29 September 2007

Double trouble? Double celebration!

It's my nieces birthday today.
Both of them. Sisters.
The same day, three years apart.

I'll never forget talking to Kate, the three year old, on her very birthday when her sister Georgia was born.

She said something like,
"yeah, we didn't really have my party
because Mommy was in the hospital with Georgia..."

What can we say?
Sisters, they don't always have the best timing.
But they are an awful lot of fun...

anyway, it's years NINE and SIX for these two precious girls.
Happy Birthday Katrina Joanne and
Happy Birthday Georgia Grace

Pix credit: top Hildred's taken Fargo 0907
Kate: at Jonathan and Amara's wedding Seattle 0807
Others in Fargo over Easter 0407

28 September 2007

call me crazy?

The Prayer of Saint Francis
"O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light, and
Where there is sorrow, joy.
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved
as to love; for it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."

I've been reading a GK Chesterton biography of St Francis of Assisi for class. Chesterton's language mixes metaphor and poetic prose to describe this free-spirited saint. And I've been delighted in the subject and the author's style.
One of the things attributed to St Francis is his love for an engagement with animals and nature. I've seen drawings of him surrounded by a halo of birds, for instance, as one acknowledgment of this part of his life and love.
So here's a little thing that happened to me.
When I first started reading Chesterton’s book a few weeks ago, I was sitting in my living room, overlooking a patio where I have a small bird feeder hanging between several windows. I see a few birds there--a couple varieties usually. I delight in the close observation through the window where they are not distracted by my presence.

This day was completely different. Never have I witnessed more birds. I watched them flying to my patio like planes approaching O’Hare. They lined my bushes and my patio. They flew to the available perches on the feeder, and when not available, seemed to communicate to the feeding birds, “hey, if you didn’t notice, there’s a lot of us waiting down here,” to no avail as the birds on the perches seemed neither concerned nor hurried in their eating. It was amazing to see all those birds at one time. I return, nearly daily, to that spot to read, do my quiet time, or just look out. And I’ve never seen that number again. I don't think it was a coincidence.

What do you think?

25 September 2007

Celebrating with an "old" friend

It's a great thing to celebrate a major accomplishment. This weekend marked such a day as I attended an open house in celebration of a friend who completed her doctorate. This lady deeply influenced my life in college and we've recently reconnected. She's now Dr. J. I love it.

She was someone who spoke into my life as a freshman in college. Someone who I feel God used to steer me down a better path. I see her frequently, sometimes weekly, because she teaches at the University I work at. I'm so happy to be back in contact with her.
and I'm happy to celebrate her!
Way to go Dr. J!!

As to my Dad, we're still waiting on surgery information. I'll report as soon as I know anything.

23 September 2007

Pushing past fear...or perhaps not

i'm feeling fragile. We've been waiting to hear word about my Dad's health. He has not been himself lately. While home for my nephew's wedding in August it seemed Dad had aged years since he and Mom stayed at my house in May.

As I shared my concern with people here, wise folks noted the unexpected stresses in his life. For instance, my nephew had a major accident ten days before his wedding. Dad drove the entourage that journeyed to Montana to bring my nephew home. Associated with that, recovery happened at my parents so people frequented their home to visit my nephew. And there's all of us who came home for the wedding. That and well, Dad's age factors in. Perhaps he wasn't bouncing back as quickly due to his age, people surmised.
These were good words. I was and remain grateful for them. Still, my Dad's doctor was testing his heart, among other things to determine the cause of his low energy and other symptoms.

Thursday I was relieved to hear they discovered Dad is anemic--in fact dangerously so. They were surprised he was functioning at all. It explains the low energy and his pale coloring. He has received a blood transfusion and over the last two days that's included 5 units of blood.
They also investigated the cause of this low iron. And in that journey, they discovered a mass in his colon. So much is unknown, truly, but I confess, I'm nervous. And so I'm praying in faith and hope and trust. I know my heavenly Father is able to handle my Dad. I know His strength is available in our weakness. And I know He heals. So really, there's nothing to worry about.

So why can't I shake off this nagging fear?

20 September 2007

dare i tackle this?

Responsibility. Do we really want it? Do we handle it well?
I could go several directions with this but here's what I'm thinking about:
What do we really do about the things that we place before our eyes and into our heads through movies, books, television, theater, etc.?
I took a class in college that talked about how God redeems everything and that we need to watch things through that lens (yes, this is a very poor paraphrase).
I'm not sure that helps me.
although I don't watch much television intentionally, I could. I'm really drawn to movies and television. I didn't own a tv for several years because I didn't want to be sucked in to that "world."
But what about the things we do watch or read or...
How much do they impact our soul and spirit?
How much are they really shaping who we are and who we want to be?

I remember several years ago in my Alias-obsessed days that I was rather excited to have my sister, her husband, and my nephew in town from Seattle. They joined me at my friend's house to watch Alias. And then as the episode played out I was horrified to see the violence and sex that we were watching together. My brother in law does not see the importance of Jesus as Lord in his life and THIS is what I'm heralding as good to watch?

What do we do with this?
Do we ignore that some of our favorite movies and television programs use deplorable, God dishonoring language, that sex is treated so lightly, that violence is sometimes exalted, that family relationships are mocked, etc, etc, etc?

I'm not asking because I have this one worked out. I'm really on the journey of trying to understand how to live as a Christ follower in this media crazed world.
Any ideas, reflections, questions, or suggestions out there?

18 September 2007


I try to live in the land of half full.
When expectations aren't met it is disappointing.
I remember meeting with my spiritual director about the time my housemate moved in. I was asked if I had any expectations for my housemate. Yes, we signed an agreement about various things. But, my director pushed, do you have any expectations about community? Do you, for instance, hope to share meals together?

Eager to have the "right" answer, which I concluded must be to desire such community with my housemate, I replied, "well, I did not consider it, really. But perhaps that's one of the reasons for her living with me." And then went on to outline how impossible shared meals would be b/c of work and school and how I don't necessarily stick to a schedule about coming home to eat, etc. And she commented that perhaps my expectation was already set in not planning to eat together (still not sure if I got that answer right or not...)

Then, a couple weeks ago my new boss came to town. He brought my co-worker and I together to discuss how things were going between us, particularly in the places where we hand off pieces of the admissions process to one another. He started the conversation saying something akin to this, "It's been my experience that communication is key. Sometimes expectations are not met. But before gauging that, assess if the expectations you held were communicated to the other person. If they were not communicated, then the blame for meeting the expectation is in your lap..."

Which leads to now. Tonight, we started a new group of one of our Bachelor degree completion programs. The model of learning we employ requires a certain ratio of students. We were allowed to start this class being a few persons shy of that "magic" number. We did the "high touch" conversations the last week especially. We were grateful for the go ahead, honestly, but also, we knew that our small group was committed and eager to finish their degrees. I worked on my day off Friday attending to a few details. My co-worker called folks from his home on Saturday, striving to talk with each person individually.

And so tonight one of the folks, in our already small group didn't show.
We expected this student.

And even though the others showed, and truly, the glass is more than half full, I'm really disappointed.

And I don't want to tell my boss.


(Oh the picture above is when GRACE came to town. And she's a published author. She even gave me an autographed copy of her book. It's in Korean so I can't enjoy much beyond the cover. But I'm every shade of proud of her. Go Grace!!)

14 September 2007


I'm online right now to finish my homework. How is it that I always seem to have a blog post waiting at those moments? Right. I'm procrastinating. Except, today feels luxuious. This is the first weekend in like the last seven that I'm not working at the bed and breakfast, going camping, working at my other job, or traveling for a wedding. I'm home. Hooray!

Plus it's a rainy day. I'd like to curl up with a good book, only, I feel too guilty reading anything for pure pleasure when I've got hundreds of pages to read for class.

So, I'll procrastinate with this quick post.
And it has to do with being taggged. I'm not really keen on participation, typically. But every once in a while someone will ask why I blog and so, this gives a small opportunity to reflect.

My former classmate, Dan, tagged me. It's funny b/c we probably played "tag, u're it" in school since we and six others attended kindergarten to 12th grade graduation together...but that's another post.

Rules of this tag:
1. Name the person with link who tagged you.
2. Complete the questionnaire without changing the questions.
3. Tag 6 or more people.

(Note: I don't like being confined to some rules...so this may be trouble)

Q1. Are you happy/ satisfied with your blog, with its content and look?
For the most part. I'd like to personalize it a bit more sometimes, but I don't have the time (or want to take the time) to figure it out.

Q2. Does your family know about your blog?
Yep. I don't think my parents know how to comment, though, but that's okay.

Q3. Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog or do you just consider it as a private thing?
(Confession, I edited this question. Rule broken #1.)
Not embarrassed. I try to be honest and transparent without causing discomfort.

Q4. Did blogs cause positive changes in your thoughts?
interesting question...I suppose it helps me to process things. I'm constantly "forming" posts in my mind. And loads don't get posted b/c something else takes prominence.

Q5. Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or you love to go and discover more by yourself?
If I had more time to browse, I like to hit the "next blog" feature and read others. I've found some fabulous people and really interesting blogs. Also some nasty and offensive ones that I regret "discovering."

Q6. What does the visitors counter mean to you? Do you care about putting it in your blog?
Don't use it. Don't much care.

Q7. Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?
A large percentage of blogs I've browsed use photos. No imagination necessary.

Q8. What are the benefits of blogging?
(Another edit)
It helps friends and family know activities and thoughts in my life. It provides opportunity to process. It's a forum to invite interaction. I love being able to share digital pictures here. It's a place to celebrate and identify the grace and mercy of God in ordinary life.

Q9. Do you think that bloggers’ society is isolated from real world or interacts with events?

Q10. Does criticism annoy you or do you feel it’s a normal thing?
I enjoy good conversation and often criticism is part of the learning process. If it's motivated by spite and or anger, however, that criticism wounds a bit!

Q11. Do you fear some political blogs and avoid them?
It's not fear. I just don't care enough sometimes, honestly.

Q12. Did you get shocked by the arrest of some bloggers?
I may be jaded, but I'm not shocked by too much. That's actually rather sad.

Q13. Did you think about what will happen to your blog after you die?
Not ever. But now I might...

Q14. What do you like to hear? What’s the song you might like to put a link to, in your blog?
Good question. I'd probably have a different song every post given my mood or situation.

So let's tag a couple people, just to see if they still even read this blog:
-sorry, I can't do it...but if I did, I'd probably tag the people that are linked over on the right side of my blog. B/c they're people I'm fond of and post blogs I frequent.

so that's me, as Gillian might say. I'm done procrastinating for the now.

11 September 2007

with so much practice...

here's my question, with so much waiting under one's belt, do we get better at it?

we wait for lights to turn and for other driver's to notice.
We wait for people to answer their phones. We wait for people to call.
We wait for the clerk to notice our blinking light in the u-scan lane at the grocery store.
We wait for grades to be posted. We wait for news in the hospital.
We await word on a job.
We wait for our food to cook or our order to be ready.

We wait for the opportunity to drive and the privilege to vote.
We wait for positive notification on a pregnancy test.
We wait to get selected as an adoptive family.
We wait for the alarm to ring.
We wait for the sun to set and to rise.
We wait for our spouse to come home from work.
We wait for our children to return from school.
We wait for a baby to be born.

We wait in hope and expectation for God's move in response to prayer and to see Him active in our lives.

Oh you could definitely add your "waits" to this list.

So, the question, are we getting better at waiting?

10 September 2007

service anyone?

Life at a bed and breakfast often surprises me. This weekend in particular, I had several first time b & b guests (talk about pressure)! Of course I want their experience to ensure they'll return to a b & b, if not here, then to fraternize some other lovely inn. Nearly all the guests of the weekend were honeymooners. In the perspective of a b & b as a business, the beauty of honeymooners, if we "innkeepers" do our job right, is that they often book their anniversary, sometimes year after year after year. To me, one of the signs of a good visit is the time spent at the breakfast table. If they linger, if the conversation continues in a way that I don't have to "facilitate" it, I'm confident they're enjoying themselves and each other.

This weekend also surprised me with things guests requested. For instance, a young college-aged couple from the Chicago area asked if they could store things in the refrigerator. Part of what they stored was cookie dough. "If you don't mind us baking, we'd like to share these with all the guests." They're the same guests who biked to the farmer's market on Saturday morning and returned with flowers for the other guests and for me (naturally this puts them into my "favorite" guests exclusive club).Not to be outdone (right, it wasn't a competition), the Friday night honeymooners asked if they could bring in food from their reception and invited anyone who wanted any to help themselves.

In the midst of this, however, I'm assessing my heart. See sometimes the demands from the guest were not "might you have a vase for these flowers that we want to give to everyone," but landed more in the category of "could you bring this to our room and that to our room and when you have time could you do this..." and, well, I felt my heart slipping from the "willing to serve" position into something more resentful and ugly. I realized that I'm happy to serve when it doesn't inconvenience me to do so. That's just not something to be proud of.

To magnify things even more, I'm reading a biography on Mother Teresa for my current class. If I wasn't feeling convicted enough, this woman's life and love...well, I'm sure you'll hear about it again. Just as soon as I get through John Chrysostom...

oh, but I did have friends visit me, too this weekend while I worked (as the above picture shows). I love that. Thanks friends!!!

07 September 2007

what are the chances?

I'm away working at my other job, the bed and breakfast on the lakeshore. I arrived last night and soon after that, a man rang the bell inquiring whether we had two rooms available. His accent betrayed him and we soon discovered he and his wife lived in Munich, Germany.

At breakfast this morning, it turned out five out of the six persons at the table were native Germans. That seems rather amazing. (Really, isn't that rather incredible odds?) I overheard bits and pieces of their conversation but at one point, the German who has been living in the States for nearly eight years said, "if one person in the room speaks English, the language we'll speak is English." Unfortunately I did not hear the context of the comment, nor could I infer much (anything) from his tone or body language, so I remain all shades of curious.

Another tidbit is that German is the language I studied in high school and college. Notice I say studied, not learned. Because my efforts to understand or communicate in Deutsch this morning left a bit to be desired.

But then again, I speak English...

06 September 2007


Here is something I've been thinking about. Can a person be too trusting? or is it naiveté or perhaps even stupidity?

The setting is this: yesterday, I was going to walk from the office I work at to the office building next door to us. My co-worker asked if I had my keys because he was planning to leave in a few minutes. He meant to lock the door. I brushed this idea aside with a comment that i'd only be gone a few minutes.
He gestured at my computer as if to say, "what about that?" And again I dismissed that concern by saying, "it'll be fine. It's only a few minutes..."

Of course as I'm walking away I imagined some dramatic scenarios. But then I quickly swiped those away because I didn't think they'd be possible. And certainly i didn't want to believe that someone would steal my computer and/or take something from our office while I was away.

But was that an example of stupidity or naiveté or trust or?? Does God saying he'll care for us and watch over us include leaving the office unattended for a few minutes or is that stretching His promises too far?

At the end of the day, it may not matter. But it's been on my mind...

In other news, the above picture was supposed to be on my post yesterday but it fell off, or something. It's my friend reading ever-so-patiently and sweetly to her daughter--which I couldn't necessarily capture, but it was sweet and patient.
And this photo...
well, this is my friend trying to avoid the camera.
Or something...

05 September 2007

not a drop

I'm in love.
I'm in love with our creator God and the splendor of spending time drinking in the refreshing beauty of His creation, away from every other distraction.
What a gift!

This was quite possibly the most excellent weekend for camping ever. in the history of the world. throughout all eternity.

And we got to experience it.
We kept waking up day after day to gorgeous sunshine.
We packed tents that we could actually brush off and roll up.
The nights were cool enough
to make fireside conversations cozy
and marshmallows crusty.

Beach play demanded refreshing dips in the lake.

I do wonder, in the scheme of things, would I have enjoyed it as much if two weeks ago we had not "suffered" from relentless rain?

but trust me, I'm still singing Hallelujahs of gratitude!!