Embers and Ebbs

Embers and Ebbs

Embers are strangely beautiful things.

We had an impromptu bonfire the other night, enjoying the happy crackling of the blaze and the exhilarating, whooshing roar of a marshmallow turning into a torch. But although I enjoy eating s’mores, although I enjoy being loud and laughing about it, neither of those are the best parts of the fire. The most lovely part is just sitting, still in body and mind, watching the flames run and the heat ebb.

And perhaps the most beautiful flow of all its life is when it gets down to embers. The flames long-gone, the warmth and depth of wood-fire-smoke becoming a part of you, these embers still glow and dance long into the night. Ever-fluttering light, as if a thousand heartbeats were jumping inside, every now and again a single flame popping up and dashing lightly back into another hiding spot, as if a thousand tiny faeries of heat were dancing inside, and skitter across the blackened log to return to their revelries.

It’s beautiful. But the thing is, you can’t see it when the fire is bright. Continue reading

Everywhere and Everywhen, I Need Him

Everywhere and Everywhen

I failed this week.

I was so proud of myself earlier. I had planned, I was organized, I was ready. I started my Facebook page, did all my platforming, wrote an average of 400 words every day, peer-edited with my friends, and — failed.

Because here I am, looking at my blog on Friday night, with nothing to publish. Nothing worth giving you. Not to say I don’t have plenty of articles and ideas lying around in my draft box — I do. And they’re all fine. But if this was in real life, they would be scattered all across my desk, scribbled and crossed out, fluttering despondently in the wind from my empty open window. As it is though in this digital age, they just sit composedly in their nice little list, looking up at me asking, “What is wrong?”

Nothing — and everything. Continue reading

Announcement: Life’s Reflections

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Reflection. I like that word. It has two sides, two facets, both weaving and working together.

Usually when blogs talk about reflections, it’s about thinking deeply, thinking back, being reminded. But reflections can also be about mirrors. About seeing reality. About looking at things differently.

And so it gently delights me to tie both of those meanings to everyday life.

Yes, we should muse on the little moments, the deeper meanings. But perhaps we can only do that when we see the meaning behind everything, the One behind all life.

Jesus used bird and farming and everyday life for analogies of the Gospel, why cannot we view our lives in the same way?

And so I’m starting this new series, Life’s Reflections, to ponder on life, but more than that to ponder on Jesus; because I love analogies and need to remind myself how all parts of life can circle back to the Gospel.

I want to see, though it may be in a thousand removals, the reflection of the glory of God in every mundane moment, to think deeply on every little gift, and to perceive clearly all of life’s reflections.

 

 

Hello ladies and gentlemen, I’m so excited to start this new series and journey with you, and hopefully being reminded of the Gospel in all of life! The first post of this series was actually written earlier (Clean Hands in a Muddy World) before I had a proper name, which I could turn into an analogy about trusting and following even when you don’t quite know what’s going on, — but I digress, this is announcement, not a post!

You may also notice a bit of a new layout for Seeing Everything Else, I’ve been changing the look a little, and have added a new section (conveniently dubbed Series ) where you can keep up with this series, as well as catch up with my previous one. But besides these posts every Tuesday I’ll also continue with my regular thoughts on everything and anything in the Christian life on Saturdays as well. I’m curious, what would you guys think of posts on Thursdays sharing an amazing resource or song or poem or video I’ve found across the web? I haven’t quite decided yet, and wanted your input.

Keep on following after Him!

The Most Beautiful Story

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Days they force you

Back under those covers,

Lazy mornings, they multiply.

Life is mundane sometimes. It’s slow, it’s dragging, it’s the same circle round and round again. The sun rises, and the sun sets, slowly spinning round again, and everything seems much the same. We work. We eat. We sleep. We get up the next morning and do it all over again. Life is reduced to dry facts on a page: breakfast, shoes, car, computer, water.

And facts, well, facts don’t do much of anything. Contrary to what we often think, they don’t command you, they don’t encourage you, they don’t comfort you. They only tell you what has happened in the past, and what is happening in the now. You are here, this is going on, this is all there is, and this is all there’ll ever be. Basic, textbook definitions.

So everything becomes a grey list of steady, unending, unrelenting march of facts. Dry monotones that dull your sense and close your eyes in slumber. Basic, textbook life.

But we were never meant to be a textbook. Continue reading

Dear Younger Me, On Valentines Day

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I looked back the other day and saw you.

Tired, broken, crying out in loneliness.

Because days are long, the future is uncertain, and the pressure to have your plans all scheduled and written out is terrifying. But that wasn’t it. Those were just the fuel to the smoldering pain in your heart.

No, it was because, near a certain holiday, your social media begins to light up with pictures of couples. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s not wrong. In fact, several of your friends had just began serious relationships, and you danced about and rejoiced with them.

You were happy, so very happy for your friends and their fiancés. But, deep down inside, hard as you tried to quiet it, the whispers rose up. Why not me? Continue reading

Clean Hands in a Muddy World

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I should not have been working to dig holes in the mud this weekend.

Why? Let me explain.

Reason Number One: It was Sunday, my only day off after a very long week of child-wrangling, dumpling-folding, pan-scrubbing, house-decluttering, food-prepping, and word-working. As a family we had decided to do nothing all day besides church, with no other work going on.

Reason Number Dos: We had no plans for working outside in the yard. At all. All the fence-posts have been in for ages, nothing needs to be planted in the front yard, no one mows this time of year, there are no mesquite trees to evict, and it’s not even time for me to clear out my garden for next year! (Well, technically it probably is, but I’m going to pretend it’s not) Nothing involving shovels, gloves, or holes should have been going on.

And finally, Reason Number III, (which is truly and honestly the only real, actual reason on this list that isn’t just me being dramatic for the sake of story-telling): There shouldn’t have been any mud.

Literally, there should be no mud in our yard. Continue reading

Another Year, Not the Same

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I turned 6 yesterday.

Not in life years, of course, but in eternity. In being born-again. Growing older in eternal life, that’s an amusing concept to wrap your mind around. But somehow, as odd and strange as that sounds, it’s true.

Six years. Six years to grow in grace. Six years to walk in the Spirit. And six years, since I first met Him.

It seems so short, and yet as if I always have known Him. And yet, even the longest life, the most years, wouldn’t be enough to know Him — why, even eternity is barely enough to sing His praises.

And, oh, how young, how foolish I still am! So ensnared in my vanity, so tangled up with pride, so caught up with those idols which long ago should have died — inside of me can be a raging, chaotic turmoil of emotions and anger and impatience and fear and — and He hasn’t left. He’s still here.  Continue reading

Sweet Smells and Silver Bells

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Silver bells has always been one of my favorite Christmas songs. Its rhythm, its imagery, its ease of hum-ability; all making it a favorite. Just its quiet joy, its quiet contentment.

I don’t know precisely what silver bells Bing Crosby was referring to. But I have my own image in mind.

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You’ve heard it. Down-town Christmas shopping, the stores all shining with their finery. There’s plenty of noises about: cars honking, the murmur and foot-steps of hundreds, the woosh of a delightfully chilly breeze; but it’s still there. Above all the bustle, above all the noise, above all the laughter and clamor for toys, it’s there.

Ting-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling-a-

Just a little red bucket. Just a little silver bell. But behind each there are stories to tell. Of days spent shivering in the cold, of hours spent standing alone; yet still their faithful vigil they hold. But, every day they are there. Continue reading

When Stories Collide

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As you may know, this month is Orphan November, a time set apart to consider and support the vulnerable and fatherless. While I myself haven’t been able to do much on my blog about it this month because, well, we were busy ensuring there was one less orphan  🙂 ; my dear friend Christ in Me has a whole section of her lovely blog dedicated to orphan care. She asked me if I could share a bit of our story to finish out Orphan November, and I thought I would share with you all as well.

Stories are strange things. Because it isn’t the big, important people who are usually the main characters; it’s not the sunny, lovely days that move the story along. It’s the little people who become the heroes. It’s the disasters that cause the quest.

I don’t really know the beginning of your story. But I think it must have started like many others. With a brave little mother, a brave little father, and a brave little baby. I like to think they loved you dearly, you adorable little ball of sass and sweetness. But then disaster hit. Your head started swelling.

I don’t know if they knew what was wrong. I don’t know if they had ever heard of hydrocephalus. I don’t know if they tried to get the doctor’s help. But I think they must have fought for you. You were their beloved one, their beautiful baby and now —

Four months. That’s all they had with you. They give up their child. But they gave you a chance. A chance at help, a chance at love, a chance at life. They couldn’t help you, but they knew who could. So one night, a brave little baby was left at the gate of the best orphanage in the province.

And so ended the first chapter of this story. But that wasn’t the only family fighting for hope.

Because another story was unfolding in another little family.

Read the rest over at So I Fix My Eyes

 

You can read my thoughts before we left for China here

Thanks Isn’t an Intransitive Verb

 

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It’s easy to give thanks at Thanksgiving.

We’re embraced by family, surrounded by comfort, and encircled by food. It’s a lazy day, sitting around watching Macy’s Parade, playing some games, and helping in the kitchen a little. Even while we eat we still go slowly, spreading all the wonderful goodness out as long as we can. We have plenty of time as we finish ‘filling up the corners’ to consider the blessing we have.

But then the long weekend ends, and it’s Monday again, and there is work and finals and shopping and applications and cleaning and studying and — And we forget. We let thankfulness fall by the wayside.  We get so caught up in life, that we forget that life is a gift. We become so entangled in caring for the stuff, that we forget that the stuff was given. And when we forget the blessings, we also forget the Blesser. And we cannot allow that. Continue reading