Archive for March, 2014

Photo Feature Wednesday: the Carl Sandburg House

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Photo Feature graphic, PicMonkey

Last weekend, our family and Duane’s parents went to Flat Rock, NC to visit the Carl Sandburg house. Abby’s teacher entered a poem that she wrote into the Carl Sandburg Student Poetry Contest. I am THRILLED to report that she won second place for her poem, Day Shadows to Night Brightness. Abby has always loved to write and as she gets older, it’s obvious that she has a unique way with words. Here’s the poem she wrote; I’m biased, but I think it’s really beautiful.

By: Abby Davis February 24, 2014

Day Shadows to Night Brightness

When I touch my downy blonde hair, I know I am awake.
My yawn feels as if it reaches the edges of the Earth.
The early mornings somber darkness obscures the morning birds angelic song.
My sleepy eyes want to close.
My mind races back throughout yesterday and I push my achy body off of my SUDDENLY springy bed.
I feel strong, even though the loudest quiet is going on in the world around me.
Today’s first sun rays gleam through my window and I am ready.
I thrust myself forward for whatever challenges come my way.
Good morning light.

Lanky with wavy brown curls that roll down her bony back
Her tan skin is coated with piles of tears carrying sad memories, showering like waterfalls.
Shy. Words locked in her head, heard by no one but her own soul.
Our words were blocked out by the pain she felt underneath the radiant yellow monkey bars.
Dark shadows in her life were ones we hadn’t experienced.
The second came when she overheard the laughter of friendly conversation.
A smile hung on the corners of her mouth, visible but far from full.
Beneath the luminous yellow monkey bars all of our worlds became brighter.
She smiled and said, “Hi.”

Malicious customers, counting dollars, loud bawls from annoying little babies
She shouts. She is done, she says, done and storms off.
The corner she finds herself in is filled with dust and cobwebs.
That is what she feels in her heart; dusty, dusty cobwebs.
One chocolate cupcake, beautiful orange frosting, scattered sprinkles
“Happy Birthday,” he says.
She laughs. She laughs like there is nothing in the world that can stop her.
Tears explode that have been bundled up behind her eyes.
Not sad, happy, extremely happy.
She screams of joy and lifts him off of his feet, eating it lightheartedly.

I bounce back on my springy bed, downy blonde hair sprawling across my pillow.
After all I have seen today, my eyelids flutter to the tune of a heavenly bird song and close peacefully.
The memories drift into my head painting a smile, an image of things I have learned.
There is strength in each part of each day, every situation filled with emotion.
The day’s events each made me feel heartbroken while its happy moments mended the broken pieces.
You can’t have happy without sad because light pours out of darkness.
Dark shadows give way to bright smiles; dusty cobwebs are swept away with life’s beautiful frosting.
Somehow, somber darkness always releases an angelic heavenly song.
The darkness of the night sky will be illuminated by the light that shines in the morning.
Giving all things a chance to reflect, to experience, to start over…dark to light
Constant movement


Repentance of the Heart

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Lately, I’ve been noticing a trend. Not on Twitter, but in my heart.  The pesky people that wrote Gospel-Centered Life, as well as the illuminating power of the Holy Spirt, made me realize that my repentance is often shallow. In their chapter on repentance, they write piercing truths such as the following:

“…Repentance often becomes more about US than about God or the people we’ve sinned against.  We want to feel better. We want things to be ‘back to normal.’  We want to know that we’ve done our part, so that guilt is assuaged and we can move on with life.”

Knife in heart, twisting slowly.

I love Normal. It’s comfortable. I like to snuggle up next to Normal with a hot cup of coffee and a good book on a really comfy couch. But for Jesus, I’d stay on that couch everyday.

In Luke 6, Jesus says, “Out of the overflow of [the] heart, [the] mouth speaks.” So, whenever we say an unkind word to someone else or think a jealous thought, that should set off an alarm: Something is going on in my heart. Normal, who I love, would quickly have me ask forgiveness for the words I said–which is an important part of repentance. BUT, it’s also time to get off the couch with Normal and address the deep waters of the heart with Jesus.

Yesterday, I received good news about some friends. Outwardly, I was cheerful, but inwardly, I noticed something wasn’t quite right. I could tell I was jealous. (Alarm going off.)

So, what do I do when jealousy creeps in?  I  can  certainly ask God to forgive me for a jealous heart, but I felt Him pressing me to move further. Why was I  jealous? Is it simply because I wanted what they had? Well, yes, that’s part of it. But there’s more. Jealousy often reveals  discontentment and a lack of thankfulness.  Now we’re getting somewhere. In my heart, there resides a forgetfulness of all the ways God has been gracious to me and a resistance to Him as the Writer of my story.

Okay, now Normal has been shoved off the couch and I can begin to offer the sins  of my heart to Jesus. I’ve been reminding my little Stephen that Jesus is a safe place to admit where we’re wrong, to bring Him our sins, and receive his forgiveness. So I need to practice what I preach.

Daily reminder: Jesus is a safe place to unleash the deep waters of my heart.

Have I been thankless? Yes, Jesus forgive me.  Have I been discontent? Yes, Jesus forgive me. Has the disposition of my heart led to jealousy? Yes, Jesus have mercy. Then, I receive his forgiveness with joy and walk in freedom, because those sins have been paid for and nothing, not even my sin or shallow repentance, can separate me from the love of Christ.

Daily reminder #2: “Joy will never come by denying our deep sinfulness; rather it must come by seeing how huge our sin really is and how completely it has been dealt with in Christ.” Barbara Duguid, Extravagant Grace.

Yes! May it be so. May we find joy in bringing our deepest sins to Jesus, knowing that He’s dealt with them on the cross and He’s faithful and just to forgive.



Friday Favorites: March 14

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Friday Favorites, weekly roundup

Friday, thank you for showing up today. Especially since it was a blustery 30º yesterday, but you’re topping out at a sunny 60º. Friday, you are so much better than Thursdays.


Here’s the weekly round up of favorites.

Friday Favorites March 14

A. Easy Lunchboxes: I can’t tell you how much I love these–let me count the ways.

#1 I got rid of my dependence on pesky Ziploc bags for packing lunch.

#2 The kids think they’re fun and the 3-compartment Bento- style makes packing lunch easier for them to do.

#3 They fit right inside of a standard insulated lunch bag.

#4 They’re just plain cute.

B. The coffee shelf: We first fell in love with this idea when we saw it on Scoutmob.   But, we’ve decided to build it ourselves. This should be interesting since we are not even close to anything DIY. Got our pallet board today and it’s about to get crazy!

C. My favorite instagram: This girl. She’s becoming quite the guitarist. And, she growing up WAY TOO FAST.

D.  Extravagant Grace: I cannot say enough about this book. It’s a game changer. It’s the author’s reflection on John Newton’s letters. One of my favorite passages: “Joy will never come by denying our deep sinfulness; rather it must come by seeing how huge our sin really is and how completely it has been dealt with in Christ.” Yes!

E. What I’m listening to :  Gospel Whiskey Runners. What Duane and I like to call indie folk. Listen to Hold On here.

Happy Friday.