Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


We are in Tennessee, in the mountains where fall is just becoming. We are in a cabin, a three bedroom, a beautiful place. My favorite room is the screened in back porch. It sits high in the air with gigantic trees all around. A treehouse of sorts. A peaceful retreat.
The cabin is dressed in tree branches. The door handles are branches, they are pushed and pulled to open doors into bigger spaces. The stair railing to the downstairs is made of many branches woven and held together to make a very sturdy barrier and guide. It is lovely.
Curtain rods made of branches hold lacy little curtains.
My favorite is the large branch that arches over the bed in one of the three bedrooms. Nests and little birds nestle all along it's crooks and crannies.
This is the perfect resting place for a Seven Branches momma. An unexpected surprise.

Branches used in various ways. Which of the branches would you like to be?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Worth It

Pressing on.
Loving unconditionally.
It is worth it.
Forgiving before sleep ends my day.
Worth it.
Giving time, energy, self.
Worth it.
Seeking when I can't see anything ...
revelation will come.
Worth it ... all.
Loving ... without reciprocation

or expectation ...

sometimes without trusting.

Pressing on because it is worth it.

Friday, September 24, 2010


We have been studying together for almost two years now. Our small group is growing, two babies have been born to us since we began to gather. We have dug in the Word and sharpened one another week after week. There are times I hang on the wealth of wisdom that others share throughout an evening. Other times I am like a water fountain, full, and ready to fill and encourage. We are becoming like family.

One of the little ones, that usually plays quietly at her granny's feet during our study, doesn't say much to me. She looks at me with big eyes and speaks volumes with her smile, but she still holds her words back. Sometime last summer she embraced me as soon as she caught my eye. The first time, we had not seen each other for a few weeks, she ran to greet me with a big hug. She melted into my arms, surrendered completely to our embrace. Since that time she faithfully greets me in this precious way.


It was the word that I have been meditating on since we gathered two evenings ago.

The little three-year-old's grandpa is our leader. He was the first to quicken the word, surrender, to my soul this week. He began with a quote that someone had sent to him. He paraphrased it this way.

"We don't talk about commitment in my country the way that you do in the American churches. In my country we talk about surrender. Commitment is something you do with an equal." Romanian Pastor

I was immediately quickened with his words. I have been very committed. I realized that I have boasted that I have that strength ... I can hang in there even when the going gets tough. I don't enjoy the ride  so much and I have sometimes whined along the way but I hang tight until the end. We can go through the hardest of things together and when we arrive at the other side of a trial, I will still be hanging out with you. I am committed.

But am I surrendered?

This is a new concept ... not really ... it is an old concept presented in a new way ... a way in which challenges,  convincing me I need to change.

Someone else posted a few more quotes about surrender this week. Here is the one that pierced me.

"One of the challenges of complete surrender to  Christ is that we don't know what lies ahead ...
God says instead, "Here's the blank piece of paper, I want you to  sign your name on the bottom
line, hand it back to me and let me fill in the details." Nancy Leigh Demoss

Will I sign my name to that blank page and be content with the way He fills in the details?

I want to.

I want to be with the Lord like my little friend that has learned to embrace me, completely, unreserved, with her whole heart.
I want to be surrendered like that  ... every day ... without hesitation ... without considering the cost ... fully trusting knowing that He will faithfully bless a heart of surrender.

I want to remain committed to you. I think I will be able to do it even better if I am completely surrendered to Him ... perhaps I will be able to do it with a lot less whine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Extreme Believing

I wish that there had been such a thing as blogging when my  children were tots. I kept a journal for each one of them as they were growing up and tried desperately to capture their darling expressions and their words of wonder and songs of joy, but truth is, I failed to capture so much. They all had amazing faith. They believed God for everything. My faith would begin to wane when the fire got hot and the trials became intense but theirs never failed. And God heard them. They would pray and He would answer and they saw the works of His hands and they believed for the impossible and He would quickly respond to their words of petition again and again. I was humbled time after time. They believed for the extreme without fear ... without criticism ... without doubt. They just believed. 
I envy young mommas who can capture amazing moments with their children and share it beyond their journal pages to minister to others so that extreme believing might spread. 
My friend Laura has shared a beautiful story titled, Breathe, about the faith of her son. Her story ministered very deeply to my heart.  As you read it, I hope that you will be blessed into extreme believing, too.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Gold Meadows

The meadows are hosting church, golden flowers gather to worship their Maker with uplifted faces and glorious smiles. I would be moved by one simple flower however their unity stirs delight. Sunkissed, smiling, my heart is raptured as I join in their glory, standing in the meadow beholding the sight.

"How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Psalm 133:1

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wild Plums

This post is to be read with a LARGE dose of humor. I was in a store the other day and there was a little girl with her momma. The momma was past ready to leave but the child was intrigued with something in the store and did not want to. Momma beckoned child again ... was it the third time? ... and the momma used the child's first and middle names. The child immediately rose and walked away with her momma. The momma did not use the child's name in anger, no, it was rather like she loved the name and was blessed that she got to use it with audience. Thus this story formed in my mind.  The scene brought back memories of when my children were small and they would not come when I called them. I love their names. I dreamed of being a momma long before I got to be one and I meditated long hours on what my children's names might be someday. 
My daughter was in India when she was 18 and our youngest was a boy of 8. He would write to his sister and say, "Ashli, come home ... right now!!!" He missed her and that is how he let her know ... thus the reason for the end of this tale.
My children are grown and gone ... my youngest will leave in two months. Their childhood lives on in the 10 million memories that I cherish. 

Looking back, I'm so grateful that my children didn't always respond the first time that I called their names to come to dinner, etc.  ... sometimes they failed to respond the second or third time, too! ... It gave me opportunity to use their middle names which, when choosing, took me so long to decide upon and so long for my husband and I to agree upon.

Joshua David
Ashli Elizabeth
Caleb Scott
Luke Jonathan
Josiah Benjamin

Come home to dinner! Right now!

And that is what middle names are for?!?!?!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Learned from Experience

It isn't a good idea to scare someone who is curling their eyelashes.

Hairdressers should not speak on the phone while mixing (my) hair color.

I have fed my teenaged sons chili on Saturday evening only to regret it at church on Sunday morning. 

Always hated it when my children would grab their bottoms and yell "don't spank me" when we were in a crowded room.

Living on the edge can be tricky especially when the arches of your feet will not bend very well any more.

Starbuck's coffee will make you want to sing ... at three in the morning!

Children cannot look you straight in the eye and lie to you.

I do have a green thumb! Just look at the cheese in my fridge!

Do you any little secrets that you have learned from experience? Please share!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

As Evening Sets

Magical moment! We are exploring back roads discovering lands dressed in beauty that we have never seen before. Afternoon becomes evening then night. We are sharing the awe of togetherness.

We share story after story. We have been married so, so long ... we can hardly remember when our life of singleness meshed into our life of togetherness ... some of our stories have been repeated to one another at least a hundred times. We listen to each tale as if it were the first time spoken. This is love.

We share several stories that we had never disclosed to the other. Amazing! There remains mystery between us.

Suddenly we witness one of the most glorious sunsets we have ever seen. We pull off the road, fully facing the expanse of glory in the sky. I listen to him breathe next to me.

Are sunsets like fingerprints, each one unique with its own identity? A symphony of evening noises accompany my wonder.

I focus completely on hues of purple, crimson, and bursts of orange blazing before me. The Lord has blessed the close of day. We bask in His glory. We sense He is near.

Changes in the sky happen so quickly. Evening sun gracefully bows to earth dropping beneath the horizon before we are ready to bid it farewell.

As evening sets, nature, our awe of it, and our love for one another reveal beauty in four dimensions.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1 NIV