He looks me in the eyes, smiles, nods his head, "It IS happening, Mom. It is."

Dead serious, that lad. He knows a thing or two about patience, about calling, about God.

"I know," I say, sighing at the gentle reproof. Faith staring me in the eye.

I know.

Has a kiddo laid a faith-bomb on you recently?

Election hangover in Babylon

08 November 2012


As the polls were closing, results came quickly in and the victor of our presidential election was announced, I sighed with relief. I'm so thankful it's over, I'm so thankful it was decided quickly, I'm so thankful we have the freedom to participate in the process of choosing our leaders and defining our laws. It's not a perfect system (do I remember the details of the electoral college from 5th grade? no, I do not.), but I believe it to be a just one. For the most part. I think.

The question I struggle with on the day after the day after is... where do we go from here? Where do we meet, exchange ideas, compromise? How does one move past the disappointment of a race lost (or the ecstasy of a race won) and into the realm of a still-broken world that needs hope, longs for grace, aches for love? 

We know a guy, from way back when we were a mismatched Bible college couple deciding on churches based on the contemporary context of the hymnal. He was our friend, but you know, you move and lose touch and only occasionally interact (on Facebook, of course) during things like world-wide catastrophes and presidential elections.

For our old friend, Tuesday was both. And raving rants of exile, Babylon, the suffering of (American) Christians, and the coming tribulations were really too much for my hope-tinted-with-realism heart to bear. I get the pain of defeat, but I don't get the doom. I get the frustration and rage against the machine, but I don't get the end times analogy. I get the "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" But I don't get the, "I feel like we're living in the last book of Jeremiah!" For reals, look it up. It's a doozy.

This is what I wanted to say to him: Even in Babylon, even when the Jews were exiled and living under a dictatorship, God told them to build houses. He told them to plant gardens. He told them to raise up children and see them married. He told them to pray for the peace and prosperity of their city, for if the city experienced a renaissance - a rebirth - so would they! And He said, "I've not forgotten you. This is the plan we're going with. It'll be good, I promise." (I'm paraphrasing.)

The issue of their lives and hearts was so far beyond our petty political process. They were refugees, spiritual exiles, victims of ethnic cleansing! They were not pouting republicans or foot-stomping democrats. And really, all the evil in all the world is so far beyond the results of a free election in a free country (it's quite possible North Korea is living in some sort of last book of Jeremiah black hole).


But back here in 'Merica, even if your guy won on Tuesday, the problems - and the moral issues that wrought them -  won't go away in a day. And if your guy lost, you're still expected to be an active member of society, still expected to contribute. Whatever result we did or didn't wish for, we have no excuse to bury our heads in the sand.

And I think, for those of us who know and try to follow Jesus (I say try because even still, I sometimes get so lost on the rocky path), we're even more compelled, on the day after the day after, to love more and be more and look more for where God is moving. We join Him there. We cannot run away. We gotta plant those gardens, build those houses, raise up our kiddos and pray for the peace and prosperity of our city. I think this is called Kingdom living: doing what we can to bring a bit of heaven down to earth. 

And I would so much rather try to shine a little bit of heaven's light 'round these parts, than rain down hellfire and brimstone. We've got enough of that here, already.


How did this election affect you? Got any helpful hints for hope and healing? Boom: Alliteration.

In defense of the silent dissenter

05 November 2012

My facebook has gotten very loud recently. Pictures, cartoons and tweets... status debates and name-calling. I am overwhelmed with the noise of it all, the deafening white noise of an unholy alliance between social media and political obsession.

I am the silent dissenter. Informed, yet searching. Impassioned, yet fallible.

I'm not going to tell you who I will vote for. I'm not going to go on Facebook and bait you into a political discussion. I'm not going to send you email after email about the latest, worst conspiracy. I will not be defined by whom I vote for. My identity is not within one party, but found in - and because of - one Man.

Online political discussions are not worth the time it takes to type a reactionary parting shot. But, if we must, I will tell you in person, a coffee mug or two between us. I will look you in the eyes, answer your questions, and ask you some of my own. I will smile and shake your hand as we stand and part ways. Because people are worth more than politics. 

And if we're going to choose battles, I want to choose this one wisely and fight on the side of grace.

If you'd like to have that coffee, I may just be found here, at Election Day Communion. Find your church, your people - not your party - and eat and drink what's been broken and poured out for you.

"And we’ll re-member the body of Christ as the body of Christ, confessing the ways in which partisan politics has separated us from one another and from God."

How do you cope with election season?

I've been domained

Hey Friends, just a quick note to let you know I've moved... kinda... you can now find me and my ramblings at

If you visit the old blogspot link, you should be redirected, but this here is where I'll be camped out for the foreseeable future. Hope to meet you there.