Friday, August 11, 2017

Place: Five Minute Friday

It's Friday and I'm joining the link-up again with so many beautiful people whose hearts are aligned! Here's the link, I hope you'll try it!

This week's prompt is:


Immediately, Michael W. Smith's "Place in this world" popped into my head.
I remember the first time I heard it on a secular station, shocked that a "Christian" artist would be played on a "secular" station.

If you examine the lyrics, they're not overtly Christian, though. He wrote it along with Amy Grant and Wayne Kirkpatrick.

"The wind is moving
But I am standing still
A life of pages
Waiting to be filled
A heart that's hopeful
A head that's full of dreams
But this becoming
Is harder than it seems
Feels like I'm

Looking for a reason
Roaming through the night to find
My place in this world
My place in this world
Not a lot to lean on
I need Your light to help me find
My place in this world
My place in this world

If there are millions
Down on their knees
Among the many
Can you still hear me?
Hear me asking
Where do I belong?
Is there a vision
That I can call my own?
Show me I'm

Looking for a reason
Roaming through the night to find
My place in this world
My place in this world
Not a lot to lean on
I need Your light to help me find
My place in this world
My place in this world"

I think it reflects the human heart well. We want to have a plan for our lives and a purpose. Well, our purpose is to glorify God and the details of the plan? Those are not always revealed to us.

I spent time with a friend recently who told me her first remembrance of me. We were in a parent panel, interviewing candidates for administrator of our school. She came in with a different background and was concerned about his financial plans. I would not have thought to ask about those. I, instead, asked him what his view was of chapel and its importance. I was currently teaching the preschool and elementary chapels, but knew that our high school needed to be spiritually fed and not put into the "church box" where it's adult church at school and unappealing.

It left an impression on her that I was concerned about the spiritual state of our school, because it's God's school. And, that if we're doing what He asks us to do, then He will definitely provide financially.

It had been my prayer that year (After reading "The Circle Maker") that our school would become God's dwelling place. That our chapel would be set apart, a sacred place (much like the church sanctuary is not the fellowship hall). Currently, our chapel services are in our cafeteria, as are the elementary and kindergarten/preschool concerts.
***Timer ended here***

*wrapping up my thoughts here*
If God's place is our place, if we're consumed by wanting to be aware of His presence in every place we are, then we will find "our place in this world."

At the FMF Retreat, I wasn't sure what my place was. When you have a lot of gifts, people expect to define you by one thing, and you are sometimes at a loss to define yourself. Am I a writer? A musician? A teacher? A mom? A wife? Well, yes, but even if I lost all of that, I'd have Jesus. I'd have His Spirit dwelling within me. So, I am (in Darlene Zschech's wise words) a paper cup. God fills me up and I pour out His overflow on others.

(please leave me your url or linkup number in the comments so I can find you!)

Now I want to wear light denim jeans, with a white t-shirt, and a matching denim jacket. Ha ha ha!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Try: Five Minute Friday

Woo-hoo! It's Friday again and already time for another linkup. I missed the Twitter party last night (it hits at dinnertime out here in Oregon, and my girls and I were preparing to see the community theater production of Mary Poppins.)
This week's linkup is the word Try.


As I was pondering the word "try", I thought of "tried and true" and being "tried in front of a jury".
All the trying was a result of proving and testing.

So, a poem.

Try, try, try again.
Failure is a part of the learning process.
What leads to success in one's own eyes may be quite the opposite in another's.
The light bulb glows with a flick of a switch,
energy pouring from wires into more wires encapsulated in blown glass.
Over 99 times, this energy did not produce light.

In the beginning, God said "let there be light".
There is no need for God to "try", but for us, we are constantly trying.
Our weakest efforts are the beginning of His handiwork.
He flows in us and through us like the electric currents pouring into the tiny wires that are coiled precisely until light begins to dimly glow then brightly beam.
His glories stream into that sacred place
our bodies bearers of His grace
our eyes bear image of His face
and all He asks us to do is try.
If we are plugged into His source
we will not need to force
His power to flow for us to glow.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Reflections and Rest: Five Minute Friday Retreat

I have been savoring so many memories from our retreat last weekend.
Jumping back into real life has been a completely different pace than the still and quiet moments we shared in the Heartland Center in Missouri.
I chose to fly a couple days early to spend time in Omaha, Nebraska with my brother and his wife and their daughter who is not quite a year old.

A dear college friend and pageant sister that I hadn't seen in 13 years had time to lunch with me on the way to Kansas City! Megan also brought her darling daughter, Phoebe.

When I was flying out to the FMF Retreat, I was asked often where I was going and why.
To be honest, I wasn't completely sure of the "why". To meet my friends in real life, of course, but beyond that? What did God have for me and why was my heart so stirred to break bread with these women?  One gem was the three hour layover in Seattle. I met a young Christian woman and we had time to reveal our hearts to each other and I was privileged to pray with her (but almost missed my flight because of it!) The bonus was I got to move to the emergency row with extra leg room.
A new friend from Australia that I got to know and pray with during a 3 hour layover in Seattle. Natasha is amazing!

His biggest gift to me was to be a messenger. Over a month before the retreat, I had the idea to make something for each of the women that would bear their name. I practiced my brush lettering, found a cute printable stationery set, and waited to hear which verses to print on that set for them. (The same passage was used for everybody)
Psalm 139 and Ephesians 2:10 were both brought to my mind repeatedly. That we were intentionally made with a purpose. We are God's masterpiece. We are delightfully complex.
Practice Penning

The drying step

The final product that each woman received (with their own name)

Kate led the speaking our first night. What a treasure she is! She blessed us with our own copies of the Craving Connection book from (in)Courage.
Christina Hubbard spoke from her heart and read from Psalm 139 the first night. My heart was leaping inside my chest at the confirmation!
Not only did he speak to our hearts, He also spoke to our wardrobes. #accidental #twinning #daytwo
Christina is somebody you like right away when you meet her. She is caring and kind and so relatable! She is also not afraid to speak from where she's at. Her genuine "this is what I'm learning" makes her very approachable!
Her blog is:
Kate graciously gave me the floor for a couple minutes while I handed out the cards after reading the passage printed on them. We also sang "He Knows My Name" (I have a maker).
Oh it was so rich!
Seriously, she's better in person than I could ever have imagined! Kate is all about others. What a true gift she is. :)
The entire retreat, she was giving to us and providing a space for us to connect. I hope she received as much as the rest of us!
Her blog is:
I unintentionally coordinated with my roommate, Alice William. And, my mind-reading friend Jeanne also matched me Friday night. This was just a piece of the pie.You see, Five Minute Friday is also Five Minute Family. These sisters? They understand me. Somehow, in all my quirkiness and social awkwardness, I found them, and they've embraced all my muddy ramblings and found the gold nuggets buried within.

I found the people who speak my language, though we all speak differently.
Oregon and Rhode Island...we're coastal and cute!
Alice has a treasure trove of faith and wisdom. Her blog is a weekly memory verse challenge, and her depth of love for God is rich. I am very touched to be called her friend and delighted to have been paired as her roommate!
Her blog is:

Jeanne and Tammy Jean...both with Colorado roots :)
Jeanne is raw and real and always listening for what God has to say. She continues to try to improve what is already a beautiful, faithful walk. You want to be her friend. Forever!
Her blog is:
Anita Ojeda, Jeanne Takenaka, Alice William and I got up before the sun on Saturday to take a morning walk, which ended up being a shared love of God's creation and snapping photographs. There were a couple of hills to make it count as exercise, but it was such a leisurely pace and a safe place to just breathe in the beauty of the morning.

All of Saturday was filled with becoming a better writer and a more connected person. We had such joy and laughter together!
Meghan has SO much to share! I am delighted to be connected to her. She really trusts God with everything. This is a Faith Warrior right here!

Jen is someone I would definitely have been friends with in school! She gets me on so many levels. She even gave me a vanilla lip balm made from beeswax because she and I both burn with Burt's Bees. And we are dedicated to our coffee! :) But seriously? Jen is someone who gives without expecting anything in return. She listens well, she loves to be behind the scenes and help others.

Carolina's real name is spelled AGAPE. :) God is so strong in her life and she is sparklingly beautiful inside and out. And she really DOES give the best hugs. You must meet her for yourself!
Her blog is:

Cyndi is an encourager. She lifts you up even when she needs lifting herself. She won't ask for anything, but I'm so grateful she shared from her heart on Sunday. Her obedience and faithfulness to God are going to lead to many hearts being changed for His glory!

Christina, myself and Alice at dinner at Spin Pizza

Mary Geisen. This woman is BRAVE. She agreed to lay on the floor with me for better lighting. Anita put that photo on Instagram. Then, just below, the real antics began.
Her blog is:

That beautiful red head behind you is recoiling from my finger being poked between the two of us to prevent a photobombing...poor Holly! I didn't know I'd made contact, I just reached between us when I knew she was trying to put a goofy face.

I think Holly is still tender from my poking, so Jen and Mary made sure to make up for the photobombing snafu!
Her blog is:

By the third day, the humidity had got the better of me, so I embraced Anita as we embraced our wild hairs. She has also mastered the art of self-portraits and has longer arms than I do!
Her blog is:

I'm not sure I can summarize this experience well. I'm way over five minutes, ha!
The biggest thing God spoke to me this trip was REST.
Though I'm not sure what that looks like, I know I need to enter His Rest. I've been working too hard on His behalf, trying to be His sidekick, I think.
At the retreat, I found rest. We didn't have a packed schedule, but just the right amount of scheduled time and free time. We ate together, we laughed together, we prayed together, we found safe space to share pain and doubt and hope and dream, and at the end, we are all looking forward to the greatest family reunion of all.

And, though it was extra time away from my husband and our three girls, I had extra time to meet with friends in Nebraska and spend more time with my niece, my brother, and my sister-in-law.
I was able to sleep deeply and to enjoy taking it slow.
I hope to take these lessons and put less on my schedule in the months to come.
The one and only Deidra Riggs made time for a late lunch in Lincoln, Nebraska with me on Sunday. We both had French Toast and spoke about her retreat I'd attended in Nebraska two years prior, our husbands, writing, and Classic Cars. (My husband has a 67 Plymouth Barracuda)
Her blog is:

Speaking of family, this is Claire. I have only two nieces in the world and she's the younger of the two. This trip was our first in-person encounter. She is delightful!! (My sister-in-law is an amazing Omaha, NE photographer. Book with her!)
Photo credit: Katie Hammond

Monday before flying out we walked in the park. This caterpillar was in the grass. It had a twin later on the sidewalk. It was surprisingly soft! We are much like caterpillars. We have no idea what we really look like, but we are on a journey to transformation.

The sunset at my final airport before I drove home.
I was seated next to a woman and her daughter on the final flight home. She noticed my World Vision logo on my sweatshirt (the planes get cold, folks!) and struck up a conversation that lasted two hours.
God is stirring her to write. She's new to all internet and writing online, etc, and I was armed with a wealth of information for her!
(She took notes! Ha!)
When I get a chance (and her permission), I will share a link to her blog. But know this, Rachel Fisher is someone with a story and the ability to tell it!

I am looking forward to reading the other posts, because mine is more of a journal/timeline and less of a lesson. This retreat and trip were about people and relationships and community, and so my pictures are of the people that I really got the time to know. There were more wonderful people that I didn't get time with, and you simply MUST read what they have shared! I know I will!

I'm so hopeful I will get to meet more of you in the future.
Thank you for allowing me to be sincere and share from my heart.
I really can't process it all yet, so this is a rough draft. But that's what Five Minute Friday is all about.