Thursday, August 04, 2011


Today we've officially topped 100 degree heat for 34 days straight! Breaking 60 year old records with temperatures of 109. In other words, it might be hotter in other places but no one bakes as long as we can!

Seriously, we've been praying for our friend the postal worker who ended up in the ER recently. Sophia and I started to pray for rain weeks ago but we can't remember the last day the sky's leaked anything but sunshine. The monotony is down right life threatening and the pools feel like bath water.

Even the library is getting in on the weather watch. (We've been making daily trips to the library because it's a great place to get out of the heat and we need lots of inside entertainment.)Come On, Rain
is a deliciously written story about summer heat and sweet relief. Sadly, rain feels like a fairy tale these days.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Collecting Empathy

"Most of us think that this life is the best there is- but as believers in Christ, we should live every moment knowing this is the worst there is. The best is yet to come."Annika Durbin (a conversation collected on my journey.)

It shouldn't surprise any of you that my latest two-week trip home turned into a six-week sojourn into the heart of God paved with dear friends. I've always found God in community, especially those who've shared the cup of suffering. As I work my way back into daily, Dallas-life, I realize how deeply the moments marked me.

Among my mementos, a little-yellow-book, slipped into my hands by a remarkable woman who's endured the loss of her daughter with unimaginable grace. Feeling grateful but emotionally strung-out, I was a little wary of what I would find between the pages.

God sends books to the most personal places of our hearts. The place we don't invite others, where only solitary words can pierce. (Perhaps that's why God wrote his story into book form?) This pint sized story will take your breath away.

Reading the description of a little boys brief but moving encounter in heaven moved my heart. Then I came to his encounter with his 'other' sister, the one who died in mommy's tummy before he was born.

Suddenly the unconscious bulwark of emotion I'd built around my heart crumbled. In one of those unexplainable spiritual moments I realized how much pain I'd been harboring because of my tiny family.

Having only one child (after two miscarriages in a year) I wonder about my daughter's social life? How the loneliness is affecting her child hood? I hurt every time some one remarks about how nice it must be to only have the chaos of one. These worries and pains have been pulling me into a dark place that I haven't even admitted to myself. In my broken grief I could only picture my loss, my interrupted plans, my unstable identity.

Until, thanks to this preschooler's powerful narrative, I glimpsed my eternal family and my eternal home! Overcome with the idea of my large, colorful, family waiting for me beyond the pale I could do nothing but rejoice!

Rejoice for the lives so precious to God that he adopts our little ones into a peaceful and perfect reality.

Rejoice in the fact that my life on this earth is but a breath and it's over to spend eternity in perfect peace.

Rejoice in a God that would send his own child to die in order to cleanse me from the taint of destruction and restore me to a peace that I don't deserve.

2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:2-3

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and BackAdd Video

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Confession of a Book Lover

"Never trust a person who has not brought a book with them." Lemony Snicket

Wanna know an author's dirty little secret? The real reason I don't own a Kindle or Ipad is because I don't actually BUY as many books as I read. (don't abuse the system-just support your local library!)

Library day in our house is one of mommy's favorite. Typically, I go on a book hunt when my house needs a good scrub. An audio book helps the brain stay engaged while the details get done. Recently, I discovered Book Page a free magazine offered by the library filled with book reviews. Everything from Erik Larson to the debut novel of Ravi's daughter Naomi Zacharias gets a review for people like me who need a little help getting out of a reading rut.

I know I'm a little obsessed, I circle a book then reserve my own copy on-line from my local library. On a regular basis I get an e-mail from the library to come in and pick up the latest on my list. It's Netflix for books!

Latest Loves:
The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel
Chasing Cezanne: A Novel
Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Testimony of His Grace

"Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than treason,
To go with the drift of things
To yield with grace to reason
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?"

From Reluctance By Robert Frost, sketched into the back of my Bible ten years ago.

As spring surrenders to summer, Nathanael and I wonder at the year the Lord has walked us through? In 2010, after spending a month in Chad, we found ourselves long on conscious and short-on employment. Last Easter, returning to Iowa from a brief stint in Arlington,Texas we were voluntarily unemployed, pregnant and living in my parents basement. In the months that followed we discovered our home renters planned to renew, the Lord opened a door for us to return to Arlington in employment that would fulfill my husband's passion and background. With so much answered prayer it was difficult not to get swept away in the image of a perfect future.

Fast forward an entire year of the highest up and downs either of us could imagine. This year we've been grateful to be surrounded by family to carry us and grieve with us two failed pregnancies in six months. The pain and broken dreams of two special children Anna and Simeon drove me to Hopeful Hearts, at the Village Church Dallas. Although I believe with joy that we'll meet these precious ones as we glorify the Lord in perfection and restoration, the comfort and understanding of community has become a lifeline.

The silence of infertility can be a source of haunting pain, the quiet of empty arms, unexperienced joy and community celebration. The missing laughter of children looms in our hearts leaving a hole that only the Lord can fill, comfort and restore. Buoyed by strong teaching and close community we are experiencing joy and strength in Him. Needing daily refreshment and direction we're discovering the peace that comes by placing our faith in His salvation and not in my daily expectation. Now the words of Robert Frost are still true. Pain and disappointment is no less heart wrenching but through a trembling, halting faith in a being greater than I, my days are secure in the hope of Christ. In a father who gave His only child in order that restoration and rest may be poured out on His children for eternity.

"O God, you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on you; for in returning and rest we shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be our strength."
Isaiah 26:3; 30:15 Book of Common Prayer

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Prayers for Peace in the Digital Age

"When the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers." Kikuyu Proverb, Kenya

In today's modern age, the saying applies to scandal, especially in the charity business. Recent allegations of false information in Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea and objections about the allocations of funds have definitely tarnished Afghanistan's most popular representative. Considered, in popular culture, as the Mother Teresa of the war-torn region, his fall from grace will hurt more than book sales. Difficult economic times have reeked havoc on charitable giving, bringing to light another mismanagement of funds and inflated ego will likely affect the entire industry.

This story caused a disappointing stomach lurch while my brother-in-law is deployed in this conflicted corner of the world. Reminding me of the need for prayer, for both sides. As the snow melts in Afghanistan, the war is flaring up on the ground and on on 60 minutes. Let us not forget to pray for our family members far from home and the people they are interacting with everyday.

For a great perspective on Afghanistan from one of it's own check out this book:
Storyteller's Daughter by Saira Shah a British citizen turned journalist, who's father filled her with images of his beloved Afghanistan which she struggled to recognize upon her return as an adult.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

If You're Heading to San Francisco

"You HAVE to watch My Name is Khan!" Came my mother's recommendation this week. Turns out my parents and Nate (my resident indie flic buff) had separately stumbled onto it via Netflix and we're raving about it. The name triggered something in my memory.

"Is it filmed in San Francisco, in the bay by the Wave Organ?" I asked. Click. It came together in my memory. Summer 2009, celebrating San Francisco sunshine Sophia and I stumbled onto a Bollywood production filming My Name is Kahn. Check it out--the movie's reporting a worldwide release of over $19 million in three days. Not a bad review--but I'd love to hear yours.

Speaking of San Francisco, I just finished a great book you shouldn't pass up: Locked Rooms: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. I've been on a bit of a Laurie King kick lately (I love the mystery/history combo this is a great example exploring San Fran and the Great Quake of 1906).

If you like Sherlock Holmes books, you'll love these titles by Laurie King:
Last but not least, I can't say enough about Touchstone by Laurie King. This time a masculine lead character recovering from WWI shell shock and it's unusual affects. If you like Jeffery Archer or Iian Pears An Instance of the Fingerpost: A Novel you'll love Touchstone.

A great movie or book has to be shared! Pass it on.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Wandering Dove

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I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;

I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm. Psalm 55: 6-9

You Yourself have recorded my wanderings.
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your records?

Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call.
This I know: God is for me.

In God, whose word I praise,
in the L
ORD, whose word I praise,

in God I trust; I will not fear.
What can man do to me? Psalm 56:8-11

For the broken, the weary, the wanderers, the empty hearted. For me. . .

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Village Church & Darfur

What can one person do for the people of Southern Sudan? According to Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church, we can pray for the January 9th Sudanese Referendum for Secession . Joining others across the world to pray for a continued resolve in Darfur and Southern Sudan.

For our family- Sudan is hard to ignore simply because its in Chad's (my husband's native country) backyard. In 2008 an attempted Chadian coup brought to light just how interconnected the two countries can be, continued peace in Sudan means stability and progress for an entire region of the globe. Visiting Chad in 2010 deepened our connection to this corner of the world giving us a first hand account of the similarity of people across the border simply trying to eek out an existence in an unforgiving but beautiful territory.

Moving to the Dallas Fort Worth Area in 2010 the Lord brought us to the Village church though a series of personal encounters that had little to do with Sub-Saharan, Africa. Now it's a pleasure to discover the Village Church's commitment to the people of Sudan and share something each of us can do for this troubled portion of God's earth. Please check out Actions Speak Louder and consider what one person can do today.


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