Monday, February 23, 2009

one more thing before i go....

this is why i participate in lent:

"the danger is that you will lead a respectable, decent, nonscandalous, busy, tired, human-powered life. that is unspeakably sad." -john ortberg

top o' the lent to you!

i am starting today... 3 full days early. cause monday seems like a good day to start things, you know? of course, i am talking about lent... which starts "officially" wednesday night, with ash wednesday. lent, as i've mentioned before, is simply the reordering of your life in some small way to direct your heart and mind consciously toward God. i haven't always kept lent, but for the last 7 or so years, i've found it to be a very significant experience.

all this to say that in order to create more space in my life to hear God & to spend time with him, i am giving up the internet for lent.... with the exception of my email. so no blogging, no facebooking, no surfing, no lolcats... nada! it's going to be tricky, i suspect, and it will feel weird ... but i know that my laptop lures me away from the real stuff of life, including, but not limited to, my time with God.

so this is my last post til easter... then we'll have a blog "resurrection"! (am i going to get hit by lightening for that?) so don't take me off your blogroll, cause i'll be back, i swear, and i'll need lots of reaffirming "welcome back" comments when i do! :)

so, feel free to shoot me an email, but i won't be having comment conversations! :) peace out!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

pressing questions

i had a dream it was summer... it was sunny and warm, bees were humming and turtles were crawling through my yard.

on the one hand, i am willing to recognize that i come from a place where winter is much, much longer & much, much colder than winter in NC. but on the other hand, i do not live there anymore. which begs the question:

is it summer yet?


Saturday, February 21, 2009

the invitation

Last night the most beautiful thing happened. It was the first rehearsal in the new building, and Curtis had a team all in place… and me not being part of the team anymore, I was feeling left out and blue…even though I took my own self away from wam. In fact, even as I had lunch with Sabrina yesterday (happy birthday to you!) I told her that it made me feel oddly lonely to be left out of this. I mean, worship is how Curtis and I met – many of the important times of our life have been connected through that thread. Anyhoo, middle of the afternoon he calls me. “I’m getting really excited about tonight!” my heart sinks a little. “I was wondering if you would come, just to be a part of it? You could sing and the girls could hang out – I want you there.” It was the most romantic and thoughtful thing he’s said to me in 5 years… I melted! He loves me! He wants me to be a part of his big moments! He chose me!

So I went, and it was fantastic fun… I came home with a sore throat and a tired body, but a happy heart. It was loud and loose, jumping and goofing off, joyful and relaxing. And excited. And I was invited…I was there. I always know I’m loved, but it was so nice to experience it. I love you, too, Curtis…

Thursday, February 19, 2009

the underneath

i read today a book called 'the underneath'. it's a book for young adults, and i picked it up off kyra's shelf. it's like reading a long poem, so lyrically written - i would usually say i devour books, but i think this one devoured me. here's the setup for the passage i'm about to quote. there is a momma cat, who has two kittens, puck and sabine. in a twist of fate, the momma and puck are snatched up by a cruel man, tied into a burlap sack and dropped into the river...

"the calico cat looked hard at her beautiful baby, her boy kitten. and right there, tucked beside him in the dark burlap bag, she loved him as hard as she could, loved him so much that her heart nearly burst. "you are the son i dreamed of," she told him. "i never wanted any other son but you." she licked him on the top of his head, right on the cresent moon. and even though her girl kitten was not with her, she loved her, too, held her against that big old love that comes from all mamas, so that surely sabine knew, she'd know, she'd surely know. and her heart broke for sabine, her girl cat. then she gasped."

sometimes, like watching 'titanic' or news coverage of katrina, i have thought about what i would do in that moment. what would i say. and, pardon me, i'm crying here, but i hope i would do that. i would collect my girls as close and as tight as i can in my arms, and tell them how much i love them... how grateful i am that they are mine... i would tell them that it would be ok, that God was still there, and that he would be there when the darkness came. no mother should ever have to do that, but they do it, in places all over the world. God, be with those mothers today... be merciful to them... be there for them when the darkness comes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

best compliment ever!

i've never wanted to be a woman you could put in a line up and pick out immediately as a "Mom". it was a conscious decision, one that led to my first tattoo and some questionable fashion choices in the early part of the millennium! :) anyway, this past week, in conversation about such things, my mom smiled and said to me, "it's not that you don't look old enough to have kids... you just don't look domesticated."

now that's what i'm talking about!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


"...the magic of being solemn, yet never serious, is the secret of the young heart..."

walking down the beach on my last day in florida, i passed a young family with 3 little kids covered in sand. the youngest, a girl of around 3 or 4, caught my eye and walked up to me. without speaking or smiling, she held out her hand, palm up, showing me a smooth, round shell. i smiled. reaching into my pocket i asked her, "would you like to see what i found?" she nodded, and i showed her the mostly whole shell i was carrying with me. looking me straight in the eye, she very slowly placed her smooth, round shell on my open hand, beside my own shell, and i thought to myself that she must think we were making a trade - one she was getting the better deal from. but i figured what the heck, she was just a kid, and i could find another great shell. imagine my surprise when, once her shell was firmly in my hand, she nodded and took a step back. we weren't trading, she was giving me her shell. i stood there for a moment, wondering what to do - knowing that a smooth, round shell was a sacred treasure to a child, even more so to one who had to travel so far to see the ocean. she smiled at me, tentatively, and i simply said "thank you". her smile broke into a grin, and she skipped back to her siblings and their sand buckets without a backward glance. i don't know what inspired her generosity, but i was moved by it.

maybe this is what Jesus meant when he said we must become like little children...

did i mention?

my middle brother, ben, and his wife kari, and their two kids, blaise & flora, moved to indonesia last week. yes, you read that right, indonesia. ben, a phD theologian, is going to teach national pastors at a seminary, once he gets the language down! :) some of my faithful readers know ben, (or knew ben?), and if you want to pray for them, or read about their life, i've added them to my bloglist (right), "the elliotts". the prayers of strangers are welcome, too, i'm sure!

i've not talked a lot about ben & his family here... we've never even lived in the same country as adults, i think! he lived in the US when we lived in canada, and then in scotland while we lived in the US... ships in the night. truth be told, i've done a terrible job of keeping in touch - it's the trap we fall into with family sometimes, isn't it? "well, they're my family, and they'll always be there, so i'll talk to them tomorrow." tragic.

so here's a wee bit about ben & his clan. he's brilliant - truly - and he's an excellent teacher. he can explain complex things so simply! he's crazy, and i mean head over heels crazy, about his wife and kids... it's disarming to see how much he loves them! kari, my sister in law, is fantastic. she's a runner, the kind who wins marathons, and is funny and warm and kind. i love her! their kids are adorable, and blaise is so smart... he's articulate, and makes my girls laugh! we started webcamming with them, and my girls talk about blaise for hours after we hang up!

so, ben and kari, here's to you and yours! i love you!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009


hahhhhlaaaaaaa silvia!

i have started a new page in my life, working with the middle school students at my church, of whom silvia (or should i say 'sporty'?) is one... along with her sister diana and 6 or 7 other fantastic girls. i co-lead a small group of 8th grade girls, and i love it! honestly, i didn't expect to love it so much, but i do... i remember being in 8th grade... barely! :) and i like the girls a lot... though the could pay more attention in group!! :) ha! :)

love you, girls! see you next weekend!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

i don't mean to rub it in....

... but i'm on st. petersburg beach in florida for the next 5 days. *aaahhhhhhh*

thanks to the men in my life: dad, for paying my airfare & curtis, for letting me abandon him with the girls over valentines day weekend. you boys are tops! :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

thank you

sometimes the love and kindness of a friend changes everything. i had lunch with one of my people today - the lovely, talented & refreshing tenea. she is refreshing in the sense that she refreshes heart becomes lighter after a while in her presence...she is sort of contagious. :) so we had lunch, did a little house shopping, and finished our day off with a haircut. tenea is also my stylist. and not only did she refresh my heart today, but she rocked my hair! how could my day not improve!

teneacious d - you are good people! i love you!

15 days

there are 15 days left til ash wednesday, the beginning of lent. 15 days to consider how, if at all, you will participate. so far, i have 3 changes i want to make... a lot to pile on all at one time. but i feel like my life needs a "reset", you know? and since there's (tragically) no magical "life reset" button, it seems that sacrifice & effort are going to be required. i want to live more than barely getting my head above the water. that's not "life to it's most full"... not even close. and so, lent. am i up for it? are you?

(and do note the new poll...)

Monday, February 09, 2009


one minute you are frolicking in the surf, and the next minute a giant wave comes out of nowhere and pulls you under, flipping you over and over until you don't know which way is up and you can't breath and just as you finally orient yourself, about to break through and take a deep breath, the next one comes and knocks you over. that's when you get really scared... because your lungs are bursting and your eyes burn from the salt water and you muscles are weak from lack of oxygen so you flail and kick, but you're no match for the power of the ocean.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


ok - go read curtis' blog. really.

a rare sunday morning post

good morning, faithful reader!

today, in the land of rachel, it will be 70F. mayia is coming to church with us again - to kyra's great delight - and then the afternoon will be flip flops & backyards... i may even through in a popsicle for everyone. this is what sundays ought to be... friendship & worship & laughing & popsicles, all to the glory of God.

i hope your sunday has some glory in it, too.

Friday, February 06, 2009

the most beautiful thing

go read it, here.


(star, if you want to talk bird, catch me at church on sunday!)

well, faithful readers, another week draws to a close. another week where curtis' car died (again.), a kid got sick (including throwing up), there wasn't enough sleep (is there ever?), our roof is still holy (hole-y?) and it was too frickin cold (stop saying "but you're from canada!" there's a reason i left, people.)

but there is hope i am holding on to.

i am a girl with a dream... a dream of winning an essay contest with a big cash prize. and if i win said miraculous essay contest, before i blow it all on a snazzy new roof, i am going to buy a beagle puppy! yes i am! this is the deal i have with curtis - no prize, no puppy. i understand completely, cause they're expensive, especially initially: puppy, shots, neutering, accessories, et al. BUT ... if i win... victory all around! i will name him "essay" (imagine ... "c'mere, essay!" ha!) or maybe "st. francis" (the patron saint of animals, and call him 'frankie') so come one, come all, and pray with me for essay contest victory... mamma needs a new roof... but mostly, Essay!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

anyone? anyone?

fezzik needs a good home, people. he is a happy & chirpy bird who would probably like a girlfriend, but seems to be just fine on his own. he is free, cage included. he doesn't chirp in the evening or night... say the word, and he's yours.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

six words

have you heard of this book, 'six word memoirs'? famous and not so famous writers writing their memoirs in 6 words or less. for instance:

"almost a victim of my family" - chuck sangster

"a psychic said i'd be richer" - elizabeth bernstein

"painful nerd kid, happy nerd adult" - linda williamson

so i've been thinking about this. what 6 words would i write as my memoirs? here is what i came up with... having trouble with just one, but i narrowed it down to 4:

i'm really not that high maintenance.

God flung open all my doors.

my people, my cat, my books.

a little eyeliner never hurt anyone.

please write your 6 word memoir(s) in the comments section! :)

Monday, February 02, 2009

monday's food for thought

from my current reading....

"Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective. ... the problem with turning a noun into an adjective and then tacking it onto words is that it can create categories that limit the truth. here's what i mean: something can be labeled "Christian" and not be true or good. (and) in the same way, something can be true and not be labeled Christian."

what do you think?

Sunday, February 01, 2009


i went in to peek on the girls last night, and found mayia had dragged her sleeping bag up onto kyra's bed... kyra was hung precariously off the edge, and mayia was mashed up against the wall on the other side... i loved it. and i was immediately thrown back to my tween/teen years.

i've been thinking about them a lot lately, and talking about them too, as kyra asks if i've shared her experiences. i can't think about those years of my life without thinking about cynthia (see photo in my last post). except for my mildy rebellious year in 10th grade, we were insperable. she made my life worth living most days! :)

i remember meeting her in mrs. martin's 8th grade homeroom, and i just knew we would be friends. we got caught cheating together - our teacher laughed at our poor attempts at sublety! - sat on her couch for endless hours watching soaps after school, checked out boys together, smoked a pack of cigarettes (or tried to!) together, drove to youth together, went to events together, shared every secret a girl could have, kept toothbrushes at each other's houses just in case we'd get the chance to sleep over, went on group dates (remember dressing up to go bowling?!) and laughed and laughed and laughed!

we have recently rediscovered each other - thank you, world wide web! - and it is particularily poignet to me to be recovering our friendship at this time in my life, when my daughter is developing a friendship that may just span 20 years (TWENTY YEARS, CYN!) and 3500 miles... so this is a tribute to you, cynthia. the truest friend i ever had. over all these many miles and years, you are still in a magnet on my fridge, and even better, still very much in my heart.