Sunday, December 30, 2012

repeat the sounding joy.

Began on December 29, 2012.

Oh, friends! I have a wonderful reason to be gathering you here this day.
Makenna Joy is one! Last year on December 29th I was torn. We had to be at home, but Miss Kaneenia was being born. Our hearts were anticipating getting our arms around that Little Light.
We soon would, but the wait of that week to recover from my cold {which always staggers around Christmas} + to give the Clay's space was hard. Thankfully, Miss Makenna and I have made up for those snuggles. Little Light loves eskimo kisses... she will lean in a lil' more just in case you want to give her one more kiss before you go... and she loves pulling on this kid's hair. {ME}

Can you believe it's been a year since I announced her birth in our small corner of the world wide web? This year has flown. Overall, it has been full of long days--some good, some bad. When you have a year of long days, you want to see it go, but maybe it goes a little too fast.

I am reflecting on this last year. It's been an interesting one... but it has been a blessed one. Just because life is hard doesn't mean it's not abundantly full! We have experienced empty years + we are grateful for our life in this lil' town of ours that He has led us to.

Now, as for Miss Makenna... 
You won't get a long, sappy, heart-wrenching letter. Her special birthday letter was already delivered to her... for now you get to know her... and I get to look back on my unknowingness of picking this song before Mak... and how fittting it still is today.

Look at all the angels watching you
They're singing songs that we have never heard
And their voices ring like bells over the mountains
Oh, if only we could hear their words

God is near, little girl
God is near, little girl


^^not mine

Your eyes are brilliant, deep sky blue

Their quiet wisdom is an evening song
And the angels must be breathless at
Your beauty

Like the world catches its breath before the dawn

God is near, little one
God is near, little one

Jesus bends to hear you breathe
His tender hands are holding you tonight
His heart is ravished when you look at Him,

^^not mine
And oh, the endless mercy in His eyes

^^not mine

God is here, little light
God is here, little light
God is here, little light
God is here, little light

I have played this song so many times that her precious big brother Luke came in the room the other day when I was singing it and said, ''That's Makenna's song!" :)

I can't remember how I found this treasure of a song, but it tis so precious.
I don't know why God has put these little lights into my life--ALL OF THEM--but He has. I am so incredibly blessed to get to see these families day in and day out + serve them in the way that I try. Their quiet wisdom is an evening song... even if our play time is the farthest thing from quiet! As I gaze at what the Lord has done in this babysitting journey + gaze ahead I can do nothing but bow my head and praise Him. It may not do a single thing for all of the families that I have the privilege of being around, but the Lord uses it, as He does all my activities + day to day happenings, for His miraculous glory and my undeserved good. Looking forward to all He has planned ahead! Remember when this whole babysitting thing physically came about? Click HERE. :) Also, beware of the fact that I had just started blogging. I was that chick that used like four exclamations points after every sentence. Imagine that!!!! ;)

With all of this said, my heart is heavy today on this subject, especially as I am thinking of Makenna's joyous entry into the world. Looking forward to all the Lord is going to do in this precious connection + friendship in the future. In the meantime, trusting the Lord will do more than I can ask or imagine in this season of life, I will keep on keepin' on...

And when duty calls... and it will...I will wipe messes, give eskimo kisses, give snuggles, and read when my throat or heart is just simply spent. I will keep them away from hot ovens and fast slamming doors. I will tell stories of God's faithfulness because sometimes I find it hard to live out; Their wonder and curiosity with that childlike faith gives me a push... to just trust. To have dance parties, watch movies, and to make frozen pizzas + oranges + ice cream.

If we are faithful to the little things, we may or may not be blessed with more. I'm not chasing God for His blessings.The fact is that if you can become content with God in these little things in your season of being 'between the rains'... you will be using your blessings for their ultimate good + true purpose if and when they come along. So, when my flesh's last worry is to be content the war is raged + contentment + godliness will overpower by God's grace. If I'm not content here, I will never be content solely on the One that all joy, security, and wellness with thou's soul belongs to. If I'm not content here, I shall never be righteously content anywhere, in any circumstance He will allow me to be in. I would rather be content based off of truth with less circumstantial blessings than content sitting on a throne of lies with more.

So, when I don't want to keep on keepin' on...

I will listen to my Grandpa's stories. I will praise God that we have made it as far as we have. I will rub backs. I will praise when I don't want to... I am emptied and I shall be filled.
In trials, an introvert's nature is multiplied something terribly awful. So, when I don't want to get out of bed for more reason's than one, I will mutter a prayer surrendering the day to His Will + Glory. Muttering musings that have something deeper; that something deeper lying in my desire for Himself. I will answer to those ''how are you's'' surrending to the golden boy. I will humbly accept the prodigal. The Golden Boy represents cheap grace, and the Prodigal loves the mystery of this costly grace. The last thing I want to be doing is writing my last blog of 2012, because there were so many that went unwritten. But, my direction has needed to be elsewhere. So, please forgive me, dear blog, and everyone who has suffered the effects of my one-thing-at-a-time frame of mind in this season. :)

When life is hard... when unthinkable shootings unfold... it makes us want to hide.
Christmas' can be messy, but wasn't the first Christmas? The young as me Mary gripping Joseph's hand in pain as the Innkeeper misses the miracle at his door. {Oh, how I long to expand on that! :) Soon and very soon, I hope.} This all makes us want to hide. We put up another wall. So, days after this tragic event comes we celebrate when Immanuel found a way to not scare us, but to invite us into His loving presence.

Then, He sends people in your path to soften your heart...

To make you act silly every once in awhile...

To give you hope for your future in the cutest, sillest, and most glorious of ways...

There is nothing more beautifully vulnerable than when a baby gazes expectantly upon an older one...when they are longing to be answered + you relate + you agree with their child-like joy. You repeat the sounding joy.

As we close, may we pray for those of Newtown who need unexplainable peace. They need Hope.
May we surrender our Golden Boy personality when we want to hide... and be okay with showing the prodigal.
May we let the hope of Christmas pour into our new year.
May we surrender 2012... so many things will spring from this year that we haven't conceived yet... and that tis something to celebrate.
Let's strive to please God and not men.
May we praise God for Makenna Joy + all these Little Light's that simply can change one's world... and have already.
May we repeat the sounding JOY... in every possible, unthinkable, glorious, practical way that He leads us about in doing! :)

I got treasure up in heaven; I got dirt all over me,
Princess Emilee

P.S. 50% of this blog belongs to Makenna and the remaining to Jason Gray. {If you don't know who he is, I pity your lack of thoughtful, life-changing music. Do yourself a favor and look him up on YouTube!} I have had the hardest time this-putting-together-of-words-thing that it would have been impossible without their inspiration... and ultimately, it was wholly brokenly written through God's wondrous grace.

^^not mine

What a year! :)


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Father of the fatherless.

This song. It tis what I blogged of last Christmas.

It's tradition.

You see, I listen, but I only let myself sink it in by myself... or in a dark backseat...

because this song makes me cry.

I see her beautiful eyes staring into mine in that village along Lake Victoria.

I listened to this song in Uganda. I breathed grace deep as I slipped a friends headphones in my ears on that bus that was our home for a week...lush land surrounding me... boda bodas flying by...while my Uncle's hands were gripping tight to the steering wheel I listened hard.

I see a little boy that never grinned at me.

I see the more hopeless the older children get.

I see a high school boy that came to our door come early November that we fell in love with.
He wanted to rake leaves + God wanted to work on all of our hearts. We talked with him, we silently worked with him, we gave him cookies, and we prayed with him. Come the next day he came back to say good-bye. The young man only stays somewhere until his foster parents just got tired of him. He had been rejected and put into 40+ homes since he was five years old because his mom and dad had 'issues'. When he walked away from our front door... he reached the sidewalk... he looked back at me... and I waved... as did he. He was an answer to prayer, the Lord did so much through him. My tears welled and spilled over when we reached the house of God come mid-day on a Wednesday. I cried.

I cried for him. I forgave Adam and Eve. Again.

Because they came into the world, sin entered. I'm not saying I wouldn't have done the same thing that Eve did... I'm saying that they were the ones that began this domino effect and it makes me stinkin' furious.

Without them Newtown wouldn't be grieving. Without that ugly serpant we wouldn't have lost babies that are taken too early in our eyes from this world. Without the evil one we wouldn't have abortions... or broken marriages... or arguments... or ungratefulness... or pride...

But we do.

So, what do you do when we are faced with this spiritual warfare day in and day out?

Christmas will end soon. 2013 is coming.

Just because Christmas is ending doesn't mean our hope runs out or our kindness has to dwindle.

We submit to God. Because praying is not nothing... trusting in God is not nothing... resting in Him is not nothing... being still and knowing is not nothing...

So, that's what we do. We give baths, we rub backs, we breathe deep, we tense up, we snore loud, we brew coffee, we get out of bed, we trust God, we love Him, we pray hard, we pray big, we send e-mails, we love loud, we laugh loud, we hate little, we take rests, we work hard, we give glory.

For He is our Peace.

He is our Father.

In a world of hopelessness...

I see her smile + giggle... I smile even though her future is unknown, because she needs some hope. So, I held a fatherless child... spinning that Princess in a foreign land hoping that eternal life would be her inheritance.

and in a world of hopelessness...
He. Is. Our. Only. Hope.
έν τη σαρκί ύμων είδετε τόν θάνατον, αλλά διά του αγιου πνεύματος έχετε ελπίδα καλην.

I won't nail it down for you, but the bottom line is: Death is a reality, but we have a good Hope. We have a better Hope. His name is Jesus.

And today we celebrate His birthday. In a world of hopeless situations and fatherless children...
I smile, because coming in a manger as a stranger to a tree to a throne... He has overcome it all.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Your Peculiar Treasure.

P.S. Stay tuned for my next blog post about 'messy Christmas'! :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

i just have to show up.

On the way home from a dinner theater with friends this evening:

Me: Yea, I keep telling everyone that this year is my year to meet my future husband. My Grandparents went to the eighth grade dance together; they've been married for 53 years this December. Plus, friends of ours {so and so} have been married a long time as well met in the eighth grade.

Well, let's call her Martha--Martha: {after we all had a few giggles} You do know that that is very unrealistic, right?

Me: Well, yes, of course.

Conversation continues rapidly... a few minutes later:

Martha: So where do you predict that you are going to meet this future husband of yours this year?

Me: That's for God to decide. I just have to show up.

Then, for some reason the truck erupted with laughter. Grin.

Today is a day that my blog from yesterday kept beating me over the head. Life is hard. Ugly, painful tears were shed. We will learn about that more, Lord willing, in our next post. For now, continue savoring His Word and the time that you shall intentionally spend in it. He is good when life is not. Remember how He paints! :)

Today's list of littles:

  • A pat on the back.
  • Making a hot chocolate package to giveaway.
  • It was Layne + Lance's {of cLOVErton} birthday today.
  • Time to be a good + true introvert. I take those moments where I can.
  • Hazelnut cream coffee from a friends keurig.
  • Laughter.
  • A good, short, heartwrenching cry.
  • Quoting + discussing different scenes from Andy Griffith with a friend from church.

Oh, and one more 'little':

That African Grandpa shirt. I love it. Speaking of eighth grade, that's the guy that met his bride in that very year! :) If He wills, my Dad will have a shirt like that someday!

I got treasure up in heaven; I got dirt all over me,

Saturday, December 8, 2012

o come let us adore Him.

The Anticipation Overwhelms.  {--Spotify link.}

another LINK for your LIKING. {--my Twitter link.}

   If you ended up listening to the song that is withheld in those links you heard mainly instrumentals.
The only lyrics being one that most likely you already knew was coming being, ''O Come, let us adore Him."
O come... let us... adore Him...
   In this beginning of December, in the beginning of Jason Gray's album ''Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy", this song builds anticipation for all to be beheld in the coming of this season. It comes fadingly and disappears sharply--the season and the song.

   Something about this anticipation makes you want to stop it all. Stop it before you forget. Before you forget what Christmas-time looks like and feels like. When too many words get in the way. When life tries, when disciples are cutting off ears, it is hard to tell them, "Let. me. adore. Him." It is hard to say no to those you want to impress or please. It is hard to tell those who are willing to help yes. The beat quickens and you wonder if they are wanting you to dance... or if they want your own beat to be swallowed whole by theirs. Well, girlfriend... Well, guyfriend... strive to please God and not men. This whole Christmas will leave you drained if you don't allow the cut from that disciple to heal. If you don't allow God to perfect that beat of yours; conspiring it + you into what He wants it to be, your life will be drained. If you allow life to become something that overtakes you instead of inspires you from time to time... Christmas will not be for you. Christmas will be a Christ-Miss. How I beg that that will not be your story.

In a world of Scrooge's and Peter's, that may be all you see.
But, you see, there are little girls learning about Jesus.
There are two year old boys wanting to see Jesus and in turn praying to Him.
There are Ben's singing Christmas carols. {from the Andy Griffith Show's Christmas Story episode}
There are children being born.
There are women child-less giving their desires to the Lord.
There are friendships growing.
There are singles living with loneliness, but clinging to the hope of Christ.
There are friends laughing and children giggling.
There is a God that hears our prayers... and He is my very Best Friend.
There is hope. A hope that surprises. A hope that came down... and took the whole world by surprise.
A hope that nurtures us and gives us confidence to fulfill our ministry. There are Hope's Nests everywhere you look... if you would even try.

There are watercolors in life completely painted with tears and colorful blessings.

There is an anticipation more than what a little child goes to bed with on Christmas Eve having dreamed of Santa. Something greater than Santa is here. On this very night why don't we anticipate being ABLE to give? Why are we stressing about Christmas plans and family get togethers when we have the opportunity to even have one? What if Christians stopped complaining about everyone else taking Christ out of Christmas and start putting Him back into theirs too? What if they had compassion on people that said, ''Happy Holidays" because hope is what is needed for them + that is right up ''Merry Christmas' '' alley. What if Christians worst fear this December would be a Christ-Miss? Christ isn't missing, but WE are the ones that choose to be absent whether intentionally or fadingly so. What if we allowed ourselves to become children again? What if we let ourselves see Christ's birth in a new way? If we had never heard a Christmas song... had never read the Bible... had never seen a nativity set... and first opened our pages to THIS STORY that created all of this abundant life and the eternal life that awaits... what would we see? Would we see the heart of Mary? Would we see a man of mercy? Would we see the innkeeper's restlessness; his generosity? Would we see no one but Jesus only? Would we treasure these things and ponder them in our hearts?

You say, ''Who cares about that!?" You might say, ''Don't add any untruthfulness to Scripture!" or ''Why imagine when you have everything you need to know?''
Is it untruthful if pondering these things draws us closer into relationship with the King that came as a baby to this poor, broken world? Is it untruthful to put us into the innkeepers place? Is it untruthful if I put myself in Mary's shoes? Did Mary not wonder what this Emmanuel child would be like? Did she not dream about when his little feet would pitter-patter by her side when in the womb his feet she would feel?

Is it untruthful if we anticipate heaven? Is it untruthful if we imagine it while knowing that we are not coming close to a fraction of it's Light? Is it untruthful and wrong of me to dream of my future husband doing this, being that, or coming to me when even if none of those specific events come about? Is all this untruthful if it brings us closer to the God that made our hearts? To the God that knew Mary's first shames, Joseph's doubts, the innkeeper's stress, and the angel's praises? To the God that knows every thought before it comes to be? To the God that knows my every emotion, hormone, and hair on my head? {I have thick hair and a LOT of it. I call it a mop. I like it every once in awhile, but I mostly just want it to lay flat and 'calm down'. He must really love me! :)}

What does this look like now? When Christmas is over? When 2013 begins? When tomorrow morning comes?

Here is a beat that He gave me today when He reminded me of a desire in me that still loves to make up little songs that my Bestie and I were going to sing on stage someday:

What does this look like for us here? For us now?
 We shall watch, we shall walk, and we shall wait...
For He will act with unending grace; unending grace.

For He will find a way. The Way. Emmanuel will find a Way for the one He loves.
We have all seen it before. Christmas is no stranger. Old Faithful may not be a stranger to us either, but when you go do you pass it by condemning it for doing the same thing over and over again? Or do you have a thankful spirit that it reminds you? That it will 'touch' you differently than before?

Christmas is no stranger. When it passes do we condemn it for having the same story, same songs, same lame story? Or do we have a thankfl spirit for the remembrance of our lives because of God's Son coming as a babe in a crowded barn? Do you love it for passing through your heart and touching you, growing you in a way it didn't formerly through the Holy Spirit?

Let anticipation dwell in you. When the Lord sees you His heart flutters like a groom looking at his pure bride. Why, then, do we despise the thought of submitting to His joy?

O come let me adore Him, disciples. Let's savor this season. Let's not rush through the mystery of His Will. I don't like what my life looks like right now persay, but God has placed me in the middle of this crazy, nerve-wracking, butterfly stomach life. The watercolor He is painting with my tears and His colorful blessings given to me is worth more than I can see. What am I to do in all of this uncertainty? I shall watch for Him; watching for servitude possibilities. I shall walk humbly with Him + walk while encouraging and loving others with my whole heart along the way. I shall wait...

For He will act with unending grace.

I got treasure up in heaven; I got dirt all over me,


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Welcome, December.

Y'all, the time is approaching. He started brewing a long blog in me today after an afternoon of swinging in the crisp cold air on my front porch--doing math of all things. This writer chick has not had that inspiration in an eternity it seems... even a hint of a beginning ignites anticipation. :)

I'm excited. I'm welcoming December despite it's challenges:

Welcome, December.

Today's list of littles:

  • Pictures that may be blurry, but very meaningful to me.
  • Carving out an unusually long amount of time to spend with the Lord rather than 'just' my daily readings.
  • Oh my goodness gracious, what would I do without my journal? I may not write in it much, but this month, due to not blogging it has became one of top go-tos on a bad day. Alot of those lately. Also, I have been going back to old journal entries from 2010 and 2011 around this time of year. It has been joyous.
  • My dog. Y'all, he is amazing.
  • Random blogs like this.
  • FICTION! I haven't touched one fiction book since almost earlier this year and I was thoroughly in need of one... if only for a few chapters.
  • Knitting. Enough said. I love it. God uses it for me + for the receiver.
  • Talks + prayers with lil' children about Jesus.
That tis all for now, y'all.
Pray for me as the Lord is working on a Christmas introduction. I'm excited.

In Abba,
yours truly.