Monday, July 4, 2011

Stars and Stripes

A local Boy Scout troop hosted a fundraiser for their group by offering to put a flag up in our yard on all national holidays - so as I gaze out the window watching our flag flap in the breeze, I am so glad that I sent them our money because I love having a flag up at our house. 

There is something so meaningful and powerful about our flag - there is meaning and emotion and pride wrapped up in those stars and stripes.  I search out the words to explain to the boys what freedom means and what ideology is behind the American flag, but nothing translates more of what the flag "means" than seeing the flag on my Mom's mantle that she received at my Dad's funeral.  They look at it and know that the flag means service, heroism and sacrifice.

Chests swollen with pride, they marched out to the front yard and recited the pledge of allegiance in the shadow of the flag.  It was a beautiful moment.  They don't care about politics, gay marriage, tax hikes or campaigns; in that moment they paid tribute to service, heroism and sacrifice.  That is what will stay with me today; my children have respect for the meaning, power, emotion and pride that is in the stars and stripes of the American flag.  They might not get the nuiances or understand the ideology to the letter and definition but then again, some politicians clearly do not understand the ideology either. 

Freedom is simple, beautiful and profound, adding in controversy and agenda does not take away from the meaning but often I believe it does take away from what we SEE and believe about this country.  Watching the boys this morning made my heart soar, the words of God Bless America playing in my mind - it was real and honest and true and made me so proud of the boys that I am raising to be men that love this country.

Have a blessed and glorious holiday enjoying the pleasures of our freedom!


Friday, May 6, 2011


I was outside enjoying a cool spring morning just a moment ago, one of the rare moments we've experienced in Ohio that hasn't been tainted by rain.  I was thinking about a man I know (under 35) that left his job at the height of his career to wander around Europe, looking for his joy.  As I grumbled about picking up dog poo in our residential and side-walked neighborhood, I had a moment of envy at the ability to walk away from the ties that bind. 

Truth is, most of us CANNOT walk away to find our "joy" because we have become to attached and engulfed and tied by the THINGS in life that consume so much of our joy.  The things that we feel we need, deserve or want are what ties us to the life that we currently lead.  There are some serious spiritual implications here as well - what does it mean in your faith if the things of the world are what you chose to define you?

I have a blackberry, espresso roasted coffee in my coffee maker, a plush (and brand new) sofa that seats us plus another 8, a top of the line mattress, two cars in the garage and organic vegetables in the fridge.  Four laptops, a Wii, netflix and a blue-ray players, a cell phone plan, a cable bill, an Internet bill, a mortgage, two car payments and credit card debt - all attaching me more and more to the THINGS of this world. 

What would it mean to walk away from the things that keep us tied down?  Does being tied down make us more stable or more dependent?  What am I teaching my children about the world by supplying to their every need? 

I could walk away, sell of my things and more than likely, survive.  LOL.  But, how would I be regarded if I were to become a wanderer in search of a more simple life, in search of joy that comes from personal relationships and family, not my things --- what would you think of me? Would you think I was crazy or would part of you wish you could do the same?

This is not me announcing that I am going to become a wandering gypsy, LOL.  I will, however, begin challenging myself to let go of some of the things that serve little real purpose in life.  Challenge the people I know and love to embrace some of the more simple things in life that do not require contracts or cell reception or credit cards.  Two of the happiest people I know live their day to day life with just the basic luxuries, take time to sit at the park to watch the new goslings being escorted around the park and have never had pizza delivered; they are happy without all the ties that bind and I will aspire to be more like them as I grow up. 

Have a great day full of blessings.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Et al

Learned something new today.

How many times have you heard the Crucifixion story? 

Jesus is on the cross, he says "it is finished," he takes his last breath and he dies.

Tetelasti.  That's the Greek word.  It means 'it is done" but in terms of the culture in 1st/2nd century Greece this word would have indicated that a debt was "paid in full."  While it translates to "it is done" or "it is finished" the word was used to confirm a debt had been paid.  Insert profound pause here.  Our Savior, brutally broken, punished, beaten and nailed to the cross said "tetelasti" - you debt has been paid in full.

Also, following the Greek lesson, I learned a new word: kairos.  It means the "right or opportune moment" and when a pastor expounded on that word and it's translation he went on to say it meant "a moment that changed the world"  Jesus's crucifixion and our bill being "paid in full" - what a kairos moment.

I cannot help but think of my Dad at Easter, it was his favorite time of year.  Spring flowers blooming, grapes budding on the vines and the glory of Easter all combined into a glorious celebration in his heart.  The joy of the season comes with still so much "missing" - but the comfort that "paid in full" brings, even my mending heart, is an opportune moment, is a kairos moment to experience all that the story of Jesus can bring. 

It strikes me that the same tug between grief and joy is an essential part of the Easter story.  You cannot experience the joy without the sorrow.  How poetic that I would be emotionally toiling over this during the very season in the church that exemplifies the journey of death into life and life into death. 

I pray that you experience all that Easter has in store, whatever it may be for you.  Prayers lifted for those that cannot experience all of the joy that is there for the taking because of illness, tragedy, grief, depression, addiction, sadness or loneliness.  I am not much on issuing a challenge but if I could, on a personal level, ask you all to say a prayer yourself for someone you know needs it this Easter. 

Redemption, salvation, mercy, grace and peace are all tied to the foot of that cross.  Share with someone that their debt is paid in full.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I have yet to log a blog in 2011 - not that I have some sort of cult following or group that follows my every word, but I feel rather remiss that I have yet to do so...until today.

I must admit that the tail end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 were rather tumultuous in various ways, in my topsy-turvy crazy world I just could not find the time, effort, motivation or desire to sit down and pontificate on the seemingly meaningless drivel I normally come up with.  I was overwhelmed with the life changes that lay ahead, stricken down with grief at the loss of my father and then with the gentleness of a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am, I found myself facing a relocation to yet another locale where I would be forced to start over for the second time in less than 2 years. 

Whirlwind sounds nice, it was more like a tornado.  Just as I was beginning to emerge out being entombed in grief I was heading at break-neck speed to another big change in the life of our seemed all too fast, it still does.  I feel bruised and battered and I am sure the bags under my eyes do indicate that I have not escaped this journey unscathed.  The myriad of comments that would leave me to believe this include, "gee you look really tired" after I've gotten what I considered a good night's sleep or "having a tough day?" when I finally feel like maybe today is the day I won't cry over missing my Dad.  Most people mean well, so it is best to chalk it all up to just looking like hell and leaving it at that. 

I have complete anonymity here and that is a comfort - there is no chance of running into someone I know at the store, so if I go out looking like I need a nap and a shower and a hot meal - so be it.  I am struggling with finding the motivation to plant roots here in Ohio, but then again, it is too damn cold here to starting digging to plant those roots anyway...LOL. 

The year ahead has so many blessings and opportunities in store and with it comes the challenges as well - but I know this year will allow me the chances to grow in different ways (joined the YMCA, so there better not be any literal growth of me, LOL)  and I am prayerful that with time I will feel like I am home here.  My Dad would tell me to suck it up - so, here's to trying that out!

I do not have any words of inspiration to add to this entry, just more drivel, right? 

I am making myself a promise to get back to blogging - the catharsis of the blog feels akin to the purge of crap we made before we moved here - sometimes it feels better to lighten the load.

Here's to your load being lightened. :)