I just finished reading a huge hearted, grace filled, crazy fun kind of book called Love Does by Bob Goff.
Bob’s day job is being an attorney chasing down faulty construction companies. His heart work is chasing down bad guys who traffic and abuse children in Uganda. His hobbies include sailing, skateboarding, sitting on Tom Sawyer’s Island in Disneyland and dating his wife. He also happens to love Jesus. I like this guy.
My husband and I spent the morning drinking coffee, eating Dutch pancakes and putting together a roof rack so we can properly adventure up and haul stuff this summer. At one point in our marriage we did not assemble things together well. We have had lots of practice since with IKEA furniture and we can generally handle assembly without fighting.
The instructions today had some life advice.
I smiled and thought how much better events go with a friend. And especially when I remember to treat my spouse as my friend in the building process.
My favorite quote in the Love Does book was about how pushing back on the dark works best in conjunction with friendship.
Organizations have programs. People have friends. Friends trump programs every time.
I like giving to a good non-profit or cheering on an underdog. But I will work to exhaustion and give sacrificially for a friend. I bet you do as well.
The key to really making a difference in the world is to make the underdogs your friends. It’s getting to know the people at the non-profit personally. It’s having fun in the process, getting dirty, dancing crazy and loving in action.
You know that idea you have? The one that won’t go away? The one that scares you? The one where you see you helping someone up or stopping a bully or hugging a hungry baby?
Can I be your friend in that? Go for it. Love does.
It is June 21st. Second day of VBS. Approximately 300 kiddos including 40 preschoolers. I help with the littles. It’s a crazy mass of fun. It’s also my mother-in-laws birthday today. Her first birthday in heaven. It’s heart breaking.
I am blessed by this woman. Blessed because she raised an incredible son. Blessed because she loved me generously.
She taught me about gardening and befriending your neighbors. About listening respectfully to everyone- even people who you don’t agree with a word they are saying.
She knew how to carry herself with beauty and grace. She taught her daughters the same.
She loved her grandchildren. Fiercely.
She loved to play games and talk about ordinary every day things. She knew that joy often shows up in the daily.
I love this woman. It’s her birthday. One of her daughters wisely recommended we get together and have a large piece of cake in her honor. We will have to do that soon.
However tonight we will be signing and dancing and playing and laughing with three and four year olds. My guess is that your first birthday in heaven is quite the party. Kinda like VBS.
Oh my love. Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for teaching our daughters that men can be gentle.
That celebrating often is a great way to live life.
That beards and hats are always a good idea. That building a marriage and a home and parenting your kids well are the best career plan.
That hugs and naps and coffee can fix most problems.
That good memories matter.
Thank you for teaching them to cook and to enjoy serving others.
That adventures and fun matter.
That Jesus matters most.
Happy Father’s Day.
You Father well.
This is my father and mother in 1972. This is before kids and way before grandkids. I love my mother’s dress and my father’s swanky tie. Mostly I love that my Mom smiles she knows something she’s not telling and my Dad smiles like he’s won the lottery.
This is a photo from just last Friday. Same thoughtful smile from my mom. Same lucky winner smile from my dad.
I can write a long list of things I love about my dad. Hard working and faithful and generous and kind. Willing and friendly and calm and steadfast.
But this Father’s Day it’s that smile that I love the best. And the fact that my mama is frequently what makes him smile. My Dad makes us believe that he thinks he’s the luckiest man alive because he has us. And is there anything more a Dad can do? Really we won.
Thanks for loving us all well Dad. Happy Father’s Day.
I posted this photo a last week and wrote that it made me want to dance or sing or paint. Since I’m not coordinated and I almost always sing the wrong lyrics in the wrong key I went with painting.
My daughters joined me and we painted. I picked up again the next evening. And the next. I like to paint. I struggle with perspective and anything that’s not completely flat. Depth is hard.
Depth in life can be difficult as well. It is hard to write past the surface. Clever quotes and funny memes abound. But this last week the news has been filled with shootings and alligators and politics and sorrow. I don’t have anything substantive to add to the gun control debate or immigration or terrorism or how to comfort strangers across the country. And so I said nothing. That doesn’t feel right either.
After a couple nights of painting, I emailed my painting in progress to my talented artist of an uncle and asked for advice. Frequently gaining any depth in life requires talking to people who’ve succeeded before you. Among other helpful tips, he suggested adding a barbed wire fence. Or an old red barn. I’ve found the painful things in my life tend to make me grow.
Have you noticed its also hard to raise kids with any depth beyond whatever video game or TV show that is currently filling their screens? Time unplugged helps. So does art.
I’ve been mulling my painting for a week. I’d really like to add the wheat grass in the photo. I’m scared its going to wreck what I’ve got so far. This happens to me in life too. Where do I add? Where do I call it good?
Friendships are richer when people know your bumps. Family is better when grace covers pain. I’d take that over superficial any day. Life is beautiful. Better with depth.
This is my daughter and her friend. But it could be my Mom and Dad. Or my husband and myself. My guess is there are lots of relationships that mirror these photos. I love the range of expressions on these two. It’s more fun the longer I look at them.
What in the heck is she doing?
Getting my groove on. Clearly. Life is for DANCIN!
If I stand here very calmly maybe they won’t think I know her.
They said to smile. I’m smiling!
Ok. I’m leaning away. Moving slightly to the side.
You can’t ignore me!! I’m smiling! I’m here! Talk to me!
She’s kind of fun. Do NOT tell anyone I thought that.
And so it goes.
My three year old is taking swimming lessons at the local YMCA. I love this pool. All kinds of people. All levels of skill. The past two Saturday mornings I’ve hauled out of bed earlier than I like on Saturdays and my girls and I have gone down to the Y.
The little one is learning how to blow bubbles in the water and alligator crawl across the pool. She’s holding onto floating barbells and kicking on the side of the pool. She keeps giving strange looks to the one little boy who is crying on the sideline. The little miss is easy to read. Hope his parents aren’t watching. She’s not subtle.
Her big sister is swimming laps over in the lap pool. She had to take a test to qualify to swim in the deep water. She was nervous. She passed. Down and back. Kick. Straight. Down and back.
This week I sat on the sideline in one of those plastic stackable chairs. The chair had a crack along the back. Whenever I leaned back I fell slowly back through the chair. I would try for good posture sitting. I’d forget. Fall back though the back of the chair. Disconcerting.
My baby was kicking and splashing. My big one was tunneling through laps. Down and Back. I was watching both of them and surprising myself repeatedly with the strange bendable plastic chair. Good way to spend 30 minutes on a Saturday morning.
Made me think. Swimming lessons are fun. Splashing around in the shallow end certainly gets us used to the water. Get the feel for things. Safe and secure. Lots of eyes watching. Minimal risk. Lap swimming in the deep water lanes is harder. Better at building muscle though. Still plenty of life guards.
Some of you know that I’m working on a new venture. I’m launching a new blog called Quirky Faith. I’ve got a new website, email subscription software, photo shoot and a PO Box all lined up. I’ve got some guest bloggers and some give aways. I’m calendered up.
Right this very second I feel like I’ve graduated from the kiddie pool and swum past the lap pool. I feel like I’m standing on the cliff above the ocean like one of those deep water ocean divers. Peering down 100 feet to deep water. Wondering what is under the water and what is out past the horizon. The ocean is deep.
Mark Batterson says that if your dream doesn’t scare you it isn’t big enough. I’m terrified. And very excited. Scarecited.
www.QuirkyFaith.com launches on July 1st. Twenty Days. Swim Baby.