finding shelter

I have never been one to fast for lent. I did watch my Grandmother and Grandfather practice lent. They would cut out sweets for forty days. My darling Grandfather would slowly change it to all sweets that weren’t chocolate. Then finally, all sweets that weren’t chocolate and ice cream.   And while fasting something for forty days is a good thing, I am not sure it would help my heart prepare for Easter.   I have tried to do devotionals for lent the past few years, but it isn’t something I have kept up with for the whole forty days. By the 19th day, I am overwhelmed with life and I skip one day.. then two… then give up on the whole darn thing.  Shame is not something I think lent should be producing.

While away on a spiritual retreat this weekend, my wonderful friend, Megan, mentioned that she wanted to add something, not take away something, for lent. My heart leaped.  I knew adding a something small and meaningful was just what my heart desired.  She had just learned the beauty of the prayer shawl or the tallit.  She had a beautiful experience of spending five minutes under a tallit over our weekend.  Tallit translates to “little tent.” In Psalm 61:4 is says, “Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!”  Yes! This is what my soul longs for. This is what I will be adding to my forty days of lent.

Each morning and evening during lent, I will spend three minutes under my tallit.  I chose morning and evening so that I could start and end my days with God. I chose three minutes symbolizing the three days Jesus spent in the tomb.  I will set aside time to shelter under His wings. I will take refuge in Him.  I will sit and just be.  Other than that, I do not have an agenda. I am not doing a devotional.  I am simply sitting under His wings and taking refuge in Him in a purposeful and tangible way.

Would you like to join us in our journey?  We are talking about our experiences here on this facebook page.  If you do not have a traditional tallit, you could use a scarf or blanket.  I did find a beautiful tallit on amazon. I like the idea of having a special garment set aside as my refuge and tent.

I am praying that our forty days, whether we fast something, add something, or do nothing at all, is a holy time that brings us closer to a big God that adores us.

goodbye, 2013.

thirteen of my favorite shots from 2013……

Mamiya 645
Canon 5D

Yashica LM

Yashica LM

Canon 5D

Yashica LM

Canon 5D

Mamiya 645

Mamiya 645

Canon 5D

Canon 5D

Yashica LM

Polaroid Land Camera 420

the road to christmas

My pastor offered a challenge this Christmas season.  She invited us to re-meet Jesus by reading the Gospel of Mark , one chapter at a time, every day until Christmas.  She is giving us three questions to ask ourselves:

  1. What disturbs me about Jesus?
  2. What delights me about Jesus?
  3. What do I want to ask Jesus today?
I am excited to go on this journey.  What a great way to re-meet Jesus or meet Him for the first time.  

Today is day two.  Here are my thoughts on Day 2, Mark Chapter 2
1. Why didn’t Jesus spend more time with scribes?  I know they were not understanding Jesus and the grace He wanted to bring… but why not spend more time with men that had such influence?  
2. I love that Jesus finds inner healing and wholeness more important than outer healing.  I love that He hung out with sinners.  It makes me feel like he would hang out with me.  
3. Why does Jesus seem to choose some to heal and spend His time with and others He seems to pass up? 
If you would like to join the conversation, please head on over to Cheryl’s blog, or comment here.  

this guy

I am so very grateful for this man.

He loves me.  He appreciates all I do and all I am.  At the same time, he loves me when I have nothing left to give and I don’t know who I am anymore.

He loves our girls.  He knows each girl and loves them deeply.  He purposely takes time to spend with each girl individually.   My girls know they are loved by their daddy.

He loves people.  I love watching Andy when we are exploring cities.  He sees people that so many others overlook.  He stops, he asks questions, he makes friends.  I remember once we were in downtown Los Angeles and Andy heard the voice of a homeless man he had met last year.  He walked up to him, called him by name, and chatted with him for a while.  This man lives on skid row.  He is poor in his pockets and in his soul.  I stood there and watched Andy let this man know that he is seen and known.

He loves God.  He isn’t a man that will go around quoting the bible, but he loves the Lord with all his heart and loves His word.  He doesn’t just read what the Bible says, but lives it.  He cares for the poor. He loves his neighbors. He forgives those who hurt him.

Today he let me sleep in.  When I woke up, he had made me one of my favorite breakfasts.  And when I woke up from a three hour nap today, he didn’t act like I was a lazy good for nothing, he was glad for me.  I think he might have even missed me a little.

I thankful for the twenty some years we have spent together and fifty some we have left.

nineteen things for my nineteen year old

This beautiful soul is nineteen today, and I am so very thankful for her.  When she was born she was so small, but I knew I held someone that was meant for big things.  Now my sweet Dani~Sara is taller than me and is in fact, so very wonderful.  Here is a list of nineteen things I love about her.

1. When she smiles, she lights up the room.  Seriously. If the room is dark, she can lead the way with her smile.

2. She loves her family deeply and with great joy.

3.  She is only nineteen and her Bible is falling apart. Now that I type this, maybe we should have gotten her a new one for her birthday.  She reads it at least once everyday.

4.  We share the same favorite book of the bible, Philippians.

5.  She coined a famous family phrase, “What is happening to me!”  It is used all the time.

6.  She has a heart for the Middle East and wants to serve as a pediatrician there.

7.  She is currently taking Arabic in college and is acing it. I love watching her write such a beautiful language.

8. She loves to teach music to children.  When she comes home from teaching, she is so proud of her students.

9.   She is a beautiful woman.  It is hard to believe, but her soul is more beautiful.

10.  When Dani forgives you, she forgives you forever. It is like it never happened.

11.  She doesn’t forgive easily and true remorse is always a criteria.

12. She loves her friends with passion and grace.  I have watched her weep because her friend was sad.  It is a beautiful thing.

13.  She loves to do her hair, wear dresses, and matching accessories … but hates pink.  Really, don’t ever buy her anything with pink on it.

14.  She loves music and loves to play her guitar.  She can play for hours and hours.  She has four guitars and an ukulele.  I have a feeling she will be adding the mandolin soon.

15.  Her laugh is loud and strong.  It fills the room… and all the rooms surrounding the room she is in.

16. She is the most loyal person I know.

17.  She is always herself.  What you see is what you get.

18. When my children were small, I would tell them they were my favorite.  One day, when Dani was four, I whispered, “Dani, you are my favorite.” She got very sad and replied, “Mommies don’t have favorites.”  It was so sweet, I stopped my little joke.

19.  If you ask her today, she will say she is my favorite.

more

more by ~Staci Lee~
more, a photo by ~Staci Lee~ on Flickr.

My word this year is MORE.

I want to love more, hope more, feel more, create more, learn more, accept more, do more, and be still more. I want more grace, more joy, more gratitude, and more peace in my life.

While I don’t know what this year will bring, I am excited to live it.