Lent 31: the Rocking Chair

18 03 2013

Rocking chairs have always held a certain appeal for me. Even the ones that are too high for me to rock in comfortably. When we bought this rocking chair at a garage sale many years ago, I expected many nights of rocking Kajsa to sleep.  Lent 31: the Rocking ChairWhat I didn’t expect was how much she and I would both long for the rocking chair at other times.

It started a couple of years ago when, after a particularly hard day, I carried her to the rocking chair, and simply rocked. I think she was still a little frustrated with me at that point, and wasn’t eager to be rocked. But before long she calmed down. I sang one of our favorite songs (Skidda-ma-rink-a-dink-a-dink, skidda-ma-rink-a-do), and pretty soon she was asleep. The story repeated itself a few times.

Then the story changed. She began asking if I would rock her. And so we rocked. And rocked. We have rocked ourselves calm (that sounds strange) too many times to count. When my five year old or I are having a difficult day, she is often the one to ask to be rocked. The rocking chair has become one of the many methods we use to quiet ourselves, to hug each other, to adjust attitudes and frustrations, and to move on. I love this time.

Reflecting back to last week (!) and the Prodigal Son story, I imagine that God loves the times with us, when we have quieted down, when we allow God to hold and comfort us, and to welcome us back into God’s arms.

Lent 29: new creation

14 03 2013

A new creation. Of sorts. It’s no longer new to us, because we finished this DIY project many months ago. But it is a project that created something new out of some things old. It took months to complete.  Lent 29: new creationIt involved washing out coconut milk cans after a homemade Thai meal; painting the cans inside and out; picking out an old cookie sheet to use for the project and collecting magnets to hold the cans to the old cookie sheet. Then, gathering some of the multitude of crayons and colored pencils we have to fill the cans with their respective colors.

For the artistic types in our house, the project was fun to create, and continues to inspire creativity. We love colors here (again, the artistic types at least), and we love the multitude of colored pencils and crayons. And I love creating something new out of something old.

I wonder if God finds similar joy in creating something new out of us, when we allow him to do so?

Lent 27: Detour

11 03 2013

Detours. Some are great, and actually enhance a journey. Others aren’t so great, and prolong the journey.Some are circumstantial; others are chosen by us, or by our actions/inaction. Lent 27: Detour

Lent 25: fruitful?

10 03 2013

This photo was supposed to be of our blueberry bush. I thought of it a little late. Dusk-ish, to be exact. So as I was trying to focus on the blueberry bush branches close to my lens, I accidentally snapped this photo of the cherry tree branches instead. I don’t know if we have even tried any of these cherries. I don’t know if they’re edible or not. I’m assuming they are, but I’d best not assume until I confirm. But the funny thing is, even though I love cherries, we haven’t focused our efforts on these trees. I’m not sure why–maybe because cherries have pits? Maybe because the birds pretty much hang out in the trees from spring through late summer? Maybe because we haven’t confirmed whether or not these are edible cherries? I don’t know.  Lent 25: fruitful?

The blueberry bush, however, we’ve spent a lot of time on–especially this past summer. Trying to outsmart the squirrels and birds, Jim and Kajsa created a pretty clever net/cover. But the blueberries, too, we learned, require more work than we always have time or energy for. Still tasty, we still love them… and I’m already researching how to outsmart the critters for this summer.

Most of the time, I’m guessing, fruitfulness–bearing good fruit–requires work. Certainly in the parable of the fig tree (Luke 13:6-9) from last Sunday, the gardener would have work to do, in order to save the tree. The vineyard owner was ready to cut it down, but the gardener was more patient… or saw more potential… or was simply more gracious of a person.

Blueberry bushes and cherry trees aside, I hope to take the second/third/fourth/etc. chances that God has given to me… and produce good fruit, in my life. It might require more work than I often feel like doing–but hopefully, if it’s something I feel God calling me to do, or to join, or to reflect on… hopefully, I will be faithful, and bear good fruit.


Lent 24: Beyond the playground

8 03 2013

Repentance is a big Lenten theme. To repent is to change one’s ways, to turn away from one’s current way of doing something, and to do something different.  Lent 24: repentance... and meaning it

How do we get beyond talking about repentance as a good idea, as something we should do… to actually repenting? How do we allow God to change our hearts and actions and words and thoughts, so they reflect God more? Too often I think we approach repentance like the playground truck pictured here. It’s fun, and useful to play on, to talk on, to connect with others around… but it’s not actually that useful for anything besides play on this particular playground. There’s nothing wrong with this truck on a playground. I like it. But when it comes to following God, we need to take ourselves out of the conversational mode, and into the action mode.

What would it look like if we were to actually make some changes that we felt God wants us to make? What would those changes be? And what needs to happen, for us to take these changes beyond the playground (as good as the playground is) and into our lives?

Lent 23: Which Way?

8 03 2013

Yesterday evening, Jim and I joined Jen & Rob (friends who were visiting this week–they had gone to Philly for the day) for dinner. We met them in the Comcast Center, a very fun, tall, many-windowed building downtown. I didn’t even know this place existed, and we spent very few minutes in the “lobby” of the center, but I was immediately drawn to these statues/figures walking different directions way up high. Lent 23: Which way?

Choices are everywhere, in daily life. At least it seems that way. You can do this, you can do that, you can do the other thing… you can go left, right, straight, behind, veer, make a u-turn, go in reverse… Granted, not all choices are available at all times. Often we wish for more choices–and, at times, we wish for fewer choices. Some choices are obviously good, some are obviously bad, others are simply not the best… and still others don’t have a giant affect on our lives.

What choices have you been faced with today? How did you decide? Or did you? And what choices could help you to draw closer to God?

Lent 22: Bridge Closed

6 03 2013

Major brain fog, once again, regarding my blog. Chalk it up to…. I don’t know what. Never mind. Don’t chalk it up to anything. Just let it be what it is. My own season of bridge closures… detours… things not always working as they should. Such is life.

Lent 20/21: Longing

5 03 2013

What do you long for in this Lenten season?


Lent 18: Winding Art

2 03 2013

Lent 18: Winding Art

 Visual reflection–
Kajsa’s artwork from school.
Lines… colors… some scribbling.. a lot of winding around.

Lent 17: DIY

2 03 2013

(Yesterday’s post, which I had written… but never actually published.)

I made this duvet cover today for Kajsa. It should be a simple task. It wasn’t. And it’s not completely finished either. I’m not a seamstress. Never have been. Lent 17: DIY winding road But occasionally I think that I can do some project, even though I have no idea what I’m doing. After all, I made a duvet cover my first year of seminary–that was… 1993. Yep. Simple project–sew together two twin flat sheets. Ha. Suffice it to say that I did things in the wrong order, making a simple and quick project much longer than expected.

I do not often say that people deserve their own suffering. And, a DIY duvet cover does not come close to falling under the category of suffering. No way. I do, however, think that my DIY project today became more complex, more time-consuming and more frustrating because I thought I could jump right in and remember how to make one of these.

There are times when we, I, make a mess in our DIY lives, I think. Sometimes. I’m not speaking to the circumstances-beyond-our-control factors at all. In our lives, our relationships and some situations, I think it’s easy to try and cruise on DIY, when what we need to do first is discern and trust God more. Granted, things might still be a mess. There are no guarantees with this stuff. But at least, with more God in the situation and less unnecessary-DIY, we might have a bit more patience and guidance.. Maybe.

(And yes, the polka dot pillow in Lent 16’s photo is from the same sheet set as this polka dotted sheet.)