Sunday, November 22, 2015

This is Grace

Wednesday night we gathered to process one more time and to figure out what we wanted to focus on as we shared our stories with our congregations.  This was not an easy task!  This team had just been to Haiti where our lives were changed and challenged by our Haitian friends.  Out of all we had seen, heard, felt, touched, smelled; what was rising in our hearts that we just had to share?

We reviewed our pictures, remembered, celebrated the stories, and talked about how our lives would never be the same again.  And we finally narrowed down our focus on what we could share.

In the process Kim said, "Do we have a picture of TiCarme in the back seat of the van?  "I don't think so."  We continued to talk.  Kim, "Are you sure we don't have a picture of TiCarme in the back of the van?"  "No, Kim, I don't see one."  Kim, "I wish we had a picture of that."

The rest of us were confused.  "Kim, what is the big deal about TiCarme in the van?"  Kim, "It is a picture of the grace of God."  We were still confused.  "How do you see that?"

Kim, "She is so calm.  How can she live with all this need every day and be so calm?  She has joy in the work she does, but she has to say, 'No' to people every day. That has to be the grace of God."

He is right, you know.  I have never seen faith, persistence, patience, hope, love, joy, mercy, like I see in TiCarme.  This is a picture of the grace of God.  As director of Help the Youth she knows the needs, because she knows the families, her village, and her country.  But she also knows God, and God has called her to the mission of helping educate, encourage and empower the youth in her realm of influence.  She can't say yes to everyone, and sometimes that breaks her heart, but she also knows she is an agent of hope and a future for many young people who were hopeless.

Since she launched her mission, "Help the Youth," 18 months ago 100 students who were not able to go to school are now back in school.  And everyday at least 3 people come to her pleading for their children to be in the program.  Everyday she has to say, "No, not this year.  You can apply for next year, but we do not know how many studnets we will be able to take."  Then she and her board have to figure out which students can be in the program and which ones will once again hear, "No, not this year."

She is that picture we need, to remember that God calls us to be faithful and diligent, but also to trust in Him for provision and guidance.  The joy comes in the awareness that we are called to be agents of HOPE and a FUTURE for some incredible young people.  Again we invite you to come down and meet these young people and watch the grace of God in action.

For more information call 920-539-3238 or email to check out our organization, or to contribute financially go to and click Haiti when you give.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Connecting the dots

In 2008 I sensed God calling me to a ministry focused on the boomer generation.  I had even done my Doctor of Ministry work on spiritual formation for those in midlife and beyond.  I have been doing retreats and workshops, as well as life coaching for those in the midst of life transitions.  My mission statement is Motivating and Mobilizing the Boomer Generation for Greater Impact on the Kingdom of God.

Then in 2014 Haiti reappeared in our lives.  In 2001 we lived in Haiti for 9 months.  As we have reconnected with our friends there and become fundraisers for Help the Youth it has taken more and more of my time and energy and passion.  There was some conflict in my spirit about how this all fit with what I knew God had called me to do with the boomers and beyond.  Was I being diverted from my calling?  Was this really where I was supposed to invest?  Had I completed that season of my life?

Sometimes I realize I am a little slow on the uptake.  Not the brightest crayon in the box.  This week I finally connected the dots.  Last week we took our third group of people down to Haiti; all of them boomers.  Everyone of them said, "I will never be the same."  Lives were challenged and changed.  Jeff said, "This opens your heart to compassion. You can throw away the brochures in the mail, but when you look in their eyes your heart is opened up and the compassion comes."  It is a very dangerous thing to allow yourself to be this vulnerable.  It takes couage, because it will transform your life if you let it.

This transformation is not just a matter of giving more money, but of sharing more love, being more like Jesus.  It is seeing your brothers and sisters all around you, and in places you have never been.  It is feeling their pain and being willing to walk and work together.  It is becoming aware of our unity in the deepest parts of our being.  It is realizing there is so much we can learn from each other. It is recognizing Jesus all over the place!  It is opening up your world.

I still love to do retreats and workshops.  I still see incredible value in having a life coach.  But, I also celebrate that introducing friends to what God is up to in Haiti is another tool for motivating and mobilizing the boomer generation for greater impact on the Kingdom of God.

When Joshua was about to lead the people of God into the Promised Land  God spoke to him in these words, "Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous,  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9      

I talk with so many people who are looking for something more.  There is a stirring in their souls, a longing for more purpose, more connection with the things of God, but it takes courage to confront that stirring, to see what God is calling us to.  It means taking a first step.

If you are ready for a first step give me a call.  It might be engaging in coaching.  It might be gathering friends or church groups for a retreat or workshop, or it might be signing up for a future trip to Haiti.  We plan on going Feb. possible May and in July and November.

Be strong and courageous!!!  Your God will walk with you!
Call me at 920-539-3238

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Who's Lighting the Fire?

Who's Lighting the Fire?

We are having some friends over for a campfire tonight.  Al will light the fire.  He typically uses a little gasoline to help things along.  Last time he singed a few hairs right off his arm...too much help!

Sometimes Scripture surprises me by flipping a phrase on its ear.  We are all familiar with the phrase, "running around putting out fires."  Relationships gone awry, projects more complicated that we expected, multiple generations needing our attention, jobs, so many needs, so much uncertainty!   Angst can overwhelm!

Angst:  a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general.  (Oxford Dictionary)

So when I read Isaiah 50 this week it caused me to take a deeper look.  Verses 10-11 read:
Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant?
Let him/her who walks in dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.

 But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, 
go, and walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment.

Not only does God say, "Stop running around and trying to put out fires all the time."  God also says, "Trust me! and stop trying to light your own fires, make your own light, your own way, your own solutions."  God promises to walk with us through the darkness and bring the light in his way and time.  Don't dig yourself a deeper hole! Trust God!  As our Haitian friends continually remind us, "God knows!" Trust God!

A friend of mine who was stressing out about her financial future, walked into church one morning and literally got a message from God on the overhead screen which read,  "TRUST ME WITH YOUR FUTURE!"  Every time she starts to fear she returns to this message.

But it is so hard for us!!  We are so sure we need to worry, fix things, be "responsible"!  It is amazing to me how often people try to justify worrying by equating it with caring. How do we trust when we don't see the light?  There is a lot of both/and in living this out.  A life with God often sounds paradoxical (Seemingly absurd, self-contradictory).  I need to care without thinking I need to be the answer, or at least figure out the answer.

It is pretty encouraging to do a Scripture study of the phrases Don't worry and Do not be afraid!  God KNOWS we are prone to worrying.  God wants to save us from ourselves.  

So the next time you find yourself swimming in angst I encourage you to check yourself, as I will be checking myself, and repeat a mantra that helps you turn to trusting the name of the Lord and relying on your God.  It might be repeating that verse, or even just saying the name of Jesus, or praying the prayer, "Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me."  

What helps you? I'd love to hear the spiritual disciplines you use.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Carpet Cleaning with a Purpose

Carpet Cleaning with a Purpose

(Confession: This is not just a blog.)
Today I spent the day cleaning carpets. It provides great thinking time. Back and forth, back and forth.....

I got to pondering how I could raise the funds still needed this year for Help the Youth, in Haiti. I thought about ways other organizations raise money and how people get involved. Some use running, or walking, biking, or golf. We contribute to good causes by doing all of these things. Back and forth, back and forth....

Suddenly I began to wonder, “If people will sponsor people to do the things they enjoy, how much could I raise by cleaning carpets?” It is a service; lots of people need their carpets cleaned. It would give me a chance to share the story of Haiti as I visit people in their homes. It gives me time to think and meditate.

So this is what I came up with: in the month of September I challenge you to help me raise funds for Haiti. How can you do that?
  1. Hire me to clean you carpets and provide a donation for Haiti. (Please be generous!)
  2. Don't need your carpets cleaned? I'll bet you know someone who could use the help. Maybe your parents, grandparents or kids, maybe a sister or friend. Gift them with a clean carpet and help someone in Haiti.
  3. Want to do more than give money, and you own a carpet cleaner? Join me, even if it is long distance. Get the word out that you are willing to clean a carpet for a donation to Help the Youth, Haiti.
  4. Offer to sponsor me for every carpet I clean this month.
  5. Help me get the word out.

Here is the challenge. This fall we need to raise:
  1. $7000 for scholarships and program costs for the rest of the 2015/16 school year.
  2. $1000 for Christmas chickens, our gift to the students.
  3. $1000 for t-shirts, helping to build identity as a group.
Let me know if you think of easier ways to earn the money :)  But for now let's try this!  How much do you think I can raise?

For more information on Help the Youth check out some of my earlier posts or go to

Help the Youth is providing scholarships for 100 students go to school this year who have no other way to pay their tuition.  It is an indigenous Haitian mission.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Visit in the Northwoods

I am posting this from the Student Union at UW-Superior, found in the Wisconsin Northwoods, about as far north and west as you can get and still be in Wisconsin.  A drive across the bridge and you are in Duluth Minnesota.  There was a dusting of snow here this morning...Northwoods!

I am here on a visit to Acacia and family.  I also went to Solon Sorings to visit my first cousin, Pauline and her Northwoods writing group.  What a stimulating and delightful group of people.  Some of them are published authors, while others are predominantly writing for their families; however all of them realize they have a story to tell.  Therefore, I felt very at home with this gathering of Pauline's cohorts.

The process for the group was that each one had 8 minutes to update the group on what was happening in their lives and then share whatever they chose from something they had written.  Let me say it again...They each had a story to tell, both in the current update, and from their writing.

I discovered I had wandered into a congregation or sorts, a community most definitely!  Here was a safe place to share life, to receive encouragement, to be with others.

As one woman shared what had happened in a family member's life she commented, "He needs a lot of, (there was a bit of a pause in which my very churched mind filled in the word, prayer.) encouragement.  As I drove back to Superior my mind was drawn back to this snippet of conversation.
He needs a lot of,,,encouragement.

What I realized is that "he" probably needed both prayer and encouragement, and often I might do the first, but would I be as likely to do the second, or did prayer somehow get me off the hook of being the person to provide the encouragement?  I can offer up a prayer in a matter of seconds, but encouraging someone takes time, being intentional, making those connections, writing that note, stopping by to say, "Hello...(I see you in your pain.)"  Sharing a hug, or a meal, a cup of coffee and some conversation. Sounds a lot like loving our neighbor as ourselves, doesn't it?

I liked my new Northwoods friends and hope I can join them again to be inspired by their stories and their community.  I don't know how most of them would name their faith, or describe their faith journey, but I found community.  I also heard a little of their story, and where you hear a story and find community you find God.

Hebrews 10:25  Let us not neglect meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.

Monday, April 27, 2015


Notes on the weekend I spent at the Crossroads Women's Conference.

  1. Everywhere I go God introduces me to beautiful new sister's and brothers in Christ. (Isn't it strange how it feels to read sisters and brothers instead of brothers and sisters?)
  2. God loves to rain down grace in humorous ways.
  3. Diversity is the spice of life. Enjoy!
  4. People are so gracious even when we make costly mistakes.
I had the privilege to be the keynote speaker at this annual retreat on Long Beach Island, New Jersey.
It was a gift to be with 100 women all growing in faith and love: women from the Mid-Atlantic states, Kenya, Korea, Jamaica and ???

My mistake? I flew into the wrong airport and they had to arrange additional transportation to get me where I needed to be...ooops. They were very kind, but of course I was beating myself up over it until one of my hosts said, “If that is the biggest mistake you make you better just get over yourself.” She said it in such a way that I could receive it and “get over myself.” (Thank you, Kathy.)

That seemed to be a theme God was working on with me that weekend.

This is how I began my presentation that Friday evening. “This afternoon I called Al and said, 'You better pray for me. I feel so tired and uninspiring. I don't feel like I have anything to offer.' He encouraged me, and it was real, because I knew he understood exactly what I was saying. I told him I was going outside, find a bench overlooking the ocean and pray and meditate on what I would be sharing.”

“I went out and found my bench. I prayed, pretty much telling God the same thing I had told Al, I reread my notes and Scripture, and then a bird pooped on my head.” (The room burst into laughter.)

“I returned to my room to take a shower, which is always a good place for inspiration, and I sensed God saying to me... 'Holly get over yourself. This weekend isn't about you. You are right, you are tired and uninspiring, but what I do isn't dependent on you. It is dependent on me.' I wanted to be a powerful speaker. I wanted to say inspiring things, which is all good, but I needed to be reminded that I am simply a tool. I needed to be prepared, as best I could, and surrendered and let God do God's work.”

My sister, Claudette said later, “Isn't it something how grace moments sometimes come in the form of bird poop.” Another friend said, “Sometimes God gives us these experiences just so we have great illustrations.” Another comment was, “Sometimes we are anointed with oil, sometimes with bird poop.”

I told the ladies, “I'm afraid you will always remember me as the lady who had a bird poop on her head.” It became a big part of the weekend. It was a little crazy, but God showered us with his sense of humor and grace. Obviously nobody planned it, we just had to go where grace led, and God touched what I had prepared.

There were so many other powerful moments over the weekend. The worship times were awe-inspiring. The fellowship was sweet. The workshops were powerful. The Lord was present!

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

There is a Dream

There is a dream in Haiti.
It is dream that there will be food on our tables and clothes on our backs.

There is a dream in Haiti.
It is a dream that I will be able to find work, and perhaps work with dignity.

There is a dream in Haiti.
It is a dream that because I have been helped I will be able to help my community.

There is a dream in Haiti.
It is a dream that the young people who are falling through the cracks will be able to go to school.

There is a dream in Haiti.
It is a dream that those without hope will find hope.

There is a dream in Haiti.
It is a dream that our youth will be disciples, young men and women of love and leadership.

We see this dream in the eyes of our friends and partners TiCarme, and Arnold and Rodrique.

We see this dream in the eyes of the 40 students who were the first ones rescued from the cracks;
who a year ago were desperate to get back in school;
who today are back in school!

15 months ago one of these students came to TiCarme and said, “TiCarme, you can help us!” And he was absolutely right. TiCarme is a leader in her community, they call her “Mayor.” TiCarme knows the needs, she knows the families and their stories, she knows the schools and the teachers. TiCarme knows what it takes for students to not simply survive, but to thrive. She also has Arnold and Rodrique who share her dream. But TiCarme was missing the financial resources to make the dream come to life.

14 months ago TiCarme called us. We were in Haiti for 8 months in 2001 and had remained friends ever since. TiCarme said, “I can't lay this on your heart, but God can. You can help us.” TiCarme's call came about a month after Al said to me, “I think God is calling us back to Haiti.” God was busy laying it on our hearts! We returned to Haiti in May to explore.

We were in Haiti again in February and met with the first 40 students of Mission: Help the Youth Get an Education. Four of them gave a speech. Each of them began with these words, “We thank God, first of all, for laying it on your hearts to help us, so that someday we can help others.”

Now it is our turn to say, “We can't lay it on your hearts, but God can...You can help us.” Like TiCarme we can't do it alone. We need partners here in the United States...people with resources to share in the dream. You may not think you have much to offer, but together...we can help.

Do you want to be part of making the dream come true? Is God laying it on your heart?

Perhaps you need a trip to explore, like we did. We invite you to join us on a trip with a mission. We are planning trips for May, July and November to build friendship and partnership bridges. You will be able to see for yourself what God is accomplishing in the country of Haiti, in a village called Neply.  Contact us if you want more information at  

I wonder what God will lay on your heart.

Seasoning at work

Truthfully...I don't often think about being "old."  My mantra is, "I could live to be 90 or beyond,(My mom is 91) and I don't plan to be "old" for 30 years!  How about you?

However...I do feel like just maybe I am entering another season of aging.

This past Sunday through Tuesday I was at a wonderful retreat for pastor's wives in Freeport, IL. It was provided by Deer Ridge Ministries, and all of you ministry type families need to check out the support they offer to pastors and their families.  It is wonderful!

As I am enjoying the retreat I suddenly realize, "I think I am the oldest person in the room!"  A new first for me...being the oldest person at an event like this.  WOW!  I admit it was a bit of a shock. Pam Farrel, author of numerous books, was the speaker and talked of those in midlife as being "seasoned sisters."  I guess I was the most "seasoned" among them.

Monday morning found me and perhaps the second oldest woman there sitting with two younger pastor's wives; listening to their stories, sharing in their pain, lifting them up in prayer.  What a blessing it was to be able to encourage and support them.  God bonded our hearts over breakfast.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with an Australian pastor about the age of my son who told me he really believed his generation needed, "older women" to support, encourage and counsel pastors and their families.

I know the support isn't just needed by ministry folks.  I believe our generation is called to be the Elizabeths (Mary's cousin) and the Mordecais (Queen Esther's cousin) to the next generation.  We are the ones who can share our stories, but perhaps more importantly listen to theirs.  We can come along side them to encourage, empower and believe in what God is doing in and through them.

Mary was given the gift of Elizabeth to be able to fulfill her role in God's great story.  Three months of living and listening to this wise woman of God, prepared Mary for the overwhelming task to which God had called her.

Could young Queen Esther possibly have accomplished her God-given task of saving her people without Mordecai standing beside her, believing in her and encouraging her to do what seemed like the impossible; but which was, in fact, exactly what she had been born to do?

Who are the young people God has placed in your life, your family, your world, who need your support.  Maybe it looks like God has called them to an impossible situation or opportunity.  Maybe nobody else will say, "Go for it!  You can do it.  I see the Spirit of God at work in you!  You have been born for this!"

Maybe what they are doing doesn't make sense by the world's standards and so there is lots of opposition.  Maybe it is just plain long and hard.  Relish the opportunity to walk with them, pray for them, believe in God at work in them!

EMBRACE this time, this season.  Smile when people refer to you as the "Older Woman."  It is a place of privilege and opportunity.

Luke 1:45  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dream Big, Pray Hard, Think Long

The words in that title come from Mark Batterson's book, The Circle Maker.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

"Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  I wonder what we expect when we pray that Jesus-given prayer.

I wonder if God has been frustrated with my expectations when I pray that prayer.
I'm guessing, "Yes, he is."

But God is working on me.  He hasn't given up.  So I am in a huge new season of growth in my relationship with God and prayer.  That is both exciting and very scary!

Part of my growth is fueled by Mark's book, The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears.  Another piece of the puzzle is, everything I seem to learn from Mark I see lived out in TiCarme, our friend in Haiti.  She is my teacher!

In a sense God seems to be saying to me, "Dream big and pray hard or you end up watching from the sidelines. Dream big and pray hard or be satisfied to only do what you think you can do without my help.  Dream big and pray hard or play it safe, which doesn't bring me the glory I desire."

The other option is "Dream big and pray hard and be blown away by God's glory, power and provision.

The last part of the title for this blog says "Think long."  Because God's ways are not our ways, and God's timing is not our timing, and we can't claim to understand all that God is up to.  And sometimes it gets really, really hard to keep praying and believing. So when your prayer doesn't seem to be answered when you want, or how you want, remember... God knows!  God knows and sees the big picture.  And his promises never fail, because God's love never fails!

Numbers 6:24-26New International Version (NIV)

24 “‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Lord provides on the Mountain

God knows.  This is our Haitian friend TiCarme's response to our questions of How?  When?  With what?  How Many?  God knows. And she believes, God cares, God works, God provides, all according to his wisdom and compassion.  GOD KNOW!

Last night as I headed to bed I read a few pages from "The Story," which is the Bible set in a chronological novel form.  The story I was up to was Abraham and Isaac. I read about his birth and God's challenge to Abraham to offer Isaac up as a sacrifice. Do you remember the story?  God speaks to Abraham and tells him to go to the mountain and sacrifice his son, his only son, the son of promise.  This was the son who was supposed to lead to generations of descendants too numerous to count.  But here was God asking Abraham to give him up...sacrifice him on an altar.

They get up the mountain and Abraham has Isaac tied down on the altar before God intervenes and says, "Stop Abraham.  Now I know you won't even withold your son from me."  And in the bushes God provides a ram for the sacrifice.

This morning I decided to check out what was happening at Western seminary for chapel and read that the drama team from Northwestern college, which is always wonderful, was doing chapel.  So I went over.  Guess what story they dramatized.  Yup, Abraham and Isaac on the mountain of sacrifice, and on the mountain of God's provision.

Genesis 22:14  So Abraham called this place, "The Lord will provide." And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided."

Last week we were in Haiti (which literally means Mountains).  We listened to our Haitian parnters share their dreams of what they believed God was calling them to do and be in their community and country.  It was awesome, but also scary.  Last year they helped 40 students who wouldn't have been able to go to school without a scholarship.  They are excited!  They see hundreds more. They have the heart, the knowledge, the connections in their community.  They know the people, the needs, the schools, the teachers, but they need resources, and that is where we come in.  We have made a commitment to HELP find God's resources to fulfill their dreams.

As we were flying back Friday evening I began to have a panic attack as I thought about those dreams and plans.  My thoughts went like this:  "I'm not a good fund raiser!  This is way over my head!  I'll never get a good nights sleep again!  Every time I close my eyes I see Haiti."

Then God whispered to me, "You are right; you are not a very good fund raiser...but the funds are mine.  You are in over your head...but I called you to this, so you don't have to do it alone.  Go to sleep.  Trust me!  I see Haiti.

This morning God reminded me again...On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Haiti, Chickens and God at work!

Perhaps many of you remember that last fall I invited you to participate in sending Christmas gifts down to 40 students we are providing scholarships for in Haiti.  Your response was so encouraging!

This past week Al and I and three friends from Silver Creek Ministries here in German Valley, Illinois went down to Haiti to learn more about our students and the program, "Help the Youth Get an Education"  What a JOY!

When I suggested to TiCarme that we would like to provide chickens for their Christmas meal
in addition to the French Bible she was planning to give them, she responded with enthusiasm.  In my mind she would go to the market and buy a frozen chicken for each family...silly me :)  Instead, TiCarme purshased a live chicken and presented it to each family. Thursday we met with our students and heard over and over again, "Thank you for the Christmas gifts.  Thank you for the chicken."  The young woman sitting next to me said, "Mine is still alive.  We are saving it for my birthday meal in March."    Think about that a little.  To have meat on her birthday was so special she saved her chicken for 3 months.

It is little stories like this that help us understand the situation of these amazing brothers and sisters in Christ.

As we gathered with the students last Thursday afternoon Al and I compared the faces we were looking at with the faces we had seen last May.  In May these students were not in school.  They had no financial resources to make it happen.  They desperately wanted to continue their education.  They were solemn.  Thursday it was like meeting a new group of students.  They were smiling, engaging, excited about what was happening.  You could tell that they knew they were a part of something God was doing in their midst.  They were a family of students.

This was an answer to the prayers uttered last May.  The adults working with them, TiCarme, Rodrique and Arnold told them, "You are not just a part of a are a family."  Now they could testify to it!  Several of the students greeted us, and all started out the same, "First of all we thank God, because God laid it on your hearts to help us, so that one day we can help others."  They are already helping others!  They are helping me to see God in the lives of these young men and women.

My thoughts as I listened to them were, "How very sad it would be if these young people could not finish their education.  They exuded leadership, poise and promise.  God made a way, because he knows the potential in their lives...and we get to be cut in on the action!!"  Praise be to God for the wonderful deeds he has done.

And now begins the next step in the journey.  The dreams and faith of TiCarme, Rodrique and Arnold are bigger than our minds can comprehend. Their response to our questions of When?  How?  Where? is "GOD KNOWS."

Guide us, O Thou Great Jehovah, pilgrims in this barren land;
We are weak, but Thoug art mighty; hold us with Thy powerful hand;
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven feed us 'til we want no more,
Feed us 'til we want no more.

Stay tuned for updates on when we will be making our next trip to Haiti.  We would love to introduce you to some amazing people, in an amazing place.  We guarantee, if you come looking for God you will find Him there.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Kids are so real!

 Al had an extra little adventure while we were in Australia.  He was going to mow the lawn for the kids when he became short of breath and started sweating profusely.  He laid on the lawn while I called for Cory to come outside.  "Something is going on with Dad."

Cory "quickly" drove Al to the emergency room, while I stayed home with the kids. Obviously they knew something was going on and were worried about it.  Three year old Luka wanted to know what was wrong with Papa.  I told him that we didn't know, but that daddy was taking him to the hospital to make sure papa's heart was working right.

A minute later Luka said, "Baby Aiden's heart wasn't working and he died."  I didn't know anything about this friend of their family, but I tried to assure him that the Drs. would check his heart, but he would be okay.  Later Luka was being naughty, hitting his little brother and sister.  I said, "Luka, what is going on?"  He looked at me and said, "My papa might die!"

I wonder if I was being as honest as Luka about my fears.

I've been thinking about how important it was for Luka to be able to communicate his fears, to be able to verbalize what was wrong in his world.  I thought it was pretty amazing for a 3 year old.  It is probably amazing for any of us to be able to stop and consider what is making us do what we do...say what we say...think what we think.

How often do I respond to someone with anger, because I am afraid?  How often am I ornery and I don't even know why?  How often do I ignore what is going on inside me in order to seem strong and put together to others?  How much healthier would we be if we paid more attention to our thoughts and fears and emotions to figure out what we need to be whole.  Then we could come to God honestly, and openly, and lie down before Him to receive from him the peace and assuance we need.

In the end, after many tests they told Al that all was heart issues, no blood clots.  They said it wasn't unusual for people to have episodes like this following long haul flights.  The stress can cause your body to have a panic attack.  So we are thanking God that all is well.

  1. Search me, O God, and know my heart today,
    Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;
    See if there be some wicked way in me;
    Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.
  2. I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
    Fulfill Thy word and make me pure within;
    Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
    Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.
  3. Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
    Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine;
    Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
    I now surrender, Lord, in me abide.
  4. O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee;
    Send a revival, start the work in me;
    Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
    For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.

It was another chance to learn from the children.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

One Word

Have you seen some of the facebook posts about choosing a word for 2015 instead of making and breaking resolutions?  The responses are interesting.  There are some folks who say they can't choose just one word and then list several wonderful attributes they desire, peace, truth, compassion, mercy, etc.  Most of those mentioned are admirable, but I don't think they are quite getting the purpose of the exercise.

The intention is to focus our thoughts and hearts on hearing the number one thing God is laying on our hearts.  We did this last year and Al's word was "wait," while mine was "presence."  For the whole year my intention was to be aware of how God was calling me to bring the presence of Christ into every place and situation I found myself.  Sometimes I did it well.  Sometimes I forgot, but it was a significant year of growth in realizing that is what I am called to do...bring Jesus, who dwells inside me, wherever I go, and then act like I believe Jesus would act.  One word.

So this year I believe my word is to be "attention."  I need to pay attention and give attention.  I need to give attention to those people and situations where I am being the presence of Christ.  I need to "give attention" to my mom, who is 91.  I need to "give attention" to my marriage with the added challenge of being in two different locations most of the time.  I need to "give attention" to my kids and grandkids, but I also need to "give attention" to the other people God places in my path.

I need to "pay attention" so that I don't miss the God sightings all around me, or the whispers of God that fill the air.  I want to expect to see God in an abundance of people, circumstances and places.  I want to learn all that God has to teach me as I move through my days.

I encourage you to meditate and wait on the Lord to see what one word He brings to your awareness. It is hard to focus and hold in your mind six or seven words for the year.  But I think if you will take the time to discern that one focus for the year you will find God at work in a multitude of ways, taking you deeper into his perfect plans for your life.

Do it with a friend/spouse/sibling, ect. so you can share the ways your word is showing up and guiding you through 2015.

Blessings, my friends!

Proverbs 4:20-23  My child, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them in your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a person's whole body.  Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.