Monday, April 30, 2012


"...Jesus spoke a prayer of thanksgiving.
 He broke the bread and said, 
'This is my body, which is given for you. 
Do this to remember me.'" 
1 Corinthians 11:24 (God's Word)

It's happening again... He's revealing Himself to me through a common message. One that is echoing in my waking thoughts, whispered prayers and nighttime dreams. I see it on the page of books and colored petitions. I hear it in both the voice of the sage and the child.

Take * Thank * Break * Give
These words were a call to eucharistic living at a recent college retreat the Stig and I helped with. We watched as the simple act of slicing apples, boiling them with a bit of water and some cinnamon - drove the participants into the Stig's kitchen - the place where he shares the language of love through food. Loads of college students - cradling warm bowls of homemade applesauce, and a generous foaming of Redi-Whip, in cupped hands - whispering words of thanksgiving.  The simple act of taking an apple, giving thanks for it, breaking it down - whirring it around an a blender - and giving it to hungry college students (who were the most appreciative group of people we've ever had the pleasure of working with!) was pure gift. I tucked those words away in my prayer journal (take/thank/break/give) - having wrapped doodles and sketches around these words as a benediction - an act of grateful thanks.

Eucharisteo *
I felt led to suggest a book to my Wednesday morning Ladies Bible Study - not even sure why I was drawn to this particular book other than the title - One Thousand Gifts. Opening the pages we found the word "eucharisteo" used over and over again. A call to do just what it's Greek meaning charges, "to feel thankful, to be grateful, to give thanks." I love the way this book is wrecking us for what the world calls "normal living" - I find myself jotting down thanksgivings on the back of grocery store receipts, grabbing the camera to take a gratitude picture for the meal set before me... looking for the blessing in both the beautiful and the ugly. And my Wednesday morning Sistas - we come every week like wrung out dish rags, having wiped up the remains of the day - looking forward to the promise of being rinsed out by a gracious Savior... hallelujah!

The Body of Christ... take it Sewiously *
I was helping "A" clean her room - she was sporting a tutu (as usual) and I was toting a trash bag (doing a bit of Spring culling, if you will.) She was working in the home center - that's what she calls the little kitchen in her room, mainly because that's what they call it at school. Picking up a small plastic poppy seed roll, she turned to me and said in a "vewry" grown up way, "The body of Christ... take it Sewioulsy!" Somewhere along the way, one of us, either the Stig or I, must have told her it was serious... but we missed the mark. We should have told her, "Take and remember. Take and give thanks. Take and break so that you also can give." The great thing about parenting... is knowing that God is the only perfect parent. There's lots of room for grace. So next Sunday if the Lessner's linger at the rail awhile - you know why. We're taking advantage of a teachable moment... with a teachable child. And praying that we too may be More like Him... and less like ourselves!

Monday, April 9, 2012

We are FRamily

The Stig and I come from wonderful Godly families. We are part of a legacy of love that began years before our own parents were born.
The Stig is southern by birth - I am by choice - having drank my share of sweet tea to solidify the deal. Because of the way we were raised, we both got bit by the hospitality bug... but that's only part of the story.
The similarities are striking: Our dads are rock solid - men who love a good joke, are fiercely loyal and love their wives best and most. Both moms are crazy about their grandchildren, are their children's best cheerleaders and their husbands best friends. (We openly refer to them as mothers-in-love...) We each got a sister out of the deal - both of whom are strong of will and spirit - beautiful through and through. Our brothers-in-law who provide for their families, serve God in their daily life and work and helped to create the sweetest niece and nephews this side of the Rio Grande. Those cuties lovingly refer to me as Aunt Spazie... but that is another blog entry!
But having an awesome family doesn't mean that there isn't room in your life for more... like Jello... there's always room for more family.
Sometimes don't you wish you could PICK your family. You know, choose from among your friends. Who, if you could graft them into your family, you would. Well we have... and we call them FRamily. Friends + Family = FRamily!
We coined the word with three other couples about 14 years ago. We found each other and realized that something fit. We were "right" for each other. It's fun because in a family, you just accept an "Aunt Spazie" as part of your birth-rite.  But in a FRamily... you CHOOSE an Aunt Spazie. They get me... that's not to say they always understand my quirky ways... but they accept me.
We've experienced a lot together; baby Jesus in the Nativity play, birthday parties, graduations (Kindergarten & High School), baptisms and confirmations, a grandchild, tons of "inside" jokes, lost teeth, 1st dates (and the dreaded interview by those dates with the Stig), infertility, job loss, and foreclosure. We've shared dark nights of the soul as well as Rockie Mountain highs! When I lost the twins, the FRamily girls brought a meal in and shared it with me. During a recent move, the FRamily packed up our house - ignoring my dust bunnies and 1,000,000 plastic lids - they were the hands of Christ to us. Our FRamily practices hospitality - and we do it well! (Ooh.. I should so do an entire entry on FRamily Values... hold me to that idea!)
Proverbs 17:17 was the second bible verse I memorized as a child, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother was born for adversity." This FRamily does love at all times - even when I'm feeling "un-lovely" - they have wrapped their arms around my shoulders (or at times put their hands over my mouth!) and just LOVED. Freely and with great abandon.
The one thing that we can all point to as the KEY element in our FRamily-ship is our Heavenly Father. He brought us together - and our lives are richer for His blessing of FRamily.
The Lessner's continue to graft others into our FRamily circle... Two fairy God-mothers, four favorites in Canada, an angel in Morocco, a chocolate God-father and the biggest heart in Denver. As our FRamily grows so grows our family; stronger, fuller, and More like Him (less spazie like me!)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Children's Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross

 I created these stations for the Contemporary service at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church.
Two years and a "chance" meeting with Lisa Puccio later - and both the book and video formats were birthed!

Thank you to Lisa Puccio who wrote such beautiful words to share this story of sacrifice.
Huge hugs to the kids from Holy Spirit Episcopal School who gave such honest and beautiful voice to those words.
And to those who believe that through art, God can be found again and again, we pray you peace be the journey!

God gets all the credit... all the glory!
Less of me and MORE of you Lord.