08 December 2011

It is highly unlikely that God can use a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.
A.W. Tozer

17 November 2011

what I want

I look at all advertising, all striving, all desire and basically it comes down to a few things, right? I mean what I really want is fulfillment. I watch people around me and I think that's what they're going after, too. 

Granted, we all have weird ways of going after this. This morning, I've already grouched, tried to control David, been distracted, scrambled to hide my laziness...yuck. But I think I'm doing all of those things because what I really want is goodness. I'm just looking for it wrong. I cannot--obviously--fulfill myself. Believing that I can is believing deception. 

When it comes right down to it we want goodness:
a revived soul,
steady wisdom for the simple,
a rejoicing heart,
enlightened eyes,
something eternally purposeful,
something entirely right,
something of high, high, highest value,
something sweet and delicious.
I held it in my own hands this morning! I held this book, the instruction, God's story and ways. And he promises that his word to us is all of these things:
reviving for the soul, steady wisdom,
joy for the heart, eyes that really see, purpose,
rightness, value, riches!
YES!!!! That is what I want!!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
     be acceptable in your sight,
     O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

from Psalm 19

12 November 2011

resurrection


Now when he arose early
on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to
Mary Magdalene
from whom he had cast out seven demons. (Mark 16:9)

Jesus, who
are you? What
kind
of a man, a God
that you—pure,
holylovethatisfire—
go first to the woman—unclean,
shamed, despised—
the woman healed.
The woman come early worshipping,
bringing beauty and spices (from where?)
soft,following and ministering to

you
appeared. 

25 October 2011

gnocchi with butternut squash, kale and sage

I really can't believe it, but this is my new favorite food in the cozy-but-not-soup category. And David really likes it, too! Dealing with the squash can be a bit tedious, but the actual making doesn’t take too long. In the future I'm planning to add bacon or sausage to the skillet. This time we had it with white beans on the side.

½ butternut squash—peeled, seeded, cubed
3 cloves garlic—sliced
a bunch of kale—stemmed, roughly chopped
1 t dried sage or 1 T fresh, chopped
¼ t red pepper flakes
olive oil/butter
kosher salt
1¼ c broth
17 oz package gnocchi
¾ c grated hard cheese

Preheat broiler. Concurrently, heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat and cover and cook squash until slightly soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, sage, red pepper and 1 t salt. Cook until garlic is softening.

Add broth to skillet. When it starts to simmer, add gnocchi, stirring to coat. Cover and cook until gnocchi are almost tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in kale and cook until it starts wilting, about 2 minutes. Uncover and stir in ¼ c cheese and 1 T butter. Sprinkle with ½ c cheese, transfer to broiler and cook until golden, about 3 minutes.

This is derived from a foodnetwork.com recipe.

22 October 2011

rich

We are-- We are RICH. Thanks for the reminder, Sarah!

I think about this often when I laugh with David. When I have a friend to call. When I drive somewhere in a clunked up car—that was a gift, that we own flat-out, that works well! When I know that I am loved by my husband, my Dad & Mom, the rest of our family, our church, dear friends. When I drag myself out of the house to go to work. When I remember the adventurous adventures of my life. When I think of the gorgeous and rotating gallery of the artwork of the heavens that we get to witness every single day. When I think on beauty and hope of eternal salvation. When I remember the sacrifice of Christ and the fact that he’s given me the ability to believe and know him. When I pull food out of the pantry and it’s different from what we ate yesterday and it’s pretty and it fills our bellies and makes us strong. When I got that scary infection and the doctor had me come in right away, gave me medicine that worked. When I thank God that we can know his word in our language. When I see how God listens to our prayers and has moved. When I turn on the faucet and drinkable water comes out (or even lots and lots of piping hot water)! When I get to give neighbors tomatoes that grew in our garden.

That we can laugh and enjoy and cry and pray and run hard and sleep at night and hug each other tightly and know God and experience forgiveness and peace. Every single day. This is how I know I’m rich.

And even if I lost the car, the warmth, our savings account, the full belly, the clean water, my husband and family, this good health, O Lord, may I remember you. And in that remembrance, may I be rich.

My God will supply all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:19

08 October 2011

a little log of memories: Starbucks and sweet friendships

Layers of memories flood me as I open the door, walk into coffee. David's in school and I get to sit in Starbucks for a few hours. No matter what anyone says, no matter how snobby I get about coffee or the corporate world--this place will always be a little treat.

Picking up Kindra and a short mocha when she got off at Pioneer Square. We were like 19. Yikes! 13 years ago?!

Iced drinks with the girls--Amanda, Amanda, Ligaya, Alison, Sheri--in the Portland summer.

Hanging and selling photos on Freemont.

Studying, reading, writing, laughing, talking. Summer, fall, winter, spring.

Catching up with Shannon off 99W, with Lisah Bennet in Oxnard. Ahhh...a deep breath with Nadia. And the same with Natalie. Even recently.

A job for Sarah in those early days and a Tai Chi latte.

A recess from Grandma's house when I stayed with her for a summer.

It's a reminder of a cappuccino in Ljubljana and the ease of focus in a familiar and crowded place where you can't understand a word. (I'm surrounded by Asians today.)

And yet it's also America to me. An American haven in Austria. Oh, how I love Starbucks. Makes me think of Becca and the Pitchers. And Christina, Johnny, Brooke, David & Katka and Julie. Trips to Czech, debriefing afterwards.

Pre-back-to-school road trip with Kristi's girls. And their visit to Salem :)

That fateful first IKEA trip day with the Jacksons.

David & Katka & Christina and a big cry and deep missing.

Pre-marital counseling with the Mormances.

A Sunday morning french press and restful conversation with my lover and best buddy.

I could keep going and going. There's a lot.

Oh! That six-ish hour talk...

05 October 2011

but you...

... beloved,
building yourselves up in your most holy faith
and praying in the Holy Spirit,
keep yourselves in the love of God,
waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
Jude 20, 21

01 October 2011

we know that--

--everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning 
          but he who was born of God protects him
          and the evil one does not touch him.
--we are from God
     and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
--the Son of God has come 
          and has given us understanding (so that we may know him who is true)
     and we are in him who is true (in his Son Jesus Christ).

He is the true God and eternal life.

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

(1 John 5:18-21)

That's all for now. Just some verses, some things I want to understand in the core of my soul. And a pretty picture.

23 September 2011

slow and marching letters

How is it that it's always new?
Is it always speaking?
Alive?
Am I so forgetful?
              unobservant?
              small & finite?
Is it new?
Am I new and so
I hear it different?
Does his tone change upon my next opening?
Did he grow the words while I slept?

This book, this book
the word
a word
Christ, the word
Messiah, Emmanuel
God with us, word with us,
among us, piercing us, dividing us,
healing us, washing us.
O, sword, Spirit's sword,
O, water
O, bread
           O, Christ.

Now I sit, I stop, I open, I pray, I train my eyes and ears to run back and forth across these thin & stoic pages. I force myself to sit & wait. For anything?
For nothing?
Hello?

Sit & wait impatient, unbelieving (but I've seen it before)
Drop the seed & cover with dirt:
And miracle of miracles, by the time I'm mad
just as I've forgotten & called them dead
a leaf unbends itself, 
pushing up the dirt.

And sword
And water
And bread
O seed of life.
Seed of Christ
in my tilled up heart
I wait
I wait on you.

From shriveled marching letters
in worn and distant heart
Life springs new
New and new

How is it that it's always new?

30 August 2011

if you see this today...

would you pray? Our neighbor is having surgery to remove cancer. They're also checking some spots on her liver, where the cancer may have spread. She's 21 with three tiny kids. We long for life and fullness and hope and healing for her body and her soul. Her name means Noble and we pray that she would be that.

29 August 2011



23 August 2011

my journal still smells like campfire...

Sun through trees, over trees, lighting morning
pulling steam and mirroring mountain
on the pane of the lake.
Trembled--and the mountain shudders,
shadows, shimmers.

Slowly squinted eyes, stillness & imagination re-
clarify and remind my mind.
Re-flection, re-fraction,
obscures the unobscured.


I thought about the mountain in the morning. The mountain on the water. Real or not real? I got annoyed at my philosophical-ness. And yet, I kept coming back to the thought.

Yes. The reflection is real.
Yes. It can be moved, it is not sturdy.


I'm thinking...is this the kind of authority Jesus has given us over mountains?

17 August 2011

love is a good thing!

We were at Kennan & Becca's wedding last weekend. It's such a joy to be at a wedding, celebrating with the families and remembering the blessing and the journey of this covenant called marriage.






Lately, we're living close with a few families that have grown and developed and lack the foundation of a covenant, and my heart breaks.Marriage can be so, so good. The everyday, richer/poorer, sicker/healthier, better/worsness of it. This commitment is probably the hardest, scariest, transformingest thing in the world and it's a good thing. This is one of our favorite love songs. Go Reckers!!

(Love is a Good Thing by Andrew Peterson)

15 August 2011

the Volcanos!



I hadn't really heard of the Salem baseball team before, but we sure did have a great time!

Debby (David's mom) was invited to sing the national anthem with her acapella group and we got free tickets to go with! (Thank you!!!) They did a great job, just notice how reverent the people in the background look. We all jumped when they actually made some bombs burst in the air...














Ha ha! The mascot is a crater!

I was super duper excited because this is my first real baseball game. David even bought me a $4.50 bag of cracker jacks to celebrate.















After the game--which lasted a riveting TEN innings there were fireworks! It was just perfect.

13 August 2011

spear fishing

When I thought of spear fishing, I envisioned something I think I'd read about in fourth grade.

Now, I have a different picture in my head. Our neighbor, Abi, has been bugging David to go fishing with him for about nine months. Originally, Abi would head down to the river and sit on the side, fishing pole dangling over the cliff, pretty normal-style, relaxing fishing. More recently, Abi's taken up spear fishing. By this he is talking about under water, foggy snorkel mask, slippery rocks, five-pronged spear, fish hunting. David's gone a few times and we've eaten a few really yummy (and free!) small mouth bass.
  
Yowzers! What a wild and crazy man I'm married to!

12 August 2011

transition

This is probably more for me than for anyone else, but Christina and I just jotted down some thoughts on transitions. Particularly going back to a place that you've been away from for an extended period of time. She's led a group of college interns this summer and they've just all left. Christina wrote the normal, I added the italics.

Adjusting Back...

People will have remained the same, you will be different. They won't know that you’re different. They might not ask you questions. You have to learn to be ok with people not being that interested in what you’ve learned or how you’ve changed.

Along with this, be bold in just volunteering information. You know what you want to tell them. You know what experiences you've had. There are a lot of people that would want to know, but just have no clue what to ask or where to even start. You'll probably feel this even from your family and closest friends.

You will have to adjust to a “new” normal.  Going back home, you won't be able to slide back into normal life. You’re different now. You will be in the process of creating a “new” normal.
This is hard work. And probably more important work than anything you did during the summer. Long lasting change and maturity is what it's all about. 
One of the keys in this for me, was integrating the things that I'd learned into my current context. There's not TWO of you. There's just one and you have new things that you are now responsible to bring back into your context.

Oh, and be okay with letting yourself feel the emotions--happy and sad and etc--of the transition. If you need to cry about something, do it really well! That's really the only way I know of to get it over with. 

Don't expect people will want to know or talk about it to the extent that you want to talk. 
Think about how you can talk about experiences in ways that other people can relate to. Reduce the times you say snobbily "back when I was on my missions trip…" and increase the times you say "last summer…" Internally, this does two things--first, everyone else had a last summer, too. And they'd probably love to talk about it as much as you want to talk about yours. Talk and listen. Second, it helps you to integrate your life. Not two different yous, but one you over the course of time.

But you do need to process. Find people in your world that are good enough friends that will listen to you and set aside times to talk. Keep in touch with other interns and process what its like back home, what you miss, what is frustrating, what brings you joy...

Also, write stuff down--journal, emails, blog, write lists, poems, doodles, funny things, conversations you want to remember. Or draw pictures, write songs, whatever are your ways of remembering stuff. It'll be helpful for next time you go through this same kind of thing. And helpful for remembering treasures and milestones that you don't want to forget.

Think through--realistically--a few people you'd like to stay in contact with and be proactive about it. Think through how to transition your relationship to be current. Talking about things that are currently happening and that you'd like to see happen in the future. If you only ever talk about the "glory days" your friendship won't develop beyond the memory of the past summer.

Remember that Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever. He is the same in every  city state place and context. He was with you during the summer and is still with you  now. Cry out to him, he will listen, and he will ultimately be the one that will understand. 
If you have personal experience returning or living with a returner, we'd love to hear your dos centavos :)





09 August 2011

uh, yes.... yes, yes, YES!

Three days ago I turned 32. I think the older I am, the richer I feel. Every year I like my life more. And it gets harder, too. We are facing trials of various kinds and I guess I just always wonder how to be. How to feel and rest and be in pain and in the unsolved. And how to rejoice at the same time.


I read this today in James and am mulling over it:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The testing of your faith... For me, these are the questions that come: Is God enough? Is he good? Does he love? Is he able? Can he save? Does he see? Does he care? Will he protect? Do I believe? Often, I hold the questions just below the surface. Just below acknowledgement. But I'm realizing that in the asking of them, in the answering of them, in the hoping and waiting, in the resounding yes!--there is faith.

And the testing, it produces steadfastness...
which we must let have its full effect
                         let the steadfastness bloom
                                         brighten
                                               develop
                                     mature, ripen, ferment
that you may be perfect and complete,
lacking in nothing.

Nothing.

29 July 2011

sorrows, burdens

I went to a girl's house at 10 this morning--one of the sweeties that I tutor. The front door of the apartment was open. No one answered. I talked with a friend that's hurting and then I came back after a half hour and she and her sister were riding bikes in the faded black top parking lot. Brown stringy hair in their faces, bare feet, skinned toes. Filth crusting their clothes, too big for their small bodies. I couldn't stop staring at the blotch of dried coffee-ish-ness at her neckline. Their mom's asleep, later her uncle's taking them swimming so she can't do tutoring today. I left sad and texted David,
There are simply too many messes.

When I came home I made a list of twenty-seven crises that I'm watching and experiencing. I'm feeling a lot of weight. Feeling a lot of need. A lot of grief at the state of things:

division, betrayal, mistrust, bitterness, unforgiveness, miscommunication, no communication, drunkenness, addiction, borderline personality disorder, bipolarity, diabetes, failing pancreas, fighting, lies, unfaithfulness, cheating, swearing, Playboy, not disciplining children, not caring for children, disobedience, poverty, verbal abuse, prison, drugs, no rest, broken covenant, no covenant, being foreign, disobedience, no grace, condemnation, isolation, transient-ness, suicide, unloved, lost love, lost daughter, lost job, lost home, loneliness, distant marriage, pressure, pressure, worry, no work, too many bills, dizzyness, deafness, diabetes, anorexia, treatments, autism, delays, pornography, materialism, ignorance, money, disunity, chemical imbalance, inconsistency, intolerance, hate, physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, behavior modification, screaming, yelling, anger, impatience, medication, disillusionment, schizophrenia, attack, manipulation, masturbation, offense, fetal alcohol syndrome, dirty, cheating, misleading, conniving, scheming, slandering, screeching, threatening, recording wrongs, bullying, breaking rules, blaming. Uncleaned, uncared for, unprotected, unfed, unloved, untaught, undisciplined children. Resentment, jealousy, need, struggle, bitterness, hunger, judgment, comparison, misperception, loneliness, frustration, unresolved, unreconciled, lost community, lost trust, lost friendship, lost desire, lost hope, cancer, death, lostness, mourning, widow, death, widower, death, cancer, treatments, old age, junk, complications, paperwork, hoops, obstacles, governments, injustice, missed growth, unfulfilled hope, sickness of heart, issues, incessant crying, rage, removal, accusations, evil choices, pushing away, shutting out, selfishness, anger, avoiding eye contact, shame, widening gulfs, abuse

23 July 2011

We were laughing at our weird life last night.

I laugh at it every few days. I got to have coffee with Celina and Bobbi, who we found out is quitting her job and starting school, which seems like a totally risky and brilliant and hopeful idea. Our friend Birgitta had her 34th birthday party in her front yard last night and her husband wore a Brittney Spears microphone and told stories and then led a sing-a-long of pop songs. All the kids were dancing into the dusk and we were talking and laughing and celebrating. We just had berry shortbread for breakfast (because we haven't been home to have it for dessert and I was tired of it sitting in the refrigerator) and I got to talk with a neighbor girl who is not doing well at all. We really have no idea what's actually going on in their home, but we know it's bad. So we decided we just need to pray and lean in, but not go off of the info they give because it's all muddled up. It's really great for us to wrestle through this kind of thing--like what the heck to do when we are the closest godly people to a disasterous situation and feel completely untrained and unprepared--but it's a huge and dangerous mess. David just left to go spear fishing with Abi and I'm about to go to a bridal shower for Becca (who I worked a the coffee shop with, who is marrying Kennan, whose parents are in our home community). Tonight we're going to another birthday party--for Marina, the Schwary's daughter, who are also part of our church. Lots of adventures and parties!

While we ate our eggs and shortbread this morning, David and I were talking this about how we feel confused and taken aback in the situation with our neighbors, but deeply encouraged by the fact that God gives his Spirit WITHOUT limit. And wondering what in the world that looks like and how to live like it. I think we typically act and perceive the world as though there is a roof to how much God intervenes, how much authority he's given us, how much he will respond when we pray, how much he can save a person from, what he can really do in a situation and how much/if he will give wisdom. However, in reality, he says there's not a limit or roof...

Any thoughts or wisdom or prayers about this or the last post are invited.

21 July 2011

mission!

Jesus, early in his ministry, found this passage in Isaiah and spoke it to a full synagogue in his hometown:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengence of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion--
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may display his beauty.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devestations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

I read this and I wonder why we talk more about apologetics, the four spiritual laws, a wordless book and the Romans road than this. The tools are fine, but.... What if we started our ministry/mission/evangelism/neighboring/friendships/churches/marriages/whatever with the power, anointing, discernment, meaning, grace that Jesus proclaimed?

These words are truth for us--we are those who have been poor, borkenhearted, captive, bound, blind, mourning, covered in ashes and faint. And too often I find myself returning to these places--frustrated, exhausted, disillusioned, broken, paralyzed, trapped, worried, ashamed, worn out. These are all words I use to describe myself. A few days ago, David and I made a deal to proclaim life and liberty and good news to each other. I long to learn and practice to be able to speak the gospel into every kind of situation--to myself and to others (Christians and non-Christians). These things are so hard to grasp alone and I feel like I need to be trained to see and speak them.

Look at the proclamations:
good news
liberty
opening of prison/recovery of sight
God's favor and God's vengence (both!)

Look at the gifts:
binding up of hearts
comfort
beautiful headdresses
oil of gladness
garments of praise

And--how hopeful!--look at who these things are for:
the poor
the brokenhearted
the captives
those who are bound/blind
those who mourn, hold ashes, are of a faint spirit 

Look at the results:
That they may be called oaks of righteousness, 
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

Wow! This is how I want to be, how I want to live, how I want to speak, how I want to give.

12 July 2011

a story of the kingdom

Long ago, 
at many times and in many ways,
God spoke to our fathers by the prophets.

But in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son
(whom he appointed the heir of all things)
(through whom he also created the world).

He is the radiance of the glory of God,
the exact imprint of his being,
holding the universe together by his powerful word.

After he had made purification for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high...

from Hebrews 1 (combined ESV, NIV, RSV translations)

Ah ha! This is our story! This is what shapes our today! This is our King, our God! Don't forget it!

22 June 2011

a rich, rich trip

Showing David the home where Christina and I lived.
Together with the Jackson family at one of my favorite places.
A meal David can't stop thinking about.
Beautiful family, good commercial :)
Hope and future.
Reflecting.
Kind of like Coca-Cola...
Our sister, Mana.
Light.
Mateja translating for David.
Zvonko baptizing Ana.



And a most beautiful sight--disciples making disciples.








Other wonders...
Meeting babies and seeing new parents.
Visiting people long loved.
Experiencing God's continuous and powerful movement.












 
All over the world the gospel is bearing fruit and growing. Just as it has been doing among you from the first day you heard it until now... (Colossians)

21 June 2011

worship

Beauty is the voice endlessly calling and so we see, so we reach.

Doubt the philosophies,
doubt the prophecies,
doubt the Pharisees (especially the ones seen in mirrors),
but who can doubt this, Beauty?
Beauty requires no justification, no explanation; it simply is and transcends. See beauty and we know it in the marrow, even if we have no words for it: Someone is behind it, in it. Beauty Himself completes.
....
I have to seek God beauty. Because isn't my internal circuitry wired to seek out something worthy of worship? Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And if I don't see God, I'll bow down before something else.

from One Thousand Gifts

14 February 2011

kindness

Last year I asked my grandma which holiday is her favorite. She said she likes Valentines best.

Before we got married she asked me if David is a kind man. She asked me that a few times. He is. Her husband was a kind man. And I think maybe that's why she liked Valentine's Day so much.

We went out for breakfast on Valentine's Eve and thought about husbands and wives in our families and how we're thankful for their love. I wish I had a pictures of couples further back into family history, but this will have to do :)