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30 April 2010

vote now!

if you have a minute, would you go vote for my traveling buddies?
Once you click the link, then click the box that says "Vote Now," and then click the link for photos from April 23-29, and then click vacation location Sequim, WA.

four clicks.
many happy people, if they show up in our paper!


O! Trader Joe's!

YesterdayTrader Joe's announced they will soon be opening a store in O!  Much rejoicing! 

(cartoon from Jeff Koterba at the Omaha World Herald, 30April2010)

27 April 2010


Posted by PicasaRed daisies
Orange sunset
Yellow pansies
Green leaves
Blue skies
Lavendar lilacs

multitudes (149-198)

(photo credit- Sunrise 02 by chimothy27 @flickr- an Iowa sunrise taken one morning almost exactly a year ago)

Thy bounty is seen
in the relations that train us,
the laws that defend us,
the homes that shelter us,
the food that builds us,
the raiment that comforts us,
the continuance of our health, members, senses, understanding, memory, affection, will.
"Second Day Evening- Bounty," Valley of Vision

149. "None will long remain miserable who use aright the privilege of going to the mercy seat of a reconciled God in Jesus Christ." Matthew Henry
150.  the excitement of my kids preparing for the spring choir concert
151.  my faithful friends jumping in to help in the kitchen
152.  Papa in the audience
153.  Ethiopian dinner & an evening of precious fellowship ending in prayer
154.  craftsmanship beyond what we expected on the new porch rail
155.  safe travel, to and fro
156.  emerald green growth against deep dark and rich soil
157.  a rare evening with family, complete with mini-recital
158.  the view of the valley in Pennsylvania
159.  gracious and generous hospitality
160.  watching my kids make friends with MK's
161.  easy relationships that stand the test of time
162.  the foundation of our nation's heritage
163.  the service of those who gave their lives in battle
164.  cheerful text messages along the way
165.  kingdom work around the world
166.  those who support His workers faithfully
167.  "to have a passion for God is to have a passion for the nations."
168.  "we are characters in His story..."
169.  Ephesians 1:7- In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the .  riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us.
170.  thoughtful and curious questions during an afternoon with Spanish students
171.  the fellowship of believers
172.  a plan and a good prognosis
173.  how beautiful those old wood floors look!
174.  clean windows
175.  hearty welcomes and a meal to serve
176.  leftovers
177.  how clean is fresh paint!
178.  lilacs
179.  a bed of pink tulips
180.  rejoicing with an expecting mom
181.  catching up at Panera
182.  in person thank you's
183.  driving with the top down on a spring afternoon
184.  a phone call in the park
185.  return to Sunday worship
186.  "why is prayer necessary?  It is the chief part of thankfulness..."
187.  the poetry of Psalms
188.  a willing volunteer, an answer to prayer
189.  first birthday!
190.  family rituals
191.  lemons in a blue bowl
192.  a sweet email note
193.  the Sudanese kids
194.  a new Somali friend
195.  being schooled on the French Bible translation
196.  she who was lost is found
197.  hope for a buyer
198.  the stillness of morning

25 April 2010

Sunday -ings

sitting with my feet up, computer on my lap
listening to kids playing Wii and the jingle of the dog collar
giggling at Gumbo talking to Harper on the phone
sipping Tazo Passion tea (though Citrus is still my favorite)
eating taco salad for dinner
admiring porcelain from this studio
basking in the shine of my newly refinished floors, and freshly painted walls and ceiling, and hand-washed windows
appreciating how very much we have been blessed by acts of service and kindness, and been plain and simply loved, recently
wondering if anyone will ever look at our house that is for sale
loving that the house is so very clean and neat
missing my books that have been packed and are in storage
planning to make some spiffed up version of this salad sometime soon
rejoicing to be paint free for two entire days!
studying Psalms for the ladies Sunday school class
dreaming about what the next few months will hold, and
purposing not to be anxious
wondering how tall that guy walking by really is!
resuming our normal routine tomorrow, after a week of house prep and a week of travel
mourning the "lasts"
watching The Amazing Race, our newest Sunday evening ritual, in just a little while
going to bed early and
waking up early too

praising God for His mercies new every day, even today

24 April 2010

on accountability. and transparency.

So with all of these boundaries and all of these safe guards and all of these great leaders and friends holding me accountable how could I ever be unfaithful to God and my wife? That’s not possible right? But I was unfaithful, despite all of my accountability.What I have discovered is accountability is useless.

Accountability is only as valuable as the transparency you and I offer in the context of that accountability

We have a unique ability as humans to BS each other. It is easy for me to fake you out. It is easy for you to lie to my face. It is easy to pretend like your marriage is better than it really is. It is easy to offer just enough accountability to make yourself look spiritual. At the same time that partial accountability can be so dangerous because you are not only fooling me, you are fooling yourself.

The truth is you and I can meet every Wednesday and I can lie to you. The truth is that you can have several circles of accountability and unless you are 100% transparent in at least one of those circles, implosion is on the horizon.

I am not saying you should be 100% transparent with everyone, but I am saying you should be 100% transparent with someone. I have two people in my life that if I am asked a question I give 100% of the truth; I withhold nothing. I know if I am struggling or need to confess something, or am in a dark place, I can share that with these two people.

One of the biggest mistakes I made in my life, my marriage and my ministry is I substituted accountability for transparency. Accountability without transparency is useless. It is easier in the short term to offer accountability and it seems more spiritual…but you experience more of the grace and mercy and love of Christ when you offer transparency.

from Accountability is Useless at RefineUs via Tara at Considerable Grace

23 April 2010


Love the tulips. 
They are in my 'hood in abundance right now, and I rejoice.

Honestly, spring is a miracle to me this year...

tulip header art credit to printmakerjenn at 

22 April 2010

a week east

On the road again…
My family, minus one volleyball playing teen, hit the road for a 2400 mile round trip journey to the East Coast and back again. And a good trip it was!
We marveled at the beauty of spring, the many and varied shades of green, the deep dark soil prepped for planting, the brilliant colors of budding trees, the bright blue sky on the horizon.
We spent a night with family in Michigan, playing with cousins and trying not to get juked into the grossest jellybeans in the history of the world!

We wandered around our nation’s Capitol, taking in the iconic sights on a gorgeous April day.
We traveled the history of flight at the Air and Space Museum.

We renewed old friendships in a matter of moments.
We made new relationships that we look forward to growing over the years.

We were encouraged by the testimonies of how God is growing His kingdom and using His people.
We were challenged by the mandates and lessons of Scripture.
We were blessed by engaging teaching.

We were refreshed by gracious and generous hospitality.
We laughed heartily, listened intently, and shared the story God is giving us, as well.
We gave thanks that we don’t have to commute in northern Virginia every day!

We drove.
And we drove.

It is always good to journey out.
And it is always good to be home.

(grrr- I can't get the photos where I want them today... )

18 April 2010

love and duty...

"Duty is just washing your hands...  but when love and duty are one, then grace is within you."

from The Painted Veil

(photo credit to Gold Stars)

08 April 2010

... diligently seek Him

"It was claimed for Augustus Caesar that he found Rome a city of wood, and left it a city of marble. The pastor who succeeds in changing his people from a prayerless to a prayerful people, has done a greater work than did Augustus in changing a city from wood to marble. And after all, this is the prime work of the preacher. Primarily, he is dealing with prayerless people -- with people of whom it is said, "God is not in all their thoughts." Such people he meets everywhere, and all the time. His main business is to turn them from being forgetful of God, from being devoid of faith, from being prayerless, so that they become people who habitually pray, who believe in God, remember Him and do His will. The preacher is not sent to merely induce men to join the Church, nor merely to get them to do better. It is to get them to pray, to trust God, and to keep God ever before their eyes, that they may not sin against Him.

The work of the ministry is to change unbelieving sinners into praying and believing saints. The call goes forth by Divine authority, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." We catch a glimpse of the tremendous importance of faith and of the great value God has set upon it, when we remember that He has made it the one indispensable condition of being saved. "By grace are ye saved, through faith." Thus, when we contemplate the great importance of prayer, we find faith standing immediately by its side. By faith are we saved, and by faith we stay saved. Prayer introduces us to a life of faith. Paul declared that the life he lived, he lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved him and gave Himself for him -- that he walked by faith and not by sight.

Prayer is absolutely dependent upon faith. Virtually, it has no existence apart from it, and accomplishes nothing unless it be its inseparable companion. Faith makes prayer effectual, and in a certain important sense, must precede it.
"For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."
from The Necessity of Prayer by E.M. Bounds

My husband came across this quote in his reading today, and shared it with me.  I am as impressed by it as he was.  For one, the first two paragraphs remind me of specific pastors we have been blessed to be shepherded by- men who have faithfully taught and encouraged us "to keep God ever before our eyes."  Men who faithfully showed us that example of being prayerful in their own lives.  But secondly, I am encouraged by that last paragraph, that "prayer is absolutely dependent upon faith."  Do I believe in Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all I can ask or think?  Yes! 

To Him be the glory!

New Header

Zebra Finches andn Forsythia, an original watercolor by unitedthread at etsy.

05 April 2010


while in car, running errands with husband on Friday...

"I like hanging out with you.  It's like we are in high school.  Only married.  With 6 kids."

and then, we laughed!

Multitude Monday (120 - 148)

O Christ,
All thy ways of mercy tend to and end in my delight.
Thou didst weep, sorrow, suffer that I might rejoice.
For my joy thou hast sent the Comforter,
multiplied thy promises,
shown me my future happiness,
given me a living fountain.
Thou art preparing joy for me and me for joy...
"Joy," Valley of Vision

120.  an eye exam and a new prescription
121.  excitement of girls preparing for a banquet
122.  Ethiopian food still there
123.  preciousness of questions and farewells
124.  good checkups and new toothbrushes
125.  conversation over the pew with a new friend
126.  sweet singing voices, even harmony
127.  6:30 breakfast at Lisa's
129.  perfect shot to the upper right corner- GOAL!
130.  home alone
131.  thinning out and boxing up
132.  new jeans
133.  clothes ready the night before
134.  monkey bread
135.  "He is Risen!"  "He is Risen indeed!"
136.  little girl on my lap
137.  crayon pictures on my bulletin
138.  finishing the book
139.  frisbee, hula hoops, skip sticks
140.  nap
141.  dying eggs
142.  fresh asparagus and strawberries
143.  green- grass, leaves, plants
144.  playing outside
145.  neighbors on a walk
146.  phone calls from family
147.  an arsenal of allergy medicine
148.  a month of school plans complete

02 April 2010

home alone

dishwasher hums.
birds chirp.
rain drops.

but oh so quiet.


New header art-  Lilium by JudithsBotanicalArt at Etsy.

01 April 2010

beautiful scandalous night

But there was more to Jesus' death than a hateful, brutal murder. Though it came at the darkest time in history and the time when men's sinful natures showed more cleary than ever before or after, it was also a time of unsurpassed beauty. It truly was the most beautiful, wonderful, significant event in the course of human history. For through that heart-rending, tragic time, Christ won the victory that has set us free. Just when Evil thought it had won the battle, Christ turned victory into defeat. Through His victory we were atoned and forever washed white.
Tim Challies, 1/17/04

This song, one of my favorites, written by the Smalltown Poets from what I can tell, has been running through my head all day.  I think about that inexplicable mixing of love, suffering, sacrifice, atonement, redemption...
I am awed.
I am grateful.

Beautiful Scandalous Night
Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

Follow Christ to the holy mountain
Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul
In the fountain that flows
For you and for me and for all

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night

On the hillside you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross justified
And your spirit restored
By the river that pours
From our blessed Savior's side

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night

You carried the sin of mankind on Your back
And the sky went black

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night
On that beautiful, scandalous night
On that beautiful, scandalous night
Miraculous night

(art credit:  In Time for Easter Polaroid Transfer, by Melinda West Seifert on etsy)