Thursday, August 30, 2007


Yesterday, for the anniversary of Katrina, we had a little family ceremony. We were aiming to give some closure to our kids, and help them recognize how God has provided for us, but I gotta tell you, I didn't realize how good the closure would feel to me!

Anyway, we planted a hibiscus in our yard to help us remember the beauty that has come out of the sad days of Katrina, and how God took care of us. Here are some pics:

Daddy and his helpers.

The ceremonial squirt!


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

HAPPY Anniversary

In the next world we may more perfectly
Love Him and serve Him, praise Him,
Grow nearer and nearer to Him with delight.
But then we will not anymore
Be called to suffer, which is our assignment here.
Can you not suffer, then, one hour or two?
If He should call you from your cross today,
Saying, "It is finished--that hard cross of yours
From which you pray for deliverance,"
Do you not think that some emotion of regret
Would overcome you? You would say,
"So soon? Let me go back and suffer yet awhile
More patiently. I have not yet praised God."
....let us take heed in life
That God may NOW be glorified in us.
(Ugo Bassi's Sermon in a Hospital)

Today marks the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This morning as I reflected with some area pastors on this day and what it means to us, my heart virtually screamed the above quoted poem. See, lately I've been doing quite a bit of asking for deliverance. Since Katrina's upheaval, my life has seemed like one upheaval after another. I'm tired. So is everyone around me.

Last night, my hair guy and I were talking about my book. He asked me "Do you listen to what you write?" Jimmy wanted to know if I practice what I preach, or if I take my own advice. So I asked the question of myself. I told Jimmy how I feel that everything that has happened since Katrina has worked together as a "test" of sorts for me. How can I write a book with a theme of hope and perseverance... and then NOT trust God to give me the strength to persevere myself? I don't want to be someone who preaches one thing, only to get in my car, drive away, and do another. So yes, I practice what I preach.

But in some ways, I have not yet praised God. To me, persevering through trial is one thing, but lifting praise to God in and FOR a trial is another thing entirely. In my mind, to look suffering in the face and THANK GOD for it is to have triumphed over that suffering. And so, if you'll allow me...

THANK YOU GOD, for Hurricane Katrina. Thank You for the uncertainty, the loss, the sadness. Thank You for forcing me to rely on You for hope. I praise You, God, for the turmoil it caused. I praise You for making me uncomfortable enough to seek comfort in You. ThankYou for personally being my comfort in all of this. While I'm at it, Lord, I would like to praise You for the embolisms I had. Thanks for the pain and the frightening diagnosis. Thanks for showing me that death is nothing to You, therefore it is nothing to me. Thank you for sending my husband to the hospital. Thank you for being there when I thought I might lose him. Thank You for the people whose hands you used to help hold me up that night. I praise You, God, for the exhaustion, the depression, and the discouragement that the last months have held for me and Matthew. I praise You for being Reason enough to go on even when we didn't feel like it. The bottom line, Jesus, is that You have and do use suffering to connect with me and to help me connect with You... and connection with You makes life worth living, so I praise You for it ALL. You, my Jesus, are worth every mile, every tear, every shaky, exhausted step. Lord, don't let me waste time. I'm not waiting till you call and end to suffering before I praise You. So, please, be glorified in THIS life, with all its imperfections and in the midst of all its sufferings. Amen

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Wierd One

I got a new haircolor today. It's a mysterious blackish-reddish-purplish color. (Pictures as soon as I get a good one.) I always love haircut day. Since Katrina, my hair guy doesn't have a shop anymore, so he comes to my house to do the job. It's grown into a pretty fun gathering, with who knows who popping in to sit in the makeshift salon that is my kitchen.

Today, Starbucks got thrown into the mix. What else is a girl to do while she waits for her hair color to work than walk over to Starbucks, stand in line (purplish hair color gunk and all), and order a round of treats for everyone. Here's the funniest part: There were people who actually said words to me and carried on conversation with me, all the while acting like I didn't have purplish goopy funky hair sticking up all over my head, and there was no pungent, nasty smell of hair color in a cloud around me.

Oh sure, there were wierd looks too, AND people there I knew, but I expected that. All in all, it was a pleasant trip. I even met a new friend who shares my name that I'll hopefully get to see again.

It's interesting what you can do if you're the one wierd or gutsy enough to do it. Not that going out in public while your hair color processes is anything noble. My point is that no one ridiculed me. I know for a fact I stunk and no one crossed to the other side of the room. It was that "twilight zone" type moment when no one really realized what was going on and by the time they did, I was gone and it was over.

So what if this applied to living for Christ? Do I have the guts to be the wierd one for Jesus? Can I live my life in such abandon to Him that no one really knows what to make of it? I WANT TO!!! And really, who could stop me?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Stage Whispers

My son, ever the performer, can't seem to tone down his four year old voice. Yesterday he was in the living room with his sister, and down the hall I heard this stage whisper: "Quick! Mom and Dad are coming! We aren't supposed to be on the table! They are goin to see us!"

My quiet little girl knows the value of don't ask don't tell. Not Levi. He's got the gift of gab. And for now, it works for me!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Old song, New thoughts

This old Rich Mullins song implanted itself in my brain over a decade ago. I liked the tune and the catchy phrasing. For some reason lately, it's been floating to the top of my ocean of thoughts and I've been really pondering its lyrics...

"Now the plummer's got a drip in his spigot
The mechanic's got a clank in his car
And the preacher's thinking thoughts that are wicked
And the lover's got a lonely heart
My friends ain't the way I wish they were
They are just the way they are

And I will be my brother's keeper
Not the one who judges him
I won't despise him for his weakness
I won't regard him for his strength
I won't take away his freedom
I will help him learn to stand
And I will ~ I will be my brother's keeper

Now this roof has got a few missing shingles
But at least we got ourselves a roof
And they say that she's a fallen angel
I wonder if she recalls when she last flew
There's no point in pointing fingers
Unless you're pointing to the truth

And I will be my brother's keeper
Not the one who judges him
I won't despise him for his weakness
I won't regard him for his strength
I won't take away his freedom
I will help him learn to stand
And I will ~ I will be my brother's keeper

What's so wrong with being my brother's keeper? Even Cain railed at the idea. I think the songwriter hit on two main issues: I won't despise him for his weakness. I won't regard him for his strength. The way it's going around in my mind, losing patience with the weakness of another, or on the other hand, building too much regard for the strength of another leads to resentment. It takes a certain strength to care for another who is weaker, and even more strength, I say, to care for another who is stronger.

The song issues a challenge indeed. Can I be my brother's keeper? Can I as a believer extend love to those around me without judgement, whether they are weaker than I, or whether they possess strengths I envy?

Wouldn't it be nice to be "kept" that way? Surrounded by others who understand "my friends ain't the way I wish they were. They are just the way they are." Don't you think at the root of many relational problems is the attempt, whether conscious or unconscious, to make someone else into "the way I wish they were" instead of accepting that "they are just the way they are?" Isn't it even more interesting that a brother's keeper doesn't do the job of molding someone into something else? The idea of being a keeper or caretaker almost automatically conjurs up feelings of responsibility or authority, but hardly ever feelings of acceptance or servanthood. But to truly be my brother's keeper, I have to stop trying to make those around me be something I wish they were, and begin helping them stand in who they are.

Problem is.... it's so much easier just to tell them what they ought to be, isn't it? Or to sit in judgement? Or even to remove their freedom so they can't be what I wish they weren't? The harder thing, definitely, is to accept another whether they please me or not. To love them whether or not it is convenient to do so. To stand with them even when they embarass me.

Jesus is our Keeper that way, you know. He's stood by me through it all. May He do the same through me for those He's given me to keep.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yes, Ma'am.

I almost just posted a comment to you, Beck, but I thought I'd put it out here instead. Because it's long.
You are so right about the fact that being a brave woman doesn't mean you are not afraid. It means that you choose to continue moving in the face of your fears - in defiance of them.
Our church is studying "Mere Christianity" right now (C.S. Lewis), and you reminded me of something I read there this morning. It's a little bit out of context, as he is talking mainly about repentance here, but I think it still applies (as most truth has application in so many places). So, here is a quote, because he said it better than I could:
"Can we do it if God helps us? Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us? We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself, so to speak. He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another. When you teach a child writing, you hold its hand while it forms the letters: that is, it forms the letters because you are forming them. We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hand while we do it."
I think that this is what Scripture means when it says that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. You are brave and strong - one of the strongest women I know, my Becky. But it isn't really you at all. It's the bit of Himself that Christ has placed in you that continues to give you strength. He has given this gift of himself to you because you chose to ask for it.
Because, really, with all that you have faced this year, the fact that you continue to get out of bed every morning defies reason.
And doesn't it take a little bit of the pressure off - doesn't it help us to be okay with fear - to live with its presence - if we know that it isn't up to us to conquer it? So, to paraphrase Lewis: We live our lives in the presence of fear because God moves and lives fearlessly in us.
Hope that makes sense :)

<3 Christy

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Facing Fears

Ok, I think I'm down to the real reason I've been in such a dither lately.

It's hard to admit this....

I'm scared.

I started this year at the tail end of Katrina's aftermath. Having just breathed a sigh of relief and declared myself over Katrina, I found myself in the hospital wondering what my husband and my babies would do without me. Then, in a few months I found myself in the ER wondering what I and my babies would do without him. Then, I wondered what we would all do without a job. Now I'm wondering what I'll do WITH one as my book's release gets closer.

Matthew has some type of stomach plague and has kept it for over a week. With his every sigh the knot in my own stomach tightens up. I have this icky, heavy feeling that I should be bracing myself for something terrible. I've actually carried this feeling around since oh... May or so. I'm sick of it.

My wise counselor friend calls this hypervigilance. She says it's normal in the aftermath of trauma, and we have had several events in succession that qualify as trauma. She says it'll pass. I hope she's right.

What I know is what I said above. It's fear. I'm scared. I absolutely loathe admitting this.

I ask myself, how can a woman committed to living her life on the edge, a woman who is completely confident in God's providence, be afraid? Shouldn't I be conquering this fear and marching in a victory parade by now?

Herein lies my problem: I've let myself think that a radically lived life of abandon would be lived without fear. Nope. It's just lived IN SPITE OF fear. It's not that a woman on the edge isn't scared. She could be shakin in her boots! She just doesn't let that stop her from staying right out on the edge.

I forgot that for a while there. I let myself stuff back the fear because I hate to admit the weakness it exposes. I ignored it in the hopes that it would go away since I don't have time to be afraid. Only it didn't go away, it only masked itself in frustration and stress.

So here it is for the world to see: I'm afraid. I'm afraid that my husband won't get better. I'm afraid I can't handle everything alone. I'm afraid the next storm could be a repeat of Katrina. I'm afraid my book will be a flop. I'm afraid I am not a good mother to my kids. I'm afraid I'll never make it as a speaker. I'm afraid my church will reject me and my husband. I'm afraid there might not really be anyone I can trust.

It's time to quit pretending that the fear isn't there. It's time to look it in the face and, knowing what I know about God, releasing my life into His hands, I keep living. I will walk right past the fear and let it watch me love the man, weather the storm, write the book, kiss my kids, speak my heart, pour myself out over this church, and trust the only One who I could ever trust in the first place.

I guess what I'm realizing is that the edge isn't all about not being afraid. It's about DEFYING fear. And so defy, I will. Are ya with me?

Friday, August 17, 2007


Too tired for the full story, but a good, hard cry (minus the kicking and screaming, I'm happy to say) dulled my sharp edges a bit. It had been coming for a while, but when the tear flood finally swept in, I felt tons better. I have much to reflect on here, but for now I'm going to sleep. Matthew is a bit better tonight, much to my relief.

My smile? This conversation:

Levi: "There was a girl at school today who was my friend. She loveded me."

Me: "Oh yeah? How do you know she loved you?"

Levi: "Because she TOLD me it. She said she loveded me! And she played Ninja Turtles with me, except she was a Ninja Turtle Barbie."

OH yeah, girlfriend! Every Ninja Turtle needs a little Barbie.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sick and Tired

He's sick. I'm tired. My efforts to save the world aren't going as planned. An all out temper tantrum would have ensued as a result of this feeling in my younger years. Ya think anybody would call the cops if I just threw myself down on the ground and had a good screamin', kickin', cryin' fit? Is this all I really am inside? A spoiled toddler who can't deal with a few bumps in the road? A malfunctioning machine that self destructs when overburdened?

It's raw tonight, friends. The sharp edge, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I'm writing from my rocking chair! It fits just perfectly in my room now. (see previous post) I love this chair. Matthew bought it for me when I was pregnant with Mackenzie. I've rocked and nursed babies in this chair for hours on end. I've read books in this chair, cried tears in this chair, and consoled myself with some serious rocking.

It's first home was our trailer in Graceville. That's where we spent the first six months of Mackenzie's life. This chair was where I learned to breastfeed and where I got through post partum depression. I can still smell the sweet smell of baby, and feel her sleeping all warm and curled up in a tiny ball on my chest.

Next, it moved to the Gapway house. There, it lived in Mackenzie's bedroom. It was a Paddington Bear nursery, and this chair sat by her bed and rocked her every night until after she weaned at two years old. We rocked through my dad's heart surgery and through spending our days caring for him. We rocked through three years on staff at a church with no pastor.

Next, it moved to the Galloway Road rental house. It waited patiently while we built our house. It also sat still, unused during a horrible time in our marriage when I could barely think or move. I now wish I had written during that time, but sadly I lost almost a year of life in a frozen emotional arctic. Not even my chair helped then.

It came out of retirement when it moved into our new house in Tropical Manor. It was placed directly into the baby nursery where it readily accepted the warmth of a new baby boy. I accepted that warmth too. It brought the end of a painful pregnancy and the thaw of that emotional ice age. There it rocked my Levi by his bed. I would nurse him and sing to him about trusting Jesus. Some nights I would rock both my babies. Five year old Mackenzie sitting on one side with her head nestled under my neck, and tiny little Levi in the crook of my other arm.

Then, it moved to seminary. It had to take a more prominent place as living room furniture then. But I held onto it. After a while, our seminary apartment was just too cramped and it moved to Matthew's office.

Our post-Katrina apartment had no room for it, so it stayed in Matthew's office. I visited whenever I could and still stole a few minutes here and there to sit with one of my babies or just by myself.

Now, it has moved again but this time it's all mine! The rocker is by my bed in my room in a perfect location for reading, praying, thinking, blogging, or whatever I happen to be doing. I actually came in here frustrated, intending to write a scathing blog about something else entirely, but the smooth, happy rocking motion got my attention instead.

If I've learned anything over the last few years, its that stuff doesn't matter and I really think I have a healthy attitude toward stuff. And if I had to, I suppose I'd let go of my rocker. But I really, really don't wanna. I love this chair. I love how it makes me feel. I love the memories it holds and the secrets it keeps. Every girl should have a chair like this.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Night, night!

Just hafta tell you I now have the prettiest room ever. Due to a fortunate move of office for my hubby, I got rid of a desk that was taking up SO much space in my room. Plus I've been steadily getting rid of books and stuff for weeks now. The Goodwill store knows who I am and my church library will be getting some new titles. Now I'm going to bed in a room that feels breathable. No, not just breathable, but pretty. Yay! Party in my room tonight!!! Oh, sorry... it's invitation only. :)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Old Walker Guy

There's this older gentleman around our town. I call him the Old Walker Guy. I'm sure, though, that he has a very nice name. He can be seen during all seasons of the year walking around various places in the city. Usually I see him on Old 37 or around the Publix in that part of town, just a block over. Today, I saw him somewhere else entirely, but the important thing is that I saw him.
I have a secret crush on this old man. He is, ummmm....really old. He's overly-tan and is always wearing a hat. But he seldom wears a shirt. It's important to note that his pecs have sort of slipped southward, creating numerous ripples as they have met with resistance from the rib area. Actually, he's quite wrinkly all over the torso. But I love him just the same. He never fails to make me smile.
I have seen this man on a near-weekly basis for many years now. His presence is not missed by me when I don't see him, but when I do see him, I remember suddenly how long it's been since the last time. He must walk nearly all day long, given the varying times of day I spot him. And he always seems to be enjoying himself. He smiles into the windows of passing cars and takes step after step with gusto and meaning.
He's become a symbol of perseverance to me and maybe even one of hope. I don't know if he is fighting simple aging or something worse. I once had a neighbor that walked and walked every day in an attempt to stave off the effects of Alzheimer's. But I really admire his spirit. He reminds me that, even if I have nothing to walk toward, the journey itself really should be enough.

<3 Christy