• Made Things

    Doors–A Metaphor

    Doors are like plans. . Sometimes people hold a door open for you when your hands (your life) are full.   You also use them to leave and head out into the world. Doors open/close, open/close–traffic comes and goes, we come and go in and out to find pasture. Sometimes they are closed for a reason (it’s just not time). Sometimes there is more than one choice. There’s really only one door that matters. ~~~~~~~

  • Made Things

    By Turning, Turning we Come ‘Round Right

    Simple Gifts ‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight. When true simplicity is gained, To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed, To turn, turn will be our delight, Till by turning, turning we come ’round right. ~~~~~~~~~ “Simple Gifts” is a Shaker song written by Joseph Brackett (1797–1882) in 1848. Aaron Copland includes the orchestral piece is his delightful composition ‘Appalachian Spring.’ My favorite singing version is by Judy Collins (of course). You might also enjoy this one…

  • Made Things

    When Your God is too Small

    The family of goldfinches crest over the roof above my head. Their -V- of flight dismantles as they land branch by branch in the green, bright yellow coloring invisible to my eye.Morning has begun.The world wakes up and it is always the birds’ job to tell me so, messengers flinging notes aloft–I catch their song, hear them say, “He’s here, He’s here, He’s here.”How high the sky, how vast this green cathedral before me, a wonder-filled creation, mammoth avian playground.My world-sized God made this sky, these trees, their song. He fashioned the finches, daily feeds the glittering hummingbird and gives seed to the robins in my view.Sometimes I forget how…

  • Made Things

    Grace Isn’t Cheap But It’s Free

    We raised our hands and voices again this morning in worship, singing of  grace being an ocean…and if it is, we’re all sinking. Then Heaven met earth like a sloppy, wet kiss.  And well, after that line in the song, it took me awhile to get my spirit and soul focused on Jesus again. I always think about a cocker spaniel puppy when we sing that verse.  I mean really, ‘a sloppy wet kiss?’  I know Jesus loves us, God loves us, immeasurably and tenaciously so.  But frankly, I think we are getting a little too casual with this word we toss around in Christian circles–the word is ‘grace.’ To…

  • Made Things

    The Hurrier I go, the Behind-er I Get

    My husband and I are embarking on another season of Home Improvements in the Collins Household. We’ve lived here for over 20 years; the house was built in 1979–the maintenance and care are ongoing.The other night we were calculating dimensions of the opening for a new sidelight to go next to our front door.  I was to be the recorder while my husband called out measurements.He is Detail Man, the analytical talk-to-think guy.  I am more the Big Picture, I-already-thought-it-through-and-I-actually-have-some-questions-about-the-process. I’ve jumped right to the end of the project–blast all the steps along the way. This is called Being Impulsive.  (My husband calls me Impossible; we’re still working on that.)As he…

  • Made Things

    Rethinking Church

    *photo credit There’s a bit of an imperfect storm in my head with several thoughts converging–conversations, blogposts, books I’ve read; bits and pieces I’ll attempt to put together. This is a longish post and I’ve borrowed some words from my daughter (she said I could). Here’s my story, wrapped around hers. ~~~~~~~~~Standing at the sink, rinsing away the softened peels of still-hot beets, the maroon swirls drain away while I glance at my amethyst-laden hand.I fit the large square stone on my left finger this morning because my right hand was too swollen. (Morning hands; I don’t know.)I left my wedding ring in the dish on the dresser because I wanted to…

  • Made Things

    My Favorite Season

    Golden Gardens Seattle    j.l. collins Seattle view   j.l. collins A soaring wide-winged bird circles the lemon colored trees on the horizon.My eyes are drawn to the sight of flat-bottomed clouds stacked in the far off blue sky.I’d much rather swoon over the bursting expanse of creation in my view, but paying attention to the road as the asphalt blurs by me like so much water takes some effort.Plying the freeway as I head home in the afternoon sun is the task at hand.Although I’m grateful for this explosion of life after the months of steel gray sticks against sullen skies, I’m beginning to change my mind about my…

  • Made Things

    Celebrating Motherhood

    This is not the post I intended to write for this week, but I was overcome with gratefulness for my children. Excuse me while I gush. L to R, daughter Leah, Son Aaron, family friends1984 Husband in the Firetruck, Son Aaron behind himDIL Courtney in front, daughter Leah on rightfirst grandson Hanan (now 12) Daughter Leah practicing her mad chef skills 1982 ish; Leah and Aaron with their Grandpa Paul The little boy above? He has (now) 5 children of his own. Here he is with four of them. I stood in church this morning with my hands raised in worship and pondered the miracle. The miracle of being alive…