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30 September 2015


But slow me down, Father. Slow me down in the coming days to savor nature’s declaration of your glory. I’ve been way too busy of late, and I don’t want to look up only to see all of the leaves on the ground. Help me to live at the pace of grace. Tune my ears and open my eyes, to experience what you want to show me about yourself through the things you have made.
The pouring forth of creation-speak is endless, wondrous, and sumptuous—a visual, auditory, aromatic smorgasbord of delights. How can anyone with any degree of sensual awareness ponder creation and not worship you, the Creator of all things?
We gathered in the street, and then on the side of the road, and finally in the driveway, searching for that perfect spot; gazing, gaping, watching in wonder the show in motion above us, high in the heavens. My camera failed me, or maybe more correctly, I failed my camera- nothing from the lens could begin to adequately capture the work of His hands in motion in the darkness overhead. I surrendered, tucked my usually trusty Nikon away, and again was reminded, "Be still and know that I am God."


... and the company to share them with, even sweeter.


The calendar says "first day of fall," but the outside temperature demands, "lick and turn, lick and turn."


“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it."

― Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

28 September 2015


To watch the spinning took us back in time, and yet, the company practices are radically different.  Sabahar provides sustainable income and offers higher wages and excellent working conditions for their employees. Their workers receive benefits and training. And they are creating beautiful contemporary designs from the ancient Ethiopian weaving tradition. I was inspired and delighted.

27 September 2015


What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
    I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,
Always dreamed of a room in your house,
    where I could sing for joy to God-alive!

- Psalm 84:1-2 (MSG)

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
- Psalm 84:10 (ESV)

(and I could feel my patience for questions about paint color and carpet choices shrinking yet again...)


I grinned knowingly, quite sure of what to expect. I could have never expected that those wonderful meals around one of my most favorite Omaha tables would have prepared us for this moment.


Once the ball was rolling, the natural leaders took charge. We could hear the chatter of smaller groups with punctuations of laughter, and soon these dear beautiful women were learning to take ownership themselves.


Nothing can replace the intimacy of being in a person's home, and even more so when the home is smaller than an average American walk-in closet. She offers us coffee steaming from the traditional black pot; coffee sweetened with sugar, but brewed so strong that it leaves a pitch-black film at the bottom of the china cup. She passes around a basket of popcorn in a woven basket and we take a few kernels at a time. 

In Romans 12, Paul exhorts believers to "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." This dear woman's liberality humbles us to the core. 


I step out of the bus and immediately I think, "I want this orange-red dust to stay on my shoes forever." I once read that when we travel to a new place we look for what is the same. Nothing looks the same here, and yet neither is it shockingly different. Kids greet us in the road and want to introduce themselves in English. Women share shy smiles. Dogs run up and down the road. We tiptoe around mud puddles, knowing the sun that brightens the clear blue sky will soon dry them up. 

We walk down the alley and join our Ethiopian brothers and sisters in a circle of folding chairs. We listen and ponder the mystery of the Gospel and remember His riches in place known for being poor. Together we pray that we, "being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:17-19) We are not so far from home.

26 September 2015


Travel days morph together. A fog settles over our sleepy brains and it is hard to know when one day ends and the next one starts. But coffee in any culture is a balm, and it's impossible to be in Turkey without humming
Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul not Constantinople
Been a long time gone
Old Constantinople's still has Turkish delight
On a moonlight night.


And so begins a 8635 mile journey.
My prayer is that we have eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to soak in all that the Lord has to teach us in the week ahead.

24 September 2015


De las sierras morenas, Cielito Lindo, vienen bajando.
Un par de ojitos negros, Cielito lindo, de contrabando.

Ay, ay, ay, ay canta y no llores,
Porque cantando se alegran, Cielito Lindo, los corazones.

Una flecha en el aire, Cielito Lindo, tiró Cupido.
Él la tiró jugando, Cielito Lindo y a mí me ha herido.

De tu casa a la mía, Cielito Lindo, solo hay un paso
Ahora que estamos solos, Cielito lindo, dame un abrazo.

Ay, ay, ay, ay canta y no llores,
Porque cantando se alegran, Cielito Lindo, los corazones.
- "Cielito Lindo," popular Mexican song

Posole and friends and neighbors and song to celebrate Mexican Independence Day with our brothers and sisters from a bit south.

14 September 2015


Plan B.


Because of you, terror is terrified. Indeed, because of you, one day there will be no terror or tears. There will be no more brokenness or barrenness, no more heartaches or even heartburn, no more human trafficking or even human tooth decay, no more war or even aggravation, no more evil or even envy, no more poverty or even pouting, and no more “not yet,” “not enough,” or “not now.”
     Our labors in you, King Jesus, are not in vain. Because of you we can, and must, live as peacemakers, sowing the peace of the gospel of the kingdom, with the absolute assurance that a harvest of righteousness is being raised and will be reaped.
     We praise and adore you, for your name is Redeemer, Reconciler, and Restorer. We cry out loud, “Maranatha!” Come, Lord Jesus, come! Give us all the mercy, grace, and peace we need for this day, as we labor and wait for that Day. So very Amen we pray, with kingdom joy and great hope.
- "A Prayer About Peace," Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith

13 September 2015


Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

- "Great is Thy Faithfulness," Thomas Obediah Chisholm, 1923

09 September 2015


to do list progress
unexpected starts and stops
surprise texts are best

(view of the desk today)

07 September 2015


I looked it up- we started the Labor Day Croquet Tournament in 2007. This year was typical- plenty of sending, plenty of frustrated players (ummm... we won't mention the names associated with flying mallets), plenty of laughs (as in when faced with the necessity for cat-like reflexes with an on-coming ball...), plenty of competition (what?! Abandon the win for revenge, or perhaps, avenge?)!

This year's winner- the yellow, come-from-behind victor... ME!

Honestly, random traditions are the best traditions.




It had been much too long since I could visit, much too long. She thanks me for coming, but I am quite sure that I am the one who receives the blessing.


What blessing, to hear (and to see) what an impact on so many lives that following a call can have.
Happy 9th anniversary, Isaiah 55 Ministries, and may we celebrate many, many more!

03 September 2015


It's all ukulele and "Over the Rainbow" with IZ until the unrelenting south Texas heat melts the glue on the hula skirt...


almost ready...

02 September 2015


Bound No'th Blues
Goin' down de road, Lord,
Goin' down de road.
Down de road, Lord,
Way, way down de road.
Got to find somebody
To help me carry this load.
Road's in front o' me,
Nothin' to do but walk.
Road's in front o' me,
Walk... and walk... and walk.
I'd like to meet a good friend
To come along an' talk.
Road, road, road, O!
Road, road... road... road, road!
Road, road, road, O!
On de No'thern road.
These Mississippi towns ain't
Fit for a hoppin' toad.
- Langston Hughes

(artwork from Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series, #40 The Immigrants Arrived in Great Number, One Way Ticket at MOMA)

So much of this artwork reminded me of where I live...


"No day shall erase you from the memory of time."
- Virgil, Book IX of The Aeneid

"This quotation from Book IX of The Aeneid by the Roman poet Virgil suggest the transformative potential of remembrance. The same idea is expressed in each of the letters which have been forged from pieces of recovered World Trade Center steel by New Mexico artist Tom Joyce (American, b. 1956)

Originally trained as a blacksmith, Joyce was invited to harness the transformative process that occurs when iron is touched by fire. He took wounded, remnant steel- made of iron and carbon- and forged it, by heating and folding, into letters of hope and beauty. The result reminds us that Virgil's words are not just a statement, they are a promise."

(at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, New York City, NY)


So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
- 1Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)


“Skyscraper National Park” 
― Kurt Vonnegut