26 February 2008

Operation Seattle Surprise #2

Yesterday marked the anniversary of my Mom's birth! Happy Birthday Mom! It goes without saying that I owe my life to her! :-) (Hmm, seriously, why do we use the phrase "it goes without saying" and then say whatever it is that we don't need to say? Perhaps a different post. Let's get back to Mom!)

Here's the thing, remember how I surprised my parents and went home for Christmas? Well, my sister Hildred surprised my parents by going home for Mom's birthday. Both of these surprises relied heavily on our sister Jenni's involvement (pictured here with my Mom). We couldn't have done it without her. Turns out she is quite the schemer. And conniver. And a master at what was the word, ah yes, subterfuge.
Surprise #2 led to the whole "when will you stop trusting us?" conversation again.

Mom's reply: priceless.

"I've decided that I don't want to stop trusting you girls," she said.
"I like surprises.
If I begin suspecting things,
and then it doesn't turn out to be a surprise,
I'll be disappointed."

And since we love surprising her (and my Dad),
her attitude really is a win-win for all!
(Thanks Mom!)

25 February 2008

Some people's kids

This past weekend I "did life" with my college friend, Teresa and her family. We tend to go weeks, sometimes months without communicating. But our friendship goes deep. She's journeyed through every season of my life since I met her. And so it doesn't take much to "get on the same page" so to speak.

One of the things I appreciate so much about Teresa is her commitment to journey with me. I recall that when I was serving at His Mansion Ministries, in New Hampshire, she phoned me to say that she wanted to understand my life there more fully. so she was coming to visit me. And she did. She engaged in my life. She met my friends. She experienced "the mansion." And even though her life was completely different, she attempted to know and understand who I was becoming through that experience.
This marks our friendship.

In a somewhat similar way, I attempt to jump into "her life" as best I can. This weekend it meant kids...lots of kids. At one point, when we gathered with her three sisters, all their kids, plus a few friends, we had 18 kids!!! (To be fair, a couple of these "kids" are grown. So there were only 16 aged 13 and below.) At one moment it was just the four sisters plus me sitting around a table talking. The conversation didn't last long before someone needed one of those Moms, but I love catching those experiences with them.

Part of our time included a Saturday morning basketball game. Teresa's son and her sister's son played. And for a 3rd and 4th grade team, I was on the edge of my seat. With two seconds remaining, Teresa's son rec'd a pass, shot, and made the winning basket. 22-20!! It was intense, people. And all the while, Teresa's youngest took pictures. So that's the photo credit today. Lissie (short for Alyssa), age 6, pictured at the top, snapped all these photos (including the one of herself). How I appreciate digital photography. And these moments sharing a friend's life.

18 February 2008


This is an exercise of discipline...for any living in Michigan, you probably know my motivation.

Snow mesmerizes me.
Watching its gentle descent as the individual flakes meld together in one shimmering blanket captures my attention until seconds melt into minutes and the time passes as effortlessly as the snow dissolves.

It's not always gentle.
The sideways assault of blowing snow also bears mentioning. As the wind whips it around like miniature tornadoes and sometimes seems to slam it over roadways and through treetops, I marvel at the power of what seems to be innocent powder.

And then there's the draping. Have I mentioned the elegant covering that fills the nooks of bare tree branches and carefully coats the evergreen boughs? It sneaks into the window sills and cracks on garage doors. It piles upon rooftops, fences, and the abandoned patio furniture that some neglected to harbor indoors.

For those living close to Lake Michigan, I expect that the view of icy waves suspended in a frozen frame revealing their intent to turn over and crash into the shore is as glorious as in previous years.

Outside of the view of snow on mountains, there is nothing so glorious.

We've been blessed.
Week after week a day or two of school has been cancelled.
Kids can stay home.

The winter sights signal a marvelous creator.

Thank you Lord, for snow-filled splendor to disguise what otherwise may appear to be deadened, barren moments. You are good.

10 February 2008


This image demanded a photo and a blog post. Is this a serious campaign? Not that I necessarily endorse all the hype about Valentines Day anyway. But Valentines Day dinner at White Castle? I'm hoping this was just a clever joke.

In other news, one of my nephews, Jonathan (pictured here with his lovely bride Amara), turned 21 today. My other nephew, his brother Pedro is 27. How does that happen when I'm just 30 myself? :-)
I'm excited to see where God leads both of my nephews.
They are great guys who love Jesus,
love their wives,
and are open to what God wants to do in them and through them.
Praise the Lord!!

08 February 2008

The same, but not

After our J-term experience in California, and then having most of the rest of January "free" from class, we're back into our regular school routine. We read, we write, we post, we comment on other's posts, we retreat, we listen, we read some more, we practice, and then we read again. It's the same as a year ago.
Except it's so not the same.

For those of us more familiar with traditional classrooms, it may be difficult to imagine the benefits and challenges of online education. Here's what I've experienced after one year:
-open and honest expression as we learn more about being transformed ito the likeness of Jesus Christ and identify how we do not measure up
-sibling-like ribbing as we've learned each other's passions and the buttons to push
-deep compassion and concern as we journey through some difficult and challenging spaces together
-rich laughter and free-flowing grace in the midst of it all
-global challenges and perspectives from those living in the UK, Africa, and Central America to move beyond a Westernized Christianity point of view
-healing and hope to enter whatever the next phase may be

These classmates of mine, these fellow journey women and men, are not only coming to know the heart of me, they're loving me into who Jesus is calling me to be.
It's an incredible journey, this call to community,
and in this particular expression, to online learning.
It's not what I expected, perhaps,
but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

06 February 2008

Why not?

Every once in a while, my coworkers and I need to escape the office and sit in a coffee shop. It's what we do.
Today was one of those days.
People who know me, know that I like drinking water out of glass glasses. It's scary since I break things, but it's what I prefer. I'm not a plastic girl. (Hmmm, i hope that is a metaphor for my life, too.)
Correspondingly, it's probably not surprising to know that I like drinking coffee out of "real" or ceramic mugs. So I requested a mug at this local coffee shop we like to frequent.
The workers at the counter looked at each other and sadly shook their heads.
"oh, you like to throw away everything here?" I said, with more than a subtle judgment implied, not that I live differently, I confess.
They respond, "yes, we hate the environment here."
"Would now be a good time to tell you I'm a reporter from the Press," I asked, "covering a story on ways to go green?"

Their expressions of dismay?

It was torturous to reveal I was joking.

But seriously, why not have ceramic cups? I don't get it!

04 February 2008


Way back when in my former life, in what I called my "homeless" season, I lived with these great friends who own an ice cream store. They taught me the weather channel. It was the most watched channel in their home. Especially in the ice cream season. But not exclusively. Because they were also avid snowmobilers. And so even though I no longer lived with them in the winter, we were still friends and when I hung out at their home, inevitably, the weather channel became part of the vision of the time there.

So I've been thinking about how very happy they must be, what with the relentless snow we've been receiving. In contrast, on a non-snowing day, which is rather rare of late, I so happily get the salt and snow removed from my little car, only to receive another salt coating the next day and wonder if it even makes a difference.

On the other hand, it is nothing short of fairy tale beauty. (Seriously, I'm comparing God's incredible creation to a fairy tale scene?) It's beyond picturesque the way the snow elegantly drapes the various trees. And so, despite longing for sunshine, and moments of despairing, "will spring ever come again?", this has been the winter of glorious snowy days.

Thank you Lord.

Oh, and for those of u praying and wondering about Angela, I'll update specifically, soon. She's doing as well as she can for all the breaks in her body. so we Thank God for that. But please keep praying for her recovery and continued healing.