Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: family (page 1 of 3)

Christmas in the Family

We watch the world go by at speed limit, all in two rows, shoulder to shoulder as if we were connected there. Because we are connected there. And hearts glow like the stars outside, and mouths move and out comes one joy, then another.

Youngest sister dodges sleep; little head leaning light, little hand on my arm. Pretty as the ice-coated night. The rest discuss the favored Soprano during Messiah, (the first one in red, please) the old Tenor who stoops more than he did last year– and we hope he has many more years in the Methodist choir. (He, our general favorite.) 
We giggle re-dwelling the funniest antics on the rink, discuss the performance of the less experienced (stellar), decide whether or not to spend the balance of the evening making bagels in the classic country kitchen warm as summer. That is, if the power is actually on at home…
We stop where the wires are down across the road, turn around to find another way home. Shout “Thank YOU” out open car window to the utility men who’ll be here wrangling icy copper until daybreak and beyond.
And once again, the holy joy that makes a day a holiday is wound around this beautiful gift, family. 

We don’t deserve it. Them. But here we are, loved, loving…
– – –
And right into the middle of this warm-heartedness this word sinks like a cold dagger– 
Abandoned. 
And not that He was… (He was.)

But that He did.

That He walked away from the adoring, from everything and everyone familiar… That He left companionship. That comfy spot between beloved shoulders… The little hand on His arm, the little head, the perfect sleepy face, the warm chatter, the laughter at the end of an unblemished day, He left it. 
He told them to scoot in to fill the gap, to be the pillow He’d been. Stood up and walked to the gate, swung it open, waited for the click, walked way into the universe to spend His first Christmas all alone.
So we could have Christmas at all.

Thanksgiving

It’s the morning after Thanksgiving.
I miss it already.

So I’m going to keep it going another day, another week, another month…

We compare notes around the hearth and it turns out we’re all thankful for more than circumstances…
We’re thankful for the sunshine. And we’re thankful for the shadows, which always prove that there is a sun up there.
We’re thankful for happiness. And we’re thankful for strength, gained at the cost of ease.
We’re thankful for uncomplicated communion, and for friendship tempered by tears.
We’re thankful for sympathy, a gift best given by a heart that knows what it is to hurt…

We’re thankful that He sees beyond this moment and hands us what we’d choose had we His eyes, His heart. We’re thankful that He condescends to suffer humanity to share His joy, His tears. We’re humbled at the confidence he bestows upon erring mortals when he gives us His Name, His reputation…

Let the chime stay in the kitchen another day, a reminder to express Gratitude.
And let Thanksgiving never end.

Anything For You

Maybe I’m a bit naïve.
(Hey, that’s better than cynical, right?)

Maybe I find the risk of trusting lower than the cost of suspecting.
Anyway, such is certainly the case if you’re my friend...

“Hey, can you do me a favor?”

Yes I can. And if I trust you, I won’t even ask what it is first. If it lies within my power (or anywhere near it) I want to serve you.

My girls are trusted. And by reflex I almost always answer them one way when asked:
     “Hey, can you…”
            “Anything for you, dear.”

Little words so often spoken they are almost playthings.
But one morning they strike me as carrying with them two powerful implications–

I trust you not to ask of me something I can’t give.
And I love you. So what I can give, is yours.

–  –  –  –  –

You’ve probably heard it said that it is a struggle to stand. That to live is to fight…
Truth.
But I have wondered of late, if the agony of being torn between two opinions, one the violation of conscience, and the other the perceived violation of my rights to myself, isn’t a war I myself too often drag out long after it might have been won.

I wonder that when I look at the cross, see my Friend bleeding.
Hear Him whisper “Abba;” receive no reply.
I wonder because He’s the embodiment of Love. And what could be more trustworthy?

And I say I trust Him not to ask of me anything I can’t give.
And I love Him. So what I can give, is His…

So why doesn’t every morning start with
“Anything for You…”?

I don’t know. But this morning did.

–  –  –  –  –

We rein in after the eighth mile, and I’m satisfied.
Satisfied that my new pre-run stretching routine is worth more than an extra month of training.
Satisfied that if you’re going to have a good run, you need a good start.

And the best start is falling on my face before sunrise, telling Him in no uncertain terms:

I don’t know what You’ll ask of me today. 
What You’ll ask me to surrender. 
What You’ll ask me to make right. 

But whatever it is, the answer is yes.





A Gift Called “Together”

We heave and breathe and pour sweat, and bump fists.
And we chant audacity (in the form of “oh yes you can!”) and mouth corners upturn under flaming cheeks. And we cut another minute off the mile, add another mile to the course.

We flop down in green grass and laugh.

And I realize that what I once said would never be, is.
What I always said I’d do only for the sake of relentlessness, I do now for the love of the doing…

Together.
That changes everything, you know?

I soak up blue sky and run fingers through grass while we stretch; listen to the student of strides give us the latest science; quip that we need a team dietician.

And running isn’t anything like it used to be.
It used to be heart-pounding, step-sounding solitude where the only one there to believe I could was myself.

But it isn’t the love or the running that strikes me so deep.

It’s that together word.
That’s the gift.

Apart, some are fast, some are slow.
Others never try. Never know what they’re made of.

Oh, and don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for solitude. I was born a loner, after all…

But I’ve been given a gift I hope to spend the rest of my life passing on to people around me who’ve never tried. Or who’ve quit believing.

And I dare you to do the same.
To be the same.

To the lonely soul; To the trembling child; To the one who wants, but is afraid to dare; To the one who would, if one soul would care–

I want to be together.

Because together, everyone gets stronger.

Bound to the Altar

See how his hand trembles, this giant of a man. 

See how it fumbles with soft leather strap, almost inept.
Hear broken sobs, from the given heart.
Watch him blink away tears so he can see what he’s doing–
See to bind his son. His promised son.

By some reflex my head turns in real life, eyes squinted shut. As if to say “I don’t want to watch this happen.”

Amazing love.
But you know what I find almost more amazing?
See how his hand takes those straps, steady and strong.
See how he binds himself, soothes the broken, himself blinking away tears.
This strong son. The promised one.

Amazing love.

–  –  –  –  –

I pull out a second card. Because sometimes on sister’s birthday one card won’t say it all.

Four words– This morning I pondered with tears what it must take to stand like a rock, on a breaker out in the tide while the waves crash over. Like lighthouses do… 

Because you, I, we… We’re out there, and the sandy shore from whence we’ve come is washing out, getting ever more distant. Carried away by churning foam while the water around gets deeper. 

I mean, there’s the clinging, the scratching, the white-kunckled hold. But anemones and starfish have many more hands than we do. And none of them are permanent fixtures. 

So it must be, that to stand rock-like, we need nothing less than to be bound to that rock by a power outside of our own. Greater than our own. Bound so firmly that neither fear nor fatigue can ever make us ask for release of reprieve.  

Because it’s in the midst of the worst storms that the world most needs lighthouses…
Prisoner on the rock. to the Rock. 

Bind yourself there. 

               Love you forever.

Up And Away

Sunrise already finds me far from home, in an unfamiliar hub, bound for an unfamiliar continent.
But this feeling is familiar… This “it-never-gets-old” sense we always get when we’re perched on the edge of some new territory. Together.

Off we go. And not for a week or two, but for a month. Not sure if this trip goes by the label of ministry or mission… Probably some of both.

Pray for us in Bolivia, speaking first, then spending time in orphanages in the mountains. Pray we’ll have an over-abundance of love to give away in a land where the concept of family has been almost entirely destroyed.
And while you’re at it, pray we’ll find enough internet to post a photo or two between now and the middle of March. 🙂

Thanksgiving [Because I Belong.]

It occurs to me that without a few key gifts in this life, all others are rendered meaningless.

The eve of Thanksgiving. I flop into bed with Romans 8 on my heart, fresh from neighborhood youth Bible study.
And as I ponder, as I set to counting blessings once again, I suddenly see how this one gift makes all others worth counting…

You’ve read the stories– Joe Wheeler style.
You know, the ones where some little orphan waits for Christmas, wants nothing more than someone to belong to. Someone to want them.

I’ve always read them with somewhat of an “awwww!, poor kid.” reaction.

But you know, I’ve recently found out that that poor kid is me. 

– – –


I look up from my Bible and my friend’s lip trembles, and I catch it in an instant, because my heart does the same.
It’s this word– “Debtor.” 

I’m a debtor. Romans says so. (and my heart tells me the same.)
I’ve never seen more selfishness in the mirror in my life. Nor foolishness. Nor pettiness. Nor pride.
It’s awful.
A debtor I am.

But right on the heels of this word with such weight, on this eve of Thanksgiving, comes this other word–

“Adoption.”

I’m adopted.

I’m a debtor, not because I’ve sinned, but because I belong.

– – –

My head finds the pillow. My tears join my friend’s.
I shake my head in silence, and though orphaned I should rightly be, I fly again at open arms.
And my Thanksgiving prayer is simple:


Thank You for wanting me.



– – –

Thanksgiving tradition: All kids in the kitchen. At once.
feast for the eyes
pilgrim zone
best ever: sharing the all-American holiday with Australian friends and sweet neighbors
no indians this year…


Life is a Vapor

Merciful sleep.
Merciful blackness, the backdrop for a million galaxies.

“Stars. You see them best on the darkest night.” 

I turn over, sleep, to see in my dreams the strength of arms, and wills, and hearts… of friends that wouldn’t let go. That poured sweat, and poured out sobs with us on a cold night under open heavens.

There’s something familiar about this feeling.
We’ll dig another grave tomorrow.
For another one of our best friends.

We’ll say another round of goodbyes.
That’s three times by open graves, once by our open door, since June.

But as night turns into day, then turns to night again, one thing hits me harder even than the loss of another cherished treasure. It’s how I cherish the ones that are left.

Because life is a vapor.
I’ll always be glad I stopped mid-stride, retraced two steps to the kitchen trash and fished out my apple core after lunch. Just because I knew she’d like it.

It is the last thing she would ever eat.

But what of the rest?

While visions of a twisting, straining, struggling animal, and of brave friends fighting through hot tears for a chance at life pass before sleepless eyes, I wonder:

These treasures, I mean the ones I have left, do they know how much I love them?

Morning comes and it’s still black. I awaken slowly, pause to feel my heart beat its steady 45.
But I’m by no means the first. Someone else has been up, waiting for the morning to start.
He’s pretty polite. Doesn’t usually awaken me before my time. But neither does he wait long after my eyelids first flutter.

The cold nose finds its way to a tear-stained face, pushes a time or two, and retreats to take up racquetball, sock, or whatever else can pass for a toy at 4 am. And he stands there, and his beady eyes beam. He’s happy to see me. And every morning he tells me the same. He stands there, wags his tail until he can’t take it any more. Prances and dances, and makes a fuss, as if we’d been separated by months and miles, rather than short hours since last night.
Just because he loves…

But wouldn’t I wish I’d done the same, made a ruckus when I’d first seen my sister, brother, mother, father in the morning? Wouldn’t I wish I had, if one morning they were gone?

I have news for you. For me.

That could happen any morning.

Life is a vapor.

Fight for it. Cherish it.
And not just when it’s hanging by a thread…

Sleep, Diamond baby. Sleep.

Relentless Pursuit

We waste hours and days in pursuit of answers from God.

When the answer to every question is to be found in the pursuit of God.

That’s what I learned this morning.

– – –

Memories from the past week, compliments of Instagram (seannebblett)

The sight sister and brother-in-law will see from their balcony in Oklahoma farm country

Reunion of 8 out of 10 sibs.

Stick up to the knee wall, post and beam from there.

Andrew working his chain saw art

balancing act, on a wobbly floor joist, with an iPhone

fabricating things most people buy from the hardware store

sparklers at Chantée and Luke’s Oklahoma reception

uncomplicated. little ones. (love)

And off they go!

I Will Go – Available Now!

My life, your life, has been preserved until this moment
for one reason.


That it might be given away.

While there is life and strength in you,
          While you are young and brave, and beautiful,

Go.


Go pour out every drop on thirsty ground 
where no flowers grow, but seeds lie dormant.


From its first heartbeat this project has been woven with your prayers, enabled by your gifts, inspired by your friendship and filled with your favorites.

And it’s all been such a gift to us, we can’t stand the thought of ending the giving.
And we’ve decided there’s no reason to.

This CD is a bit different… Longer, yes. Filled with nominations, yes.
But more than that, squeezed out of hearts that are being wrung with longing to see dark places lighted with the Glory of God…

Hearts thankful beyond words for the inspiration of the soldiers young and old actually holding the torches.
They’re our heroes. And some of their names can’t appear in print.
But this CD is dedicated to them.

And we give thanks for them, but we want to do something a bit more.
So a dollar from every disk goes to Karen Outreach. (www.karenoutreach.org)
Forever.

That’s our little part.
If you’d like to send a dollar too, use the second paypal button when you order. We’ll send $2.

But don’t just buy the CD and sit and listen and smile and say “that’s sweet.”
Go get on your face and ask to be broken and spilled out.

Then we can call this project a success.

______________________________________________

p.s. Thank you isn’t enough. 80 plus songs later, we have fodder for lots of dreams. And we wish we could sufficiently thank everyone that took the time to nominate songs. We still have the list….. 🙂
But I promised that your names would go in a hat, and a dozen of you would get free copies. So if your name is listed below:

1. Don’t order a copy. It’ll just come in the mail. (better email me at seannebblett[at]gmail[dot]com to give me your address though.

2. Order a copy anyway. We’ll send all 15 dollars to Asia…

Maria Adams

Esther Collier
Luther Coram

Christina Ford

Emily Heagy
Beth Johns

Lydia Keener

Cami Martin
Hope Montana
Libby Orthman
Allie Westermeyer
Sophia Wichmann
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