His Golden Signature

.. . "Stand Firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." [2 Corinthians 21-22]

Taking some time to pause upon this verse - what could make you feel more special than this? That God - the Almighty - All powerful - put His "seal of ownership" or as Max Lucado writes - His "signature" on our lives. Little ole me?

What a powerful image! We, as believers, are walking around every day, with his Golden signature written on our backs for all to see. His name shining in the sunlight, as we share the good news of His salvation.



Selah's new single
Can't find the lyrics online -
but don't need to know all the exact words anyway.
It's all in the refrain

.. .I see His love and mercy, washing over all our sin
the people sing, the people sing

Hosanna in the Highest
Hosanna in the Highest

I see a generation, rising up to take their place

with selfless faith
with selfless faith
I see a new revival
stirring as we pray and seek
we're on our knees
we're on our knees

Hosanna in the Highest

Hosanna in the Highest

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things obscene
Show me how to love like you
.. .

Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause .. .

Hosanna in the Highest
Hosanna in the Highest


In His Presence

it just so happened this morning
exactly at 7:33 a.m.
when the radio alarm turned on
chris tomlin's, "I Will Rise" was precisely starting

my day started with,

there's a peace i've come to know.. .

i laid in bed and listened to the whole song

peace is something hard to come by these days. and I don't mean all the political - national - international relations. Half of which - well, who am I kidding. Most of which i can only begin to understand after an hour briefing on the topic by my Dad.
I'm not talking about that type of peace.

I am simply speaking of the peace which affects us most of all.
The peace we feel within our hearts - within our minds. Within our souls.

When you step back and watch people in their daily journeys - swerving around you on the roads and shoving their way in front of you to get a box of pasta in aisle five. All so they can be home two seconds faster in their driveway.

In Rob Bell's, Noise he recounts the story of Elijah and how he looked for God but could not find him. He was not in the great and powerful winds. He was not in the earthquake or the fire but He came in a still small voice. Bell says there is much discussion of the Hebrew words used in this passage and how many believe it to read -
God was in the sheer silence.

No matter what is going on, all the chaos that today entails, and tomorrow will entail - the only place where we will find any peace is in Him. There are days when i find i am racing along with everyone else and need to catch myself. And pull the reigns back in. Take the time to slow down. Recognize the truth - which is that i'm rushing for no important reason at all.

It is only with Him and in His Presence, that i can feel true peace.

this is the peace i've come to know.. .


Crazy Love

There sat only two copies on the bottom shelf. It was the funky maroon cover that caught my eye. The back read,

"It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe - the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor - loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss... Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts -

it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love... you will never be the same. Because when you're wildly in love with someone it changes everything."

Last night, I began reading this well before I got into bed. Sitting at the dining room table with my dinner, I devoured each page one by one. But even as it got late, I couldn't put it down. I nestled into bed, the down comforter crinkling all around me and continued. I woke up in the morning to find the book beside my pillow.

Some points in the book where I underlined or starred - paused, cried - prayed.

"We forget that we already have everything we need in Him." 30

"Isn't it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?" 31

" 'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!' (Phil. 4:4) _ You'll notice that it doesn't end with '...unless you're doing something extremely important.' No it's a command for all of us, and it follows with the charge, 'Do not be anxious about anything.' (v.6)" 41

"[Worry] and [Stress] declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed." 42

"When Jeremiah voices his hesitation and fear, God-the God of the galaxies - reaches out and touches his mouth. It's a gentle and affectionate gesture, something a loving parent would do. Through this illustration I realized that I don't have to worry about not meeting His expectations. God will ensure my success in accordance with His plan, not mine." 60

"The greatest knowledge we can ever have is knowing God treasures us." 61


Without Words

I wish I could form some literate entry right now to help me through this, but all that seems to happen as I sit here at the keyboard is more of last night.. Endless tears.

...that will not stop as much as I try.

I know that's why you did this.
but _I miss you already

and my heart truly aches


Sunday Gliding

During the school year, my Sundays are full of paperwork and lesson planning. My school bag and table top overflows with essays, tests and quizzes. I usually never finish it anyway_ leaving it for one day. So now in the summer months, with my empty bag and table, I am at a bit of a loss as to how to fill my weekend days.
Today was one such day. Any individual would have felt guilty staying inside _ A sky any artist would have taken pleasure to have painted.

I filled up my tank, which was nearly on empty, at the local gas station and set off on my adventure for the day. Only my camera in hand.

Maybe a farmer's market or possibly a flea market? I could spend hours there.. .

This sign was the first to catch my eye.
Could be exciting!
But then as I drove just a bit down the rode - I realized.. . These were REAL gliders and I was alone!?! If I really, truly wanted to go up in one of these, I would need to have someone else there whose hand I could hold so tight, white nail marks would remain. Not thinking the pilot would appreciate that much attention, I drove on.

and then paused to take some pictures -

Once again my interest was peaked by a roadside sign. Although, it turned out just to be a tease.

Two miles down the road, I realized - as much I called out "Farm fresh cheese, please?!?" It was not appearing anywhere.

I had driven past this antique shop once today, and on the way back - in the direction of where I thought the highway was - I decided to stop in. It turned out to be a hidden gem.

Both the store and the owner.

She made a point of coming up to me after I had spent 15 minutes or so browsing both the upstairs and downstairs.

"How did you find us, here?"
"Well... actually," I smiled. "I'm not quite sure where I am. I just set out on an adventure today and you happen to be one of my stops."

We then spoke for five minutes about her store and the area. I told her how I had headed out this afternoon with no real agenda, just my camera. She asked if I was a photographer.
I giggled, never thinking of myself as one. "Well, before you leave, go behind the red barn in the parking lot. There is something you will want to take a look at." She boxed up my vase and welcomed me back anytime, asking me if I would be able to find her store again [of which I made sure]. I headed back to my car, grabbed my camera and as I rounded the corner of the red barn,
sure enough...

It's funny all that you can accomplish in just one Sunday.
with just a camera
a quarter tank of gas

a friendly antique shop owner

and a newly discovered photographer


I Am

So after some Facebook strolling, a bout of sulking and a beer and a half, my mind wandered back to this morning's devotional. Where it should have been in the first place.. .

Ever since I read it this morning, the phrase,
"I AM" echoed through my head at different times in the day. I even heard it in several songs on the radio, as I hopped in and out of my car scurrying to work. The reading spoke of how God is PRESENT tense. "Prone to be people of the past tense, we reminisce. Not God. Unwavering in strength, he need never say, 'I was'. From the center of the storm, the unwavering Jesus shouts, 'I am'.. . Bold against the battlefield."

He will be with us EVERY day _ by our side. There are people in our lives who come and go. There are so many things - meaningless things - that the doors open and close on -but, God, He will forever more be with us. Ever present in our lives. The challenge remains though. If there are so many fleeting things that surround us, why do we not focus on the One thing that is constant and true and always faithfully there right beside us?
I was talking to a friend the other day about how our relationship with God can be compared to a love affair _
the best
incomparable -
unmatchable.. . Absolute unconditional

You want to spend all of your time with Him. Want to learn about Him. To be so close. Someone who you rely on, who will never EVER let you down. On one of my walks the other day, I couldn't help but notice how even in nature, God's creatures strive to be close to one another. And in doing so, they reflect how awesome and present He truly is in our lives this very day.


I stood today at the bottom of the cavern. There _ at least a thousand boulders and rocks sit piled, balanced upon each other, you know the spot. Broken limbs jutting out from the sides of the moss covered walls. Way up in the distance _ the flat ground called to me. The sunlight danced and glittered the leaves. Without hesitation, I took the first step. I knew I could do it. And I wanted to. Puddles of muddy water didn't stop me this time, I didn't steer around them _ instead straight through them.
I have been to the reservation several times this week _ searching out the muddy puddles and endless trails. Purposefully getting myself lost _ but every time finding my way out. My life has changed. And I can't help but thank you.


a few of my favorite things

My mother has been in and out of the hospital over the past few weeks. On the way out of my apartment today to visit her,
something caught my eye on the stoop.
a bright blue robin's egg.
God sends signs of His love in the simplest ways sometimes.. .
I can't help but giggle at Him.
I walked off of the steps smiling _ saying 'Thank you'.

The best of the best from.. .

It's A Wonderful Life
[My mother's favorite movie of all time]

This is for YOU, Mom.

Never Let Go [David Crowder Band]


It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are [e.e.cummings]

Yesterday, I found myself on a familiar path but without my trail partner and his faithful furry companion, Winston. I had been on this hiking trail only twice, but it was steeped in memories. With every curve in the dirt road and each field appearing from the hidden labrinyths I followed - a conversation from the past would replay in my mind. That, I will admit, was a comfort to me. But what followed surprised me.

To say I was "out of my comfort zone" on that first hike months ago, would be more than accurate. I knew five minutes into it that I was in for a serious workout. We took a right turn down a hill into what looked like a mountain full of thicket. I would have much rather taken the longer clearer route around than the short one you needed to scale down at a 80 degree angle. And I made it perfectly clear that very day which path I preferred - as much as I joked and teased. It was not until I walked these paths alone that I heard and saw myself through my trail partner eyes, realizing the fault in my ways.

What scared me was how my initial reaction to so many things over the course of that relationship and my life is the one that I exhibited on those vine covered hills. If something is new or unfamiliar, I turn away. As much as I trusted Winston's owner, I could not push myself to do what may have seemed ordinary to others. That is the benefit of having postive relationships with other people - is pushing each other to try new things and experience life in every aspect. I see that now. And wish I could try that "first hike" one more time.

I stood at the fork in the road on my way back to the car - 2 .. 3. .. .5 minutes. couldn't tear myself off the path. Taking in every sound, the neon flicker of the fireflies, waves of honeysuckle drifting through the air and then as if some cosmic joke.. .as I looked down.


Harry Belafonte's Lasagna

"You never remember anything good about when you were little? Do you?!"" This phrase echoes from my mother's lips countless times as we sit around the living room. It is not entirely true. My memory beyond five years ago is hazy - this is the cause of the problem. I have many special memories that I know I will share with my own kids, but I can't necessarily remember specifics like my sister. She could tell you the phone number of the pizza restaurant we placed our orders and the birthdays of every family member, including Aunt Rita who we met three times. What I can tell you about my family, from childhood to today - two things that remain constant are the love of food and music.

Those few strong memories stem from here. Dancing around the dining room table faster and faster to Harry Belafonte's Hava Nageela with Matthew, the Basset Hound. The Lasagna, that I loved more that life itself. Today, I find myself still attached to these things. I gravitate toward food and music to comfort myself. My sister and I joke about how Ella Fitzgerald's - Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered is the theme song to my life. It very likely may have been. Past tense.

This song I stumbled across by Mikeschair - Let the Waters Rise
It certainly was a comfort to me.

Don't know where to begin
It's like my world's caving in
and I try but I can't
control my fear
Where do I go from here?

Sometimes it's so hard to pray
when you feel so far away
But I am willing to go
where you want me to
God I TRUST you
There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If you want them to
I will follow you

I will swim in the deep
Cause you'll be next to me
You're in the eye of the storm
and the calm of the sea
You're NEVER out of reach

God you know where I've been
And you were there with me then
You were faithful before
you'll be faithful again
I'm holding your hand!
There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If you want them to
I will follow you

God Your love is enough
You will pull me through
I'm holding on to you
God your love is enough
I will follow you
I will follow YOU

There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If you want them to
I will follow you