Tag Archives: building altars

Today is day 260 of 2012

My brother Joe is reading an Erwin McManus book, Chasing Daylight, and was reflecting today, on moments, those brief, seemingly insignificant fragments of time that make up the whole of life.  Joe shared from the book,

“However mundane a moment may appear, the miraculous may wait to be unwrapped within it.”     -McManus

And then Joe pondered how many moments he may have missed, always reaching way out ahead for the “next thing,” or the thing we want more than what is in front of us.

Hey, I thought – I have pondered these same things.  There was this book my friend Stephanie gave me…

So I searched my very own blog to share with him and as I re-read it, a post I had written on December 31, 2011, I realized, wow-here we are 260 days into the year and all the things I didn’t know were ahead when I wrote this, so quickly have come and gone.  And more than ever I thoroughly realize I wasn’t just writing a clever end-of-year blog post for nameless, faceless readers, I was writing the mandate for my life; my creed, a declaration for my days:

“I am past the halfway mark now, but my senses and ability to feel love have increased exponentially with age, with experience.  When the years rolled out ahead like there was no end in sight, I didn’t have to be as cautious in gathering memory, in recording the story, in remembering.  But now that the lasts are happening, I don’t want to miss anything, not one thing.”

2012, day 260:  I am an archivist, a legacy-leaver.  I am telling the stories my family will need to know long after I am gone.  I am preserving the small, inconsequential details of times and places and people that will be the foundation for understanding, for self-discovery, for the bright light of realization in times too fast and modern and post-modern to keep up with someday.  The history, the memorabilia, the understanding of the great why will be carried close like treasure  And the continuity of people and place and things past and their mark and significance on the then-present will connect transcendent dots on an invisible timeline of light and life and love battered, but triumphant.  I am recording the gift of all present revelation and the secret clues to answers I may never find, but my progeny will…

“All the days planned for me were written in Your book before I was even one day old.  What You have done is wonderful, I know this very well.”

Oh yes, I will carefully archive the evidence my offspring will need to solve the mysteries they face.

2012, day 260: I am an altar-builder.  I call down worship in places once darkened by enemy rule and I gather stones of remembrance with sweat pouring off my brow, piling them, stacking the weight of the faithfulness of God throughout the generations towards our family, stone upon stone, line upon line, precept upon precept – to be remembered and dealt with in the light and glory of all for which Jesus’ blood accomplished on our behalves, while we were yet sinners.

I am an altar builder:  Remember…don’t forget…oh, do you remember how wonderful this was?…And I will not leave them un-built, regardless of the state of brokenness or disrepair, for God is faithful.  He is faithful.  He is so faithful.  And I am not deterred by the size of the stones, by the effort.  I embrace the art it takes to stack stone with mortar, to work until balance is achieved, to build a lasting  commemoration for those to come.

And when you have crossed the Jordan, set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I command you today, and coat them with plaster. Build there an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. Do not use any iron tool on them. Build the altar of the Lord your God with fieldstones and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. Sacrifice fellowship offerings there, eating them and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord your God.  Deuteronomy 27.4-7

For these altars are gates, they are path guides, they are monuments symbolic of all that is completed, on earth as it is in heaven.  I am building upon the foundations my parents set before, a great cloud of witnesses.  My children and grandchildren and their children will build on these with greater light and revelation.

2012, day 260:  I am remaining keen on the moments because the moments matter.

Swhew!  That was a loooooooooong intro!  Here is the blog post of which I speak…

My 12.31.11 Re-Post, AT LAST (see original post here)

Let Me Hold You Longer, Karen Kingsbury

Stephanie Morgan brought me a book by that title yesterday at Starbucks. The premise of the book, the author explained, is that in life, we record and particularly note and celebrate all sorts of firsts.  There is a baby’s first tooth, first steps, first day of school – all beautiful milestones that deserve our attention!  Yet, we are unaware of the things that pass, last things.  She explained it by recalling a beautiful day outdoors with her kids when one of the little guys ran up, jumped into her arms, wrapped his legs around her waist and while touching noses told her, “I love you, mommy.”  She noticed how big he was getting and how heavy he was, realizing he probably wouldn’t be doing that too much longer.  Then she looked across the lawn and saw her oldest son who was about to enter middle school and realized that he used to run and jump into her arms the same way and that at some point it had been the last time.

And the thing about last times is, you usually just don’t know they are happening, and if you did, you might want to take closer note.

Of course, I read the book and it killed me.

O my goodness. I tried to tell Stormie about it when she came by earlier today.  Cry.  *Sniff, sniff. And to be silly and try not to be all melancholy, I grabbed Gavin, who was here helping us take down our Christmas decorations and cuddled him on to my lap like I have been doing since June 2003 and kissed his cheek and he is getting so big.  At 8 1/2 he doesn’t quite melt into his Nonna’s lap anymore (he just told me he has an adult-sized head).  He still likes the attention, but is slightly embarrassed.  And I jokingly said, “Everybody remember this in case it is the last time.”

There was practically a boooo and an eye-rolling moan from everyone, but also a palpable realization that this – this moment, this totally open relationship between a little boy and his Nonna, is a relationship that will grow and change and be re-defined as he becomes who God created him to be and has to pull away to become independent before he can, with full confidence in who he is, move back in closer with appreciation for these two old people who have loved him since the day he was born.  And there is realization that time is flying and kissy-cheeks from Nonna, at least in their present, freely-flowing form, are making their way into a land of remember-when-memories.  And growth is good and the destination is the point, but it changes everything you love in the moments that make life worth living to begin with.  Nothing stays the same.

The first time

I don’t recall, though I love baby’s feet, when the last time I kissed the bottoms of my children’s feet was?  I know I kept kissing them, even when they were “too old” for it because it made them laugh and I wanted them to know I adored them all the way from the bottoms of their little feet.  They weren’t babies in age, but they were my babies.  I can’t remember the last time I braided my little girls’ hair (I remember combing long, silky locks – or terrible tangles…lots of them) or what year I quit weaving red ribbons into their braids at Christmas?  In my ornament box, I found a note my mom tucked into the branches of our Christmas tree in 2001…was that my last Christmas with my mom?   I don’t know when the last time we sang “Testify” together at some church or played Risk as a family or any other number of mundane things that make up life.  When was the last time Tara baked Jiffy pizza-bread sticks, anyway?

Lasting impressions

I do know the book struck a chord, something deeply reverberating through my heart.   I am past the halfway mark now, but my senses and ability to feel love have increased exponentially with age, with experience.  When the years rolled out ahead like there was no end in sight, I didn’t have to be as cautious in gathering memory, in recording the story, in remembering.  But now that the lasts are happening, I don’t want to miss anything, not one thing.

2011 ~ 2012

One year rolls into another.  And the year we have just lived, all the beauty and joy and ups and downs and round-abouts and surprises and laughs, the tears, the disappointments, the things that did not go our way – all of it, with the slightest move of a second hand on a clock becomes {*tick} last year, {*tock} a new year.

The days ahead

We get this brand-spanking-new-year in just a few hours.   It will be filled with so much yet-undiscovered adventure.  I am hoping for 3 new grandbebes in 2012 – or at least some good work toward that!  *smile.  And I am excited to see what God is going to do through Heaven Fest this year and the songs I have yet to sing and the seasons changing and the garden tomatoes filling my counters and time with the love and watching the incredible lives of my children whom I cherish and the children they share…but like the author of the book, my prayer is, even as each day brings new things in a new year, “Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.”

{that was to have been the end of the post..but it turned out not to be the end}

This was totally unrelated

Gavin took a quick break from Christmas packing-away for a snack.  I turned on the TV and an old Rockford Files episode was on.  I said to the grand-boy, “See James Garner?  Now that is some swagger.”

“What show is this, anyway?” he asked me.

“‘The Rockford Files’ from the 1970’s!” I told him.

He grimmaced and asked “Why do people want shows from the 70s anyway?  Do they wish they had a time machine so they could go back there or something?”

Haha.  Laugh. Laugh. Maybe…

But then it became related

Just now, as I was about ready to push the “publish” button on this post, Gavin was leaving to go home to have a special New Year’s Eve night with his family, games and snacks and good times.  He came to say good-bye and I hugged him tight and said, “One last kiss in 2011.”  He kissed my cheek.  I feigned sorrow, “But now my other cheek needs one last kiss in 2011 – for you and I will never hug and kiss in 2011 ever again.”  He giggled and kissed my other cheek before bolting toward the door as he quipped,

“Nuh-uh, Nonna – I will build a time machine to come back to 2011.”

{Heart m e l t i n g }  And I would get into that machine, Gav, to collect all the lasts I have maybe missed.

Hello, 2012

Dear 2011 – you gave me all the days you promised you would and I will carry them in my heart forever.

Ok, Stephanie Morgan-you did this to me.  Love you for the sharing.  But you’re killing me! xxoo END RE-POST