Tuesday, October 25, 2011


This morning Jackie devoted us.  She made us write haiku.  All of them were very good.  Some were funny.  Some were deep.  Some were practical.  Here's mine:


To break seals and chains,
Of praise, glory, and honor,
Sharing worth with us.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Processing Preaching

This summer I preached at my church for the first time in about three-and-a-half years.  That was months ago, and I’m still processing: 
First, I enjoy writing.  So, I enjoyed writing my message.  I practiced it in front of other preachers at my church, and they made suggestions.  I also had my own gut instincts.  So I did something I’ve never done before—I edited, extensively.  I re-wrote, and then re-wrote again, although the feedback over my practice run through was quite good.  Now, as a student, I always finished writing papers the morning they were due.  I planned to finish 2-3 hours before the paper was due.  I’d finish.  I’d nap for an hour or two, and then I’d get up and turn in said paper.  I never proofread, much less edited.  I knew there’d be some typos and maybe wrong words, but I also knew those mistakes would be too few to drop my grade.  So, I had never really edited anything I’d written before.  It was a good experience.
Second, I enjoy being on stage, but I’d forgotten that.  I danced a lot as a high school student, and one of my hallmarks was a fun, energetic, sassy persona.  Put me in a flapper costume and some tap shoes, and I’m good.  Put me in a tutu and ask me to put on a pleasant, but neither smiling nor serious face, and I’m in trouble.  So, I was terrified to approach the stage.  Then I got on it.  Then I spent five minutes on it, and I was having a great time. 
Third, I’ve written before about how “safe” a person I am.  There’s not a risk-taking bone in my body.  A band of students and former students from my student ministry led worship the day I preached, and that made me proud and joyful and comfortable.  They sang a song with a line, “Let’s risk the ocean; there’s only grace.  Where you go we will follow; I’m on my knees.  Where you go we will follow; O God, send me.”  That song had become a staple on a student mission trip to Macedonia just weeks earlier.  As I heard the song, I thought about the teenagers and college students who went on that trip, about the adults who led it, about the parents who nervously stayed stateside.  And I thought, “If they can literally risk the ocean, then I can risk a 25-minute sermon.”
I also had a husband who told me the night before the big day, “You know this sermon more than you think you do.  Deliver it.  Go for the jokes; they’re funny; people will laugh.  Don’t look at your notes; you don’t need them.”  Going for jokes and not looking at my notes were scary ideas to me.  I have to feel very safe to crack a joke; that is a vulnerable experience for me.  Not looking at my notes could mean getting very off track, and that scared me.
But, I listened to my husband, and I listened to the voice telling me it wasn’t a flight over the Atlantic; it was a sermon, and it would be over in 25 minutes—for better or worse.
I went for the jokes, and they worked.
I didn’t look at my notes much, and it worked.  In fact, I can still recite whole paragraphs from that sermon.  My husband was right; I did know it well.
Nail #56--I'm thankful for this experience.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Still Hammering...

43.  For college football.
44.  For memories of growing up at a little league football field.
45.  For hot apple cider.
46.  For Kleenex; I’d hate to imagine my last week with only handkerchiefs.
47.  For the brisk smell and chill of autumn; they make me happy and contemplative.
48.  For a skill and ability to cook and to bake.  Yum!
49.  For time with Angie Sposa, Erik Edwards, and Mandy James; they make me better.
50.  For pajama pants.  I think the shift from sweatpants to pj pants happened around 1999, and I’m grateful.
51.  For a sure way to go to sleep—reading a college history text.
52.  For a warm bed, a firm pillow, and a hot shower.  These are givens, but sinus issues make me appreciate them more.
53.  That my husband will be home with me and our kids tonight.
54.  That my family will buy anything my kids need—shoes, clothes, formula, diapers—with generous spirits, without my asking.
55.  For the joy of a baby’s first, second….seventh, eighth steps.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yes, more nails...

Not feeling particularly discontent or thankful today, but I have much to be thankful for.  So, it's time to be disciplined and thoughtful and thankful:

33.  That I sometimes get to eat out for lunch, and I remember teachers who never get to do that.
34.  That days and weeks do end.
35.   For sleep.
36.   For novels that take me to other places, inside other heads, and feeling with others’ hearts.
37.   For opportunities to “hear” some friends through their blogs.
38.   For leftovers, because they mean more time with my kids.
39.   For pillow talk with Tristan.
40.   For my passion for teenagers.
41.   That God gives others passion for babies, preschoolers, and kids.
42.   For the sense of security having a cell phone provides.

Monday, October 3, 2011

...More Nails...

22.      That I live a mile from church.
23.       That I get to see my sister every Sunday.
24.       That Daniel Hughes makes hours 3 & 4 at church fun for my son.
25.       For people who will walk with my baby girl when I think my back will break.
26.       For a husband who responds with grace when a long-overdue date night is interrupted and ruined by work.
27.       For baby “kisses”—loving, violent attempts to bite my face Hannibal-style.
28.       For opportunities to listen to people and to hear their pain.
29.       For a church that says it supports women in ministry—and actually does.
30.       For take-out at home with family
31.      That family will come eat with me, when I’m disheveled, ugly, and cranky.
32.       For a Nana who does laundry—my laundry.  No, I'm not sharing.