Monday, March 25, 2013

Ordinary Fascination

Become Fascinated With The Ordinary Original
9 x 9 inch Canvas Print

I can learn so much
from the

"Oh, Look!
White flowers!
I will go get some and blow them
and the little things
will go everywhere.
And I will laugh!"

So she did.

And she came back to me
with dandelion seeds in her hair.

And she said to me,
"Mommy, take my socks off. 
You take yours socks off and come down in the grass
and it will tickle yours feet."

So I did.

{Mother's Day 2010.}

a curse


New eyes.

on your


Every day.

Finding beauty.

Seeking it.

Looking wholeheartedly.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Don't they know? Don't they believe?


Can I say I'm so glad she still has wings?

A few ladies in church call her

"our little butterfly".

Riding in the car this morning,
her birthday dolls have their hands up,
she is singing with them
as we are listening to Chris Tomlin sing
our God is greater
our God is stronger
God, You are higher than any other 


and if our God is for us
then who could
ever stop us?

She stops and asks . . . 

"Mom, how come in the movies they don't talk about God?
Don't they know about Him?
Don't they believe in Him?"

Another deep breath moment for me.

And my standard answer it seems lately . . . 
"I'm not sure.  I don't know."

She says, holding up Merida,
"Like this movie."

I say,
"Yes, you're right."

Then she says,
"Well, she's learning about Him now.  I'll teach her."





Yesterday she came home from school
and it was,
"The worst birthday of my life..."

Somebody had upset her on the playground.
So I listen, 
because her hurt deserves listening.
Then I tell her not to focus on just the bad things
and declare it to be the worst birthday of her life,
but to think about the good things that happened.

Because that's like throwing away all the good stuff
and keeping the bad stuff.

"That's what Mrs. D. said," she told me.

I'm so glad that Mrs. D. and I think along the same lines.
We make a great team!

There have been plenty of bad stuff moments in the last couple days,
but this moment,
this one right here of E teaching Merida about God,
I'm going to hang on to that one moment
and let go of the others
{the whining, yelling, fighting, bickering}.

That's the one moment I'm going to keep.
that moment matters.

And I'm going to share it.

For your hearts too.

By the way, for those of you that have followed
my birthday cake
fiascos . . . 
this one turned out pretty good.
Maybe I am learning a lesson.
Must be watching all those Pioneer Woman episodes!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pure Heart

are the
pure in heart
for they
Matthew 5:8

This one turns 6 years old tomorrow.

She is a pure heart.
An honest one.

{Unless it comes to telling whether or not she has brushed her teeth.}

she's a "no bologna" kind of girl.

Sometimes it's stressful.

But mostly, what is most important,
is that she is all-out, wholehearted.
In her "yes".
In her "no".

In her belief.

And this time,
she wanted God to have this drawing she made.
She thought perhaps she could keep it until she died someday
and she could take it with her.
But then it would stay in the casket,
so that wouldn't work.

She decided He should come get it.

The next day, it was still here.

WHY won't He come get it, Mom???

My answer, 
I don't know.

What should we DO, Mom?

My answer,
Let's take it to church and we'll ask some people.

Yes!  Let's have a MEETING about it.
she says.

So the next day,
we went to church.
She sat beside my friend
and told her about it.
We had a Bible school meeting,
so we prayed about it.

And my friend says,
What about helium balloons?

She embraced the idea.

So here we are sending the picture
off to God.

She ran after.

We watched it head west for a while.

And then it went



Do you think an angel got it and took it to Him?

I don't know, honey.

Do you think He is looking at it?

I know He sees it.
And He sees

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Creating a Place to Grow Wings

It's easy to get the winter blahs when there is no green.

when there are no leaves,
I can see all the nests along the dry creek bed.

I found a few today
and I got to thinking
about how
they feel so
sacred to me.

It's a little home
that a bird made.
A bird.
And they hang on to these trees 
in the wind
the rain
the snow.
Not just any wind.
Prairie wind.

Monday this week we had 70 mile an hour gusts.
All these little nests are still there.
And I thought about how a nest is a home.
A place for

I thought about how I want
to be intentional
about creating my house to be a sacred place,
no matter how little and cramped it may be,
no matter how messy it might get at times.

But asking myself,

How can I make this a sacred wing-growing home?
How can I make it a place 
of love, nurture, nourishment, protection, faith building, wing-growing?

A safe house,
yet a growing house...

looking at the tiny little nests
built on faith,
I began to see
my little nest
and the work
that I do there
with different eyes

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Robin Story

My Aunt Linda is living with Parkinson's Disease.
Her mom was my Grandma Marj.
Grandma Marj shared the love of bird-watching with each of us.
So, I am sending Aunt Linda my bird stories.
This morning I felt like I should share them publicly, as I mail them to her.
Some of you have read them or heard me speak of them.
They are deeply meaningful and so personal.
Yet, even though it feels so vulnerable to share, 
I believe they are meant to be shared.
This is one of those stories
that is a
"Know and Believe"
Be encouraged.
In your mind.
In your heart.
In your spirit.

The Robin Story
It was May 3, 2008, in the midst of a spring blizzard on the South Dakota prairie.  I had come through a spring of cancellation after cancellation after cancellation for my business.  Canceling again and again the actions that I thought were necessary to see my dreams fulfilled.  My business was counting on these appointments that, due to weather, I had repeatedly cancelled from January to May.

At the same time, a childhood hobby of bird watching that had been shared with my Grandma Marj, had resurfaced.  Like I did as a child, I started to notice and cherish the birds I saw in my yard.  It had been a tender time with my grandma as a child.  For many years, it seemed to go dormant in my life, but that year, the seed of bird watching had sprouted again in my heart.  On the first day of the blizzard, May 1, 2008, I had taken some photographs of robins in the cottonwood tree in my yard.

Also at this time, I had begun to fill journal after journal with prayers and what seemed to me to be the Lord's tender and loving response.  Prayer had become a rich relational experience with the Lord.  A real relationship.  I seemed to finally be experiencing that Jesus is alive and I know Him and He knows me.  It was true.  Jesus was true.  I could have a relationship with Him now.  I did not have to wait until after this life to know Him.  This experience is one of those ways that I knew and know that He is:  after the repetition of cancellations I had made for the previous five months, I had just poured out my frustration to God on paper and this is what He seemed to answer...

My child, you have needed this time with Me.  Do you see the richness of your life?  The robins puffed up in the snow in your tree--can you buy something so beautiful or contain it as a pet?  No.  It's beauty is in it's freedom to live wildly according to My design.  And you get to see it in your front yard.  You have that richness all around you.  You do not have to possess it materially to have the blessing of that richness in your life.  As you take photographs, it is your recognition of those little blessings in the details that surround you right where you are.

In your hands, your captivity, your cage, My child, the robin would suffer and eventually die.  It would not be living as I designed it to live.  But in My hands it has the ability, even as a little bird, to survive, even a violent spring blizzard, and not only survive, but thrive.  In My hands.  Turn your hopes and dreams over from your hands to My hands, My child.  In your hands they will be limited and captive, but in Mine, they will be wild and free able to survive storms and thrive in the aftermath, and they will be beauty set free.  Whenever you see a robin, My child, let it remind you of the beauty, and freedom and thriving that exists in a life in My hands.

That is what was written in my journal that day.  It calmed my fretting and anxious heart.  I felt that I was held in the hand of God.  My cares had been cast upon Him, and He was caring for me.  I felt that He knew what my heart needed.  Even today, as I retype it, a fire of peaceful, cozy warm is ignited in my heart.  Just that, in my journal from my prayer time, would have been enough.
But then, about a week later, I am reading my favorite magazine.  Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion.  I come to a page with one of her paintings.  It is of a little boy standing holding his hands behind his back with a tree branch in them.  At his feet are three little robins and before his eye a robin in flight with a twig in its beak.  The painting is titled, "Little Robin".  "Oh, how sweet," I thought.  But what I saw next caused me to gasp and praise Him.  My heart was moved to worship when I read the quotes on the page.  The title was "Dream a Little Dream", and then five quotes about dreams. 

Here are two.

"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."  Christopher Reeve. 

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Prior to writing in my journal in my prayer time, I had never associated robins with my dreams.  They were two separate things.  Yet, it seemed He taught me to trust Him in that prayer time with my hopes and dreams.  He taught me to let them go ~ that He should hold them, not me.  That giving my dreams to Him was His design for my life.  That hanging on too tightly to my vision for my life would suffocate His design.  I was thinking that it "had to be this way" for my hopes and dreams to happen.  But even though there had been storm after storm, He still held me and my hopes and dreams in His hand, and there, all of it was safe, and there they would not only survive, but flourish and thrive.  Just like He holds the robin in the storm, He holds me in my storms.  As I read the quotes on that page about dreams and I saw the painting of the robins on the same page, I felt like the Lord Himself had sent me a love letter for my heart.  You can choose to call all of this a coincidence, but I will choose to glorify Him, to give Him the credit, the glory, the honor, and the praise.  It seemed to be a confirmation to me personally.  Just a special little thing so that I would know.  That I may know that He is the Lord and there is no other.

Do you have a "That You May Know Story"?  If so, I encourage you to document it.  Write it in a journal.  Take a photograph that reminds you.  Paint or draw a picture.  Write a letter to your kids or grandkids so they may know your story.  Whatever you are inspired to do. 

If you do not have your story yet, pray for it.  Seek Him with all your heart and He will be found by you.  Believe this truth: Jeremiah 29:13-14 says, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you says the LORD."  Begin seeking Him wholeheartedly.  He knows how you will know.


Photos and words property of Jodene Shaw.  
Do not copy, reprint or distribute without permission. Thank you.