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31 March 2011


If you are going to be a true missionary, you need to deal with your feelings and be honest about them…

The words written across the screen blurred as my eyes filled with tears and my stomach turned and churned.
The accusations were just- I had not spoken the words that were filling my heart during those days, though it wasn't about dealing with feelings, or being honest.
It was about the words.

I had not spoken the words that would have told
of how the season of living out of a suitcases and spare rooms and borrowed beds and finishing well and pressing on had left me completely exhausted;
of how a piece of my heart had just been left in a place at the edge of the prairie, with people as close as family, with memories as precious as treasure;
of how I struggled to comfort five kids when I needed to be comforted myself;
of the anxiety that was growing as we left the comfort and familiarity of home far behind to travel to an unknown land with a foreign tongue;
of how for months I had been asked to tell our story and meet new people and take risks seemingly every day and, right then, I longed to be still and I longed to be quiet.

I had not spoken the words that would have told
of the privilege of being challenged by those who have walked ahead in the past few months;
of the joy of sharing time with others called to His service day in and day out;
of the beauty of His people, the amazing spectrum of His palette, the ingenuity of His Creation;
of the comfort of the Gospel or the hope of the Resurrection in my life;
of how big and how real Grace has become to me.

I had not spoken of the words that would have said
“I am broken,” and
“I was wrong.”
“I am sorry,” and
“I am forgiven.”

I had not spoken of the Word that I was holding onto,
the encouragement of Joshua,
you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed (Joshua 23:14, NASB);

the cry of David,
My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to Your word (Psalm 119:25, NASB);

the wisdom of Solomon,
Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad (Proverbs 12:25, NASB).

the exhortation of Paul,
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17, NASB),

or the promise of Jesus Christ,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1, NASB).

In his letter to Titus, Paul exhorts older women
to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2:3-5, NASB)

So many words then unspoken.
So many words yet to be said.

She Speaks ConferenceOh does the She Speaks Conference look like an amazing opportunity!  As Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience writes-
 In North Carolina in July, there’s this gathering of Proverbs 31 women gather around their sisters women in ministry, leading, writing, speaking, and offer, “How can we serve you as you serve? How can we help you bear the risk of creating, all for His glory? How can we help you multiply the talent that He’s invested in you? How might you bury your fear in faith to keep from burying His gifts for good?”

To bear the risk of creating... for His glory?  deep breath...

Anne is offering a scholarship, and for that, in part, and also because
... I am full of words, and the Spirit within compels me.(Job 32:18)

I offer a bit of my heart today...

26 March 2011

Cartago-Valle de Orosi

We headed out first thing this morning, destination Cartago.  We weren't disappointed.
We visited the beautiful Basilica de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles, the legendary site of La Negrita
We strolled through the gardens within las ruinas de parroquia, the outer walls of the Catholic church built, and then destroyed, and then built, and then destroyed again. 
And then we hopped a bus and ventured on into the Orosi Valley, where we wandered for a bit and ate lunch.  There was a wedding finishing at la iglesia de Orosi as we were arriving, but I was too far away to get a picture right at that moment.
It was a beautiful day, with blue skies and fresh air and good food and great company.

For more pictures, visit the Cartago-Valle de Orosi album I put up on Picasa.

Pura vida.

22 March 2011

not mere pulsing emotions

And then, the only sounds to be heard came from the spin and churn of the washing machine, the rush of traffic several street away, and the song of a bird passing by. And of course, a dog barking, somewhere.

Relative silence, perhaps, but silence indeed in comparison to the 45 minutes that preceded it, the 45 minutes filled with a shirt lost and found, breakfasts eaten, lunches made, homework gathered, feet shod, and an exodus out the door.

I hate that I was eager for the leaving, and knowing we couldn’t heal anything this morning, I prayed that they would be more cheerful for others and saw them out the door. Tired before the day has barely begun, I am reminded of words I recently read in Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts:

I know it well after a day smattered with rowdiness an worn a bit ragged with bickering, that I may feel disappointment and the despair may flood high, but to give thanks is an action and rejoice is a verb, and these are not mere pulsing emotions. While I may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving.

True saints know that the place where all joy comes from is far deeper than that of feelings; joy comes from the place of the very presence of God.

And so, that is where I will choose to dwell today, in the action of thanks and with the verb of rejoice, in the very presence of God.

19 March 2011

help Japan

MTW - Disaster Response in Japan from Go Global on Vimeo.

Over the years I've often described our mission in Japan as praying and preparing for the day of opportuity in Japan.
- MTW Missionary Michael Oh, President- Christ Bible Institute, Nagoya, Japan 

The work of relief in Japan continues on earnestly as MTW missionaries walk side by side with the Japanese church.  Please continue to pray for Japan, for the relief workers, and for the Gospel to go forward, for beauty to come out of the rubble.

17 March 2011


It's Tournament Time!

For the fourth (?, I think... maybe fifth...?) consecutive year, my family is participating in the ESPN Tournament Challenge- or as CBS Sports likes to say, "The Road to the Final Four." 

and it's fierce.
and yes, there might be some trash talking.
especially if the girls who pick their teams based on mascots and favorite colors win... 

I'm picking Kansas.
How 'bout you?


Blessed is the man who is done with chance, and who never speaks of 'luck'; but believes that, from the least to even  to the greatest, all things are ordained by the Lord.
- Charles Spurgeon,  

11 March 2011


already the weekend again?  Friday night, and I only think in bits...

*we came home from school today and watched news video of the devastation in Japan.  It takes my breath away.  The immensity of the tsunami engulfing everything in its path is really more than I can conceive. It looks like special effects from a diaster movie, and yet, it is so very real and so very big.  And we are all so very small.

For direction in how to pray, here's specific requests from MTW-
•Praise for the safety of all MTW missionaries
•Love and comfort for grieving families
•Rescue for those who may be trapped
•Safety from aftershocks, which have been quite large
•Shelter for those whose homes are destroyed
•Wisdom and clarity for MTW regarding our response
•Restoration of power and communications

Most of all, however, pray this will be an open door for the gospel, that missionaries and national believers will be able to show the love of Christ to those around them. Relationships are critical in Japanese culture, so pray this crisis opens new doors that could make many more relationships possible.

** Last week I was delighted when (in)Courage published a piece written by a dear friend of mine.  She writes straight from the depths of her heart, and the honesty of those words serve to challenge and to encourage me.  She and I are in very different places, in location, in stages of life, and yet, I understand so much of what she writes.  Yes- take heart.  He is calling you. You will be blessed by reading it, too.

***  I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, an that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we shoul reach them. I find now that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller, but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.
FB Meyer, quoted by GBF Hallock, "The Cultivation of Humility," Herald and Presbyter 90, via One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp 
I am at a place of language learning that is more challenging that I ever anticipated.  In my life, I've never been the top student in the class, but I've never been the bottom.  Until now.  And yet, somehow at the bottom of that pile, I am reminded that perhaps humility is an even harder lesson to learn than language. More clearly than ever, I see that I bring nothing, but cling tightly to the hope that, there on my knees, the Giver of all good things will continue to hear, and even to answer, my cry.

**** One of my oldest and most dear friends in the entire world, her husband and her son have been in the country for the last couple of weeks, and although most of the time has been spent traveling, the time that they have spent with us has been precious to me.  What a gift for me, that time spent together.  And, to giggle as well as we did when we were in college. (ok, and that they are leaving us all of their delicious American snack food!)

***** My kids received good report cards today, my husband made delicious pizza for dinner, and tomorrow is Saturday! And for all that, and more, tonight I am thankful.

(photo credit: traditional Japanese Kokeshi doll by FurugiStar on etsy)

05 March 2011

saturday away

to the Pacific coast for the weekend, with old friends.

moving slowly.
fresh coffee.
birds chirping.
juice from fresh pineapple on my shirt.

(deep breath of refreshment)

03 March 2011

Tuesday dusk

How strange this fear of death is! We are never frightened at a sunset.
George MacDonald

02 March 2011

February 2011 Photo Hunt- Complete!

Finished up the February 2011 photo challenge.  I probably didn't take as many photos as I have in the past, and for a while, I thought I'd have to throw in one from the archives, but it all came together. I do really enjoy the inspiration the categories provide, and I look forward to doing the Challenge again in the future!

Here's a question for you photographers- how do you take candid photographs of people, especially people that you don't know.  Do you ask for permission? Do you take the photo and then ask permission? Or do you take the photo and never ask permission?  Do you know, how do professional photo journalists do that?  I am really self-conscious about taking those kind of photos, but they tell such amazing stories...  I guess if I had a great zoom, it wouldn't be an issue, but since I don't, yet...

To view all the photos in a slide show format, go to the Picasa web album. And to view other February 2011 Photo Challenge Entries, visit Photo Hunt Challenges.

Best from 2.19 or 2.20

This was taken during a prayer during our Sunday worship on 2.20. 
Black History Month (or Culture/Ethnicity)

A display of original art at an Artesans Market in San Jose.
Canned Food Month

There is more canned tuna in grocery stores here than I can really fathom...

A mom and son just across the Panama/Costa Rica border.

Homemade Valentines from my kids

Fern at the botanical gardens

A pay phone keypad.
Something Cozy

A girl in a hammock off the beach.
Something Furry

A display of bears at a local store

Something Red

Licensed taxis in San Jose are red, not the yellow we North Americans expect.

Something White

A rental bike at Bocas del Toro.
The View from Above

A lily pond at the botanical gardens