Wednesday, March 20, 2013


dear emily,

this year i became a poetry reader after a lifetime of devouring books.

at first, i considered poems like the vegetables on my plate.    "eat your
vegetables first and get them over with."  i realized that my own words
would be richer if i read the condensed, perfectly chosen bites of great
poets.    i hoped that sweetly written phrases like, "oh good, old brown
earth" (browning) would soak into my dry, crumbly soil.

now, however, i inhale these poems, because they are as addicting as my
daughter's roasted broccoli with garlic, red pepper, and parmesan.    when
i savor a delicately seasoned refrain like, "twilight comes to the little farm,"
(carruth) it nourishes the hunger i didn't even know i had.

i pray that along with eating healthy doses of scripture,  my crusty shell
will become good, old brown earth, yielding its own crop of nourishment. 
of course, a lot of silly crops will grow there, too.    if i eat my vegetables,
i should get my dessert.


"the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field."  matthew 13:44

Saturday, March 16, 2013

false advertising

dear emily,

my friend janette reminded me of a story i shared with her about finding the
perfect wedding dress for our daughter.    a frightening ice storm stole our
power six years ago, chasing us south to dallas for a few days.   hans stayed
home to guard and tend to the house, but all five kids left with me.

while there, we decided to do a little wedding dress shopping for the bride
to be.   she is tall, willowy, and beautiful, but no one would describe her as
buxom, a fun word to say.   buxom, buxom, buxom.   sorry.

she would pull back the curtain in a vision of glory, and her sisters would
exclaim, "oh, you look SO gorgeous!" (sigh)   her brothers would say, "umm,
a little frumpy, don't ya think?"   then the sisters would hit the brothers over
the head.

every dress she tried on was more lovely than the last, making the decision
difficult.    one of the dresses was form fitting and fitted at the top with
some kind of padded form.   the groom would have dissolved into foam on
sight.   the sisters (this sounds like a convent) and i,  "oohed and ahhed",
but the brothers . . .

well the younger, rascally brother max said, "wow, that looks awesome, but
don't you think it's false advertising?"


ps. "how beautiful you are, my darling!  oh, how beautiful!" song of songs 1:15

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


dear emily,

there is significance to our dreams.   my mother dreamed that she would
someday marry a prince, but i dreamed of becoming the next julie andrews.  
we both married princes, but there is only one julie andrews.

the truth is that i'm not really much of an intentional dreamer.    the dreams
i love are the ones that come to me during the night, the ones over which i
have little control.    i have a theory that when i don't pay attention to what
the Lord is saying during the day, He speaks to me at night.   that is not an
excuse, however, to ignore Him during the day.

"for God does speak - now one way, now another - though man may not
perceive it.  in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on
men as they slumber in their beds . . . " job 33:14,15

i pay close attention to those messages, because i think they're important.
many of them have led me away from a dangerous path and toward an
answered prayer.   some have comforted my heart that worried for a loved
one.   other dreams have simply warned, "don't eat spicy food before bed."
the trick is to decipher one from the other;  giant helpings of the bible help
with that.

recently, i heard that a great author (of course, i can't remember his name)
would write half a chapter before he went to sleep, and many nights he
would dream the next sequence in his story.

it's a great excuse to get to bed early.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

the 'empties'

dear emily,

i have the 'empties' today.   you know that feeling . . .  well it's more a lack
of feeling that makes the simplest of chores seem daunting?    don't want
breakfast, don't want to take a walk or unpack my suitcase, don't want to
read me bible or even a book (i left the 'me', because it turned up the corners
of my mouth.)

this is what children feel like when we make them eat their vegetables but
they only want oreos.    when we grow up, we have to make ourselves do
things, too.    we need light but crave darkness and stillness and oreos.   the
smallest breeze could upset my apple cart.    if there were only some clouds,
i might go outside.

"but whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen
plainly that what He has done has been done through God."  john 3:21

i don't really get the last part, but the first part is my vegetable for today.