31 January 2011

Learning to Listen

It was getting late.

Early morning departure.

Between the Foreign and the Familiar

It’s very early here in the small village of Susani, Romania. I’m wrapped in a warm wool blanket, reading and writing, on the sofa of the living room of Ovidiu and Adina Petric, a kind couple who works daily to serve the people here. Our 22-hour journey by plane and van brought us here last night, to this home filled perfumed with the fragrance of homemade chicken soup and sarmale (cabbage rolls served with sour cream).

Chicken soup with handmade noodles. And a pepper. Divine.

28 January 2011

Building House(s) of Joy.

You might call it a ritual. I’m snuggled in bed with my laptop, my pup, and a cup of coffee. I’ve read scripture and journaled my confessions and hopes and dreams. Outside of the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard and the birdsong outside, it’s quiet. So very quiet.
There are suitcases to be packed and itineraries to be printed and reminders to be emailed. But right now, in this moment before the moments, I simply ponder what it will be like to dance with orphans again.

26 January 2011

Finding Bliss (but not at Blissdom).

There is a place I'd love to be right now. Blissdom. No, it's not a state of mind - it's a conference for women who write. There are women there I know, women there I follow on Twitter, and women there who I know would inspire me and challenge me. But I'm not there. I'm here.
Living room. Austin, Texas. NOT Blissdom.
It feels strange to blog about blogging while wishing to be at a conference about blogging. But given my love of words and phrases and the quirky, lovely journeys this life has to offer, I guess it makes sense in a strange way. From writing about my personal journey (and the never-to-be-finished recipography) here to writing about the beautiful faces of orphans with my friend Courtney at Wordpainters, or even keeping my daily diary of inspirations at 365thousand, words are my friend. And from time to time, my words have their place in the care and feeding of others. That makes me smile.

So what am I doing that's keeping me from Blissdom?  Today, it's flying.
Sweet hubby, cheering me on via Starbucks.
(my head just got a little light thinking about this) I've got trapeze lessons at 4. Me. Trapeze. Me. Trapeze. Dang. 

If I survive, I'm then packing my bags and flying to Romania to work with RedPage Ministries. It will be my first time in the country, and having the opportunity to meet and fall in love with new friends is amazing. I'll be posting the stories of the journey, so please join me.

So, to you ladies of Blissdom, please share the cool things you learn. I promise to share things I learn too. If you haven't met me yet, here's a little something that might give you insight into the way I see things.

UPDATE: Sigh. It happened. I have proof. I was a wimp. I may have cried. And there's definitely a lessson in this.

She flies through the air. But there is no ease.

My best work. Just hanging. Not swinging. 

21 January 2011

Breathing in Grace.

It's in the 20s outside, and I'm bundling up for a run before a day full of cooking begins. Tomorrow morning Courtney and I are catering a brunch for 150 women at Austin Christian Fellowship, and there are dishes to be prepped and cupcakes to be frosted and serving plans to be finalized. The run isn't just for exercise - it's to equip me for the Music City Half-Marathon in April and possibly (if I can figure out a way to make it work) for the San Diego Half-Marathon in June. The cooking isn't just for fun - it's to fund ongoing orphan care projects in Guatemala. When the running and cooking are completed, I'll continue work on a grant proposal for Red Page Ministries. I'll pack for a trip to Romania. And I'll finish my reading for Sunday night's small group Bible study.

Everything has purpose. Everything has meaning. Everything is busy. So very busy.

20 January 2011

I've Got a Confession(s).

My Bible is open. It's time for just reading and journaling and intimate moments of friendship with Jesus. It couldn't be more perfect. I'm ready to hear what God wants to say. It's a divine thing. Oh, to focus now, to not be distracted. 


19 January 2011

The Reluctant Witness.

I leave for Romania in just over a week, to serve with a wonderful new ministry called Red Page. I’m humbled to be on the Executive Board for an organization so committed to caring for the discarded in that country, and have been inspired by the churches already on board because of of their love for her people. They are amazing.
And I feel so ill-equipped. I don’t know the language, don’t know anyone I’m traveling with, don’t even really know what my day-to-day is going to look like there. It’s a youth camp, and I’m 51. It’s a sports camp, and I’ve got the coordination of a slug. And it’s all about Jesus – and now for some reason I’m even concerned I’m going to suddenly forget everything I know about Him.

16 January 2011

The Aqueduct

It’s raining outside. It’s of those gentle rains that soak the earth and fill the lakes and streams in a kind, nurturing way. I always hear my mom’s voice say, “it’s a soaking rain - the kind that gives life.” And today, I can almost smell that life in the heavy wet air.

It’s a beautiful thing, the rain that falls not just onto the ground but also tickles my face like an impish schoolgirl. Its work isn’t just in the immediate - its power will go on as it is carried by streams and rivers to farmland or as it is purified and used to quench the thirst of people in need. Flowers will bloom and wildlife will flourish and the air will be a bit better because of it. As it is carried along, today’s gentle rain gives life tomorrow and the next day and the next.

13 January 2011


Jesus, life is a vapor. I pray mine has the sweet fragrance of eternity as it is carried in the breeze. Let me live this day fully...and let me love this day fully.

06 January 2011

Upon Me in the Evening

It's a hard season.

Don't get me wrong. It's a beautiful time. But it's a hard season, because of one thing. I can't sleep. I've always been prone to wakefulness (something that comes in quite handy when fixing meals for 150 teenagers at summer camp or praying for a suffering friend), but as of late, my insomnia has taken a turn. And the road I'm now on with it is rocky. Occasional nights of sleeplessness have become weeks, and I am sustained by prayer and music and caffeine day after day. My body craves sleep, yet my soul is troubled and stays on watch. And I've tried every trick - warm showers and herbal teas and half-doses of Benadryl or full-doses of Advil PM. But it's a hard season, and my soul rages against sleep. My long nights are filled with tears and petitions. I hunger for release.

Even in this moment, the Lord speaks. And I am thankful. He provides words when the ink fades on mine. The following is from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening.

"Now the hand of the Lord was upon me in the evening." -Ezekiel 33:22

In the way of judgment this may be the case, and, if so, be it mine to consider the reason of such a visitation, and bear the rod and him that hath appointed it. I am not the only one who is chastened in the night season; let me cheerfully submit to the affliction, and carefully endeavour to be profited thereby. But the hand of the Lord may also be felt in another manner, strengthening the soul and lifting the spirit upward towards eternal things. O that I may in this sense feel the Lord dealing with me!

A sense of the divine presence and indwelling bears the soul towards heaven as upon the wings of eagles. At such times we are full to the brim with spiritual joy, and forget the cares and sorrows of earth; the invisible is near, and the visible loses its power over us; servant-body waits at the foot of the hill, and the master-spirit worships upon the summit in the presence of the Lord.

O that a hallowed season of divine communion may be vouchsafed to me this evening! The Lord knows that I need it very greatly. My graces languish, my corruptions rage, my faith is weak, my devotion is cold; all these are reasons why his healing hand should be laid upon me. His hand can cool the heat of my burning brow, and stay the tumult of my palpitating heart. That glorious right hand which moulded the world can new-create my mind; the unwearied hand which bears the earth's huge pillars up can sustain my spirit; the loving hand which incloses all the saints can cherish me; and the mighty hand which breaketh in pieces the enemy can subdue my sins. Why should I not feel that hand touching me this evening? Come, my soul, address thy God with the potent plea, that Jesus' hands were pierced for thy redemption, and thou shalt surely feel that same hand upon thee which once touched Daniel and set him upon his knees that he might see visions of God.