My Holy Land – TOYS Community Linkup

I just got back from the Write To Publish Writer’s Conference at Wheaton College.  It was a wonderful time. I learned much, met many and generally felt in awe of God’s presence in my life.

I have never been to the Holy Land.
But I have been to many a holy land.

Places of personal significance,
Where bush burns brightly,
and I turn over new leaf.

Where little known men
have taught great men,
and those great men have gone on
to teach myriads more men.

Places I have overcome overwhelming odds.
Places I have left fear in my room and ventured out of myself.
Places I have discovered new sisters, teachers, mentors…friends.
Places I have found more of me.

And I wonder how they got there,
those pieces of me.
So far from where I dwell in the ordinary every day.
So far outside myself that it makes me tremble,
distant from all that feels familiar.

For He has scattered drops of me
to be found by me
like breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel.
And when I follow them back, I find that they lead to Him
where the Father has planned all along.

Won’t you join me on Fridays for a new series and linkup called, “Take Off Your Shoes, You’re On Holy Ground!”? Each week a post will be shared about the significance of a place and you will be able to share as well!! Just 1) Write a post about how a place has ministered to you. 2) Add your post to the linkup. 3) Add the button to your post. 4)Visit and encourage your neighbors!

JourneyTowardsEpiphany

<a href=”http://journeytoepiphany.com&#8221; target=”_blank”><img src=”http://journeytoepiphany.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/holy-ground1.jpg&#8221; alt=”JourneyTowardsEpiphany” width=”125″ height=”125″ /></a>

Brotherly Love – New Glarus Series

If you need to catch up on All Roads Lead To New Glarus click here.

Steve started calling. A lot. And looking at me funny too. I didn’t know how to tell him that I just didn’t see him that way. He had always been a brother to me. I wanted to help him with the children after Sue died, but it had been eight months now. Why couldn’t I just say it? I had already let things get out of control by allowing him to help with the gas bill and by letting him take me out to dinner. Somehow, I sent the wrong message. My “safe” friend, was no longer safe. I determined that next time he called I would let him know.

It was a Friday evening when the phone rang.

“Hey, it’s me,” the now even more familiar voice came over the line.

“Hi, I’m glad you called. I wanted to talk to you about something.”

The thing about Steve is that he’s like a puppy. He’s always so excited to see everyone, and so optimistic. He never assumes that bad news is about to follow.

“How about if we talk it over at Chucky Cheese with the kids?” I could practically hear a tail wagging.

“No, I think I’d rather do it over the phone.”

“Alright. What’s on your mind?”

Suddenly I was afraid that I’d read too much into his behavior. I mean, it would be totally embarrassing if he didn’t have feelings for me and I assumed that he did.

“Well, I wanted to thank you for the help with the gas bill and for being so kind.”

“It was no big deal.”

“Yes, well, our relationship has gotten…um…complicated.”

Silence.

“I mean, It was always safe to be friends with you because we were both married and our spouses were friends too, and now that’s all changed. It’s different. We’re both single…and…I wanted to make sure that you know how much I appreciate your friendship because I’ve always thought of you as the brother I never had.”

Silence again.

“But I wouldn’t want to hurt you or give you the wrong impression.”

“So I take it that going out to dinner with me tonight isn’t a good idea.”

“I’m afraid not.”

Pause. “You’ll let me know if you change your mind?”

“You’ll be the first to know.”

“I’ll see you around at church.”

“I’ll be there.”

The phone went dead. I felt nauseous. He was obviously disappointed.

For the next story click here.

Garage Sale Reject

I can’t believe that I’m feeling rejected over a garage sale, but I am.  I really shouldn’t be surprised at the distaste of my customers.  After all, most of my things are hand me downs, garage sale purchases or items I have picked from the garbage, but still…to have people come and look at your stuff, turn around and leave makes one feel…well, insulted.  These are the things I’ve lived with and cried on, the things with which I have died a little and thrown my head back in joy around.


Don’t people see how precious they are?  Pictures that have adorned my wall line a shelf in my garage. They stand to testify of loving words, arguments, cries of anguish and sighs of contentment.


There are clothes I have worn on my journey: a journey through life and toward knowing God deeper and greater than I’d imagined possible, shoes that have taken me everywhere.  They have led me to church to be spiritually fed and to serve others; to home school coop where my children learned to be taught by someone other than me; to the grocery store where I bought what I needed to in order to give sustenance to my family; to the birthing rooms of friends; and to funerals of many whom I’ve loved.


I have desks upon which the pain of my heart poured out the words I dare not speak to anyone, ever; dressers that have contained my trousseau;  books that have changed my life;  bowls I have mixed with love; chairs I have rocked late into the night with my babies now grown up.


And yet the people come and go.  I lower the prices.  People come and go.  I ask if they want things for free.  People come and go…and now the garage sale hand-me downs and the proceeds of my garbage picking with which I’ve made a beautiful home and have shared precious moments, will return from where they’ve come.  To the garbage.  I just hope that there is a wise woman who is building her house,  who will see them sitting on my curb and find the magnificence that I have found in them.

**********

Finding grace with Ann

#4 – unforcasted sunny days

#5 – grace to comfort others

#6 – a husband who puts up with my faults

#7 – so grateful that my garage sale is over… 😉

#8 – growth in the Bible Study in my home

#9 – abundance to share with others

#10 – bringing guests to church

and with Michelle at Graceful

Christmas in July – New Glarus pt. 5

This story started out as complete truth. However, as I’ve continued, I’ve changed small details. For instance, some of these events happened within a 30 miles radius of New Glarus…and I don’t remember exactly how I was proposed to…anywho…just wanted to be honest…If you are interested in the first four installments start here.

A year after we had moved to Wisconsin, I received a phone call from T.  He was crying.

“I’m calling because my pastor said that I should let you go and let God do what He is going to do in your life.”

There was a stunned and awkward silence. I hadn’t heard from him in a year.  I had already “let go”.  However, I was more than a little flattered that he was still pining over me, “Oh.  Okay.  You’re going to a new church?”

As he told me all about his new church and friends, my interest was peaked.  In the past, T. and I were the entire youth group of our church and now he was part of a congregation with loads of young people.  T. sounded like a different person.  He knew so many Scriptures and had so much Christian fellowship.  He seemed to be having the time of his life, and now was inviting me to have the time of my life with him…if God willed it.

After a few more phone calls, T. made arrangements for me to stay with a friend of his so that I could meet this new family of believers. So much for letting me go.

Sue was ten years older than I was and worked in the corporate world.  She had her own apartment.   She was ultra organized, and prided herself on “speaking her mind.”  In other words, she was everything I was not.  She was tall, I was short.  She was independent, I was dependent.  She was full of color with bright red hair, I was pale and pasty.  To say that I admired her would be an understatement.  We became fast friends.

She was dating a man a few years her junior.  His name was Steve.  He was the craziest, funniest, most on-fire-for-God young man I’d ever met.  A real preaching machine.  He couldn’t go an hour without pulling out a small New Testament and reading for a few minutes.  He shared his faith with anyone and everyone.  His zeal was contagious.

Every other weekend, I made a trek from Janesville, Wisconsin to downtown Chicago, where I’d meet T.  He would take me out to dinner with friends, Steve and Sue usually included, and then I’d spend the night with Sue at her apartment.  After about six months of this routine, I couldn’t imagine my life without this changed T. and his wonderful ever-growing group of God fearing friends.

One weekend, I asked my parents if we could host two couples from T.’s church at our house.  The girls would take one side of the house and the boys, the other.  Of course I planned a trip to New Glarus.

Sue and Steve were one of the other couples, and D. and J. were the names of the second.  Sue, J. and I were browsing through “I Love New Glarus” tee-shirts, while the guys were eating ice cream in front of the store.  T. finished before the others, and came sauntering in, kissing the top of my head.

“What are you looking for, Suavecita?”  Suavecita was his nickname for me.

“I thought it would be nice to get a tee shirt as a momento of this weekend,”   I answered.

“You’re too classy to wear one of these.  Someday, I’m going to help you choose all of your clothes.”

I blushed at the permanence of his statement.  “I think I do a pretty good job!”  I grinned and playfully pushed him.

He didn’t seem amused.  Sue was already at the counter purchasing matching tee shirts for she and Steve and J. was still browsing.

“Let’s walk over to the Christmas store together, while they finish up.” T. nodded towards the girls and led me toward the front door.

Christmas Shop in New Glarus

“Okay,” I felt a little rushed and annoyed, but didn’t want to miss an opportunity to be alone with him.

Strolling toward the Christmas store, conscious of his arm around my waist, I was once again thrilled that I belonged to someone!  Threatening clouds darkened the once brassy sky, as we crossed the street to the store.  Sleigh bells jingled as we went in to browse. Cinnamon and cloves hung heavy in the air, and a train set chugged through a tiny winter wonderland, all to the tune of Silver Bells.  It was Christmas in July!  Thunder clapped.

On the wall opposite the Christmas village, were shelves of tiny faux Faberge eggs.

“Let’s look at these,” T. walked over nonchalantly.

I followed.  “Can you imagine how expensive the real ones are?  Especially the ones with the real jewels?”

“None of them would be more expensive than you deserve, babe.” A sneaky snake of pleasure crawled up my spine.

T. picked one up, “I like this one, don’t you?”

T. popped it open.  Inside, was a modest little engagement ring.  T. was on one knee.

“Kim, would you spend this and every Christmas with me as my wife?”

To read the next installment go here.