Tuesday, May 17, 2016

if you think inspiration is an illusion

I sat alone in a brick-walled building.  The sun shone in the window so brightly it would blind me if I turned my head.  The waterfalls danced and glistened in my periphery on the other side of the glass.  Adele sang perfection overhead, her words not meaning nearly as much as the emotion behind them.  The warmth from that blinding sun coupled with a tender melody and simple, yet grand, backdrop gave me just enough comfort to relax but not quite fall asleep.  These are the thin places where something divine seeps into the daily.

Inspiration is not an illusion.  

Some will tell you it doesn't exist, that you just have to get up and get to work.  I kindly disagree.  

Every good collection of written or spoken words I have ever offered were inspired.  Sometimes the road to their discovery, or the process of pinching and pulling the phrases apart, has required work.  Sometimes it has felt like one heavy foot pulled out of the mud and put down in front of the other over and over again, but inspiration does come.  When it does, I try to cup my hands around it and catch it like a flitting butterfly.  I don't intend to keep it forever, like a prisoner.  Instead I 
examine and 
interpret and 
release it back to the world.  

It seems like a divine assignment I've been given.  I love it and I hate it but I wouldn't trade it.  Taking experiences and emotions and weaving my words into them so they can be read, heard, seen, and felt by others feels like the core of my existence.  

The Creator of all created things speaks to me in 
angelic melodies and 
sunny windowsills and 
my children's giggles and 
the crusted over dishes in the sink and 
the camellias bursting in the cold and 
the words of a stranger on the pages of a book and 
a million other offerings that surround me every day.  

Some days I search high and low for inspiration, for something that contains enough life to be worth capturing and sharing.  Other days it rushes in like a flood and I can't keep up.   On the flooding days I used to get frantic, running around with cups trying to scoop the good stuff up as quickly as I could.  I would eventually wind up breathless, with nothing to show for my efforts - every cup knocked over and spilled in the racing.   Now when the waters come I have a tendency to wave the white flag of surrender.  I lay down and let the beauty cover me completely, saving the collecting and interpreting for another time.  Absorbing and enjoying inspiration is okay too.  Eventually I will stand back up and get back to the work of word weaving and grace giving again.

What if you did this one simple thing today - 

Position yourself for inspiration.

It doesn't take a week long vacation on a beautiful beach or a perfectly planned trip to a cozy mountain town.  

There is beauty on display all around.  There is deep truth waiting just below the surface of our days.  When we are drawn in by beauty and look closely for truth, inspiration is born.

Position yourself and then

We walk around blinded by hurry and worry.

Stop and touch the petals.  
Stop and breathe in the tops of their little heads.  
Stop and listen to the strings dancing delicately behind that voice.  
Sometimes the lyrics cover up the loveliness and so we dig a little deeper into the music, into the woods, into the relationships, into the Word until the beauty bursts so full and true that we are inspired.

Today is just an ordinary rainy Tuesday around here - the perfect conditions for inspiration to come splashing out to play.  When she does, leave your umbrella and raincoat behind.  It's time to get drenched.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Now what?

I grabbed her by the shoulders with all the gentleness and confidence I could muster.  I locked my eyes on hers.

Lucy, this is not you.  Look at mommy.  This is not you.  Stop right now.

It wasn't her, but she couldn't stop.
I knew she would regret her behavior later but I also knew there was no rationalizing with her in that moment.

Monday, March 21, 2016

the one thing i will do this holy week

The horses are galloping outside this morning.

I know because I hear their heavy hooves landing soft on the pasture outside the window.  I can't see them, only the single broken line of light laid across the pond and the black silhouettes of trees barely visible.  The sky teases with a rich shade of midnight blue that is several hours too late.  Every day the world moves from blackness to deep color in those early hours.  The blanket of dawn is cozy and full of promise.  My life is too and I feel undeserving of such an offering.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

why we should face our fears

By the end of the introduction, tears sat full and salty in my eyes.

I had waited my whole life for that invitation.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

on remembering and returning

It's been a year since we moved into this house on the edge of the woods.  When 2015 arrived, we left a much bigger city behind.  I kept calling the move our 'small town, slow down' but it was really a homecoming.

I remember those early weeks of settling in.  Some mornings, being back seemed liking waking into a dream.  I could hardly believe it was true.

One morning the fog sat heavy along the edge of the lake, like a still thick blanket.  We drove through the heaviness and yet my soul felt light enough to fly.  Finding your way back home can do that to you.  I maneuvered my minivan down the hill and away from the towering stone building that held my earliest memories of school.

Lucy asked from the backseat, How far is it from Oliver's school back home?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

the temptations you didn't know you were facing

Lionel Richie clearly did not have little kids.

When he sang those lyrics so convincingly I am quite certain there were no
epic temper tantrums or
marathon whining episodes or
little girl wardrobe malfunctions or
hair pulling or
name calling or
chases of terror
going on at his house.

Have you noticed?  Sunday mornings are anything but easy.
My version of the song is called Crazy, Like Sunday Morning.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

get well soon

Lucy tore into the yellow envelope.  

It was one of dozens she received in the hospital at diagnosis.  As she slid the card out, I saw cute little bears pictured alongside those familiar words:
Get Well Soon

Back when I didn’t know much about Type 1 diabetes, I probably would have sent that card too. It makes sense, right? If someone is in the hospital, you want her to get well so she can get home and get on with her life. People who care enough to send a card, truly want what is best for you, but sometimes they don’t understand that their wish is not a possibility...

{today I'm guest posting over at Beyond Type 1 and I'm offering a FREE copy of Type ONEdlerland to everyone!  Read the rest of the post HERE.  Get the book on AMAZON.}

Thursday, February 11, 2016

behind the scenes of a sunday morning sermon

It was half past 8 on Saturday night when Joey came in to find me laid out on our bed in pain.  My eyes were glassed over from hours of studying and tweaking my message for Sunday morning.  On top of the mental fatigue I was hurting physically from some health issues I’ve been dealing with lately. 

I think you should go to urgent care.
You’ve got to call somebody at the church and tell them there is a chance you won’t be there tomorrow.  They need time to make a back-up plan.

I shook my head ‘no’ while simultaneously holding my abdomen.  

Give it thirty minutes.