Glimpses

Posted
September 19
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The Way Of Beauty

I woke to the crisp cold of an almost-fall morning,

blind to beauty,

barely aware of a day full of promise.

 

I trudged— yes, that’s the right word— to my cabin in the back,

oblivious to the setting of the moon,

to the lingering stars,

to the sweet scent of dew lacing the dawn.

 

I did what I always do: lit the candle, poured my tea,

wrapped myself in the comfort of solitude,

invited Him in.

 

And again— again!

He met me there.

 

While He opened my mind to my heart

and listened…

as I moaned- again- about too many to-do’s.

 

And then He spoke. Softly, kindly,  firm:

 All I have is Yours,

and all You have is mine.

 

Yes! Yes— I know those words, this truth underlined and asterisked.

I know what it means; know how it lives,

how I live when these words ring true.

 

And His words change everything~

This day, made by Him, for me; lived by me, for Him.

Beautiful.

 

And now I see, I hear, I sense Him as the morning dawns.

His hand at my back, guiding me, leading me, showing me

a better way for this almost-fall day.

 

A way of beauty.

 

From my heart,

Diane

P.S.  If you’re finding a too long to-do list blinding you to beauty, will you leave your name so I can pray for you as I go on my walks in these hue-changing woods?

Posted
August 8
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RICHES

This morning I am reveling in God’s goodness to me.

I am rich, wealthier than I ever thought possible.

Though I have yet to engage in the lovely practice of “counting gifts” in a journal of gratitude, my heart can’t help but keep track of God’s goodness to me.

I remember once, when I was in Bible College, a crusty old professor who seemed to delight in crushing the exuberance of incoming students, stated that, “the Cross is the gift, not these every day things we give thanks for.”

He was right of course. And wrong too.

The Cross is the gift, yet out of the ultimate sacrifice, a love grew and grows and spills over into our every-days. The joy we were meant to experience in the Garden shows up in bits and snatches of beauty on our way back into the kingdom in the here and now.

I think that cantankerous professor knows that now that he’s in the presence of the Giver of gifts. And I’ll bet he glows with the joy of it, instead of glowering as he once did.

Wanna know why I’m feeling so rich this morning?

 It’s cuz I have a secret I’ve been longing to tell you about and I finally can!

If you’ve been following my blog for long, you know that I started it with the help of my daughter, Elizabeth. She wrote The Kitchen portion of the blog as a way of helping us to see the value and beauty in food and feeding and glorifying God with and in our bodies. Before she and her family moved to L.A. she also held my hand as I learned how to do all the techie stuff.

Well, girls, she’s back in Portland. As in, living here. Right here… across the street and down two houses…

Brook and Elizabeth and Duke and Scarlet and Beatrice moved into a darling little house sixty steps from Firwood Cottage.

Can you believe it?

All the while I knew it might be happening I didn’t dare believe it would. (Why do we do that to ourselves?!) But it did! Too many “coincidences” to ever think this is anything but a great, big, beautifully wrapped gift from God.

I’m the wealthiest woman in the world!

 My pantry is filled with healthy, mom-approved snacks for all the moments in my day when the Grands come to check in on me— which they do, all through-out the day! Little Birdie breaks into the gentlest smile every time she sees me— and I can’t wipe the silly grin off my face when she does. How is it that a 5 month old can validate my entire life with one smile? I don’t know, but she does!

And I want to tell every young mom who is struggling this morning with the relentless exhaustion of being a meeter-of-needs to babies and toddlers and pre-schoolers:

What you are doing today is going to make you rich someday!

 You can’t see it now. I wish you could. I wish I had.

Every time you wipe that messy face, every time you cuddle that child close, every minute you put into that little one is an investment that will yield riches.

 I am counting my blessings over here in my cabin in the back… and every one of them have names. And I am praying for all you mamas who need to know it’s worth it.

May God give you the strength to believe that what you do today matters.

 From a heart bursting with the joy of it,

Diane

Posted
July 28
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A Day To Play

David was dancing before the LORD with all his might…

2 Samuel 6:14

I got up this morning intent to work, to work hard and long in order to make up for whiling away my vacation days, accomplishing nothing.

Nothing at all.

You see, last week our family met in Lake Tahoe at a cabin of a friend— not everyone, but all who could get away for our last minute trip. I went with a list of things I could work on in case I got bored. As if the thought of long, languid days might make my hard-working ancestors turn over in their graves in shame.

I didn’t get bored.

In fact, every single minute seemed filled with something much more important than my list. Every morning I got up early, heaping blankets on the lounge chair facing a pinhole glimpse of the lake, and breathed in the beauty of the high Sierras.

Within moments, no matter how carefully I tip-toed, one or two of my Grands managed to crawl under the mound of furry throws, their wiggly bodies and sharp elbows tucking in tight. I couldn’t hear what they were giggling about but my hand on their chests felt the rumble of words. My resolve to never “plug in” my cochlear until I’m fully caffeinated didn’t last long— my six Grands are entirely unable to comprehend the thought of their Amma not hearing what they have to say.

I’m one of the gang, after all, the designated Chief Story-Teller among a tribe of avid make-believers.

Not one bored moment.

We drove home Sunday, starting in on the mounds of laundry, restocking the fridge, doing what needed doing. This week would be my catch up week. I’d get to every email, wash the windows, get all my prep for a conference done, get ahead in my writing project. I’d be orderly and organized and productive!

Which is why, early this morning, I couldn’t believe my ears. Not my deaf ears, nor my plugged in cochlear ears, but that listening-to-God part of me that senses— at least sometimes— what He is saying.

“Make this a play day!”

 No, no, no! I have work to do, catching up to accomplish. Windows to wash and words to write.

“Come! Come play in my Presence. Let Me— not your chore list— guide this day.”

 Really? Are You sure? Isn’t this just me being lazy? I have too much to do, what if I don’t get it all done?

On and on I argued into the silence. I pattered into the house to make more tea and saw those spider-webbed windows, thought about that conference next week and worried. Berated my mind for playing tricks on me. Surely I’d heard wrong.

On my way down the path to my cabin in the back I heard it again:

Come play!

I’m inviting you to dance and delight in this day. I want you, not the driven-because-you-should-be-responsible you. I want the Real You. The one I made for delight, that girl who marvels at the sight of wild blackberries hanging over the water, who relishes the smell of the lake like treasured perfume.

Come, dear one, come.”

 And so I am. I’m coming.

I’m scrunching my hair into a pony-tail, slathering my skin with suntan lotion, and heading to the lake. I’ll take my kayak out  and pick those wild blackberries that surely must taste uniquely delicious after hanging over the water that smells like moss and forest and fish. I’m going to play.

Because He asked. And I want to. And maybe He’ll send some rain to wash my windows for me and if not, I’ll simply enjoy the sparkle of spider-spun lace on the glass.

And next week I’ll tell the women to listen, to lean in close and hear His beckonings to play, to delight, to leave their lists and relish the One who wishes we’d be just like His children.

I think my Grands may have taught me a thing or two about that last week.

From a heart learning to play and delight the day away,

Diane

P.S. And you? When was the last time you let yourself play? Have you taken time to delight in the One who thought up summer? Might you take a moment to tell us how you played or what you wish you’d played?

Posted
February 19
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Away For A While

 

I will guide you along the best pathways for your life.

I will advise you and watch over you.

Psalm 32v8 NLT

Dear girls~

I nestle into the comfort of my cabin in the woods, savoring a pot of tea, staring out the window as trees emerge like silent sentinels from the dripping darkness of an early Northwest morning. A hint of the soon coming Spring in the midst of sodden green. Moss brightening trees. The faintest buds on climbing hydrangeas assuring me of life, of promise, of renewal.

Winter is waning and I listen to the rhythm of the seasons. If winter is a season of less: less sunlight, less activity, less gardening— it is also a season of more. More sleep, more scented candles and soft blankets, more fires crackling.

In the flurry of Christmas, the festivity of the book release, the study and speaking and planning and doing, I seem to have missed the quiet of these darkening months. All those joy-filled happenings have left me craving quiet. Rest.

Without realizing why, I have been running at a pace that isn’t sustainable for me to thrive and create and feel good about my life. All that doing what needed to be done, while writing about slowing down to listen, to create beauty, to hear God. Hmm.

At the same time, new beginnings are coming, people and callings that need space to flourish.

The most important one is a baby girl named Beatrice. I’ll be leaving in just a few weeks to await her arrival alongside Elizabeth and Brook, Duke and Scarlet. Staying in L.A. until she emerges into a world made ready for her story. While there I want to play with Duke and pretend with Scarlet, get a pedicure with my daughters, go to the beach and savor the days.

I want to be undividedly present in moments I will remember forever.

By the time I get back to Firwood Cottage, Phil and I will be launching the website for Intentional Parents— a place for parents to learn and be reminded that our first and highest calling is to create in our children a heart that beats for God. I’ll be writing a weekly post to moms who need what I needed thirty years ago: practical help in real stories from the Scriptures and from life. Eventually I dream of a place where many writers— experts in their fields— weigh in with wisdom about the how’s and why’s and what-if’s of guiding and growing the next generation of passionate, all-in Jesus followers and people lovers.

Which is why I need to quiet my voice on this space for a while, lest I fall into the trap of just adding more on top of more because something inside  says I must and should.

I’ll be back, of that I am certain. I plan to begin again in May… or early June, whenever I just can’t stand it anymore and need a place to spill my heart.

In the meanwhile it’s time for some redesign, some prettying up; implementing some of the features that appeal to my writerly love of words. Going forward I want to recapture the intimacy of this space, once again writing as a means of sharing beauty, of bringing my girls into my story, of listening together to the riches in the silence. Most of all, it is on my heart to practice the art of listening to God in the midst of real life.

If that sounds like something you’re craving too, may I suggest that you subscribe to this space? I’ll post no more than once a week, just a fresh invitation of what it looks like to love God with passion and to love people on purpose.

I’ll be sneaking frequent peeks into the comments and I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a note— I’ll be missing you!

From my heart,

Diane

Posted
January 20
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The Deaf Shall Hear

In those days the word of the LORD was rare… 

Then the LORD called Samuel.

 Again the LORD called, “Samuel!”

 A third time the Lord called,”Samuel!” 

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

I Samuel 3v1,4,6,8,10

Samuel’s first hint at hearing God’s voice was a call. A beckoning. An invitation to come close and listen.

But he didn’t know that at the time. He heard something but he didn’t know who was calling let alone what he was saying. And so he answered with the simple wisdom of a child,

Here I am.

When the same confusing urging called again, Samuel repeated the only response he could think of:

Here I am.

Again and again. Simple words of acceptance, of availability, of acknowledgement.

Here I am.

When Moses first heard that urgent calling, “Moses! Moses!” he responded the same way:

Here I am.

Isaiah said the same words when He heard God calling, searching for someone who would be willing to do His bidding:

Here I am.

For those of us who are learning to listen to the Voice of God in our lives, the first words we hear sound like an invitation. With Samuel and Moses and Isaiah, we sense a strange stirring, a beckoning  to come close.

Our hearts yearn to know and be known by Someone whose love we cannot possibly grasp, but whose Voice we long to hear.

There comes an alertness to something more, to something we need, to something we are willing to go after if only we can learn how.

In the early mornings as I light sweet smelling candles and arrange my tea on the table beside my chair, I tune my silent ears to that Voice.

Here I am, Lord.

I stand shivering before the heater, wrapped in the warmth of a shawl, my mind slowly untangling as my heart hears… something. Someone.

Here I am, Lord, here I am.

Often, the first words I sense are my name. Just as God called Moses, and little Samuel, and the great Isaiah, by name…

He whispers my name, and yours.

Di, come close. Listen.

And sometimes it’s just a feeling. A sensing in my slowly awakening spirit. A pulling of my heart that draws me into His presence.

Here I am— Lord, I’m here!

I curl into the corner of my big chair, open the only Word we know without doubt is His— that Word that is sharp enough to discern what I cannot.

And He pulls me into His heart as I read the stories, as I imagine Moses all alone, little Samuel longing for his mom, Isaiah, so afraid of what he cannot understand.

I read and I listen.

I pause to stare out the window, to sip tea, to ponder.

More than any other way, I am convinced that He speaks in and through and with His written Word. A poet/writer paints a picture of a-

“thin place through which the presence of God breaks into this world and bursts with unpredictable consequences into our lives.”

The Fire of the Word, Chris Webb

Yes! Yes!

I have seen that thin place— sensed His presence, His speaking in these Scriptures. I have entered in to see and know and feel and hear Him in the depths of holy silence that encases this Book.

Are you there yet? Being pulled into a place of listening? Sensing somewhere in your soul that Someone is calling you into intimacy?This is His invitation to come. To settle in with the Scriptures open, to read with ears wide open.

That stirring you sense is a beckoning to lean in and listen— not for solutions so much as for Him.

I am here, Lord! Speak, please speak! Your servant is listening.

From that quiet place where even the deaf can hear,

Diane

P.S. Are you hearing His beckoning in your spirit? Can you tell us what that sounds like for you? And if you’re longing to hear but can’t seem to— will you leave your name and I will pray? I’d love to take a whole list of you on my walk today.



[1] The Fire of the Word, Chris Webb

Posted
January 7
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How I Hear

People often ask me what I hear in the quiet of my world. How does a woman who is deaf function in a world that cannot fathom soundlessness? When I tell them about the cochlear implant and that I hear via a tiny computer in my head, they want to know if I hear normal now. Or do everyday noises sound different?

I get good questions from good people who care, people who want to know so they can know me.

The truth is, I don’t remember what normal sounds like. Though I’m certain I do not hear what everyone else hears; I rarely get the punch line of jokes, though I automatically laugh with everyone else (why is that?).  The worship music our church is known for sounds more like a rhythmic clamoring of pots and pans than the beauty I’m sure must be coming to everyone else’s ears. I need help to interpret my 3-year-old grand girl’s cuteness. And I use my eyes to navigate my way in public places lest I miss something important.

The fact that I can hear at all astounds me every day. The gift of the cochlear implant is a miracle of epic proportions. When I “unplug” from the shear exhaustion of listening, I hear nothing. Nothing at all.

Listening to God is a lot like being a deaf woman who hears through a computer. We hear imperfectly, missing punch lines and often misunderstanding what we thought we heard Him say. Whenever I hear someone proclaim with astonishing confidence that they know that God told them they were on their way to success and riches, or they are sure they know what is wrong with someone struggling because God gave them a word… something inside me questions. Really?

What I hear in my spirit sounds different than promises of success or solutions to other people’s dilemmas.

Take this morning…

I got up early as I usually do, padded out to the kitchen to make my pot of tea, fed the dog, then made my way through the dark to my little cabin in the back. I stood in front of the heater, shivering and worrying about the fact that I’ve taken so much time away from my desk lately and all the things I really should be accomplishing and doing and planning and finishing…

Then heard that sweet shushing I have come to know as the Father’s way of reminding me to quiet those sounds of shame. To allow Him to lead me beside quiet waters where He waits to refresh my soul.

Ah, yes Lord! I’m coming.

Curling up in my big chair by the windows that overlook the woods, I pour my first cup of steaming tea.

Good morning, Father, here I am. Foolishly worried again, I confess the wrongness of my thinking. As if my own effort, that striving to work harder and longer and more… could accomplish anything of Kingdom value. I know better, yet here I am again.

I sense His presence as we talk, that quiet calm that settles somewhere deeper than my fretting, that sets me free from striving. Trust relaxes my tense shoulders as I breathe Him in.

I open my Bible to the place I’ve been reading all week, asking for His words, leaning in to listen— not for direction so much as for what I may be missing in my blundering obliviousness to His Spirit. The words on the page fairly hum with Him, my Lord and Lover. A reference of a phrase that catches my attention leads me off on a rabbit trail to Genesis, then I Samuel, back to Exodus.

“God remembered Noah…” (Genesis 8v1)

Hannah, “deeply troubled”, “pouring out my soul to the Lord”, begs God to remember her… (I Samuel 1)

“God heard their groaning and He remembered… God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.”(Exodus 2v25)

Concerned. God is concerned for His people.

My heart awakens. Excited now, I flip back and forth to every reference I can find. Why have I never noticed this?

I know God cares, but in this moment I know His care. He is concerned and His concern changes everything.

In the still dark morning, I worship.

God remembers

The Creator of this beautiful world is concerned…

In the midst of that moment of worship, I “hear” God’s concern for a woman I know and love. She’s one of those gracious women who would never, ever tell me that life is rough right now. I’m not sure she’s even capable of the whining and complaining that most of us weave into every day conversation. All I know is that her husband is laid up at home recovering from surgery and that her daughter is in the hospital with pneumonia.

I sense God asking me to show this friend His concern for her, to remind her that He remembers. And even though I know she knows… sometimes it’s hard to really know when exhaustion and worry muddle our minds and beeping machines drown out His voice.

In the midst of those moments of awe-filled wonder at who He is, the strangest thing happens inside of me— all my worries and stresses don’t matter anymore. My heart is filled with the delight of a task assigned to me by the God who remembers, who is concerned—who is asking me to show His concern to one of His hurting ones.

Now when I move to my desk to plan my day and the week ahead, instead of pressure, I feel energized.

Listening to God is an adventure of discovery. Of being led, of being the skin of God to someone who needs His touch.

I have time, plenty of time, for His plans for me. What was it that I was so uptight about?

What I hear in this quest to listen to God are real words that catch me up into real purpose— words that incite wonder and amazement, words that elicit a joy that overcomes my tendency to uptight, worry-filled fretting.

I’ve never once heard assurances that success waits right around the corner if only I’ll try harder and do more, set goals and make them happen. I’ve yet to hear grand prophesies or proclaimations.

In the quiet of listening, I hear what matters to God— and somehow He makes it matter to me.

From a heart still learning to listen and loving it,

Diane

P.S. I love to take your name with me as I walk through the woods and talk to the Father who remembers and is concerned for you. If you’d leave a message comments section, it would be my honor to pray with you and for you.

Posted
January 5
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When God Speaks

It is cold and dark as I boil water for tea— my favorite tea— the one I save for special occasions but cannot bring myself to purchase because it’s ridiculously expensive— the tea Matt and Simona gave me for Christmas even though it’s ridiculously expensive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The path to my cabin in the back is layered in ice that crunches underfoot. I wonder, Does crunchy ice make noise? It feels like it must, each careful step creating a crevice of pebbles and ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The frozen rain that is inundating the Northwest pelts my face. By the time I open the door to my cold cabin, turn the wall heater to high, light a cinnamon scented candle, and settle into the big white chair by the window, my flip flop clad feet are numb. I tuck them into the heating pad and sigh.

In the quiet I sense His presence. A presence I love. A sense that God is near, that His gift of Immanuel, God with us, is not confined to Christmas. I am not alone. I am not isolated by the soundlessness of deafened ears, as I feared all those years ago.

The silence of my world is sacred— a trust from the heart of a good God. An extravagant gift that came to me unbidden, unwanted.

How I wish I had not worried and fretted and raged all those years ago. I wish I had known that He speaks—

I wish I had known how beautiful God’s voice would sound in the silence.

Today my book launches— the book that tells my story of learning to recognize and know and love that Voice. The book that tells the whole story that I didn’t want.

On Christmas morning I gave my book to each of my four children, even tried to make a sort of speech about this gift from my heart, then gave up on words and gave in to tears.

The sad truth is, my deafness hurt my children. And facing that truth as I wrote hurt me. What mama wants her children to learn hard things by watching her stumble through hard things?

But the bigger truth is, my deafness helped each one of them to grow up clinging to the Father. They watched and they listened as God took my anger and turned it into joy. They saw my struggles, were embarrassed and dismayed at a mother who couldn’t hear. And every one of them— John Mark, Rebekah, Elizabeth, and Matt— chose to follow this One who rescued me from despair.

And that, my dear friends, is simply grace.

From a heart reveling in God’s inexplicable goodness,

Diane

P.S. An excerpt from He Speaks In The Silence is posting today on the Proverbs 31 Ministry devotional. And another here, on Zondervan’s website.