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Sometimes, we journey to the dark so we can be moved by the Light. We trace the furthest boundary lines behind our eyes. We get deep next to demons, weighed down from evil within and without. And when warmth first touches cheek or shoulder or the back of our knees, the weight may not lift but there is relief. . . . And it is the same magic— to feel Light's warmth after a cold night or a long stretch of summer, it is the same glory— to be reading the lectionary in a Home Depot parking lot with sleeping car seats or having a morning cup of coffee on the front stoop with my co-laborers. . . . Somehow, God has anchored the pale blue ombre sky above me like an endless umbrella. He covers and cloaks with Light and sometimes I have to go deep in dark to feel it's warmth. . . . Morning Call:  Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if  there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon  me, whom the Lord hath afflicted. . . . Opening Prayer:  Loving Father, as we journey with your Son in this week of remembrance and hope, help us to experience and receive you and your love for the world more clearly. Transform us by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of your Son, our Lord, we pray. Amen. #holyweek #notredame #outofthedarkness #intothelight
Naked morning comfort and I'm just basking in the humble light of it. They wear all their affections like clothes and this one makes me melt because they aren't so attached to their wholeness. They are ready to be broken to make peace with one another -- more ready than me, so I take notes. . . . The making of our Peace broke Him, completely. His humble persistence was full of glory because He was God, not because it looked good. Making peace means breaking pride, breaking selfish gain, breaking the sin inside that so easily entangles us, and breaking the power of the sin outside that so deceives us. . . . #newblog #momswhowrite #writersofinstagram #motherhood #siblings #siblingsasfriends #braveryofsmalllife #Godseconomy #kitchen #atlanta #family #teamkolts #teampixel #teampixelnofilter #nofilter #morningglow #morning #liveauthentic #kids #georgia #southernsummer
"Look, Mom! Edelweisses!!!!" And she passed the peace to me with flower weed stems and smooshed petals. The brisk tickle of Spring wind swept my elbows as I reached out to receive. . . . And it got made again, Peace. Established with delicate weed offerings and vulnerable outstretched hands, peace mended for a moment the breaks of the morning. The Great Deceiver's attempts to put us at odds— to wound one other with war words thrown in defense and pride— got smooshed underfoot in the backyard. . . . And I thought of Jesus making literal Peace, because the world doesn't allow it to come and be kept. Peace must be forged with active rebellion against the forces within and without that would rather war. We are a peace breaking people made in the image of One who carries Peace in his character, One who made Peace for us forever with God so that we can make peace today exactly where we are. . . . "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14 . . . And the little child shall lead us.
I studied Job's friends pretending comfort, while withholding kindness and refusing to revive a weary spirit. I taught about the people in Jerusalem spreading their coats out like a royal carpet for the King of glory to ride in on a borrowed mule. I learned about the invisible God we try to force fit our image but our invisible spirit is made in His. I chased my littles in circles in the newly cut backyard and followed Foster's gaze to find birds high on budding branches. I heard Zella yell to our neighbor two houses down to move her apple trees far away because our juniper tree has a bad disease that could infect it. I wrestled through pride and failure and defending ideas. I made a very late afternoon cup of coffee and cooked with my baby strapped on my back. I snuggled my girl and gave her choices while praying she would choose right. On the first day of Spring. . . . We rode to Bible study, the kids and me, in an Uber because I ran the battery down on the van. I caught the sun glory streaming in to hit all our faces in the backseat as Zella chatted with the driver about music, imaginary children, and her preference to not wear socks and shoes. Our Wednesdays have so much Bible in them — sometimes nothing connects and I arrive at the end with mush brain and then sleep in my day clothes. But yesterday, I fell into bed so thankful that there are constellations in all these bits of Light. He is holding all things together and sometimes He connects dots and reveals a special glimpse of the glory of it all. #writersofinstagram #momswhowrite
My brows converge over my nose and my face squints against the dark. I pray, "O, God. O, God." I lay flat on my bed between two littles and take a deep breath that reaches my shoulders and sides and ankles "O, God." . . . It feels like Spring shouldn't come, that it is so *wrong* here that Lent should last forever. That, though our hope for Spring is strong, it is mostly about escape and not about salvation. We have made ourselves at home in winter, comfortable with the frosted ground under our hibernation. Our evil isn't seasonal. It isn't an epoch, a phase, a time period. It is in us— bones, marrow and evil. And we don't even want out. A Stockholm syndrome sickness that's eating us up from the inside but we refuse rescue. . . . The mercy of the Lord comes anyway, budding trees and blooms for the just and unjust. He woos us— relentlessly— out of our captivity with kindness. He calls us to repent of our soul's winter so we can finally see and taste His Spring. He calls us out of shadow and into marvelous light where our winter is exposed and we can squint to see our salvation. And we can know even a little bit more the extent of His glory and the depth of His grace. . . . Spring is coming and we are Easter people, but today there is lament. #light #shadow
Why is it that when we talk about the beginning of the United States it's always "when we founded this great nation" but when we talk about slavery it skips to the Civil War and it's always, "they were fighting to keep slavery in the south." The same humans who founded this nation bought humans and made them slaves in it. And today, for that, I mourn. . . . Every human made in the image of God is the same amount of invaluable. The same amount of mysterious wonder is knit up in our bones, from those first moments curled up in the womb. Lord, have mercy on us for acting like it is not so. . . . . . #americanlent #lentenrose #whiteprivilege #slavery #lent #lament #foundingfathers #letstalkaboutit #repentanceproject #didyouknow #spring #teamkolts #liturgy #reflection #monday #teampixel #atlanta #blackandwhite #slavetrade

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adventures in stairwells

One of the strange and beautiful things about human nature is the way grief and sorrow can live next to joy and laughter. I don’t mean to say things that grieve us also make us laugh. I don’t mean to say that at all.

What I mean is the way one can get into a helpless state of the giggles on the same day one feels helpless about the state of things in the world.

I say all this because yesterday was my first day to “have court.” This is what all my co-workers say when they go to the courthouse, so I say it now too. When we “have court” we sit behind the DHS worker and the child’s attorney, available for information about the case.

It all sounds really serious because it is. You would be shocked to know what children face. You probably don’t want to know any more than that – just that it’s devastating.

So, here I am driving around downtown Des Moines looking for public parking so that I can “have court.” I’ve had problems with parking garages before, but I wrongly assumed Des Moines would be an easier animal to wrestle. I found a parking garage in plenty of time, but when I slung my briefcase over my shoulder and flew down the stairwell I decided I should be in a hurry.

Coming out of the parking garage was like someone had spun me around and set me down facing a different direction (which is actually exactly what a parking garage does). I didn’t know which way was North and what historical building to walk toward.

So, I picked one and hoped it was the courthouse. I got close enough to see “POLK COUNTY” written on it but as I was walking up the steps, a lady taking a smoke break said, “You don’t look too happy to be coming here. But, hey at least it’s not the courthouse!”


So, I walked in one door and out the other where I promptly asked a parking meter officer to point me in the direction of the courthouse. She looked at me, smiled with all kinds of pity, and said, “Just walk up Court Avenue right there and you’ll run right into it.”

Right. Court Avenue, silly me.

So, I got to court with time to spare (thanks to my enormous cushion I operate with due to my Latin tendencies). Everything went well enough and when I left I felt good about things.

And then I met the sidewalk and realized retracing my steps would lead me in all kinds of circles. Everything looked familiar because I had passed all of downtown on my adventure to the courthouse.

So, I did what any new-to-downtown would do – I walked briskly in the direction of a hunch with my briefcase slung over my shoulder and my heels clicking professionally on the pavement. I saw that nice parking meter lady again and gave her the grandest smile.

And then I walked in every parking garage stairwell I came to until I found the one that was just right. I can’t be sure how many stairwells I walked up, but I kept the brisk pace so anyone around thought I was going someplace important. I finally found the stairwell I was searching for – one with no numbers, partially inside/partially outside, and with my little car Eddie waiting on the fourth or fifth floor (no numbers).

And so my adventures in stairwells gave a different kind of ending to my first court experience – proof that a helpless state of giggles can live inside the helpless state of the world.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

2 comments on “adventures in stairwells

  1. welcome, Caroline, to the field! I have been a child protection social worker for the past 18 years, and I agree that there is a lot to cry about but a lot to laugh about too. Please consider checking out my blog–—where you can learn about my recently published novel, “unprotected”. it is a story of a young social worker in the child protection system, and all those “firsts” in a new job. There’s a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance, and even some humor. Ultimately it’s an uplifting story that I think you could really relate to. Good luck in your future endeavors and I hope you always keep that positive attitude!

    1. Caroline says:

      Wow – thanks, Kristin! And thank you for doing what you do … I’m only starting to understand how precious your role is! Keep on keeping on 🙂

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