Monthly Archives: December 2011

It’s A Holiday!

Merry Christmas from Lark & Bloom! Can’t believe it is already Christmas. Didn’t we just celebrate Labor Day? Wouldn’t it be nice if you guys could all come by my house for hot chocolate, cookie decorating, carols and, flag football for you guy readers? What is a masculine holiday activity anyway? Fire! We could build a bonfire.

Many of you I have never met in person, but I carry you in my heart and I thank you for inviting me into yours as well. Lark & Bloom isn’t even a year old yet and I have already been BEYOND blessed by you guys. Thanks for reading and letting me share my life and thoughts with you. So thankful.
 I will be taking a break from blogging until January 1st. Need a bit of time to re-fuel and work on a few other writing projects. I am looking forward to a fantastic 2012 with some fun posting series in store. 

In the mean time, I pray that you all enjoy time with your dearest relationships and spend some time dreaming with God about the year to come. Thought I would leave you with one of my new favorite Christmas songs. Blessings!

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It Is A Silent Night In North Korea

I write this bundled in my bed with water, some chocolate covered almonds & reflections I have been mulling around in my head all day. As I mentioned it is night here, so in North Korea it is morning. The sun may be out, but in many ways it is still night in North Korea…

This morning I woke up and read the news as usual…you may recall my post on Coffee With Gaddafi from this summer. Catching up on news is a regular part of my morning routine. This morning when I read the news I froze. 
What? Kim Jong Il??? It is amazing how the world can change while you sleep. Twitter & facebook were full of posts on the topic. I’d check the news periodically and watch interviews of people in North Korea weeping on the streets as they gave interviews. Weeping from the loss of a leader. 
This was a man who kept his entire country isolated from the rest of the world while personally having a movie collection of somewhere between 10,000-20,000 films. While 2 million North Koreans died in the mid-90s from famine – he was spending $800,000 a year on his favorite cognac. Not to mention the political & religious persecution. This wasn’t a nice man. And yet, his death left a nation in tears. Stunned & shocked.
Moments when famously unjust people die, I seem to have a deep pause of reflection. Maybe you remember my post Reflections On Bin Laden? I got some very negative feedback from some people for that one. And yet, here I go. About to write another one…
I wonder what it was like for him in those last moments. Was he remorseful?  He must have known he was disliked by nearly the entire world. How much did that weigh on his heart & did he think of it in his last fleeting moments? Did he feel alone?
Even more I wonder about his son, Kim Jong-un, who will be his successor. A man in his late 20s who is grieving the loss of his father. Not only that, but who just took on the weight of nation and the baggage of his father’s choices. Does he agree with his dad? Is he scared? Will he have the courage to change things? I can’t imagine being in charge of a hated government and a nation crumbling. Much less to work with people who are a bit eager to showcase their nuclear capability. 
I bet he didn’t sleep at all last night. It is a silent night in North Korea. A pause, a break, an end and a beginning. People desperate and frightened. A young man burdened with unimaginable weight. I wonder what God is doing. I know He is moving from household to household comforting & revealing Himself as a good shepherd.
I know He is giving Kim Jong-un an invitation. An invitation to be different, to do the right thing, to love instead of hate. An invitation to know Him. Comforting a son who lost a dad. I know God is pursing him. I hope Kim Jong-un is listening. 
It’s a nation starving in every way. No one knows what the next chapter holds. It is a silent night & a holy night. A night where Peace comes and comforts those who mourn. A Plan who enters when all things seem confused. A Shepherd who gathers those that are lost. It is a night that a King visits a kingdom and offers leadership. The night when Jesus looks at Kim Jong-un and tells him it doesn’t have to be this way. 
Lets all pray for North Korea on this silent & holy night. Jesus was born in a manger thousands of years ago with nights like this one in mind. This is why He came in the first place. To bring hope to the darkness.

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A Far-Sighted Girl With A Near-Sighted Problem

Whoa. Look At Those Eyes.

How about a moment of vulnerability? You know, coming clean about my past and all that…well. When I was a little kid, I had a lazy eye. Yes. It is true. One of my eyes seemed to love looking at the bridge of my nose.
As you may be able to imagine, the solution was a large pair of glasses. Not just glasses but the kind of glasses that were about a centimeter thick and made my eyes appear the size of oreos. It was not the coolest thing for a kid. I also had to sleep with a special boot/leg brace thing when I was small, but that is another story. 
In addition to having the lazy eye, I am incredibly far sighted. The lazy eye has been fixed but I still have to wear my contacts to allow me to see anything remotely close to my face. Its funny, because I am far sighted in pretty much every way. I love to look at the horizon and think about what is coming next. I am a long term thinker and spend time imagining all that the future holds. 
I am made that way I suppose. A dreamer and a visionary. We are actually all made to be far sighted. To fix our eyes on Heaven. To live in a Kingdom reality where our lives are not simply about our career, hobbies or personal gifting. We were made to live beyond ourselves. 
But I have a problem sometimes. More often that I would like to admit. I begin to have near-sighted problems. I start focusing only on what is right in front of me. I pick an issue and stare at it until I have a headache. I hold it up so close to my face in attempt to see it better and in doing so, I block all views of anything else. I become obsessive. We all get bogged down sometimes due to an unhealthy focus on a small piece of a bigger picture.
Perhaps it is obsessive about a fear. What if I risk and God doesn’t come through? There must be something wrong with me. I don’t know what but I know there is something wrong. Maybe I have a chronic illness? Maybe I have a mental illness? You might laugh, but I have met a large number of people who have at one point thought they were actually loosing their mind. 
Or maybe you are so obsessed with not failing that you forget that you God ever even called you. Will people follow me? Does everyone think I am an idiot? Can they tell I am insecure? If I blow this they won’t give me another shot. God is having doubts about if He can use me.

We get obsessed with what we are not. We get obsessed with who we are not. We get obsessed with who we will never become. We fixate and freeze. Unable to look beyond the thing we have put smack in front of our eyes. We blind ourselves. 
Our perspective is off. Headaches begin to plague us, and our vision gets blurry. 
I was made to see clearly. I am a far sighted girl who acts nearsighted sometimes. It is a pain. It is frustrating and I do it to myself. My big God fades into a blur in the distance and I only focus on what is immediate or what feels immediate. 
I can’t see the big plans of God that are laid out in front of me, when I only focus on the challenge that is looking me in the face.  I am a far sighted girl with a near sighted problem. Good thing God does Lasik for free.

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I Slept On Sticks Last Night

My 2 year old sleeping with his drumsticks

I’m really not sure why I woke up. But last night at 1:30 am I woke up. I did what I do anytime I wake up in the middle of the night. I go check on my kids. No clue why I do that, perhaps it was just a habit I got into when they were infants. 
I went into Tait’s room to check on him. He was on the verge of sliding off his bed, so I went ahead and slowly pushed him back into the middle of the mattress. That was a mistake I immediately regretted. He woke up. Great. And now he was crying. Even better. Seeing as how his half-asleep cry session was my fault I snuggled up next to him to help him go back to sleep. 
Here is what you need to know about my son. He LOVES to play drums. His little arms are constantly banging out rhythms everywhere we go. Unlike most kids his age he doesn’t care if his stuffed animals are in his bed or his blankie is next to him. He sleeps with his drumsticks. Not just one or two, but he sleeps with however many he can find before we tuck him into bed. Last night he slept with six drumsticks. 
As I  snuggled next to him he stopped crying. I tried to lay very still so he would drift off into sleepy bliss. The only problem was the six drumsticks. They were jabbing my face. He had them laid next to him on the pillow and I plopped my head right on top of them. It was really uncomfortable, but it seemed to be the ideal spot to snuggle Tait back to sleep. I laid there for about 10 minutes. Then he finally went to sleep. 
Why I laid there I was thinking about how it is 1:30 in the morning & the last thing I want to do in the middle of my groggy night is lay on top of splintered sticks. Finally when I could tell he was out I hopped out of bed, rubbed my scratched face and went back into my bedroom. Once in my bed I got under the covers & pulled the blanket over my head. 
Since being married I have slept with the covers over my face. Jady can’t sleep if there isn’t a fan blowing & I seem to wake up every hour with the need to drink a gallon of water if the fan is on. Jady promises that the fan has nothing to do with it, but I find it hard to deny the fan is the culprit. Either way, I started sleeping with the covers over my head. 
I laid there thinking about the sticks and the fan. The little things we do to serve the people we love. Somehow laying there on Tait’s sticks and hiding under the covers from Jady’s fan made me smile and think about how fantastic they are. I love the sticks and the fans even though they aren’t my personal preference.
Jady sacrifices things for me. Like not having a laundry schedule that runs with military precision ( or any precision for that matter). And when I am old and my joints ache my kids will sacrifice for me. To take care of me and make sure I have an extra cushy chair when I come to visit. It’s just what you do when you love people. Sacrificing makes us love them more somehow. It reminds us that they are worth a bit of discomfort and a bit of having it our way. 
I have known so many friends who chose or rejected marriage based on the things they would have to sacrifice. Not the big important things. But the things like where they buy their clothes, what music they listen to and their preferred way of communication. They looked for who required them to change the least instead of who they could love the most.
When we prefer others, we love others. When we prefer ourselves, we love ourselves. I’m not the best at this. I’m not even good at it. But I am thankful for nights of sleeping on sticks and the way they remind me to love.

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5 Reasons Why RG3 & I Are Practically Twins

This is a pic taken while decorating cookies with my kids at Baylor…who is that in the background?
RG3 my friends.

In case you missed it Robert Griffin III (aka RG3) won the Heisman tonight. My sweet little 5 yr old started sobbing when she heard the news. “I’m just SO happy!” she said. I couldn’t agree more. Baylor is the best school ever & deserves a big win. But, I’m also happy that RG3 won because – he is basically my twin. Don’t believe me? I have five reasons:
1. We both went to Baylor & studied Political Science. I am a Baylor alum. AND I studied Poli Sci. Same great taste, same interests…this is looking ‘twin’ish to me. 

2. We both wore our hair in braids today.  Okay, his are cooler than mine I will admit. Mine was the kind of braid you do with your bangs when you are growing them out. None the less we rock the same hair. It’s sorta like that language people say twins have with each other. We totally have that with our hair.
3. We both know what MAFU means. Jady was the chaplain for the Baylor football team for a few years in the mid 2000s. One day some of the team came for dinner after practice. Thank God Steph Keogh came to help me cook…never seen that much pasta in my life. MAFU is a term the team uses. They let us in on it. I’d tell you, but its kinda a family thing.

4. We both won prestigious awards while we were students at Baylor. Obviously, RG3 is a super famous Baylor bear. Tonight he won the Heisman. That’s a fantastically outstanding accomplishment. What you may not know is that I won an award at Baylor too. My sophomore year I won “Baylor Beauty.” It’s a beauty pageant. But it involves competition and voting…so, I’m putting them in the same category. 
5. We have the same last name. Okay, what says ‘twin’ or ‘family’ like having the same last name? And we DO. We are both Griffins. Enough said.
See what I mean? It’s like RG3 and I are twins or something…crazy the similarities. Anyway, congrats RG3 & Sic ’em bears!



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I Want Africa For Christmas

Here are two of my four kids…I’d like the other two for Christmas.

I visited Africa for the first time when I was a sophomore in high school. We were in Egypt and Sudan. Two nations whose beauty have marked me forever. Perhaps you have been there? Then you know I am not talking about the landscape. It’s the people. With their deep skin and knowing eyes. Then they smile. It’s a genuine smile. A grateful smile. They have earned those smiles. Years of hardship, pain I would prefer to forget, and a future that is uncertain. And yet they live. And yet they smile. 
It has been a privilege for me to visit five African countries so far in my 30 years. I fall in love more each time. This December marks 2 years that we have been in the process of adopting from Uganda. We have a little boy & a little girl that are waiting to be a son & a daughter. 
That is the first thing I want from Africa for Christmas. I want my kids. I want to hold them. Tell them all the reasons I chose them. That they were wanted, fought for and needed in our family. Some days the wait seems like too much emotion to handle. Other days it seems like a distant goal – one that is often referenced but never achieved. I think of them everywhere I go. I want my kids for Christmas. 
The second gift I want from Africa is their wisdom. They celebrate life in a way that I can’t seem to muster. I have been in a room of women dying from AIDS and I have heard their laughter. The kind of laugh that comes from deep joy, not superficial satisfaction. I have sat in a refugee camp in southern Sudan and watched tribal dances erupt spontaneously whenever they locate another villager among the thousands of displaced people. They have an identity in who they are and who they belong to. And they know how to celebrate their family. I want the wisdom of Africa in my heart.
So many things from Africa that I want for Christmas this year. Here is a clip to a video that says it better than I can. 
I pray that no matter what is on your wish list this holiday season, you get a bit of Africa for Christmas.

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Lightning Not Fireworks

Lightning. 

I remember sitting in my English class the first day of my freshman year of high school. Mrs. Weathorn handed out all of the paperwork, assigned our textbooks, and walked through the syllabus. We had about 20 minutes left in the class period & we all set back waiting for her to launch into Great Expectations with typical English teacher gusto. 
Oh, but that’s not what happened. We instead spent the remaining 20 minutes learning lightning safety. Where to stand if you are in a field & lightning strikes, not to shower during a thunderstorm b/c you can get electrocuted through the water pipes, an electric shock can hit you if you are on a cordless phone and the phone line is hit… So many facts and scenarios regarding lightning. 
My whole class sat & listened in a mixture of fascination and horror. Then came the doozie. She told us about the time she was struck by lightning. In the parking lot of our high school. Whoa. 
Lightning. It’s beautiful, fierce, wild and powerful. Such a display of wonder in the sky. There is another thing I have watched in the sky that is somewhat similar. Fireworks. 
Fireworks are a man-made version of lightning. Beautiful colors, flashes, bangs, people stop to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’. But fireworks are safe. You know exactly where to stand so you can see them, but not get hit. You know when they will start & when they will finish. Plus, there are usually conveniently located restrooms & food trucks available to make your viewing experience as comfortable as possible.
Where am I going with this? Well, I think we do this with God sometimes. We stop watching the super natural and watch the spectacular instead. We like our flashes of light, but only in controlled environments. With a start & finish point. With a comfortable seat. With nice weather. And some BBQ. 
The bummer is that fireworks don’t change anything. They fizzle out before they hit the ground. Lightning sparks fires, splits trees, sends waves of electricity through multiple mediums and leaves a visible mark. Obviously when God hits us, it doesn’t kill us but rather it brings us life. 
But we are marked. We are changed. There is risk involved because we are not in control of it. When people are hit by lightning they talk about it for years afterwards. Like my teacher – she talks about it to each class she gets. I have never had a teacher talk to me about a firework show. 
That’s because fireworks are ‘nice’. They aren’t powerful. They don’t travel through water and metal. 
So often we can tend to want the pretty looking relationship with God. “ooh’ and ‘ahh’. A nice controlled environment that appears to have flashes of light in the sky. Well, they do have flashes of lights. Just fake lights that fizzle and never land on anyone. 
We were made to be hit by ‘lightning’. The supernatural move of God. Marked so deeply that we tell our story to everyone. And they listen. Not because we are master storytellers, but because the story is that good. We are meant to risk. To run into spiritual thunderstorms and experience the altering power of Christ. And then be the means by which that power travels. 
We were made to experience the supernatural, not just watch the spectacular.

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