Tuesday, May 24, 2011


   The recent storms in Joplin, Missouri have left many of us grateful for those who are okay and amazed at the devastation.  But, in the days of 24/7 news channels, I think that we have developed a thicker skin.  I mean, it’s terrible and I would like to be able to go help, but then the TV is turned off.  I forget, go back to my own life. 
   Yesterday, I was listening to the news guy or the weather/news guy talk about what he was seeking.  Everything was pretty normal and then, they started interviewing a man looking for his neighbor.  I had probably already heard three people talk about looking for their neighbors.  But, this fellow looked at the camera and said he was looking for his neighbor, Larry.  Larry is in his 70s and was home when the tornado hit.  They can’t find him. 
   That hit me.  There was a name, an age, a man – a real person trapped in his house.  I don’t know if he is alive or dead, injured or safe.  I don’t know if he has children or grandchildren, if he is retired, likes or dislikes, etc…   I don’t know what he looks like, his favorite color, if he likes ice cream or dogs.  I don’t know what his thoughts were as the tornado hit his home and created devastation.  I don’t really know anything about him, except his name is Larry, he is in his 70s and he is missing.  I tell you what, that name, the age, it broke the barrier that I had of thick skinned listening before I even knew it was there.
   I hope Larry is okay.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011


   This is iris season, and it seems in many yards, there are a variety of blooms gracing carefully arranged gardens complimenting front porches, sidewalk shoulders, and simple gatherings of flower clumps.  The colors and their variety are really astounding.  Russet reds, sunny yellows, purple splashes, and pure white can be the sole color or a mix of patterns that draws the eye in.  Green stalk leaves shoot up surrounding the flowers, like spear bearing foot men protecting their ladies grace. 
   I love spring flowers.  Not just because it’s wonderful to drink in the color after a long white winter, but as a sign in and of themselves of renewal that is coming.  But, I think one of the favorite parts of the iris for me is the variety and diversity of them.  So many beautiful colors, sizes, and complexity of blooms can be combined in one flower bed.  They all complement each other, each one adding it own shade of color depth.  I have a great privilege of enjoying many diverse people around me.  From different parts of the country, different countries, the people are all so different, and yet so similar.  It is something I enjoy to be able to see the depth of diversity in that human garden. 
   I think the other thing that I love about irises, and many flowers in general, is that they are something that the humblest and richest of us can enjoy.  Shared by many green thumbed gardeners who discover that they have a commonality in the love of growing things, clumps, clippings, and seeds are shared over fences and around organizations.  I see a very humble home many times in a week, it is not the most beautiful home or most elaborate.  Instead, it looks as if it needs a great deal of care.  But, in a side yard carefully tended clump are a mixture of yellow irises.  It’s like a bit of sunshine that landed in their yard and decided that it liked the green so much it would stay. 
    I love flowers, but I don’t love to weed!  Oh it comes in fits and starts where I want to get stick my hands into garden gloves and feel the pull of the weeds and the smell of the warm dirt.  I do enjoy seeing the cleanly orderliness of the flower beds afterwards.  But, in my mind – I pull weeds once in the year and it should just be done!  Some of those weeds are just annoyingly persistent.  And that is one of the thins that I also applaud irises and other flowers for when they don’t need a lot of tending.  These are no fragile hot house flowers that will wilt if they do not receive 4.2 hours of sunlight and 14 tablespoons of filtered water in an eyedropper.  Okay, so I exaggerate (a bit), but these are hardy flowers.  The bulbs are placed in the earth and there they will come and grow and spread for years.   It is their resilience in a Midwest that often faces snow and ice storms over long winter months.  I want to be resilient as well, to be planted in good soil and then allowed to grow and bloom yearly. 
    Enjoy the blooms from the yard.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


   I have friends that have just had a new home built.  It has been so exciting watching this house take shape, all from a solid foundation.  It is a good reminder to me the importance of a foundation.  I can’t even pretend to know a lot about construction, but it just makes sense that what you start with at the lowest and earliest level will be what is built on later.  That lowest and earliest level must be strong to allow for the future growth to be strong as well.  Imagine building on Jell-O or feathers.  I could create walls of Jell-O (well maybe not me but someone), but as soon as the house is built on it, the foundation would split, smash, and fall. 
   People need foundations as well.  We need solidity and structure to build our lives on.  With graduation approaching, I think about the foundations that many students have been provided.  Some of the foundations are pudding at best, and the students are toddling out in a wobble to their new stage of life.  Others have had a solid foundation and as will continue to grow with strength.  I think of the foundation I have been provided in my own life and am quite thankful.  I had parents who invested their caring, time, energy, and wisdom.  There have been those who have lent their ear, shoulder, feet, laughter, and strength as well.  We must reach out and help build these foundations, investing in the generations to come.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Choir Loft

   Sunday mornings I can be found sitting up in the choir loft of our local church.  I enjoy our slightly rambunctious, at times off key, normally enthusiastic singing.  In two rows, we divide into our parts, soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.  I am an alto and I’m used to hearing my part and the tenors behind me.  But, I know that what I hear is completely different from what our audience hears.  When we sing, the music travels out and it blends differently that if you are right there in the mix.
  A little girl joined us last Sunday, one of the choir members was helping to look after her.  Standing on the pew with her blond hair in two braids and silver bows, I saw little childish hands pull out a hymnal and flip through the pages.  We were all holding our choir books, she was simply modeling what we were doing.  But, how precious it was to see her flipping through the book and I watched her and recognized the titles of the songs that she was staring blankly at.  Then, the singing started.  The jaw in that round face dropped. “It sounds different up here?”  Big eyes looked at me and her head nodded.  She stood there turning round and round, taking it all in.
   I had two thoughts standing there, with a big grin plastered on my face.  Who could help it, she was so cute!  One thought was I wonder if that will be me one day.  Standing there, every tongue confessing that Christ is Lord, worshipping with the family of God – how it will sound when I am in the midst of the crowd!  My other thought was how quickly this little girl was modeling our behavior.  What a reminder that even without any formal lessons, we need to be cognizant of our behaviors with these children around us. 
   I hope one day to see her singing with great praise. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

PT Lessons

   I have been participating in physical therapy for quite some time now, a couple of months at least (though it feels longer than that to think back on it).  Can’t say that I have problems with going, I like the people and they are really working on hard on strengthening my leg.  But, I will admit when I missed a few weeks, that I quickly slipped into missing my “homework” routine on home exercises.  I meant to do them, but it seemed like that the business slipped up on me and soon I was heading to bed and well, shucks another day without PT. 
   What has surprised me as I’ve jumped back on the bandwagon is how quickly the strength that was being built up has diminished.  I’m not talking years here, or even months… two weeks!  And equally surprising is that it is also being built back up quickly.  It’s not that it takes a long time to do the exercises; it’s just a matter of doing them, and then reaping the benefits. 
  I think Bible study is much the same.  If I stay exercising my heart, mind, and spirit in the Word, then those muscles grow and current strength becomes stronger.  I learn to rely on God’s strength in new ways and His strength is just phenomenal.  But, if I let the study lapse, take a break that turns into a vacation that turns into a hiatus and then a permanent change, then those “muscles” become weak from lack of use.  I need to be disciplined in my studies AND in my PT. 
   Oh well, one is done, the next is coming up here in just a few minutes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Refresh, Renew, Relax, Restore… I love that little prefix re.  It makes a big difference in little words.  And, being able to act on those words can make a big difference in my day.  I love winter snow, the crisp cleanness of the air, but the grey skies of spring make me so sleepy.  I think I have yawned for a month straight!  I need sunshine and light and brightness.  Add busy schedules, packed calendars, obligations, plans, goals, and to-dos, and grey skies!  Oh, just let me have some sun shine and a recharge of my internal batteries.  I’m like that you know, I run into walls at times and need recharged.
This last weekend, we had a wonderful visit with Al and Edie Lewis, missionaries with Reach Global and are also friends.  A visit with friends, friends who have a common passion for God’s family and a love for sharing and communicating that to others, with laughter and slobbery dogs and Oreos, that was just what was needed for recharging.  There is just something so wonderful about being with friends.  Even with busy schedules, it can recharge my batteries.  I’m not sure why, except that fellowship is a lovely thing.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring Porch Sitting

    My green plastic chair sits on the front porch and my feet are rested up on the porch post, causing the chair to tip back just a bit to the perfect angle.  With the sun shining, a book in my lap, and the quiet around, I find one of my favorite parts of spring.  It is in the quiet of human sounds, and the increase of the nature sounds around me.  Winter’s quiet gives way to the noise and riotous color of spring as if the very bubbling of life is something that cannot be held back. 
   I sit there, to take it in and read when I remember.  I breathe deep and smell the purple smells of lilac, the light fragrance of green leaves, and warming smell of soil.  A chickadee grand stands from the tip of a tall pine tree.  Chest puffed out, it rills it’s song and sings loud and sweet music.  The notes are intricate and the music seems so large from such a tiny bird. 
   Another page in my book is turned and then I watch the dogs splash about in their kiddy pool.  “Splash Sierra!”  becomes a common cry over the summer on the porch.  She will send water flying behind her, creating a mini tidal wave in a green plastic pool.  Her dark eyes are happy with this first splashing time of the year.  Personally, I think the water is still quite cold and will wait for the sun to warm it.  So, I skirt her splashes for now, and help her stay pointed towards me, and the water away.
   There is just so much to see I can hardly stand to read my book.  Nestling down into my chair, feet up, Diet Pepsi by my hand, and my book resting on my lap, I feel myself warmed by the sun.  I try to soak up the heat, the smell, the feel of spring.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Uncle Raul’s Song

I have fond memories of sitting in my Uncle Raul and Aunt Mac’s living room, listening to him play “Rank Stranger”.  Gentle strumming on the strings and the sweet music filled the room.  These songs, “Rank Stranger”, “How Tedious and Tasteless”, “Using my Bible as a Road Map,” and others were sung many times in my life.  Other songs have come from friends, “It is Well With my Soul,” “Jericho Road,” and “Heaven’s Jubilee.”  Songs like these are a wonderful resource to pull on when times are tough. 
“When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”  Songs, poems, stories, they are all so important to my family culture.  Traditions are passed down in word and verse for generations, building history and common understanding.  The memories of singing in the kitchen, the living room, the car, and everywhere between, they are sweet indeed.  

Monday, May 2, 2011


I heard the news last night about Osama Bin Laden dying as part of a military action.  All I could do was sit there.  I thought of the people who have died, both here and in other countries.  I thought of the gift of leadership that this man had, that was so twisted into hatred.  But, when it came down to it and hearing the news, all I could feel was pity.  I felt sorrow for the family of this man, family who will always have memories and who will always be impacted by his action.  I felt pity for the people who rely on such hatred to make change in the world.  It was a historic moment, one that will impact the world for years to come.