29 April 2010

{about walking}

On my walk last night: freshly planted field on one side, freshly mown hayfield on the other and in the distance, golden edged clouds suspended in a pink sky as the orb of a sun slid below the horizon. It would have been idyllic if it wasn’t so cold with what felt like 40 mph wind trying to blow me over.

Ahhh. I love a beautiful sunset. Yes, yes. I know. Technically, it’s not a sunset. It’s an earthrise. But earthrise just doesn’t sound as good.

Imagine Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof singing, “Earthrise, earthset, earthrise, earthset, swiftly flow the days.” See. It just doesn’t sound the same.

I love to think back to all the places I’ve walked.

Walks with Dad after school in Sidney, Ohio. (If you need to know, it’s because I was often in trouble after a homeschool day with Mom. Mom and Dad have always claimed Dr. Dobson’s book “The Strong-willed Child” was written about me.)

Early morning prayer walks with Dad on dusty Sandy Lake roads in Ontario.

Walks with friends all over Red Lake, Ontario. Walks to Jim’s Bakery. Walks to the dock to just sit and enjoy the water.

Walks in Oak Brook, Illinois. Again, many times with friends.

A walk in Taipei, Taiwan with my cousin Eli when he was only three. To the supermarket for groceries. Other walks in Taiwan with Uncle Nate and Auntie Chris to see the sights.

Walks to schools and orphanages, to and from the Metro, in and around the city of Moscow, Russia. A walk through Red Square. And also, the “stairs of death”: too many steps to count going down into a Metro station somewhere in the city.

Walking with my husband as newlyweds to the Hobe Sound beach in Hobe Sound, Florida during our first year of marriage. Hot, humid evenings. With sand fleas.

A walk in downtown Seoul, Korea when we overnighted there en route to the Philippines the first time. Enjoying the sights and sounds and smells of a huge Asian city.

In the Philippines after a helicopter ride into a village high in the mountains, I walked out. For 10 hours. Downhill. My knees shudder when they remember.

Then there were the walks at the Northwoods. U.P., Michigan. Walks to the Gatehouse and back. Walks around Wolf Lake. Walks with friends.

Walks in Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania with one, two, three little girls on our way to the park for slides and swings.

Walks in Smalltown, Michigan down trails specially mown in the grass through the back field and through the woods.

A walk in the Philippines with my husband early one morning. Birds singing. Horns honking. Trikes passing. People hard at work and the sun is barely up. Roosters crowing. Children waving.

Walks in Smalltown, Pennsylvania. Down the hill. Over the railroad tracks to the Juniata River.

And now, walks on the farm. Walks down my driveway in between fields. Two mile walks and I’ve only walked to the mailbox and back twice.

I’ve walked and prayed. I’ve walked and cried. I’ve had to stop sometimes because I was crying so hard I couldn’t see. I’ve walked and been so full of joy and hope I felt like bursting. I’ve walked and dreamed. I’ve walked and wondered what’s next. I’ve walked and not ever wanted to leave.

And I find that in all the various seasons of life Jesus has been walking with me. He’s always there. Constant. Steady. Loving. Understanding the things I can’t put into words. My unseen walking partner.

What have been your most memorable walks? With whom and where?

25 April 2010

Sequins sparkled. Rich fabrics fairly glowed. Palms outstretched showed henna patterns. Bare feet moved swiftly. Eyes darted from side to side. Necks followed eyes. And I knew the tiny, beautiful, dark-skinned girls were telling a story with their dance.

Last Saturday our family took a field trip day and attended Global Fest at HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College) for several hours of ethnic foods, handcrafts and native dances. (Oh dear. That just sounded like we ate for several hours. We didn’t. We watched people. A lot. And we did sample the Indian butter chicken, Chinese dumplings and sushi.)

It wasn’t only the Indian girls doing ethnic dances. There were Filipino children as well with long pieces of bamboo, some tapping the wood in time with the music and others jumping quickly to keep their feet from getting pinched between the sticks. Hispanic men and women played traditional instruments. There was much foot stomping and twirling and clapping when the Irish clog dancers were on stage. I think I even tapped my feet once or twice. Ok. I confess. I really didn’t hold still the whole time. They were amazing.

Nother’ confession: I love cultures. I don’t mind being in the midst of places I don’t fit. I love watching. I enjoy trying new foods. I love meeting people from other continents. I enjoy conversations about why they believe what they believe. I love learning about their traditions and why they do what they do.

Maybe it’s just a little, teeny taste of Heaven.

Maybe there will be Indian Christians there with traditional costumes and dances, retelling the story of Jesus. Maybe we will eat Indian butter chicken and Chinese dumplings and sushi. And apple pie.

And rejoice and celebrate together with people of every tongue and tribe and nation. . .

22 April 2010

Rhubarb Dream Dessert

1 c. flour
5 T. powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened

Mix ingredients together and press into a 9 x 9 in. ungreased pan and bake at 350˚ for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking mix together the following:

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. flour
3/4 t. salt
2 c. finely chopped fresh rhubarb
2 eggs, beaten

Pour onto baked crust and bake at 350˚ for 35 minutes. Great served with whipped cream or ice cream.

{reflections on Earth Day}

“The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness of it, the world and they who dwell in it.”
Psalm 24:1

Earth Day is a big deal. Shouldn’t we all go plant a tree or something? Or perhaps recycle those cans in the garage?

Those aren’t bad things. Not at all. I’m just here to remind us Who the earth really belongs to. It’s not ours. Not really. It’s God’s.

He’s the Maker. And when you create something, it’s usually yours.

He did bless the first people and tell them to “fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth. And God said, See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the land and every tree. ..” Genesis 1:28-29

The Amplified Bible throws in that explanation-- “using all its vast resources in the service of God and man.” We are supposed to live here.

Yes, I know. God didn’t give Adam a plastic fork and spoon to use and Eve didn’t use disposable diapers for Cain and Abel.

But God knew even before He created earth that we’d get to this place. Computers. Plastic everything. Aluminum cans that certainly aren’t biodegradable. Disposable diaper. Soles of shoes sitting in a landfill somewhere. The used up school bus sitting in the bottom of that lake.

God knew. And He lets us keep right on going. Because He knows there is an end. The ultimate “global warming” is coming.

And, get this, He actually has plans already laid for a New Earth. Imagine that. Now that will be something. I can’t wait.

Until then, I will try to take care of what He’s given me. I will reuse whenever possible. I will recycle as much as possible. And I will reduce if at all possible.

Because this earth where I live, it’s not really mine. It’s His.

Happy the-earth-belongs-to-the-Lord Day!!!

17 April 2010

It ain't happnen

Yes, I know. The teacher in me is screaming, “You shouldn't say that!!!” But I just did. So there.

And it really isn’t happening. We’re not going to Mexico. In fact, last week was the week we “should” have been there. But knowing and understanding very well that our thoughts and plans and timing aren’t always God’s, we let it rest.

The needs at the orphanage changed from what we’d anticipated earlier on in the planning stages. And then the team we were working with slowly disintegrated. Not in a bad way. God just directed people to do different things.

And so we wait. But we’re not waiting and sitting on our hands. Passport forms for the entire family are filled out, pictures taken, waiting on my desk for a day to take them in (so someone can look at our kids and verify that indeed they are our children).

Getting passports for the kids is like preparing for rain. There are no trips planned. There clearly isn’t money to galavant off across the planet. No one has invited us to join them in what God is doing on the other side of the world. But it’s ok!

God knows where we live! And He is working right here. There are absolutely BEAUTIFUL things He is doing in our family. We are growing in grace and love and understanding. We are learning things about how He wants us to live.

In the last 5 years there have been several attempts to involve our family in overseas missions. Some we have pursued. Others have been invitations that have come to us. And every time, God closes the door. Every time.

I’ve asked “why” more times than I can count. I’ve looked for answers for why I even have the desire to go in the first place. What on earth is God up to?

God knows. We’re in a good place. We’re part of an incredible church! We have amazing friends! We’re dreaming about the places God wants to take us as a congregation of believers.

Thanks for being part of our circle of friends. Friends who ask what God is doing, who care about where we are, who are excited with us about our journey with Jesus.

And for now, overseas ain’t happnen.
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