The Light Shines in the Darkness {and the darkness does not overcome it}

My husband and I sat for a few moments in the waning daylight of September’s first day, swatting away persistent mosquitoes and chatting about unfinished summer projects. The bittersweet end of August that sidles up to the beginning of Autumn always surprises me by the quick demise of sunlight and sudden arrival of the evening. Honestly, it wasn’t dark like this at the same time … Continue reading The Light Shines in the Darkness {and the darkness does not overcome it}

Random Ramblings the Week of My 70th Birthday

I got a notice from the Neptune Society this week. Seriously. I felt like calling or emailing them to say, “I’m turning 70 this week. I am not dying.” It’s weird to do the math confirming I am, in fact, entering my eighth decade and realize I feel maybe 35 inside. Know what I mean? I wrote a poem about just that called “Age is … Continue reading Random Ramblings the Week of My 70th Birthday

What Can I Give up For Lent? A Noneatarian Response*

Ash Wednesday this year is March 2nd, beginning the liturgical season of preparation for Easter, the season of Lent. Lent is the forty days of prayer and fasting observed by many faith traditions. The observance derives its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheads of participants. Priests and pastors recite either, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or, “Remember you are dust, and … Continue reading What Can I Give up For Lent? A Noneatarian Response*

My Heart-God’s Garden

There are times in the dead of winter that I have a hard time imagining ANYTHING will every be growing or blooming in my flower beds. Then Spring and Summer come and it’s an  EXPLOSION of color that can’t be contained. Somewhere in the middle of all that green there are plants vying for sunlight and air, wishing for water to nourish their leaves and … Continue reading My Heart-God’s Garden

Jesus–Heaven & So Much More

Last week in Sunday School we talked about the number 1, and how there’s only One Way to Heaven—and that’s Jesus. Of course, “Jesus” is the Sunday School answer to nearly everything. And it works, especially if you’re a young child. But what about as we grow older? This got me thinking. Jesus said He was the door, a way into the Kingdom of God … Continue reading Jesus–Heaven & So Much More

When God’s Word Goes Haywire {Operator Error}

You know how it is when you’re clicking around online and you visit a website link looking for information and up pops that 404 Error message? I was stuck in a rabbit hole kind of like that recently, stewing for weeks over an issue (always the battleground for me, the ol’ noggin) and could not seem to get past it. I had worried the situation to … Continue reading When God’s Word Goes Haywire {Operator Error}

Jigsaw Puzzles as a Prayer

Every year at Christmas our kids get my husband and I a jigsaw puzzle. This year Santa pitched in and we actually ended up with three puzzles–birds, the beach and kites–our three favorite things. A great Friday night date for my husband and I is to build a fire, turn on the music and puzzle away….a simple, quiet joy for us. (You 30 somethings are wondering which planet we’re … Continue reading Jigsaw Puzzles as a Prayer

Why I Stopped Having ‘Quiet Time’ {for all the right reasons}

“…the resolving of the conflict between sacred and the secular (or, better said, the repairing of the damage done by divorcing them) has been billed as the major problem of modern theology.” -Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb, 1967 ///// The writer of those words penned his thoughts 50 years ago, and while the current world of practicing Christians may have different theological … Continue reading Why I Stopped Having ‘Quiet Time’ {for all the right reasons}

Bob Goff, Keith Green & Gratitude

2015-07-24 12.34.03

Lower Yosemite Falls, 2015 jlc

“We’ll know we’re living gratefully by seeing how our love multiplies itself in the lives of the people around us. People don’t follow vision; they follow availability.”

-Bob Goff, founder of lovedoes.org

Last week I rewarded myself for five days straight of computer-gnashing a.k.a. book writing, by getting a pedicure. I dropped into my usual place downtown, grateful they had an open chair. Deciding to switch up my summer electric blue, I reached for a new color before I sat down, something closer to candy apple red, in honor of fall.

Instead of tapping on my tablet, playing Words with Friends (where my brother and sister always beat me), or checking Facebook, Instagram or email on my phone, I vowed to just be available, focus-wise, and opened the magazine in my lap.

As it turned out, there was a new gal taking care of me that day and we didn’t have any kind of conversation, per se. Instead, I found someone speaking to me through the pages of The Magnolia Journal.  The piece I read was entitled, “Time for Gratitude,” by Bob Goff. The article began with Goff’s retelling of how he wrote a letter to Keith Green one year when he was in college. And how Keith took the time to write him back.

Keith Green was probably one of the best-known Christian musicians in the late l970’s and into the 80’s; his music was a huge part of my newfound walk as a Christian.  Back in the day when the Jesus Movement was bursting the seams of Southern California, many, many musicians and singers were also being birthed. Every other weekend there was a Christian concert of some kind. (Free, I might add).

My husband and I were living in a Christian community at the time and the leadership decided to organize a weekend-long Christian music festival. Keith was invited and just like that, he and his wife Melody drove up to our Central California location, sharing their life and music with us. My husband and our community’s staff carpenter built a stage for Keith to play the baby grand piano on that the Bible school owned. Keith nearly destroyed not only the piano but the platform Bill & Jack had constructed.

That man was animated for Jesus, to say the least.

Anyway.

Keith and Melody were part of a Christian community similar to ours in Southern California back in the 1970’s at the beginning of the Jesus Movement. There were many groups of Christians in the country living with work and living spaces and finances all shared. It was an interesting time, to say the least. We shared several conversations with them over the weekend about what it was like working and living in close proximity to brothers and sisters. I will always remember how the two of them took time to speak with us, exuding grace and giving, embodying the way Jesus would live. Continue reading “Bob Goff, Keith Green & Gratitude”

Read & Pray in Your ‘Walking Around Life’

I was going to subtitle this, “Will Jesus Still Love me if I Don’t Have ‘Quiet Time?” ‘cause I’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately.  Don’t get me wrong—I’ve studied Psalm 119—I know God’s word is the compass for my life, that I can’t live without it.

But sometimes life goes in a different direction.

I remember the days when I was able to sit outside on my deck for an hour at a stretch, maybe three times a week, and just listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit speak. I wrote and wrote and wrote what I heard in those whispers on the wind to me.

I recall sweet moments at my desk reading Scripture or perusing a favorite devotional—Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, Charles Spurgeon. The words seemed to light up the page, resonating deep in my spirit.  Time after time there would be an ‘aha’ moment when I sensed God’s presence and His pleasure as I sat to soak myself in the Word.

But I wonder about those folks like myself who find themselves in a season where quiet time is pretty much non-existent. I’m writing a book, shepherding a small group of like-minded writer folks, editing for others and caring for my kids via phone calls and texts that come all hours of the day. I need to be interruptable for that; I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, what about this question—is there really a divide between sacred and secular? A time that is not God’s (if we belong to Him)? Is He more pleased with me because I take time for studying the word or reading a devotion? Or is He okay (because He knows this season of my life) if I lean into Him when I can, stay hungry for His presence in all the hours of my day?

My son has a new job in a Frito-Lay warehouse (yay for all-you-can-eat Doritos) and he works 60 hour weeks these days. Even on a regular day (i.e. 8 hours) his moments of alone time or quiet time vanish as he communicates with his wife or nurtures his five children. His thirst is there for God’s word—he has a seminary degree, steeped in Scripture inside and out–but the chances to drink are few and far between.

Or what about my niece’s husband, new dad of two, who works nights, sleeps days and hugs his wife and babies in between? Where or how would he, could he, find moments to spend with Jesus? Would it be before or after worship practice, where he plays drums and/or guitar?

Or what about the baristas at Starbuck’s who get up at oh dark thirty to make sure our coffee-fueled world goes on? There are plenty of Jesus-loving espresso-making folks out there—how do they manage to fit in time with God?

And is God worried about that? Really?

Here’s what Oswald himself had to say about “quiet time”; May 12th ‘My Utmost for His Highest.’

“Your god may be your little Christian habit— the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, “I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God.” No, this is your time alone with your habit. There is a quality that is still lacking in you. Identify your shortcoming and then look for opportunities to work into your life that missing quality.

Love means that there are no visible habits— that your habits are so immersed in the Lord that you practice them without realizing it. If you are consciously aware of your own holiness, you place limitations on yourself from doing certain things— things God is not restricting you from at all. This means there is a missing quality that needs to be added to your life. The only supernatural life is the life the Lord Jesus lived, and He was at home with God anywhere. Is there someplace where you are not at home with God? Then allow God to work through whatever that particular circumstance may be until you increase in Him, adding His qualities. Your life will then become the simple life of a child.”

Continue reading “Read & Pray in Your ‘Walking Around Life’”

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