Wednesday, March 25, 2009

guitar man and girls with guitars

Ryan took up guitar when he went to college. Expressing a lifelong desire to learn how to play, a friend urged him to borrow an extra he had, and thus began the love affair. When he brought the guitar home over Thanksgiving, Jylle picked it up the night before he was to go back and spent hours picking out a Taylor Swift song. She had to be told to go to bed, and at seven the next morning, Kev found her out on the kitchen deck at it again. This was late November in the Pacific Northwest. It was cold out. I don't think she felt it though. She was in love.

She got a guitar for Christmas, and over that break and this last week's spring break for Ryan, he's been able to spend some time teaching and encouraging her in big and little ways. He wants to teach her basics, and she wants to jump in and start playing specific songs. I guess they find their own ways around the other because I don't hear any tuffs. It's so sweet for me to see them together. Ryan alternates instruction with making music, while Jylle listens and tries to imitate. I love the sight and the sound of it all.

I hear soft music behind Jylle's closed door sometimes. It makes me smile. Also makes me miss Ryan for yet another reason.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

behind and beyond the gift itself

One of my most memorable Christmas presents is one that I still have. There was a giant box at the tree--'at' because it wouldn't fit underneath. We opened all our presents, and I saved this one for last. I had no idea what it could be. The only things I ever wanted at Christmas and my birthday were dolls and clothes, and I'd already opened plenty of those. I recognize my dad's handwriting, so I know it's from him. I strip off the paper, and there's another box with a note on it, "Good job! Keep going!" This box is wrapped too, so I peel off the wrapping. Another box. Another note. And so on. Each box has a word of encouragement to keep going with only slight variations like "Isn't this fun?" and "Are you tired yet?" and "Almost there!" (Wish I'd saved all those notes now; they were cute.)

FINALLY, I get to a package the size of a shoebox. It's wrapped in the prettiest paper of all, and the note says, "This is it!" I unwrap this last box, and lift out a hand-tooled leather purse with my initials on it in the middle. It has a gold clasp, woven trim around the edges, an adjustable strap, and the inside has a red and black patternless fabric and three pockets. I remember the smell of leather and whatever that liquid is he used to preserve it. Kind of a "high-pitched, medicinal sweetness" and a touch of rubbing alcohol.

Immediately, I think back to the Saturday afternoon that my mom told me to take a Coke to my dad, who was in the rec room. It doesn't have a door on it, so I just walked in and said, "Mom said to give this to you." He seemed a little disconcerted but thanked me, and I realized I'd startled him. I've never liked bothering people, much less my dad, so I stole out as quickly and quietly as I'd come. I realized that this purse is what he must have been working on that day. I recognized the tooling on what was then a large piece of flat leather.

I've often thought of how many times life is like that. I think I'm going to do something and it'll be over, but I do it and for whatever reason, I find that I'm doing it again. And again. And again. And while I wouldn't choose to keep repeating this action, there are usually various degrees of amusement, encouragement, or instruction sprinkled in, which make the whole experience less of a drain or monotony, most especially when I look back on it.

The look on my dad's face when I lifted it out of the box and examined it with a full-on smile is what I remember even more vividly than the present itself because his joy was such a great gift! My Abba's joy over offering gift after gift after gift is a present I hope to more fully appreciate as We grow closer and deeper.

Monday, March 16, 2009

stand on the promises

This is from Springs in the Valley. I really like it and wanted to save it in a place where I can find it when I need to.

“Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given to you.” ~Joshua 1:3

This blessed inspiring word greeted Israel as they faced the promised land. They had the promise of it before; now they must go forward into it and place their feet upon it. The promise is in the perfect tense and denotes an act just now completed –“That have I given to you.”

Our Joshua gives us the same incentive for conquest: every promise in the New Testament that we put our feet upon is ours! The upland of spiritual power is yours though Anak may live there! It is yours if you will be go against him and drive him out of his strongholds, in the might of The Name.

If we dare to place our foot on anything God has promised He makes it real to us. So take Him as the supply for all your need: believe He is yours and never doubt it from this moment.

It may be your need is for spiritual cleansing. His promise covers this: Now you are clean through the word I have spoken to you.” If you can believe this you shall be sanctified and kept.

Take the promise that suits your need, and step out on it; not touching it timidly on tiptoe, but placing your foot flat down upon it. Do not be afraid it will not hold your weight. Put your whole need on the Word of the eternal God for your soul, for your body, for your work, for the dear ones for whom you are praying, for any crisis in your life: then stand upon it forever!

All the blessed promises of the Old Book are yours, and why are you so slack to go up and possess your land? The size of your inheritance depends upon how much land you have trodden under foot, really stood on or walked over. Between you and your possessions that huge mountain looms up. March up to it and make it yours! Go in this your might and God will get glory; and you, victory.

~Dr. A. B. Simpson

Footprints mean possession,, but it must be your own footprints.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Speak to Me" by Mark Harris

It's quiet
I'm listening
I need to hear You speak
I'm broken
I'm desperate
Here waiting on my knees
The whole world around can shake
but I will not leave this place

Until You speak to me
I'm desperate for You Lord
Speak to me
My heart cries out for more
Here am I
On my knees
I will stay, I will not leave
Until You speak to me

My heart beats
I long for
All that Your presence brings

Your greatness
Your mercy
Is life and breath to me

One word could calm my seas
Then bring sweet peace to me

Sunday, March 08, 2009

things on the church front

Our youth pastor gave the message today, and the HS knocked it outta the ball park. It was a great time of truth, affirmation, conviction, praise, worship, encouragement, prayer, and humor. He did a great job. Our pastor and his family sat in the second row, as opposed to the first row which has always been Sandy's weekly spot with the girls. I just can't imagine what it'll be like without them there every week. I digress... Andy did a fantastic job, and the Spirit rose up in full bloom everywhere. Yum!

I missed my Kathy's birthday in February. That always makes me feel terrible when I miss an important occasion. I really do feel awful when I do that. She said I'm too hard on myself, but I hate it when someone says that. If I just committed an epic fail, then that's what I'm maligning, not my own personal selfhood, which I apparently am not hard on but rather adore, nurture, and protect. Anyway, I sent her something I have a set of myself. "Now we're twins." (Remember saying that to your friends?) I really hope she likes it.

Keeping in touch with Ryan's friends on fb has been so great. Zeb came over the other day. We mentioned this one kid at youth group whose conversations I've always enjoyed. I said that I wish he had a fb page so I could get to know him better. Zeb said, "See, that makes me sad that you said you wish he had a fb page so you could get to know him better." Knowing exactly where he was going and not wanting to be misunderstood, I launched into a monologue about how I know that face-to-face interpersonal communication is where it's at. I have a degree in communication. I know that as a Christian, God is all about relationship, and it's in that establishing of connection between people that we truly get to know them. I use fb as supplemental material. It's there that I've come to know things about people that I never would have otherwise. The personal preferences of people I care about might not be important to everyone, but it's important to me. Some people might be reticent or hilarious or intellectual on paper, but you'd never know that in person. I'm tired of people trashing Internet social networks, grouping them into the same category as chatrooms, ie. a conductor of shallow, artificial communication for people who are too lazy or unskilled to communicate in person.

Well, lovely to have gotten all that off my chest. Off to bed with me now.

Sunday, March 01, 2009