August 8, 2015

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 108

Happy Weekend, y'all!

I hope August is welcoming you in all the best ways... filled with summer fun and lazy afternoons (and maybe even a NAP, right? #Swoon!)

Featured today are posts by Deidra Riggs, Lisa Jo Baker, Tonya Salomons, Glennon Doyle Melton, Tammy Hendricksmeyer, Tonia Peckover, Ashley Larkin, a post from right here, and - of course - a video to wrap it all up! 

Happy Reading! (Ya'll know to click on the authors' names below to read the entire post, yes?)

* This post by Deidra Riggs with One Year After Ferguson (In Which I Have Some Questions for You)... 
" In the year since our trip to Ferguson, I’ve had lots of questions rumbling beneath the surface—questions I’d like to ask white people. Over the past few years, you have proven that this blog is safe place to ask tough questions, and I have toyed with the idea of asking you my questions here. I’m like you. I don’t want to offend. I don’t want to say the wrong thing. I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth, or step on you with it. But, love hopes the best, right?

The other day, Lecrae posted a video, asking some of the questions I’ve been asking. I shared that video on my Facebook timeline, because it articulated my feelings so well. Seeing Lecrae ask his questions made me start thinking, again, about asking you my questions. And then, my conversation with John and Lori sort of sealed my fate. This may be a one-time thing or, it may unfold over a series of posts. We’ll see. But for today, I’d like to ask a few questions and offer you space and grace to answer them, in your own words. As always, this is a safe place. And, let’s be kind to one another, as we always are.

Here’s some of what I’m wondering (and I realize one white person doesn’t speak for all white people). Feel free to answer them all, or pick and choose and, thanks in advance..." Seriously - click through and read her questions and if you are willing, jump in to the conversation!

* This post from Lisa Jo Baker with I Think I Can, I Think I Can, Do This for the Next 10 Days... 
"You’d be surprised how easy it is to fall out of the habit of writing.
Or maybe you wouldn’t.
Like most things, writing requires exercise. You need to keep showing up. And when you’re on vacation or traveling for work or simply intimidated by all the loud and achey headlines of the Internet it’s easy to quit showing up. Because you start to second-guess everything you plan to write.
(I’ve already deleted this paragraph and re-written it twice).
Because if we’re a body, then so many parts of us are broken and hurting these days. And sometimes I want to write about it less and talk to friends in person and around my dining room table more.
And then it becomes easier to simply focus on what’s in front of you in your real life because it’s quieter and the Internet is so loud and anyway you’ve only got 14 days to take advantage of the Ft Myers sand and surf and shells and miniature golf courses. And there are all the books to be read and the late night TV you love to watch and slowly the discipline of showing up and writing becomes less and less appealing.
One of my favorite lines from the TV show, Friends, is when Ross and Joey are shimmying down a fire escape and Joey asks Ross, “How heavy ARE you anyway?” and Ross responds, “I’d rather not say. I’m still carrying some holiday weight.”
I know how he feels.
It’s good to be present in your life. It’s good to sink your toes into the sand and exhale without a phone in your hand. It’s good to curl up with a book for hours or play Scrabble for the first time with your kids.
These are good and I’m all filled up on them.
But when you’re full like that it makes it hard to exercise your writing muscles because it’s been so long and you’re not sure where to begin.
Because it feels like there’s so much to catch up and all you’ve really got in you is the energy for 5 leg curls, and not fifty.
So last night I thought I’d try and take off some of the weight of expectations and instead commit to simply start showing up again. Every day for the next ten days if I show up and share something then it feels less like that something has to be profound, it’s enough to simply be present."

* This post by Tonya Salomons over at GraceTable with WHEN LOVE LOOKS A LOT LIKE $2...
"I stepped off the bus at the corner of Dundas and Richmond. A crowd of people pressed close as commuters scurried to catch their transfer, I was no exception. 

The air was cold. The kind of cold that makes you imagine there are tiny icicles in your nose. The thermometer read -24 Celsius. I shrugged my shoulders up to my ears and buried my nose into the neck of my coat.  My whole body was trying to turn in on itself to find warmth.

My ear buds were planted deep in my ears and my worship music was cranked. Between trying to escape the cold, staying on schedule and the ear splitting music pulsing I didn’t see her. In fact, I almost stepped on her. 

She was huddled against the exterior wall of the Tim Horton’s coffee shop. From her vantage point she had a view of legs bedecked in winter gear; warm boots, leg warmers. From where she sat she could watch the revolving door as person after person shelled out the $1.60 for their morning caffeine fix. From where she sat she could see gloved hands wrapped around paper cups of warmth.

My first instinct was to look away, to ignore her. I really had places to be, and I didn’t want to be late. I didn’t want to notice the way she was dressed for an autumn day rather than a bitter cold Canadian winter, or the way her hands were red and raw and chapped from the wind. I wanted to bury my nose deeper in my coat and do anything but open my eyes and really see her.

I started to walk away from her and as I waited for the light to turn green so I could cross the street, All Sons and Daughters began their haunting melody in my ear:

“All the poor and powerless, all the lost and lonely… will come confess and know that you are holy…” 
As that red light changed to green I heard a whisper in my soul, the gentlest of nudges that had me pausing my music and turning back.

I dropped to a knee on the concrete sidewalk, the snow making a crunching sound as I leaned in close. I looked her right in the eye and asked her, her name. “Maggie”* she said as her eyes met mine, “my name is Maggie.” I asked her how she was doing, if there was anything she needed. “Money for a warm drink?” was her whispered reply."

This post by Glennon Doyle Melton over at Momastery with The Gift of the Green Blob...
“Amma’s been walking around for four days with a green blob on her head. We didn’t say anything or even look that hard at it because Amma is our third child. If seven-year old Chase had entered my presence with a green blob on his head I’d have gasped and scrubbed him down with an organic wipe and grilled him about the source of the green blob and googled the source to ensure that there were no toxic materials in the creation of the green blob source and then, for good measure, I probably would have taken him to the pediatrician. Just in case. In a million years, I’d never have let Chase walk around in public all green blobby.

But the thing is that every subsequent child I have feels less and less like a reflection of me. Chase is an upstanding citizen, officially. So I can push him out front of the family and say to the world: Look! I made at least one reasonable one. This child is proof that I can make decent people. As for the rest of these cats…well, I certainly cannot be held responsible for all of them. We call those two “free spirits.” This phenomenon is the reason the further a child is from firstborn the less and less neurotic she is. Because we parents aren’t trying to prove ourselves through them quite as desperately—so they’re freer to be themselves instead of mom and dad’s trophy.  I think it was Kelly Ripa who said kids are like pancakes: you kinda screw up the first one but the rest turn out okay. Love you forever, Chase. Sorry about all that. “Smile and say hello, Chase. Eye contact please. Wipe your nose.” “But mom—Amma’s cursing and crawling across the street naked and she appears to have gotten yet another tattoo.” Chase! Eye contact! Use your manners! 

Anyway—like I said, Amma’s been green for four days. I kept thinking the green would fade but every morning it somehow seems fresher, brighter. So this morning I made her take a shower, because desperate times call for desperate measures. When she got out of the shower I noted that the green was gone and I dried her off in her snuggly towel and sent her off to her room to get dressed. Five minutes later Amma walked back into the kitchen with A NEW GREEN BLOB ON HER HEAD.


So I said, “Sister. I give up. What’s going on with the green blob?” Click over to read the full post... you won't want to miss it!

This post by Tammy Hendricksmeyer over at outside the city gate with A Manifesto for the World You Live In...
“It’s as if your eyes are full in the world and you want to blink, to look away. But then you find yourself, yet again, looking once more, into evil’s distorted face. You see it everywhere.

The conversations and debates have become heavy. They threaten to swallow you whole. Your voice is ripped out. Silenced by tragedy after tragedy. You want to speak, you do. But your ineptness to maneuver the conversations, wets the fire in your bones.

You go back. You go back to the drawing board and dig. You go back to basics and search Christ on the matter(s). And you wait. You wait too long. You wait longer than a pushy, fast-food world expects of you. You wait so long, the conversations moved on without you.

But there is a small revolution that’s started in your soul.

So you make a manifesto for living among a place like this. Because these are peculiar times. If ever you needed to focus, now would be it.


I will keep my eyes open to the world but I will not be buried under the weight of it.
I will daily face the news with the Good News. Not to make light of it, but to bring a Light into it.
I will pay attention to soul care, to guard its safe keeping under the arduous renewal of my mind.
I will set healthy boundaries but also keep those that challenge me, so I will be sharpened like iron.
 I will find the church, the Body, in me and in you. I will not view us as opponents on a battlefield.
I will not let fear have the final word...” 

(Click over to read the full manifesto! It's so good!)

This post by Tonia Peckover with the way sound bends...
"It took a long time to learn the tricks of rebounding sound waves on our property, to learn to imagine the way a distant dog’s bark or a crow’s call could shoot down the funnel of the valley and reach our ears with surprising intensity.  But it’s not just origination that gets distorted out here; sound itself, especially the human voice, can change.  Several times I’ve stopped midstride, heard a loud voice calling, “Help!” and imagined the neighbor lying broken beneath a tractor or bloodied from a chainsaw wound.  I've grabbed my shoes to go look, only to realize it is not "help" he's shouting, but his dog's name:  “Riiiiingooooo!  Riiiiingooo! Come home, Ringo!” 

How does that happen? Do sound waves twist and fray when they bounce against trees?  Do the fir needles shred them as they pass, take the roundness from the vowels, blunt the ends?  I heard it again this week and paled - “Heellllp!  Heeellllp!”  - and wondered, when my heart stopped pounding, what would happen if he ever really needed us?  Would we recognize the call?

I don’t like to think about the ways my senses deceive me, about how quickly my brain leaps to make assumptions.  It complicates the world when all I really want is straightforward understanding.  And it raises uncomfortable questions: Is nothing as it seems?  If ears can be tricked, what about my heart?  What happens to the words I speak out into the world?  If I send out faithfulness, does it tear as it passes through deceit, or betrayal, or time?  Does it arrive tattered and reeking of codependency?  Does generosity crack and shatter when it meets the coldness of want?   Does what kindness I can manage grow shrill and selfish as it crawls belly-first through the underbrush?  What neighbor is calling out heeelllp…and arriving at my ears as something else entirely?"

This post by Ashley Larkin with Here...
"You turned to look at me then. Big, dark brown eyes filled with intensity.

“Please, mama, remember everything about six. Everything.”

I’ll tell you the truth, Lala. I floundered as I tried to sort through all the files and piles in my brain, pull up anything tagged “six.” I remembered the bike riding and the lost teeth and your prayers and kindergarten. I remembered how you discovered your love of writing in journals — how you said, “This is my heart” when we stood among all the pens and notebooks in the art store.

I remembered you doing your own hair and dressing your dolls with your sisters and standing on the floor at kung fu with many kids much bigger than you. I remembered the way you sometimes stood strong and other times wilted, and I wasn’t always sure what to do, maybe because I recognized me out there. The mix of fierce and tender that can feel misplaced and confusing.

“Sweetheart, I will do my very best to remember, and you too, but we will forget some things, and that’s okay.”

You didn’t look at all convinced that would be okay.

“Did you know that you’re not just seven tomorrow? You’re every other year you’ve ever been. So you don’t say goodbye to six, really. Tomorrow, besides being seven, you are one and two and three and four and five and six all wrapped up in your body. And I am every year I’ve ever been until 41,” I said.

You studied me. “What about when I was zero?”

“Oh, yes, that was a very important year because that’s when you first learned what love was, and you stored it all up inside, so you’d be able to recognize love for your whole life.”

After I tucked you in, I cried some more with your papa — about how sad you were and about all the ways I’ve failed you and will keep failing you. About all I’ll forget and not be able to do for you, about how I can never show you enough how loved you are."

* This one from right HERE with When You Believe in Living Art, You Will Find It Everywhere You Go!
"Lately - (read: in the past couple of years really!) God has been speaking to me about Art... about how we all make it and live it and how it is everywhere, all the time, if we will but slow to see it! 

If we will change our drive, shift gears once in awhile and, you know... look out of the box in where we may find Him, He will be found!

He has been awakening my spirit to see Him outside of the 'norm' for over a decade and my days are happiest when I have spent at least a part of them outside, amidst His lovely creation. This world is full of art that points us back to the truth of Who is in control... of Who is holding this whole thing together anyway...

And oh my goodness, we find Him everywhere!

My Honey and I took a quick overnight trip out of town. This church planting stuff keeps us a little more 'grounded' (as in - not traveling) more than we anticipated and we were overdue!

So we set out to see some sights... to relax and reconnect with each other, one on one... and to be and find Art, wherever we went! (FYI... Tacoma did not disappoint!)"

Lastly, we close This Thing up with a video each week and sometimes it is funny and sometimes it is worship... this time, well - this time is a short clip from the worship during Wonder - the women's conference at Bethel this week.  Here, Jenn Johnson leads us:

"Jesus, You are worthy!"

Happy Weekend! 


  1. Wow...yet another great list! Love that Lisa Jo Baker post. Every word speaks to my heart. Also hard to believe it's been a year since Ferguson. I want to keep asking those same questions too.

    1. I know, right? I copied the questions and have started to answer them... taking time to really consider my answers but I truly believe being involved in conversations in safe spaces will help make a difference! (And yes... pretty much ANY LJB post has that effect on me!) ;)


Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!

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