Friday, January 29, 2010

Thankful List

  • good music
  • playing music (Even better with other musicians, preferably ones better than myself. That's not hard to come by, and I learn more that way)
  • cooking and baking, simmering and stewing
  • knitting
  • reading Elizabeth Zimmerman and Julia Child
  • re-reading books I read as a teenager, and realizing how my perceptions have changed with experiences
  • marking things off to-do lists :)
  • listening to Bro. Branham
  • the word sword is mostly word
  • quick, fun sewing projects
  • a working sewing machine :)
  • writing
  • sisters
  • old friends
  • my oldest nephew's mental connections
  • my oldest niece's zest for life
  • my middle nephew's smile
  • my youngest nephew's hugs
  • my youngest neice's sweet baby chatter

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Kitten, five inches long:
Scratch and careen through the house
Gallop on wood floors and
Make an entrance larger than your size
Dig into the carpet to slide it skewed
And bristle at the squirrels outside.

After a year, scare at your shadow
Beg for petting while eating,
Then bite the hand when finished.
Ignore the string dangled in your face
But tear up toilet paper and fight socks
And attack the legs that walk past

After five years discover the power of ears
Lay them back to show disgust
Forward to show interest
And perked up to listen.
Tilt them just so
For feral intent.

After ten, sit in the flowers and weeds
Stare at the human digging dirt
Follow puppy-style though the yard
Swish your ringed tail at birds and talk squirrel.
Exercise front paws on the glass door
And jump ten feet when it slams.

And in year fifteen, discover your inner lion
Fight off six dogs and make them cry
Claw them 'till it hurts.
In your pain, growl at the helping hand
Brave the knife, fight for life
And once again live.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Not I, But Christ

I remember the quality of light that day, as well a the Message playing across the house. The sunlight streamed into the kitchen window as I mopped the old yellow linoleum. I was listening to How Do I Overcome, and as I listened, I realized that this Christian walk was all about surrender. I remember praying, Lord, I can't. I don't know how to do that.

Four years before, I'd given my heart to Christ. I knew it was my day and time--the message that morning called me, and I knew it was my time to go God's way. After I'd walked up to the altar, surrendering my life, Daddy baptised me in muddy-blue lake waters. That afternoon, as he sat down at the piano to play, I asked him the one question that still bothered me: what do I do about the desires I know are against the Lord, but are still in my heart? He took me to Romans seven--Now it is no more I that doeth it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. I tried to understand, but I didn't. I still fought against the desires that lived within me. I didn't know how to get rid of them. Four years later, I still didn't have the answer--but I knew I needed the Holy Ghost.

That's where life found me on that June afternoon. My pastor was preaching on How Do I Overcome, and we were just about to have our first annual tent meetings. I remember getting up during the mornings and, sitting on my bed and praying, trying to surrender myself to a higher power, but ending up more emotional than anything else. Where was the power? I wondered. Where was the strength? What do I do to get there?

During those first meetings, so many were blessed. The Holy Spirit came down, and I watched my sister be reborn. But I couldn't seem to break through. I watched around me as people received their need: chains broken and peace restored. But after the meeting was over, I wasn't different. I needed more. I still needed the Holy Ghost.

Despite my need, the Lord was still working on my life. I'd just graduated from high school, and struggled with going to college. I knew my place, and I knew what the Lord had spoken to my heart two years before. Just when I had decided to "give it all up" and stay at home, the Lord laid in my lap a scholarship I didn't deserve, based on an essay I'd written at the last moment on a rehashed topic. I didn't know what to do, so I asked both the university and the scholarship committee if school could be pushed into the future six months. By God's grace I got my break.

I spent the summer helping some good friends and neighbors renovate their house. I watched as the Twin Towers fell on my mother's birthday. And then, two weeks after the Towers fell, my parents and I boarded a plane for Arizona. We were going to camp meetings. I could go because I wasn't yet in school.

I had fun for the first couple of days. I joined the camp choir. I played some volleyball, met some wonderful brothers and sisters, and was having a great time. But the desire still rang: Lord, I need the Holy Ghost.

It was still ringing that Friday night as I walked up to the platform with the choir. We began to sing, and the Holy Ghost began to fall. As I watched the audience, I felt that desire well up again. I didn't ask Him how. I didn't ask Him what I had to do. Lord, I wish you would come down to me, I prayed. I walked down from the platform back to my seat, and with my parents beside me, He answered my prayer. In the moments following, I learned full surrender. I met Jesus Christ, face to face, and He answered my need.

Not I but Christ. Since then, I've fallen flat on my face. I've been rebellious at times, but I've been forgiven, and I've been refilled. I've had to learn, over and over, that it's His work; it's not mine. And His Grace grows sweeter daily. His Work isn't finished; I'm still clay in His hands. And when my desires are contrary to His, the only answer is a surrendered heart. He taught me how.

For through the law I am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself for me.
--Galatians 2:19-20

Friday, January 15, 2010

What to Write About

I'm here to write. I've not figured out what about yet-- I've just got the urge to be here, and to to write about life. (Does this only happen to me, or does it happen to others? )

I could write about my exciting, exhausting Holiday from school, where I took two successive trips and sandwiched in Christmas at home--barely. About what an awesome and wonderful time I had hanging out with my good friend, Alyssa from Australia, and making two cheesecakes for/with those great folks from Indiana, learning I wasn't a hopeless ice skater, visiting the Creation Museum where I found the perfect gift for Noelle, and playing Message Trivia with good friends. (Alyssa ransacked us all.)

I could talk of the journey home-- the gorgeous icy drive through the mountains, stopping by the Walmart on a snowy afternoon and the successive snowball "fight"--The trip to downtown Greenville for great Thai food, my talkative and hilarious sister, Rebecca who made Alyssa and me laugh. I could mention running back up to Asheville the next day to visit Heather, then spending the evening at home making the best pizza I've ever put in my mouth. (I need to make it again.)

I could talk of Rebecca's birthday breakfast--the slow and relaxing day at home, in which we only went out to see the (flooded) church, and came home to tea and more relaxing and knitting--and not-so-relaxed packing.

I could talk of getting up the next morning at 4AM, driving to fly, flying to drive, and arriving at a camp where I knew but one other person. I could write of meeting others, meeting the Lord Jesus Christ, playing and playing and playing the piano, loving the interchange between instruments, chatting music, and playing--all for the glory of God. I could talk of how doctrinal differences don't ruin the Holy Spirit's flow--as long as I don't get in the way.

I could write about coming home--how, for the first time, a commercial plane felt slightly more like my grandad's--how my heart was glad to see the mountains--how the feeling of homeward-bound-ness and going to church that night was euphoric. I could talk of the next couple of days, where I was a couch potato, and then discovered school was looming right around the corner.

And now? I could talk of the goodness of the Lord. The strength for the days the Lord has given me, both in sickness and health, stress or not. How it's good to see my students again--even the ones that drive me a little crazy. How I admire my family, and think they're just about the best people around. How I'm thankful for the new ideas, the beautiful thoughts and the crafty stuff that collected on my Google Reader while I was absent.

Perhaps that's what I should write about.

I didn't realize just how close to home I was when I snapped this outside my plane window.