Posted by: pendrops | January 29, 2009

hey jude: a letter from your momma

jude

[click the picture to see Jude’s first video]

Well, Jude, I suppose you’re not surprised. But your momma certainly is. Surprised and filled with unspeakable joy. She thought the little life inside was for sure a girl, but when you uncrossed those growing legs at the ultrasound appointment today, you let us in on your secret.

Oh my God, a boy! was all I could say as the technician typed, “BOY” in all caps across the screen. And your daddy was speechless. We cried and laughed and cried and laughed some more while we held hands and learned about your spine, your kidneys, your heart, your feet, your face. That sweet face. From the grainy images on the screen it looks like you have your momma’s nose and your daddy’s mouth.

I went right out and bought you a book today, a real boy book. You already have so many books from all of us here waiting for you. (We think you might love to read like momma and daddy.) But none of those books were just for a boy, so I took care of that. I can’t wait to hold you in my lap and read you to sleep. And read you to dream-worlds and fantasy-lands only a boy with your imagination could create.

I have talked to God about you, talked all about you so many mornings, afternoons, evenings and in the deep mid-nights when sleep wouldn’t have me. I loved you before I even knew you existed. And now, as you are daily shaped into the boy who is my son, I pray this blessing over you:

Jude Adam

May you know courage and tenderness, strength and compassion.
May you worship God from dust to dust, all your days.
May you receive the life-giving inheritance of grace that is yours because you are huios, a son and an heir.
May you always know your name, Child; the name given you by the One who has forever known you.

And “may mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you…and may you keep yourself in the love of God, ready and waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. May you have mercy on some who are doubting; and save others, snatching them out of the fire…” (Jude 2, 21-23)

You are a treasured gift, Jude Adam. You are a blessed son.

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Posted by: pendrops | January 18, 2009

flutters

butterfly

They said it would feel like gas, I thought as I touched my lower abdomen and the little bump where my baby lives for now. I waited a few seconds.

This feels kinda different. Like butterflies.

I waited a few more seconds. The flutter came again. And no flatulence.

It’s the baby! It’s the baby!

I looked at my watch. 11:15 a.m. I jotted the date and time in my sermon notes, sitting still in the pew as I wiped away happy tears. My baby, my sweet little punkin’ pie, was saying hi. Or dancing. Or hiccuping as it practiced swallowing. Whatever the child was doing, he or she was making momma very happy.

As we sang a hymn and the flutters subsided, I thought about how happy I was just at the slightest evidence of my growing baby. He or she hasn’t done anything to earn my love. This child hasn’t performed, perfected, or accomplished anything. And yet I continue to be filled with insane joy just at this baby’s very existence. I couldn’t even help being a bit of a proud momma as my baby expertly flipped and flitted around in a sea of amniotic fluid.

This is the most brilliant fetus ever, I thought as we sat down and prepared for communion.

I think this is some hint of how God feels about us; His kids, His creation, imago Dei. Filled with insane joy at our very existence. Even a bit proud of the majesty He’s placed in us. And we don’t even have to do anything, but just be.

Posted by: pendrops | January 14, 2009

swerving

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I was just sitting here watching Field of Dreams, thinking about crazy people doing even crazier things. And I couldn’t help thinking about Jason’s and my own crazy dream, SWERVE Press. We started SWERVE exactly a year ago. And in a few hours, we’re launching the site and pre-selling my first book, As Is. Seems surreal.

And it looks illogical, too. From just about every angle. We knew nothing about publishing when we started this venture (except that we liked published things). We have never run a business (except a few lemonade stands a couple decades ago). And we have started this publishing business in the middle of a so-called recession.

Hmmm.

At the same time, this seems like the perfect time for SWERVE to take the stage. Because a little bit of prudent insanity is just what SWERVE is about. So stop by as we open our cyber doors. You’ll find us just off the beaten path.

Posted by: pendrops | January 11, 2009

liturgizing

stained-glass
Photo by jobarracuda at Flickr

Sheez, this is a lot of hard work, I thought after the third or fourth time I’d stood up and sat back down. I grasped the bulletin I’d been handed by a six- or seven-year-old boy a few moments before, reading ahead nervously so I would be sure not to miss another Thanks be to God in the liturgy. I tried to figure out an unfamiliar melody as I mumbled the words of the processional song.

You see, after a few months away from any kind of unified Sunday morning gathering, Jason and I visited a church, a church that lands on a branch of Protestantism neither of us have any experience with. We visited an Episcopal church.

As the service progressed, I found myself wanting to take time to ruminate on all the active-ness of the service and how worn out I felt with the kneeling and the standing and the liturgizing. But the Nicene Creed, in all its truth and beauty, broke through my ragged, self-indulgent introspection.

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen…

Maybe it was those faith statements bouncing against the high ceiling and stained glass windows. Or maybe it was the chamber choir in the loft behind us singing, “O taste and see how gracious the Lord is…” Or maybe it was the breaking of the bread, literally broken so I could hear it and see the crumbs spray through the air at the altar as I knelt to receive an unleavened wafer dipped in crimson juice.

Or maybe it was something intangible in the room, dwelling among us, dwelling in us. Whatever it was, I decided that the “work” I had been doing throughout the service – the kneeling, the rising, the common prayers, the congregational readings – was good.

So much of my Sunday morning church-going experience has been about receiving. What can I get out of the music? Do I agree with how the pastor has interpreted the Scriptures? Did the prayers move me? To put it bluntly, my churching has been very Krista-centric. And not very God-centric.

Oh sure, I’ve said I’m going to meet with God, but I’ve only wanted to meet with Him on my terms. As long as His truth, His love, His presence was spoon-fed to me while I kicked back in a comfy pew and consumed.

But today was different. Today I gave something. I was awakened to the giving. By a common word, by an ordering, by a tradition. And in the offering I discovered a lightness, a gladness, a new hope born. An extravagant grace in uniformity. A peace in the practice of worship. A joy in the active involvement that worship requires.

Posted by: pendrops | January 8, 2009

chomp

gator

“I promise you one thing. A lot of good will come out of this. You have never seen any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. And you will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season. And you will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season…”
~ Florida Gator Quarterback Tim Tebow, after loss to Ole Miss on 9.27.08

Finish well, GATORS!

Posted by: pendrops | January 3, 2009

un-great expectations

stomach-ache

“Oh, then you just feel great now, don’t you?” the stranger said as I rested my hand on the growing bulge above my hips. “These are the golden days of your pregnancy,” she said, patting my arm and walking off.

I don’t remember how or why I would have begun talking to a complete stranger about what trimester I’m in, but it must have seemed appropriate at the time. But as I walked away, I couldn’t help feeling that there was something wrong with me.

It seems everywhere I turn, magazine articles, pregnancy books, and random women are telling me that I have now entered the most favored three months of pregnancy.

You’re showing, but you’re not too big yet…

The nausea is gone and now you can really enjoy those cravings…

You’re energized, your hormones are balanced, and you get that pregnant glow…

You’re out of the danger zone; there’s nothing to worry about with the baby now…

Well, if these are the golden days of pregnancy, then somebody please take me back to the dark days of nausea and fatigue in my first trimester. So far, my arrival into glorious second trimester-ness has only allotted me more fatigue than ever, gut-wrenching acid reflux and heartburn, sharp ligament pains, whacked-out hormones, and one quasi-emergency trip to the midwife office to make sure the baby was okay.

Some golden days.

“Maybe there’s a lesson you can learn in all this,” my dad said today. He’s right. There is a lesson. It’s the same damn lesson I’ve fought my whole life to learn. A lesson about expectations.

I live far too much of my life in fear of what others expect and what I expect of myself. If the second trimester is supposed to be golden, well then poo-poo on me if I’m not fully golden… if I’m not feeling what other women felt in their second trimester… if I’m not glowingly energized and dancing a jig. All these expectations for me, for my pregnancy, for my life, must be right. And I must be wrong as I double over from another acid reflux attack.

But what pregnancy, and life, is teaching me is that expectations have absolutely no value. They are good for nothing except increasing pressure and perfectionism while stealing confidence and identity.

So, here’s the deal: Thus far, my second trimester has left me feeling like, well, mustard-green projectile baby poop. But it doesn’t mean I don’t love my precious baby beyond belief. It doesn’t even mean I don’t love being pregnant. It just means that I don’t feel the way everyone (including me) thinks I should feel right now. And that’s ok.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my fourth nap of the day.

Posted by: pendrops | December 31, 2008

to be good

the-ball

I found several articles today at Google News saying most people aren’t making New Years’ resolutions for 2009. I’m not sure how the media knows what 300 million people are planning for next year, but I can concur that I, too, am not making a resolution this year.

I’ve never really made resolutions, but the difference this year is that I don’t feel guilty about my resolution-less entry into 2009.  In fact, I didn’t give one single thought to a resolution until I skimmed aforementioned Google News.

What I did decide was this: Rather than resolve to do anything, I’m going to be about listening this year. Specifically, listening to the voice that calls me Beloved. Because simply receiving my name, my deepest identity, and knowing the One who sings it over me, is far better than any of my meager, grasping, halting, nagging, and selfish intentions to be good.

Posted by: pendrops | December 24, 2008

advent: holy night

candle-in-dark1

…the Sunrise from on high has visited us, to shine upon we who sit in darkness & the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of wholeness & shalom.
~ Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1

By His example, He inspired us – even commissioned us – to love one another. After all, His law is love and He displayed that by bringing us the gift of wholeness, healing and health (in other words shalom – the fullness of peace).

He also breaks every chain and comes to destroy all our oppression as well as the bondage of our brothers and sisters in every corner of the earth. In fact, the mention of His very name annihilates injustice and invites freedom.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me want to raise my voice and sing a song of gratefulness and thanksgiving. I’ve seen this breaking of chains, this shalom, this love that He brings – and it makes every part of my being respond by ascribing worth to His Divine Name.

Does it make you want to fall down on your knees? Can you hear the angels’ celestial aria? Some distant strain from ancient places? Just at the thought of that sacred night, that blessed and peculiar night, when Christ was born? Can you believe that in all the grime of a stable and a little town called Bethlehem, it was a glorious night? A holy night?

May mercy & grace, peace & love from the very heart of God be multiplied to you this Christmas. And always.

*Inspired by O Holy Night.

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