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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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dream big / want less

There is no better place than New York City to see the biggest and brightest (literally Times Square can blind you) dreams come true. All the struggling artists and actresses are dreaming big to get more – working multiple jobs to make reality out of the stage in their dreams.

Big > BIGger > BIGGEST

The biggest dreams are always best, so they say. I won’t say it’s a bad idea – the big dreaming. I love dreams – love to share mine and love to hear others’. I love dreaming and people who do it well.

What I don’t love is that dreams seem to be synonymous with MORE. Why do our dreams have to point us in the direction of wealth and status and fame?

I sat next to a most charming man on the plane to Chicago. He manages money for a wealthy family in Dubai and has for the past six years. From the sound of it, his boss’s pockets are deep. My friend Tom’s job is to invest capital so there is more capital to invest. He deals almost exclusively with BIG, if you know what I mean, and apparently he is really good at it.

Last week Tom was at a conference where 850 of the best and brightest entrepreneurs (his sister also happens to be a genius who owns several non-profit start up companies in NYC) met to share ideas, strategies, and success stories. These are the type of people who sell their companies over the weekend for $150 million without blinking (that really happened to the guy sitting next to Tom).

Do you know what the most popular session was at this conference? Relationships.

Yep, a psychologist got up on stage and started talking about life outside of 100 hour work weeks and efficient business practices and emerging markets. This is the message that captivated the brilliant crowd and filled their lunch, coffee, and dinner conversations. Relationships. Apparently, people with extremely successful entrepreneurial lives struggle most with their relationships.

I tell you this because my friend Tom asked me what I was going to do in New York, like for work. I said something about my passion for people and communities and specifically the impact neighborhoods have on some of the worst societal problems. Since his sister has her hand in several non-profit companies and a background in education, we talked about the “education space” and how it expands beyond the classroom. We talked about the trouble with “the system” and how it is unfortunately misused and manipulated and how that prevents effectiveness in improving communities and schools. We talked about how there needs to be better accountability.

And then he said to me, “Have you ever thought of just starting something on your own?” I blinked and then said, “Well, yes, actually. I have… but a person needs capital for that or brilliant connections. Right now, I have neither.”

He suggested I could form a platform that would provide the service of accountability to government and charity programs. I chuckled a little bit because his brilliance has trained him to always expand to the biggest dreams for the biggest returns. I suppose that is probably how it works in managing capital – you do it best when you do it big because it’s always about making more.

But, you know what I said to him?

“It’s about relationships.”

Just like he heard at that conference in Salt Lake City and just like those millionaires couldn’t stop talking about. No matter how many brilliant, efficient systems develop to respond to the real problems of neighborhoods, the most important component of any program is the relationships that form as it is carried out.

I don’t buy the Big > BIGGER > BEST model when best is about adding more – more influence or status or wealth.

I believe the biggest dreams can also look like less.

I don’t know if my new friend Tom would agree, but it was an interesting conversation.

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