This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Buck the System of Complacency

Scandal of Grace. Have you heard that song? Have you felt that you are wrapped up in a scandal where you are more often than not on the receiving end of God's grace? Not earned. Not deserving. Not worthy. 

I'm there. Every second, I am there. And I meet people out on that edge, so I feel better about my junk because it's sometimes a little shinier than the guy next to me. But really, it's still junk. 

Even now as I type these words, do I believe it? Do I think I am undeserving? When I'm handed trust and opportunity, is there a place at the back of my brain that whispers, "you did this. You earned this. Well done"? 

Not enough. 
And yes. 

But I'm a work in progress. I've stood up in the boat, and I am hunched forward, hands gripping the walls- the wood refusing to yield under pressure. My eyes a deadlock on Jesus, and though he is a ways off, I know he is walking on the water, and I know what I'm to do. My eyes a deadlock on Jesus. He's not letting go. I'm not letting go. 
My leg is over the side…

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

It Riles People

Ever been accused of riling things up?

I have.

Try choosing a ministry other people aren't on board with. Try pointing out heavy truths of slavery and oppression taking place on the streets of your town. Try moving to a state or a city or a neighborhood that people don't quite understand. Try selling all of your stuff and giving it away. Try walking to a church in your neighborhood and calling those in the pews your "people" whether or not that church has the coolest VBS and worship program. Try leaving your church to spend your Sundays in a different way. It riles people.

Everyone wants an explanation. Suddenly people are huddling in close to you wanting the inside skinny on why you're really leaving. Simply stating that God is doing something with you isn't enough. Don't even try it. Well, try it. And good luck with it. It riles people.

Suddenly, everyone feels they are closer to you than he or she ever truly was. You can't quite remember becoming close enough with them for this conversation. They don't say it, but they mean, "I know you aren't around gossiping, but obviously you will tell ME."They are riled.

You find yourself at a birthday party and people want to hash it out. They are riled. People pull you out of service and need to know if something happened. And to that we should always be able to say, "Yes."

Yes. God is at work here. Prepare to be riled if you aren't in cahoots with his plan.
And be ready to be a lone reed if you are.

Every day and every minute you are trying to stand before God and hone in on his still small voice. You want nothing more than to lock eyes with The One Who Calls You. You find your grasp is a white knuckled fist upon his robes. And you are low and humble and crying more days than not.

In the end, do you know what you will discover? You need to know that when people get riled up it is much more their issue and much less your problem. You aren't riling anyone, actually. What is happening is the Holy Spirit is about you, and rather than meet that with support, their fear jumps up. And then rather than meet their fear with grace, we sometimes find that we are afraid of that very thing they are talking about. And if we aren't careful we begin to reverse the work God is doing in us. We are no longer out on the waves, eye to eye with Jesus and his deep grace. We are swimming back to shore, walking up to our chair, and pulling a towel over our face to block out what we left and what we are now missing. It's a sham.

That fear? It's a sham. God says, "Grace abounds in deepest waters. Join me. Look in my eyes and feel my heartbeat in time with yours. This is when your doubt subsides and you are strong in me. This is how you know me. Most importantly, this is how other will know me- when they watch you." It riles me.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Sometimes you'll find you are standing, and you look around, and it appears to be just you and your shadow. You'll reach right. Left. Back. Waving your hands a bit wildly in the vacant space and land on nothing. Sometimes you will be praying and asking and trying and crying and gasping for just a small life line. For a breath. Pleading for God to give you a tiny break. Your friends are far. Your support has backed off. And you are standing. A lone reed. 
And in this instant you realize how drastically you're situation has changed.  Maybe all you want most in the world is to conform and blend and be lost in the crowd of ordinary. 
But you know that isn't where you belong. And because there is this silence, a space has formed to make room for a way to hear. Hear you do. And your perspective changes. 
You look down and notice your legs are strong. You look over and see you're surrounded by a quiet that is less silent and more peaceful. A quiet that has enough space between the pages to actually feel like God's whisper is jumping off the page and landing in the depths of your soul. 

It's in this moment that you catch a glimpse of that shadow once more. It is here you realize your shadow looks nothing like this one. And you start to question out loud, "is that my shadow after all?" 
And you don't even have to wait for a response. You know. You recognize. You feel. That's Jesus' shadow. He's here. He's been here. You are not alone. You are never alone. You are standing side by side and he knows you. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Sometimes you can be going about in your usual way. You can be reading. Dozing on the couch. Driving down the road. You can be walking through Trader Joes wishing their samples weren't always so bizarre. And God will drop a nugget the size of a water droplet in your heart. In your brain. 

I was doing something mundane a while back. So mundane I can't even recall what it was. And I began to think about my role as a teacher and the almost absurd amount of favor God has granted me in my very first year of working for the public school system. My thoughts were a jumble of clips: isn't it cool that I get to teach these kids? Man. I see the fruit. God you are so faithful to show up. How cool to watch these lives transform before my eyes. Wouldn't it be cool if I could reach them spiritually? But aren't I? I mean do I have to say "this love is from Jesus" for them to understand that it is? Isn't that what the Holy Spirit is all about!?

And then came the nugget. In one breathe I thought how cool that God called me to this job. What a crazy turn of events. How unreal that he worked all that out so I could go get that job. 

And in the next breathe. In the flash of a synapse. You haven't been called. I've sent you. I've sent you out. 

Is it me or did this situation just get weightier?? I've always given God credit for this job, but I have viewed myself trudging down a path before me. I see the path. I choose the path. I walk along the path, and presto. I find a job God has for me. But there's more to it. 

What I'm trying to say is that I've not just taken a job. I've been sent out. I keep company with the disciples of the new testimant. We are like a club. I've been prayed for. Called. Trained. And now I've been sent. 

Every step. Ordained. No part cavalier. No part without purpose. 

Where will you send me, lord? Make me brazen like David. Make me audacious like Esther. Call me out where only your grace can direct my steps. Send me, Lord. I am ready. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rainbow Gang

I've got all these children who regularly want. Food, clothes, shelter, rides, jokes, snuggles, quality time, acts of service, read alouds, basketball partners, coffee: their needs are endless. Sometimes I wake up to the barrage of their wants and want to simply pull the covers up over my head and pretend I'm someplace happy. Easier. Some place with a maid. 

But honestly, I wouldn't change a minute of my time giving to and loving on my kids. Because wrapped up inside all those minutes of games and practices and supply runs and friend shuffling and band aids and errands exists inside jokes and giggles that turn to all out guffaws and lines that we will mockingly quote for the rest of their lives. 

One of my favorite things about our family is the amount of inside jokes my kids have. They are like a movie quoting, mock making gang. They even call themselves The Rainbow Gang. They made shirts. No kidding. 

We are all jumped into the gang. If you are here for as much as one evening of dinner, you get jumped in. Your fighting is futile. You'd have to come back a couple times to get a shirt, but really it doesn't take much. Especially if you don't make us have to clarify when we are kidding. Let's just assume it's always and we will let you know if seriousness is coming. 

The Rainbow Gang

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Why I Like Mike #32: Hey Sailor

Ever have those days when the people around you all seem to be speaking one language, crazy town, and you are left speechless? I mean they say something, and though you rarely are left speechless, this minute, it isn't that you can' t think of what to say, it's that you are just confused that you are needing to say anything at all? I've had a day rather like that. One one hand you have those speaking crazy town. On the other you have wise "real grown up" counsel reminding you that sometimes standing strong in your convictions will isolate you. Not by your choice. But they will isolate you. Make you a lone reed. Sometimes you are left hurting for a few minutes.

You know what's great after those minutes? Husbands.

Well mine was anyway. I grew up in the straight food stampin, free school supply giving, you better not wear red or blue anywhere on your person (stick with canary yellow. Canary yellow wasn't gang related) ghetto. We look out for our people. Even if those people weren't really your friends, if someone showed up with their crazy hanging out, you looked out for your people.

I didn't have a neighborhood. I had a hood. We watched Stand and Deliver and didn't understand why everyone thought the kids had it so bad in school. It looked normal to us. Going to high school? Well then you walk through metal detectors. They check your back packs. No, your locker isn't private property and probably, if the Dean finds your weed, he's going to smoke it.

I once woke up near midnight to go pick up heavily inebriated school mates from a party. Apparently when word gets around that you are a designated driver your friends have no qualms with waking you  in the middle of the night. So, at 2 am, we were turning our next to last corner and one of the girls in my back seat decided she didn't like the attitude of the pedestrians crossing the road- an 11 year old girl and her 15 year old sister. My soon to be ex-friend passenger and the older sister went fist-to-cuffs. Me? I stood calmly on the sidewalk with Little Sister assuring her they were just being idiots and she was safe with me. I looked out for her. She was from my hood. While these other two girls broke noses and later brandished weapons, this kid clung to my waistline and said, "thanks."

This is what I expect from people. Keep me company and tell me everything is going to be OK when the crazy talk starts. That's what The Man did for me today. He had my back. He was loyal and loving and reminded me over and over that he was there for me- just a phone call away. Nothing says romance like a man willing to stand up for his woman. It's probably a good thing he was at work when all this happened. It was DEFINITELY a good thing he was not wearing this sailor's uniform in front of my face. Five is enough kids. I need to go fan myself.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Summah Summah SummahTime

That Will Smith knew what he was rappin' about. It's all I can do to put on pants these days. I have summers off, on account of my day job. I am a teacher. Ahoy. I teach. So for the entire two weeks of June that didn't include work days, I have done a whole lot of nothing.

Do I have regrets? No. Not even one little letter.

In fact, I have accomplished much with my nothingness. Think The Nothing from The Never Ending Story. That thing made all sorts of impact leaving greatness in his wake. (Terrible. But Great).

I have:

Read no less than 4 books

Exercised regularly, still keeping my 6 aye em routine

Visited lakes

Visited an ocean

Drank coffee

Snuggled besties

Moved over 4,000 pounds of bread (ok, I had a little help from some awesome youth kids for this one)

Listened to some new music- indulgent, but new- Megan Trainer & Sam Hunt

Caught up on So You Think You Can Dance

Watched Lorelei and Luke be on again, off again, and then on again to infinity

Snuggled my kids around a few good movies

Dated The Man

Went to a different state- twice

Began editing a new book. Yep! A new one!

Spoke before about 40 Rotarians to procure some funds and community involvement in my classroom this coming year

Led 8-10 kiddos in an alternative VBS- this year, we are going into the city to do random acts of kindness. No crafts or snacktime for us. Except Slurpees. There are always Slurpees.

Started a new Instagram feed. Follow me here. 

So basically, I'm living each minute however I feel like it. I'm Julia Roberts- a fly by the seat of my pants, moment to moment. That's me.