Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Here's a photo of Dave in Vernonia during some better days for that community. We were there for a good friend's 50th wedding anniversary held at the Vernonia Community Church.

Just last week Dave organized a work crew and the kids and I were in the same town, in front of that same church scooping mud and cleaning was a privilege to serve Jesus and Vernonia together with my family.

But the whole thing came about when it did because of Dave's initiative to pull together the "fastest service/mission trip ever!" That, and many volunteers willing to drop everything, get muddy, and work very hard!

I love Dave!
What a gift his is to me,our family and our big church family too!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

it IS my job!

Tomorrow my kids and I are joining the team Dave is heading up to go scoop mud out of people's homes in Vernonia. Yes, it's the busiest time of year...yes my kids should be in school, yes there are a number of reasons why it's not my job...

But Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. And if myself was living in a cold house that had just been flooded so I couldn't even turn the furnace on to keep my kids warm, well, I would hope someone would come help -- and soon!

Sound like fun? Come join us tomorrow! Just email Dave at:

ps. this photo from:

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Hoy sounds like "oy" because you don't say the "h" and it means "today" in Spanish. Today, there is talk of snow. Today McKenzie has plans to go to "high tea" with friends. Today DJ plans to paint her science project. Today T.Michael will be some kind of super-hero -- I guarantee it! Today Dave has a couple meetings planned at the church...But the absolute coolest thing happening today is that I get to use my Spanish!

Our church is hosting a toy and coat drive, and I've been asked to interpret for the families that don't speak English. What an honor! Because of where we live I get to use Spanish a lot. But this is different.

Hoy is a chance to warmly greet someone in their native tongue. Hoy is a chance to look at someone in the eye, and smile. Hoy is the opportunity to extend honor, dignity and friendship to people who might otherwise be hesitant to walk through our doors. Hoy is the day that someone might step a little closer to Him because of I said, what an honor!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

...i am thankful

I have been given so much, my life, my family, each new day...I am very thankful!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

baked bread

I'm not much for the smell of incense...especially that stuff in mall that silently sneaks out of it's store, assails my nose and punches me in the stomach as I walk by...but I have to believe that the incense of Psalm 141:2 is different than all that cheap mall stuff.

Psalm 141:2
May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

Then again in Revelation:

Revelation 5:8
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Revelation 8:3
Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.

Revelation 8:4
The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand.

Yes, our prayers are pleasing to God. And I long to please Him. I don't know what "incense" smells like to God, but when I think of pleasing smells, fresh baked bread comes to mind! Yes, I love it, at the right time it can even make my mouth water. Sometimes I want bread just because it smells so good. Do you think it's possible that our prayers can be that kind of aroma when offered up to God?

Monday, November 19, 2007

feeling blue

Oreo strikes again! When the kids and I came home from choir rehearsal tonight, we found Dave scolding Oreo, and a blue polka-dotted home -- yep, Oreo discovered ball-point pens! Both floors of the house, all down the stairs, and even on some furniture...keep in mind we JUST HAD THE CARPETS DONE!


...thought I'd share the joy with you! We got our carpets cleaned last Thursday to prepare for Thanksgiving Day. And of course Oreo got very sick all over the carpets Friday morning, and again, and again...I'm not sure about this whole dog thing!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I had an interesting conversation with the Lord this morning. I was telling Him I was sorry I had to "miss worship" today....
You see, this morning at 4:30am I woke up to find a crying little boy vomiting in his bed. Yes, I think it's yucky too. But I love this little guy so with Dave's help we dealt with the bedding, got him cleaned up and snuggled into a fresh blanket in the family room. I was "resting" with him (and dealing with an excited puppy at the same time) when the whole process started all over again.
Then my daughter woke up around 5:30am with and unidentifiable itchy rash on her arm, and again the puppy got get the picture.
So it's time for church and I'm outside hosing off the bedding, saying to God something like, "I wish I didn't have to miss worship today." When suddenly I felt Him answer, "You are worshiping Me."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

cheesy chuck

Ever hung out with Chuck? If not, you have to try it at least once. Chuck E. Cheese parties can be a little rowdy, but for a 7-year old (and younger) it rocks! T. Michael had his party there this week and they had a blast!

...and for those of you who know what this means: yep, Dave got the mouse a little riled up!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


In our Jr High small group we are covering the basics, like:
Having your own Bible is like having your own flashlight...Sure it's nice to share with others, but when you use your own you can see more clearly.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

would you rather?

"Would you rather buy a new jacket or praise the Lord?"

...was a question asked very loudly by one of my jr hi small-group girls in a random conversation with her friend. This had nothing to do with our group discussion at the time and the outburst made me laugh, and I thought it needed to be blogged!
(I also laughed when without hesitation her friend replied, "Hey, why can't I just praise the Lord in my new jacket?!")

Monday, October 08, 2007


I spent a great weekend in Yakima visiting family. My Mom and several of her sisters were able to spend time together in their old home town. What a beautiful land. Still, I loved coming back into the very rainy, green valley yesterday!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

cooties is my official definition of "Cooties" for my new 12 year old daughter: "Cooties" is a very serious disease caused by touching, hanging around, or even thinking about boys. Some boys are cured of the disease after they grow up -- but that is yet to be determined...on a case by case basis. Therefore, the best medicine is prevention. Just say no. Be strong...don't worry about it, just avoid it...always...forever...and ever...(you get the idea :-)
Of course the brilliant 3yr old that I care for said it best yesterday when my 12yr old again asked me: "What are cooties?" With all seriousness and confidence he answered, "It's a game!" (Way to go practical on me!)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


"Jen, what are Cooties?" asked my new 12 year old from, how would YOU answer that one?

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I need a little grace. I mean it's not a really big deal, but I need grace dealing with all this change. Some would say it's my pride talking, but I think it's really a symptom of the dreaded disease: Change Overload

For me it started way back when our church's Vacation Bible School changed its name from VBS to SSS which stands for Super Summer Spectacular. Please don't get me wrong, I'm all for change (stop it Dave) and I "get" why we change the name of things -- in this case it was important because our church ministers to kids in a truly spectacular way. Our children's ministry is very creative and SSS much better represents what really happens that week in the summer. But then this amazing tidal wave of changes started.

It's not just our church, it's sort of a nation-wide thing. Churches in general started changing their names and establishing new identities. I remember when a wave of new "Community" churches the same buildings with the same people as the Baptist Churches used to be. (Hey, I grew up Baptist, so I get to talk about this!)

When I first started attending our church here in Portland, what I grew up calling "Bible Study" was called "Home Group" and sometimes "Small Group" and now changed again to "Life Group." Last year our youth "Retreats" changed to "Advances" (See, it's a GOOD thing I know, I'm not saying it isn't I promise!)

Just for fun, I call Christian Supply (the local Christian book store) "Supply" just because it will save me a step know, one less thing!

Well, I propose we extend a little more grace to each other when we accidentally use the old name for things. Remember, some of these names of things I've been using here in Portland for the last 12 years! Other names of things I've been using since I first started attending church at age 3yrs. I am getting older you know, and change happens a little more slowly. Hey I know, I propose that you laugh at my mistakes and I'll laugh at yours! Maybe its not so much an overload of change, as it is that other dreaded disease: Correction Overload

Thursday, September 20, 2007

road kill

It's interesting having a 7th grader in the house. They do lots of dissecting of things in Science class. It's also interesting how easily I get queasy in my old age.

The last two days have involved transporting "extra credit" (road kill) to my new daughter's science class. One day a mole, the next a rat -- they were donated by my very helpful neighbors. Both days I had a stomach ache -- any correlation you think?

Last night we passed a dear in the middile of the road on the way home from youth group, "Forget about it!" I declaired in my best New York accent.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

real ministry

"Do you think I have cancer?" asked my son's seven year old friend with all the seriousness that little boys should never have to have.

This was an important moment in his life. You see this little guy had just lost his 6 year old t-ball buddy to cancer the year before. His neighbor to cancer the month before. And his Grandpa to cancer the week before.

Now he's standing in my kitchen, rubbing an itch on his eye and asking me in all seriousness if he has cancer. When I take his shoulders, look him in the eye, and tell him with great motherly confidence that "No, you do not have cancer." I can feel God working through me -- Now that is real ministry, and it is an honor.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

bad dog!

...actually, just "teething dog!" Dave had the great idea to make a giant Christmas wreath out of all the chewed up victims of Oreo! I can't wait. It will be a very big wreath!

Friday, September 07, 2007


"What a splendid day!" said Anne, drawing a long breath. "Isn't it good just to be alive on a day like this? I pity the people who aren't born yet for missing it. They may have good days, of course, but they can never have this one. And it's splendider still to have such a lovely way to go to school by, isn't it?"
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

My kids started school this week and this paragraph just about illustrates their excitement! "My class feels just like a family!" exclaimed McKenzie. "I have so many friends already!" shared T.Michael with great enthusiasm. That was the FIRST day.

Yesterday, day two, McKenzie shared, "My teacher said she went to bed at 8:30pm." (Poor dear) And then T.Michael reluctantly shared, ", have to sit by someone else tomorrow." (Hmmm)

Here we go with real life already!

...did I mention we had a complete blast this summer?!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Adios Felix!

Thank you for your prayers. Felix passed over Honduras with little effect on our loved ones!
Here's a copy of the email sent by the Director of the orphanage in Honduras to Rona who is our U.S. contact person:

Dear Rona,
Thankfully we are all fine. Just a bit of rain.....we are blessed that Felix veered south after hitting land. The children and staff are fine, and school should resume as normal tomorrow. The community stepped up to the plate, offering assistance, water, etc.....Our internet is down at Hogar, even at our house the service comes and goes, as does the electricity.
Please spread the word.
Thanks for your love and prayers,

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Please pray for my friends in Honduras as they face Hurricane Felix today. I've been in contact with them, and they are prepared and praying. Please pray specifically for the Hogar de Ninos Emanuel (the orphanage) and for the Maradiaga family. From what I've read, landslides are also a big issue during these storms. I got an email from Jeny Maradiaga, she was thanking me for the prayers on their behalf.

Friday, August 31, 2007


Hey, celebrate with me! A missionary friend of mine just came home from an amazing summer mission in Africa! God did many miracles in and through her, and I am so excited she has returned "home" safely!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pooh (Not Winnie)

I had an interesting job yesterday -- Collecting dog pooh from Oreo for a visit to the Vet....WHAT?!!

sucky I got a little feedback from the neighbor/friend I helped write for a funeral last Monday. My friend's 7 yr old son came over to play after the funeral. 7 yr olds talk in the most precious way!

First he told me how he couldn't speak at the funeral. "I mean I didn't know I was expected to speak in front of those Army men," he said, "They had guns! BIG guns! So I wasn't gonna talk, huh-uh. Noooo way!" But then he followed up with, "But I did have a few tears, I mean he was my Grandpa. He was family!"

After reassuring him that it was okay to cry when he wanted to, I asked him if his Mom spoke at the funeral. "Yes she did," he replied, "And she asked people afterward and they said it wasn't sucky." (Hey, well at least we've got that going for us!)

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Well, I experienced a first yesterday. A friend of mine lost her Father-in-law the same day we lost a very good family friend to cancer too. What a hard time. My friend asked me to help her write out what she will say at the funeral. She will be the speaker at his graveside service as his body is laid to rest at the Willamette National Cemetery. He was in the military and will receive full our job was to come up with something honoring for her to say as well.

At first I didn't feel "qualified" to help. But you know, I realized that because I know Jesus personally -- I am qualified! I thank God that He left us His Word to refer to, that gives us counsel and comfort in times like these! With some suggestions from our friend Pastor George (for which I am very thankful), we were able to come up with something she feels will be good and comforting to share.

...big sigh...

love at first sight

Do you believe in love at first sight? I sure do. No, I don't mean romantic love, although that may be possible. I mean a mother's love. Which is big, let me tell you. I'm referring to our new daughter Jennifer (she came to us with that name:-) from Korea. She joined our family yesterday and will be staying with us for maybe a couple years. I hope so, 'cuz we all love her already!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


We got a new dog. Oreo. He's 4 months old. We're dealing with kennel cough and house training for now, but other than that he's kinda great to have around!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

hope seems the bigger our church family gets, the more I'm confronted with hardship and tragedy in the lives of people I love. Still I have hope. Only in Him. We must remember, the rest is temporary. Psalm 142:

Psalm 142

I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me. Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, O LORD; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living." Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Relay for Life

Our family just returned from our annual Relay for Life 24 hour walk at a high school in Washington -- it was a great time for us to rally around our own survivor: My Mom! She's cancer-free for 9 years now! Mom likes dragon flies, so they are our team mascot, and our team name is Wings of Hope. It was a great walk, so many people with booths around the track to raise money -- very creative fund-raisers like bean-bag toss, bounce-house for kids, and at our site we gave people temporary tattoos. I'm proud of our family and friends, all together at our site we raised about $1000 to help with cancer research. It was a lot of fun with a purpose!

Monday, July 02, 2007

RE: music on the island (6/24)

Wow, I'm really humbled by your responses. You are much nobler than I, but since this is a truthful blog, I have to admit I would choose Elton John. It's not that I endorse his thoughts or choices, but almost every one of his songs can strike up a life-memory of one time or another...and Crocodile Rock, rocks!

Saturday, June 30, 2007


Here is a link to watch a little video of our visit to Honduras. Dave made this as a 'thank you' to people who helped sponser a new building for the orphans at Hogar De Ninos Emanuel. The building shown at the end of the video is an apartment just for pre-schoolers to live in along with their own "house-Mom" rather than being in the dorm with older children.
Thanks again for documenting these amazing memories Dave!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

graffiti clean-up

Check out this link to an awesome video my oh-so-handsome husband made when our youth group came to help in our neighborhood. It was a great evening of helping neighbors, making new friends, and showing people that teens have a really big heart!

my "shape"

My church has this cool thing to help people find out how they're gifted and how they might fit into serving opportunities in the church -- they call it: Finding your SHAPE. It's an encouraging way of looking at people's Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences and helps people get plugged in and serving Jesus in the church.

I really like the tool; I just don't like what it's called. "Finding your shape" has a whole different connotation for a girl like me. I mean, I already know my shape. Generally it's called "pear-shaped. " But I call it Barney-shaped and I'm trying to fix it!

The good news is that contrary to common belief in our society, our usefulness to God and reaching others with His love has nothing to do with our little imperfections. I find great comfort that when I look at my "SHAPE" profile at church, it has nothing to do with big-hipped, purple dinosaurs! Hurrah!

what would you choose? you're stranded on a deserted island. The only choice you have to make, the ONLY thing you can control is...what music will you listen to while on the island? It can be only one artist or group for all the rest of your days on this island...who will it be? (I know who I'd choose, what about you?:-)

throw me a bone

hey there friends! Lately many of you have mentioned you want me to blog more. And I want to too -- you know how it is with working and all...but really, it's hard for me to blog to the great unknown. Do you know what I mean dear Blogger friends? Say hello sometimes, would ya! I mean, throw me a bone, people!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ugly no more!

Have you ever been thirsty? I mean really thirsty? That's how I felt a few years ago when I went to Mexico to serve with our church youth. We had the privilege of working with AMOR ministries and we were on a dry, dusty, sunny construction site and suddenly I was very thirsty.

I'm talking about the kind of thirst that drives you to stop all activity except that which leads you to water. It's funny to think that at first I thought the big, orange water cooler was to ugly to drink from. I know it sounds snobby of me, but it was dirty and smeared with hand prints and there was mud on the side where dust stuck to condensation when we sat it down on an old work table.

When I left the camp that morning with a full, clean water bottle I had the luxury of thinking that big orange thing was too ugly to drink from. I mean come on, I had my standards! Then after hours of manual labor (new to me!) and hot sun (also new to me -- I am from Portland you know!) my water bottle was drained and I had to find more...and the big orange cooler started changing. Not only did it hold water -- it was the BEST water I have ever tasted in my life! It was ugly no more!

I've been pondering water since I came across this cool verse during my morning quiet time with God's Word: Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. (Prov. 25:25) And then yesterday I heard from my good friend Aline who moved to the great CA years ago, and I experienced that verse first-hand. Whereas I didn't start my day feeling "weary" I sure had a little more pep in my step after she called!
Some good friends of mine are on their way to Alaska where I'm sure they will be like a cold drink of water to the friends they visit too. They are going to build and run a Bible camp for young people this summer and they have some really long-lasting friendships there and there are all these new people they will get to meet. I'm sure all who come into contact with them will be refreshed because these friends of mine -- they are tapped into the Living Water. Yep, Jesus Christ Himself directs their path!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

lost change

My Lord Jesus told this really awesome story (parable) about a lady who lost a coin...well, here, it's short so I'll print it for you:

The Parable of the Lost Coin * Luke 15

8"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' 10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

I am so much like that lady. When I lose something I can drive myself and my poor family crazy looking for it. I have been known to "sweep the house" and stay up late looking for certain things. Like one time last year I lost the grocery money. (oops, Dave, didn't I tell ya?) This was especially bad because we keep a cash envelope for groceries and that meant things were going to be real tight until the next paycheck. I searched for it with such intensity. I yelled at myself too, "Did I actually lose the grocery money?!" I couldn't believe it!

Well last month I lost a very rare and valuable coin. Only this time it wasn't money. This time my "coin" was a teenager that my whole family has bonded with and grown attached to for many years now...this particular coin is a person who planted a tree for me in the yard, who gave gifts to and spoiled my kids, someone we love very much, care about and even spent some of our well-protected "family time" with. You get the idea. The truly sad thing is this coin was not only lost, it ran away.

When this coin got lost...I had such an intense reaction. I surprised myself how driven I was to find this lost one. I did things that, because I'm shy, don't come naturally to me. Things like make phone calls (all my closest friend will tell you this is NOT normal for me), talk to school officials, even talk to the police. Things I didn't really have the "right" to do. Then I thought, "Hey, I'm like that lady in the parable about the lost coin." Even to the point that when the coin was found I wanted call people and rejoice! (of course due to confidentiality sharing this joy with others was not appropriate)

The only problem is, this coin didn't want to be found. Not yet anyway. So I continue to intercede and pray for this one...and encourage the family as much as I can. It's sad and difficult and we all feel a real hurt about this.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

My Mom

...with tomorrow being Mother's Day it's only fitting to say a little word about my Mom. I love her, that's a given. But what really stands out about my Mom for me right now is how she teaches me to try new things. She's always game to try something new, like one year when I was volunteering in an orphanage in Honduras she joined me there and we spent Christmas with the kids. And lately she has made new friends and goes on interviewing for a new job. And hiking! Suddenly she likes hiking and I so admire that! How cool are you, Mom?!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

being there

My kids loved Disney's "High School Musical" when it came out and one of my favorite songs from the show was about getting your head in the game. It is a catchy tune on its own but at the time it really described the challenges I face as a wife and mom.

I remember thinking, I've got to get my head in the game! I felt too distracted and stretched too thin, and my family was suffering for it.

Oh, most of what I was doing looked real good to others, you know -- things in church, working with youth, volunteering at the school, meeting after meeting, & the occasional things "just for me." I was running fast, spinning my wheels, feeling stressed and getting old too quickly.

When gradually I felt that longing to seek out a better life. Not just for me, but I knew the ripple effect of my choices would be great. I felt that tug on my heart to get my life re-focused on Jesus, and put Him first, again. And again. At the time I was studying James and read about the "double-minded man, unstable in all he does." And I thought, "That's it! I have got to get single-minded!"

Seeking God and reading His word, I just couldn't deny how clear it was that my husband and children are my ministry priority. Everything else, including church and community, get my "left-overs." And God gets the glory in my dedication to His priorities. As much as I like to make other people and myself happy, it's really His approval I'm looking for.

Now before you accuse me of backward thinking, be reassured that following His guidence has resulted in some of the wildest roller-coasters this life has to offer. People think you'll "miss out" when you walk close to God; but I've experienced things like: personal rest, peace at home (I find these are rare here in America), great adventures including international travel, and most of all a growing relationship to the One who gives me life.

Here's that verse I was talking about in the book of James:

1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
Trials and Temptations 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Struggling. Its hard to explain why, but I've been struggling lately in some of my relationships. I was never really trained on letting people go. I'm not talking about my Mom, or my Sisters, but there are those other kinds of really deep, important relationships that form over time and then suddenly I realize its been two years since we've seen each other...and I struggle with that. I feel a little guilt, but mostly a sense of loss. I'm not sure what to do, should I write? Call? Invite? Do nothing? So I talked to Dave about it, and he gave me a great insight. He shared about how some friends are like birds who have taken flight, and you can feel great that you were part of their journey. (by the way, let's agree to leave all those bird-dropping analogies out of this one, okay?) Yeah, birds who take flight...that's a good way to describe some of my friends. Especially those young college-age people that I've gotten to know over the years. I miss them, I love them, occasionally I pray for them. Fly little birdies, fly!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I'm in awe of her confidence.
I found this list my daughter made yesterday. I asked her permission to copy and add it to my blog.

That's all I want to say...this amazing list speaks for itself!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Ahh, the genius of little boys

I was a little surprised when T.Michael's Sunday School teacher asked to speak with me. Even though Nancy is a friend of mine, I got that "oh no, I'm in trouble" feeling. This is new to me. As a kid I rarely got into trouble.

"If you don't want T.Michael to participate in the story or the craft during class, I would appreciate it if you would let me know in person."
Huh? What was she talking about? Then it dawned on me. This brilliant son of mine came up with the idea to convince his teacher that doing things his own way -- that not participating -- was actually my idea. Turns out this wasn't the first time this occurred. Hmmm. (so, what else is going on I don't know about?)

Okay, just to reassure you that I don't totally spoil my kids (although I do reserve that right!) I did have some "instructional time" where we discussed honesty and integrity, and he did apologize to his teacher...but deep in my heart I smiled. I never would have thought of that. I mean not even in my wildest dreams would I have even thought of his plan to get out of stuff. As much as it makes me a little nervous for what is yet to come, I can't help but appreciate the creativity. And the nerve. I love the genius of it all!
Of course I can't tell him that. Not yet anyway. I'll wait 'til he's dealing with his own little brilliant six-year old!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

gang grafiti

The canvas: our fence

The artists: one or many teenagers

The painting: commonly known as "my territory"

The police tell us this lovely painting is a claim made by the local girl-gang (specifically girls from or somehow related to Mexico) marking their territory, which suddenly appears to be our entire neighborhood.

Neighbors are outraged. Some are moving. We just keep covering it up -- this is the 3rd painting we've received in a month. We feel called to live here. We love our neighbors. We love being so close to our church. We love being so close to the school. And we know this is really God's territory.

Hmmm. It all reminds me of the not-so-good days when I was part of a "Mexican girl gang." But Jen, you might say, you're not even from Mexico. Well, good point. But when I was in high school I lived in some apartments where I was a minority and just by association I was in the gang. I never joined the gang, but I still had to get out of it. It is a long, difficult story that I can tell you about in person some day...but for now, the important thing is that when these young people "signed" our fence, they unknowingly stirred up the heavenly realms...because now they're being prayed for!

Now, every time I have to clean or paint or turn a fence-slat around, I pray to the real and living God for these young people...and I can pray like someone who's "been there." I can pray for things like their heart, their life, their identity, their future, their self-image, their concept of authority, their fear of others, giving in to peer pressure, etc, etc... I may be angry and frustrated, but God loves them, and obviously wants them covered in prayer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

clear vision

One of the unwanted souvenirs we brought home from our recent adventure in Honduras was an eye infection on our daughter's cornea. Yikes!

Its been about 3 weeks of eye drops and worry -- drops for her, worry for me -- and still there are blurry spots in her vision. I feel sad about this blurry vision, as a Mom I just want to fix it.

The doctor said this type of infection is caused by a virus that is dormant in the body until triggered by stress. In this case the virus was triggered by sun and stress. Sun, because we live in Portland and it can be strange and a shock to the eyes to find oneself suddenly in its bright shiny presence. (Honduras was very hot and VERY sunny!) And adding to the stress was the high fever she had five days in a row during our trip. Yep, that'll do it.

For now we pray and continue to follow medical advice. And because I'm a Mom, I get to worry...its part of the Mommy-package. I've been thinking of this vision thing in terms of how it relates to life, with the life being full of stress and sometimes resulting in scare tissue and blurry spots. And just like with McKenzie's eye, prayer is a big part of restoring that clear vision.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

" Jesus' name, amen." Is how I usually end our prayer at dinner, but tonight T.Michael interrupted me with, "No, not amen. Jesus, thank you that Jackson is with you in heaven, and that now he can praise You Jesus' name, Amen."

You see, earlier today I had to let T.Michael know his little buddy Jackson from T-ball last year passed away because of cancer. I was so nervous to tell him, because he's been having some of his own anxiety about death and loss. Jackson's Dad had explained how to share the news, he encouraged me to present the facts and see how T.Michael wants to process it.

So, today was the day. I showed him Jackson's photo, and told him about the cancer, and that Jackson's body died. And he said, "Okay." And walked back to play his video game. I wasn't sure if he understood, but after hearing him pray with such confidence and peace, I know he gets it. I didn't mention anything about Jackson praising Jesus in heaven...he just knows.

Jr Hi Girls

Today I had so much fun with our small group of Jr Hi Girls. They can be so fun and giggly, yet they wrestle with really big issues. They show me unconditional love, its very refreshing. Its an amazing whirlwind watching (mostly listening) to them process serious things like a friend with cancer, Grandma dying this week, a brother going back to Iraq and in the same breath bursting into giggles about a movie and of course their favorite subject boys! Dorine is really my hero, she is the leader of our zany group and has an amazing way of keeping us on track and pointing us back to God's word. Somehow through constant interruptions and distractions she keeps us focused on Jesus!

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I dedicate this post to my good friend Shawn.
She inspired me to blog again, so here I am! Until Shawn talked to me I was suffering from a wierd kind of writer's block -- really it was "writer's fear." I had read another friends blog last summer and, well, I read something that hurt my feelings. Then I thought, wow, what if I offend someone in my blog?...and all this resulted in writer's block. Until Shawn reminded me to pray before I post. Hmmm. Sounds basic enough. Why didn't I think of that?! Thanks Shawn!