What’s on my heart: September 4

What’s on my heart today? Let’s begin with the fact that sometime between my early lunch and my mid-afternoon break, my brain slipped into tomorrow. I’ve spent several hours of this day thinking that tomorrow is Thursday! No, it’s only Tuesday, folks. That should give you a decent idea of my frame of mind to begin with.

  • I have recently finished reading two phenomenal books: Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton (a favorite of mine; this was probably my sixth time reading it) and The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. I’ve been chewing on ideas from each of these books, and it is my goal to do some free-blogging on them this weekend. Stay tuned!
  • This year of Sunday Memories has been a quiet one. I haven’t been posting my Sunday writings here on the blog, and I haven’t been mailing them to my kidlets. However, L.D. recently asked me to mail him all of the ones I’ve written so far, and to continue sending them now for the rest of the year. How can I refuse? I have my idea for 2013′s journals; my goal is to do my First Pancake this weekend so I can burn out any potential problems.
  • My brother was recently diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease. It has been an enormous adjustment for him, but I just want to go on record as saying how proud I am of him. He is determined to master gluten-free cooking and baking, and I know that if anyone can do it–it’s Jer! He seems to be feeling much better now that he has cut gluten out of his diet. I’m thinking about trying to go gluten-free for a week or two, just so I can relate to what he’s going through.
  • The Choral Society starts next week on Monday. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I don’t have words big enough to express my anticipation. I feel more like a little girl who must relate in small, boisterous exclamations: “I am so excited!” “I can’t wait!” “Yipee!”
  • It has now been almost two months since I left Fountain Bismarck for a new job in a doctor’s office. It is, without question, one of the best decisions I’ve made in my adult life. The hardest part about leaving any job, I think, is letting go of people and relationships. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I love people, I really love them. There are so many people that God brought into my life through this job, and I miss them tremendously. Still, it was a good move. It was the right move. My new job is a great fit for me in so many ways, and I really can see myself “settling down” there. I can even see myself (gulp) taking a class or two in my spare time.
  • The potatoes? Yeah. History. Hehehe. What can I say? I will try again next year. I will spend some time in the cooler months reading and trying to discern where I erred.
  • I’ve been having bizarre dreams as of late. I won’t bore you with details, but I want to mention part of my dream last night. Have you seen the movie Source Code? Bonnie suckered me into watching this one–and I was glad for it! It’s a great movie about…well, watch it, and see if you can write a description of it. The main character basically is being sent into a scenario over and over, in the body of a total stranger, with the mission of finding the person who put a bomb on a train. He has eight minutes. It’s brilliant and bizarre. Anyway, my dream was like that. I was being sent into a situation that I didn’t understand and I was supposed to stay there until I understood it; and of course, in my great (un)wisdom and (im)patience, I kept leaving long before I understood–which meant that I kept having to start over.

There is much more on my heart and mind, but it is growing late (9:30!), and I need to read before bed.

Pax Christi.


Your Name is Like Honey


I haven’t thought of this song in years. I’m not even sure I remembered it until tonight. Somewhere between the mess of my search for Yahweh, my leaving the church, and my first humbled profession of the Nicene Creed, I lost this song.

It’s not the only one. I have discarded more choruses than I have blemished paper. Some of it was intentional, to be honest. I became a lover of hymns, a seeker of hymns. Worse than the feeling that many of these modern tunes were empty was the feeling that they left me empty. And let’s not argue this point, friends–I do not for a moment assert that modern worship is substandard to traditional worship. I only assert that in my life for the last decade, modern worship has been mostly empty. Hymns were rich soil that I could dig down into. They were heavy with theology and difficult statements about faith. I needed hymns. I craved hymns.

And in the midst of that craving, I simply lost many choruses. Once in awhile I will recall one and I will sing it wholeheartedly. Usually, it makes me feel good and it reminds me that choruses and modern worship have shaped me in ways I cannot express.

But this song spilled out of me tonight from some distant memory. Was it one of Pastor Drake’s favorite songs? Pastor Wilbert? Pastor Gordy? I can never remember. One of them used to ask me to play it. A lot.

As I played and sang tonight, the words convicted me: Jesus, I love You; I love You.

Sometimes, folks, worship really is that simple. It is right to extol God for who He is, to proclaim His goodness and mercy, to praise His faithfulness and redeeming love for us. But it is also right–it is also appropriate–to sing softly to Him, the simple return: I love You. If His love doesn’t evoke that response in us, I think we’re in trouble.

Is it almost Christmastime?

A lot is going on in the world, and my life follows suit.

What I’m praying for those in Colorado…

That those who’ve been wounded physically and emotionally would know the peace of Christ. That those who know the peace of Christ would offer support to those hurting. That Christ would be, in all things, revealed as the coming King, our “God with us.”

What I’m praying for those in Burkina Faso…

That God would bring a good harvest. That those around the world with excess would be impressed to give freely and happily to help soften the devastation of the food crisis in the Sahel. That my little boys, though south of the affected region, would be salt and light to those they encounter, showing the love of Christ wherever they go.

What I’m thinking about…

My new job is going well. The garden (minus the spuds) seems to be growing well–but I still haven’t given up hope on the taters. I’ve been following this discussion about worship music. I’m very intrigued by it. I may write a post this week about my own thoughts. And oh yes, the doll and doll clothes were a hit with my niece. :)

On books…

I am reading Resounding Truth, which is proving a bit more difficult than I expected–not because it is difficult, so much as it is not what I anticipated. Begbie is brilliant, but very academic. I am neither. Still, I am working through it. I’m also reading Pride & Prejudice. Again. Yes. There is no book her equal. Austen is still the best observer of human character that I’ve ever read. And I just finished reading The Narnia Code, which I’ve been wanting to read for some time. I hope to write something of a review on it.

I will mention that I didn’t purchase a hard copy of The Narnia Code. I downloaded it and read it on my phone. It was sort of a trial. I’ve been considering buying a Nook or Kindle because of the outrageous amount of space books take up in my life. However, though I loved the convenience of being able to read wherever I was (even in bed, without the lights on), I must confess the experience left me more certain than ever that I am still a hard copy sort of girl. Call me crazy, but I love the familiarity of being able to touch and smell the pages of a book, to know exactly where in the book a certain sentence was that I particularly liked. I know there’s a shift in society, and hard copies are becoming obsolete (if not an oddity), but I just can’t follow suit. I can’t do it. I want my books. I need my books.

Speaking of the weirdness of smelling and touching paper…

Here’s a bizarre story. I as at the dollar store this weekend, looking for something specific. As always, I found myself in the office supply aisle (every once in awhile, I find a random treasure there). There were people milling in and out of the aisle, including a boy (maybe eight or nine years old) and his mother. Of all the people in the store, the boy walked up to me (to me) and said, “I have a question.” I smiled, not sure that he was talking to me, and said, “Yes?” He said, “Do you know where I can buy liquid ink?”

Liquid ink? I asked him to clarify (most ink is liquid). He said he was looking for ink that you would use in a pen. I suspected that he meant a bottle of ink, but I pressed him further. What was he going to use it for? A pen, he said; he wanted to make a pen out of a feather.


Now, what are the chances? Probably no one else in the store at that time has any idea about writing with a feather. It was such an unexpected interaction, and I can’t explain why, but it did my heart good. Maybe it was the thought that somehow, this culture we live in is still raising up at least one young person who loves paper and ink.

And is it Christmastime yet?…

I confess, my heart is more and more yearning for Christmas. I can’t explain it. But…here’s a Christmas song for those of you who are hoping for Christmas, too.

On Bucket Lists & The Other Side of the World

There are two schools of thought on Bucket Lists. The first says that they’re unnecessary, that you live your life and you do the things you want to do. The second says that it’s good to have an idea of what you want to do while you’re still alive. This blog post is not an attempt to persuade anyone. It is, rather, an admission: I am in the second group.

It’s not that I feel I need a list, rather, it’s knowing myself well enough to realize that I’m the type of person who’ll put something off until it’s too late unless I remind myself that it’s important to me.

Last week, I told you that I did something more “me” than I’ve done in a long time. I’m not ready to tell you what it was, but I can tell you this much: It was something on my Bucket List.

Oddly, without any intention, now that I’ve crossed this item off my List, I find it has been quickly replaced with something far more…uhm…important.

I told you last week, also, that I had made the decision to sponsor a second child through Compassion International (if you’re not a sponsor, I would encourage you to browse the site and pray about whether you can afford the blessing of becoming a sponsor). I committed myself to a week of prayer, as I felt God was leading me to another child from Burkina Faso. I didn’t want to make a hasty decision. I didn’t want to set parameters for what God wanted to do in and through me.

However, during that week of prayer, I felt God impress some things on my heart that I did not expect. Things about myself. Things about my first child. Things about poverty. I was not expecting it. At all. What I came away with was a firm understanding that God was rooting Burkina Faso in my heart in a way that was undeniable.

Understand me, folks. I am not a missionary. I’ve never desired to be a missionary. I was right there in the back row with my brother, humming along to “please don’t send me to Africa.” My heart is in a million other things.

But lately, my heart is in Burkina Faso, with Joe and Moise and all the other children there who live in some of the poorest conditions known to man. Perhaps my heart has been there far longer than I’ve allowed myself to recognize.

All I can tell you for sure…is that I’ve added it to my Bucket List: I want to go to Burkina Faso.

In fact, I think I’ve wanted to go for years, I just didn’t understand it. I still don’t…but I think I’m starting to.

And anyway…the other side of the world is not so far away…

What I learned today.

What I learned today…just in case anyone wants to know… :)

  • Eight hours really goes quickly when you’re busy.
  • It’s so nice to stay busy!
  • The “s” is silent.
  • The schedule is on a template, which can be overridden.
  • I need to buy some good (Asics, anyone?) shoes.
  • The traffic isn’t bad on the way into town in the morning, but it’s pretty backed up when I leave at 5.
  • The mug with the bunny is JGs. It’s the most important thing I learned today.

It’s a little bit hard to start a new job, especially for someone like me who is terrible with names and faces. I won’t pretend I’m not still feeling overwhelmed (I think I’ll feel overwhelmed for awhile…there’s a lot to learn). I do feel pretty good about the day, though, and the job. I have a lot to learn, so y’all may have to remind me not to take myself so seriously and be teachable. :)

Thanks for the prayers and well wishes, everyone!

Semmie (or…”emmie,” now that the “s” is silent.)