Insights and Delights Blog

Insights and Delights Blog

What Happened to Holy?

Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

What Happened to Holy?

          “Mama, I want to sit on a cloud.”   YES! I thought. She’s mine! Never had I heard anyone voice this same dream of mine until my young daughter spoke that phrase a few weeks ago. In fact, I’ve gotten dubious looks from others when I’ve shared that desire. I was happy to assure her that her imagination is welcomed here.   Calianne’s statement bonded us for life, as if we needed another verification that we’re two peas in a pod. It also got me thinking about why I love to gaze at clouds, and not just gaze, but envision how they got there and what’s beyond them. Did you know there’s a whole world beyond the level of commercial jets? May seem like a dumb question, but really, we can see glimpses of what’s out there, but is it bigger and smarter and better than us?   Lacking hope in what may be beyond (and better than) the limits of this life is a confining way to spend a few decades; in fact, some may call it closed minded. Studying the skies anchors me to hope and reminds me to focus on the holy. If we’re unwilling to be awed by something beyond ourselves, if we humans are convinced that we’ve got it all in hand and we’re the collective best there is, who are we to know whether we’re missing out on something huge, something necessary, even vital?   Even scientists admit that we use a very small part of our brains, which I think is interesting, considering many of those scientists are quite influential critics of God. Assume for a moment that the Genesis account of sin’s entry into the world is true; could it be that a world starved of holiness has crippled our very brains? Without the effects of unholiness, would we always be aware, in awe, and possibly even appreciative of all that still is holy? Because, let’s be honest, for all our best efforts and kindest motivations, we humans haven’t touched holy on our own.   Let’s just say for kicks that God does exist and he is everything he claims to be. Imagine him as holy.   For a moment, focus on what holiness is. In layman’s terms, holiness is everything perfect–in a more profound way of being perfect than we can fathom. It is wholly beyond us. Holiness is awe-inspiring and far from us, yet part of its intrigue is that it chooses to hold us. We cannot begin to access it ourselves, but it is so beyond good that it seeks us out despite our rejection of it. I love this quote from Brennan Manning that describes transcendence and immanence, two characteristics of God’s holiness that may seem opposite, but that sum up the essence of who he is:   “Transcendence means that God cannot be confined to the world. . . . Immanence, on the other hand, means that God is wholly involved with us, . . . that he is here in his mysterious nearness. . . . Disregard of God’s immanence deprives us of any sense of intimate belonging, while inattention to his transcendence robs God of his godliness.”   If we go through our days without pausing to let our...

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For All the Children Who Don’t Want to Go Home This Summer

Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Children, Giving heart, Healing | 2 comments

For All the Children Who Don’t Want to Go Home This Summer

I began Insights & Delights because I couldn’t limit myself to either the serious or the frivolous. I thought of naming it InsightFULL because the deeper part of me has lots of thoughts to fill up posts. However, there’s that other side of my brain that really, really, REALLY loves a break from thinking hard <smirk>. I think some of both keep us healthy in life. My first blogs have been on the lighter side–the delightful half–and I’ve had lots of fun putting them together. Still more is brewing about favorite childhood books, but I’m feeling pressed to interrupt those messages to share a topic that’s dear to me and that keeps tugging at my heart. I was reminded again recently about this topic when I pulled into our driveway after a mother-son date night with my best little big-man. . . . Six-year-old Paxton and I arrived home from our date in time to see Calianne scurry back to the garage on his new Razor scooter.   Sensing a storm brewing, I got proactive. “Paxton, right now Cali’s feeling nervous that she’s about to get hollered at–”   “But Mom, that’s MY scooter, and she didn’t ask! . . .” (You know the routine.)   “Buddy, she just wants to be like you and do the big-kid things you do. Look at her. She’s scared right now that she’ll get yelled at in a minute, and that doesn’t feel good to her. You have a chance to care for your little sister’s heart. Think about that before you say anything.”   I pulled into the garage, where my daughter waited with a sheepish grin. Before I could turn off the engine, Pax threw open his door: “CALI, THIS TIME I’M NOT GONNA HOLLER AT YOU FOR RIDING MY SCOOTER WITHOUT ASKING! BUT PLEASE ASK NEXT TIME!”   God bless that boy. If we can’t trust that our hearts will be cared for at home, where can we hope for that?   Summer has arrived, and most kids I know look forward to play-filled days and plenty of time to be themselves, to not have to be “on” for several hours a day at school. Yet my thoughts keep wandering to the host of other children who don’t yearn for the end of the school year, because June marks the removal of the safe buffer of the classroom. Home, which was designed to be a haven, can often be a place of heartache and tears, discouragement and rage, even terror–despite their parents or because of them. For those sweet ones who dread long, difficult days ahead, who aren’t allowed the simple freedom to let down their guard, who carry stress with them constantly and cover up what hurts . . .   To those children who need a break in life, know that I would love to hug you and fix everything for you. You have been on my mind, and I want you to know I’m praying for you all summer. I may not know your name, but your heavenly Father does, and he knows I’m talking to him specifically about precious YOU. Know that he hears, and he loves you more than you could possibly know. AND he has wonderful plans for you if you’ll ask him...

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Another Childhood Favorite Revisited: Nancy Drew, Is It Time to Grow Up?

Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Uncategorized | 6 comments

Another Childhood Favorite Revisited: Nancy Drew, Is It Time to Grow Up?

I have a secret. Nothing deep or dark, but I’m thinking it’s quirky by many opinions. In the last post when I revisited the Ingalls family, I said that my kids and I have been reading the Little House series together. Well, every summer when that nostalgia bug strikes, I also find myself reaching up on my office shelves to pull down an antique volume of Nancy Drew. Sometimes I still crave a revisit to the world of River Heights, chums Bess and George, and Togo the terrier. Yep, I’m a forty-something who still enjoys a trip back to the past in a sporty blue roadster. Not to read to the kids. Just for me.   Laugh as you will. I’m being strong and fessing up, and I’m going to confidently own this quirky summer habit. Report me to Police Chief McGinnis. I have a hunch he’ll understand.   That said, I will also say they don’t thrill me quite like when I was eight, which is probably appropriate. Now I compare the original, twenty-five-chapter versions with their updated twenty-chapter revisions for writing style. I still take note of how writing has changed, the POVs that shift within chapters, the omniscient POV that was relied on.   But the stories do still tug at my heart. I think my love for them is now more about the emotions I want to experience again. As a kid, one of my favorite ways to enjoy a summer day was to ride my bike down to the library, all independent and free by myself, and soak up the air conditioning while picking out three more volumes I’d take home with me that week. The bike, the freedom, the scents of the sidewalk concrete and the musty library and aged book pages, the hum of the crickets outside as the wind tossed back my own titian-blonde curls as I sped home on my trusty blue Schwinn . . . that’s what it was about.   Back when I was eight, an eighteen-year-old girl was a full-grown adult to me. I dreamed of following in her footsteps of adventure and suspense and luncheon dates with girlfriends at roadside inns, crumbling mansions full of mystery, zippy boat rides with boyfriends who showed up to help chase down culprits, and closets full of dresses and dreams and such. I lived for the hope that intrigue was just around the corner of my own young life. And her ever-faithful dad . . . there’s also the dad part of it. I inherited my father’s love of reading, and I don’t get to see him very often anymore. But he was the one who bought me my first ND book way back when, and that series without a doubt birthed my passion to write. I was shy; I wasn’t a crowd person; but I could dream and I could write. I loved those Saturdays when Dad stopped at used-book sales and brought home bags full that wafted their wonderful, musty odor through our garage. He’d tell us about some he remembered from his own childhood; others he just thought looked interesting. But Dad got it, that love of books and bindings and worlds to discover and characters that never age no matter how many times you read the...

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Little House on the Prairie: What Were They Thinking?

Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Uncategorized | 6 comments

Little House on the Prairie: What Were They Thinking?

Every summer I get a bug of nostalgia that has me revisiting some of my favorite books from childhood. These side trips are even more special now that my kids are old enough to enjoy them with me.   We just finished reading Little House on the Prairie together, and it was so fun to see them become enthralled in the daily lives of the Ingalls family. As a child I was smitten with a romanticized image of those good ol’ days of log cabins, heading west, one-room schoolhouses, the simple life . . . can you feel the soft breezes and hear the stillness of the gentle, windswept prairie?   That was my impression then. Reading through these books as an adult, a mom of young children, I have a very different impression. Nothing in me is tempted to forge into untamed territory with my vulnerable offspring in tow, with only a wagonload of gear, and meet absolutely not one other human being as we cover mile after slow mile for weeks, even months. All I can wonder is, Were they out of their ever-lovin’ minds?! The risks, the dangers, the isolation, the lack of available medical help or companionship of girlfriends . . . the whining of kids who wonder if they’re there yet! (“No! Not yet! Maybe not ever!!!”)   This second book of the Little House series sends the young family of five to Kansas. Two twentysomethings alone with three small children. Alone. Day after day. In the middle of nowhere. No doctors for high fevers, no antibiotics for ear infections, no dentists with happy gas for tooth fillings. But of course nothing could hurt them when Pa and bulldog Jack were there.   Can I get a big “Whatever!” from anyone else out there?   Don’t get me wrong. I love an adventure as much as the next gal. I’ve zip-lined, spelunked, para-sailed, camped, visited more than one third-world country, relocated several hundred miles, had two C-sections, rescued my child from beneath the pounce of an overly zealous stray dog, pulled same child from drowning in a water barrel, remained calm through several of his little sister’s toddlerhood choking episodes, and lived to tell about all of it. But their family undertook that journey by themselves, facing hundreds of miles of isolation and elements and potential scalping in enemy territory without even the mediocre safety of a wagon train.   I’d like to ask Ma what her plan was if something had happened to Pa. What exactly would she have done with herself and her little girls should Charles have drowned crossing that raging river? Did she know the direction to Kansas? Did they have any regrets when they all nearly died of malaria on the plains, forty miles from the nearest town? Or how about when they waited up all night for Pa to return home in a freezing storm or when a panther nearly pounced on him or when a pack of wolves ran alongside his horse for miles or when Caroline nearly got crushed from a tree that fell on her as she and Charles were building their log cabin?   Did their children have nightmares for long after being terrorized by an Indian war-cry night after night? Did their stomachs...

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Launch Points

Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Faith steps | 4 comments

Launch Points

Why Insights and Delights? Because I like to wonder about the big and little things of life and faith. Insights and Delights offers hope and truth for important issues and small curiosities. To jumpstart things, here’s a post from my previous blog, Simply Delightful, that bridges the gap between then and now. Welcome to a blessing for today!   “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)   From August 2011: I’m pondering today how it feels to be on the brink of something big. Pondering may not be the most appropriate word. It seems to be burdened with a weighty tone. Considering? Meditating on? Anticipating? Perhaps each of those terms does in fact fit our pendulum of emotions as we face an unknown future. At times our courage and faith are big, grandiose enough to calm our fears. Other times we’d like to crawl back into bed and pray to wake up when someone else has the details figured out—to our good, of course.   Uncertainty is exciting. Or frightening. True multitaskers could even pride themselves on feeling the whole gambit of emotions all at the same time.   Are you approaching a launch point? A place where you must face change, perhaps a jolt out of your comfort zone?   I wonder if the bird in the picture is facing a launch point of his own. From our perspective his position may seem terrifying. He’s at the top of the Empire State Building—outside the security gate no less. If we were to put ourselves where he is, it’s likely we’d feel a prickle of terror. However, consider what a bird is gifted to do. Really, he’s already jumped off his launch point. Now he’s at the heights that can only be reached by going for it. And what a sight to see. He could get there only by launching.   Living life fully inevitably means launching into an unknown now and then. But oh the heights and sights when we go for it. Sure, there’s risk of falling. But there’s a promise from One who has the ability to rescue and rebuild. And lift again.   When you know Who’s holding you up, you can be certain in the uncertainties of a launch point that beckons.  ...

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