Showing posts from 2013

The Night Still

The night so ordinary, still The quiet sheep did have their fill Beneath the stars the shepherds lay The town of David not far away
When suddenly a glorious light Broke through the dark, removed the night The terrifying sight did see By lowly shepherds on bended knee
And as the beings offered praise As if they'd sung this all their days The silent shepherds heard their song As more did join to sing along

Glory to our God on high! His son, just born, has come to die Wrapped with cloth in manger lay The prophesies of old did say
Beneath that mysterious star was found A tiny one they gathered round With awe and adoration speak Of Savior that they all did seek
And remember we that Holy night Imaginings hold wondrous sight As we come to worship him With heads bent low and lights so dim
And shall we sing the angel tune A glorious song in brightest moon To share with those in darkness now Good news to hearts that will allow?
Glory to our God Most High He sent his son that he should die …

We are gifts

It is born out of need every year.  We gather them up and bring them to the makeshift hospital I've set up in our home.  The lame and broken are scattered on the counter before me, and I get to work restoring them all.

One year, I remember, I cared for two decapitated Cinderellas.  The tragedy of it all overwhelmed my little girls who's pictures were forever posed right beside the delicate ornamental characters, their smiles clueless to the brokenness so close to them.  It was a strange site.  They were right beside the severely injured, yet so unaware of their neighbor's plight.

A dab of stubborn glue healed the situation and they were placed back on the tree.  You'd have to look closely to see the hairline scar, a reminder of what was.

It's nearly Christmas.

Our Advent calenders are dwindling down, and the kids are full excitement.  I remember how slowly the days would pass.  Now I feel there is barely enough time to breathe deep before another sun rises.  I'…

When your tree isn't ready for Pinterest

Life never seems to follow the picture I create in my mind, but then I'm a bit of a dreamer.  I get lost in the imaginings of perfect scenarios, those happy Norman Rockwell paintings.  Every year I hope for a heavy snow to fall on Christmas just to feel the slowness of a day that keeps you right where you are.  It stretches its cozy arms around while the fireplace pops and hisses, all while we sip that frothy, rich cocoa as white lights of the tree throw shadows on our faces.

This has never happened anywhere but in my vague imaginings, and yet some version of it finds me hopefully wishing.  Tis the season?

We erected the Christmas tree this week.  My children, all together in their joy, pulled tokens of preceding years from these intimate boxes.  It was furious excitement all about the room as the carols whirled happy tunes in and out of the background.

Divine restraint kept my hands away from the heavily decorated base of the tree.  I stood away from those twinkling lights, away…

Humans for sale

It was mid summer when I first passed it.  I was lost in thoughts on my drive to work when the sign stopped me at the bottom of Straight Street.  There that banner hung unashamed of its message in the boldness of the daylight, "Hey Johns we've got your number."  The next week, to my surprise, it was still there and as I looked a bit closer I saw, "Humans not for sale."

Fall has settled in here.

The trees have turned their own glorious shades of crimson, and still the banner hangs.  The message has changed a few times over the past months, but always the idea remains.  This corner at the bottom of Straight Street is taking a stand for the used, abused, and neglected.

I think about all of the traffic that has passed through that way.  I wonder how many of them noticed the outright tragedy of a city corner.  I wonder how many were in some way a part of it.  It touches the edges of my ownSTORY, and I feel a familiar aching as I swallow memories.  Sometimes we must …

I wish that I was brave

"No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends." John 15:13

I wish that I was brave.  It's such a noble trait, admirable.  I suppose it's not something that you can be sure you possess until you are tested.  It's a decision.  I have a sister who is brave, and I'm a part of  her story.

The setting was a warm summer night.  It was 1980 something; a time when kids left the house early in the day and came home just before dark.  There was no worry on the parents behalf that they wouldn't be safe, at least not in my home.

We were one of four houses on a cul-de-sac.  It was a place of great memories for me that included kick ball games, bike riding, tree climbing and fort building in the nearby woods.  It was a quiet neighborhood.  I believe Nancy was 9 that summer, and I was younger by 17 months.

We had spent the day riding bikes at a friend's house about a block away.  We arrived home just before dark, not realizin…

Did you know?

The dream seemed to last all night.  She was gone from this world, and I was broken into a million pieces.  I tried to pick them up and place them back together.  Then I realized I was missing some of the best parts.

Did you know when you left
how this piece of me followed?
Ripped out of a space
Gaping empty and hollow

Did you feel it, this love
from a flesh that you share?
How it moves in great aching
but will be always was there

Do you hear it, this pounding
of heart beating pain?
How I wish yours would echo
calling once more my name.

There lived a little girl

There lived a little girl
Quite a lovely one, you see
With golden hair and bright blue eyes
That twinkled merrily

She loved to whisper stories
To her blankie late at night
And color vivid pictures
All in all a glorious sight

And this little girl was wonderful
Her mother told her so
But she wasn't always pleasant
(Though she preferred that no one know)

For in certain times she felt it
An uprising deep inside
That bubbled to the surface
Where it had no place to hide

Now that chipper little girl
With her spaced and winsome smile
Turned into an angry bee
Who did buzz a long, long while

She would raise her voice an octave
Stomp her feet and pull her hair
How she wished that she could settle
But her life just felt unfair

She would hear her mother calling
"Little one, let's settle down,
Use calm words to tell your story,
Trade a smile for that frown."

How that little girl was thankful!
For the patience in mom's voice
For she knew that she was loved
When she made an awfu…

The leaf

Then the season came
when a faithful leaf found beauty
After all those days of blending in
the color did shine
when it gave up its life

On ordinary Tuesdays

I drive carefully past the happy playing in our cul-de-sac and pull into the drive.  I give a quick wave to my three girls all gathered in the quiet street making merry faces with chalk.  I think nothing more of their playing.  I don't pause to linger over laughter.  It's an ordinary Tuesday.

Exactly two weeks ago was like any other plain day where families wake up and eat breakfast and head off to work and school.  Mornings full of half-hearted kisses goodbye, with no thought that the same thing could not be expected tomorrow.  It proceeded along, almost mundane in its presentation.

But later that afternoon I got a call from a friend.  She laid it all out in truth, how one family woke that morning to devastating loss.  I didn't want to hear it.  That perhaps my not knowing would make it less true.  My eyes blurred, my stomach groaned, my mind kept repeating, "Children aren't suppose to die."  The unimaginable is reality when it touches you.  You find your wo…


"Here I am."  I say before you Naked as my soul I bare All I have is what I offer Packed in boxes at which you stare
This one marked as "Thoughts/Ideas" That one "Feelings," "Emotions" too "Looks" and "Talent" by "A Quiet Spirit" Will they be enough for you?
I watch you open all my treasures Holding each one in your hands Examining the valued items "Is there not more?" you demand.
I slowly shake my head with sadness I have shown you all I own I carefully place them back inside me, And hurry on to be alone.
I travel to the Great Box Gifter And beg, "Please change what I'm to be!" He wiped my tears and whispered softly "I've made all these to honor me."
From me he takes each box now opened And smiles at everything he made "It's good!" he cries, I watch him closely "Worth every price that I have paid."
Then holds He me in arms of comfort
At peace with all t…

A prayer for change

I NEED YOU GOD.  So desperate am I for your renewing of my mind.  I am weary of sin.  I need to know that I have, in fact, moved closer to the likeness of you.  I want so much to honor you in word and deed.  I feel it deeply in these moments of intimacy when we are face to face.  When the breath of your Spirit is hovering.  If only every single moment would touch me as these do, I would never be the same.

CHANGE ME GOD.  Perhaps I am nothing of the one I was years ago, but I want to be nothing of what I am today.  All of these fruits fall rotten beneath me and I ask myself if I will ever grow anything worth eating at all.

I HAVE HOPE.  You have assured me of that; that change is possible and wonderful and good.  Set fire to this heart and bend it beneath your powerful hands.  Shape it into beautiful.  Find me breathless and amazed by your grace touching my life.

OPEN MY EYES Lord to those things of which I am ignorant.  Reveal as you do in that gentle way, always in love, always the p…



Feeling lost? Try checking the map

"If you don't use it, you lose it."  That's what I told myself as I licked the wounds of my damaged pride.  Friends of mine were heading off to Oregon and they mentioned how they were looking forward to the beach, rhythmic waves rolling over sand.

In thinking that Oregon was a mid-western state, I was puzzled at how all that sand made its way into the center of the map.  So I ask outright if it's like the beach in Chicago.  The conversation lulls in a state of confusion until my husband realizes my position of misunderstanding.  He jumps in to reorient me to the true geography, and I am left there wondering how I missed it completely.

I'm certain that I was required to label states in a classroom.  Being a fairly good student, I probably even got them all correct, including Oregon.  What seems like a lifetime has passed since then, and I am pondering the lapse in knowing.  I marvel at my ability to forget.

And the path of my life is one big test in geography.…

Losing buttons and opportunities

I'd done it again.

I lost my cool in the twilight of the evening, and sent her away with the makings of her necklace minus the button that fell down the vent in the floor.  She'd wanted me to fish it out, and as though I was certain it was forever banished between the construct of our walls I delayed the hunt until morning.

She howled her way into the next room over, and I knew I was hoarding some kindness.  Sadly, I didn't care at the time.

An hour before, she was working steadily in her room for quite some time, looping each shell and spare button onto the string of floss.  She wanted me to tie it up tight so she wouldn't lose one precious part of her creativity.  I fumbled with it in the dark before the whole string came undone in the tragedy of a moment.

That was really the undoing of us both.  She was devastated; I was frustrated and we both hollered out our displeasure.

I laid quiet in my bed wanting to hear her cries settle, as if the only thing that mattered wa…

The mending

I pace through the small apartment.

Waiting, waiting.  I'd called the doctor's office several times already, and always the nurse tells me that the lab work is pending.  My stomach churns, my mind wrestles through the mess of what-ifs, and still there grows inside of me this fluttering of hope.
The phone rings.  The beating of my heart quickens and I try to settle the squirming of my insides.  A nervous, "Hello?"  My hands are shaking.
"Mrs. Mohr?"  It's the doctor.  "I'm sorry. . . your numbers are dropping."
My heart falls right to the floor, and bleeds out all of the anguish I was trying to deny.  Hope flies far, and I am there, alone, with a doctor on the other line telling me what my spirit was feeling all along.
I cry quietly as I slip slowly into pain.  He questions if I am okay.  I wonder if that is even possible.
The child floats silently within me.  Stagnant, unmoving.  And now I know dreams die.  
I settle into the weekend of wa…

Learning love

It was one of THOSE days.  You know, those days when there is too much laundry piled up, too many crusty dishes in the sink, too many children arguing about too many things.  And then a bare foot makes contact with a polly pocket or a lego or whatever else is laying on the floor.  Yes, one of those.

I felt it stretching thin, my patience and self-control.  I know how it all works to push me to the breaking.  I've been near the precipice too many times to not recognize how close my toes are to the edged.  I'm teetering, I know.  I try to balance, try to breathe, try to calm as I stuff another load into the dryer.  The whole room is hot.

And then I hear a vague slapping of limbs followed by a high pitched scream, and suddenly I'm diving over the edge.

In a fit of frustration and anger I search for the perpetrator.  I'm beyond the, "Please don't hit your sibling; that's not nice" stage.  I've shot up to the, "I don't care who did what, you a…

Be still!

It was fairly early in the morning, my most productive time of the day, when a sheepish girl asked, "Mommy will you sit on the couch with me?"   I followed her into the living room and sat down.   I thought about what we were going to do on the couch, but after a few moments of silence, I realized it would be just sitting.  As I was sitting there trying not to get ancy, I thought about a hundred other things that were asking for my attention.  

I am, I believe, a horribly awesome multi-tasker.  I brush my teeth while doing laundry.  I clean the shower while I'm taking one (it just makes good sense.)  I accumulate the trash in my car to one central location at stop lights.  I scroll pinterest for ideas while I ride my stationary bike.  The list could go on, but the idea I'm trying to get across is this; I can't sit still, nor can my mind.  I would like to blame all of this on ADD to save face, but that wouldn't be the truth.  The truth is that I have a very d…

The fields growing

Many times in my life I have felt stagnant.  Stuck really, being the flawed and inadequate me.  Wreaking of the stench that wraps around me while unmoving towards anything that should matter in this world.  But a moving heart knows what matters.  It breaks away from the self consuming life and allows itself to be molded into serving.  Such a heart knows that it needs to be open to losing itself, to die outright so that the real living can begin. 

It seems such a slow process, this dying and living.  There are these multiple seeds planted by the Sower, nestling down into the soil of our hearts.  I suppose some grow more quickly than others, depending on where we take time to nurture.  And then there are those that scatter too far from the healthy soil, falling upon unyielding ground.

It is the Spirit that comes along with his plow, turning it up and over in his quiet, gentle way.  You would think that all of this heaving of dirt and stirring of hearts would make one cry in pain, but I…

The gift not taken

Her room is nestled to the right side at the end of the long corridor.  I walk the length of rooms, passing by all those who lay sick and dying.  This place houses broken hearts, one after another, all waiting for some miracle to rescue.

We wouldn't know she was sick if we glanced quickly upon her.  Except for hair thinned away by the harsh stroke of chemo, she was the picture of health.  The outside often tells a story different from what is kept hidden away.

Her smile spreads when I enter and we talk of her upcoming day, her needs.  We touch carefully on her illness and how it has nibbled away at the insides.  She knows what the tests show and how that dreaded disease is spreading further into the delicate parts.

She is fighting and praying she tells me, a warrior in her own story.  I am her helper, her healer and as I listen to her speak brave I feel the gentle request move upon me.  I am meant to pray for her.

I well know how to manipulate words on page, but the tongue has nev…