Monday, December 31

I have looked at pictures from
texas on Christmas. wow! I looked
old. yes. some kind of stomach
bug hit me. I am too thin. promise
to work on this. to try and embrace
growing old.

my children treat me with such
love and honor and respect that I
let my hair down. forget make-up.
laugh. bask in the wonder of life
and Jesus. of battles fought, and
victories won. of holes that God
has pulled the five of us out of.

and now,
settling back into reality,
there is joy, but sadness.
as my cousin david says,
"life marches in with big, muddy
boots". the world shifts. I grab on,
harder, to the hem of God's sweet,
glorious love.

can you hear Him?
"come all you who labor
and are heavy laden...and I will
give you on me, and I
will answer.
and show you great and
mighty things.."

we all so missed brandt (deployed),
and jasmine and colben. I know
many of you missed loved ones, too.
I thought of you. of the families
in Connecticut. cover us, Jesus,
cover us. bind our wounds. raise
our sights. yes, Lord. yes. yes.

Sunday, December 30

everywhere we go,
there are big, giant holes waiting
for us to fall into. we are all
broken, and if the devil can pull
us down, he will.
holes that sometimes take Jesus
years to get us out of.

I have dropped into so many in my
life. my children are such hard
workers. so earnest. but these
holes are waiting for them; for their
innocence and earnestness are
just the things the enemy is
wanting to ravage and destroy.

every hero in the Bible was hunted
down. always battles to fight.

let us cry out for our children.
warn them. stay close to their
hearts. and never forget that He
Who is in us is far greater
than the enemy...and fighting
the battle with us.

I love you and believe for you
and yours today

Saturday, December 29

Christmas eve.
the boys working but taylor and me.
headed to the mall.
just hanging out.
taylor waited while I ran into the bathroom
...and there, a tiny, hispanic woman
continuing to clean after every used

I ran out.
"taylor, do u have cash?
I need a 20.
will be right back."

heading back into women's restroom,
I place the money in the
little lady's hand.
kissed her cheek...
and sang,
"God loves you and I love you
and that's the way it should be."

"thank you. Jesus loves you....and
so do I." with tears in her eyes,
she thanked me.

that beautiful old hymn...
"He lives..He lives. Christ Jesus
lives today. He walks with me
and talks with me along the
narrow way..He lives...salvation
to impart.."

bless you all!
thank you so for kind words and
gifts.I pray you can see my blue
eyes shining on you. feel my warm
hand in yours. know your kind
words to taylor meant so much to him.

we are in Sacramento another day
or two before we both head to where we live.

great to be with tom and jan

Friday, December 28

almost midnight.
taylor and I flew into Sacramento
last night from dallas. flushed
with joy from being with our little
family. snow and hail and watching
my sons look after each other and
me. the love beautiful.

my dear friend debby flew in to be with us.
we soaked each other up.
it was simple and peaceful...
and I lay in bed.
eyes closed each night.
pondering the picture God drew
of a single mom and four, fatherless
children...and how God has led us
all the way. then would fall asleep
with tear-covered face.

music tapping out the story. the
surprise of getting to be together.

"bless the Lord, oh my soul...
and all that is within me. bless
the Lord, and don't forget His
benefits. bless His holy Name.."

Wednesday, December 26

after all the hoopla
and packed malls and
office Christmas parties. after
all the noise and ruckus, the world
is quiet. every shop closed. all the lights
turned off. most cars parked and people
in bed. waiting....

for children rolling out of bed
and racing in to drag one and all
to the Christmas tree and all the surprises
awaiting them.

3 a.m. Christmas morning.
finally, we can see Jesus. and hear Him.
ALL fades, but HIM.

in Him, and Him, alone,
we put our trust. disease ravaging
those we love. addictions trying to eat
away our earnest reserve to be pure. death
and rebellion stirring the pot in many homes.

in Him, and Him, alone.
He holds our hope. our healing. our attempts at
faithfulness, somehow, amidst the battles, we hold
on to Him with all our hearts and love and devotion.

oh, lead us to the Rock that is higher than we are.
every time. every time. because in Him, alone, He holds our hope.

Tuesday, December 25

taylor just received his college degree in film
at california state university in monterey bay, california.
and rivers run and the sky moves and fresh beginnings
live. may Jesus be glorified in all taylor has to offer the world.

at one month,
in a hotel room,
i laid him in the middle of a king-sized bed.
all warm and fed and tucked in. suddenly,
i heard a thump, and found him on the floor.
that new-born squall that sliced my bearings
apart and left me shaking.

i realized he was brilliant and advanced.
and as brock and colson and brandt came along,
i felt the same about them. smile. i love them with
my bone and marrow and beating heart, and tell them
every day that they are my morning sky and my afternoon
sun. and little colben stretches that love to a dimension
i never thought even existed.

this holy Christmas,
love your children and families
unconditionally. look for the best.
speak beautiful words. forgive the misses.
let God do the judging. let love .. REAL love..forgive and
redeem us in our brokenness and holes of sorrow and struggle.

breathe His Spirit,
and know i truly love you.

Monday, December 24

today is Christmas eve.
people madly rushing everywhere.
frazzled. hurried. overwhelmed.
everyone 'under the gun' but Jesus.

no effort. no anxiety. no stooped shoulders.
Jesus came, and the world hushed, and hope
was born. untarnished promises that inspite of all
our burdens and pain and loved ones' struggles,
Jesus is here to dress the skies with music.
to cleanse us from our brokenness and sin....
and to never, ever fail us. even when it looks

i am in dallas with brock and colson and taylor.
we so miss having brandt...and jasmine and colben
are with her family. BUT WE ARE TOGETHER!!!
happy. happy. happy. a gift from a friend of mine.
i know i'm partial, but my sons are so sweet to me.
and so caught by the joy of us being together. every
single minute counts. we are watching every penny.
trying to be so careful.

"i wonder as i wander out under the sky...
how mary birthed Jesus and came forth to die....."

so sorry about no blogs.
you probably wouldn't believe all the struggles
i've been through, and everything fell apart.
but i expect at least five new blogs every week. at least.
and your continual comments and love pour into my hair and
skull and soul and fingers and out my fingers and toes until i
dance. and sway. tears running down my face. so grateful
for love. so very grateful.

Tuesday, December 18

hey everyone.
i love you so much!
at the moment i don't have a
computer or a phone.
they are in the shop.

i send my warmest love.
i will be in touch in the next few days.
please know that i really love you
and that i'm praying for you.

choose to make this Christmas different.
don't let it overwhelm you.
let the Real Spirit live.

Monday, December 17

sunday evening.
my grandbaby with his fly-away
ringlets and beautiful little face came
to see me. his beautiful mother, my
daughter-in-law, and her cousin,
joined me for church.

a difficult service as we thought of
connecticut, and the children and
adults who lost their lives so tragically.

but i will never question a beautiful,
loving God Who can take the ugly
and ravaged darkness of this world.
and still, somehow, have mercy on
the sick and sinner...and raise, in
time, beauty.

"to know the love of Christ..that you,
being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend..what is
the width and length and depth and
height...that you may be filled with
all the fullness of God."

there is s giant hole in our hearts.
but may Jesus
fill it with love and connection and

i love your comments on my blog
and facebook. i just so love you.
may the brilliant Star Who shines on us
never lose it's power in the world.

Thursday, December 13

i want to write an inspiring blog.
to lift each of you beyond the mundane
and laborious and compromised
muck and mess of secularized Christmas.

but it is one p.m....and i am still in my
nightgown. mail to cover. lonely for
colben. my 12-step mtg. tonight.
my eyes allergic to something. could
not sleep all night for some reason.
this paragraph makes me sound like
a cry-baby. it can block your sun-lit
hope in Jesus even more than commercialism.

i run to the ONLY Rock that weaves
peace into this bumpy journey called
life. God's beautiful words.

"fight the good fight of faith. not in
any way terrified by your adversaries."
philippians 1

"strengthen the weak hands and make
firm the feeble knees. say to those who are fearful-hearted,
'be not fear!'" isaiah 35

i continue to read your beautiful
words to me. to see you on facebook...some long-time,
dear friends. others of you new in my life.
and i pray over you. and love you.

"and we will worship...worship....
forever in the presence of the King..."
10,000 reasons

Tuesday, December 11

i can hear Jesus say...'thy strength
indeed is small. child of weakness,
come and pray. find in Me Thine all
in all..'

for five days, jan and my collaborator
and i have worked on the proposal
of my latest book. speaking about the
heart of God. of all the deep holes
my children and i have fallen into. and
God's vast and extraordinary mercy.
His strong arms reaching out to us.
pumping love into the knotted sinew
of all our failures and broken desperations.

colson called.
"mom!! guess what brandt did for me
hmmmm. "i don't know, darling."
"he tried to call and found my phone
was disconnected until pay day, so he
paid my entire bill.. we had a great

brothers loving and helping each other.
friends doing the same.
"Jesus paid it all. all to Him i owe.
sin had left its crimson stain.
He washed me white as snow."

scrub all the nasty, little corners of
fear and resentment out of our lives.
clean away the dirt so we can shine
for You, Lord...and hear the lapping of
fresh hope as it rolls ashore with Your
sweet scent of forgiveness.
the rhythm of joy. steady and sweet.
come, Jesus, come.

Saturday, December 8

a new day.
the day my collaborator flies
in for five/six days to work on
this new book.

i feel utterly inept. incapable.
broken. yet, i've been in this worship
mode that is nothing i have ever
experienced before. hungry for Jesus.
bowing down. 10,000 reasons cd.

"higher than we ever could imagine...
closer than our eyes can ever see.
You are magnificent!!!!"

reading this morning...
"for when i am weak, then i am strong."
ll cor. 12

please pray for tracey, jan and me
these few days. that we won't be
afraid or troubled. that our arteries
and blood flow will open us. truth
that is buried will begin to unfold.
and Jesus will be lifted up.

colson calls me on his two-walks to
work. so positive. loves his job.
his apt. living close to brock.

remember: "let not your heart
be troubled."

i don't succeed at this always, either.
but keep marching forward. i'm with
you. reading all your words of life for
me. because God is a mighty Force.
always..always on our behalf.

God has His plans for us.
may the rhythm of His love
wash us day after day.
forever your running partner!

Thursday, December 6

colson called
after 2 a.m. yesterday morning.

"mom, you sound so clear. so awake."
"oh, darling...i want to! you are my
son, and i'm on call 24/7 with my

suddenly, fear began to creep in.
"colson, what's up, doll?"

"i've been so sick, mom. i can't breathe
if i'm lying dowm. and i'm worried.
i've been promoted to a managerial
position, and missed two days work.
pray, mom, pray. the darkness, i began to cry out
to Jesus. the One who saves us and
makes all the difference.
it is a beautiful gift to pray for our children.

hold the hand of Jesus today.
don't look at seeming impossibilities.
the crush of Christmss.
the less than adequate funds.

"magnificent... He is higher than
we ever can imagine. closer than our
eyes can ever see..."

i love you all.
today, find joy and trust!!

Wednesday, December 5

i'm sitting with a desperate woman.
fresh out of jail and a nervous breakdown.
pacing. then burying her
head in my lap. sobbing. her 17 yr. old daughter
has cancer of her brain and is terrified she won't have time
before she dies ...with her mother.
her car was impounded. her purse
with photo i.d. stolen. phone.
scared to be alone.

we will worry about car tomorrow.
today, at walmart,
we buy her a phone. Oh...
friendship takes work. and fleecy,
warm pajamas and underwear and
a sweater. i grab a magazine aand
candy bar for her.

continual tears in her eyes.
a hug. i kiss her face. pray with her...
and say 'goodnight'.

"He's our God...shining like the sun...
faithful to the end..." be looking
for the broken. this is the season they
are easiest to spot. Jesus paid it all.
for you. for them.

Monday, December 3

yesterday, i met a long-time friend.
winding up a hill to find a cozy, private
hotel. she had flown in from cross-country..the south.
brunch and then to our room where i donned p.j.'s...
and we each crawled on our beds.

wrapped in pillows and comforters,
facing each other, we began to talk about all the holes we'd fallen in....
and all the patient ways God had to con-
tinually pull us out. we peeled off all
the layers. strip by strip.

two, professional, God-fearing women
with lives of accomplishment and shame and brokenness.
the rain was coming down in sheets. torrential.

at 5:30 p.m....she had arranged for us
to have massages. i hadn't had a massage in 12 yrs.
special. back to our room.
room service salad and a creme brulee to share.

what a beautiful surprise for me.
i could not have afforded to do that.
this season, let's expect God, the Savior of the world,
for miracles. moments with friends. a cup of tea.
heart-sharing vulnerability.

Christmas is all about grace and
being together. let's forget the rest
of the fuss, and hug and laugh and
unveil hidden pieces to those we
trust. i thought of all of u while holly
and i were together. praying for some
of these beautiful moments, too.

Saturday, December 1

early saturday morning.

sheets of rain outside.
wet earth. cold.

"and i will worship..
worship. glory hallelujah
to the King."

last night was Christmas tea.
i had bought five tickets, and my
friend tere and i prayed about who
God had intended to have those
seats with us. a single mother of
six. our 12-step leader.. & my dear,
brilliant friend who struggles with
her sexuality. all of us broken. singing
the ageless Christmas carols of a
savior borm to us this day.

laughter and hot tea and yummy, little
plates of food and cookies. we had laid
our burdens down. remembered
that Christmas is really all about Him.
the Savior is enough. He will always
make a way. always. always. and
sometimes we can't see what He is
really doing until we are almost going
over the cliff.

i walk into my grocery store, and people will call out my name.
"hi, ann". i drop something off at the dry cleaners,
and veronica comes around the counter to hug me.
i kiss her cheek. building bridges in my world.
being Jesus where i live. none of
them have the slightest idea what i
do..or where i've been. now,
lay your burdens down. choose to let them go.
all the hard memories of past holidays.
all confusion around where God is.
your troubled chldren.
and go out with eyes touch your world
with a smile. a kind word.

"no more pain. no more sorrow...
no more sickness...worship...worship.
singing glory hallelujah to the King."