Friday, October 31, 2008

no, no, no, no, no!

Her tight curls draped down in her face. She reached for the fragile glass on the table, and before I knew it, a string of no’s fell from my lips in rapid succession: “No, no, no, no, no!” My niece was startled and looked at me. Her hand remained in midair waiting for me to tell her what it was that she wasn’t supposed to do.

Often when I come home to the farm I find myself thinking through the agricultural parables that Jesus used to teach His followers. I’ve been pondering the wheat and the tares lately. I remember as a little girl weeding the garden with my mother. One of the weeds that was easy to spot was velvet leaf. It’s large, soft leaves resembled hearts, and early in the season could be removed from the garden with a little tug. However, there were other weeds that were harder to identify. Not a few times my mother would lean over and instruct me not to pull the plant that my little hand was gripping. “Wait,” she would say, “We need that one!”

Sometimes as I look around me, I’m just sure I am looking at tares. In my opinion, their leaves look like weeds, their fruit doesn’t add to the harvest, and they are taking up space in the garden. But it struck me this week that perhaps sometimes God wants to say, “No, no, no, no, no!” as we bend over to rid the garden of one more weed. And as we look to Him we are startled and our hand remains in midair. And, He whispers, “Just wait! We need that one!”

And when I consider my life, I must say that I don’t always look like a plant that will bring in a great harvest, but God in His mercy at one time or another has said, “Just wait! We need that one!” So, in this season of my life, I’m attempting to look at the plants before me and let God do the sorting. Because I’m pretty sure that I would rip out a few that we need…some that will someday bring in a great harvest.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

t's. parallelograms, and tupperware

Not so long ago, I thought I understood Scripture. I would open up this book, read a few pages, and thank God that He made it so easy to understand. It was sort of like a 1+1=2 faith. Every t was crossed. Every parallelogram had 90 degree angles. Every Tupperware container had a label and a neatly fitted lid.

I’m not sure what changed. Maybe it was the questions I learned to ask in seminary. Maybe it was my brush with cancer that seemed oh so evil. Maybe it was being wounded by God’s children. In any case, something in me has changed. The t’s aren’t crossed. The parallelograms are all askew. The Tupperware containers are shoved into corners with lids that don’t fit allowing their contents to spill out in an untidy mess.

I’ve come to understand Yahweh in a new way. In fact, I’ve come to be okay with not being able to pin Him down. So often, the things that I label as evil, He changes to make good. If it were me, I would slap a “good” sticker on things like pink skirts and lollipops and slap an “evil” sticker on things like cancer and economic crisis. But, our Lord doesn’t seem to do that. Instead, I think He slaps on stickers that say “just wait.” And then, He goes about redeeming the very things that I had condemned. He cares deeply for the tax collectors and prostitutes. He loves the politicians and the used car salesmen. He makes strong statements to the Pharisees. And, I believe, He shares tough words with the pastors, Christian educators, and worship directors who are leading His Church today.

So, this day I am choosing to stare at the “just wait” sticker and rest in His unfathomable greatness. I am grateful that I can’t understand the almighty God, because if I could, how almighty would He be? If a mere human could reason their way through eternal and supernatural things, then I would have no need for God. But, oh how I do need Him. And, how I praise Him that He is the one who creates, controls, and condemns. All praise I give to Him, my good and almighty God.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


A whole new me!

Monday, October 27, 2008

in the trash

I threw a lot of memories away today…

wouldn't it be nice...

if upon attainment of a graduate degree we got a syllabus for life? it could include things like due dates, grade requirements, balance of work and play, goals for spending and saving money, the desired age for completion of certain tasks, etc.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

favorite thing nember eleven

A chill in the air. My favorite cream blanket. A fireplace. A good book. A cup of tea.

hard news

Are we really old enough for this?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

talking honestly

“Presidents fire cabinet members. Football coaches switch schools to make more money or lead bigger programs. But in a church, we have a hard time talking honestly about why staff people leave. We paper over toxic cultures and power struggles with a sanctified spin” - John Ortberg

the ministry

“To follow the vocation does not mean happiness, but once it has been heard, there is no happiness for those who do not follow.” - CS Lewis

i’m glad to be back.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a plays when c plays, but never when b plays and never on the third sunday of the month

A huge part of my job as a worship director is similar to solving a logic puzzle.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

keeping it real

“We’re not called to be successful. We’re called to be obedient, even if they don’t come…. If somebody doesn’t find you objectionable, I wonder if you are preaching the full counsel of God.” - James Gilmore


Sometimes blessings come in the form of a light sprinkle of rain, but sometimes there is a deluge of them pouring over you so quickly that you get absolutely soaked. Today I am drenched to the bone.

Monday, October 20, 2008

wisdom from the east coast

“Isn’t this more interesting than doing nothing?” - Heather

two are better than one

me: i’ll wait with you…

her: until?

me: until you are strong enough to wait on your own. i don’t much care how long it takes.

i miss the days of...

sheer elation at being chased down the hall by my daddy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

oh Father

Help me love your Church.

Friday, October 17, 2008

a sign on my door

During one of my drives around the Midwest in recent weeks I saw a sign welcoming people to the town of Rudd, Iowa. Like most small towns in this great state, they embraced this opportunity to promote their community. The sign read:

Rudd: Not bigger, just better

And, I started thinking…this could really be a sign for my past year. It’s been a hard year, but often hard years bring much growth. And, as I start over again in a new church and a new community, I can tell that God has been working in me.

So, as I venture into these next days, I’m imagining a sign on my door that says:

Julia: Not bigger, just better

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Go Red Sox!!!


i miss you…

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

oh yeah!

I love this stuff!

Monday, October 13, 2008


tomorrow = no flipflops


a whole new life

Sunday, October 12, 2008

on loving

I’m pretty sure that love has more to do with actions and less to do with feelings.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I’m not sure fleeing is the best answer when life gets hard…but, it sure seems like a good option right now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

favorite thing number ten

the sunrise.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

playing with brynn

Hide and seek. Tag. Lots of hugs and giggles. I want to be three.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

a little creativity at home

My new favorite blog that I would hate for you to miss is called “Having Fun at Home” and is my dear friend Katey’s who is possibly the most creative person I know.

this blest assurance

This hymn was written after Horatio Spafford experienced tremendous loss like I certainly have not seen. However, after thinking about the comments on a recent blog post of mine, I was thinking about this hymn. During college my friend Lindsey and I would sneak in the chapel, lay under the pews or hide behind the curtains until it was locked, and sing through all the hours of the night until our fingers and voices could do no more. Somehow we always came back to this hymn. And, still today Spafford’s powerful words and testimony minister to my heart. So…here it is. Another favorite of mine.

“It Is Well With My Soul”

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Monday, October 6, 2008

favorite thing number nine

planting tulips and it begins to sprinkle. the drops finding a place to rest on my skin and shirt. the smell of the rain on the dry ground. how i love the country.


When I think about everything that has happened in the past couple of weeks, I’m excited to see just what God does.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

the plan

never what i expect. always better than i imagined.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

praise be to God!

I have a whole new family. Thirteen new people to love!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

turning the page

The crisp October air blew the pages of her book back just a few. As Allie stared at the words, she could hardly believe how quickly the characters had changed. Just a few chapters ago these names had played a major part in the storyline, but now the protagonist entered a new and different world. Allie had loved and treasured those characters, but with great intrigue found her place again and continued reading.

And, as she turned the page a new chapter began.