01/30…of the day

“Stand strong with a soft heart.”

I read this quote a few weeks ago and it hasn’t strayed far from my mind since. How do we stand strong but keep a soft heart. How do I do this? How do we disagree with people we love on issues both big and small and believe the best of them? How do we find ways to stand for what we believe to be true and still end each day loving those that disagree with us the same way we had loved them the day before. How do we keep our hearts soft toward each other and not become jaded and full of hate? How do we stand like stone for justice and provide for the weary, the broken and the defenseless, but still be brought to tears by sorrow or hope or joy?  How do we fight for those who can’t fight for themselves, and still weep with those who weep even if they aren’t on “our side”?

I don’t know. I’m grappling with this myself, but the only person who I know that has done this perfectly, once told this story. And some how I think there’s answers to these questions somewhere in here.

“There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”

“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

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I remember coloring this exact picture sometime in my early child hood. Probably in sunday school somewhere in Boulder, Colorado.  When it seemed so clear and easy.

But it isn’t clear and easy. Life and hearts are complicated and messy. And the problem is it’s so easy to say words and so much harder to do actions. Yet Brennan Manning’s famous quote haunts me & also holds me accountable  “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

I’ve seen people on all sides of each of the discussions that are going on in our world today (immigration, sanctity of life – at all stages, refugees, people of color, security, freedoms, the future, fiscal responsibility, other belief systems, inherent rights, identities and orientations and the list goes on and on) lose sight of the human heart and life on the on the other side of the table or on the other side of the screen.  And I know I’ve been both.  I’ve been the one that wounds, and I’ve been the wounded.  And I’m guessing you have too. But I’m trying to choose differently.

What does that look like for me?  I’ll give my time and I’ll give my money. I’ll wear my t-shirts on my chest and my heart on my sleeve. I’ll have conversations, and I’ll take action.

And today I will try my best to stand strong with a soft heart.

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12/23…of the day

Verse of the Day:
“For a child has been born—for us!
    the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
    the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
    Strong God,
Eternal Father,
    Prince of Wholeness.
~Is 9:6 (msg)

Video & Lyrics of the Day:

“Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name”
~ “O Holy Night”

This song has long been my favorite Christmas carol.  Usually it’s other lines that get me, but this verse struck me this year more than they have in the past.  Maybe it’s because of the state of our world right now (Aleppo) or how I’ve dealt with the state of our country.

Maybe it because, as those close to me know, I’ve had a brutiful (brutal and beautiful) year in my faith walk.  There is so much that has stayed the same (the love of the star-breathing God of the Universe, love of my friends and family) and there is so much that is different.  I have felt like my faith & life has been a snow-globe that got shaken up.  Everything that was there before is still there, it just looks different, and it’s been fascinating watching how some of the snow flakes have landed in  different places then where they started out.

What ever the reason, with this verse rolling over and over through my brain, I’ve been thinking on how I make my law love, on how I help oppression cease, on how I find hymns of joy to sing even in tension, discomfort, or uncertainty, and on how still after where this year has brought me, amazingly & thankfully, all within me still praises his holy name.

Poem of the Day:
“There it stood
A flower on a rock
Where nothing else lived
For a hundred miles
This flower was life
Bold and true standing proud up into the sky
Lapping up sunlight
Digging her roots into the ground
She was living
No matter what the world told her
She shouldn’t do
She just when on chin up into the sun
And realized then that Life
By it’s very nature is brave.”
~Atticus

Currently listening to “Behold: A Christmas Collection” by Lauren Daigle

01/05…of the day

Verse of the Day:
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint”
~Is 40:31

Quote of the Day:
“She has fire in her soul & grace in her heart”
~Unknown – My quote for the year.

Excerpt of the Day:
“The sad thing is, these are all moms that I’d love to be friends with in real life. I wish that rude, nosy folks hadn’t ruined the art of conversation for everyone, because there are people like me who genuinely seek connection with parents of all stripes. I’ve never been one for wasting time on small talk—I want to get to know the real person I’m speaking with—but I feel like chit chat is all that’s available anymore. Living in a culture where people are quick to get offended, I worry that being on the defensive all the time is preventing us from initiating true friendships and sharing our unique stories.”
~ 10 Moms I can No Longer Speak To on ScaryMommy

 ~A friend of a friend on facebook added this:
“I’m not even a mom yet and I can relate. Not being a mom makes it even worse bc ‘I just don’t understand’ or ‘I cant relate to them so they don’t turn to me.’ When I asked a friend awhile back via text “hey what are you doing tonight?” ..and their response a was, “Raising a child.. What are you doing?” …I realized at that moment that I was going to lose those types of mommy friends and that broke my heart. I’m SO appreciate my friends who allow us to still be around them and their kids and allow us to play and help take care of their kids and ask these types of questions with a willing heart to share. I love when our hangout nights consist of Murder Mystery with the adults followed by a pillow fight and Xbox games with the kids. Please know that just bc we don’t have kids, doesn’t mean we don’t want to be around you or think your kids are nuisance. I ADORE children (and sometimes might prefer hanging out with them over adults in all honesty.) haha.  And know that we ask bc we care or we want to LEARN from you. But I feel the same as her, I just don’t ask.”


My 2 Cents:

I’m pretty dang lucky that the majority of my friends (moms & dads) that have kids are amazing, and are the exception to this article.  Thanks so much for being who you are.  I hope you know that I love you and and your kiddos with all my heart.

The thing is that this article is incredibly accurate for quite a number of people.  I crave deep connected relationships (I think we all do, we’re just all pretty afraid) and when you can’t ask the real questions and speak to the places that are deep in our hearts, then how can we really have community/belonging/connection.  This goes to more than just being a parent, it reaches to the other parts of life (marriage, career, passions, relationships, beliefs).

And though I fully acknowledge that being a parent is a huge part of your identity, it doesn’t solely define you, my friend, in my eyes. Sure it’s a part of you, and one I love watching thrive, and bloom.  But I hope it doesn’t define you in your eyes either.  You are all the wonderful things you were before you brought that awesome tiny human into this world, only you are better, wiser.  And I haven’t forgotten that.  I still see you.  I still want to know you.  So I will ask those questions.  Because I love you.

Currently Listening to “Songs to Make Up To” by Ta-ku – Especially “Love Again” “Down for You” & “Sunrise/Beautiful”

03/11…of the day

Verse of the Day:
“May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing–that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.”
~Rom 15:13

Quote of the Day:
“I firmly believe in small gestures: pay for their coffee, hold the door for strangers, over tip, smile or try to be kind even when you don’t feel like it, pay compliments, chase the kid’s runaway ball down the sidewalk and throw it back to him, try to be larger than you are— particularly when it’s difficult. People do notice, people appreciate. I appreciate it when it’s done to me. Small gestures can be an effort, or actually go against our grain (I’m not a big one for paying compliments), but the irony is that almost every time you make them, you feel better about yourself. For a moment life suddenly feels lighter, a bit more Gene Kelly dancing in the rain.”
~Jonathan Carroll

Video of the Day:

I seriously LOVED living in Kansas City.  I miss it and the amazing people there so much.

Currently Listening to “What Kind of Man” by Florence + the Machine – OBSESSED

Off of her soon to be released NEW ALBUM “How Big How Blue How Beautiful” .  People this is big.

12/29…of the day

Verse of the Day:
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness”
~Lamentations 3:22-23

Excerpt of the Day:
Many I love are hurting.  I am hurting.  I’ve been learning very hard lessons this Christmas.

“Most of us don’t want to talk about the not-so-pretty stuff of life. We’d rather focus on loveliness. Hued sunsets. Tinted leaves. Indigo skies. Golden grass. Christmas.
Christmas is supposed to be one of those lovely seasons – right? Except when it’s not. Except when it’s broken.

I’ve come to discover that God offers hope in the form of “broken family values”—values like commitment, courage, humility, reality, relinquishment, diversity, partnership, faith, love, respect, forgiveness and thankfulness. He understands that no one is perfect. He knows the unique journeys of loved ones. He gets it that abnormal is actually pretty normal. That people mess up and yet are worthy of respect and love and are never—ever—without hope. God holds each family close, crying with his wounded children, tenderly assembling and reassembling fallen fragments, creating us into better versions of ourselves.
God doesn’t sweep the broken up into a dustpan and discard it. In order to reach the broken in our world, God himself broke, sending his Son into our broken Christmases and to die a broken death on a cross for us. He brings beauty in the broken. God loves the broken. God uses the broken.”
~Elisa Morgan in “Broken Christmas” at Women Pursing God

“That we might be attentive to the vulnerability and need of those around us in the coming weeks, and to be more honest and open about our own needs, that we might receive the care of others.”
~Anne Bogel in “Waiting Room” at Modern Mrs. Darcy

“I don’t think we pay enough attention to the silent cares of the soul. We ignore her for long periods of time and then when she starts to flail within us by becoming overly emotional, getting frustrated too easily, or being bothered in an otherwise neutral interaction, we try to shame her into better behavior.

It seems simple which may be why I so often overlook it. But taking some time to “celebrate the joys, grieve the losses, shed my tears, sit with the questions, feel my anger, [and] attend to my loneliness” creates space in my soul.
A spacious soul makes room for others. A week before Christmas, I can’t think of a better gift to give.”
~Emily Freeman in “One Thing My Soul is Begging Me to Do” at Chatting at the Sky

Video of the Day:


Thank you Invisible Children for all you have done over the past 10 years to fight on behalf of those who couldn’t fight for themselves.  It has been an honor to partner with you since 2006.  I camped out with you for Displace Me with my little sister. You helped me show her there are others hurting all over the world, and that we can do something about it.
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I have proudly worn your shirts to spread your message.

31563_10100231431271694_8076440_nAnd I will continue to support your work, even as it looks different.

Currently listening to “How Can it Be” by Lauren Daigle

1/29…of the day

Verse of the Day:
“I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.”
~Ps 63:8

Quote of the Day:
“As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have a ton of friends, and more important to have real ones.”

Excerpt of the Day:
Who said anything about being safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
~Mr. Thomas in The Chronicles of Narnia written in “Jesus is not safe” by Perry Noble

I have thought of this article and the phrase “He isn’t safe, but he is good” every day for the past 2 months.  Our world wants the presence of God in our lives to mean that things will be nice, easy, pretty, painless (maybe throw in some pretty bows, unicorns & rainbows).  But that isn’t actually what GOOD means.  Good is sometimes really hard and messy and painful.  So to be able to say “He isn’t safe, but He is good” doen’t sit with people, but it’s true.  And for me it has even in a very unexpected way been soothing, because it allows me to hope that the things that are hard, messy, and painful have been made good by the King.

Currently listening to “Sweeter” by Gavin DeGraw
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07/16…of the day

#1 – Took some time off from “of the day” hope you understand.
#2 –
This week my Grammy lost her battle with Parkinson’s.  The women I knew has not been in this world for a while, she was merely a shell of that women. But now she is gone.  There is a lot of grace in it, but also finality to it.

She taught me what it meant to live young no matter your age as in, 6 point speeding tickets at 68, among many other things. She modeled what it meant to run after Jesus with everything that you have and that it’s a relationship based in love not a bunch of religious rules. It’s crazy to think that when I meet my husband he won’t get to try her roast chicken, which is one of the foods that made me want to become a chef and it changed me, and I won’t be able to let her teach my kids how to make the perfect coffee.

One of the biggest and most lasting things was that she was the only woman who showed me at a very young age that being a girl and loving sports passionately was ok. Example: During baseball season she always went to as many home games as she could and for away games she LITERALLY had a TV in EVERY room in her apartment (including bathrooms, and this was in the early 90’s) so she wouldn’t miss a play.  I screamed and jumped up and down with her when John Elway won us our Super Bowls.  And there are so many other memories.  So ultimately I am here loving the beautiful game the way that I do, still playing, still investing because of her.

Lyrics of the Day:
“I know all the lines to say
the part I’m expected to play
but in the reflection I am worlds away

And all of those painful lessons you’ve had to learn
you gotta use them now or never

When everyone’s waiting
it makes it harder to hear what my heart keeps saying
Turn it off, I wanna turn it all off
But everyone’s waiting
I hear that answers appear when you just stand still
but make it all, how do you make it all stop
when everyone’s waiting?”
~“Everyone’s Waiting” by Missy Higgins