Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wine

I've been thinking about wine a great deal lately.

I don't even really drink wine but I've been thinking about it a lot lately nonetheless.

There's two different stories that has really been pressing in on my heart and mind.

The first story takes place when Jesus was in Cana having fun at a wedding celebration. He was celebrating with everyone else in the village but then something unthinkable occurred; they ran out of wine.   After his mother sort of twisting his arm, he tells the servants to fill the 6 water jars to the brim.  It took a lot of effort for these men to carry these jars that each held anywhere from 20-30 gallons of water.  It wasn't like us just walking over to the facet and filling the jugs, it was so much harder than that. Filling these jars was a process.  They had to go to the well lower the bucket and then fill these jars one bucket at a time.  It didn't occur within a short minute; no it would have taken them some time to go to the well, time to fill the jars and then time to walk back.  This filling the jars was a process but then when they go back to the celebration a miracle; a transformation had taken place.  Water was changed into the sweetest most delectable wine they master had ever tasted.

The second thing that has been impressed upon my heart is when Jesus is talking to a group of persons concerning what it means to step into a life of discipleship.  He makes some obscure comment about not pouring new wine into old wineskins.  He tells them that they have pour new wine into new wineskins.  If they were to pour the new into a skin that has already been used then it will burst the seems and it will all come pouring out.  I know heavy stuff right.  But I've really been thinking about this new wine and new wineskins.

Both of these things are a process, something new and wonderful being offered and yet it taking time.  This sweet, miraculous wine tha  t is being offered is offered to me every day.  It's actually right before me but in order to taste it I have to be different.

God wants to create something new and amazing within me but I must be willing to accept it.  I must reach out and let it sink into my presence. If I really want a wholeness....a sweetness to flow in and through me, I must make some changes in my life.  I must accept the gift and I must know that it will be a process.

I can tell you today that this wine tasting thing is pretty good!  I'm drinking deeply of a wine that is rich with confidence.  I am drinking of a wine that is sweet in joy and love.  I am drinking from a wine that has been aged just right for me to partake of it's full clarity and wisdom.

Have you tasted of a good wine lately?  If not, give the wine that Jesus is offering a try.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Chuck Taylor

When I was a freshman in high school I purchased a brand new pair of Chuck Taylor peach high tops. 

I loved them. I rolled down the edges and folded over the 'tongue' of the shoe.  I loved wearing my 'chucks' with my favorite jeans and my button down shirts that were left untucked (which my parents hated).  The reality was that there were not very many kids at my high school wearing jeans and Chuck Taylors back in the day and unfortunately that ended up making a difference for me.

I am confident in a lot of things but my sense of style is not one of them.   I was very consequence of my height from the time I was in the 5th grade because it was then that I had  growth spirt and became the tallest girl in the class.  Actually I was very close to the height I am now when I was in the 5th grade. While the world caught up with me over the years that sense of standing out stuck with me.  As a freshman I ate lunch with sophomores and juniors and I remember distinctly the group of guys razing me about my shoes....it wasn't just once but happened several times and eventually I stopped wearing my favorite Chuck Taylor high top converse to school.  I wasn't confident enough to just be myself.

Yesterday I literally had tears in my eyes because my sweet Emma did something that I wish I had had all those years ago....I will tell you in just a second about the tears and awe that I had for her but I have to back up.

This year for the first time ever Emma is attending a school that does not require a full school uniform.  That means that for the first time ever she is choosing her own clothes and developing her own style.  Even yesterday she commented that her style is a fashion tomboy; cowboy-ish style.  As school began she really wanted a certain kind of converse but we couldn't find one that she wanted.  I knew that you could go online and design your own.  I asked if she wanted to spend some of her money to do that  and she jumped at the opportunity.  

I watched her design every single part of her shoe.  She began with a white (literally blank) Chuck Taylor hightop.  She chose the color of each side of the shoe...the back stripe....the inside pattern....the color of the tongue...the stitching around the entire shoe....the color of ringlets for the laces...what color laces...what the stripe on the bottom rubber would be and what 'tag' she wanted stitched on the bottom outside part of the shoe.  I was holding my breath the entire time....I couldn't imagine all the different things that she was putting on her shoe.  I only said, be careful not to put too many different things on the shoe.  I watched her as she grew excited.  We pressed order and I have been hoping that her shoes would be all that she wanted them to be.


For 3 weeks she has talked about how cool her shoes were going to be. She had assurance that they were going to be awesome and 'totally rock'.  Yesterday when they arrived I was holding my breath...she opened the box and they were stunning!  I'm bragging I know but they were so cool.  She could not wait to put them on.  I got tears in my eyes because my sweet Emma has a confidence that I never want to go away.


She was bold in her decisions.
She believed in her choices.
She longed to see her 'dreams' come true.
She was willing to step outside the box.
She was unafraid to be creative.
She wore them with pride and conviction that they are the best shoes ever.
She is one of a kind just like her shoes.
She is unique and wonderful...full of color and life.

She made me cry yesterday when I saw the confidence deep within her.  I told her the story of my shoes and told her to never let someone else take her confidence away.  I told her she was one of a kind; more unique than the shoes she was wearing.

Her self confidence...her creativity speaks volumes.

It simply reminds me that God creates each of us with a sense of boldness and assurance.  He loves us with a deep pride and conviction that we are the best ever.  We are wonderfully made and created; full of boldness.  Are you confident in who you are?  Do you have the assurance that you add a sense of color and drama to this world?  Do you realize that you are one of a kind and that you are wonderful just the way you are?

Today I am reminded to be confident...to be all that God created me to be.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tomato


     Today we spent time in East Nashville at the Annual Tomato Festival. We started going several years ago but unfortunately we haven't been able to go in the past couple of years. Today was one of those days that remind you of what it means to be a community.

Community comes in a variety of forms to which we often miss.  This morning the first community began as we walked through KidsFest at East End UMC. It's a truly a community church that welcomes families of all forms.  There was something powerful and magical to see all the strollers literally lined up on the iron fence (I wish I had thought to take a picture of the beauty of all the strollers together).  It was as if the empty/unattended strollers lined along the way sidewalk represented a deep love and joy.  Parents and children playing together and a community embracing them with a love so pure that it couldn't be missed.

Local artist bottle caps
There was a community of local artist.  Local artist who so bravely put their creations out for the 'world' to see.  By displaying their art they were displaying a piece of their soul. They were trusting that the passerby'ers would embrace them into their world. The artisan community reached out to us today as they shared their passion, their gifts and their views of the world.  It is a community of passion and dedication.

Check it out in East Nashville
or Berry Hill area
              Then there was the community of restauranteurs who were sharing their passion of locally grown items transformed into amazing food that would sustain us.  The East Nashville community has one of my favorite people/family.  The Piper's...my friend Jenny owns Pied Piper Creamery.  It's a community that feeds the hungry not just physically but socially and emotionally.  They provide places where kids can come to read and share in the joy of ice cream.  It is a community that understands hunger of all varieties and is willing to respond.

Yes, my friend Jenny makes tomato ice cream
and sorbet


Of course there was those of us who were joined together as a community as we shared in the local treats that have come together around a little red vegetable/fruit that we call a tomato.




Do we see the communities that embrace you everyday?  Do you notice the community that surrounds you?  Who is a part of your community?  What do you do that draws you together?  Who do you need to reach out and draw into a community?

Thankful for the reminder that I am part of something larger than myself!









Sunday, July 29, 2012

A full bucket

We've been here on the mountain for a month now and what a ride it has been.  About 20 people worked together spending countless hours preparing our house for our arrival. The community honored us by an afternoon open-house to welcome us into the family.  Four members arrived at our doorstep the first morning to welcome us with a house plant and a gift card to the local grocery story.  Numerous members worked together at ten o'clock at night trying to get us back into our house after we locked ourselves out (partly because we didn't have a working key to the backdoor.

Now within the last 8 days we've been filled with moments that have made us feel like we are part of the family.  Last Sunday we joined a group for lunch at Pappa Ron's where we laughed and spent time getting to know our church family.  Tuesday we spent time picking blueberries at one of our member's homes.  It wasn't anything fancy...we simply went out and picked blueberries.  The Bradford's stopped what they were doing just to spend some time with us...they stopped mowing the yard...they walked away from the laundry they were tending too and they simply walked into the blueberry patch and spent time with us.

Reed treated Emma as if she was one of his grandchildren.  He held the branches for her and laughed with her as they stood in the middle of the patch.  We were fortunate enough to run into Kim and Tommy Colely  who were there getting some items for our church auction.  Everyone laughed and just embraced the time of picking blueberries.

I loved the color of the berries.....

Our buckets were filled to the brim....

I've frozen at least 4 cups, made blueberry cottage cheese/sour cream pancakes and blueberry muffins this week!

If that wasn't enough...the next day the Kim and Tommy brought me a bag full of freshly picked tomatoes.  I wish I had a picture because they were the perfect color and the perfect shape.

Needless to say I love tomatoes and I have eaten them with every thing I could think of.

We've had a horrible time with ants and today Reed brought me a pack of Terro, just because he overheard me talking about it.  A gift...truly a gift.

We were invited out to lunch once again with a different crew.  The Jackson's invited us to ride with them to Cowen and what a delight it was to just be with them.  They even paid for our lunch; again another thing to be thankful for.

It truly is the small things that fill my bucket to the brim.....
persons preparing your home
invitations to dinner
picking blueberries
fresh tomatoes
a Sunday ride to lunch
an expected meal paid for
pest control
cell phones that are filled with important numbers
family members who are willing to go the extra mile.

As the night turns to dawn what things are you truly thankful for?  What unexpected things have come into your day that have brought you a sense of being cared for and nurtured?  Where is your bucket filled to the brim?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Connectedness


I haven't been here in awhile and yet there is a pull to return and so today is the day! I guess I write for my own well being and the ability to hold on to the good more than anything else.


Yesterday we drove to Camp Hopetown ( Daystar Counseling Ministry's summer camp) to celebrate the week Emma had had at camp. Let me just say that Camp Hopetown is just that; a place of God's hope and security.  As we boarded the shuttle I began chatting with the counselor and when we found out we were Emma's parents his immediate response was "ahh.." We gently laughed but he stopped us saying: "She is so loyal.You do not see that it girls her age."  Loyal...that is a great word for Emma because she does love with a depth that others do not and she wants desperately for others to be loyal to her.  


As we arrived at Camp she was actually standing there waiting and watching for us.  It was a priceless moment because in the years past she has not been waiting for us.  She did not see us until we got off the van!



This summer's theme is "Fruit of the Spirit'.  Emma immediately took us inside to tell us about the 'fruits' she had received during Spirit Line.  One night they gathered together and everyone made a line and had to literally cheer on the person that wasn't included in the line.  E's peers chose joy, kindness and faithfulness to describe her.  It was as though she was beaming from having those words thrust upon her.  


Camp Hopetown always ends in a time of worship and a time of celebrating each individual child. Three years ago I had no idea that a counselor would be honoring our child in such a special way and I cried the entire way through.  This time I knew it was coming and was still stunned at the things that were proclaimed about our sweet Emma.  My heart was already full because several adults had come to us to really share some of the attributes that Emma had brought to the week.  As E's buddy stood her up and began to speak directly to Emma it was clear that E had made an impact.  The counselor ended her words to Emma by praying that she would never forget the peace that God has given to her this week.  


I guess I'm writing to simply remember the good.  


It all makes me wonder what fruit I am producing for God's glory.  


I am writing because I want to remember to be the 'Spirit Line' for those who have not found their place. I want to be the one that finds the good in someone else and proclaims that for them. 


I want to an example of loyalty for E as she walks through this world.  


Thank you Holy One for allowing us to connect to you! Thank you for producing fruit in us even we are not aware.  Thank you for being the Spirit Line of encouragement for us when the world seems so dark.  Thank you for words of anointing spoken over children.