Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Loosening the Apron Strings

This is such a great picture of what being a parent is about. Supporting at the beginning, then running along beside for protection. Hovering and watching for a while, then granting independence.

I think God treats his kids that way, too. He never lets us go beyond his reach, but gives us the choice of how to live our lives. I like to think he's the type of father who always makes sure his kids wear their helmets.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Seasonal Schizophrenia

It seems to be a spring of indecision.

Obama or Clinton? Each primary comes with much fanfare, but no movement towards a decision, mocking the banner ads that announce "Decision 2008!" on every newscast.

Even the weather can't make up its mind. We had snow and hail last week, a balmy day today, but we're headed back into winter on Tuesday.


Make up your mind already!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The More Things Change...

I was one of the youngest in my class. I think Mark and Amy were the only two with birthdays after mine. But this year has been an endless succession of congratulations on 40th birthdays on my class email loop.

At what point did I realize my mortality? Was it when the lady who used to come to my door begging for food died of AIDS? When I drove Suzanne's father to the hospital in the morning and drove his body to the village the same afternoon? When I listened to my father deliver one of several eulogies he's done lately? The dear people who did so much for us in helping us get to Africa are finishing their lives.

And time marches on. The children become the parents and then the grandparents. The baby grows taller than her mother. The world winds down and we look beyond.

I'm feeling melancholy tonight, thinking about loved ones who fight for life, who yearn for health, who long for home.

Books, Books, Books

Now for the books I'm planning to read...

Honestly, I had a list, but I found it rather confining. I like to just pick up a book and see where it leads me. No plans. No expectations.

Just the freedom of being pulled from world to world in the endless wonder of story.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Life In Six Words Challenge

I've been hearing about the six word autobiography challenge here and there. The challenge: to sum up your life in six words.

Here's mine.

Journey between now and not yet.

What's yours?

happiness is...

...a good book.

...a good friend.

...a hot drink.

...a new mug.

...and a warm puppy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back to the Books

And now... back to my regularly scheduled life. I honestly feel that way. Dog search and rescue ate my whole week and I've not been so relieved in a very long time. But, I started following Dad's trend to list all the books I've read recently, all I'm currently reading, and what I'm planning to read.

So, here's installment 2 - books I'm currently reading.

Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee. A demon and an editor collaborate on their magnum opus.

Healing Stones: A Sullivan Crisp Novel by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn. A story about healing and forgiveness in the aftermath of an affair.

The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an ordinary radical by Shane Claiborn. On how little acts of love can change the world.

Covenant by Kay Arthur. A Bible study I'm supposed to be doing with a friend, but I've fallen way behind. (Don't give up on me!)

Proofreading and Copyediting for Dummies.

Postcards from France, French in Action, C'est Comme Ca, and a bunch of other books I'm using as we work on our French"semi-immersion, kinda" month.

Blood Brothers by Rick Acker. Fraud, corruption and bribery bring brothers to blows.

What are you reading? Anything good?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lost and Found

Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn't you leave the other ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it?

The little dog ran away on Friday. The kids ran after her, but (Thank you, God) they stopped short of the freeway. I turned the younger kids and extra pets over to some friends and started the longest, most intense search I could manage, with the help of a lot of friends, some strangers, and the older kids. We must have had 30 people out looking for the little gal over the next 4 days.

I was out each morning, with or without help, walking through the neighborhood, talking to strangers, tromping through wetlands and trespassing on all kinds of property. Fliers, business cards, craigslist ads, visits to the humane society, calls to vets and animal hospitals, calls for prayer. Oh, please God, bring the little puppy home.

When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulder, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, "Celebrate with me! I've found my lost sheep!"

We got the call this afternoon just as we were starting another search. She's been found! Hungry and afraid, she turned up on the doorstep of a group home where they took her in. They kind of hoped she didn't belong to anyone so they could keep her, but they saw an ad in the paper and called.

We're so happy! Her little chihuahua sister is so happy. Even the basset hound has managed to perk up a little at her return!

Count on it - there's more joy in heaven over one sinner's rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue. (Luke 15, The Message)

Thanks to all of you who helped, who prayed, who hugged and cried. It's time for a puppy party!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Some friends entrusted us with their puppies, believing they'd be in a safe home. One of the puppies ran away yesterday. She's so small and helpless and this will be her second night out on her own.

I'm heartsick.

I know it's a small request in the grand scheme of things, but I'm asking for prayers for her safe and swift return.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

One Word

Play along if you'd like. Only one word answers allowed.

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Your significant other? Priceless
3. Your hair? healthy
4. Your mother? networker
5. Your father? Knowledgeable
6. Your favorite thing? story
7. Your dream last night? quest
8. Your favorite drink? tea
9. Your goal or dream? novelist
10. The room you're in? messy
11. Your kids? female
12. Your fear? broke
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? content
14. Where were you last night? Yelm
15. What you're not? extroverted
16. Muffins? toppers
17. One of your wish list items? Trip
18. Where you grew up? Mendenhaven
19. The last thing you did ? groceries
20. What are you wearing? gray
21. Your TV? fuzzy
22. Your pets? cool
23. Your computer? grouchy
24. Your life? eternal
25. Your mood? even
26. Missing someone? always
27. Your car? dented
28. Something you're not wearing? earmuffs
29. Favorite Store? Powells
30. Your summer? open
31. Like someone? guess
32. Your favorite color? blue
33. When is the last time you laughed? Tonight
34. Last time you cried? Today
35. The person who sent this to you? Shelli
36. Who will/would resend this? Sandi
37. A good book? Tisha
38. A good movie? Enchanted
39. A good song? Holy
40. One word to share? Peace

Monday, April 07, 2008

Books I've Read

Dad just invited people to list their recent readings. I, like him, have an ever-shifting stack of reading material in various rooms of the house. Here's my list of books I've read in the past month.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver - a terrific book on eating locally.

The Mystery of History III by Linda Hobar - I picked this history book to represent any number of books we use for homeschooling. We're actually using this one online until it rolls off the presses in May.

The Shack by William P. Young - I've got a review of this book coming out in Wineskins some time this week.

And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street by Dr. Suess - Again, a representation of the hundred or so children's books I've read with my youngest. Only now I' more of a reading consultant as she figures out most of the words on her own.

Let's Play Games in French by Bernard Crawshaw - just a resource to help make my French class a little more interesting.

Chihuahuas for Dummies -A Psych 101 book on our little house guests

Galatians, Psalms, and Isaiah - 3 different books for 3 different studies.

Buffalo Valley and a few others by Debbie Macomber - In preparation for the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

Embrace Me by Lisa Sampson - a literary novel about a circus sideshow freak, a self-mutilating preacher and both of their paths to forgiveness. A real gem. I'll probably review this one next.

Talking Drums by Patty Slack - It may not count as a real book yet, but I've read over my novel manuscript several times this month. And I'm now 5 pages in on my next book, No Other Gods.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Perspective on Prayer

Gas prices are up. Food prices are up. Taxes are due next week.

And a role model for my children is having surgery for cancer tomorrow.

I was reminded this weekend that it's not sin and evil that chokes out the fruit God wants to bring in my life, it's worry. Worry steals joy, peace, and faith.

This role model has taught me so much about letting go of worry. He's had his reasons to fret - physical challenges, unemployment, challenges with kids - but he keeps grinning and giving. Why is it that those who are most entitled to fretting and pity parties have the most to teach the rest of us about trust?

Pray with me?

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated 40 years ago today.

He died too young at the age of 39.

39 years to change the world. That's pretty fast work.

I know.

I'm 39.

Jesus lived only 33 years. Alexander the Great, too. It doesn't take long to make an impact, not if you believe in what you're doing.

On my first visit to Memphis many years ago, a friend drove me by the Lorraine Motel to see the balcony where Dr. King was killed. At the time, the biggest impression it made on me was how run-down the place was.

I didn't understand.

I was born 4 months after King's death, born at the end of the turmoil that embroiled our country. By the time I was aware, the biggest clash was between my orange plaid pants and my pink flowered jacket.

I can't say I fully understand even now, though I've had a taste or two of what it means to live in a country divided against itself. I've also come to realize that it's not the place of death that brings honor or dishonor - it's the life led. Jesus' life was not defined by his death on a garbage heap. Neither was Martin Luther King's by his assassination at a seedy motel. If anything, his choice of lodging speaks of his humility, his integrity.

His legacy.

39 years and we'll never be the same.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Herding Ping-Pong Balls

Picture this:

3 kids and a mom who are tired of winter and especially thrown off by its sudden and insistent return this week.

Add 1 dog and 2 birds.

That's normal life.

Now add 2 chihuahua puppies who are terrified half the time and barking ferociously the other half.

Now add some extra kids: 4 boys and 2 girls, a closet full of games, a basketball, an X-box, and a pizza assembly line.

Remember that it's April Fool's Day and the funniest joke EVER is ringing the doorbell and running away.

Maybe it's more like herding hand grenades than ping-pong balls. Either way, I think God was smart to not give me a dozen kids. When the phone rang at the same time the doorbell rang and the dogs ran underfoot, I finally understood how the Calgon lady always felt.

Truth be told, though, I don't know how she kept all those kids out of the bathroom.

*I can't take credit for the title today. Kudos to either Mike or Geoffrey for this apt image.