Goodreads to Muse

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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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Entries in broken & beautiful (5)


a way out

The Pit is dark and lonely. It is deep. It smells of earth and leaves and mold. The damp makes the cold all the more penetrating. The Pit can envelop you even when you are running errands in Cool Springs on Mallory Lane. It can grab you up in front of the tv when you sit with your boys watching sports. It can put icy fingers around your neck when you lounge with friends over dinner. 

The Pit is familiar. My Pit has furniture like a coffee table with magazines dog-eared and coffee-stained. It says pull up a chair and stay a while.  It is nonetheless dark and lonely. What does your pit look like?

We are in a season of wharp-speed, like many with children or jobs or places to be. Our rhythm has changed in recent months. I don’t like change. The Pit calls my name more often in a season like this. I am likely to fall into the Pit when I am running and have to keep going and don’t have time to stop and be still. 

This morning, however, I stopped. I read about David’s Pit. David says in Psalm 40, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.  Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.”

David knew the Pit. And his story shows how God lifted him out. I know the Pit. And my story this morning tells of a God who gets in the Pit and gives me a leg up to see out. He gives me strength to grab hold of the grass and His Long Arm boosts me up over the edge. 

There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still. - Corrie Ten Boom


finding my voice

I quit blogging.

Because I got into a cat fight on Twitter with another blogger.

Because the vitriol and hatred in the blogosphere suffocated me and paralyzed me and sucked the words right out of my heart.

Because I lost my voice in the vortex of it all.

I don’t want to be another voice in the matrix plugging my little corner of theology or morals or even truth. 

So I had to ask myself: What do you want?

I know that words live in my bones and clamor to come out. 

I know that I will not win any battles with words shaped like swords hanging over the heads of my supposed “enemies.” Who is my enemy? Those who believe differently than I do? I don’t think so.

I know that I have a voice, and I was created to put thoughts into words and share them.

I know that I write to shape myself and perhaps others. And that when I don’t write, I don’t grow. 

I wrote these words weeks ago but haven't had the courage to post them. This morning I uttered a prayer before I had my coffee asking the Lord to help me find my voice, my prayer wordless and more like a groan. Then I made my way upstairs, coffee in hand, for some quiet time aka water for a dry soul. A random book  (Bird by Bird) came into my view, and I plucked it from the shelf and read the answer to my prayer.

We write to expose the unexposed. You can’t do this without discovering your own true voice. Truth seems to want expression. Unacknowledged truth saps your energy.  - Anne Lamott

I paused because I didn’t want my voice to be bended and sound like all the others. I paused because I needed to heal. I am writing because I breathe and I have to. The experience held up a mirror and I saw jealousy and narrow-mindedness. I saw pettiness and the desire to be right over love for people. Now I sense it is time to write again.

I recently stumbled upon Glennon Doyle Melton is a voice of encouragement amongst the many caustic voices. I am reading her book - Carry On, Warrior. She writes, “If anywhere in your soul, you feel the desire to write, please write. Write as a gift to yourself and others. Everyone has a story to tell. Writing is not about creating tidy paragraphs that sound lovely or choosing the ‘right’ words. It’s just about noticing who you are and noticing life and sharing what you notice. When you share your truth, it is a love offering to the world because it helps us feel braver and less alone.”

I am thankful for space and time and a loving God to help heal my soul. I am thankful for you who read and let me know you are encouraged or touched in some way. May this offering of love warm you and encourage you to write or dance or sing the story God has given you.

let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't... Romans 12:6 The MSG



more broken bones

Two weeks ago I was skiing down a gorgeous mountain drinking in the beauty and fell on my knee. The femur (big bone in the thigh) crashed into the tibia (shin bone) and cracked it. Also, the meniscus (pad between femur and tibia) tore. I skied down, barely walked to the car and have not walked on it since then. I had surgery Friday to repair the meniscus. The ACL was bruised but not torn. The tibia is healing and did not need pins. 

One day you can be walking down streets of gold and the next it all turns to ash. This is a paraphrased quote from Lady Mary of Downton Abby. One perk in all of this includes an introduction to this PBS series. Most of the world is watching it. I thought my friends had gone mad pronouncing downtown like a Brit. Then I fell in love with the series and learned the place is called Downton. We are just beginning Season 2. 

Of course my real life at present is much like a soap opera. Who would even believe that a couple could have two broken bones from two separate ski accidents? Two surgeries in one week - who could make this up?

I hinted at the idea that there is more to the story than where I left it. Matt dropped me off at the ER at 8:00 a.m. on December 31, 2013, the last day of the year. Julia greeted us at the front door with a wheel chair. She assured Matt they would take good care of me through a genuine smile. The day ended up as I thought - a lot of waiting. The staff took excellent care of me and lived up to Julia's promise. 

That night we settled the boys down early switching around sleeping positions. Matt and I slept on the sofas in the den. The boys all three piled up in the king-sized bed. We dozed off well before midnight. I awoke to Matthew breathlessly reporting that Sam had thrown up all over him and Joshua. 

Sam came in to sleep beside me. Josh and Matthew showered and  fell asleep on the  other couch. Matt spent the next several hours in the laundromat downstairs. At midnight the fireworks pulsed through the blinds of our condo. I hobbled over to the wall to wall widows and watched the brilliant explosions through sheets of snow. I mused out loud what on earth would 2014 hold for us. 

The morning  brought ten inches of snow and the first day I ever saw of 2014 shimmered like a blanket of crystals. Clean. Bright. New. 

Later Sam and I sat in front of the fire still in our pj’s. I called my dad to tell him of my injuries. “Things cannot get worse,” I said. “But I never say that.” About that time Matt beeped in. 

“I’m going down on the ski patrol stretcher,” he said. 

“Right,” I said. 

But a few minutes later he showed up covered from head to toe in snow. Joshua and he told me their tale. He was building up speed to manage a flat spot. In ten inches of powder, skiing is a different game. He planted his entire weight on his shoulder. I took one look at him and said, “You’ve broken your collar bone.”

About five minutes after that as we sat there gawking at the broken bone and brainstorming about what to do, Matthew came through the door. “It’s awful out there!” he said. Both of us charged him, “Are you ok?” “What is wrong?”

“I lost my iPhone and wallet,” he said. 

We just groaned in relief that he wasn’t hurt. Matt went for x-rays. His collar bone lay in two pieces and his pain roared. We tried to no avail to find the iPhone and wallet. It may surface in the spring. If so, LifeCase will have a new advertisement.

The next day we drove to Denver under sunny blue skies. I had two good arms. Matt two good legs. We made a perfect match. 

Next stop security. The wounded get wheelchairs and go to the front of the line. Twenty-two year olds without ID’s get questioned by the TSA. Matthew fielded about 85 questions and finally passed. We fought our way to the front of line at the Southwest gate. 

Our layover in Kansas City turned south when they announced the need for a pilot. “We are looking for a pilot,” the announcer said. Hmmmmm. How does one round up a pilot at 7:00 p.m. on a Thursday. Apparently one does not round up a pilot. We spent the night there, and it was a quick one. Back at the airport by 5:00 a.m. Matthew went in for round 2 of questions. He flew past this one in flying colors.

We landed and went straight to the orthopedist office.   At home the next day, our friends descended upon us and have nursed us back to health since then. Meals, taking down Christmas trees, running errands, dropping off kids, cleaning ceiling fans: nothing is out of reach for this army of lovers through actions. 

I cannot fathom what 2014 could hold that could outdo this but I am not saying “it could not get worse.” No sir, I am not.

Matt had his surgery Wednesday and can do more with one arm that most folks can with two. We are healing up and feeling loved. My mother who just turned 70 is here nursing us both. She can run circles around us. Her good southern cooking is mending all of our broken places - body, mind and spirit. 


blessing of God

The words of the Aaronic blessing offer us a powerful glimpse into the heart of our God and our own desire. All of us at our core wish to have God’s blessing upon our lives. We all wish to see God face to face and feel His love and acceptance of us. 

As I have been musing God’s gaze upon my life, I encountered these words in Numbers 6. The blessing goes like this:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

God gave these words to Moses to give to Aaron (the first high priest) and his sons to give to the Israelites. They were embarking on their journey through the desert. This is the first time the Israelites were “numbered.” They were numbered some 40 years later when they finally did go in and claim the land.

This speaks to me because God knew they would fail. Even with these powerful words of blessing upon them, they chose their own way and chose not to trust their God. God disciplined them for 40 years. 40 years. All the time with his face shining upon them.

Our God, an Artist, delivered this blessing in an artful poetic form to his children. The structure in Hebrew is important. Line one has 15 letters forming three words, line two 20 letters for five words, line three has 25 letters for seven words. The language builds in emphasis. 

And so God’s kids started out a journey doomed to “failure” with a poem. In my mind’s eye I see haggard and bedraggled old Israelites wandering the desert. Their shoes in tact but what of their souls? They must have wanted to give something to their kids, the next generation. Something different. I picture them kissing their children goodnight and uttering these words over them willing them to believe. I conjure up visions of them struggling through heat, snake attacks, human-eating earthquakes, plagues and clinging to this poem at the very center of their being. 

I imagine their last breaths surrounded by this next generation of warriors uttering the words of faithfulness. He is faithful when we are not. 

This poem held them together at their center. This poem grew around it another generation of believers who were courageous, obedient, conquerers. 

I wrestle with my flesh and the principalities and powers to accept these words. I desire to know deep down in my center that God loves me and his face is turned toward me. He is brimming with love perfected by the death and resurrection of his Son. I am becoming more and more aware of the places that don’t believe. I offer those parts a seat at the table of grace. Pass the poem. Munch on these words. Let them become a part of you. Believe. Pass it on.

And I say to my sons, He is faithful when we are not.



I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom pulling my hair back into a pony tail. With my arms in the air and no sleeves, I saw my arms. This thought split my brain in two like a strike of lightning. “Fat arms.” 

And as insanity would have it, I answered myself. With sadness. Appropriate sadness. I thought, “These arms have held your babies. These arms have given love to your husband. These arms have baked when friends are hurting. These arms have fought for truth, wholeness, healing. These arms have raised up to heaven and not remained slack for lack of praise.”

I inherited these arms from my mother and grandmother. Their arms have been shelter for me. I have never, never thought of their arms as “fat.” In fact, we frequently heard from my mother, “come get under my wing.” She would put her arms around us and shelter us albeit temporarily from the world.


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