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Tara Jean! It is your birthday, baby girl!

My Firstborn.


Oh happy day.  You make me happy when skies are gray.  And all sorts of fun songs about love and joy.  To you.  For your birthday today.  Am I supposed to mention that you are 32?  Because I won’t if I shouldn’t.  You should not hate it.  Think of me – your mother!!  If you are 32, then I am….

You were born to…

A novice, a clueless girl.  A May day.  The lilacs in full, fragrant glory.  The sunshine.  Green grass.  No money.  Uncertain times.  A God who loved you and was already smiling at your life.


Fixed in the Galaxy

When you were a teenager, everything was stars.  They were your “motif,” and all around you were oodles of doodles of stars and star design on your clothes and belongings and in presents you got.  And you were nicknamed “Shooting Stara” and it was cute.  But it was part of youth.  It was part of a past and you have become a claassic woman of dignity, beauty, strength and grace now.  Save, perhaps for when you are competing with great zeal on the kickball field or during a volleyball game.  Becoming wise and deeply steadfast, though, has not changed or diminished your easy laugh and happy nature.  No, it has only deepened it and made your personality even richer with joy-bringing treasure.

For your birthday, I think of the hallmarks of who you are and what you have always been known for.  For me, of course, a gift.  Thus the Barbra Streisand song, “The best Gift,” that Bill Tull and Mary Tiller sang for your dedication. 

“Liquid joy,” Lisa Bierer called you,for you are a glass-is-half-full, big-smile, cheerleading, enCOURAGing, exhorting kind of person.  Everybody in the room feels more loved and more happy when you have arrived.

At the Heaven Fest dinner Saturday night in Loveland

But then, there was the whole “star” phase.  And as I thought about you and all you are and everything you are becoming and how, youthful and lighthearted as you remain,  you embody even now the personality you did at 3 or 4 years of age.  And as a teen.  So, I could not forget the star part.

But what is different now, sweet daughter?  Now, you need to know, you are not a shootingstar, just a brilliant flash of passing dazzle and fancy against a dark sky.  You are a star hung steadfastly in the firmament declaring God’s glory.  I still see the star in you (S)TARa.  I see it.  But now, it is as Daniel 12.3 says:

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

You have the wisdom of some years now.  You are not just a pretty girl.  You are a ravishing woman.  And you are leading many to righteousness, like a cool drink of water on a hot, dusty day, by your life, by your example, by everything God created you to be and to do.  That has given you a fixed place in the universe to shine.  You shine, baby girl.  You shine.

Happy Birthday, Tara.  Here are my words, a few of them, to say I love you and I thank God for you.

Photo by Ellie Pickett, www.lilacphotography.com Taken last fall.  It is the no-make-up session

Actually, ALL photos by www.lilacphotography.com  :)  Ellie is great!


Keeping an eye out

I have always wanted blue contact lenses – really blue…knock-your-socks-off blue.  Well not always just blue.  For a long time I wanted one blue and one slightly turquoise so that when people looked at me, they would not know what they were seeing, they’d just know something was different, that I had a “unique quality.”  My eye doctor (also in a Sunday morning Bible class I was leading) said, “You want THAT to be what people think is unique about you?”

Yes.  I was {am??} that shallow.

The weak-eyed one.

Once my mom started using color film exclusively in the early 60s and beyond, I was always the one with red eyes.  Then as a young teen, every. single. picture. caught me with my eyes closed.  I think it was backlash about hearing my poor mom bemoan the red eyes, or “weak eyes” as they were sometimes explained.  I was just trying to spare 2 red dots from ruining otherwise good pictures.  She did not like those either.  Nevertheless, almost every photo between 1972 and 1978 were with my eyes wide shut!

I felt a great connection to and affinity for Leah, the weak-eyed one in the Bible.*

Enter Ellie.

Months ago Ellie mentioned wanting to take my picture.  I resisted with every imaginable excuse (the hair fiasco, the knee – you name it), but alas, finally, I ran out.   Do you know what she said to me a couple of weeks ago?  She said, “So many people love you and think you are beautiful.  I just want to capture what they see.”  Really?, I thought.  How can you resist that? 

And what did she capture, what did she bring me exactly, but my very own deep-heart’s desire?  Blue, blue eyes, opened appropriately.  So pretty.  And though I bear in my body “the [brand] marks of the Lord Jesus [the wounds, scars and other outward evidence of persecutions–these testify to His ownership of me!] (Galatians 6.17 Amplified), though heartbreak has caused lines on my face and etched creases caused by grimace near the corners of my eyes for the things that have sent a deep reverberating ache throughout, though I carry the weight of things left unresolved for far too long and walk with the limp that wrestling with the Angel of the Lord and my very faith causes, and even though I have abused myself in overwork, performance orientation and unyielded anxieties and caused actual deterioration of my health and well-being as the Lord Himself relentlessly pursues and loves me and calls me His own, He still sees the me He created me to be, the one He knitted in the secret place.  He sees past the war-wounds and the scar-tissue I could have avoided, and sees?  me.

El Roi – You are the God who sees…

*“Then [Jacob] gave them these instructions: ‘I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite,  the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, along with the field.  There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah.’ …  When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.  Gen. 49.28-33 NIV*

Somehow, in the end, Leah won her heart’s desire and was redeemed from the curse.   Jacob asks to be buried there, where he buried his wife, Leah.

www.lilacphotography.com  Ellie is amazing.  She sees things, too.  She sees them very beautifully.  Thank-you, Ellie.