Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.


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A Sunflower on the Side of the Road (a poem)

IMG_3753A flower smiled at me
as I was walking by,
distracted by my thoughts, and cares,
all unaware that here
within my reach
there was this stunning power:
beauty in a broken world.

I might have missed it in my rush,
but it stood tall and proud
it’s glowing, sun-rimmed, dark-eyed face
on level with my own
and beckoned me to stop
and gaze
and take a breath of joy.

And as I stood, and gazed, and breathed
— for this sweet moment full-aware —
the flower swayed and waved it’s salutation
moving in the wind
of passing cars
(which, doubtless, burned the flower
with their breath of noxious gas
that over-heats the life of growing, greening things).

But still the flower danced
and in that dance
it tugged the corners of my mouth
to smile back.


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A Modern Magnificat

A few weeks ago I got to preach on Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) for the first time. This has long been one of my favorite passages of scripture, with its swelling sense of praise for the way that God works in the world – by elevating the people who are most rejected and stepped on by the powerful.

As part of the sermon, I wrote an updated poem of praise based on the structure and themes of the Magnificat. I share it here because Mary’s message is a message that we all need to hear, in words that can penetrate our lives and our hearts. May it sing in your heart today.


The deepest part of us echoes with the truth that God is great, and our deepest source of joy is that God has claimed us as God’s own beloved people.

For God has seen us – really seen us – in all the ordinary smallness of our lives, in all the ways that we feel less-than, or ignored, or rejected, or even stepped on;

And God has changed our identity: instead of unimportant nobodies, serving the interests of more important people, we are God’s chosen and blessed witnesses who get to bring Jesus into the world!

God did not do this because we did anything to earn God’s special attention, but because this is who God is: God, the Holy One – the One who is completely above and beyond – chooses to call and to bless the unexpected people.

This is who God has always been, from generation to generation, from Abraham to David to Mary to us.

God has always been the true source of power, disrupting the plans of the people who are impressed by their own strength. God has a pattern of siding against the people who want to set themselves up as the ones in charge, and instead God lifts up the people on the margins – saying that their voices matter.

God’s way of working in the world is to notice the people who are hungry and poor, the ones who have been crushed under the feet of important people and powerful interests, and to invite the destitute and rejected people to eat at God’s table, where their physical and spiritual hunger can be satisfied.

But the people who did the crushing and already have more than they need? God has nothing for them.

This is the pattern God has followed all along, because every time the world rejects God’s plan, God remembers the promise made to those who came before. God remembers that God’s way is the way of mercy. It was true for Abraham, and for those who went before us in the faith, and it will be true for us and for our descendants. Forever and ever.