books on my shelf

just for something different, let me tell you which books are sitting on my shelf.

first off, I just finished
be still my soul - elisabeth elliott
I enjoy elisabeth elliott, especially when I'm stressing out about life.  I don't agree with her on everything but this book has been good for me.  sometimes I read it when my brain is doing the too-much-spinning-to-sleep thing.  she has a whole chapter on waiting, which I enjoyed very much.  if you read her book about her & jim elliott's romance - "passion & purity" - you will see that waiting was a big part of her life.  the wisdom she shares is very helpful.

john ploughman's talks - c. h. spurgeon
partway through this one.  I LOVE spurgeon.  this is an easier read compared to some of his others because he specifically avoided theological jargon for this book and spoke in layman's terms, which leads to some interesting figures of speech.  for example this: Nobody is more like an honest man than a thorough rogue. When you see a man with a great deal of religion displayed in his shop window, you may depend upon it that he keeps a very small stock of it within. Do not choose your friend by his looks: handsome shoes often pinch the feet. 

addictions - a banquet in the grave - edward t. welch
haven't read this one yet.  the subtitle is "finding hope in the power of the gospel".  every time I read ed welch or hear him speak my thinking stretches a little.  so much practical wisdom, 'where the rubber hits the road' kind of thing.  when I opened the book the first chapter talked about what it means for an alcoholic to live out the statement "Jesus is Lord" in church and at home craving a drink.  I look forward to this.

running scared - edward t. welch
another ed welch.  this one is on "fear, worry, and the God of rest".  I haven't cracked the cover on this yet but it comes highly recommended.

mere christianity - c.s. lewis
almost done this.  a classic must-read.  lewis is so thorough, so intellectual.  I wish he was around these days.

reverberation - jonathan leeman
I got this free at the CCEF conference I went to in October.  Also haven't read yet, except for one excerpt that leeman read in a seminar.  it was about an autistic friend and it was beautiful.  the book itself is about the vital nature of the Word for our growth, and for any church.  it aims to help us as churches to renew our confidence in the Word and to realize the secondary nature of many things that we consider important to church life & growth.

some others I own and recommend:
passion & purity - elisabeth elliott (mentioned above)
the soul winner - c. h. spurgeon 
don't make me count to three - ginger plowman
don't waste your life - john piper
this momentary marriage - john piper (actually my dad owns this)

so what's on your list?  have you read any of these?  
p.s. I have no idea why I decided to reject the laws of capitalization for this post, please excuse me.  sometimes I just have a rebellious moment or two.


poets meeting

you, reeking of some smoke 
I am too naive to be able to identify
when you say you write poetry
I know I can't ignore you anymore
and it grates wrong when we all sit silent
and you go back to the door
I'm relieved when someone has a gift card for food
and you are persuaded to take it
you scrawl on the booklet of poetry
before you hand it over
and then ask if you can recite another
and as I am leaving, one more
and it catches me, turns me back
"the shadowlands"
because life is offered
and you seem to want it
but you fade away, 
trapped in your mists of shadow


love at first read

Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
                                                           G.K. Chesterton


because life is so full...

...of color, blessings, love, pain, longing, hope, joy, gifts

1255.  Korean birthday cake

1271. When my car stereo actually works

1287. Little boys under the table

1289.  Choruses of "I love you"s

1298.  How our family always asks how things went

1301.  Grocery store guys giving away carnations

1303.  Laughing babies on youtube.com

1316.  Learning about holy anxiety

1322. An acapella song on a sunny street corner

1332. Stargazing on the driveway

1334. Coyote choruses

1343. Names for special colors, like "verdigris"

1371. Two students discussing another student with a cramp in her leg... "I thought you said Keleese had a CRACK in her leg."  "No, not a crack, it's a CRAP."

1390. Dad making me coffee

1397.  Being told I look like a mama duck with my line of little ones following

1402.  A 1950's novel for a lazy Saturday morning

1448.  How people I don't even know come up to me and say "I read your article..."

1493. Kindergarten wisdom: "Sometimes after you cry you're a little bit shy to do things."

1514. Writing papers at 1 in the morning

1658. The Unashamed Tour coming to Toronto!

1747. An espresso machine and all the time in the world

1751. Discovering more than 20 Greek & Hebrew words that translate to "wait"

1793.  White jeans, free - because I would never dare buy them myself

1806. Sunrise in the rearview mirror

1819. Justin smiling

1857. Good conflict

1864.  My road atlas looking a little more experienced

1919. Bridal shower prayers

1926.  Dad able to go to Sunday prayer meeting for the first time

1982.  A package from NY on my desk when I get home

2009.  The way the post-sunset sky still beams up color-rays

2017. How useful the word "intrigued" is

2035.  Me making stupid jokes at the evangelism committee meeting and not feeling embarrassed by how dumb I am... hehe

2047. Picture books about rainbows

2059. Praying with a co-worker after work

2062. Turning the radio off at that perfect second

2064. Dad's eternal perspective growing

2101. "Child, you're forgiven and loved"


every good thing

"Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing."
Psalm 34:9-10

What does it mean that I, a God-seeker by grace, shall not lack any good thing?
It does not merely mean that once I reach heaven I will be given every good thing, 
though I do believe this is true.
It does not mean that I will accumulate a large collection of good things 
spaced out over the span of my life, with gaps of want and need in-between.
I take this to mean that the Author of my story and the Designer of my heart 
knows what is good for me and what I am ready for 
and gives it to me in the right quantity and at the right time.  

Today I have every good thing.  

Some of the things I wish for today may be good for another day 
but they can not be good for right now or I would already have them.

And, some things I think are not good actually are.  
They're being worked together for good by the One who invented good.



you know how it is
when you feel like you've left part of yourself
in a place that you loved
with people you loved
or someone you loved?
I've had a little of that going on
and it hurts, the tearing away when you leave
again and again
why, Lord?  I cried
I feel so empty
losing bits of myself
will there be anything left?
but a gentle smile in reply
my scarred Savior opened my eyes a little
to see
where I thought I was empty
so many little pieces
of other people's hearts
that they left with me
so much richer, this kind of fullness
and those pieces of my heart
though I thought it was dying
like seeds they grow
planted in other lives 
and He says this is the way
He means us to live
to love
to trust
isn't it beautiful?


Because I haven't posted in such a long time, and don't have anything at the moment...

Jimmy Needham's "The Reason I Sing"



when the ground dropped away below me
when I last gazed on the land
I thought I left my heart there
and tried to cry quietly
in the dim airplane cabin
eyes red with internal pain
and I watered my pillow with questions
in the dark days that followed
time does harden the wound
but somewhere deep the ache was still festering
the questions unanswered
it was winter in my soul
and my tears dried up
sometimes on the grayer, darker days
I tried to force a tear
thought maybe the sunshine was just a dream
and dry wells would be my lot in life
but Grace was still pursuing
oh, relentless mercy!
And while I tried to curl up and suffocate inside myself
the Comforter kept shoving things in my face
like forgiveness, all bloody-palmed
and the dark bottle of those first tears
and somehow, sunshine
rays of uncertain hope, smiles flashing
'til unwillingly, I had to look
to see that my life is an unending string of colorful gifts
of proofs that He loves me, that He holds the answers
whether or not He shows them to me
I began to see that there are more
hurting, hoping, needing souls
than just me:
and my life is but a word
in this, His great and glorious story.
And slowly, the tears began to flow once more
a welling up once or twice
catching me off guard
and then a couple overwhelmed floods
but the well is gratitude now
where once it was just bleeding
'til I feel like a humbled
constantly overflowing
so joyful mess
and the bottle is sparkling crystal
spilling sunbeams everywhere


To my On Call For Christ mission team

I’ve been pleading for rain for years
for lightning, thunder, whirlwinds of power
we all conceal a desperate need for healing
and we want it NOW.
Is this a bad desire?
Nope.  Not at all.
but lately there’s a lesson that’s been tugging me from my intended course
to still and to bring knowledge:
God works slow.

you see,
revival is like the newborn baby’s very first breath
the doctors, nurses and parents breathe a sigh of relief
Mom & Dad, do they leave the new little life, on to their next thing?
Of course not.  A baby is a full-time job. 
A baby requires work, pain, money, love, maturity – sacrifice. 
And usually life-time commitment.  At least eighteen years or so.

Do you know what it means to be involved in conversion? 
Discipling and conversion are like fingers and hands.
They're useless, separated.
Think about it. 
What is the Great Commission anyway? 
“Go therefore and get everybody to call themselves Christians”?  “Go therefore and convince people to pray”?  “Go therefore and free people from poverty and suffering”?

“Go therefore
and make disciples
of all the nations,
baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them
to observe all things
that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always
even to the end of the age.”

For you?  For me?  What does it mean?

Did you know the word “wait” is in the Bible one hundred and forty-four times?
Did you ever realize that Elijah’s bout of suicidal depression was right after the revival on Mount Carmel?
Did you know that this year, you are not called to produce certain ministry results but
You are called to be faithful?
Elijah’s problem was doubt
He thought God was not powerful enough
He forgot about God’s sovereignty
And this is stuck with me because when I hear Elijah’s words, it’s my voice speaking.
“I have been very zealous…
I alone am left!
Now, Lord, take my life!”

But God causes the wind that splinters the boulders
The earth quakes
And a mighty fire roars
All the noise and power I’ve been begging for
He is not in them.
But He opens my ears
And this still, small voice
It’s been speaking all along. 
In everyday grace
Yahweh’s disintegrating glory has been quietly working.
See, I thought I knew what it looked like. 
I’ll bet we each have our own idea of what it must look like.
But Yahweh gently continues, regardless of our confused ideas
This work, this master story that He designed before the dawn of time.
Our lives are like one stitch in the King’s robe. 
I forgot, when I was railing at Him for not caring
His joy is sunshine, oceans deeper than my purest gladness
And His tears, dark as blood
Led Him to take on millions of eternities of hell compressed into a few hours
I thought I loved them?


Rainbow Life

velvet pansy richness
silky oriental fabric
violets crushed underfoot
purple cabbage sizzling between slices of apple

starry midnight eyes
the sky just beyond the bumpy edge of cloud
paint drops on the driveway
ink on the page

translucent blades of grass
cool evergreen shade
aged books embossed with gold
cucumbers and celery, sliced crisp

puddled afternoon sunlight
budding daffodils
baby curls
banana-colored yarn

orange peels spraying scented mist
the full moon hanging close and heavy
waxy crayon
dusty lily hearts

cherry highlights packed in a bowl
lips curved happy
row of cool clay pots
fallen rose petals

and all washed sparkling down with humbled grateful tears


Psalm Poetry

"The Lord Directs Our Path"
Psalm 138:8, 139:16, 32:8, 143:8

I stand at the stoplight
and the roads are diverging
I can't look to the rear-view mirror
except in thanks
so much to learn yet
but my hand is held
by the One who carved out the path,
the One of unfailing love.
You know where we're going
and You're excited
in all Your Power,
excited like a husband with a surprise.

"Worship the Lord"
Psalm 95:3-7, 99:5, 138:2-3

Everest's summit
the Mariana Trench
they belong to You
on Your shelf, in Your livingroom
like a potter at his wheel
You shaped the Grand Canyon
the deserts,
the plateaus,
all the rock formations of the earth
You wove out the saves
their ever-changing layers on Your loom
and shook the fish, the algae, the whales
all the sea creatures into the oceans
like salt and pepper from their shakers
and somehow, somehow in billions of voices
You hear this rebellious sheep
trapped, entangled in the thorns
and You come after me.


summer in the air

cloud to sun to cloud to sun
the smell of sunscreen
tanktops and dirt under my nails
robin singing so loud I hear it from inside my car at a stoplight
sudden downpours, thunderstorms even
rubber boots
counting down to the last day of school
June's first buttercups
it's coming.


elijah, I want to know how to pray

sermon notes from I Kings 18:41-46 and on

in the sky
"the sound of rain" he says
God's Word is surety
don't doubt, child
don't doubt
I hear it
really I do!
God's sovereignty shouting at us
Do we know what God promises?
Did Elijah think
God promised rain
AND Jezebel to stop persecuting him?
Is that how I think too?
God's name glorified
AND a great husband?
AND no loss of work?
AND holy, affectionate kids?
AND an always peaceful church?
Elijah thinks
persevering intercession
is important.
I wonder, would I keep praying
after the fifth "there is nothing"?
the crowd is gone
he's gone back up the mountain.
he seeks God
the blessing
the urgent sense of need
no resting on laurels.
he presses forward
into the impossible
he leaves his distractions
head between his knees
Elijah is no radio pastor
trying to quickly churn out
one million copies of
"Fire From Heaven"
and booking his year full of speaking engagements
he's on to the next thing
and you?
are you gripping promises?
God's promises will keep you praying
God's promises will send you to Ahab
at the sight of a hand-sized cloud
Go on.



sprays of petals
the whir and hum of feathered wings
field-puddles and plowed furrows
sun-warmed soil and baby leaves
the way the daffodils are all opening in pairs
suddenly yellow is my new favorite color
I want rain
I want roses
I want redemption
It is good, and it is promised.
I think my soul will always be something of a bride 
when it is



I haven't posted in quite a while! Most of my writing energies have been going into response papers and vignettes and case study analysis at the moment, which is great. This will not last forever though. In the meantime, here is something for when you need some stilling....


words of life

the Creator says "speak"
and for a moment
the breath catches
my lungs, as it were, frozen
I'm afraid all that will come out will be a
how could dirty flesh and blood
speak holy
cry out fire and glory?
but there is a coal in the angel's hand
blood red
and praise
cannot be restrained


Isaiah 46

Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted
I will carry you.
Be still and hear, you rebellious
I love you.
Though you stumble in the dark
lugging your idols around
Though you close your eyes
and put your fingers in your ears
when I am speaking to you
Though you hide your pet addictions under the bed
and protect your favorite sins like a toddler with candy
listen to Me
I still love you.
I will carry you.
I will never leave you or forsake you.
I will bring you Home
I will pursue you, hedge you in, and guide you always.
And I will capture your heart.
Who is safe from the power of the Love of a holy God?


You have done many miracles, Lord

is the roof on what we think can be done
but we are told
God doesn't fit in the house
He is the atmosphere.
When the quicksand is sucking
or the clay is hardening in on my ribcage
the rope around me, pulling me up
is from You
it happens every time.
And when I see,
it steals my breath away.
I want to run and say in wonder,
with outstretched hand like a little child,
"Can You be my Papa?"
but You already are



Be my boast, Lord
I've got nothing
without You
I've got everything
with You
The way baby chicks are fragile
that's me
I need to feel Your cover
of protection
Then I will peep noisily
at the tiger
in the Lion's care

"He shall cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler."
-Psalm 91:4


since I haven't posted in a while:

Here are a few of the things in my "1000 Gifts" notebook from recently:

696 How quickly a day goes by

698 The glowing smile of a bride

707 New pens

711 A grieving family held close by church

715 Sunday afternoon warmth and stillness

718 A movie date (Courageous!) with my 11-year-old brother

720 A child coming to be comforted

735 Bible stories told the Jewish way

736 Spontaneous detours

743 The sound of driving on gravel

780 A little girl who likes being tied up to trees! =)

785 A raised mailbox flag

803 A friend who finds me when I'm anxious and prays over me

809 Guitar stands on stage

814 Remembering magical stories of sailors and rainbows and blue seas

819 Dutch women outside their comfort zones

828 My Opa's harmonica hymns

829 My Oma's perfume

833 A fellow homeschooler in crowds of schoolteachers

834 A very full church

840 Spurgeon books

851 The grace to laugh at myself

853 A moonlit run

863 Earl Grey Vanilla tea on sale

863 Sunshine in the kitchen

876 Someone I never expected to see in a church pew, there

880 Youth group Bible study - "washed clean in the blood"

890 Coming in from the cold

899 Writing in the dark

901 Bridges

902 A handwritten, hand-delivered letter

916 Baby yawns

904 A diagnosis for an already victorious struggle - WHAT GRACE!

920 Round windows

928 A little guy pressed up close for comfort, and the way his lip quivered, trying not to cry

929 Bare feet on a warm hearth

935 Walking through an aisle of Christmas greenery - the sharp breath of pine

943 A super full gift box

952 Text messages that start with "good morning!"

956 Pain, to stop me from thinking too much

960 Late night chats with parents

970 "Every day I live is another day I know that I've been forgiven"

983 Rapper preachers

989 A wedding to plan for =)

994 Sermons that reach deep in, through to my hurting places

1010 Perpetually passionate people

1016 A parcel notice

1025 Tiny rosebuds still red after a week of snow

1036 Gingerbread house cave-ins

1048 Awkward proposal jokes

1049 Christ sung in coffeeshops (tis the season!)

1073 The woman wiping tears as we sing a Christmas carol on her doorstep

10738 Aunt Elsa's love of candles

1082 Torque wrenches for Christmas!

1085 Heidi & I both getting eachother picnic baskets for Christmas =)

1101 Miles per hour

1108 Ridiculously high heels

1123 Silver glitter EVERYWHERE

1142 Watching my latte made in a glass mug in front of me

1144 Breakfast dates with cousins

1145 Stone steps and pillars

1157 Window light for pictures

1172 The tears that won't flow until the bread and wine are passed and only stop when we rise to sing

1180 Just making the deadline

1182 A story percolating

1188 Organizing music

1190 The way one of my students eyes grow big and she claps her hand over her mouth when she is reprimanded for talking out when she is not supposed to

1195 Grace in relationships I've neglected

1214 Tea water boiled 4 times =)

1223 Square glass bottles

1228 Confused old people who are still sure of their Jesus

Photos from http://sxc.hu

something to consider

"...You are not your past or your surroundings."


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Sometimes I am melodramatic... Bear with me. My favorite thing is finding hope in hard places. If you enjoyed something (or not) I would love to hear from you! You can make me very happy by leaving a comment :)


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