Chase Fireflies

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Gratitude in Pain and Joy

This cat is one of my favorite authors. Here’s an excerpt from a piece Winn Collier wrote for Everyday Women – even though – as he states – “he is not, in fact, an everyday woman.”

Sometimes – surely – Scripture doesn’t mean exactly what it says. Ephesians places one of those difficult phrases in front of us: “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything…” (5:20). Everything? Really? Am I to give thanks for the divorce that rips apart a family? A disease that shreds a body? Does God actually desire me to be grateful for the evils of slavery and genocide?

Read more here.

Happy, almost belated, Thanksgiving.

Much love,


An Ode to Fleecy Footed Jammies

It’s those jammies. You know the kind, those one piece fleece kind with feet. They got to me the other night. Got me all choked up and stuff. Over jammies.

As I was holding Adden before bed, I kept looking down at his feet. All zippered in, nice and snug. I wondered how long he would wear those kinda jammies. Maybe when he’s seven, but not likely. He already wants to be big like Daddy. And these are little kid jammies.

My eyes welled over jammies.

Maybe it’s really not about the jammies after all, though, you think? It’s about a little boy, drooling in his momma’s arms. It’s about being cozy and safe and loved. It’s about a one year old’s dreams of conquering the kitchen cupboards. It’s about a woman’s dreams coming true… to hold this little one and to call him mine.




Forget if this crazy kiddo robs me of sleep and sanity nights without number. Forget if he delights in pulling used coffee filters out of the trash. Grinds everywhere…. Forget if he creates implements of destruction with a mere fork or pen. Forget if I really never know where my toothbrush has been before I go in for a brush. It’s always a gamble.

He’s my little boy.

And for this season, I will delight in fleecy jammies. You know the kind, with the feet.

And I will give thanks and thanks and thanks for just this.

Sure, God is on that thankful list. And Paul and Selah and the rest of my family of course. Our home. Freedom. Church. The Bible. Good health. Food. Clean water…

But sometimes, at least for me, these big ticket items lose their grandeur. They become ordinary, everyday, commonplace. They never lose their magic or wonder, but I do.

I do.

Sometimes the best thing I can do for myself and my family is to make a practice of excavating even small, seemingly insignificant gifts. And saying thanks for them.

Cause really. If I fail to thank God for fleecy footed jammies, I’m going to look right on past everything else in my life too.

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Joy and Resolve

My Dad lost his job last week. He was hoping to bank in one and a half more years for a retirement package. Nope. He’ll get a small severance, but nothing like he would’ve had. He’ll soon be a part of Rhode Island’s 10% unemployment rate.

Paul and I splurged Friday on a dinner out. We strolled right on in, along with a party of thirteen, and were surrounded by empty tables. Normally, this place would’ve had a 90 min wait. Our waitress said that the economy is crushing them.

Our nation’s financial plunge is pretty scary. Yet despite the recession, Compassion International’s giving is up. More children are being sponsored now than ever.


Paul stumbled on these quotes the other day from Francis Chan.

“In this universe, there is God, there are people, and there are things. We should worship God, love people, and use things. But if we start worshiping ourselves, we will ignore God, start loving things, and using people. This is a formula for a miserable life, but it characterizes many people today.”

Okay, frankly, this often characterizes me. But I think I’m finally starting to get it. Well, maybe just a little. And based on Compassion’s financial reports, I would say that I’m not the only one.

Is our economy causing us to get priorities back in order again? God, people, things? In Deuteronomy 10:21, it says, “He is your praise; he is your God.” Our praise who becomes our love who becomes our life, lived out in the small things…

With Christmas music already cranking in the retail stores, I’m so hoping we’ll approach the birthday of a King with great joy and great resolve. Joy to celebrate. Resolve to worship just One.

And as we worship, may we love others with the treasures we have received. Whether that be our own tikes or that waitress who is pulling a double or those Compassion children still waiting for a sponsor.

May the world see that He is our praise. He is our God. Yep, even in a financial meltdown.

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Up For a Challenge?

I’ve got spoiled feet – flip flops, running shoes, black boots, a few unfortunate heels, ordinary loafers (who still wears those but me?), and my favorite pair of brown Sketchers. All in all, my feet have 13 different looks. Thirteen ways to dress up my horrid little feet.

It is estimated that Americans have 1.5 billion pairs of unworn shoes lying in their closets. I’m part of that 1.5 billion.

It is estimated that 300 million children have never owned one pair of shoes.

3oo million. And children at that. It’s probably safe to assume that these kids aren’t walking on carpeting either. As a mom, I cringe to speculate what a broken bottle could do to a pair of tiny feet. Without clean water and Neosporin and pretty Tinkerbelle band aids to make those jagged cuts better…

Imagine giving a ten year old their first pair of shoes? Can you conjure up the delight that would beam from this child? Shoes give dignity, bring hope, and save lives. Shoes have saved millions of lives. Shoes.

Soles 4 Souls is a non-profit organization whose goal is to impact as many lives with a simple pair of shoes. Just $5 buys 2 pairs of shoes. That’s $2.50 a pair. What a deal! I’ve been known to drop a whole lot more than $2.50 to spoil my stinkin‘ feet.

So here’s the challenge. Soles 4 Souls wants to raise funds for 50,000 pairs of shoes in 50 days. Let’s blow that goal out of the water! Would you consider helping to tackle it?

Paul and I just donated $25. That’s 10 pairs of shoes. Would you consider giving just $5? (Or more?) Just click here. Your $5 will buy 2 pairs. Forgive me if I sound like a pesty salesman, but I think this cause deserves it.

Would you mind helping me spread the word? Re post it on your blog, tell others on facebook, give shoes in honor of someone (birthday gift?), get your youth group involved, do whatever…

Just do something.

Thanks and thanks.
Much Love,


Canka Sores and Locked Doors

Anyone ever had a canker sore crater on their tongue?

Gosh, they’re miserable. Apparently, God would prefer me to be silent since I am plagued with these enormous potent suckers constantly. There’s probably something to be said for that.

Anyway, my story isn’t about cankers. It’s actually about our trip to CVS.

The other morning, I throw the kids in the car and mad dash right up the road to find some relief for the current few cankas (as we like to call them in New England.)

I throw 20 dollars in my pocket, leave my purse in the front seat, hitch Adden onto my hip, and hold Selah’s hand as she jumps out of the van-like car we own. Oh yeah, and I locked it. Made sure to lock it.

I walk in, consult the pharmacists, grab some Maalox and Benadryl to concoct some sort of sweet numbing agent, meander down the aisles looking for 75% off candy for my sweetheart, hoist the kids up for drinks from the bubbla, and eventually make it to the counter to pay for my goods. We speak to the people in line, make small talk with the clerk, and head out the door about a half hour later.

To my utter horror, I walk out to see my van-like car door wide open. Oh yeah, wide open, for a half hour. My purse is still hanging out in the front seat, by some act of God. Maybe it’s still there cause I made sure to lock the car? I never forget to lock the car, though occasionally I forget to close the door.

Gosh, does anyone else do these kinds of things?

Just about the only thing that consoles me is that I remembered the children. Yay for that.

I repeat, does anyone else do these kinds of things? Please tell me I’m not the only one..


A King and a Kingdom

We voted today over Paul’s lunch break. It was an honor to take our kids into the polling place and exercise a costly American freedom. We are grateful for those who have sacrificed their lives for such a privilege as this.

Tonight we will forgo sleep to watch a giddy Wolf Blitzer, Brian Williams, and a seemingly always angry Keith Olberman report the election results. We will surf news media channels and hear how Americans also exercised their right.

Tomorrow we will drag ourselves out of bed and go about our ordinary routines no matter who gets elected. Paul will head to work and I’ll head to a friend’s home to drink coffee, share stories, and allow our kids to play together. The nation as a whole will also go about its normal everyday happenstance.

There will be single moms waiting on tables to get by one more day. There will be senior citizens who have been cut by the bottom line. There will be teachers trying to make a difference in the lives of students. There will be nurses changing IV fluids and doctors sharing hard news. There will be politicians wielding power. There will be people who need to hear about Jesus.

Tomorrow we will enter into another harried day. On hearing final results, some will be excitedly giddy. Others will stare straight ahead of them, traumatized in despair. There will be the apathetic among us who don’t care either way. There may be riots and protests and always ugly racial acts. Whatever happens, we know the world will be looking on.

Whatever happens, there is also a King looking on. And not just looking, but fully engaged and working amongst us. A King with a Kingdom and a love for His people that looks beyond flags and empires and elephants and donkeys. This King, this Jesus, has told us that we’re a citizen of a different kingdom, a forever one. (Philippians 3:20) We’ve been asked to pray for

His kingdom to come, His will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven… (Matthew 6:10)

Yeah, today we performed our civic duty to vote. But tomorrow we’ve got just as much work to do at the polls of our beliefs. If His kingdom is to be ushered onto this soil, we’ve got to live out His word to defend the rights of the fatherless, the weak, the poor, the alien, the marginalized…We’ve got to live out His word.

If we’re pro-life, then we’ve got to put substance behind our votes. Counsel a pregnant teenager and support a crisis pregnancy center. And if we’re really pro-life, then be advocates of the lives that have been born. Give to children in the foster care system, be advocates for adoption, and tutor a child and give them a chance with education.

If we’re really God followers, we can’t subscribe to this whole doom and gloom thing that I’ve heard echoed by Christians all over the place. Our hope is not in this kingdom of America, nor in our president. Our hope is in Jesus Christ. We have hope embodied in God who conquered even death. We have hope in the Holy Spirit who convicts and challenges and comforts. We have hope in the word of God, the good news that is still good news. We have this One Hope, and that Hope should pattern our thoughts, our to-do lists, our dreams. And this Hope is as secure as an anchor. (Hebrews 6:19) It’s as secure as ever.

Whatever happens, there is a King and a Kingdom and a Hope and a Purpose etched on our lives. Our purpose is to seek and trust and love and usher His kingdom to this earth. The life that Jesus calls us to should never be easy, but should always offer hope – always.

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An Endless YS Snippet of Sorts

The YS conference ended last evening for me. Walking away from the convention center there was a sense of fatigue and joy and too much good food and circles under my eyes from crying and great conversations with friends and giggling and hope and promise and one too many coffees and God time and late night pizza and talks with Paul and lots of just us time. And it was everything I didn’t know I needed and yet everything I wanted at the same time. It was invigorating. Here is just a little snippet (okay, a ridiculously too long one) of random treasures.

In Margeret Feinberg’s talk, I was challenged to listen to God’s voice and to pursue the passions He has written on my heart. My joy is my God and my family, without question. But my joy is also listening to stories and hearing God’s heart within them. I want to give credence to voices who have drenched their pillow with tears, but are waking up to restoration and beauty each new day. I want to serve a broken world with words of hope that communicate love winning in the end. I want to point to Jesus, I want to point to Jesus.

Andrew Marin, founder of the Marin Foundation, is a guy who has committed his life to loving Jesus and living right in the middle of the largest gay and lesbian community. His intention is not to change his neighbors with an end agenda in mind. Quoting Billy Graham, he stated that it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, it’s God’s role to judge, it’s his place to love. Clearly through his stories, it was more than his place, it was his honor to love those that the Christian community has despised for far too long, to our shame. (It’s always hate the sin, love the sinner, but geez… we sure can’t seem to extricate that hate from individuals whom God longs to pursue.)

Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love, took the stage Saturday night. And dude, he took the stage. He convicted and challenged and said just about every hard thing I didn’t really want to hear. If you haven’t seen this guy speak or read his book, please do. He is as authentic and true to the word of God as it gets. One of my favorite quotes was, “Teach in such a way so as not to cheapen the gospel.” Oh, and “When salt goes bad, it’s worthless. So worthless that it ruins manure.” Yep, manure. I don’t want to be the one to ruin manure. (Luke 14: 35)

Phyllis Tickle spoke at some point – at this point everything is a blur- and she was this wondrous genius, this spitfire of a sage. She gave a history lesson and covered the Great Reformation, the Great Schism, the Fall and Decline of Rome, Jesus’ arrival, etc…. Her premise was that every 500 years the church goes through some type of major deal. And it’s that time again. We’re at the precipice of another 500 years, so there are crazy implications to this cycle that we’ll see in our lifetime. God does have a funny thing for numbers in His word. Strange stuff, but great thing to be aware of.

Mark Yaconelli spoke about the soul and disco balls. I sorta wish he had dove deeper into the word, but I did love how he said that joy is always, irrevocably connected to suffering. Joy is an expression of healing. And he gave a great object lesson to boot. It’s why people found it easy to celebrate around Jesus, because he was connected to their pain. It’s also what I can stake the last 2 1/2 months on. I would’ve never understood this concept, had we not lived through it (to a minuscule degree.) Deep joy finds a reservoir in wells of suffering. Those tears were worth it for this joy now.

Beyond the general session speakers, I attended a few seminars, two of which I would highly recommend – Jim Burns’ seminar on Marriage and Youth Ministry and Andy Root’s seminar on Rethinking Relational Ministry.

One comment from Jim Burn’s seminar really stood out to me. In speaking to a teenage girl (whose dad was very effective in young life), the girl said, “I hope you do things differently than my dad. He saved other kids. He didn’t save me.” Ughhh… our families, first and foremost, need to know that we are for them. “For them” (for our kids at least) translates into lots of time playing, laughing, hanging out, listening, praying for, and inviting them to be a part of what matters most. I will leave this weekend with a million strategies in working with teenagers, but I will also find myself playing tag a whole lot more in the leaves with my kids (and being more intentional about date nights with Paul!) Playing tag is of infinite value.

Andy Root’s seminar on Relational Ministry had like no one in it, but it was really like this gem. Here’s this little soft spoken preppy guy who learned what he knows from working with gangs in LA (I think, I could be totally lying about the LA part.) What I got out of it was that students can sniff out agenda from a mile away. So if you’ve got this goal of getting an unchurched kid to sit quietly in a pew with a collared shirt on, he will never ever get anywhere near you. (Bad goal anyway) But if you meet him where he’s at, in his place of deepest need/vulnerability/weakness and communicate that you care about him – well, then that is the framework for a relationship. Yes, you can still speak the truth in love, but you listen more than you talk. And you let Jesus do the saving anyway.

Gosh, all of this plus Crowder and Matt Maher (fabulous worship leader), Shane and Shane, a Compassion graduate, Kendall Payne, and the Skit Guys. Oh yeah, Tony Jones was there too. I really didn’t get his whole beginning ditty and frankly didn’t find much value in it. It bothered me a lot, especially the prayer mocking of sorts. But what the guy had to say was great. He spoke on not cheapening the gospel, getting into the word of God, and letting the person of Jesus Christ (with dirt under his work worn hands) be our example. Can’t argue with much of that.

Well, it’s late and I need to get to bed. It was a long day of work today. I am thrilled about spending tomorrow with Selah and Adden. I missed them immeasurably while we were gone. (And huge thanks to Paul’s amazing parents for loving them the whole weekend and giving us this retreat!)

Can’t wait to play tag in the leaves….