Discovering and playing and building in this little corner of the world to document my writing life. I'm glad you're here. {If you want to receive updates via email, sign up below.}

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why keep writing here?

I've been asking myself this quite often these days:

Why keep writing here?

Why keep blogging? Why keep clacking words? Why keep collecting stories in this space instead of a scrapbook?

On happenstance, I came across these words from Ann Voskamp  in her introduction on her blog --

… but honestly?   the only words that really matter?
Are the ones I live.
This convicts me.
I keep writing it out here everyday, the words I am seeking to live — about this wondrously messy, everyday-holy life….

Heat flowed through my heart and out the tips of my fingers. The fingers that itched to clack  stories to drop into an endless sea of stories floating on waves of Wi-Fi. 

These are the words that really matter. The ones I beat out when I don't have energy to weave a story and the ones I let loose so my soul finds truth and the ones I tug because they sting.

I'll keep writing here because this is where the stories are raw. Without the raw stories, I don't want to craft anything else.

I'll keep writing here in order to keep stepping on a journey that is authentic. Without an authentic journey, I don't want to craft anything else.

I'll keep writing here in order to keep my heart humble and grace evident. It is here, with humility and grace that anything else I might craft will be found.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Two Dates


Got'Cha Day: January 23, 2013
I don't do dates. Most of the time I make up the date to head my notebook page or log my entrances and exits in and out of buildings. The significance, for me, usually doesn't lie in the date or the number of years or the counting down or counting up. The significance is the memory, the story, finding the present through remembering back and looking forward.

Still, this past weekend held two dates that cling a little tighter than others.

January 23 -- The first day of forever with Jay

January 24 -- Nate's birthday

This pairing holds all of the emotions that can't be contained in a heart. It's the hard and sweet all wrapped up together.

Jay was 7, almost 8, when he came home. He lived most of his life in foster care and although he never said it, I'm sure he wondered how long he would live with us.

Forever meant months, not a lifetime.

January 23 marked two years that he has been an Ayres. It's not quite forever, but forever is becoming a possibility.

It's also a milestone for his momma. I think Year Two is the hardest when adopting older children. Year Two is when this momma isn't quite sure she can out-love the hurt. Year Two is when family is still new enough that it might not hold forever, but routine enough that a child is comfortable pushing to see if this family will be forever.

Year Two is over and I breathe a sigh of relief.

January 23 holds more than hurt, it holds celebration. January 23 is Jay's Got'cha Day. "Got'cha forever," we say and he smiles. There is healing in that smile, security in beginning to believe it is real. He really has a family who will still be with him in a week and month and another year.

"You'll take me to college, right Mom?" he asks.

"You better believe it!" I say. "But I might have to stay with you, because I won't want to leave you."

He looks at me for a minute, thinks about it. "I'll make sure to hug you big and we'll visit, but I don't think it will be okay for you to stay at college."

I give him sad eyes.

"You don't have to be sad, though. There's this kid in my class and his brother is in college, but lives at home. I might do that instead."

I smile because I love that staying home sounds like a possibility to him.

Then he says, "But when I join the Marines I can't stay at home and you can't come with me. We'll have to say good bye then. But not the forever kind of good bye. The good bye that means I'll be back and still love you."

January 24 holds gummy worm brownies and breaks my heart. Nate was our friend and the summer he was 20, his heart stopped unexpectedly. I've written often about Nate, curating the posts as a bittersweet celebration last summer.

Our family ate gummy worm brownies beside a pool with Nate on the last day his heart was beating strong. We celebrate Nate on his birthday, eating gummy worm brownies. We remember how he lived strong and real. We remember how he laughed unabashed and loved people even though they were imperfect. We remember how we are better off because we loved Nate.

Each year, at the end of January, two dates cling and remind me facing the hard is a worthy way to live life, because celebration hides on the other side of the hard.

Summer 2010

Friday, January 23, 2015

CELEBRATE This Week: LXVI


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.
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I'm so tempted to simply say, I celebrate a good week, and call it a celebration. Really, though, it would be a cop-out. So I sit for a moment, breathe good and deep, and think through to a genuine celebration.

I have a life filled to the brim with people who believe in me.

There. Now there's an authentic celebration.And it sure is something, isn't it?
A life filled to the brim with people who believe in me.

I almost missed it -- almost missed this powerful celebration -- because I was in a hurry and a little bit tired. It was there, just waiting for me to find it. Hanging out in the shadows of my mind. Lurking in the depths of reflection.

So here I sit, wishing this and wanting that, and the celebration of this truth finds me.

I have a life filled to the brim with people who believe in me.

This is not a small thing for someone who feels so small. This is not an insignificant thing for someone who is wrestling with the significance of her words. This is not mediocre for someone who is wondering if she's settling for mediocrity.
Celebration finds me and wipes the world clear.
I have a life filled to the brim with people who believe in me.
This is why I celebrate, so I can secure one more week when the lies won't win. I celebrate a week when the world spins truth and I see it. I celebrate a life filled to the brim with people who believe in me.
And I celebrate a heart too small to hold the gratitude and joy.



Friday, January 16, 2015

CELEBRATE This Week: LXV


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.
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There's this story that's clinging to my heart. These men are fishing -- all night long they are fishing. It's been a rough night, the catch is nil. It's their livelihood, catching fish, and there's nothing in their nets. 
There's one man on the boat who is feeling pretty rotten; it's more than not catching fish. He denied his friend. Three times before the rooster crowed. One moment he is courageous and brave, professing his faith and his assurance in following his friend down any dark path. And now he's living with the stark realization that at the first test...and the second test...and the third, he denied the relationship.

Dawn is breaking and the men are ready to pull in their nets and try again another night. Then someone from shore calls to them, "Cast your nets on the other side."

It's a simple request. I wonder if they debated whether to listen, after all it was a bad fishing night and they were probably more than a little cranky. They listened anyway. They tossed the nets off the right side of the boat.

They were filled with fish. In an instant, the man on the boat, the one feeling low, Peter, recognizes the man on the shore. He is the man denied. In a brash decision, Peter jumps out of the boat, into the water and wades to shore.

I'm sure he doesn't know what to say, how to act. Here is the man he denied. Peter's standing before his friend, his Savior -- Jesus -- embarrassed and mortified by his previous actions. What should he do?

He drags in the nets and the fish are counted. 153 fish. It is recorded in holy text. Someone counted the fish and there were 153 large fish. That's not the part that is sticking with me, though, at least not this time.

It's this: And although there were so many, the net was not torn.
When we stop to count the celebrations, we find a net that can hold them all. The fisherman listened to Jesus and they were blessed -- 153 large and useful blessings -- and the net was not torn. 

We are not meant to be worn, to be falling apart, to be holding on by threads. Rather, celebration is a net that can hold life together. It will not be torn. It holds strong and wraps around our fragile hearts. 

There is redemption and hope and unconditional love in the rest of the story -- but it all begins by counting the blessings and holding them in a net of celebration.

Loving that you're sharing your celebrations here. Link-up below and invite a friend to join us!

Friday, January 9, 2015

CELEBRATE This Week: LXIV


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.
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 In a world that never rests and constantly spins harried, I deemed 2015 as the year for unhurried. It is a timely word. Unhurried is not the same as balanced and it doesn't mean simplify. Unhurried isn't lazy and it isn't about busy-ness.

Unhurried is about the pace I set my heart to live.

When Sam was a toddler and beginning to do things on his own, I realized I was always rushing him. One day I thought, Why am I always rushing him? He has the rest of his life to hurry up.  I made up my mind to quit rushing my two year old.

Do you know what happened? We quit being late. I'm not sure how it works, but somehow when you quit hurrying you gain time.

Jesus lived unhurried.

He was busy -- especially during the years of his public ministry. He wasn't rushed. He had time because he lived unhurried.

It takes faith to live an unhurried pace. It takes obedience to live an unhurried pace. It takes letting go of control to live an unhurried pace.

I'm learning God is big enough to take care of my time. He is powerful enough to bend the minutes in order to give space in each day for the work He has for me.

I have an inkling that unhurried is what happens when radical faith and rapid obedience team up to complete the works God has for a person.

This week I celebrate what's to come as I learn to live unhurried.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

What I Find When I LEAP


Leap is a risky word. It flies in the face of comfort and conformity. It questions tradition and pushes back on the way things have always been.

Leap changes a person, making her realize there is power in living audaciously.

Leap is about being recklessly bold and intrepidly daring. Living leap can be surprising or shocking.

Living all in for Christ is about living leap

Leap looks dangerous to the world and it feels dangerous too, until a soul understands the goodness of God.

In Before Amen, Max Lucado wrote, "Nothing pleases Jesus as much as being audaciously trusted." I asked myself, "What would I do if I audaciously trusted Jesus?" and I made a list in my notebook.

It made me sad.

A list of ten actions if I audaciously trusted Jesus quickly rolled off my pen. It was difficult to write fast enough, to collect all the things I would do IF I audaciously trusted Jesus. My heart stung, realizing my faith is still so small. 

The list is only possible if I leap -- if I break conformity and risk comfort -- if I make choices based on audaciously trusting Jesus rather than based on how things are always done.


I reread my list and wondered if maybe I am a fraud. Instead of giving up, I gave it more thought. Maybe the problem is I need to understand the goodness of God. Because if God is good, then I can audaciously trust Him. I started praying on the same day I made the list, November 25, to understand more fully the goodness of God in order to audaciously trust Him.

I want to leap and live the life God creates for me.

Just because the calendar rolled to a new year doesn't mean leap will roll out of my life. It is here to stay, woven into the fibers of my heart. Today I look at my list and realize seven of the items are now part of the life I'm living.

I leap and find a very good God as my safety night.

Friday, January 2, 2015

CELEBRATE THIS WEEK: LXIII


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits, add your link. Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

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This week I'm celebrating ONE LITTLE WORDS.
2015 marks my TENTH (!) One Little Word. 

A Decade Collection of One Little Words
 I decided to make a little video to curate my words.



As is customary, you can expect to see a "What LEAP Taught Me" post as well as the selection of my 2015 OLW: unhurried.

Until then, I hope you'll enjoy my little two minute documentary.

Happy New Year!

Share your celebrations below.