nothing like the written/spoken word

Here is a poem I wrote today:
sitting here with a cup of tea
atop of a tired afternoon
distraught with all the crazy
that will pass before the moon

today was, of course, supposed to be
set apart and beauty-filled
but i think the way i spent it
more hell than heaven thrilled

i'm glad i can be honest
and share what's on my heart
i'm glad you can know sometimes
my mornings have rough starts

even though I may surprise you
with my messes and mistakes,
i hope you will be patient, still
and with questions never hesitate

i think i am starting to see
that blooming girl inside
i think i might have glimpsed
all those things you try to hide

i'm okay with taking it slow
and with learning bit by bit,
but I don't just throw my love around
so can you please take care of it?

And here is a video ...

http://www.youtube.com/v/IFURxgaLxEE&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b

I love it. We're doing 24/7 prayer this week and THIS is what it's all about - using Scripture to bring God the glory for who He is!

Tonight I'm Recommending

For the past two nights, my beloved green tea has betrayed me (in the form of crazy, wakeful eyes deep into the night), so tonight I am just going to leave you with some links and non-links to check out.

This is the recipe (from allrecipes.com, my newest online obsession because it stores and categorizes everything for you!) that I used tonight to make cookies for tomorrow. The title enticed me right away - Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie and I've gotta say, I wasn't disappointed!

I've been tickling my ears with some different sounds these days. I won't get into any philosophizing about it, but I'm a huge new fan of briterevolution - I mean what could be better than supporting a cause AND good music at the same time? Anyway, through the site, I found out about Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, who I would highly, highly suggest if you are searching for chill harmonies and simple melodies.

I'd like to recommend my mom. Yep, she is pretty wonderful (see previous post). She also has a blog where she is writing about her two African sons, staying with my parents for a year on an exchange program. The stories are funny, but I think I mostly love it because I know my mom is behind the keys!

Fold laundry. Yes, I guess you could say this is a non-link. It's something that relaxes me and slows me down. Sometimes, as I am folding I wonder how creative one can be or how precise or what kind of fold minimizes wrinkles. All of these thoughts are good and welcome because they mean I am not thinking other thoughts and I think that is healthy.

Send/receive packages (another non-link). Today, I got a package from my amazing mother. Inside were things I love: almonds, kashi granola bars, orange spice tea, Real Simple magazines, a few letters and announcements, and WORLD magazines. I am not ashamed to say I read the Real Simple family edition cover to cover... and enjoyed every page!

I've been pondering what community and the church and the Body of believers is kind of morphing into (by way of social networking online) and I think this article in Christianity Today is interesting.

And lastly, as I am in the midst of praying for many people who are hurting, struggling, journeying, and trying to figure out where God is... this passage from Lamentations is a beautiful reminder:

Lamentations 3

1 a]">[a] I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of his wrath.

2 He has driven me away and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;

3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.

4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
and has broken my bones.

5 He has besieged me and surrounded me
with bitterness and hardship.

6 He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape;
he has weighed me down with chains.

8 Even when I call out or cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer.

9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone;
he has made my paths crooked.

10 Like a bear lying in wait,
like a lion in hiding,

11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me
and left me without help.

12 He drew his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He pierced my heart
with arrows from his quiver.

14 I became the laughingstock of all my people;
they mock me in song all day long.

15 He has filled me with bitter herbs
and sated me with gall.

16 He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.

17 I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.

18 So I say, "My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the LORD."

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

links for Tuesday

Hello there are HAPPY Tuesday! Here are just a few things I want to recommend. Check them out and let me know what you think :)

Day of Light Movie
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1938546&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1

Day of Light from Love Light & Melody on Vimeo.

Is this inspiration for projects here at the trash dump? I think maybe yes. :) I definitely think our students are capable ... now it is a matter of possible.

Brite Revolution
This is a website where independent artists post two songs a month and for a subscription ($5/month) you can download everything. You are supporting the artist AND you are supporting a cause, because each artist picks a cause and some of the proceeds every month go to that organization. Pretty cool way to get legal, awesome music, right? Right! Check it out!

Dave Ramsey - Peace University
I know I already gave Ramsey props yesterday, but I really do think that this is such a beautiful way to make your wallet reflect your heart. Just take a look and see what you think.

I'm making this short because lately I've been LONG-winded! :)

stewardship

When I say steward, my mind inevitably jumps to church and elders and offering plates. I'm not sure why, though, because stewardship is a thread woven through each day and almost all decisions.

To be honest, money kind of scares me. It nearly always has. I grew up in a beautiful family and we survived on SO little for most of my childhood, so why am I so nervous now about my finances?

Maybe it's because I went through college working two jobs to make the next payment or maybe because I'm constantly bombarded with messages that I don't have enough. Or maybe it is because I am just nervous that I won't do what is best with what I have and then later regret it.

For whatever reason, I fear debt like the black plague and my private-school-tuition-condition is not easily cured by a simple vaccine. What is more is the addition of living and working at a Christian school in Honduras, partially supported by people in the States who believe in the the work the Lord can accomplish through me. They are taming the lion of loan payments, supporting outreach ministries, and blessing me in so many ways. Though I labor joyfully to write updates regularly (see my newsletters), I still want to show people exactly how their money (or God's money, rather:) is being used to further the kingdom.

How can I live and work here, accepting generous gifts and tithes AND also be at peace with my spending habits? I needed accountability!

Enter Dave Ramsey.

Though I never took the class, I had seen several videos, listened to his radio show, and heard many friends rave about the transformational nature of his philosophy of money. I know my situation is different. I am not the person who will call into his radio show, distraught at making $600 rent payments for an apartment, $400 payments for my brand new car, and paying minimum on at least 4 credit cards, not to mention the horrendous burden of college debt.

This is not me (if this is you, don't freak out, just go to Dave Ramsey's website!), but these concerns I do have: college debt and financial accountability for funds raised. After much thought this summer, quickly reviewing some of Ramsey's materials, and talking with several people who had been through the class, I realized that discipline was the one ingredient that would help put my mind and heart at ease this year.

Last year, when I arrived, I tried to enter every single receipt into an excel document, which of course, was a great idea until I could no longer fit my purchases into the categories I made and the receipts started to get so burdensome.

So, now I am working on a new system. I planned out what I thought my budget could look like for each month (with the helpful planning materials) and commandeered some very nice looking, large manila envelopes which I made into my organization system in my closet.

Though it may not be wise to keep large amounts of money lying around my house, I am thinking of adapting Ramsey's suggestion of all cash and putting "play money" in the envelopes. Most of my transactions can be done with a debit card here (and this is much safer). But, if I take the fake money along, I know that there is a limit to my spending. I also know where the money is coming from and can track it by category.

This first month has been hard, I'll admit. I'm trying to figure out just how much of what I am spending is one-time costs and what will be recurring. I moved into a new apartment, so there are many things (like a mirror or mosquito spray or a mop) that will not be monthly purchases. I guess I'm just trying to get an idea of what is necessary in each category. So far, I've been filing each receipt in its proper envelope. At the end of this month, I will go through and see how much I spent in each category.

I'm not sure how this will work, but I do know one thing: it feels much better to have my finances out in the light instead of haphazardly stored in the creative filing system of my brain. I truly, truly want to live as a wise steward of the resources I have been given.

When the students ask me how I got my car I usually say something like this, "Well, it's actually not mine. It's the Lord's car. A lot of people were very generous to make it possible for me to pick you up tonight. This is the Lord's car that He is letting me use for ministry."

I love saying that because it reminds me that every single thing I possess is really just on loan. I want to be faithful with the littlest of bits because I know nothing material can echo in eternity.

what's wrong with lemons?


I am sitting here (listening to the clacking heels of my neighbor just arriving and the various yelping dogs) and sipping on some wonderful "I Love Lemon" Bigelow tea. And I wonder, how did lemons ever get a bad rap? What did they do to deserve being smeared across ugly stories of car sales gone wrong? Well, I am here to pay some narrative (and philosophical) restitution. I love lemons! And I propose that the situations we written off as sour may actually be sweet in disguise.

Case in point:
Though I tend to lean toward optimism, the back of my mind keeps pounding on the front door saying, "Why did you leave that safe mountain?" My closest friends from last year still live there, along with all the amazing new staff. Ministry events happen there. Cleaner air is there. Carpooling happens and hikes happen and impromptu worship sessions happen and all sorts of good things happen up there.

I re-read my blog from yesterday and God is so faithful to point out where we are blessed! But, tonight, whatever was left in a "lemon story" of my move down the mountain is gone and all that remains is the sweet tasting "I Love Lemon" tea my grandma so thoughtfully sent with me when I left the states.

I just got back from a beautiful prayer meeting at church. I'm going to a different church now, in El Centro (the center of the city) and its close enough that I can walk or use public transportation (in daylight, of course). I have several co-workers who attend the church, but for some reason never tried it out. I have this strange fear of looking flimsy when it comes to commitments, so when I start something out I try to stick to it (which meant a whole year of commitment to Impacto last year).

I went last Sunday for the first time and it felt so good to worship in Spanish again! I also saw several boys from the Micah Project (the street kid ministry I keep talking about) and I finally started to see my worlds merging... local church with outreach and outreach with work. It's crazy how the mind tries to keep those separate. Anyway, I loved the service and I felt the pastor really spoke Truth from the Word.

A chaplain from another school also goes to that church and I recognized him at the service. He invited me to the Micah Project service that same night and I'm so glad I went. He knew I was still trying to decide about churches, but he sent me a message letting me know about the prayer meeting tonight. After a crazy day at work, I needed a good walk and mid-week reminder of the Lord's purpose, so I went. What a blessed night it was!

Standing there, singing "De Los Montes" and truly believing the words, I was swept up by a new sense of 'locality' that I never felt last year. I went to the service by myself and afterwards met many beautiful people afterwards. I am always amazed at how gracious people can be with a stuttering second language speaker! I met Johanna, who sings in the band, and she is studying psychology at the university and wants to get together to "hang out." And, I found out Santa Maria and her family live close to me (they gave me a ride home!) and they invited me over for baleadas!

With all of this confirmation, it is so very clear God desires the city to be a place where I love lemons. I think we sometimes look at situations that surprise or disappoint us and say, "Well, I guess you'll have to make do." or "Maybe this season is just mean to be a bit sour."

I think different.

Situations that surprise or even disappoint are often about to be the most wonderful we've ever experienced.

... I got all that out of one cup of "I Love Lemon" tea.
Wow. Thanks, grandma!

a little light creativity and some deeper thinking

Here's a new website my friend Macayla suggested, that I now love:
www.curbly.com

Here's something I stumbled upon (by way of twitter of all places!):
www.redmetyellow.com

I was browsing Justin Taylor's blog and came across this book. The author spoke at one of the Next Conferences and it definitely looks like something I want to pick up while I'm in the States:
between two worlds

So, there's a few things for your Monday.

fresh reminders

This is the daily devotion that ended up in my mailbox this morning. I just thought, "God, you are so good."
May 21, 2009
Is He Enough?

ODB RADIO: Listen Now | DOWNLOAD: Download
READ: Acts 3:1-10

Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. —Acts 3:6

Is Jesus enough? That’s a question many Christians need to ask themselves. They have abundant material possessions. But do these believers depend on Jesus? Or on their stuff?

While having wealth is not condemned in Scripture as long as priorities are in order and the needs of others are addressed, those of us with relative wealth must remind ourselves that Jesus—not riches—sustains us.

The apostle Peter helps us with this in the story of the lame man begging at the temple gate in Jerusalem. This man asked Peter for money, but Peter replied, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).

The man lying at the gate thought the answer to his problems that day was money, but Peter showed him that the answer was Jesus. And He still is.

I read about a group of Chinese Christians who have much to teach us as they seek to spread the gospel in their homeland and beyond. The se believers say, “We can’t afford any big programs or fancy gospel presentations. All we have to give people is Jesus.”

Jesus is enough for our brothers and sisters in China. He is enough for the poor. Is He enough for you? —Dave Branon

You may have much gold and grandeur,
Yet by God be reckoned poor;
He alone has riches truly
Who has Christ, though nothing more. —Anon.

Our greatest riches are the riches we have in Christ.

------------

And this is a beautiful excerpt from "Letters to Malcolm" by C.S. Lewis. I don't know how people can read things he writes and not think. It might be impossible.

"One must be careful not to put this in a way which would blur the distinction between the creation of a man and the Incarnation of God. Could one, as a mere model, put it thus? In creation God makes - invents - a person and "utters"-- God the Son takes the body and human soul of Jesus, and, through that, the whole environment of Nature, all the creaturely predicament, into His own being. So that "He came down from Heaven" can almost be transposed into "Heaven drew earth up into it," and locality, limitation, sleep, sweat, footsore weariness, frustration, pain, doubt, and death are, from before all worlds, known by God from within. The pure light walks the earth; the darkness, received into the heart of Deity, is there swallowed up. Where, except in uncreated light, can the darkness be drowned?"

Wow. I had to read and re-read, but what really captivated me was thinking about Christ drawing earth up into Him... everything that is earth and the created being drawn up into the Creator. Wow.

shameless plug

I don't have a lot of energy, but I'll give a few recommendations:

Zach Vinson is going to get married to one of my friends... which makes him pretty awesome already. Add that he's is taking the midwest by (a very little) storm, as he wrote in a recent update, with his vocal and instrumental talent and he's reached a whole new level. I don't mind shameless plugging, so give this little video and look and see what you think. Clever is what I say.
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4295452&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

So Much to Blame (Zach Vinson) from Zach Vinson on Vimeo.

Chelsey Scott
I don't know much about this girl, just that we have some similar tastes in music (as I unashamedly have "stalked" her on myspace:). She has succeeded in bringing a little spark of inspiration back into my life and I would love to spread it around. You can click on this link to go to her myspace OR you can download her songs for FREE on noisetrade if you just send an email to 5 friends. I promise it's harmless and you won't regret it!

Enjoy ... and throw a smile at the stars for good measure. Sometimes smiling without any apparent cause will remind you that you indeed have one.

weaselly wormwood

In my journaling the other day, I wrote, "... a very persistent Wormwood character has done a great job of distracting me from the purposeful prayer I desperately need." Maybe I dive too deeply into the spiritual warfare Frank Peretti so delicately describes in his novels... but I have definitely been feeling the familiar distractions that tear me away from what is most important.

I like to be busy... a stream of appointments, sleepovers, and coffee dates where I can listen and advise and laugh and grieve with people I care about. I also like solitude... long, unbroken and unscheduled hours where the only thing able to find me is a good book.

Both these things sound very good. Yet, little weaselly Wormwood gets into even the good things and takes away from the motive and heart behind them. I can shut myself up in my room and read all day, but feel horribly unproductive and selfish at the end. I can also run a mile/minute meeting with students and friends, doing crazy outreach and feel absolutely depleted.

Sometimes I feel stranded out in the middle of no-man's-land while the 'real' saints go off to battle in prayer... those are the people who aren't distracted by Wormwoods.

Thankfully, C.S. Lewis has been such an encouragement through his little book of letters to his friend Malcolm (which, of course, he never intended to be published. He actually said he would be embarrassed if his reflections on the matter were published!).

I guess I'm just reminded of my human-ness ... and I end up in the same place, needing to rely completely and totally on the Lord. I'm trusting His hand will guide, whether I am feeling distant or attacked or close or encouraged.

80s night and other blessings

Just when you think life is crazy... you know, taking a road trip to El Salvador, trying to work via laptop, attempting to surf, returning to work after a 7 hour bus trip where the border patrol wore masks because of the swine flu scare, dressing up in 80s clothes to laugh a LOT with students I've missed, and tonight meeting up with Alexandra for lunch (and random reality video taping) and then more students for a Bible study...

I may not be on top of all the filing and the to-do list might never end, but I can safely say I don't mind. This is pretty great.

Here are some pictures of recent happenings.


Primmer: roommate, friend, teacher, and wonderful YESman for me. This night it was YES to meeting up with students for sushi. I'm going to miss her next year!


This is the hostel we stayed at in El Salvador at Playa El Tunco. It was a whopping $7/night and was run by this totally chill pro-surfer who went by "minnie mouse."


80s night! These are some of our girls - we have Honduras, Germany, and Canada all represented... we're so multi-cultural in our 80s spirit - apparently 80s fashion is worldwide:)


So, afterward we had a sleepover at our apartment and some of the girls wanted to play Truth/Dare (typical high school and I loved it!). So, we dared Kaelynne to dress up in our clothes... and when she came out in all my clothes they told her to act like me. ... So she promptly fell on the floor! What a reputation I have!

I started losing it early and the pictures that were taken after 11:30 pm I take no responsibility for - that's when normal, wise people are in bed!

P.S. Some good books I have been reading/finishing: Letters to Malcom by C.S. Lewis, Two from Galilee (randomly pulled it off our bookshelf a week ago), and The Visitation by Peretti. I recommend them all.

Have a beautiful weekend!

questing

Lately, I've taken to calling a "quiz" or "test" in my class a QUEST. The students first used the term because they were completely unwilling to accept a quiz that was more than two pages. They adopted the nickname Quest as a compromise and I picked it up. Now, I assign "QUESTS" all the time... sometimes they are take-home, sometimes projects, sometimes long quizzes.

Anyway, recently I found this Quest - a new program for Compassion. If any of you have kids, and if those kids are helplessly drawn to the computer, then this is a great place for them to hang out.

QUEST FOR COMPASSION

Go ahead and explore... it's the kind of education that I would love for my kids to dive into. It's not about feeding a virtual dog (it's true - kids do it and love it!). It's not about obsessing over celebrities and Hollywood (what's the website - Perez Hilton or something like that?). It's not about gossiping with friends over the latest who did what on facebook (Mark Zuckerberg probably had no idea what monster would come from his creation).

It's about using technology in a way that connects kids to the world ... and the hurt that is there. The opportunities are endless.

And, as long as I'm recommending things, I strongly recommend taking a quest to El Salvador. I am currently sweating buckets, typing this up in a brightly colored cafe with a very sincere cup of salvadorean coffee at my side.

I'll catch up on some of the musings I've had on this excursion soon.

thoughts on a tuesday

These past two days have been beautiful. For some reason, my alarm is not working, but the Lord has been waking me up around 4 am to just watch as He awakens the world. What a gift.

I am thankful... so very thankful for hazy light that meets me on the mountain with morning. I drink in the dew of His mercies that are new each and every day. What great love!

With my girls in Bible study tonight, we talked about the power of the Holy Spirit. Even as I spoke it, I felt crumbled in front of such a holy, powerful throne. This Almight, Infinite Creator of Heaven and Earth who conquered death has offered to make the same power alive in my life to draw others to the Kingdom and proclaim glory to His name. What a magnificent offering!

I'm overwhelmed.

Sometimes I feel foolish for not believing that this same Lord with endless power can conquer the piddly things I fear. God IS INDEED great and can accomplish far beyond what we can even fathom. I am praying that he helps my unbelief.

Along the journey, God is gracious to give new inspiration. Music is one of those beautiful things to me. Here is an artist to whom I thank for a week of inspiration and encouragement. I'm not sure how you say his last name, but Aaron Roche has for sure earned a place on my "favorites" list.

Here's his myspace page: Aaron Roche

I might specifically suggest the "Psalm for Jon and Erin" ... if you wait til the end there is a gorgeous woman's voice reading scripture from Psalms. It gets me every time - putting me at the feet of a tender, gray-haired woman with authority in her voice. Enjoy!

one in a string of hard days

This is one in a string of hard days. I am pressing in... hard and deep into the Lord because I know nothing else to do. It is not my pain that troubles me, but the pain of those around me that is drawing me to lean on the All Sufficient One. Some of you already know about the student here who just lost her dad suddenly to a heart attack.

As I have petitioned for peace for the family and specifically for my student, I am intensely aware of this raw battle of which we are a part. Every moment I spent with the girls at the visitation, every hug and tear, every single prayer that ended with, "Lord, pray for me," and every question that pricked my heart - in all these things, I return to His promises.

Two songs have been blessing me as reminders of the beautiful way the Lord is near. Nichole Nordeman's song, "You are Good" assures that God does not change. He is just as worthy of my praise this moment as the next. At times we can confuse "mourn with those who mourn" with mourning for our own feelings. We see pain in someone we love and begin to focus on how we are affected. Right now I am moved by empathy, to just love on my student who is hurting... to listen... and to proclaim who God is.

You are Good
Nichole Nordeman

When the sun starts to rise
And I open my eyes
You are good, so good
In the heat of the day
With each stone that I lay
You are good, so good

With ever breath I take in
I'll tell you I'm grateful again
When the moon climbs high
Before each kiss goodnight
You are good

When the road starts to turn
Around each bend I've learned
You are good so good
And when somebody's hand
Holds me up helps me stand
You are so good

With every breath I take in
I'll tell You I'm grateful again
'Cause its more than enough
Just to know I am loved
And You are good

So how can I thank You
What can I bring
What can these poor hands
Lay at the feet of a King
I'll sing You a love song
It's all that I have
To tell You I'm grateful
For holding my life in Your Hands

When it's dark and it's cold
And I can't feel my soul
You are so good
When the world is gone gray
And the rain's here to stay
You are still good

So with every breath I take in
I'll tell You I am grateful again
And the storm my swell
Even then it's well and You are good

The other song that touches maybe deeper is this by Lori Chaffer. Honestly, it's a hard one to listen to because it is real and raw. You may not understand it unless you have gone through an intense hurt. I just listen and think of the reality that sin has consequences... that there is death and war and famine and brokenness. Though we must deal with reality, we know also that God does not let death win - that Jesus conquered the grave and has conquered death in our lives.

You Will Always Hurt

by Lori Chaffer

First there was the dawn
And I couldn’t sing a song to you
Then there came the rain
But I couldn’t seem to blame you

Sometimes it rains
Sometimes it snows on you
Sometimes it sleets
Sometimes it defeats you

It’s quiet on dark nights
And you must give up the fight before long
Trust is not a game
That naive stupid people play in youth

Sometimes it rains
Sometimes it floods you
Sometimes you bleed
Sometimes you just need to make it through
Make it through

You will always hurt
You will always sting
You’re my badlands
My grand canyon
My empty stream
You’re my reservation
My second place consolation
My devastation
A thorn
A pang
A deep dark heartache
My greatest fear
A lonely tear
Hopelessness
An empty caress
An earthquake
A broken plate
Lost innocence
A cheap defense
My delusion
My confusion
A cancer
A wrong answer
A lost game
Fickle as fame
A bad critique
A glass that leaks
A fallen leaf
Talk too shallow
Ground that’s fallow
Fatal attraction
Nuclear reaction
False resurrection
Thrown election
You’re my silence
My violence
You’re a sad song
You’re a long, you’re a long, you’re a long way from home
You’re a long, long, long, long way from home
You
You will always hurt
You will always sting
‘Cause you won’t let go of everything
Until you’re quiet one dark night
And you give up the fight you’ve fought so long
And find that trust is not a game
That naive stupid people play in youth
And you let it rain
You let it flood
You let it drive out all the pain of love

These are just my thoughts as I sit here waiting for parents to come in to conferences, wishing I had gotten approval to skip out and go to the funeral services today. This is just what I am thinking.

Call for Prayer

Hello, folks.

I am going to be late for care group, but I wanted to ask for prayer in a few very precious areas.

  • Please pray for my roommate, who is stepping out with HUGE faith to speak about some hard things in her life.
  • Please pray for our students. There have been frequent (more than usual) kidnappings and everyone here at the school is really frightened for our students' safety. Today the Ministry of Education issued a mandate that no students were to be given group projects, because it would mean they would have to work outside of school, traveling to different houses.
  • Please pray for the women's shelter. Some of you know that we have been working with the women's shelter nearby and the government just decided it would be closed. The location is government-owned and the girls are just left with no options. Please pray that God would provide ways for these girls to continue safely and with opportunities to hear and pursue Him.

My heart is heavy right now, but I know the Lord is faithful. He's always been faithful.

Oh, Arthur Conan Doyle

I can't say that Sherlock Holmes has ever held any sort of intrigue for me, in any literary sense. Those random lines people always utter from his books are long-since cliché, although his typical wardrobe and disposition are endearing.

When my roommate came home from Parent/Teacher conferences with a grocery bag full of paperbacks, I dug right in and Arthur Conan Doyle is what I found. Apparently, this parent buys books to read as she travels and she wanted to pass them along. I thought, "Why not give ole Sherlock a try?"

The stories are short and interesting... usually a good thing to fall asleep to (because if I'm deep in a page-turner I don't go to sleep at all!). It's been fun. I thoroughly recommend it.

As I leisurely (ill-advised with a severely long list of 'to-dos,' but therapeutic all the same!), finished the Sherlock Holmes adventures this afternoon, I was jamming to Sarah Siskind, Fionn Regan, Kyle Andrews, Waterdeep, and M. Ward.

Here's to another manic Monday! :)

Multiply Your Love

As I reflect on this past week, I'm reminded of a beautiful story my mom always used to share with me whenever I was frustrated at the idea of our large family. She said, "You know, somebody asked your grandmother one time how she had enough love for all of her eight children. She said something like, 'I don't divide my love, it only multiplies.'"

With each passing day, I see another outlet for the love God's placed inside me... so very many needs meet my heart with the morning. Yet, God has allowed us, in Him, to multiply our love. In His power and for His glory, His love will be multiplied across the earth. Sometimes we can think that His love has limits, that we can max it out and He'll move on to the next needy soul. But, the depths of God's love NO ONE can fathom. I think that is just spectacular.

Tonight I was working out here in the compound and this song started playing on my ipod.

MULTIPLY YOUR LOVE

Multiply Your love through us, to the lost and the least
Let us be Your healing hands, Your instruments of peace
May our single purpose be, to imitate Your life
Through our simple words and deeds, let love be multiplied

Multiply Your love through me, to someone in need
Help me Lord to freely give, this grace that I've received
Let my single purpose be, to imitate Your life
Through my simple words and deeds, let love be multiplied!

Let us see Your kingdom come
To the poor and broken ones
Let us see a mighty flood
Of justice, and mercy, O Jesus
Let love be multiplied

Multiply Your church through us, to the ends of the earth
Where there's only barrenness, let us see new birth
Use us as Your laborers, working side by side
Let us see your harvest come, let love be multiplied

Today and this week my prayer is that God would multiply His love in us and through us so that it flows out in life-giving ways! Praise God for His unending and unfathomable LOVE!

Wearied Inspiration

Well, folks. Let's just say I'm taking a new approach to the blog for awhile (seems like its the same approach to my life these days): stay above water. In so many areas of my life I feel like I am at a very dangerous tipping point, treading water and exhausted.

I am right now listening to Eric Schrotenboer (who I highly recommend!) and processing what the Lord is teaching me and how I'm going to get through tomorrow.

Have you ever been overwhelmed with how much you don't know?

But, at the same time, overwhelmed by all the lessons you've already learned that shouldn't be plaguing your present like they did the past.

That's where I'm at. I don't know SO much. But, God's also shown me many, many things that I am painstakingly learning over and over again.

In all the learning and refining, one of my students has challenged me to write poems back and forth with her and its really got me digging deep to find expression.

Here's what I wrote today. I'm not sure if it's finished yet.

melodies played
over deep dreams made
inside a comfortable shell

imperfect and unseeing
flaws mask true being
and in distance dwell

easy is self-seeking
turns quick to misleading
and farther from my heart

why am I repeating
constantly competing
distractions without regard

willpower defeated
my own strength depleted
I am nothing but lost

then grace softly spoken
in quiet hours unbroken
to a frail soul at great cost

with Truth now leading
the pain leaves me heaving
embarrassed and ashamed

Be encouraged today, as you sort out what God is teaching you, how He is growing you, and (yes!) even in the lessons you feel like you are re-learning.