Passing Lanes

Sunday mornings have always been special because it has always (and I mean ALWAYS) meant church. I was five days old the first time I attended. I am grateful for the heritage of building Sunday morning church-going into the foundation of my life. It has never left me. 

However, our current church situation offers a Saturday evening service, which is an exact replica of the Sunday morning one. Our son, Noah, is a member of the worship band and we, of course, love to go worship with him. Also, a large percentage of our  beloved small group, The Wolfpack, as we call ourselves, attends the Saturday evening service. It has become a regular routine to have dinner with them afterward. Always a treat!

It is nice on Sunday mornings to awaken and know we have a day to go out to breakfast or do a few chores. Sorry, Mama. She forbade Sunday chores growing up. But the Lord is gracious and He gives understanding when Sundays sometimes become a day of catch-up in preparation for the new week ahead.

This morning, after breakfast out, my husband and I made a little jaunt to IKEA. We were on a mission for one item. Every time I go and the winding journey begins in the area of those set up little apartments, I want to go home and put a for sale sign in my yard and move in. They are incredibly cozy. Marketing genius. 

As we walked through the network of passages which, intentionally of course, direct the consumer through every department of the store, an idea occurred to me. We were walking briskly, a misnomer at IKEA. There are young couples pushing baby strollers and mid-age couples trying to corral their kids, and older couples shuffling through, in no hurry whatsoever. 

The thought came to mind that there should be designated lanes at IKEA, just like an interstate highway system. There could be a regular lane in the middle, a slower one on the right that creates an easy exit to a specific department, and a high-speed, or passing, lane on the far left. 

At one point walking through the labyrinth, an older couple (older than us, anyway) quickly moved out of our way as if we were the running of the bulls. We definitely got a ‘look’ from them. I guess I didn’t realize we were up in their business so closely. They probably felt our hot breath on their necks. I smiled, apologetically, and quickly moved on. This whole scene could have been avoided if there were proper lanes at IKEA. 

For a bit of trivia ~ you may not know that IKEA is an acronym. The name consists of the initials of Ingvar Kamprad (name of founder), Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up), and Agunnaryd (his hometown in Småland, southern Sweden). 

If any of you visit Sweden and happen to run into Ingvar, please ask him about my *IDEA. I think he may like it. 

*I Desire Easier Access

Serious Sunday

This morning at church a friend of mine shared her story. I knew much of it but learned a few new details today.

It is a story of redemption. It is a story of years of darkness and lostness and aloneness. It is a story of life not making sense in the day to day. 

Her world was completely broken. She was standing at the edge of a cliff with the grounding disappearing beneath her feet.

But how encouraging to know the truth. The truth that in the middle of her pain, God was there. He was in pain with her. As parents we know that when a child of ours is suffering and in anguish, how great is our anguish, as well. I fully believe that the Lord grieves with us. 

I admit that I do not understand why God does not/will not intervene in circumstances. This is one of the (many) great mysteries of life. But I do know that He is a God of redemption. He is a God who will make all things right, in time. 

For my friend, He made all things right. He made it so right that this story could have only been written by Him. Her story made a complete circle that no one, not one person would have believed 40 years ago. It is still hard to believe except that we have the proof. 

And for those of you who know the photo, oh yes I did. 


Serious Sunday

I have not done a lot of traveling in my life. And I’m thinking I better plan to pursue it with a little more vigor. I would prefer to not see it from my three-wheeled mobility electric scooter, but will if that becomes my only option. 

Many of our family vacations have been to the southeast; South Carolina, Alabama shores, Florida. The furthest west I have been is Olathe, Kansas. Being a not-great flyer has certainly limited my travels to some of the most majestic places in this country—Boulder, Colorado; Jackson, Wyoming; Missoula, Montana, the Grand Canyon, the California coastline and the Pacific Northwest. 

Early this week we received in the mail a postcard from our dear Andrew and Lindsey as they made their way across the map. It was sent from Kodachrome Basin National Park in southern Utah. A (apparently) beautiful place not mentioned in the above paragraph. 

The postcard read “We read Psalm 19 last night under an amazingly bright moon that lit the desert. It was a passage most commensurate to this night.”

Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;

The skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

Night after night they display knowledge.

There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out into all the earth,

Their words to the ends of the world.

And ten more truly poetic verses.

The postcard is a reprint of an original poster available at some National Park Bookstores. Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA’s (Works Progress Administration) Federal Art Project printed over two million posters in 35,000 different designs to stir the public’s imagination for education, theater, health, safety, and travel. Due to their fragile nature only two thousand posters have survived. 

I was printed in 1957. I may develop a fragile nature. But my hope is to remain one of the originals who survives the wear and tear and stands as a symbol of beautiful history.

Number Ten

We all know that The Ten Commandments are a set of biblical principles God gave to the people of Israel, through his servant, Moses. These beneficial laws given to us by a loving father are meant to show us how to live a better life now and to be in communion with Him.

’Thou shalt not covet’ is number ten of The Ten Commandments. To covet what another has comes from a sense that something is lacking. Coveting and stealing often go hand-in-hand. To steal is to take something that has not been freely given. This can include anything from the casual taking of a flower from a neighbor’s yard, or a grape at the grocery store. The grape mention is a story on its own. My sisters and I discuss this often. They taste one for sweetness assurance, I don’t. That certainly does not make me a saint, it’s just something I don’t do. 

Oh my goodness, though, how many temptations to covet can there be in one day?!

I find myself occasionally coveting another person’s house or car or outfit. I often covet a woman’s hair that does not get fussy in humidity the way mine does. 

The problem with coveting is this. Coveting means we want to take or possess something another person has. We want theirs. This is where things get tricky. 

If I wish I had another woman’s head of hair but am okay with her having it, too, is that coveting? I am not wishing ill upon her and that she instantly goes bald or suddenly has thin, wiry, stingy, oily or dry hair. No, I don’t want that. She can keep her beautiful hair. I just want an identical reproduction on top of my head. I simply want it, too.

Though the guideline is to not covet. Period. And commandment number two is quite clear about “graven” and “carved” images. I’m pretty sure that also includes houses, cars, clothes, and hair. I will work on this. 

Of course, I occasionally covet youth. Most 60 year-olds would be breaking commandment number nine if they told you otherwise.

Serious Sunday

And what a serious Sunday it was. This morning we attended a service at the Yale University Church, held at the Battell Chapel. In 1757, Yale founded its own Congregational church, making it the first college church in America. Today’s service was called Service for Word and Table for Pentecost, Yale Commencement Weekend. It was truly meaningful and lovely. 

This afternoon we attended commencement worship at the Yale Divinity School. I have been delighted with the sacredness of these events. I have also been delighted at the honoring of these students. The faculty appears to be authentically saddened by their departure, yet enthusiastically anticipant about their futures. 


Come, Holy Spirit, move among us.

Kindle in us the fire of your love.

Come, Holy Spirit, breathe upon us.

Kindle in us  the fire of your love.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people.

Kindle in us the fire of your love. 

Tomorrow morning, my Andrew will walk the steps from the Yale Divinity School atop the hill on Prospect Street and descend to Olde Campus where he will receive his M.A.R., Masters of Arts in Religion. He works harder than anyone I know and has received a monumental education during his time at Yale. And, I must note, has given a monumental chunk of time, energy and blood, sweat and tears to this endeavor. I am extremely proud of him for this success. Far beyond that, I have been proud of him his entire life. He is truly a fine gentleman and an exceptional human.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus

Dominus Deus Sabbath

Osanna in excelsis

Hosanna in the highest, indeed. 

Serious Sunday

Powerhouse. That is the name of the current sermon series. The idea is how to make your family, your home, a powerhouse. 

The dictionary defines powerhouse this way:

   ~  a source of influence or inspiration

   ~  one having great drive, energy, or ability 

   ~  an athletic team characterized by strong, aggressive play

The message was clear. Whatever your family ‘looks’ like, it is YOUR family, whether that is you, your spouse and your 2.5 kids or that is you and your mama, or you and your six adopted children, or you and your siblings, or just you and your child. 

The definition of powerhouse applies to every home. We all want our homes to be a source of influence and inspiration. We want to have great drive and energy and ability. And, just like an athletic team, we want to be known by our strong, aggressive play.

That last one may need to be unpacked a bit. First, one of the key words here is team. A family is indeed a team. Everyone has a role and when each ‘player’ does their best in that role, the team works and wins. We are stronger together. 

The pastor stated that one of the ways to begin building your powerhouse family is to have a mission statement; a list of known aims and values. Most companies have mission statements. A family needs one, too. It is a roadmap to begin to see where you want to go and how to get there.

My family is definitely my team. We are a mix of personalities. And though we do not always see things exactly the same way, we have each others backs. We would go to war together. 

Mother Teresa said: “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” 

That about sums it up. There are many things in this world that we cannot control. But…we can control the values we teach our children. We can control the love, kindness and unselfishness that we model in front of our families.

The generational ramifications of the choices we make can indeed change the world. 

The Reverend Billy Graham

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost. When health is lost, something is lost. When character is lost, all is lost”    ~ Billy Graham

For 99 years, he kept his character. He wasn’t perfect. He admits moments of deep discouragement, at which time he stated: “I go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’” Simple.

Billy Graham was certainly a man ahead of his time, in many ways.

During his 1953 Crusade in Chattanooga, when the head usher insisted on segregated seating, Mr. Graham personally tore down the dividing ropes between the races. From then on, all of his Crusades would be integrated.

He developed a warm friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr. and strategized privately with him about their respective roles in the civil rights struggle.

On a scorching July 20, 1957 (about one month before my birth), approximately 100,000 people packed the stands and outfield of Yankee Stadium for what was intended to be the final day of the New York Crusade. Another 20,000 people were turned away.

The Crusade had already been extended once, for an extra three weeks. But seeing the overwhelming hunger for the Gospel, another extension was discussed. Mr. Graham was already exhausted from the first six weeks of preaching, but he felt no peace about stopping.

The decision was made to extend the meetings for as long as Madison Square Garden was available: Labor Day weekend. Amazing.

I love the truth of what Billy Graham saw in those thousands of people: a hunger. Powerful.

A word that could describe Billy Graham’s life is consistent. He had one pressing goal in his life and he stayed at it and at it and at it.

As the news stated, Mr. Graham provided spiritual counsel for every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. His love for God and for people crossed all political, racial and societal lines. He didn’t judge. He just loved the Lord and that covered all conversations.

Billy Graham died in his sleep early Wednesday morning. Though no family members were present, his passing was peaceful, stated Mark DeMoss, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

DeMoss said Graham’s personal physician, Dr. Lucian Rice, described it this way: “He just wore out.”

Graham’s beloved wife, Ruth Bell Graham, died in 2007. She is buried at the foot of a cross-shaped walkway in the woodsy Prayer Garden at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Engraved on her memorial stone are these words: “End of construction ~ Thank you for your patience.”

The story goes that Ruth was driving on a long stretch of highway, under construction work. There were lane changes and arrows and lots of things that needed full attention. At the end of that stretch of highway, there was a sign that stated those words: End of construction. Thank you for your patience. Ruth thought that was a befitting statement on her grave.

Clever and true.

Billy Graham, like his wife, will be buried in a birch plywood coffin built by inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. The coffins cost $215 each.

I love that so much. Thoughtful and simple and caring till the end.

What an incredible legacy. He is personally responsible for changing millions of lives. And we well know that those lives translate into generations of changed lives. Now THAT is a legacy. We are forever grateful, Mr. Graham.


Serious Sunday

I read something this morning that spoke of seeking God’s face, not only for His presence, but for His peace. It said in order to receive God’s peace, we must change our grasping, controlling stance to one of openness and trust. And then this, “the only thing you can grasp without damaging your soul is My hand.”

That last line punched me in the stomach. How often we grasp at THINGS; the right car, the best house, the popular education, the most fashionable fashion, the correct lip color, youth and beauty.

There is nothing wrong with attempting to achieve those things…as long as we are first and foremost reaching for God’s hand. King Solomon said “There is nothing new under the sun. All is vanity and a striving after the wind.” In another translation: “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

It is incredibly challenging to live in this world of financial, educational, and vocational pressure. On top of that add the pressure of looking youthful and beautiful and to appear “I have the perfect life” on social media. Well, it’s too much.

I am the first guilty one to literally (yes, literally) buy into the latest cosmetic trend. I can’t deny my every six weeks on the nose appointment to get my hair “conditioned.” I will most likely never actually ‘wear out’ a pair of my shoes and I own more socks and scarves than Macy’s.

But…if I grasp those things I will damage my soul. If those things become my idol, my poor eyes have betrayed me.

I do like “things”, perhaps a bit more than I should. I do, however, desire to seek God’s face. I want to hold His hand. I crave His presence and His peace. I may love Tory Burch shoes and Estée Lauder lipstick but those things will never bring me peace. And peace is everything.



Serious Sunday

Before I spoke a word
You were singing over me
Before I took a breath
You breathed your life in me

Oh, the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights till I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it
I don’t deserve it
Still you give yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
No lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

I love, love, love the visuals in this song. First, what priceless preciousness to think of God singing over you and breathing life into you. It’s goose-bumping.

My next dearest part of this song is the word ‘reckless’. Webster defines reckless as having or showing no regard for danger or consequences. Some synonyms are: fast and loose, over adventuresome, ill-advised, any which way, temerarious – a great word we don’t often use in our everyday talk, but we should! When you look up the word temerarious, the meaning is audacious, overbold, blindly, recklessly – YES!

I love the visual of God coming after me with a reckless kind love. It chases me down, fights till I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine. This picture is a lamb that has wandered from the fold. The shepherd leaves the herd to find that one, searching all night, fighting wolves if necessary. This leads right into my very favorite part of the song.

There’s no shadow You won’t light up. God wants to light up those shadowy dark corners of our lives, those places that are scary and uncomfortable.

Mountain You won’t climb up. Sometimes it feels that we are so far from God’s reach that He can’t get to us. Not true! Picture God as the mightiest of sherpas scaling Mt. Everest in the fiercest of storms coming after you.

There’s no wall You won’t kick down. This may be my favorite (I promise, this time.) I am crazy in love with the visual of God going all Chuck Norris roundhouse on our walls and kicking the crap out of them! There is no wall He won’t kick down. Ahhh!

No lie You won’t tear down. This line may not have quite the physical punch of the others, but boy, is it powerful. So many, dare I say most, of our issues are from lies that we believe. The evil one of this world is the slinkiest liar, the biggest deceiver, the sneakiest conniver, the ugliest teller of pretty lies. He whispers those things into our ears when we are our weakest, most vulnerable, bleeding selves. But…God will tear down those lies and shred them like confetti.

Coming after me. How great is that?! The visual I garner here is Liam Neeson in the original TAKEN movie. He is going after his girl no matter what. Come hell or high water, he is getting her back. Think Liam Neeson on steroids ~ that is God coming after you.

We all want to be loved this way. We are created to be pursued, to be wooed. That is why we are so drawn to love. We want to be wanted. Occasionally, it is difficult for me to wrap my head around the concept that God does that perfectly, better than anyone or anything or any spirit, belief, hope or dream.

Reckless love, baby.



National Argyle Day

Apparently there is a National Argyle Day. Had I known this at 6AM, I would have insisted my husband wear his argyle socks to the office. Hopefully, at least one patient would have discovered his cranberry/taupe argyle socks when he sat on the stool and began to get their story. Maybe, just maybe, one would have noticed and it would be worth it all.

Today I will drink coffee from my argyle mug. I saw this little gem about a year ago and thought it was super cozy for hot coffee on a morning like, well, like this one; icy, cold, school closures-kind-of-day. Who knew that a year later I would be choosing it for my morning coffee on this National Argyle Day? Ah, ain’t fate a beautiful thing. (My tongue is in my cheek.)

Argyle most commonly refers to the overall pattern of diamonds or lozenges (wait, I thought those were for sore throats.) Layers of overlapping motifs add a sense of three-dimensionality and texture. Argyle popularity was created by the Duke of Windsor. He summoned the design of Pringle of Scotland, a luxury knitwear manufacturer and maker of the potato chip. Just kidding about the potato chip. The Duke, like many others, used the argyle design pattern for golf clothing on both vests and long socks that were needed for the baggy knickers fashion of the time.

PGA champion, Payne Stewart (1957-1999) was known and loved by his fans for his bright and flashy outfits of tams, knickerbockers and argyle socks.

On October 25, 1999, a chartered Learjet 35 was scheduled to fly from Orlando to Dallas. Early in the flight, the aircraft, which was climbing to its assigned altitude on autopilot, quickly lost cabin pressure and all on board were incapacitated, due to hypoxia – a lack of oxygen.

The aircraft continued climbing then failed to make the westward turn toward Dallas, flying over the southern and midwestern United States for almost four hours and 1,500 miles. The plane ran out of fuel over South Dakota and crashed into a field near Aberdeen. The four passengers on board; Payne, his two agents and a golf architect perished, along with the captain and first officer.

Tragic. That incident is often spoken of as “The Ghost Plane”. It soared across the country in silence. Here is the bright part. Payne, as well his three friends and the pilot, had been, of recent, adamantly seeking God’s heart and often met together in study groups. Little is known of the first officer except the she was a young, energetic woman who loved flying, loved adventure and was fearless.

That plane may have been dubbed “The Ghost Plane”, but I am confident that Payne, in his argyle socks, and the others, were in the presence of a ghost that was indeed Holy.