Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: In Review

Thankful for yet another year of life. Thankful for hugs from friends. For family convos over morning coffee. For trips to Southern California. For China. And all the "little things" that I have recorded throughout the year. In looking back over my gratefulness journal, I find that those "little things" - often overlooked - are some of life's most precious moments and blessings.

2012 Snapshot Moments of Simple Gifts

Truth from young lips. Bittersweet tears. Kumquats. Alarm clocks. Tenacity. Nate's green eyes. Flexible friends. Griffin Robert Gibson. Cough drops. Bedside prayers. Literacy. Godly parents. Randomly recalling fragments of old dreams. Taste. Sunrises. Sister-Sister heart shares. Sufficient grace. Waffles. Pine forests shining golden-orange from sun-rays. Museums. Teen-hood. Preserved vintage buildings. The Olympics. Greek food. Leah Horvath. The Man Who Was Thursday. Smiles exchanged. Shampoo. Ron Paul work. Hymns and poetry. Pre-birthday hugs from Mom. Peaceful nights. Youth. The van. Restaurant leftovers brought home. Texas Independence. Forgiveness and do-overs. A "hugging" family. Lung-breathing, heart-beating life. Green cow pastures. The joy and peace of knowing God. Payday. Braids. Thomas Hardy. The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Plane tickets. Raw sugar. LOTR soundtrack. Scottish heritage. For time given. Screwtape Letters. Mint Oreos. Jesus. Chinese Fortune Cookies. Tear-jerker movies and books. Singleness. The love of a jealous God. Gummy bears. Girl date with Mom. Americana. TieDye shirts. Repetition of life. Toes. Lighthouses. Morgan. Wild grapes. Hugs from Garrett. Gelato with the fam. 70's dress. Sister reunions. Zoos. The box-car kids. Madelyn Hart. Rilla of Ingleside. Car rides with Leah. Family trees. Heirlooms. Mini-homeschool reunions. Natural rights. Remembering. Clean kitchens. Panicked prayers. A protective Dad. Prosperity. Security. Salvation. Fruit popsicles. MOM. Suffrage. Indica Peace. My cousins. Seth Gaines Gibson. Naps. The Titanic. Heroics. Lightening storms. Ultrasound images. Closure. Youth Governors. Symbolism. Talks with Mom and Dad in the morning. Scotch-Irish folk music. China. Room 316. Journal parties. Nations. Sour plum juice. Elevator comfort. Orlando's dear friendship.  Moral support. The Elams. Soul-deep peace. Brothers. Imagination. Spontaneous family trips. Walmart parking lot hugs. OCD.  Anticipating joy for the next day. Spontaneous closet dance party with Nate. Generations in the house. Gracious library policies. Thorp Spring Church and Cemetery. Ancestry. The origins of dirt paths and bovine psychology. "Runaway Car". 1776. Mr. Martin. Mellow Man. Deep convos with Biff. Cuddling with Nate. Jyp and Dym. Learning assertivenesss. 800 Critical Reading score. Tears of repentance. Fried turkey. 1976 Christmas cassette. Hearing stories from my parents' childhoods. Auld Lang Syne. Life in all its richness and poignancy. This blessed, amazing year.

And here's to another year, full of God's sweet blessings and mercies. He maketh our cups run over.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Harvest moon glows like a
Tipping canoe in a black sea
Bare, stretching tree fingers
Criss-cross its face --
Grey rivulets against the yellow silhouette 

The precarious vessel
Seems at rest
Not bobbing
Just subtly in time
Drifting further down in
The dark sky expanse
Of waters

Sinking deeper

A constant
Though sparse
Mingling of stars
Range as points of reference
As buoys and distant lighthouses
For the lonely canoe

And the wind cannot wreck it
Nor waves beat upon it
It sinks because it has
Been commanded to do so

And even now,
The slender ship dips into obscurity 

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Homeland is Elsewhere

It is a longing
Growing deeply
Ever intense
Subtle sighing of the soul
Reminds the traveler
Where he is going
The dark canyons and
Sudden cliffs seem endless
The shadowed valleys and
Dreary fogged lands stretch out
Seemingly forever
And weariness may linger
Bruises may form
Blisters will scab
And wounds – of battles –
Foreign battles in a foreign land
Ache as only man’s flesh aches
But the traveler moves on
Waiting and watching for that sudden rise
For the swift glory of majestic mountains
For a valley of golden light
For the burning longing testifies to it
The longing that was tucked away in his soul
Since his first birth
And awakened and kindled in his second birth
That knowledge spurs
The traveler on towards
The unseen, yet known land
He has been a foreigner
Wandering aimfully
In this dry and thirsty land
All his life
But it wasn’t until his second birth
That he understood
That his homeland was elsewhere
He was not a native-son
And even now, he walks
Through the darkest passage yet
His man-heart trembles
But the Friend who has reawakened
The longing
Is with him
And the traveler is strengthened
For he is nearing
The place that
And poems
And songs
Have memorialized
Yet failed to represent
A place of returning
A haven of welcoming
A going home
And The Shadow passes
And the traveler with a final step
Leaves behind the foreign land
The land of vultures
And before his hungry eyes
He sees a valley ever wide
Rising up through forested trees
To mountains of unseeable heighth
And the golden light of an eternal dawn
Breaks through the groves and meadows
Gilding the wings of soaring eagles
And haloing a dwelling
And to this dwelling
The traveler’s eyes are drawn
His world-weary eyes are satisfied
And the longing wells
In his soul like tears of the ocean
The doors are all flung open
The windows all a-jar
For him
And with a swiftness
Of a renewed soul
The traveler nears the house
And the darkness
Of the former lands
Are forgotten
The worries and cares
Are erased
His memory
Is only for this dwelling
In the celestial valley
How often his soul
Dreamed of this place
How often his Friend
Would whisper to him
Of its beauty and peace
And before the grand house he comes
With no fear of rejection
Nor hesitation in his mind
But as a son coming home
To those who love him
And think of him by day
And by night
And he enters
And the welcome
Is a fulfillment of all hope
That was ever hoped
And he is embraced
By those who have longed
For his arrival
And the celebration is sweet
And his wounds are dressed
By the Faithful Friend
The Balm of Gilead
Eases the pain
And blisters heal
And the bruises disappear
And the traveler’s dusty
Garments are exchanged
For the white raiment
Of the Household
And the son
Sees familiarity everywhere
There is nothing unknown
Every crevice in the house
Comes into focus
As if from a dream
From a recollection imprinted
On his heart
And the longing
Once burning, hurting
Is now
Satisfied and redeemed
And it rests as a quiet song
In the son’s heart
A hymn of salvation

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Time in ribbon roads
Swiftly twirl from sight
Woven like thread through history
Through the rear-view mirror
The fields meld in crayon golds
And discarded greens
The amber rays of a sinking sun
Reminscient of days given
Of time had
Of moments in life
Autumn breathes
It’s like seeing
Daily Life in vintage daguerreotypes
The road turns
Pines embrace and reach out
Across the road
Now disappearing
Scenery drifts
Journal entries
Remember the mundane
The bronzed roadside reeds
Bend, unbruised
Always unbruised
Water reflections
Tell the thought of the skies
Tradition survives
Because of generations
And homes
And old photographs
And rear-view mirrors
And because of the beauty
Of Time given

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


adjective 1. warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received

Life's been pretty non-stop busy lately. I'm speaking for myself, but I bet you and I have this common. Just a guess. :)

I haven't written in my Thankfulness journal in over a month - a sad sign of what suffers when my calendar fills.

And in all of this alarm clock ringing, cell-phone talking, e-mail typing, stop-go driving, school-home-school-home routine {insert your specific come-go-come-go routine}, it's so worthwhile and important to really stop. STOP. And reflect. And give thanks. More than once a month or once a week. Every day.

This is my thankfulness . . .

breath. pine-sol. ceiling fans. celebrations. home. "amen, bob, amen." sunrises. weekly dates with the sister. hugs. stories. family gatherings. long goodbyes. icecream cake (yum). coffee. organization. generations. cute wrapping paper. dance lessons with griff ;). libraries. stationery. road trips. this season. grace. cooking. sleep. memories. nostalgia. spearmint. the righteousness of God. storytelling with seth and nate. blueberries and strawberries. gummibarchen. cousins. cool fronts. downy softener. ice. sincerity.

And I'm thankful for time to reflect. And for the time given.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Morning Musings:

     The sun-shadows illuminate the sleepy trees with dancing golden bars of light. The clouds - white and detailed - are dabbed across the canvas of a waking sky. Veiled in the mist, deer nuzzle through dew-jeweled grass. Quiet stillness. 

"Have you commanded the morning since your days began, 
     and caused the dawn to know its place,
that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, 
     and the wicked be shaken out of it?" - Job 38:12-13


Evening Thoughts: 

      It's deeply summer - an August eventide full of moon glow and whispered wind hushings. Streaks of bronze and dapples of gold gild the tiring fields. Harvest time is inevitable. And the waning summer season longs to embrace it. 

"Can you fasten the chains of the Pleiades
     or loosen the belt of Orion?
Can you bring out the constellations in their season
     and lead the Bear and her cubs? - Job 38:31-32

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Insights Gained: China Trip 2012

            For three weeks in July, I went to China to teach conversational English to students. I would be the teacher - the one doing the instructing, right? That’s what I thought. But in so many ways, my position in China was as a student. I was the one taught. New understandings were opened up to my eyes. Fresh perspectives were added to my lens; misconceptions were discarded. Thankfully, I had a very gentle and wise Teacher during my stay in China. He only assigned lessons that I could handle, patiently guiding me when I hit a wall or was discouraged or just downright dumb. ;)
            God soul-stretched me. He opened up my soul with gentle prods, sweet revelations, and answered prayers. He lovingly revealed Himself to me – His way, His will, His strength, His ultimate authority. God renewed the joy of His salvation in my heart; He, the Consuming Fire, sparked my heart with a new perspective and understanding.
            For the first time in my life, I came to understand with clarity that God is truly the God of all nations. His love and plan break through all barriers – through bars of iron and gates of bronze, through language barriers and national boundaries and hardened hearts. God never changes from time zone to time zone or from generation to generation. His sovereignty knows no limit or variation. His love reaches to the blue skies here at home, as well as to the skies over China. Perhaps this all sounds so elementary, but for me to experience this revelation firsthand was profoundly impactful.
            However, more than anything, during this trip God revealed to my casual heart the precious pricelessness of secured salvation. Daily I came face to face with a people who had no hope – the vast majority did not know the name of Jesus, let alone the sweet redemption He offers. Never before had I seen such depth of hopelessness. It made me all the more conscious and grateful for the depth of Hope that fuels my life every single day. I came to realize that the precious assurance of salvation is that unexplainable peace that surpasses all understanding. What a beautiful, soaring peace it is to truly know one’s eternal salvation is secured and protected by God Himself. My eyes were opened and heart broken to see so many without knowledge of this Hope – the Hope that makes life worth living.
            Additionally, this experience in China reawakened in my heart the sweet longing for Christ’s return and the unification of the His Bride – the Church. I yearn more than ever for the glory of that coming day, when believers from all history, tribes, and nations will come together in worship before our Savior. Isaiah 25 was a chapter that I read over and over on the trip – oh, how I yearn for that Day on the Mountain. The veil will be torn from the nations. Death will be swallowed up forever, and the Sovereign Lord will wipe the tears from all faces. And we will say:
         “Behold our God upon Whom we have waited and hoped, that He might save us!  This is the Lord, we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
On that Day, our Hope will be fulfilled.

            The trip was truly soul-stirring; it was a “teaching moment” that lasted three weeks.  I will always treasure the memories of that time and cherish the relationships made and friendships forged. I thank the Lord for gently teaching me, for spiritually stretching me with great mercy and tenderness. I rejoice in all that He is doing in China and throughout the world. We serve an active God!
            “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for you have done wonderful things, even purposes planned of old in faithfulness and truth.” Isaiah 25:1

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Belated Blog Christening

I was reformatting my blog today {thanks to some lovely malware issues - it's all resolved, folks} when I realized that I had never christened my blog with that traditional "First Blog Post Explaining the Inspiration Behind My Blog Title."
Yes, these post-types are a bit cliche, and not to mention that as mine is coming one year late, it is also anticlimatic.

But as the ancient men and poets of lore say, "Better late than never."

I wrote the following in September of last year. It seems to echo my thoughts behind my blog.

And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. It almost hurt me. The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing to find the Place where all the beauty came from. - C.S. Lewis in Till We Have Faces
      I had just spent an evening with family. Family that I loved dearly and saw rarely.  I am blessed with an extended family that shares the bond of salvation through Jesus Christ – that timeless bond with ties deeper than flesh and blood, uniting generations.  
      I was night-sky watching. Bewitched by the moon and her star-bright entourage, I thought and reflected and was burdened. A haunting sadness, a desperate longing, overwhelmed my heart. The emotion hurt, both numbing and burning. The hollow in my chest - where my heart beats and soul watches - felt pain. An intense yearning.  A sense of solitude – unadulterated aloneness – pulled at my heartstrings.
      I had just spent a lovely evening with some of my favorite people in the world, and yet something lacked. I had come up short.  I felt cheated. Because though I had glimpsed into the love of Christ and fellowship of His people that evening through the interaction of family, I knew, knew with all my heart, that there was more.  Beyond this life. There was Something dearer, purer, lovelier. Someone far more radiant. There had to be. The persistent longing said so.
      My soul wasn’t satisfied. It was starving. Ravaged with hunger. I had felt the community of Christ, but it was a far cry from heaven. It was but a taste, and that only whetted my appetite. I was no longer content with the shadows.  I burned to see the Bright Day. To see Truth. To see Beauty. To see Reality. To come face to face and hand in hand with Unconditional Love.  I wanted to see perfection with a perfect perspective.  All I saw, felt, or knew, was just a foreshadowing of the Glory that one Day I will gaze upon with utmost delight and incredible awe.
      There was beauty in that family gathering. The beauty of broken and dirty souls redeemed by the Son of God.  The radiance of believers fellowshipping and loving one another.  But, even so, my spirit ached to know where that beauty came from. I hurt to see the Source of that beauty.  "I felt like a bird in cage, when the other birds of its kind are flying home.”  There was pain in that longing, and there was joy. 
      Years later that throbbing desire still occupies my soul. In this dry and weary land, where there is no water, my soul longs to be satisfied. I long for the Day when I shall awaken and be fully satisfied, beholding the face of my God, and having sweet communion with Him – on that Day, my quest will end. I will then see with my own eyes, where all the beauty came from. I shall be face to face with Love.

May we always be idyllically occupied with desiring Christ. Yearning. Thirsting. Hungering. For Him. May we always be idyllically occupied and serenely content with longing to know where all the beauty comes from. May it be the sweetest thing in each of our lives.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This Thing of Ours:

How Faith Saved My Marriage
by Cammy Franzese

Cammy Franzese was a lower-class girl. The oldest of seven. The daughter of a Chicano rights activist. She lived in the L.A. suburbs. She danced. And she married a mobster - a Mafia-Man.

This is Cammy's story of her young life, her courtship with big-time movie director {and highly sought-after criminal} Michael Franzese, her marriage to him, and the years of havoc that threatened to break her marriage vows asunder.

Cammy marries Michael, unaware of his criminal background. Beforelong, she finds herself in the midst of federal trials and FBI raids. On the weekends she and her young kids make the long drive to visit her husband in prison. For years this is her story. Her life. Her mundane day-to-day existence. But despite the bleakness all around, Cammy clings to her faith - the Christian beliefs that her mother instilled in her as a child.

This Thing of Ours is an true-life story of God's provision and conviction. It makes for an interesting read, however, Cammy's writing is sub-par. She also jumps around from short story to short story without smooth transitions, but with a few bunny trails thrown in for good measure. I would give this book a 3 1/2 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Rural Eventide

The compass winds hush the land and whistle in the vale
Roses lament as petals tent, and Pleiades sets its sails
The fields sleep-talk; the moon ghost-walks
Its glow is wan and pale

Ravens cry their lullabye, and owls their morning song
The hours creep as daylight sleeps, and eventide grows strong.
Stars breathe bright like twilight kites
Before the slumbering throng

Bracken twists o'er the creek; it haunts upon the stream
Ivy twirls and ferns refurl their echo-whispered dreams
The clouds sky-scrape, veil, and drape
An ochre-violet cream

The country church stands sentinel, silent hangs the bell
Gravestones old and concrete-cold, escape night's ubiquitous spell
The shadow-fog seeps, ancient secrets it keeps
Hoarding to one day retell

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Cloud at Sunset

Oh, how I skim along the sky
Near the dying, sinking sun
I feel its rays upon my back 
I wonder, sigh and run

I take on grey and purple hue
And mix within the palette 
I mingle with the twilight blue
I stop and muse about it. 

I sense the shadows of the night
And cling to day's waning power
The rosy pink gilding
Streams into my sunset bower

Like rivulets of the Nile
The golden threads of light
Break through my boundaries
Streaking me orange-bright

As the Empress melts into the ground
Flooding the horizon with glory
I darken emerald-azure
Like a treasure in a forgotten quarry

The sun's gaudy train fades
And I lose my brightness with her
I am but a cloud that is made lovely
When her last light is left uncensored

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lessons From a Dirty Closet

I tackled the daunting today. I cleaned my closet.

It was a "caliber of disaster." The nice little room, with shelves and rods, was spic and span last June. But much has happened since that sunny month, and entropy has made the closet its own personal playground. Odds and ends had accumlated. Disorganized piles spread like an infectious disease. Its disarray began to mar the tidy appearance of my bathroom and bedroom. Even with the closet door shut, I knew what clutter lurked inside.

And so today, I took a deep a breath. And conquered the mighty mess.

As I sorted and discarded, I considered the symbolism of my dirty closet. It's like my human <3.

Offensive dust balls cowered in the corners. I discovered trash, old papers, and broken items. I came across things that didn't even belong to me. A paper plate splattered with paint. My sister's contacts. A protracter. Letters. Chalk. A chocolate heart. I kept the dear, and the threw the trash.

What dust I have in my heart. What filth. The trash and junk accumulate. Brokenness pervades. I've allowed my heart to hold onto things that don't even belong to me - coveting what belongs to others, and hoarding it in my heart.

Clean clothes were strewn about. A few dirty clothes were folded neatly. The clean, yet discarded clothes represent the jumbled mess of priorities in my heart. Good priorities that have been dropped, and lost, and forgotten. I hung the clean, but wrinkled, clothes up - placing them in their specific place - (Shout out to all the color-coders out there!). The dirty clothes, I tossed in the washer. Some things that shouldn't, have taken tops in my heart. These selfish priorities need washing. The motives behind them need cleansing.

The Closet-Cleaning-Project took time. It required work. And desire. And caffiene. Had it been in the summer, it would have taken some perspiration. But slowly the closet became a lovely, organized room again. It was set right.

I am the closet. I am the disarray. I invite the dust. I collect the junk and trash. I cling to brokenness. I discard the most important priorities. I hold the clutter in behind closed doors. I am a dirty heart. Oh, who shall save me from myself? Who shall cleanse this heart? Who shall discard the junk, and wipe the grimy surfaces clean? Who shall make it lovely? Who shall set it right?

It is He who is knocking at my heart's door. He knows what clutter lurks behind, but even so, He has come to conquer the mighty mess.

He has come to set right what has been wrong for so long.