Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Daughter, the Nomad

My oldest spent this summer between her junior and senior year of college doing a 5 week long internship and then leading 4 mission trips.  She ended up traveling over 5,000 miles this summer all over the Eastern half of the U.S.

This does not include a flight from Atlanta to Providence, the drive back to Chicago or the flight home for Labor Day Weekend.

This is what comes of being raised in a mission organization and spending childhood traveling!
One summer we drove from Georgia to Maine [Acadia] and then to Orlando.  This time she was behind the wheel and did most of the driving solo.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Life in the Fast Lane

I have a torn rotator cuff which is keeping me in constant pain and causing difficulty sleeping.  I spend all day on the computer at work and the injury is probably due to overuse - so typing and working on a paper is hard.  I am going back to the Dr tomorrow for a follow up visit.

I have to work 3 hours this Saturday [and make two airport runs]

One of my daughters is home for 6 days before heading back to college and has been sick these 4 days.  Meanwhile I am coordinating the repair of the car she totaled earlier this summer (minor accident/old car) so she can drive it back to Chicago.

We are invited to two parties this weekend [only the 3rd and 4th invitations we have received since moving here 1.5 years ago, so we don't want to turn them down].

Then we have 3 house guests coming this weekend through Labor Day [my nephew is getting married on the 2nd] and 7-14 more the following weekend since my sister-in-law's house is overflowing with guests.

Both my daughters will be home for labor day for the wedding [having both been gone all summer].

My husband just returned from a week on Martha's Vineyard and will head to Chicago this weekend and Rhode Island late next week.

A paper was completed for grad school this past weekend, and another longer paper is due soon.

This is normal life!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review: Take This Bread

This was quite a challenging read, mostly because I did not always agree with the author or her logic.  But the book stretched me in good ways; it made me less judgmental and gave me insights into new points of view.

The descriptions of her church in San Francisco are fascinating - made me want to visit!

This author takes us through her personal spiritual journey of discovery, helping us understand her background and the experiences that shaped her.

I've had many great conversations about the concepts in the book, including the notion of "open communion."  Miles' description of feeling accepted and welcome at the communion table were very powerful.  She associates food with family and love and considers the communion a somewhat mystical experience.

One of the best things about this book, is that Miles takes action - she opens a food pantry in her church and goes on to feed many throughout her neighborhood and city.  She puts her faith into action, caring for the needs of others.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Book Review

Fascinating historical account of the Chicago World's Fair in the 1890s.  This author did thorough research and follows 2 characters through the building and running of the fair, one an architect and the other a serial killer.  The descriptions of the buildings, landscape, and exhibits of the fair are fascinating.  The drama of the murders set against the determination of others to showcase the best of this great city provides an interesting contrast.

The book provides a great deal of background knowledge of the development of cities, structural aspects of building, and landscape architecture.  At the same time, it provides a glimpse of life in another era.

Larson was meticulous in his research and manages to provide a good read at the same time.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Canvas of the Sky

Spring weather in Philly this year has provided many beautiful vistas with flowers, green grass, new leaves on trees, vibrant bushes, and ever changing patterns of clouds and sky.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Reflections on Starting Graduate School

So, I find myself back in school after more than 25 years in the adult world of jobs, parenting, and being an ordinary citizen.  It is both exhilarating and exhausting.  We had an intense first weekend with over 31 hours classroom time in 3 days; someone likened it to drinking from a fire hose!  At times I wondered, 'what was I thinking?' and at other times I thought, 'I can do this.'

Now that I have done some writing and lots of reading, I feel a bit more prepared ... I think that this is a goal that I can accomplish.  Go Cohort 41 - our goal is 2014!  Don't lose sight of the end result - new skills that will be valuable in whatever nonprofit we serve.  I am not so intimidated as I was just a few weeks ago.

One phenomenon that I found frustrating, until I had an "aha" moment, was the tendency of the profs to go from the general to the specific - sometimes over a period of days.  I would hear the big picture and think, 'that's great, but I need to know x ...'  Once I saw the pattern, I was able to relax a bit and trust that all my questions would eventually get answered.

Friday, April 20, 2012

My last job was so not boring

Here's a partial list of some of my adventures while working at Adventures In Missions:

  • Edit books
  • Buy $22,000 worth of plane tickets in one morning [a group of 50 people going to 2 continents]
  • compare phone plans for 2 users who average 4-5000 minutes per month
  • interview potential staff and potential mission candidates
  • buy cameras - ranging from point and shoot, to flip video, to $20,000 HD movie camera
  • price equipment like green screens
  • talk to wives of country music sensations and NFL players about missions
  • prepare initial disaster response plans for Haiti [esp mail campaign and publicity]
  • build websites
  • write procedure manuals
  • teaching and training
  • reconcile Am Ex expenses in the thousands and tens of thousands for boss
  • Skype with people all over the globe
  • manage budgets
  • solve travel issues at 2 am via phone for teams in Thailand
  • study traffic on the web for boss stuck in Atlanta trying not to miss a flight
  • host board meetings
  • travel to Tijuana, Matamoros, Lima, Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, and Kensington [Philly]
  • develop infrastructure for 11 month worldwide mission trip
  • design annual report
  • host missionaries
  • plan direct mail campaign that raised tens of thousands
  • review/organize photos and videos for use in documents, calendars, reports, websites, books, blogs
  • manage calendar for executive director
  • order countless books on Amazon
  • manage 100+ emails per day
  • personal travel agent for Exec Director traveling worldwide
  • read books on fundraising and marketing

This is just a partial list to give you a sense of what a great job it was
Six years of exhilarating variety!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The canvas in the sky is ever changing

An interesting architectural feature.  This is in a medical building, if I remember correctly [or was it a museum] ... anyway, I loved being inside, but being able to look up and be connected to the outdoors.  It provided a sense of connectedness even though I was sheltered from the elements.

I always love to watch the sky, to see the ever changing cloud patterns.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Concept of Failing Forward

I subscribe to a newsletter from a company called Behance that is geared toward the creative artistic type.   A quote from a recent article by John Caddell caught my eye, "A mistake is a collision between your perception and reality. As such, it's a terribly valuable asset."  What we percieve as failure is often the catalyst to move us into new territory.  If something doesn't work out, you are forced to consider other ideas, to come at something from a new angle.  

It is really kind of funny that I enjoy reading the articles in Behance since it is really geared for people who are completely different from me in personality.

The website tagline for Behance is "We empower creative professionals to make ideas happen."  I first stumbled upon them through the program called Action Method Online.  While it is geared to the right brain type who is not as organized, the concepts can help those of us who are more left brained to stay on top of the multiple projects, whether personal or work related, that clutter our minds and lists.  The software has a free version, that I have used in my job to collaborate and manage projects.  I also love their "Action Notebook" - high quality and nicely laid out for keeping track of projects and notes.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

2011 Family Photo


who knew pain could be so draining?  it's seriously exhausting.  I hurt my back this week and it has been excruciating.  It takes all my energy and focus ... trying to hold still when i find a position that is not uncomfortable (notice i did not say comfortable).  I cannot concentrate, cannot move, cannot rest.  It's hard to focus on anything - the sermon on Sunday, the task I need to do at work, what items I should be accomplishing on my "to-do" list.

I don't even know how this happened.  But it has given me a new perspective and a new empathy.  And I have realized again how often I fail to be thankful.  I take life and health for granted.  So I am asking God to continue to open my mind to things that He would teach me.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I am just learning to paint with watercolors and having great fun.  I thought this one turned out nicely.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Great Read!

I was inspired to read this after I saw that it received rave reviews from two (former) Gordon professors that I remembered and admired. 

"All of O'Brien's large and human soul is in this book as in none of his shorter ones: father, Catholic, Russophile, Canadian, personalist, artist, storyteller, romantic. There is not one boring or superfluous page. When you finish The Father's Tale you will say of it what Tolkien said of The Lord of the Rings: it has one fault: it is too short. A thousand pages of Michael O'Brien is like a thousand sunrises: who's complaining?" --Peter Kreeft, Ph.D.

This is an epic story of a prodigal and the depth of his father's love.  The father makes a long and arduous journey in search of his son.  The story spans several continents and explores the horizons of foreign lands and the horizons of the soul.  The father, an introvert, who loves books and solitude, finds his faith stretched and tried as he seeks to find that which he lost.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bread of Life

I've been reading a book called, He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer as part of my devotions. This morning I opened to chapter ten. And how did it begin? With Psalm 46:10, of course. Here are some excerpts.
Talking about childbirth and about an epidural - "the anesthesiologist said, 'you were a great patient because you were really still…sometimes…I have to wait until they are quiet enough for me to give them medication, because I can't give it to them while they are moving. As I listened, it dawned on me. Maybe the Great Physician is waiting to give us something. The one with the answer is right here, but the problem is that we won't sit still long enough for him to give us what we need.
Speaking of feeding the 5000 in John: "Jesus said, 'Have the people sit down." [Her response was,] "Why Lord? I'm so busy. I have a to-do list a mile long. Why do you want me to sit down?"… I read the next verse "Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated." Don't miss that line…only those who were seated got food…Do you want to be filled with the spiritual food that God has for you?"
Priscilla went on to talk about 1 Samuel 3:3 where Samuel was lying down and was able to hear from the Lord and John 6:10 and Matthew where there are grassy places to sit. She was reminded of Psalm 23:2 "you make me like down in green pastures."
May we take the time to be still, wait upon the Lord in green pastures, and hear His voice and receive the Bread of Life.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

as best as i remember it ... as he shared his dream with me

have you ever had someone tell you they had a dream about you?  a dream with meaning?

it was a first for me. but here is Joe's dream from quite some time ago and how i see it playing out now.

"I want that one" were my words in his dream.  we were driving along with a young boy in the backseat, my nephew?, and we had stopped at a yard sale.  I was looking at some pretty glasses or goblets and chose one.

Joe seemed to think that the dream had special significance and it related to my search for what was next in life.  I did apply for two jobs in the same organization and after the interviews, i felt drawn to one job and not the other.  Thankfully, that was the one that I was eventually offered ... and now here i am one year after starting the job and perhaps two years after the dream ...

God is faithful to grant us the desires of our hearts and to provide for all our needs.  Sometimes we are even blessed with choices and with getting the sparkly, cool things that catch our eye!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Be Still

An excerpt from my journal on 5/7: 

Psalm 46:10
BE still and know that I am God
Be STILL and know that I am God
Be still AND know that I am God
Be still and KNOW that I am God
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I AM God
Be still and know that I am GOD!!

Lord, help me to take some time each day to just BE. Still my mind and heart, Lord to focus on you. Lord, help me to really know that you are in control. You are the Lord; help me to remember that it's not about me. Help me to contemplate who you are each day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Be Still AND Know that I am God

The other night at a friend's house, we had an extended time of prayer, much of it silent. The Lord had me share Psalm 46:10. The night had started off with talking about all the references to "new" in the Bible. I had shared a few things [new life, new heaven and a new earth] and the verse "see, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" So when God nudged me to share Psalm 46:10, I was reluctant. Mentally I argued with God, 'I have already shared, I am an introvert, this is not new, I am not the group leader'. Finally I just said the verse one time. I told the Lord he needed to be specific and confirm it if he wanted me to do the whole thing. After a few minutes, our leader shared his frustration, confessed his difficulty with being still. Then I knew I had to be obedient and so I prayed it slowly, reflectively. The leader told me afterward that it was perfect for him, that it had been filled with authority, and that he had wanted me to go on. I had actually felt a slight nudge to continue, but had been so relieved to be done with it and stop. Afterward I felt a great sense of relief about some things I had been holding on to and needed to let go of.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

He is Worthy


You are worthy
Of a child-like faith
And of my honest praise
And of my unashamed love
Of a holy life
And of my sacrifice
And of my unashamed love

Words quoted from "Unashamed Love" by Ten Shekel Shirt"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chincha Peru 2008

It's a hot sunny day here in Chincha Alta, Peru. We're sitting under a canopy tent in kid size chairs with colorful octagonal low tables. There is a nice cool breeze. The ground is sandy and dusty. There is a church to one side of us, and our tent city to the other side. We finished a breakfast of sausage and egg biscuits, rolls with jelly and juice and tea. After a time of worship and prayer for healing, we are listening to a teaching by Michael Hindes, a pastor from Michigan. He is talking about attitude. There are 27 World Racers, 5 staff, 5 translators, and 1 guest. There is a Hollywood film producer here to try to capture the story of the people here and tell the world how they can help. This area experienced an 8.0 magnitude earthquake on August 15th and about 600 were killed. Many lost their homes and their livelihood. Entire towns have relocated to makeshift tents with dirt floors and walls made of woven reeds, thatch, etc. Some are fortunate to have an actual tent from a relief agency, but they have been living like this for almost 5 months. We met people yesterday from the Tambo de Mora area and heard their stories. The village was a prosperous fishing village on the Pacific Ocean. Just before the quake, which occurred about 7 pm, the ground water rose inside their homes to about a meter deep. The three inch concrete floors simply buckled and the homes sank about 2 feet. The quake lasted three terrifying minutes. People ran to find relatives, some ran many kilometers back to Chincha in search of family. After the quake came a small tsunami. The people have relocated to safer ground further inland. Many husbands have to leave the area to find work.

Word for the Year

So, I've been trying to come up with a theme for 2012.  Will this be a year of adventure ... love ... journey ... how can i fit it into just one word?  God has taught me so much in 2011 and I am eager to see what 2012 will bring.  He is teaching me to wait on him, to trust him in all things, and to love wholeheartedly.  The year 2011 was a year of travel and transition.  I am so eager to be done with transition, to be in a more permanent home and to be settled.

In my childhood, if we asked my mother what was for dessert, she would sometimes answer "Wait and See."  Sometimes I think that God says that to us as well.  We are eager to know the future, but our wise parent knows that we don't need to know everything in advance and that some things are better as surprises.

So my theme, at least for now, is EXPECTATION!  I eagerly await the unfurling of His Plan for this year.