Monday, March 31, 2008

My heart is so heavy

I would love to chat with you today.. . . Sip on cappuccino's with lots of soothing foam and just watch the sudden cold outside. . . Take a load off Benny (are those the words to the song?). . . . Feel a little lighter. . . but some things are just way too important to pass by. This is one of them. My friend, Megan's mom has updated again and on her daughter Megan. My heart is full because of the comfort I feel as she relates to our God, the very one who created the beautiful grass and purple flowers outside of my window and He created me. And I am thankful and in awe. Please continue to prayer for Megan and her family.

35 March 31, 2008 at 03:57 PM EDT
It has been an up-and-down week. After I posted the Easter update, Megan took a downward spiral. She couldn’t eat and slept for longer stretches. We know what to expect, so we were gearing ourselves up – if one can do that – for this last leg of the journey. But leave it to Megan to rally. She got two calls from sorority sisters who wanted to visit on Wednesday. After an afternoon of visiting and listening to one beautifully offer a harp concert in the bedroom, Megan is back today laughing some (mostly in the middle of the night) , eating, and looking well.

Our emotions are like an up-and-down bike path, holding our breath, not sure of what to expect, wondering what the next curve will bring. We accept more and more the reality of her impending death. We are held by your love,carrying us a little further down this road. The days fly. Nights bring rest. I walk outside and the beauty of creation takes my breath away. The God who opens the apple blossoms outside our door is the one who is holding our hands. The God who brings a cardinal to me every day is the one who whispers, “I am with you. All is well. Stick with me”.

I have no words – possibly fearful of not being able to go the distance – stay the course – Sometimes my fingers have a mind of their own and type what my heart and mind can’t fully process. But I did run across this description of being on a bicycle with God. The story was given to me, and I am giving it to you.

“At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die.

He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized his picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him. But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me to pedal.

I don’t know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.
When I had control, I knew the way.
It was rather boring, but predictable…
It was the shortest distance between two points.
But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, through rocky places at breakneck speeds, it was all I could do to hang on!
Even though it looked like madness, He said,
I worried and was anxious and asked,
“Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust, I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure.
And when I’d say, “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord’s and mine. And then we were off again. He said, “Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.”
So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light. I did not trust Him at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it; but He knows biking secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my constant companion, Jesus. And when I’m sure that I cannot do it anymore, He just smiles says "Pedal." (author unknown)

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable His judgements, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? And who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay Him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen." Romans 11:33-36

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The 6 o'clock hour

Whether morning or evening this is my favorite hour. SO much so that it needs to be written about and maybe, too, this will serve as a strong enough reminder to myself to seize the 6 o'clock hour whenever possible. I won't lie though, I do believe the a.m. partner of my adored hour is an aquired taste. I don't think anyone is wired to just thrive at 6am. But after several years of training....I thrive and I love it!

Twp to three mornings a week I get up and conduct an exhausting workout in the gut of the 6-7am time frame. The roads are quiet, there are usually no screaming sirens or traffic jams. The people who share this hour with me feel just as findly I believe. You can sense it in their attitude and their pleasantness. People in this hour are more calm and seem to be more in control of their day. Don't get me wrong - getting up in the 5 o'clock hour isnt my favorite thing to do but my theory is to just put my feet on the floor. If I just put my two feet on the ground then I am surely going to get moving and make the most of the morning and typically, the entire day. Oh, but on those occasional mornings where I let the dark room, the warm bed and the cute boy next to me get the the best of my good intentions. I always feel a little less productive and a little out of control the rest of the day. Now even if it isnt a workout that I devote the hour to but a good breakfast in my fluffy robe, Matt and Meredith in the background with the Today show and a book or my bible, It is still just as effective.

Now on the other end of the world is the glorious 6pm hour. (And this hour changes a little bit with the time change) but with the government giving us more sunlight it is truly the 6th hour past noon that tickles my fancy. 95% of the time I am home for work just before the clock strikes 6. All afternoon the desire builds to just exist outside. I don't have to do anything or go anywhere but I just like to be outdoors in this hour. Traffic in our area is normally coming to an end, Brad comes home all bubbly and ready to see me (usually) and he still looks so cute from the long work day, there are still a few hours of daylight and plenty of time to bore myself doing nothing before any evening activities commence. I remember living in Athens and driving over the loop to our Macon Hwy townhome and I would drive the circle twice just to take in the amazing decent of the sun in the early 6o'clock hour before day light savings and in the late 6 o'clock hour after. Either way it was peaceful and assuring. Now, growing up the 6pm hour always signaled mama's dinner. Without fail for years and years mama always had something scrumptious on the table around 6:15pm. Then we kids would still have an hour to play after dinner before we had to start getting ready for bed. There is something about routine, too, that I love so this is ceratinly a grand memory. Anyway, today's 6a.m. hour I was pounding on the treadmill watching the Today show and what do they tell me......"That people that wake up early are usually more happy throughout the day and prove to be more succesful over the long term." I couldn't agree more. Tonight during the 6pm hour Brad and I will be delighting on our favorite Thursday night patio at Taqueria del Sol off Cheshire Bridge. There will be few libations of lime decent because they are Brad's favorite. Also, 4 fish tacos (1 for me, 3 for Brad), a cup o' shrimp chowder and a salsa trio will grace us with their present in the most glorious of hours on the most glorious of days.....I LOVE Thursdays....especially when I have already called off for the day tomorrow. Let the weekend begin......

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring to me!

Oh, perfectly shining sun, say my name louder! Dear Bradford Pear trees....sprinkle me with your beautiful yet stinky leaves as I walk through the park today. And, please, Mr. Seventy-degree temperature do not forsake me any longer!
For two months now you have all teased and taunted me with an occassional opulent Saturday (and, yes, "opulent" was the word I wanted to use). I paint my toes, pull out my flipflops and dust my cheeks with a little bronzer. I get out and make the most of every second of the sunshine. Then, what do you flee and hide under a rock only to watch as I walk through the park to work looking like a silly girl in a skirt and heels, all the while, the wind whistling up my skirt and freezing my bare legs. Please, no more of this insanity. I am ready to open my condo doors and listen to the birds, scratch that, cars outside. I am ready to walk around stuffy headed from the never ending pollen count. Oh, Spring, have your way with me! Come full force. Bring it on!!!

Brad and I are headed to Savannah this weekend for a full, and literally a filling 24 ours. I surprised him with Bruce Horsnby tickets earlier in the year. Brad and I are so pumped to take the half day on Friday, roll down our windows and sing our way into Chatham county. I love Savannah mostly because my favorite family lives there. Everytime I have gone I have been welcomed with flying colors and treated like a queen. Though Brad and I are making a short trip this time, we are going back in May for a wedding and that trip we plan to boat and fish and kayak and just be plain ole silly-Savannians! I can't wait. Hopefully by then Amos will be joining us, too!

Speaking of...on our way to the wetlands this weekend we are venturing off track momentarily to go look at a few 9 week old Wheatens. I am nervous. First of all, we still don't know how keen our landlord is on this idea. More so, we are afraid that if we see Amos then there is no way we can head on to Savannah without him or at least without the decision to pick him up on the return home. I am so anxious!! I still can't believe Brad is going along with this idea. Nonetheless, I can't stop thinking about Amos and how he will greet me when I come home after a trypical work day. Lastnight, yes, this is weird....Brad and I even discussed what Amos would be doing at certain times of the night. Like, what would Amos do during American Idol Tuesdays? I told Brad Amos would be nuzzled up to him while he rubbed his head/belly and of course, rubbed my head with his other arm. See, Brad, I said, you will feel soooooo loved!!! It'll be a Brad sandwich. Of course we only talk about the fun Amos times to be had and not the poopy ones. Literally the poopy ones. We'll deal with those when there is a wagging tail in our condo. Anyway, I am real excited about the weekend and Sir Amos-to-be.

To add to the weekend a dear friend of ours is getting married on Saturady, hence the quick trip to the Coast. Oh how I could talk about this duo foreva! They first met when our old group of "The Original Terrace" members went to the North Ga Mountains several years ago.....back in our youth you know? Nonetheless, a few flirtings later and they come back a couple and have been at it ever since. How fun to watch a budding relationship from the start! Needless, most of the Original Terrace members will be reuniting for the wedding and I couldn't be more excited! Plus, it is supposed to be sunny and 77 according to the weather channel so I can paint my toenails for real and wear a pretty dress and love on all of my dear friends.
. . .

Off to take a quick walk around the park.....This is the problem with Spring being here to stay. I can not, repeat, can not stand to sit inside and watch mother nature come in full glory from the insides of a window. I need to be out there in the middle of it all just taking it in. Time to rejoice the my self-imposed seasonal depression will come to an end. Woo hoo!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Weekend happenings...

Do you ever have those weekends that are so rich like a cream puff with chocolate on top but as soon as it is over you have to have a glass of milk to wash it down with or in this case.... a few more hours to detox from the combo of activity and emotion? This weekend was one of those. Brad and I finally made it back to the condo at 8:04 this morning and we both sat on the couch longing for just a few hours of nothingness. (I'd like to think that someone out there might actually think that Brad and I came home at 8:04 because of our crazy Easter celebration that lasted wee into the morning hours but I know we are known all too well......)

In a few short sentences - here is the "cream" in the cream-puff (mama's favorite!):

*We attended "Good Friday" services properly - on Friday. I asked our friends why the day was called such. To me, nothing that happened on that day was good. It is good for us now but on that day, in that time, thousands of followers and many close friends lost a teacher, a friend, a son, a leader and a prophet. Even if they didnt know at the time that He was the Messiah, he was gone and to me, there has to be more behind the day now called Good Friday. I am sure there is some Catholic church theology that could point me to the answer but truthfully, I was never an attentive Catholic and I usually cared more about what the family of 8 boys were doing in their pew than what was happening at the altar. Any sound answers are appreciated and welcomed. Nonetheless, the service was powerful. I'll spare the details but the service ended with a few artists writing in white paint several letters. A solumn song ended and the lights came on slowly and written across the 10 ft tall and probably 15 ft wide picture of Christ on the cross were the words: IT IS FINISHED.
ANd, really, that is all that needs to be said. The point was made and now I forever have the image of those words written so boldly and with such finality across the painting. If only I gave myself and others the grace that comes with truly believing those words "IT IS FINISHED."

*Brad and I turned into Puppy-trainer/house-sitter mode on Saturday. In case you dont read any further, know that Brad and I are the most enthusiastic house-sitters a hiring family could need. We will certainly make any home feel occuppied if asked. We grilled steaks outside while making great use of the outdoor fire place and dipping our toes in the 102 degree hottub. Salene hottub...sorry forgot that detail. Brad took a shower with two heads instead of one and be assured, he enjoyed every second of it....we surely excelled at our task this weekend. We are for hire. Inquire within.

*Not only did we house-sit but as I mentioned we puppy trained. How funny is life? Last week we convince ourselves that we need a canine friend in the family despite the fact that we don't have rom yet in the budget, neither of us are ever home and our condo doesnt allow for them! All true statements. Still, we are convinced. But then this weekend we walk into 3 puppy "messes" in the laundry room of the house we were so perfectly sitting. Needless to say, I didnt have much of an appetite for the steak afterwards and I sincerely started to question "Amos'" existence. PS - we have officially named him "Amos." I dont know if I should wait and surprise you with his name but I can't wait. Ill just surprise you when we actually get one. Amos Larry Munson Bagwell. So fitting for the dog we dont yet own. We have already talked about his schooling and discipline and we have even practived how we will say his name when he is in trouble but rest wagging tail anywhere in sight. Anyway, this weekend was humorous. Brad and I took the two dogs, Tucker and Harley, to Chastain park. We got so much attention and I dont know about BRad but I felt like the cutest person at the park. Everyone wanted to stop and talk to "my dog." So despite the messes and the clean-up, I think our walk yesterday may have been enough for Brad to pull the trigger. Just cross your fingers Amos because Brad and I have a deal and both stipulations have to be met before we can add you to the family photo. Cross your fingers, little buddy.

*Brad and I like to give presents to eachother but as we have discussed previously Brad always overspends on me when he buys presents for me. Most ladies wouldn't complain and I am not but one day we want to actually have a yard and a real mail box so splurges for Betsy on Canadian Independence day and on Boss's day and Peanut celebration day are not really helping us get there. THe budget was $15 and receipts could be sequestered if either party believed that the other violated the rules. Brad is so sneaky. He gave me some toasted animal crackers of course and some citrus vitamin water. This is a new favorite of mine. He also added a bottle of wine in there (which he will probably drink) with a note taped to it asking me to save the date for APril 12th. Now what do you think? If Brad has some plans that require funding outside of the $15 on April 12th did he break the rules? (Even though I am to benefit it is all about the rules right????) He does get lots of points for creativity and sneakyness. I love surprises so just thinking of the date or seeing April 12th on a calendar makes me giddy. I wont lie though, I have already scoured the web today to see who could possibly be playing a show that weekend or what festival might be in town...hmmm.....
I gave Brad a crossword puzzzle and some candy that he loves but I am sure I will end up eating...fair exchange for the wine, right? I also gave him a book that I also gave myself. It's alot more fun to read a book simultaneously with someone you love than alone. And, no, I didnt include the expense for my book in the $15. THe book is called The Shack by William P. Young. Yesterday Brad and I sat at the back of "our house" among the budding plants and the joyful birds and read together. Not together like outloud but next to each other...enjoying the sun and the silent company. Well, by 9pm I was half way through with the book and if it weren't for a bubbly bath calling my name I would have read the whole thing. The fun thing is that I never read the back of the book so I had no clue it would include a little suspense. I like to do this....not read the back cover just dive in and let my mind wonder...Anyway, this is a great read and if you can find it anywhere you should pick it up. It'll take you less than a week to read. You won't regret it. Better yet, I'll send you mine after I finish hopefully tonight.

*Easter dinner is summed up by Nana's pefectly cheesey-mac & cheese, mama's green beans like the ones at the wedding, a honey glazed turkey enough to wear me out and favorite of green things. Lucky for Brad and I - the newly wed factor still touches people and mama sent us home with enough leftovers for dinner and lunch tomorrow. I have been drolling all day just thinking about the treat that awaits me after a workout this evening. Scrumdiddilyumptious! I brought chocoalte chip cookies adorned with pastel peanut butter eggs in the middle and they were a hit! Aside from the food that I now feel literally flapping on the backs of my arms - lovely - the company was so needed. The boys came home from school and Mary had no mall to go to bc it was closed and no boy stealing her attention bc it was Easter so she was "fully" there too. Mama looked "amazing in heels" as my grandad with alzheimers reminded her. She blushed a little and I loved it. She did look great in heels and more so, I love to watch her and Nana both just shine when their kids are around. I just love family and crave anytime we can all be together. Yeah, I get made fun of alot but I certainly dish it back. Plus, now that Brad is my family, too, he ends up spending the whole car ride home affirming me that I am not as dorky or bossy as I am told I am from my family. Poor Brad!

Off to sneak in the next 10 pages of my book! What a great way to escape the work day for a few minutes.....

Friday, March 21, 2008

What do you think?

Brad and I convinced in ourselves in one of those meaningless conversations that we want a dog. I wouldn't consider either of us 'dog' people really but there is an occasional dog that I will really take a liking to. Anyway, it was really one of those 'this isn't supposed to go anywhere' type thoughts that I threw out earlier last week and now we can't let go of it! Brad has already named the dog we don't yet have "Knowshon" after the famed Georgia bulldawg. I just dont know if I can name my dog that unless he is like a pitbull or something ferocious and I dont want a ferocious dog. We want a man dog with fluff. Therefore we are looking at the Wheaten Terriers. A little plug Charlsie and her companion, Briscoe. As I said earlier, I don't drool and gawk at any dog that passes by but I fell in love with Briscoe from the beginning. He likes to give kisses and I think the Wheaten's personality mimics mine.....stubborn but charming! And Brad says if we get one with Irish decent then he will be like him....since he is Irish. (I didn't know this but that is what Brad said....whatever????)So what do you think??? Use the Voting buttons to the right to tell us your thoughts! Are the Bagwell's ready for a pupppy? Oh, and if you want to see some fun pics of Briscoe here you go

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What B-rad and I plan to do....

to "stim-u-li (and you have to say it like this) the ecka-nomie":
Sidenote:This is all I sit and fream about during my few non-productive minutes at work and whenever I call B-rad to tell him my ideas for some reason I always call it the "ecka-nomie" rather than the "economy." Kinda catchy anyway.....

1)Begin a business wardrobe. Between the both of us we are pathetic. Brad's new fancy office building requires him to wear a suit and tie every single day. Well, Brad has great ties if I do say so myself. He doesn't buy your run of the mill tie but always something a little different..a little eye-catching (like the one with kangaroos jumping on pogo sticks (see pic and look closely). But suits he is certainly lacking. He rotates a few staple items that he looks pretty hot in ( I love watching him check himself out in the morning. He deserves to check himself out - I will concur he wears business attire well)but when it comes to suit he has like 1 and a half and the one he owns basically owns him. I guess a few more l-b's used to surround my now hubby and his suits are from his puffier days. Baby needs him some new clothes! I may have a few more suits but mine are on the same wave length - too large in the waist and require safety pins to hold them up. Not complaining but nonetheless, this isnt very classy in the corporate world.
2)For a few hours yesterday I decided that our entire check from the government will go to my brother's medical mission trip to Guatemala this summer. He wrote me a touching personal letter and the very next moment I opened the notification from the IRS stating the Brad and I were needed to help with the ecka-nomie so I figured it wasn't conicedence....he needed money and the govey was about to give us some. Perfect.
3) But then we realized that we are both in need for a little vacay' and really, Buch wanted us to stimulii our ecka-nomie, not Central America's. So maybe a vacation?? I said even a trip down to Seaside (and our favorite restaurant, Tango) would blow my skirt up but I think Brad is thinking a little more exotic. I dont know how exotic you can get on $600 though (assumming we do something sweet with the other half like give it away or save it. So sweet we are....)
4)Brad says he needs more cowboy boots. This is balogna but once again he looks so cute in cowboy boots that I started to agree with him.
5)Life coach lessons. You heard it right. I have recently come across a life coach which I think is substanital for many reasons. I need coaching on life these days. Also, I think i want to be a Life Coach when I grow up so it'd be great to learn what they actually do. But....this little service demands a whopping $225 fee per hour. Yes, per hour. So, obviously we are all in the wrong field. Anyway, Brad wasn't so keen on this idea I think but I tried to tell him that the $450 total would go alot farther because of the happiness that would ensue after a little hard lesson. Don't you agree???

Okay, I have to come back to this list because I want to go home now and run outside in the sunshine. This time in the sun using my legs is probably just as helpful as the coaching session and it is free. I am sure I will come back with several other uses of this money. Stay tuned. Enjoy the lovely afternoon!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Megan's moms' update today....Perfect.

I don't even care what else happens today, this is beautiful. How in the world can Megan's mom write such beautiful words as she is enduring such immense heartache? I wonder often how to have faith like that God literally is holding you up and holding your loved ones close.
God, I know this story has nothing even slightly to do with me but yet, in your own use it to transform my attitude today about everything. You give me a hope and You renew my faith in humanity and in the good of this world You created just by allowing me to be a part of the story through reading. Thank You, Father.
I hope that you will read the words below and immediatly thank God for a beautiful story and praise Him for the beauty He has created through such tragedy.
Once again, I am humbled.

33 March 18, 2008 at 10:10 AM EDT
Dear Friends,

The weather is as unpredictable as my emotions these days. Beautiful spring days can turn quickly into nights of frightening storms here in Atlanta. We live north of downtown and had no damage from the storms that ripped through the city center. Little did we know while having dinner at our table with friends that a storm was raging just a few miles away. But even sitting at our table, our own personal storm was tugging in our hearts. Friends come together in storms, whether it is sawing tree limbs or sharing a meal. We love our friends.

Megan continues to take little backward steps each day. She rests well and we try to keep her moved and comfortable through the day. It is just a gift to snuggle up beside of her and tell her we love her, knowing that her time is limited. Our doctor from Emory came Friday and spent an hour with us. He can say the hard things in a way that softens the reality. He said he will never have another patient like Megan – one in about 100 billion. One day I hope to be able to explain the disease, but as Jim says, it is so rare and so little is known, there is not much available to explain. He asked if Emory could have her spinal column as well as her brain for research. We said of course. She is a giver– even in her year of illness she has given so much to so many.

There are givers and takers in life and Megan has always been a giver. The other day two letters came for Megan in the mail and both reminded me of Megan, the giver, before illness struck. One was an invitation to celebrate the release of a new cookbook. Megan had joined the Southern Foodways Alliance and was always looking for a new recipe to try – mostly to give to someone else. The other was an invitation to a planning meeting for a volunteer committee that she was on at the High Museum – giving her time to worthy causes. This year she has given us her smiles, laughter, and hugs through this illness, she has given her friends the opportunity to be with her, she has given – or will give – medical research her organs, she has given people she doesn’t even know hope and courage to face the unthinkable in life.

I am grateful for all that she has given, especially her gift of journaling since 1995, writing her thoughts to the Lord, giving Him her devotion and love, memorizing scripture, praying for her family and friends, many whom she did not know. Now I look at her and I think about all the things she loved to give and now cannot. Her activities have been taken. Her ability to write and create are gone. Even her smiles are fading. But she gave her heart to the Lord and it is beating regularly with her love of Christ that will not let her go - ever. Everything in this life is letting her slowly go, but God is holding her and caring for her and giving her a new life that will never end.

So here we are during this Holy Week of Lent, moving to Easter Sunday, and thanking God for what He gave to each of us – the gift of a new life with Him – free to all who will accept it. As Jesus gave his life for us, we can give him our hearts out of gratitude and love. Megan accepted that gift. She knows how much she is loved by our Heavenly Father and it is for that very reason that she has been able to give so freely to us during her life. What a giver! What a gift!

Henri Nouwen offers a prayer from Romans that gives me strength today.
“If you, O God, are for us, who can be against us? Since you did not spare your own Son, but gave him up for the sake of all of us, then can we not expect that with him you will freely give us all his gifts? Are we not sure that it is Christ Jesus, you Son, who died – yes, and more, who raised from the dead and is at God’s right hand – and who is adding his plea for us?” Romans 8:31-34

Rejoice this Easter - Christ is Risen!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Can you relate?

I subscribe to one of those daily email services. You know the ones, at first thought it would be a perfect treat to start the day off in the office with something light and uplifting. Then a few weeks go by and you can't catch up on the email from last Wednesday. Then, soon enough, your Deleted box has enough of these emails to fill a book. Until today. I just thought I needed to hear whatever Mr. Email man might have to say and I have never been so right. I certainly relate and at the least, don't feel alone. So here is a quick read fromthis mornings email....

In Defense of Discontent

By the grace of God, we cannot quite pull it off. In the quiet moments of the day we sense a nagging within, a discontentment, a hunger for something else. But because we have not solved the riddle of our existence, we assume that something is wrong—not with life, but with us. Everyone else seems to be getting on with things. What’s wrong with me? We feel guilty about our chronic disappointment. Why can’t I just learn to be happier in my job, in my marriage, in my church, in my group of friends? You see, even while we are doing other things, “getting on with life,” we still have an eye out for the life we secretly want. When someone seems to have gotten it together, we wonder, ,i>How did he do it? Maybe if we read the same book, spent time with him, went to his church, things would come together for us as well. You see, we can never entirely give up our quest. Gerald May reminds us,

When the desire is too much to bear, we often bury it beneath frenzied thoughts and activities or escape it by dulling our immediate consciousness of living. It is possible to run away from the desire for years, even decades, at a time, but we cannot eradicate it entirely. It keeps touching us in little glimpses and hints in our dreams, our hopes, our unguarded moments. (The Awakened Heart)

He says that even though we sleep, our desire does not. “It is who we are.” We are desire. It is the essence of the human soul, the secret of our existence. Absolutely nothing of human greatness is ever accomplished without it. Desire fuels our search for the life we prize. The same old thing is not enough. It never will be.

(The Journey of Desire , 10–11)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Northpoint on the web

This is perfect. Today our church launched some video feeds on YouTube. What a better way to get into mainstream America then to meet us right where we are....on Youtube! Ha! But really, I love when someone sends me a quick funny video during the work day. Dont get my wrong. I am an efficient worker. Ill work fast and hard for a few minutes of free time. Anyway, I am so excited about these video feeds. Talk about accessibility. So, do yourself a favor. Listen to this one. It got me the first time I heard it live but now to hear the calm voice of a woman who has discovered grace is a good boost of energy during the day. (PS- afer this intro at church this very lady sang a beautiful song. What a way to use your voice for a bigger purpose!)

Click here. And for others check out

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Another update on precious Megan

I just think by now if you read the first post that i copied by Megan's mother that you surely would want to know more. Megan's mom updated today and I tell you.....her words truly speak to me. It seems like lately with everything circumstantially seeming to be perfect in my life that I should have no room in my heart to feel stagnant or idle but I do. But then I fear that even admitting that things seem to be stale right now might trigger some strike of negative fate. And then I start to worry and try to accept the idleness. The bottom line is that idleness is okay. Rest is good. God instructs us to lie down in green pastures. Rest He tells us. Rejoice He also tells us. So idleness is okay but I think that rejoicing even in the idleness is the perfect combo and certainly the most glorifying to God. And as you would probably agree that that is the hard part. But reading Megan's mom's words remind me every week that yes, they are idle, they are literally waiting and watching their daughter slip right before them but each week their hearts seem to get bigger and more exposed to the genuine character of Christ. I am so encouraged and hope you are too. Please keep this family in your prayers. I dont think we will even know the impact of both Megan and her family's constant faith even in our life time. I am touched even being a very distant outsider. Rejoice today!

31 March 04, 2008 at 12:37 PM EST
For those of you who do not live in Atlanta, Sunday was a day that would make you move here. Blue skies, daffodils and Lenten Roses blooming, give the definite promise of an early Spring. We opened the upstairs windows and enjoyed fresh air and our cardinals calling whata-cheer-cheer-cheer! Megan has slept quite a bit today, but woke her self up enough to eat a good lunch and then down an entire milkshake brought by a friend. Even though she is weak and very thin, her appetite remains fairly good. I bought a new food processor so that she can have whatever we eat, just a little chopped up. So what if the Chicken Divan looks like guacamole? She has been having more teary moments that are difficult for all of us. So many ask “What do you think makes her cry?” We do not know. The goal every day is to help her to rest and be as comfortable as we can make her. She is an easy patient and we love every minute, month, and now a year that we still have our angel with us.

Last week, I referenced a passage in John 19:34 which spoke of Jesus dying on the cross, giving his life in order for us to have eternal life. It is the middle of Lent, the journey that takes us to the cross with Jesus and beyond to Easter Sunday. I am so thankful that we might celebrate Resurrection Sunday with Megan. Our God lives!

This week, I moved on to chapter 21, where He appeared to his disciples on the beach after his resurrection. After grilling them some fish, Jesus turns to more serious discussion and pointedly asks Peter three times if he loves him. Peter is at first a little put out that Jesus would keep asking him, but the third time says, “Lord you know everything, you know I love you.” And then Jesus tells him to pour himself out to others -to feed his sheep.

I like to read the simple but profound writings of the little French monk that peeled potatoes for the monastery back in the 1600’s. In his small book Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence says “the heart must be empty of all things, because God will possess the heart alone, and as he cannot possess it alone without emptying it of all besides, so neither can he act there, and do in it what pleases, unless it be left vacant to him. To live in the presence of God, he says, is to live with purity of heart, with simplemindedness, and with total acceptance of his will. That demands a decision and great courage.”

I am trying to muster this kind of courage in giving the Megan that still fills my heart completely to God, allowing Him to fill my heart, trusting that He will fill the loss of a daughter and friend that is leaving this earthly life and coming to Him. Total acceptance of God’s will is hard. Simplemindedness is hard. Purity of heart is hard. We think we can do it until we are asked to do something that makes our hearts turn and run. But gradually giving God more and more space seems to take the pain away somewhat, replacing it with some new kind of possession and as Nouwen says “guides our hearts and lives in a direction different from our desires”.

I am finding that I have to be quieter, more removed, more in solitude. Dr. Feelgood calls it “going underground”. Whatever we call it, we are not idle, but busy seeking God’s gracious face, sitting before him, handing him Megan over and over again, loving each other a little more, reaching out to others who are hurting in their own journey of suffering. Jesus, our Shepherd, said very simply to feed His sheep and like Peter, I have to be asked over and over if I love Him. He does know everything.

Jesus said that the first commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all you heart and soul and mind and strength.” (Mark 12:29) I suppose when those four come together we will have peace – God’s way.

Stay at home Wife

It's official. I would be really good at this and Brad would be really happy.
That's not all......when Brad is happy he has energy and people at his work would feel his energy and they would go home and kiss their wives and hug their dogs and then the wives and dogs would want to do something nice for their husband/owner like cook a good diner or fetch the paper. Ultimately, this would create romance (hopefully between a husband and wife, forget about the dog for a second) and then maybe that would increase intimacy and people would have kids and the population would increase and because these parents are happy they would want to buy their new children fun things like smocked dresses (like my mama used to make) and really yummy baby food and the best baby playset ever and in turn the economy would soar. No more recession! So please send Brad a note and tell him for all mankind that I should be a stay at home wife.

I woke up this morning with the hint of a sore throat and the rain outside confirmed that it was truly a day to be sick if ever there was one. Now seriously, mama was real sick last week with a nasty sore throat so any hint of her symptoms has me in super-hypochondriac mode. So Ive already drank honey and lemon and gargled with salt water and turned circles and tried standing on my head - all to avoid the crud that is going around. And just fortunately for my sickness it is also raining outside and my umbrella is sitting dry and happy in my office at work. So going into the office in the rain with no umbrella and with the starts of a bad throat was out of the question. So I will sit here alone and suffer. Suffer hard.

I can hear the rain falling. I ate my yummy cereal without having to put it in a ziplock bag and eat in the car. I watched about 20 minutes of news on my favorite the Today show. I love Natalie Morales. i have slowly sipped on my tea the way any tea should be sipped on....not in the car. I have read two chapters of my book, The Mystery of Marriage, and finally reached Indonesia in my book titled, Eat Love Pray. I have been reading this book since before the honeymoon so it is about time to move onto the next chapter. I have made the bed, finished laundry, cleaned the kitchen, talked to mama, read a magazine, slept a few minutes and caught up on personal emails. I even wrote two thank you notes. Now to add to all of these lovely things that make me happy I am getting to write - uninhibited. The sheer joy on the richter scale is off the charts. The bottom line is that quiet mornings are addictive to me. I love to spend time in the morning not necessarily sleeping any later but doing the little things that I love to do. The things that make me feel like I am in control of my time. Which, on a grand scale - I know I am not and I am certainly at ease with that......I would much rather be a part of God's Big story than any story of my own. But you know what I much of our time these days is spent doing things we really have no heart for. It's true isnt it. Much of my obligations are to things that I once thought I was passionate about but have come to discover that some ulterior motive was more at force than my actual passion. And that just leaves a girl feeling stuck. Stuck stuck stuck.

But not today. Today I feel unstuck. I will rest and I will write and I will read and I will sip hot tea and eat cough drops but ultimately, I dont feel stuck. I feel like I am helping humanity. Remember - Betsy at peace equals a happy Brad equals a stronger economy. For America, please, Brad, hire me as your stay at home wife. The end.