Saturday, February 21, 2009

i see a light!
a pin-point on the screen
of a million stars. but a
little brighter than the rest.
a new seed planted.
sprouting like a clean, new
morning. i finally had the
courage to read your responses
to my new blog. your wounds.
your dreams. reaching out to
me so we can join hands again.
reach for the stars. believe,
with all our hearts in our giant
God...and He, plus love, can change
everything. i love you. i welcome
you back into my life and journey.

i hope that none of you thought
that quietly raising my children
the last fourteen years changed the
passion and love i have for Jesus!
never! never! never!

in fact, yesterday, i was standing
in an aisle at target, and knocked
something over. my long, skinny legs
reached, on tiptoe, and
i knocked a strip of price codes
to the floor. the lady standing
next to me said she had just
had back surgery, and couldn't
pick it up. i smiled at her.
my face suddenly flushed with

back surgery? ouch!!
i shattered my femur in my
left leg last year, to my hip
bone, and i know, for sure, what
bone pain is.

oh, then you know.
you look strong today.

well, i am a fighter.
when they told me i'd probably
be walking with a cane in 6 months,
i wept for a day. i'm a runner.
the wind in my face. the en-
dorphins pumping. with tears of
agony, i started walking the halls
of the hospital.
and every morning and afternoon,
i doubled the distance. nurses
started standing in the aisles,
cheering me. but...

i told them they could praise me for
staying fit and running marathons,
but this?! no! this was about Jesus.
His power. His love.

tears began to brim in this lady's
eyes. and spill over. she reached
her arms around me, and i hugged
her, and kissed her cheek.

my neighborhood.
God put my clumsy self
right in the same aisle with her.

oh, the sky is painted yellow.
a million red balloons.
Jesus written across
the horizon. darkness made light.

God loves you,
and i love you,
and that's the way
it should be!

i was at the legal aide office
in sacramento. i have learned
the least some of it...for
desperate, single mothers. i had a
problem, and was waiting for my
appointment when an african-american
woman sitting next to me asked
if i was there about housing.

are you in a desperate place, too? you think they can charge
me rent when they are evicting us?

hmmm. i wouldn't think so,
but i don't know much about
that area.

she looked anguished.
desperate. abandoned.
i know those feelings.

i took her hand in mine.
Jesus is bigger than the legal
system. don't plead with Him.
begin to praise Him that He
never abandons us. never!
thank Him for this struggle,
and that He is going to fix it.

a surprise.
a star in the sky.
out of the ashes. before our
very eyes. beauty rising,
and taking form. and
all that we most feared
gone! flattened. levelled.
and the miracle we need
fulfilled in ways we had never

my name is charelle.
charelle, my name is ann,
and i'll be praying.
i need a miracle too.
we will stand together.
mothers crying out
in praise.

Jesus puts people right in
front of us. we never have to
be looking.

brandt's best friend's father
was having a birthday
cookout. brandt was invited.

mom, i know what i want to give
tyler's dad. there are only two things
i know he really likes:
bud light and cigars.

i looked over with a frown.
honey, you cannot take either of
those to the party.

but mom, birthday gifts
are to make people happy!!

i was grateful the party wasn't
until a few days later. i began
to try and come up with something
acceptable for this non-church
going man. i knew tyler's mom
more than i did him.

suddenly, the day had arrived.
other things had crowded out
all thoughts of this party.

brandt, our money is tight.
let's go to chevron, and see
what they have. but NO
bud light or cigars! he was unhappy.

we are both roaming around
the store. here are the cigars, mom!
brandt, men have special tastes in
cigars. keep looking.

mom, they have separate
cans of bud light. we could
get him just one.

our dialogue raised
an octave. no one else was in
the store, and our emotions,
on both sides, were unraveling.

finally, i conceded.
okay. ONE can of bud light.

i looked toward the front of the
store, and saw the cashier with
her hand over her mouth, unable
to stop smiling.

mom! brandt whispered.
don't say anything that will
embarrass me. just pay for it,
and carry it out.

we pulled up to tyler's house.
i asked brandt to ask tyler's mom
to come out to the car.

lorin, please forgive me!
brandt was determined that
bill would only be happy
with cigars or beers. he loves
giving gifts. making people happy.
i'm terribly embarrassed, but
please know it came from brandt's heart
of love, and i finally conceded.

ann, bill will love what
brandt brought. i know brandt
has a big heart. thank you!

you might think that was a
terrible testimony, but it was
about innocence and love -----
and i decided it built a bridge.
changing the world means meeting people
where they are. without judgment.

so, fellow dreamers,
let's roll up our sleeves.
open our hearts. and throw
kindness and mercy and
compassion to all those
around us.

we run together.
shoulder to shoulder.
in Jesus' name.
you and i. a giant God.
and love.

please respond to me.
i really love to hear from you.

Friday, February 13, 2009

i have been with my twin sister,
jan. my dearest friend in
the world. so much joy and love.
and then they told me.
then we all found out that
she has multiple myeloma.
cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

it knocked me over.
kicked me in the gut.
broke my bones.

from childhood, i have always
said i wanted to die first.
to live without jan is to be
tossed into a chasm of black
rocks and shimmering chills. i stand. heaven on
my head and hell on my back.
i am a mother of four incredible sons.
can still do 12-14 miles at the gym.
have treasured friends.
but jan. we came from the same
egg. shared the womb together.

where is God taking me?
as my heart pumps out blood,
it hurts. it aches. in the darkness
of my room, i hurt. already i have
been down the road of cancer with
my husband. you are never the same.

Jesus, keep me near The Cross.
there a precious fountain.
near to all a healing stream
flows from Calvary's fountain.

near The Cross.
near The Cross.
be my glory ever.
till my raptured soul
can find
peace beside The River.

where are you today?
some Heaven and some hell?
feel Jesus standing there.
take my hand. stumble
along with me.
no one. NO ONE. no one
understands like Jesus!

Friday, February 6, 2009

i have a little, fold-out couch
in my bedroom. a big room
with a window seat, and pictures
blown-up of my children, on
the walls. often, when one of them comes
through town, en route somewhere,
they always want to sleep in my
room with me. comraderie. closeness.

colson came in one night two weeks ago.
he slept on my bed, and i on the couch.
it was late. i turned the lights out.

mom, is t.v. an option?
no! he loves going to sleep
with the sound of the television
droning in his ears. i have bad habits,
and this is one of his.

what should we do then?
well, we could talk in the dark.
or pray. or both.

mom, i really disappointed God
this last weekend.

did you?

yes. some of my friends
at a party were joking about
God, and i laughed with them.

oh, honey, that must feel terrible.
isn't it wonderful that we can
just silently tell God our sins
and know He forgives us instantly?!

within minutes, i could hear his breathing.
the sound of sleep. of peace.
beautiful Jesus. gracious Savior. honest son.

two nights ago, brandt came through.
he is a firefighter for the air force
and was en route back to base.
it was midnight, and he had called to
see if he could sleep over until 4 a.m.,
when he'd have to return to base.

yes! of course. i'd love it!

he comes through the door.
i love my sons. tall and strong
and loving and on my team.

i just got a tattoo, mom.
and with that, he pulled off his
tee-shirt to show me.
anderson, starting up under his left
arm down the side of his torso.

wow! that looks like it hurt!
yeah, it sucked.
it is nicely done, though, i said.

he likes the couch. i had it
ready for him. he was sore
(i gave him tylenol) and tired
with only 4 hours of sleep for him.
i crawled into my bed. the room dark.

mom, what did you think of
the super bowl game?

brandt, it was a great game,
but i still feel sad arizona lost.
kurt warner has an unbelievable
life story! and i'm always for the underdogs!

i helped colson get moved
into that apartment. i even got
my fold out couch from
my friend's house, and took it over
for him. you okay here by

i'm good.
it is cozy, and i feel safe, brandt.
i just want each of you to go
out there where your dreams
are. where the great lessons
of life will guide you. stay close
to Jesus, brandt. don't lose Him.

i won't, mom.

and he was gone. sleepland.

oh, i was tempted to
challenge colson to pick his
friends more carefully. and to
chide brandt that tattoos
are addictive, and can never
come off, especially after he told me his
friends had tattoos on their calves,
their hands, everywhere.

but i said nothing.
they trust me as their mother,
confide in me even with their worst
offenses. i gave them the best i had,
and at 18, they became young men.
now, life will guide them. Jesus will
walk with them. me? i've become the
listener, always reminding them of
my pride for their beautiful
imperfect lives. and pouring
over them all the unconditional love
that oozes in my veins for each of them.

i have been told that
many are reading my blog.
i am so new at this. so
excited to be back with so many
that have unconditionally loved
me, with all my imperfections,
through the years. i reach out
my hand to you. my heart.

and remember to love your children.
to focus on their thoughts.
to never give up.
the end story is all that really
matters. i will talk to you next