Saturday, July 31, 2010


Yesterday's trip to the food pantry with our addition to their shelves was delayed. This morning, the camera was tucked into its protective case, and loaded into the car with the boxes of powdered milk, cans of spinach and carrots, and two pound bags of beans to be delivered. Later today, there is an opportunity to sit before a video camera at church and record a few words about the commitment to these deliveries. First, I need to snap the pictures that will hopefully reflect the Sermon on the Mount with what can be seen inside the belly of the food pantry. Incidentally, these things are related.
The weekly trips to the food pantry are inspired by Jesus's caring for other people's needs. And food is a pretty basic need for people. To cite a well known instance, there was that whole loaves and fishes thing. That, "You feed them," inspires me. I want to shout, "Yessir!" and feed everyone who might possibly be hungry. This is such a simple way to serve others--- to do exactly what Jesus would desire. So. Our family adds a few items to our grocery list that fit the calorie-dense meal plan that dictates the groceries given out by the dedicated team of volunteers who serve the clients at our community food pantry. Yes, Lord. We will feed them.
Our church is preparing snippets of video testimony. Under the heading of "Serving," is an opportunity to share this thought that the food pantry is a place facilitating Jesus's, "You feed them," and to highlight that our homes, neighborhoods, and community are our first mission field. In August, the church is also accepting artists' interpretations of the Sermon on the Mount. The food pantry was to be the subject of a photo essay for this purpose which is why the camera was tucked in among the donations today. Except that the photos do not tell the story. And I suspect the video will not, either. Because it is not my story.
The use of text and photo take me out of the equation. My soul and heart are given voice through these mediums, but I am not the subject. It is Jesus, and the service of the One who I love that is hopefully featured in the pictures and paragraphs offered. How do I disappear from a video? How do I remove myself from the equation? This quandary is reminiscent of the yearning of a dear friend (who serves as an astounding worship leader) as she expressed that the greatest compliment she could receive was to hear that those following her into worship ceased to see her. My sentiments exactly.

Friday, July 30, 2010


There is a difference between Christ and The Church. (There should not be, but we do not live in a world populated by "should" and "ought".) This morning I was perplexed by a headline proclaiming that Anne Rice declared herself no longer a Christian. I was not too sure how that worked. If one knows the sky is blue, then how does one denounce such a thing? She doesn't. She lists a few of the things she is against being against after denouncing Christianity. The news of her "no longer being a Christian," is actually that the author, who is still studying theology and scripture, has decided to drop out of the Catholic Church.
There is a difference between leaving one's church and leaving one's faith. As my mister put it, "Martin Luther left the Church, but he did not leave behind Jesus." The man has a point. The media gets to that point eventually when stating that Anne Rice is holdinng to her actual beliefs while defecting from the entity which was previously offerinng earthly governance of such things.
Since I do not particularly follow Anne Rice's faith-based leanings as a general rule of thumb, this tidbit only came to my attention thanks to a post from a high school friend who finds Christians hateful because she feels they are hate-full. (I'm not too sure why she "friended" me. Maybe I do not show up on her feed? Or it is some nostalgia-induced brand of tolerance?) This feeling so often expressed by my acquaintance is exactly the issue that comes up in the articles on Mrs. Rice's departure. It churns my stomach because the anti-everything message is so patently not what Jesus taught, but it seems to be the message so often portrayed as an underpinning of Christian faith.
Jesus walked and ate with tax collectors and prostitutes. He healed the blind, sick, and lame rather than speculating on what sort of sin had led to their afflictions. He did say to sin no more, and yet He did not spew condemnation for the sinner or protest at known sinner hangouts (except the temple). Jesus is Light in the darkness, but it says in John that even at Creation the darkness could not comprehend it. That profound verse reminds me that those who do not know Christ have not yet received and cannot fully understand the grace and justice interwoven throughout scripture. How I wish that the reflective beacons that are supposed to be shining the light of Jesus out into a dark world were not so often warped that the Light is judged by the quality of the reflector.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Still fighting the voices from my childhood accusing the church of money-grubbing, the mister and I opted not to have Middle Child send out support letters for her trip to Mexico in July. Instead, we made payments to the church for the trip expenses over the months leading up to the team's departure. One family specifically asked about the trip, so Middle Child sent them a support letter. They responded with a gift toward her expenses. Some questions arose when she sent out her prayer request message via e-mail from those who would have chosen to offer financial gifts in addition to their willing prayers that sent our girl out again just a few short months after our return from her first mission adventure. Those questions had me going to God with a few of my own in regard to just exactly why I felt so uncomfortable asking for support when thrilled to be the recipient of just such requests.

The response to those messages was the sending out of an e-mail to a larger group of previous supporters detailing our excitement about returning to Honduras over Thanksgiving. There was a clear memory of keen disappointment over having been denied past opportunities to be part of others' missionary efforts that was present while consideration was given to whom we might send out support letters. Um... that thing about having little faith? Yeah. Uh-oh. Still, I didn't want to bombard anyone. Plus, it had become clear that our daughters were not really understanding the value of the gifts of support. The gifts for which we were asking so that others might choose to join us in our next trip to Puerto Lempira needed to be recognized as sacrifices by those on the receiving end. The upcoming trip called for a varied approach to raising support appropriate to each of us.

Erin and Katie are working like mad to earn support. The varied pet-sitting and baby-sitting jobs have continued to come along. We have begun our ongoing bake sale featuring our chocolate and banana breads in several sizes. Yesterday, the girls spent two hours scrubbing away soot from a friend's hearth and fire screen as well as scrubbing away evidence of a leaky rook from tile grout on a covered patio. (They really, really liked these cool grown-up chores. Who knew?!) The girls are getting an excellent education in the actual value of those financial gifts that arrive in the mail box in response to the support letters that required me to put aside my personal concerns. After all, words like, "me," and "my," have little enough to do with this endeavor. This is an opportunity to simply trust that God provides what is just exactly right for each of us.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Raised in a household that held the often-expressed opinion that organized religion was all about snatching away one's hard-earned cash, I admit to being a bit squeamish about raising support for mission trips. While there is not the slightest hesitation to assume that others want to pray for us, it is more difficult to ask for money; yet, I was put out to discover that people do send out letters to ask others to contribute to the expenses associated with missional travel. Not put out by the requests, but because the people who we had known over the years that went on mission trips had often not sent us such requests.
The first letter I recall was from a former mentor sharing her excitement about heading to Africa. In fact, her letter was the inspiration for my own letter months later, but she was far from the first person we knew who was making a short-term or extended mission trip. The feeling of having missed out on the opportunities to be part of sending others out to places where we were not likely to go was akin to an emptiness in the pit of one's stomach. The realization that our known lack of ready cash had possibly been reason for others to withhold the opportunity to be part of their sending teams left a decidedly unpleasant hollowness. It also led to an added excitement in 2008 as support letters for Operation Prayer Surge in Poland were written and sent out. God provided every penny of the expenses related to that trip, and many people prayed from home as the in-country team moved throughout several cities and landmarks praying for Poles and those ministering to them.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Morning People

Sure. We can be up and out the door before dawn for a few days with coffee in hand and a cheery, "Good Morning!" to greet my sleepy-headed teen as I slap a yogurt and a breakfast sandwich in his hand to be eaten (oh, shame...) in the car. No big deal. The sunrise is pretty reflected through all the highway emissions. Yes, it is. Makin' with the sunshine...
Um, wait. The information imparted at last week's Cross Country meeting clicked into place as I plied my too-bright morning cheer during the early morning cruise in the mom-mobile to get The Boy to practice. The regular school day practices will begin at 6:15. The boys are supposed to be on campus by 6:00. That means driving him to school before 6:00. Every single day. Oh, my. I wonder if it is possible to un-know this tidbit to spare my thoughts from the anticipation of the return to being Morning People that, all too soon, heralds the dawn of the new school year?

Monday, July 26, 2010


The mister and I made a trek over to Babies-R-Superstore this weekend. We had a coupon for a fair discount off of a single item, and this seemed like a sign from God (or the post office) that we should start collecting cloth diapers to take to Honduras. Besides, where else is there that still stocks diaper pins? The mister and I headed toward the back of the store where the diapers were located. We eventually discovered some diaper pins buried in the furthest corner of the department. Amidst the assorted organic and chlorine-free, super, natural, ultra-green products for covering wee baby bottoms we found Mmmhmm. Asking associates for cloth diapers, we were directed to the front of the store where the feeding items were stocked by the third in a chain of perplexed superstore employees, the final one helpfully explaining that, even though they were called cloth diapers, people really use them for burping babies. Well. Alrighty then.

Friday, July 23, 2010


We are on the business end of busy-ness in preparation for booking out flights from Dallas/Ft. Worth to La Ceiba, Honduras in early August. We are praying for the best possible prices and working in every sense of the word. Our collective administrative skills went to work writing our support letters to let friends and family know the who, what, when, where, why, and how of our next ministry adventure south of the border. Erin, who is our youngest team member at 9 years old, has quickly expanded her pet care from "scooping" the neighbor's back yard for $8 per week to pet sitting for ten cats and dogs. (Only two of the ten are staying at our house. She goes to the rest of the four-footed friends.) Katie is babysitting--- last night was for a precious family with four little girls six and under. We are offering meal preparation and delivery as well as our family's favorite baked goods in return for donations toward the trip. Erin is collecting school supplies for the classroom at Mama Tara's children's home. Between the support letters, Facebook and blog posts, e-mail, snail mail, and word of mouth there must be very few people left among our acquaintance unaware of our various endeavors.
The results of all this industry are already encouraging. The first meals have been ordered. The first babies have been snuggled. The checker at Target ringing up the school supplies to be added to the collection for Mama Tara's asked for contact information because she would like to contribute items as well! We have more critters than we have hands to pet them around the house. The first "Thank You" notes have gone out expressing our pleasure in the partnerships with those who are willing and able to send us back to Puerto Lempira with gifts of prayer and financial support. We are on our way.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bowled Over

"Mom, what are we doing Saturday?" The answer to this question is unknown because I have swallowed a significant dose of Benadryl for my infusion without eating breakfast. (Mom's mind has left the building.) She becomes impatient and brings my phone so that the calendar can be consulted. Ah. If we are doing anything specific on Saturday, it fails to show up. Which is perfect. Now we can go bowling with Ty. Better. We can go bowling with Ty and his family.
"Who is Ty?" Gentle Reader might ask. Ty is the reason that the group leaders on the Tecate Trip reiterated the No Coupling Off Policy in place for Middle Child last week. This week the kids are no longer on a mission trip to Mexico. Katie texted (cringe. cringe. cringe.) the Imaginary Boyfriend (He was a figment of texting which sort of mitigates the breaking up over text thing. I like the sort of boyfriend who is only present via digital chatter. Middle Child... not so much.) The Imaginary Boyfriend agreed that they were better off as friends, and on Wednesday evening Ty asked KT if she would like to go out. Now, we all get to go bowling and have a little meet-and-greet.
She got to know him on a trip to build a house for a family living in a camper shell. This is a big point in Ty's favor. He understands that KT has to have a parent along to go somewhere (like the bowling alley) with him. And she "likes" him. I? Like bowling and Middle Child.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Common

Sitting at a table over coffee this evening with friends, and J. mentioned her Dad serving in the U.S. Border Patrol. I mentioned that my Mammy's best friend's husband was also in the Border Patrol, and that the couple eventually ended up in the town of Marfa, Texas like J.'s parents. Apparently, this was not the only similarity of address. I mentioned the first names of the couple, and she looked at me for a moment. Then, she asked if the Jean and Charles to whom I referred were Jean and Charles H_______?
Eh? Why, yes. This friend who I met in 2007 through our church once lived across the street from Jean and Charles in another Texas town. She had heard of my hilarious, capable, colorful Mammy as "Wallene" over the years and was familiar with some of the arts and crafts that are so tied to memories of the grandmother who passed away in 2000. (J. had not heard of Mammy's propensity for writing trashy romance novels which were submitted in brown paper envelopes with requests that I edit the works.) Not only did she know Jean and Charles, but their daughter, Paula. Paula was the person who first invited J. to church. Such a small world, and that invitation likely seemed a small thing to Paula, but it turned out to mean new life for J.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Yesterday, I sat in the church's chapel listening to a pair of brilliant, creative women offer up their latest Big Idea from God. The internet as a mission field. Specifically, Facebook as a mission field. Electronic communication via text, instant message, e-mail, and social networking is the first language of the generation following my own into adulthood. That's what makes the internet a mission field, and it's why these ladies are building a team to plant a church right smack dab in the middle of this new frontier.
Our church already streams live feeds of the weekly service over the internet, and I have on occasion sent messages asking friends to take a peep after something particularly relevant to them came across as part of a message. Examples of ways in which the streaming services have been used include one woman visiting out of state family who shared the service with her hosts on a computer at the kitchen table, a college-aged daughter who had yet to find a church logging on weekly, and by those otherwise unable to make it to the bricks-and-mortar building for a variety of reasons from illness to inclement weather. This is not what is meant by, "Internet Campus".
Radio, television, and even video streaming live services are all a passive experience. These types of media have been derided as the ultimate consumer, pew-sitting opportunity because there is no interaction. The proposed internet campus will be active, and teams are being developed now who will serve to provide that very interaction. Some of the needed volunteers are very similar to those found serving within the physical walls of our church campus from greeters and small group facilitators to more internet-specific roles such as live technical assistance. Yet, these volunteers can be located anywhere and will be able to serve those who are located anywhere. A church without walls in the truest sense.
This venue offers the opportunity for those who might not set foot in a church, to visit. It is not necessarily something that would draw me, but I am intrigued nonetheless upon consideration of how such an idea fits with the changing world. (Besides, I am not the person this church seeks to reach since I show up regularly at the physical location.) One of the inspirations for this endeavor was simply that people are searching for answers in this world. And the word, "search," has morphed into a verb that rolls off the tongue so easily in an all-too-familiar phrase: "Just google it." Whatever one needs can be found with that neat little answer. If one needs Jesus, then why shouldn't He be found at the end of a google search?

Sunday, July 18, 2010


She's home! She's home! She's home! Yes. Middle Child's flight arrived at about a quarter after 7:00 tonight. Her name is mud because all the other kids ("...except for Russell!") called their parents yesterday after crossing the Mexican border and arriving safely in San Diego, CA. All the other kids except for Katie ("...and Russell!"). (Russell is not my kid, so he is not really serving as a sufficient defense for my kid's failure to make contact upon re-entering the country.) Fortunately, the mother of one of those kids who did opt to phone home called our house to report this tidbit. Still. We're all glad to have Mud back in our midst, and she talked for two hours straight filling us in on the days we were apart from her perspective. She's loud. And funny. But most important tonight, she's home.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Vanity + curiosity + internet access = a non-scientifically sound literary experimentation

The first mentions of I Write Like piqued little more than a dismissive notice. Increasing mentions of the novelty program, including this article that made my home page's list of "Most Popular" tidbits, garnered more interest. Intriguing to see how a computer program could compare vocabulary, syntax, and punctuation to attempt to classify writing samples by a sample of published authors. Just for grins, I decided to enter in the most recent ohbutno post. Highlight. Click Copy. Switch tabs. Click Paste. Submit, and "Voila!" A wail of, "Nooooo!" follows the revelation that the (admittedly incomplete) list of authors found a best match in Dan Brown.
Convinced that the program has a glitch, I enter the preceding post. And get a little puffed up over the William Shakespeare response. Perplexed by the inability to reconcile two such disparate authors, the idea to enter a month's worth of posts takes root. And I take action in a flurry of point and click punctuated by hisses, groans, moans, gleeful crowing, and a, "Say what?!" or two. Out of thirteen posts for the month of July, the program produced the following results:
David Foster Wallace: 23%
Dan Brown: 15%
William Shakespeare, Jonathon Swift, Arthur C. Clarke, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ursula LeGuin, Bram Stoker, Kurt Vonnegut: 7.75% ea.
And this particular post? Put Dan Brown in a tie with Wallace at just over 21%. I really should have quit while I was ahead.


In an attempt to take the good advice offered repeatedly, I clicked the link off an existing Facebook Page to create a new one. This is harder than it sounds. At least, I hope it is harder than it sounds, because I did not succeed in following the "simple steps". I have uploaded a picture of a sweet, infant girl lifted overhead laughing as a kiss is prepared to be planted on her little face. Except that I have yet to be given the option to name the page when Facebook has one of its characteristic little hissy fits declaring the page unavailable after informing that [blank space]'s photos are available. And now. I am out of time. Hopefully, I can find the location of [blank space]'s profile photo later to create the page with information on our family's mission activities like the meal service and Erin's school supply drive.

Maybe I'm just tired. Last night's Girls' Night Out dinner ended up with a secondary stop for shared rich chocolate cake topped with ice cream in a moment of "Diet Lost". We saw the wee hours of Saturday watching the Eclipse movie that leaves behind a silly grin and a desire to giggle. (Um, yes, again. If Gentle Reader is counting that would be three times. I have yet to wear the t-shirt, at least. Well, so far.) Arriving home at around 1:00 a.m., I knew this morning would be an early start to a busy day moving one of the Honduras Girls to her new digs and attending the tiara-studded 5th birthday party for two favorite princesses. It was worth it. Especially if my slightly foggy brain can be reactivated sufficiently with coffee to allow the eventual completion of that Facebook page later today.

30 minutes later:
Not only is FB glitchy. My Mom-mobile is, too. The behemoth will not start. (Wow. SO glad I did not drive it to GIrls' Night. Midnight-thirty in a parking lot with a dead battery seems like a bad idea.) Having jump-started myself and the offspring for the day's activities, I am now waiting for my mister to return home to give the car some go-go. I suspect the battery is gone. This is going to complicate matters.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Earlier this week, I made one of those adamant, "I WILL NOT..." statements. As soon as the words left my mouth, Walker laughed. Something clicked internally as if God was saying, "Oh, yeah? That's what you think!" Humility kicked in to allow the thought that perhaps I was being a smidgen hard-headed. But only perhaps. So I filed the moment away with the briefest of prayers along the lines of , "Not my will, but Yours..."
Until today. Two days after Big Mouth struck again, someone asked me about the very specific thing that I had decreed I would not do. No hesitation was involved in the, "Yes." The asker was a bit put off by the revelation that there had been personal opposition to her as yet unmade proposition. Except that I was wrong. My heart and soul are inextricably tied to the endeavor in question.
So. I made an about face. With the change of heart, came a sense of peace. The acceptance of going with the pull that draws one along rather than the struggle of swimming against the current out of nothing more than sheer stubbornness. I didn't even know a toe had been dipped into the water, but it turns out that I was already immersed. And the water is fine.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Honduras Thanksgiving '10 Trip is not going to be cheap, but the Lord is faithful. I believe we will have exactly what is needed to fund the expedition that will see all three Abshire girls to Puerto Lempira, and to that end I have asked a couple of friends for suggestions in anticipation of fundraising. Erin is already on her way with her fledgling, "Poo Fairy" business that pays $8 per week and $50 for pet-sitting. She is also planning a school supply drive to benefit Mama Tara's home for children. Taking inspiration from her, I wondered what I might do in addition to sending the traditional support letters to invite others to join in sending us.

The first suggestion from Heidi was, "Use your cooking skills! Offer meals from your kitchen, and I am sure you will have plenty of takers." I considered this, but wasn't so sure. This morning, the question was put to Jan, who immediately suggested... cooking. Hmmm. Sensing a theme, and, in all honestly, thrilled at the idea of spending hours in the kitchen preparing meals for others, I have a couple of sample menus that are relatively simple to prepare and deliver. I'm just not sure how appealing those will be to others, or if dinner delivery if going to be a hit in the current economic climate--- even for a good cause.
Sample Menus might be:
Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes, Salad, and Rolls
Barbecue Chicken, Corn Casserole, Seasonal Fruit
Pasta w/ Spaghetti Sauce, Cream Sauce, or Olive Oil/Sausage/Peppers, Salad, Rolls
and a choice of Chocolate Bread or Banana Bread for Dessert

Or maybe I offer it all a la carte?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The foster/adoption web sites I have visited have advice for married couples. One takes the tongue-in-cheek title for a section, "Top Ten Ways Foster Care Can Ruin a Marriage", but the accompanying article is entirely serious. This is just the sort of article that helps to balance my perspective on children who need a family to love them and a temporary home to shelter them with the reality that my mister does not feel the same pull on his heartstrings. My mister and I have spent years enjoying the idea of our forties when the kids will be out of high school, and our fifties when they will likely be building lives of their own. (This is the "up side" to parenting while one's peers complete their degrees and begin careers.) In the past few months, one of us has had a change of heart.
Having been surgically, permanently cut off from our child-bearing years, there was no reason to consider the possibility of more offspring. Friends with small children and infants have been willing to entrust their children to us while they work, are ill, or enjoy a date. This seemed sufficient, and on occasion even had the hallmark feeling of being overwhelmed that is, as it turns out, not solely the mark of being 21, broke, and in charge of someone who cries to communicate. Those challenges are offset by the moments of sweetness like being presented with a painstakingly drawn stick figure in thick waxy crayon for the refrigerator door, an infant's head resting peacefully on one's shoulder, the endless entertainment of translating the gobbledy gook that passes for speech at 2, and little arms wrapped tightly around one's leg in a hug that can only reach so high.
My mister is far less intrigued by such things. His memories of infants involve rather a lot of crying--- sometimes by the babies. He is content with a world that revolves around us as a couple, and the goal is to raise our children and get back to the honeymoon as soon as the kids are reasonably self-sufficient. (That is rather an enticing idea.) I read of the ways to dip a toe into the pool of children who need safety and love without disregarding the differing goals that the mister and I see before us. The opportunities to care for others' children, the crisis shelter for kids facing removal from their homes in the face of abuse where volunteers are needed, and in months a return to La Moskitia where the youngest children can face uncertainty and benefit from one more pair of open arms reaching out.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Our family's Thanksgiving Honduras Team commitments expanded yesterday. KT and I will be joined in the adventure by Erin amongst the group traveling to Puerto Lempira. We now join any other freshman team members in the process of obtaining a passport and appropriate vaccinations as well as keeping an eye on the airline ticket prices.
Having seen a mention of passport fees increasing some time soon, I pulled up the web site to see what cost would be incurred in obtaining Little Bit's passport. The fees will go up by $25. The date for this increase to take effect? July 13, 2010. Tomorrow.
Needless to say, Erin's official birth certificate was pulled from it's file and the required form was filled out on online. We took her to the drugstore for a quick photo session resulting in the necessary pair of twin 2X2 photos to be presented with her application. (She spent ten minutes showing Mom different expressions before settling on one in between a smile and an impressive glare. It was pointed out that we do not want to amuse or scare the customs officials, and that she would have to make any of several super silly faces every time the document was examined.) Today we will apply for her passport, and have done so just in time to dodge the added expense of the new fees.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Hmmm. I am going to contemplate John 4 this week. The chapter is a favorite, and I associate it with the beautiful testimony of a dear friend who believed herself unfit for motherhood after an abortion. Years later, she spoke publicly of her long-held feeling of shame and the remorse that robbed her of so much as dreaming of parenting. She spoke of how Jesus found her right where she was at--- keenly aware of her shortcomings and the pain piled up throughout her life. My friend identified her own surprise that she need not come to Him with her life neatly ordered, just like the Samaritan woman who expressed shock at Jesus's attention and knowledge of her far-from-a-fairytale life. The Samaritan woman brought a village to Jesus feet, and my friend brought a community of women to their knees with the announcement of her pregnancy. Each of those women found He would offer her grace to cover her brokenness. And the surprise discovery that He would and could bring new life through the profound mercy to be found at the foot of a cross. Well, the cross.

Laura's post had me smiling, and thinking of how it is possible to continually pour out even though I do not shoulder the responsibility for others' response to care. My chronically half-empty glass is in no real danger of being emptied. I can pour it out for others without worry knowing there is that well of Living Water Jesus offered in John 4. The only time my glass is likely to be sucked dry is when there is a self-induced drought brought on by failure to return to that well for a refill.
This week, the thought that John 4 was the place to be coincided with Middle Child's pre-departure lunch mas she heads to Mexico for a week of service building a home and sharing Jesus through Children's Bible School with her middle school youth group.
In preparation for the trip, we talked of how she might take time to study those verses in John 4 herself with an eye toward the future she hopes to see unfold. A future with training in engineering with an eye toward the incredible need for clean drinking water in many places around the world. Or perhaps for knowledge of crop techniques to yield sufficient food for areas suffering from hunger. Ideas that have sprouted as a result of seeds planted in Laura's Honduran home. And at the foot of that cross.
Imagine my smile when our pastor announced today in service that he would be departing from Joseph to honor what God had done through the faithfulness of a team sent out from our church to assist in planting four churches in Uganda over the last two weeks. Two weeks that resulted in hundreds of people discovering that wellspring of grace, mercy, and possibility that fills one to overflowing. His departure from Genesis? A detour to the Good News found in John 4.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


This morning I looked at the clock and realized that Middle Child would be arriving at DFW airport and checking in with her middle school youth group for a flight to California in less than 24 hours. It's odd to contemplate sending her off, but she is so very ready. I watch her stretch her wings in preparation for this fledgling trip without the questions I had about her readiness to travel to Honduras. She is ready to go knowing she will be missed, and that her time away is temporary. I am feeling the pangs that come with the recognition of each step toward independence that she takes. The challenge is to treat her like the young woman she is rather than the little girl who I still see within her with such clarity.
So. I did what I would do with a girlfriend. I asked her to lunch. We did a little shopping and sat giggling over chips and salsa as we worked on her prayer calendar with crayons begged from the hostess after the only pen between us ran out of ink. We talked about the bits of Scripture that speak to each of us, and how those relate to these trips. We talked about the challenges of remembering that her school, our neighborhood, and the countless places we go in our daily lives are our mission field even though these mission trips have the feel of climbing to the mountain top with their intensive focus that takes us away from the everyday. Eventually, we come back down; yet, we are no less called to reflect the ministry of Jesus in the mundane days of our lives.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


The mister has been on vacation from both jobs this week. That alone is a rare enough occurrence, but The Boy is also out of summer school for the week. With two of the biggest commitments in our Summer daily schedules cleared, the days stretched practically wide open before us. There was talk of looking into all sorts of tourist attractions that are so often missed by locals, but that was scarcely even an idea before it began to feel claustrophobic. Instead, we have done a little something most days, but not too much of anything.

The mister took Little Bit out on a Daddy & Me Date to see a movie, and she chose to invite the rest of us to meet them at La Madeleine for dessert afterward. Middle Child, The Boy, and I will go catch a morning showing of "Eclipse" since we have devoured the young adult book series (again... The Boy did not see the movies with the teeming halls of females on the night of the movie release, but he did enjoy both the story and the first two progressively less low-budget movies.) All five of us caught the M. Night Shyamalan snore-fest "The Last Airbender". It's been a quiet week laced with these frequent escapes into fantasy.

Not that we have been in danger of becoming vacant-minded lumps staring blankly at screens teeming with make-believe lives in darkened rooms. There have been peaceful hours tallied sitting on the covered patio over coffee, breakfasts, grilling, and just chatting. We've wandered the exhibit halls of the Museum of Nature and Science again where each of us has favorite displays. There have been many, many miles logged by the assorted runners and walkers thanks to cloud cover providing cooler mornings. The mister and I slipped out yesterday, leaving the children to assorted other activities, for a date involving a trip to peruse the book store, wander through a lovely urban outdoor shopping and dining mecca built around a faux creek and waterfall. (There was a stop for gelato. The scale will no doubt say something unpleasant to me after this week's indulgences. Not that I care enough to feel guilty over the treats. What goes up, can certainly come down.) We have done the loveliest list of near nothing I could ask for over these days.
The doctor gave an all-clear mid-week saying that there were no signs of malignancy in my scans or blood work. He had no idea why the struggle with fatigue and shortness of breath go on, and he suggested that I go back to the immunologist. Again. I think I will simply ignore the symptoms in the relative conviction that I have done enough to chase down a cause. Besides, our family has better things to do than worry.


I cannot seem to slow enough for my thoughts to gel. And so many of my thoughts are not my own. Or mine to tell. This morning saw an errand to meet with an old ministry partner. Last night we spoke on the phone, and it turned out that the study she had written for women healing from sexual abuse is in the process of becoming a book. The final, or latest product, is in editing now with an expected release in six months. But I needed it now. Because there is a young woman who is trying to sort through her own nightmare, and she is using the pen rather than the sword to fight her way to freedom. I am just along for the ride.
The idea that one in four women falls prey to sexual abuse of some sort in her lifetime makes me ill. I feel the color leave my face even as a red haze tinges the out most edges of my vision with each new tale of pain and shame related by women who are each beloved of Christ. These are the children of God. How dare anyone take what God put in place as a mechanism of love, life, and the spark of creation in us only to twist it into a hideous image of depravity? Every single day it happens somewhere. And in the sense of being a drop in the bucket, I will walk alongside another sweet soul who searches for the living water that can wash her clean. How I wish there was no such need.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Back Track

  • The Honduras girls went to see all the Twilight movies.
  • The next-to-last chapter in Holy Discontent pretty much described my soon-to-depart friend Laura and her heart for Honduras.
  • Laura and I shared a farewell brunch and talked of the needs her family is going to meet and those they will need met. She opened my small mind a bit further to big, new ideas.
  • Jan asked for pictures from our Spring Break trip to use in a slide show. Pictures like these:

As I sifted through photo files, listening to the Casting Crowns track Jan sent along with her photo request, there was a certainty that there was a little girl like Alba Rosa (held by Katie in the above photos) who was waiting for there to be extra arms to hold her. (This may have been somewhat influenced by a conversation with Laura earlier in the week about the amount of red tape involved in ministering to kids in the U.S.) I wonder about the kids we met, and those who minister to them daily. Next thing I know, I'm in tears.
My mister is one to greet the tears of the assorted females in our home as a call to action of some sort. He asked what was wrong. I told him. In minutes, the decision was made that Katie and I will go back to Honduras at Thanksgiving.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Night Lights

The mister and I are not particularly fond of large crowds, and the idea of going to Adriatica a half mile away to watch fireworks this evening was guaranteed to involve just such masses of humanity. So we stayed home with The Boy dominating the world in Risk, a t.v. screening of "Independence Day", and finally the popping sounds signifying the fireworks display we were skipping. Apparently the day's drizzle and occasional downpours were no damper on the light show. The sound drew me to peep out through the blinds where I found the entirely visible source.
Running down the hall in my pajamas yelling for others to hurry and, "Look out the back windows!" drew both daughters (if none of the household males). Yanking open Katie's blinds, I pointed outside. The girls and I clustered together at the window watching as pinpoints of light streamed one at a time heavenward to explode into glowing spheres set against the night sky. We raced back to the master bedroom where the view was better. The single lights came rapidly on the heels of one another. The speed increased until not one, but a series of lights tore skyward to herald series of explosions. The brightness shifted as not one, but many colors were represented in the expanding, and too quickly disappearing, light over the rooftop behind our home. Finally, the sky went dark. We headed back to our beds, but with the delicious surprise of our unexpected night lights still fresh in our minds' eyes.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Despite cooler heads and wiser minds advising that I wait on Dr. J's explanation, I phoned the imaging center this morning to request a copy of the preliminary report on yesterday's CT. Ready for the worst, I started reading. The most exciting information was the radiologist noting the surgical absence of my uterus and the addition of my medi-port. (That's good that she caught those baseline bits.) The spleen was relatively unchanged, if still enlarged, and there is a little bonus spleen tissue called an accessory spleen. There was nothing else particularly worthy of remark in the report. (Well, she did mention that there was some degradation of the image because the patient was moving. Oops.) I'll go in for what is expected to be an official, "All clear!" next week.


It's Friday. The Boy's last day of Summer School for Art IA. The girls have opted not to get out of bed, and the mister and I are headed out to steal a little couple time. That's not been an easy feat in the past few weeks with the combined schedules of our household, and we are both looking forward to staring deeply into one another's eyes over coffee cups without the words, "Mom," or "Dad," punctuating the conversation. Okay, so maybe the soulful looks are beyond either of us the week before Staycation begins, but it is still entirely desired to be alone together. Hopefully, the school will not call while we are off making goo-goo eyes at one another.
Because there is a call coming. Yesterday, due to PSAT testing, the students were restricted during their break from their usual haunt (the cafeteria). So, our kid went "exploring" with "the guys" upstairs. The exploration led to the teachers' lounge (a place students should not be) where a soda was removed from the fridge (that ought to be free from the predations of students) and used for some sort of idiotic game before supposedly being returned to the fridge. The Remover was my kid. Uh-oh. He says he returned the drink, but it was missing later, and the whole world saw him out playing with it. So. He was kept after school yesterday in the determination of his guilt, and the consequences will come today.
The consequences at home will likely be mitigated if we don't hear about the consequences at school during Date Day. In the meantime, I am periodically calling the kid, "Dora" and have him explore a list of additional chores available to keep him busy and out of trouble.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Picture Day

This morning's usual running start included an extra-special breakfast. The steroid appetizers were taken at odd hours last night, in the wee hours of the morning and the final dose in the morning in order to stave off an unwanted allergic reaction to the contrast dye used to light me up for the CT scanner. Berry-flavored Chalk smoothie (for coating the inner workings) was the entree on order along with a Benadryl chaser (also to minimize allergy opportunities). Nice. Okay... not so much.
Steroids are bad. The first two doses are fine, but the third one brings out the mean. For example, I was extremely cross with the daughters who thoughtfully made themselves a pizza for lunch so I could sleep off the drugs uninterrupted. It's that kind of rationale that was in effect as I sat in the imaging center trying to learn if any of the radiologists available to read the CT were on our insurance despite three previous conversations with assorted administrative people. (Nope. Time to address that unmet out-of-network deductible. Awesome. That set well in the stormy sea of barium-coated belly and steroidal crabbiness.) Fortunately, this is not Mama's first rodeo on steroids, so the recognition of my likely irritability having nothing to do with my perceived antagonists was at least tempering my desire to try out for an episode of the evening news or a mention in a true crime show.
The center could not access the type of port I have, so the nurse tried to find a vein that would play nicely. Except that mine generally prefer to play Hide and Seek. I especially appreciated the different colors of wrapping used for the different holes poked. The bright blue and fuchsia mummy look could come in at any time. I would've been trendy if that had been today. Ah, well.
The whole test took a whopping half hour. I avoided the temptation to walk with my arms stretched out before me making a low moaning/groaning noise in honor of my bandaged arms and hands. That sort of thing never seems to be nearly as amusing to other people as it is in my head. Which is reason enough to keep such thoughts from becoming action.
I drove home, unwrapped my mummy costume, dashed off an e-mail update, and crawled into bed to sleep off the after effects. Preliminary results can be picked up this afternoon, or I can wait until my follow-up with Dr. J on July 7th. I haven't decided whether or not to seize the opportunity to spend the weekend trying to piece together a crazy quilt understanding of the CT report from my own medical knowledge base and the scary stories available on the internet, or if I will just opt for patience and accuracy.