Monday, June 30, 2008

sharing beauty

-Having dinner with Karen and Rob and enjoying being together for the last time in a little while. I looked at all of their pictures of traveling through the Muir Woods and the Badlands and couldn't believe all of the beautiful things they had seen since we'd last been together. I hope that every time we catch up we have lots of stories and pictures of beauty to share.

-An intense Texas thunderstorm, complete with hail and lightning, that woke me up and then lulled me back to sleep.

-Getting a very thoughtful message from a friend that was encouraging and affirming, both of my sense of call and of who I want to be.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

more mo ments

I've been at Mo Ranch leading worship for their Youth Celebration and then catching up with friends, and have had so many meaningful moments. I'll share a few.

-The light is just somehow different at Mo. It reflects off of the water and makes everything greener, hazier and softer.
-Seeing good old friends and making new friendships that will last for a long time.
-Connecting with the kids and having them confide in me, laugh with me, cry with me and pray with me.

-Peach-hued flowers that grow along rocks in spiraling spurts of color.

-Leading worship at the Chapel on the Hill, one of the holiest of places for me. I felt called to preach a very prophetic sermon, and when it was over, had never felt the Spirit guiding me as strong as in that moment. Words fail to convey the power of that experience.
-Canoeing down to the rapids at night and sitting in the swirling waters while laughing and telling stories. We were then silenced with awe as we stared at the explosion of stars overhead just in time to see the brightest shooting star I've ever seen (comet-like) gracefully dance across the sky.

-Driving through Texas wine country with my friend Katy and enjoying deep theological discussion and little stops for a sip of wine here and there.

-Stopping at a roadside stand for fresh peaches, and having the farmer drive up on his tractor. He let us sample a peach first, and the sweet fruit was juicy and made you smile as you ate it. I brought some to Ash and Clay and baked them a tasty peach cobbler with them.
-Meeting up with Karen and Rob to catch up. So far, we've met up in three states in the last month and a half or so, and it was so nice to walk in and receive really heartfelt hugs.

Friday, June 20, 2008

mo grace

I'm now at Mo Ranch to lead worship for Youth Celebration. I'll post as often as I can!

-Driving by rocky hills and tree-laden rivers, with sun, cloud and blue sky reflected. The Texas hillcountry is a holy place.

-Seeing a group of campers and feeling brave enough to go up to them and say hello and tell them that I was once a camp counselor at Mo Ranch. It turned out, one of them was Erin, a wonderful child from my home church, who was healthy and joyful. Another was a former camper of mine, who is now a counselor-in-training! What a blessing I stumbled upon.

-Walking familiar paths and feeling like I've never left. Every step I take here is rich with memories and stories.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


-Discovering my old journal from my first couple of months in Belfast. It made all of those memories come alive again, and stirred in me a fresh awareness of the journey back I'm soon to embark upon. Do you know that in almost every entry I talked about how sure I was that I was called to be there? I'm praying for that same clarity and trust again. I'll share a favorite excerpt.

{September 10, 2004}

"For tea (dinner) tonight, I went to the Blake's from Fitzroy. It was probably the most delightful meal I've had yet--and I'm invited every Friday! We chatted with Chris and their housekeeper from South Africa while the aroma of garlic and tomatoes filled the air and my first real Irish rain pelted the clear ceiling. While drinking the tea I'd longed for all day, I thought this was one of those moments I'd really remember."

-Making a quick trip to pick up my sister's dog Hayden and getting to see my lovely niece Natalie. Her eyes are so bright and full of hope and depth.

-Hearing a thump against my door and seeing Hayden shyly poke his nose in at me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

life's a beach

-Lovely long sips of cool chardonnay on the hot beach. My Dad bought some vino for the occasion (aptly named, you might notice) and, with white cheddar cheese and cracked pepper crackers, it was perfection.

-Swimming in the ocean, letting waves carry me and jumping over them so I wouldn't get knocked over. The bigger the wave, the higher I jumped, as I laughed and swam my way through the warm, swirling, foamy, green waters. Kinda like life, isn't it? The bigger the "wave", the higher we have to jump over it, all the while keeping moving and laughing and enjoying the view.

-That feeling of tired-muscle exhaustion and deep-soul contentment that only comes after a day at the beach.

Friday, June 13, 2008

all things Irish (tea, rain, flowers)

-That first sip of tea in the morning. (Coffee's great too, but this morning I craved my tea from Northern Ireland, mellowed with milk and sweetened with sugar.)

-Talking with my sister on the phone and seeing a sudden heavy downpour outside. Sure it was a sprinkler, I rushed out to the backyard in time to witness on of those unpredictable Texas rainstorms. It all happened so quickly that the sun didn't even have time to go away.

-Mom coming home from the grocery store with lovely bells of Ireland for me. They're gorgeous and whimsical, twirling upward with bright green folded leaves and tiny white blossoms nestled inside.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

natural inclinations

-A day without any makeup. I usually wear at least a little, and it was liberating and relaxing to go without.

-Catching up with a great friend.

-A book I can't out down. (Curious? It's Someone Knows My Name...a powerful and important story. I recommend it.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away

-Watching butterflies dance and perch on the butterfly bush at the nursery. We bought one of the plants, so I'm hoping it attracts them as much at home.

-An icy cool blackberry smoothie on a very hot summer day.

-Watching The Holiday and dreaming of living halfway around the world, and then realizing that, come September, I will be.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

all you need is love (and dandelions)

It's been so long! I was at a friend's wedding in Minnesota. I'm back now. :)
-A weekend of celebrating love: my parent's 35th anniversary was Sunday and we celebrated by getting them a park-style bench for their backyard, complete with an engraved plaque. We had to celebrate early because my parents, sister, brother-in-law and I were all at weddings on Saturday. -Going to Minnesota to see my friends Sarah and Chris get married. It was not only a time to celebrate them, but also a time for all of us to be together again and laugh at corny jokes, perpetually give each other a hard time, reminisce and play. Being in the same place (state, even) was comforting and grounding.

-My flight left late Sunday afternoon, which gave me time to hang out with Karen, Rob and their friend Megan some more. We went to the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens, had a yummy rooftop brunch and coffee. Some of the sculptures were interactive, and felt like a glorified playground.

-Having dandelion wars in the park. Big, fluffy, feathery dandelions were everywhere and Rob decided to grab a handful and smack them on my head. I didn't even realize it until it looked like a chicken had exploded behind me. We had so much fun.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

a woman's right to shoes

-Seeing Barack Obama become the first African American Presidential Candidate, and hearing that awareness, struggle and passion in his voice as he announced it. It was also inspiring to have Hillary Clinton get the most popular votes in history. Times are changing.

-Getting a great pair of new shoes for a wedding I'm going to this weekend. I saw them in the store, loved them and held my breath as I turned them over to see the price...40 % off! They'll make great dancing shoes.

-Sitting outside on a bench in the shade and reading.

Monday, June 02, 2008

wise stumbles

(Sorry it's been so long! My sister and niece were in town, and I was happily distracted.)

-My niece looking at me with such a soulful look, I swear she's got a ton of wisdom tucked in that adorable head of hers. I can't wait to see it bit by bit.

-A great long chat with a good friend.

-Stumbling upon a fantastic movie: The Girl in the Cafe. I'd never heard of it, but was drawn by the Damien Rice song playing at the beginning of it. What I expected to be lightly romantic was romantic in its own way, but also thought provoking and inspiring.