Curly

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This is Charlie.

He has a beautiful head of curly hair.

I will not take him to Fantastic Sam’s for a haircut.

I repeat:

I will not take him anywhere for a haircut.

Ever.

Once upon a time, this Nonnie took it upon herself to take Charlie’s big brother to get a big boy haircut.

Alas, the baby curls were gone, never to return.

Not doing that again.  No siree.

So we are reveling in Charlie’s curls.

There are curls on this side:

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And this side:

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And all over the back side:

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I heard that Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mother dressed him in dresses and didn’t cut his long curly hair until he was six years old.  I might cave in if Charlie has long curly hair when he’s six.  (That’s a warning five years in advance, parents.)

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Right now, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Here’s My Heart

heart

It’s a dangerous prayer.

“Here’s my heart, Lord.  Speak what is true.”

That kind of prayer is an open invitation to the God who knows all, sees all, hears all.

Here’s my heart, Lord.

It’s opening the deepest part of me for His examination.

Speak what is true.

It’s listening to His diagnosis and the prognosis for my neurosis.

While it’s true that I am loved and I am redeemed and I am hidden with Christ in God,

it’s also true that I am controlling and I am selfish and I am anxious.

Thankfully, God speaks the Truth about Himself as well:

“I, the Lord, am strong.

I am sure.

I am good.

I am true.”

This week, David Crowder and I are singing this song:

Last Words

quotationI hope my last words spoken on this earth are poignant and heart-warming, perhaps even quotable.  I don’t want my last utterance to be something like, “Don’t forget — the garbage goes out on Wednesdays” or “Did we get pre-authorization from the insurance company for this?”

You can tell a lot about a person by their parting remarks.

When Lady Nancy Astor saw all her children standing by her bedside, she said, “Is it my birthday or am I dying?”  I wonder how they answered that question.

Groucho Marx quipped to his tearful wife, “Die, my dear?  Why, that’s the last thing I’ll do.”  Are you kidding?

Trailblazer Kit Carson was quoted as saying, “I just wish I had time for one more bowl of chili.”  That must have been some crazy good chili.

Conrad Hilton left a bit of advice with his last words: “Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub.”  No comment.

Mother Theresa spoke from her heart, “Jesus, I love you.  Jesus, I love you.”  Just what I’d expect.

And then there was Steve Jobs — “Oh wow.  Oh wow.  Oh wow.”  Indeed.

After four months of preaching on David, PB wrapped things up on Sunday with the King handing over the reins and the reign of Israel to his son Solomon.  True to form, David prayed, “…You test the heart and are pleased with integrity….keep this desire in the hearts of Your people forever…..give Solomon wholehearted devotion….”  David was all heart — a man after God’s own heart.

David’s last recorded words in the Bible were spoken to the great assembly:

“Praise the Lord your God.” (1 Chronicles 29:20)

Now those are good words to go out on.

Christ Be All Around Me

Christ beside me

When the alarm on my phone goes off in the wee hours of the morning, a song starts playing next to my pillow:

“As I rise, strength of God, go before, lift me up.

As I wake, eyes of God, look upon, be my sight.”

Before I’m fully awake, I need this prayer.  Negative thoughts, worries, and bad attitudes can attack me before my feet even hit the floor.

Then I stumble into my office, light a candle and open up my Bible.

“As I wait, heart of God, satisfy and sustain.

As I hear, voice of God, lead me on, be my guide.”

Some days, as my blurry eyes focus on the Word, it jumps out and grabs me by the neck.  Other days, I just look at God and He just looks at me. Both satisfy and sustain.

Then I move into the day with all the lists and obligations and duties.

“As I go, hand of God, my defense, by my side.”

By evening, I am happy to rejoin my pillow and whisper a vesper prayer.

“As I rest, breath of God, fall upon, bring me peace.”

This song has carried me through many, many days.  Many, many moments.

“Your life, Your death, Your blood was shed for every moment.”

I started listening to the music of “All Sons and Daughters” three years ago.  When I needed a reason to sing, I put “Reason to Sing” on repeat.  When I felt poor and powerless, I kept “All the Poor and Powerless” on top of my playlist.  I love their music.  I love their lyrics.

This duo doesn’t know it, but they need me.  I add a third harmony part to their songs every morning in the shower.  Duets are great, but in my opinion, three part harmony is glorious.

I guess I’ll leave well enough alone and keep them by my pillow for now.

This week, this is my song:

Written by Leeland and Michael W. Smith.  Recorded by Leslie Jordan and David Leonard.

Mighty Men

mightymenPB preached a sermon on Sunday about King David’s Mighty Men in 2 Samuel 23.  It was a mighty good message.  I know it was good because it’s Tuesday and I’m still thinking about it.

PB told the story of a rag-tag bunch of guys, about 400 “losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts” (1 Sam. 22:2) who sided with David, making them all enemies of King Saul.  Among those 400, there was “The Thirty” with a capital “T”.  In that elite group of 30, three earned the title “Mighty Men”.

The Mighty Men were fierce warriors who took on whole armies single-handedly.  They were also the kind of guys that would break through enemy lines just to fetch their beloved leader a cold drink of water.  These good-hearted men took a stand and risked their lives to serve their king.  They had David’s back — and his trust.

Two questions come to mind:

First, how many people have three mighty warriors in their lives who can be counted on to come alongside and fight for them?

Second, who needs me to be one of their mighty comrades, daring to break through enemy lines to bring refreshment?

 “Such were the exploits of the three mighty men.” (2 Samuel 23:17)

Exploit: a striking or notable deed; feat; spirited or heroic act.

It’s time for us to have some exploits.

Second Grade

IMG_0563Second grade was awesome.  I loved my teacher.  She was young and pretty and married to the sixth grade teacher.  I found out her first name was Anita, so when we were assigned to write a story, the main character in my riveting tale was a mysterious character named Anita.  I wanted so badly to be the teacher’s pet, but she didn’t seem to pick any favorites.  Then, at the end of the year, Carla got to take home the class turtle, so I knew she loved Carla more than me.  I was crushed.  However, I did win the award for most book reports.

I felt very fancy on picture day.  My mom didn’t fuss with my hair very often, so the pin curls made me feel extra stylish and flouncy.  Too bad she didn’t cut those bangs a little straighter though.  I don’t know why I wore the same plaid dress in both my 1st and 2nd grade pictures.  Somebody wasn’t paying attention.

A few weeks into the fall quarter, Anita noticed I was having trouble seeing the blackboard from the back row.  She sent a note home and it wasn’t long before I was sporting cat-eye glasses.  By third grade, the lovely curls were chopped off in favor of the ever-popular pixie haircut.

Never again would I be as beautiful as I was in September of 1966.

It Is Not Death to Die

it is not death

The title caught my eye.  “It Is Not Death to Die” — what an intriguing phrase.  I jotted the words down on a slip of torn-off notebook paper and stuck it in my pocket.  When pondering a thought, that’s what I do.  I seem to need to carry ideas in my pocket for awhile.  They roost in there, like a hen on her eggs, waiting for an insight to hatch.

Through the morning I argued with the short sentence that captured my thoughts.  Of course dying is death, I say to the paper in my pocket.  The final exhale, the last look before closing the eyes, the heartbeat halted — that’s death.  That’s what it is to die.  Right?

In the afternoon I had to know more.  A little research revealed the origin of the words.  In 1832, 60 year old Henri Abraham Cesar Malan wrote a hymn titled, “Non, Ce N’est Pas Mourir”.  Fifteen years later, George Bethune translated the French lyrics into English and the song found it’s way into 126 hymnals.  One hundred and sixty years later, Sovereign Grace Music recorded the hymn with a new tune.  I think Henri would approve.

By the evening, I was sitting at my piano singing a song that made its way from my pocket to my heart.  I got it.  Dying is not death in the sense that there is nothing more but blackness and non-existence.  Paul said that to be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:8)  Jesus said, “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)

It is life to die — more life than we can fathom.

The best of everything is yet to come.

This week, this is my song:

It Is Not Death to Die, Sovereign Grace Music