Saturday, December 24, 2011

Maids In Hong Kong

This is the view out of my parents' kitchen window in Hong Kong.  As I was washing the dishes, I looked out the window and saw an ama washing dishes a few apartments down across from me.  In Hong Kong, house maids are called amas.  They are normally Filipina and are married.  They live with their employers and they get one day off a week - Sunday.  Today.  Christmas.

It's a small comfort for me that they get Christmas off, but why is this woman washing dishes with me?  I keep wondering what she's thinking.  Filipinos are mainly Roman Catholic, a legacy left by the Spanish.  Does she miss her family today, back in the Philippines?  Does she miss her children?  When was the last time they saw her?  Whose dishes is she washing and does she wish that she was washing her own?

I've been thinking about Jesus too.  Jesus and this woman washing dishes across from me.  A small baby who will one day pick up the scroll and declare good news for the poor and say that the fulfillment of the prophecy is at hand.  What does this mean for her?  What does it mean for us?

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
   to proclaim freedom for the captives
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
   and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
   instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
   instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
   instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   a planting of the LORD
   for the display of his splendor.
-Isaiah 61:1-3

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Prayer Request

My friends just had their baby Lucas.  The day before they brought him home, the doctor's found a heart defect. He was supposed to have heart surgery today, but now they have postponed the surgery because his kidneys are not working correctly. Surgery is now postponed until Monday. Could you please pray for him? 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Goals For 2012

I don't know if I want to have resolutions - those are always so easily dismissed.  But I do have goals.  I have things that I would like to do in 2012 or start.  Maybe.

Here are my goals for 2012: 
1) Learn how to ride a motorcyle and get my motorcycle license.
2) Take ballroom dancing lessons with Steve.
3) Get better with Final Cut/Illustrator/Photoshop
4) Get back to El Salvador 
(if I can. If I can't, send a pocket camera with the delegation and work on another video)
5) Learn Spanish 
6) Donate my hair to Locks of Love and then shave it off again.

 Do you have anything that you want to accomplish in the year 2012?

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Scientists In Japan" by Sara Groves

I really like this song by Sara Groves and I think it's important to hear the reason she wrote it.  It's very true - these things do effect us, whether or not we realize it.

You can download her song on iTunes or on her website.  I've been thinking about life support and what that means (we drew up our wills about a year ago) and I think one of my favorite lines in the song is, "We're robbing from Peter to extend Paul's life, cause dying ain't no way to die."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cookie Sale!

Here are some pictures of things that I made and had help with for our cookie sale.  All the proceeds from the cookie sale went to help our food ministries at Advent.

I would also like to point out that my husband made the Hannukah blue and white cake pops entirely by himself.  He will claim that I tricked him into this.  I did not.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Forever and ever! Amen

I know.  It's been awhile.  There is so much to talk about!  I just finished an amazing book about joy, humor and laughter in the spiritual life and would love to talk about it!  But I've been sick and I've got a cookie decorating party tomorrow as well as giving a message about giving for our young adult service.  I'd love to tell you what I'm hoping to give Jesus for Christmas, the countdown until I see my family for Christmas and all the Christmas cards that I SWEAR I might write.  I could tell you how my boss might give me a promotion and what I want to accomplish in 2012!  How I'm feeling like God doesn't just love me, but He LIKES me too!  How music makes me want to dance and how I have one of the best husbands ever, even though I thought he was a stranger who came to murder me last night and I locked him out of the apartment.  He got me a surprise Christmas tree!  How it lifted my spirits.  But instead, I'll leave you with a picture and with a song.

Hopefully, hopefully we can talk soon. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thou knowest better than I myself
that I am growing older and will someday be old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking
I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to
straighten out everybody’s affairs.
Make me thoughtful but not moody;
helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom,
it seems a pity not to use it all;
but Thou knowest, Lord,
that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details;
give me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips on my aches and pains;
they are increasing, and love of rehearsing them
is becoming sweeter as the years go by.

I dare not ask for improved memory,
but for a growing humility and a lessening cock-sureness
when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet, for a sour old person
is one of the crowning works of the devil.
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places
and talents in unexpected people;
and give, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.
- – - prayer by St. Teresa of Avila

Monday, November 28, 2011

The primary cause of unhappiness in the world today is … lack of faith.
- Carl Jung

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Honor Your Mother And Father

This has not been the best holiday ever.  I know that there are some things that got blown out of proportion, the fact that my co-workers texted me in the middle of the holiday and I had to work with less than I normally have was not fun.  I'm trying to be faithful and kind and I blew it the other night.

What does it mean to "honor your father and mother" when it's so hard to be here?  Can you honor your father and mother from afar?  Or does the thought of honoring someone mean being in their presence?

Lessons have been learned and I fear that the bad moments are outshining the good ones.  How human is that?  

I hope your holidays held mainly good moments and that you let the bad ones slip away.  May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.  May the Lord look upon you with favor and give you and the whole world peace.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My El Salvador Video!

Without further delay, here is the video I've been working on for El Salvador Sunday!  Feel free to share and let me know if you have any questions!

Jesus never admonished children to be more grown-up. He did, however, exhort grownups to become more like children. ~Wess Stafford

Friday, November 11, 2011

Jesus taught us, saying: “Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap; because the standard you use will be the standard used for you.”
Luke 6:36-38

I'm writing a message about giving for our December 1st service at our church's more young adult service and I thought this was perfect.  I have so many thoughts in my head and I would love to put them down...but I have 75 cookies to bake for El Salvador Sunday and am hoping to make 25 dozen cookies to help our church fundraise for our food ministries because we've lost 2/3rds of our grants.  So I'll be updating certain things, but know that I'm stalking all of you, you're just not hearing so much from me!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Let us keep firm in the hope we profess, because the one who made the promise is trustworthy. Hebrews 10:23

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody everything every night before you go to bed.
~ Anon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself.
~ Publilius Syrus

This is definitely something that I've been working on lately.  I've had so many thoughts on things that I've wanted to talk about!  Obedience!  Love!  But I've been busy.  You know how it gets.  I've been working on a video and learning so many new things and preparing for trips to Ohio and to Hong Kong and Kenya and hoping for a trip to El Salvador. 

I've lived a lot of my life thus far not forgiving myself.  I've forgiven people who really hurt me, but the person who hurts me the most is myself and that's also the person I find hardest to forgive.  So I'm trying...trying to let go of things people have done to me and let go of overthinking the wrongs I've done to others.  If they've forgiven me, why do I hold onto it?

So I'm working on letting go.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It’s never too late — in fiction or in life — to revise.
~ Nancy Thayer

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Learning And Loving

I've been learning new things through work and I'm trying so hard to use them for our Salvadoran coffee hour, to show people what it's like in El Salvador and what our church does there.  Though people talk about it, I think that videos and such really help.  So I thought I'd show you a little preview.  There will be audio and the first photo is not the one I'm using.  Also, the quote is from the bishop and I had his name pop up, but it's not working at the moment.  I need to edit the second part of the quote so you can see the girls eyes as well.

But here's what I'm working on!!

(P.S.  Please pray for El Salvador and Guatemala [as well as Honduras and Mexico] during this time of great flooding.  We know a family in Guatemala and we've met so many wonderful people in El Salvador.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who let me know of their opinion on the post below!

Funny thing, the quote that was chosen both by my blogging friends and by the "Walking With El Salvador" community on Facebook was the same quote I had chosen in the first place!  I started to have doubts about the quote I picked and thought the second one might be better, but even a person who has been to El Salvador 14 times thought the first one was best.

So thank you!  I appreciated your help :)

Let us not tire of preaching love; it is the force that will overcome the world
- Father Oscar Romero

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Quick Opinion Poll

I have a quick question for everyone.  A little background first.

I'm making a video for our El Salvador coffee hour.  I want to open with a quote by Father Oscar Romero, a man much beloved in El Salvador for his heart for the poor and his willingness to live his life for God.  Our mission trips to El Salvador are often about friendship and about walking with the church there and showing them they are not forgotten.  I have about 5 quotes that I am looking at.

With that information, which quote do you think would best open the video?
1) Let us not tire of preaching love; it is the force that will overcome the world

2) ...the joy of sharing and the feeling that all are one's family does not pass away

3) Where there is "what is noble, what is good, what is right," there is God.

4) How do I treat the poor? ... The way you look at them is the way you look at God.

5) When we struggle for human rights...we are not departing from God's Promise.

If you want to vote, could you please leave a comment with the number you prefer in the comments section?  Or, I can tell you that I'm leaning towards the second you think, knowing what I stated above about walking with El Salvador, do you think this quote is appropriate or inappropriate?

Thanks for your help!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What Would You Like Done With Me?

I've been reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts and she mentions Teresa of Avila and a poem that she wrote called, "Enjoy Me."  So I Googled it and I found a poem that I feel sums up the longings of my soul.  I thought I'd share it with you.

For you I live and come to be --
What would you like done with me?
Sovereign, awful majesty,
Knowing till eternity --
Goodness, gracious to my soul,
Highness, godhead, one and whole,
Look at this nonentity
Singing of her love for thee --
What would you like done with me?

I am yours, because you made me,
Yours, because you then redeemed me,
Yours, because you suffered for me,
Yours, because you clamored for me,
Yours, because you did not lose me,
What would you like done with me?

What commands then, good my lord,
By such a creature should be done?
Or what office have I won,
Being but a slave abhorred?
Can't you see me, my sweet one?
Me, my sweet one, can't you see
What would you like done with me?

Right here is my heart, you see,
Lo, I put it in your hand,
My body, soul, all I command,
My entrails and my loving thee.
Redeemer sweet who married me,
Since I gave my all for thee,
What would you like done with me?

Give me life or give me death.
Give me honor, give me shame,
War or peace, it's all the same.
Give me sickness, give me health.
Weakness, strength, I won't complain.
Come what may, I'll let it be.
What would you like done with me?

Give me wealth or poverty,
Give me rest, or anguish fell,
Give me sadness, give me glee,
Give me heaven, give me hell.
Light of life, pray hear me tell
How I surrendered all for thee.
What would you like done with me?

If you will, teach me to pray.
If not, give me aridity.
From all good things your praise I'll say --
Or else, give me sterility.
O thou sovereign majesty,
Peace I find alone in thee.
What would you like done with me?

Wisdom give me, if you will,
Or, if you choose, give ignorance.
Give me wealthy circumstance,
Or give me thirst and hunger still.
Give me shade or light until
I'm tossed about unceasingly.
What would you like done with me?

If you command, at rest I lie,
For your love's sake I'll idle be.
Or if my labor's your decree,
Working hard, I want to die.
Tell me, "Where and how and why?"
Sweetest love, I ask of thee.
What would you like done with me?

Give me Tabor or Calvary,
Desert or the fruitful earth.
Be I Job in his sad dearth
Or John at bosom sucking free.
Perhaps I'll flourish gracefully,
Or sterile stay, if such must be --
What would you like done with me?

Be I Joseph, cast in jail,
Or Joseph, lord of Egypt's shore,
Be I David, punished sore,
Or David, king whom all men hail.
Be I Jonah in the whale,
Or Jonah safe, miraculously
What would you like done with me?

Be I silent, be I speaking,
Bearing fruit or bearing naught,
Let the Law show forth my fault,
Or Gospel soothe, if such you're seeking.
Be I happy, or by pain caught,
I only live when I'm with thee!
What would you like done with me?

For you I live and came to be --
What would you like done with me?

Saint Teresa of Avila (Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada ) (1515 to 1582)
– translated from the Spanish by Alan D. Corré

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I have been so busy these past few weeks that I had a bit of a breakdown at the train station.  So now, I'm trying to rest.

I wish I had a picture of the red wine chocolate cake to share, but I might still go out to the picnic that is later tonight.  But here are some pictures of the food I made for our community lunch and the altar flowers I did for this Sunday's African celebration.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I wish I knew who was singing this so I could download it on my iPod.  It's absolutely stunning.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Say A Prayer, Say A Prayer In The Night"

For in truth, no one is really timid and weak who knowingly leans upon the assistance of God.
- Francis Xavier

If you remember or feel compelled, would you please say a prayer for me at 4pm (New York City time, 1pm West Coast time)?  God knows my longing and I would very much appreciate it.

Thank you all for your love and kindness!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Learning To Say Thank You

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My sister-in-law refuses to send thank you notes.  She says that, if you're going to see the person every day, you don't need to send a note.  I was raised that you sit down the DAY AFTER and you PERSONALIZE each one of those thank you cards, thankyouverymuch.

I will admit, I've gotten a bit lax at times, but I try my darndest to send out thank you notes.  Hand written, so that the person knows that I took the time to think about them with each pen stroke.

Thank you notes to God.  That is one that I probably neglect the most.

So I would like to make today's thank you note.

Thank you, Father!  Thank you for the good and bad, the happy and sad and:

1) For waking up
2) For sleeping in
3) For a great physical today
4) For being able to draw prayers on the doctor's paper on the bed
5) For a good lunch
6) For A lunch
7) For an unexpected phone call
8) For cleaning supplies that really work
9) For the kindness of a good friend
10) For recipes that I'm excited to make
11) For water, cold water
12) For a cat who drinks my water
13) For moments that are teaching me patience
14) For a husband who doesn't question that I NEED whipped cream vodka or supports me in moments that seem insane
15) For blood being drawn
16) For partial answers for beautiful friends, even though they are somewhat hard
17) For fully cooked potatoes
18) For random CDs in the mail
19) For hearing from Belinda
20) For bedtime stories
21) For Bible stories
22) For making stories every day

What are you feeling thankful for?

Friday, September 9, 2011

The 10th Anniversary

The thing I remember most about 9/11 was the confusion. My father was in Japan on business.  When could daddy come home?  My Nana had left from the D.C. airport.  Was she on one of those planes?

I remember sitting in English class in smalltown, Ohio and my classmate's mother told her to be careful.  She was of Indian descent and her mother said, "Be careful.  They won't know they difference, just the color of your skin."

But being in New York is a completely different story.

It's everywhere here.  My husband and I can see the World Trade Center being built and on 9/11 we can see where the towers once stood.

When we go for a walk on the boardwalk near our apartment, we are greeted by a large piece of World Trade Center steel covered in rosaries, funeral cards, American flags.  We take the World Trade Center PATH train to get to downtown Manhattan.  Our church is full of people who lived through that day.  The woman I once nannied for talked about how her life was covered in ash after that day, remembers nearly walking through the doors when the planes hit.

Now, it's not only the 10th year anniversary, but there is a credible threat, once again.  It's the time of year when people feel uneasy here, when we have terrorist drills, when the AK-47's come out at the subway station and there are many more dogs.

We are somewhat fearful.  It is scary to see those guns.  Or to know that the tunnel you are about to drive through has been targeted by someone who does not care about who you are or who you love, but that you are American.  I feel so conflicted about these things.  Would these things still happen if we just got out of all these wars?  Is there a way to love your neighbor when your neighbor will not listen?  What does forgiveness mean in the face of undeniable tragedy?

I do not have any of the answers, that is for sure.  But I pray for what Isaiah spoke of and what was summed up by Archbishop Romero:
We have never preached violence, except the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we must each do to ourselves to overcome our selfishness and such cruel inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Pick-Me-Up

Things are a bit complicated and that's fine.  I'm still feeling joyful.  But I'm remembering my husband and I singing this in the car while we were in Ohio and it makes me smile.  So enjoy this song!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Cross of Iron

Have you ever heard of the Poverty and Justice Bible?

I really like it.  I got it through World Vision and it was a great "purchase."

It has a section that discusses what the Bible says on certain things, like job wages, women and war.

The one on war has always got to me and I wanted to share a quote that is in that section.  It's a line from President Eisenhower's "Cross of Iron" speech.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

I was thinking about this quote and about the crisis in the Horn of Africa.  The WFP was reporting that Congress is looking to cut aid by 75% for food in areas of hunger.  I know that many people have also read that the reason Somalia's famine is so bad is not just (or even mainly) because of lack of rain, but because of conflict, of militants who refuse to not only get help for their people, but who refuse to even admit that their people are hungry.

So what can we do?  Well, I'm not sure.  Other than prayer, I'm not sure.  But we have hope - hope that God will save us, hope that hearts will turn and that someone, on either side of the world understands the implications of war.  We can stand with the poor and whisper to those in power the needs of the world and hope that they hear.

If you would like to help those effected by war:
Collateral Repair Project - supporting Iraqi Refugees
SOA Watch - a group working to close the School of Americas that trains South Americans and is often tied to human rights abuses.

If you would like to help those devastated by famine:
World Vision
World Food Program

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Come On, Irene

Our apartment is under voluntary evacuation.  They told us to put masking tape X's on the windows (you can kind of see them in the picture).  If we could have, we would have driven to Pennsylvania to see my grandparents, but I have to work on Sunday and so we can't leave.  We're moving Vindaloo, our cat, with us to a hotel in Manhattan for the next two nights.

If you could, please say a prayer for the East Coast, for those who have already been hit by Irene in both South Carolina, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One Year

I think if I hadn't visited Save The Children, I wouldn't have realized that it's been a year since the floods in Pakistan.

A natural disaster that would have devestated more than 5 states has passed its one-year-anniversary with a whimper.  With so many people affected, why has it been so easily forgotten?

I think we know.  But if we are going to call ourselves Christians, we need to love and care for our enemies.  If we are to call ourselves humanitarians, we need to remember the children, mothers, fathers who were harmed.  If we are to say that we love the world, we must love ALL of it, not just the parts that are good to us.  Not every person wants to hurt us, but there will be some who do.  Should we allow many to suffer because of some?

I think we're asking that question now with the famine in the Horn of Africa.  I think it makes it harder, but we shouldn't look at those suffering and say, "Well, you did it to yourselves so...too bad."  It's easy to say that, but we just can't.

If you would like to know what Save The Children is doing in Pakistan, a link to their report is HERE.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adopting An Elephant

It was funny.  If you believe in coincidence, I guess you could say it was that.  My husband and I are going to Kenya next April for our anniversary.  My friend, Hilary, posted an article about these cute baby elephants who got rain coats!  As it turns out, my husband and I will be mere minutes away from that baby elephant orphanage while we're in Nairobi, Kenya.

I'll be the first to admit, while I care about animals, I have always preferred to help people first.  I feel that most people are more willing to help animals.  Someone said once that, in order of amount of donations, the order goes: Animals, Children, Art, Women and, lastly, Men.  People see animals as wholly innocent - it is man who put them in this situation.  So people donate, firstly, to animals.  I don't always think this is right.  But I would like to show you a fun way to help elephants and rhinos, if you so choose.

At The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you can foster a baby elephant.  If you go to their website, you an actually read through all the stories and find out which elephant tugs at your heart. You will receive your baby elephant's story, a certificate with a name and picture, a monthly watercolor painted by Angela Sheldrick who continues running the wildlife trust among a handful of other things.  To help take care of a baby elephant, it's $50 A YEAR.  $50 a year.  It pays for formula and rescue and food among other things.  If you would like more information on fostering an elephant, please feel free to visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and click on "Fostering."  I mean, really, who can look at all those cute little elephants and not want to do SOMETHING?!

If you choose, there are still many people who are suffering in the Horn of Africa (Kenya included) that still need help.  If you would like to help and are unsure of where, I know of a few good places!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Book Review: Where Children Sleep


A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted a link on her Facebook about seeing into the lives of children and their bedrooms.  She said it was, "eye-opening" and I clicked on it.  It was eye-opening.  

James Mollison's book "Where Children Sleep" is a journey from America to Japan to Kenya to Brazil, looking at the lives of children and, as he put it, what choices they have over possessions and their relationship to them.

I have to admit, it took me weeks to find this book.  Though released in 2010, the story is being circulated a year later and I don't think the publisher was ready for it.  I bought a copy for my sister-in-law and niece earlier, but had wanted my own copy.  Thankfully, I was eventually able to find it.

The book is set up where each child gets two pages.  On the left-hand side is the picture of the child in front of a white backdrop and their story is set in a paragraph underneath them.  On the right page is the child's bedroom.  After photos and stories of Israeli children are the stories of Palestinian children.  After the photos from a New Jersey child's mansion is the bare, dirty mattress of a child who works in a granite quarry at the age of 8.  It is stark and breath-taking.

Mollison comments in the introduction that he does not have any judgment, but wished to acknowledge his own amazing upbringing and to start a discussion about what we can do for, in my own words, "the least of these."

The book is moving in its simplicity and straightforwardness.  The images are well done and beautiful.  You want to reach into the pages and touch the little girl whose village will disown her because they believe the Devil has stolen her soul.  You smile at the boy who wants to make marmalade for a living.  

One of the reviews I read on said, referring to the book with her children: "They feel privileged when reading about the lives of many of of the children and are critical of the have-it-all children who are also pictured."  While I think that it is good to share this book, I think we must also be careful.  Because, in the end, WE are those "have-it-all" children when compared to many of the children in this book.  I think it is important to see ourselves in those American children and see what we could do to help those who are hurting.

I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who wish to teach their children compassion.  It is temporarily out of stock on Amazon (and really, everywhere else), but here's the LINK.  You can order it now and they won't charge you until it's shipped.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Would You Do?

Facebook is a great place for questions.

I love to ask random questions, but I always go back to one:

What if you money wasn't an object?  What if you could spend your day doing what you loved and what would that look like?

Obviously, it's sometimes a pipe dream.  If you need to pay for your house, if you have children, you can't just up and quit your job.  But maybe we could take some of those thoughts and put them in place now, before we're too old, we're too busy - take a moment and appreciate the person beside us and realize that money really wasn't the object.

So, what would you do if money didn't matter?  What would your life look like?

Song of the Day: Barenaked Ladies, "When I Fall"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jesus taught us, saying: ‘But I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To anyone who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek as well; to anyone who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for property back from someone who takes it. Treat others as you would like people to treat you.’ Luke 6:27–31

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

None us lives to herself, and none of us dies to herself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. - Romans 14:7-8
I find this thought very comforting.  The funeral for the little girl was yesterday.  There were so many people in our church that a handful of us had to stay downstairs in our basement and listen to the service over the speaker.  It was beautiful to see how much support the family has received and I thought that our pastor said a lot of important things.
Do you have a Bible verse or a quote or a saying that means something to you and brings you comfort?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Prayer Request

Our church family has had some very sad news.  A 5-year-old from our congregation passed away this weekend after an accident.  If you could please keep the family in your prayers, it would be much appreciated.

  1. Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
    The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
    Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
  2. Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
    Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
    Change and decay in all around I see—
    O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
  3. I need Thy presence every passing hour;
    What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
    Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
    Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
  4. I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
    Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
    Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
    I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
  5. Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
    Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
    Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
    In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Friday, August 5, 2011

God delays, but doesn’t forget.    
~Spanish proverb

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself.    
~Harriet Uts Nelson

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wedding Of Hope

I know that I don't have a ton of followers on here and that's fine.  I'll just share what I have with you guys and, if you feel so moved, you can share it and maybe some people will hear about it.  And that would be awesome :)

So I have some friends who run a magazine and they interview people who are making a difference in their community.  I read about a couple named Diamond and Michael who are having their wedding on September 10th, 2011 and the guests of honor will be homeless men and women from New York City.

Diamond spent time on the streets and met her husband at the Bowery Mission, a homeless shelter in downtown NYC and they will be married at the Bowery Mission!

Right now, Michael and Diamond are looking for donations to sponsor guests at their wedding.  Even if you don't want to sponsor, you can still check out their photos and what they're doing.

Here's their website:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Developed-World Tantrums

Developed-World Tantrums

I do like this post, if you want to go read it. The Compassion response to "First World Problems" and "White Whine."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

There is sunshine in my soul today,
More glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky,
For Jesus is my Light.

O there’s sunshine, blessèd sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

There is music in my soul today,
A carol to my King,
And Jesus, listening, can hear
The songs I cannot sing.

O there’s sunshine, blessèd sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

There is springtime in my soul today,
For, when the Lord is near,
The dove of peace sings in my heart,
The flowers of grace appear.

O there’s sunshine, blessèd sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

There is gladness in my soul today,
And hope and praise and love,
For blessings which He gives me now,
For joys “laid up” above.

O there’s sunshine, blessèd sunshine,
When the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bless your persecutors; never curse them, bless them. Rejoice with others when they rejoice and be sad with those in sorrow. Give the same consideration to all others alike. Pay no regard to social standing, but meet humble people on their own terms. Do not congratulate yourself on your own wisdom. Never try to get revenge: leave that, my dear friends, to the Retribution. As scripture says: Vengeance is mine—I will pay them back, the Lord promises. And more: If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat, if thirsty, something to drink. By this you will be heaping red-hot coals on his head. Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good. Romans 12:14–21
True worth is doing each day some little good, not dreaming of great things to do by and by.    

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wedding Cake!

I made a wedding cake this week and I thought I'd share some pictures here!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Light In The Darkness

Serving food at Casa Esperanza in El Salvador.  It's the Hope House in English and it's a homeless shelter/soup kitchen.

When we were in El Salvador, a lot of what we did was to visit what the Lutheran church is doing in that country.  One of the places we visited was Casa Esperanza, also known as the Hope House.  It's in a rough part of town and helps those who are homeless by giving them meals, medical care, teaching them skills and, when possible, giving them items to use for personal hygiene.

Maria Trinidad is a beautiful woman who has been through so much.  Two of her children were murdered, as was her husband.  Her husband and child were murdered by the government during the war and her one son was murdered by gangs about a year ago. 

She runs Casa Esperanza and also works at Casa Concordia (where the missionaries stay) and IS.  NOT.  PAID.  She is not paid for what she does running both houses (but this is a whole different blog post).  With her at Casa Esperanza are two German missionaries.  We sat down and spoke with them.  All three spoke about the hardships of keeping Casa Esperanza open and of the help of the churches that we all come from.

Helmut, the name of the German missionary said to us, "I would rather light a candle than complain about the darkness."

We had devotionals in the evening and, one of the first nights, the power went out and we had our devotional by candle light.  Our group decided to stick with the candles.  After Casa Esperanza, one of our members was talking about how hard it would be to be here and he felt at a loss about what he could do to help.

I know that feeling too.  How I feel like I should be there, how I feel that I am less loved because I live in America.  All the thoughts that I know aren't true, but that find their way into my thoughts anyway.

I thought about it for a moment and said, "Maybe it's not our job to light another candle, but maybe it's our job to help make their candle brighter."

I often find myself trapped by the idea that I am not doing enough.  In the end, none of us can ever do "enough."  And we are not saved by that "enough" either.  I always have liked the story of Zacchaeus.  Jesus loved Zacchaeus where he was and when Zacchaeus said that he would give half of his money to the poor, Jesus didn't say, "Come on, you know you could do better."  Jesus says that Zacchaeus is a son of Abraham.

We are one body in Christ and where would we be without all the parts?  I often forget these things and I find myself panicking, thinking that I am not worthy or worthwhile.  But generosity is a spiritual gift and that is something that I need to keep in mind.  In this time and this place, it is not my job to light another candle, but it is my job - and my honor - to help make someone else's candle burn brighter. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Universal Language - Live

Of course, there is always video of your most ridiculous moments.  And what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't share?! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

El Salvador In 60 Seconds

On the last day of our trip to El Salvador, we went to the ocean to really think about what we had witnessed and to talk it through with everyone.

One of our co-leaders told us that, when most people ask us about our trip, they really just want to hear one to two minutes.  So I wrote for one to two minutes...but then I realized that everyone was still writing, so I went back and wrote a second testimony.  But I really liked the first one better, so I thought I'd share it with you.

El Salvador is like Iglesia El Rosario.

Here it is.

To the outsider, it is ugly, dirty and unwanted, especially since it is so close to the National Cathedral.

Here's the National Cathedral:

The National Cathedral is a clean building and it certainly looks like what a church should be, unlike the Iglesia El Rosario.

But if you decide to take a moment to step inside the Iglesia El Rosario, instead of just walking past, you will be amazed.

The inside is still rough and somewhat worn, but you will be surprised by the unexpected beauty and the faith found there.

It is unconventional.  And many will judge it before the inside is ever seen.  But those who have seen it know what they would have missed if they had chosen the National Cathedral instead.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Universal Language

Here's another post from El Salvador, while I'm in Hong Kong :)

Sure, I couldn´t entirely understand what they were saying, but actions (and hand motions) speak louder than words.  And their laughter was contagious.

It was a pizza party for over 40 people and I was sitting at the end of the table with Caesar (our driver), his sisters Mari and Alba, his mother Marie Trinidad (an astounding woman) as well as Alex and Jeff from Lord of Life, Rosie and Sarah from Advent and a few children.  Mari and Alba, to use a phrase, are hell on wheels and their mischeviousness is evident, even if you don´t speak Spanish.  They were screaming down the table, breaking up conversations, trying to get Edwin - one of the teenagers here - to break dance.  Edwin had turned them down multiple times and, in the spur of the moment, I volunteered with, ¨If he break dances, I´ll break dance.¨

Let´s take a minute and pause here.  I am the whitest white girl you´ll ever meet.  Though I did classical and broadway jazz for something like 8 years, the only grace I have is from God and it certainly doesn´t involve my feet.  What I´m getting myself into, I´m not sure.

After a few minutes with Pastor Matias and Pastor Martina, our small group headed over to an area behind the Lutheran synod office where a boom box had been set up.  Edwin sits with his beanie and one black glove - he is prepared for this.  Rosie helps translate and I pump myself up.  I tell her that I want him to go first because I´m going to make him look bad.  It takes a few moments and he gets it.  He looks so intense and it seems that he believes that I can actually break dance.

The music starts and he is KILLING it.  I work for MTV and I often watch the shows and he could be on America´s Next Best Dance Crew.  He´s doing flips and it´s impressive.  He finishes and points for me to go.  I bring out the attitude, because that´s about all I have and throw myself on the ground and flop around.

From what I´ve been told, Edwin´s face was priceless.  There is video and I´m sure it will be shared at both of our congregations. 

Then Julie was pulled up and then Bill and soon, we were all dancing.  Not just the Americans, but also the Salvadorean children and the students that stay at Casa Concordia.  Kelly learned to salsa.  We found that Bill is a really good square dancer.  Edwin astounded us with the meringue.

Salvadoreans are dancing with Americans.  There is laughter.  It no longer matters that we don´t speak the same language.  What could be better than that?

Friday, July 1, 2011


I was in El Salvador this past week on a mission trip and I updated that blog with a few posts and I wanted to share them with you!  So here's some of what I experienced in El Salvador

Let us have faith;
all this will pass away
like a national nightmare,
and we shall awake to the Lord´s great feast,
Let us be filled with this hope.
- Monsignor Oscar Romero
October 15, 1978


When the Carmelite nun stood in front of the altar where Oscar Romero was murdered - or as the glittering letters beside the large crucifix said, "where...Oscar Romero offered his life to God" - and asked us for one word that described Father Romero, that was the first word to pop into my head.  Faithful.

Faithful to a lot of things.  Faithful to his people and, most importantly, faithful to God and His word.  Faithful to the point of death.

The front of the chapel where he was murdered is covered in windows, where you can watch cars stream by.  The nun told us about how Romero had received death threats.  Descriptive death threats.  Death threats for that day.  She told us how, he probably watched as the car drove up and stopped at the door of the church, how Romero must have known what that car was there for.  But he was faithful and as he had to have watched as the car window rolled down, Romero had to have known wwhat was to come next.  And he remained faithful. 

The nun turned to us and said that the word that we had thought about Monsignor Romero was something that was also inside of us.  That the word we had imagined for this great martyr was also a seed contained inside of us.

As a delegation, we are faithful, probably more faithful than I first imagined.  We sat down with a pastor from the Lutheran church and Bill (a member of our delegation) asked what our presence did for the Salvadorean church.  He said we were angels and that we had listened to God´s call in our lives.  We were faithful.

It has been a hard day.  We have stared at bloodied clothing, cried over pictures of murdered men and women who suffered unspeakable torture and been humbled by the heart of a people who are bowed down so low.  And I think, what can I contribute?  With wounds so large, I stare and wonder, what can I do to heal them?  And honestly, there is nothing I can do, except offer to walk with them and share in the horror that they felt they were alone in.  You have to take each step in faith with the same faithfulness that Oscar Romero displayed in his life and his death.

I am no martyr, but I know that if I can keep the hope and the faith, like the Salvadoreans I have met, I can be assured of the Lord´s great feast, just like Romero was.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Enviado soy de Dios

We sang this song in church on Sunday as a sending song for those of us who are going to El Salvador.  My favorite part has been an answer to a question, I think, from people who haven't understood our faith: Why does God allow bad things in the world?  The answer that this song gives is that the angels can't make the world a better place - only God's work through our hands can do that.  The angels can't fix it without our willingness, to put away the greed and pain of this world.

Here's the song:
Enviado soy de Dios,
mi mano lista está
para construir con El
un mundo fraternal.
Los ángeles no son enviados a cambiar
im mundo de dolor por un mundo de paz.
Me ha tocao a mí hacerlo realidad;
a yúdame, Señor, a hacer tu voluntad.

Sent out in Jesus' name,
our hands are ready now
to make the earth the place
in which the kingdom comes.
The angels cannot change a world of hurt and pain
into a world of love, of justice and of peace.
The task is ours to do, to set it really free.
O help us to obey, and carry out your will.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lord, you know how busy I must be this day.  If I forget you, do not forget me.

~Jacob Astley

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Prayer Request: Being The Persistent Widow

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? - Luke 18:7

I do have a prayer request, if you would be willing.  And if you would be willing to share it all around.  I have a friend and I'm going to call her MB.  If you would like to know a little bit about her, she has a blog too
 MB and I, discussing the value of $100 shoe that's not FDA approved.

She's really sweet - she's married to my husband's best friend (friends since they were both in their mother's wombs!  Seriously). 
 Womb Friends.

God knows her needs and wants and I would really appreciate if you could just say a general prayer for her.  I'm working on being the persistent widow for her and I'm hoping that others would be willing to join in.

Thank you!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Few Photos From This Weekend

My friend was confirmed this weekend and I went back to Ohio for it.  We had a good time.  So proud of her!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

God said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12.9-10)

Monday, June 6, 2011

44 sticks of butter.

34 egg whites.

12 cakes.

2 weeks.

Totally worth it!

Oscar Romero: Bishop of the Poor

We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night with nothing to eat, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways.   --Archbishop Oscar Romero, December 24, 1979

I'm headed to El Salvador soon, to be part of a delegation from the Lutheran Church in America to the Lutheran Church in El Salvador.  I just found out that I'll be going to a Salvadorean wedding!  Part of our mission is to come back with a project that my church (Advent Lutheran Church) can help with and partner with the church in El Salvador.

In preparation, we are being told to read up on Oscar Romero, a Catholic priest who was assassinated and who is considered one of the greatest martyrs of the 20th Century.

If you would like to know more about him, there's a really good article here.  I think my husband and I are going to try and watch the movie Romero tonight.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

First Dance Lindy Style!

These are some friends of ours from church.  You can actually hear our pastor in the background.  Ha! This was the best first dance I've ever been witness to!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

God is so close, in fact, that God even hears the desires of our hearts.
~St. Vincent Ferrer

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others." - St. Augustine

Monday, May 23, 2011

Collateral Repair Project: Exploitation to Desperation

Collateral Repair Project: Exploitation to Desperation

Please read the blog post above if you would like to know more about the Collateral Repair Project. At this moment, they are hoping to raise $1,000 in 10 days to help the many Iraqi families who have no food.

Here's what they had to say:
This is an emergency food drive with a small goal, to raise $1,000 in 10 days, so that we can provide “survival packages” to Iraqi refugee families who are hungry now.

If you would like to donate, please go here:
or join the event on Facebook:!/event.php?eid=228471023834569
Will you help?

Poverty Porn

Pray not for lighter burdens but for stronger backs.
~Theodore Roosevelt

Have you ever heard the term "poverty porn" before?  I was reading an article and a woman said that she had made a documentary about, I believe, Tanzania.  When she showed it at her church, her pastor was furious - these children were in GAP clothes!  And they were smiling!  He said that she was trying to scam them - obviously these children were fine.  Of course, the clothes were donated from U.S. stores, but he saw what they were wearing and assumed that they were fine and, possibly, even lying.

I know this feeling though, even if it's shameful for me to admit it.  When my husband and I went to South Africa, I remember sitting in a house that had a television and thinking, "They can't be that poor if they have a TV."  But they have to, essentially, steal the electricity for it.  And they can't feed themselves or their children.  

I could imagine then the thought that, "If you can't feed your children, you shouldn't have a TV."

I've been reading a lot about Iraqi refugees and a group that helps them: Collateral Repair Project.  One of the women who runs the group had posted on Facebook that a woman had given meat to some of the refugees.  She asked vegetarians not to post on this.  She also made this comment:

I have also had people tell me straight out that Iraqis "should not" be having more children while living in such circumstances and I cringe, thinking 'how dare we who have killed the children they had and destroyed the lives they had where they could easily afford to have as many children as they wanted, how dare we tell them now that they should not have children because they cannot afford them?'

And really, they're right.

I sit and talk with a woman who sits outside of a Starbucks in Manhattan.  She has a home and she gets food stamps, but it's not enough to support her and her husband.  So she sits out and begs.  She hates it, but she can't make it through the month without doing it.  They have a very well-kept dog.  A woman today bent over and went to hand the woman $3 and then pulled her hand back and said, "Is that dog well-fed?"  Others have yelled epithets at her when they see she has a cell phone.  Her cell phone is part of the Assurance program, where people on food stamps and medicare can have a cell phone with 200 free minutes per month.  When they see she has a cell phone, they swear at her and call her a liar.

It's easy to look at a person and tell them that they should pull themselves up from their boot straps or to think that they are not as bad off as they seem.  A smiling child does not mean that child doesn't live in extreme poverty.  The Old Testament tells us not to judge between a rich person and a poor person.  Do not favor either, but love all people.  I'm still working on it, but I'm hoping to work towards it.

The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
Luke 10:37

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Life is short. Be swift to love! Make haste to be kind!" - Henri Amiel
I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately.  I really do have things to say!  But I'm trying to pray more and I've been getting into some books.  So soon, I'll post pictures of creme brulee french toast and rainbow cake.  But for now, you'll have to just listen to someone else's words.

Monday, May 9, 2011

If you haven't any charity in your heart,
you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
~Bob Hope

Monday, May 2, 2011

I Don't Want To Rejoice

43 You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

I'm having a hard time with the Osama bin Laden news. I went to bed super early last night, so I didn't even know that it had happened until early this morning. My friend had a status on Facebook that said, "I don't want to rejoice any person's death." I checked the news and saw the headline "Justice Is Done. Osama bin Laden is dead." And a picture of people cheering around the World Trade Center.

My first thought was that justice was done. But then I started to think about the American concept of justice and the Biblical concept of justice. What Osama bin Laden did was evil, but I still don't want to rejoice in his death. It is making me turn towards myself and see the sin I carry. It makes me want to make the world more beautiful with God's love.

So I'm going to try and pray for him. Love my enemy as best I can.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gracious God, when the economy is in disarray, when young people are fighting in faraway wars, when we argue over issues and refuse to listen to the other side, I ask that your grace enfold us. Move us from self-interest to compassion, from the need to be right to the place of doing right. Let the love that is at the foundation of creation spread out like roots, bringing life, healing and wholeness to places cracked and broken. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Few of Easter's Baked Goods

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

~Pope John Paul II

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What I've Learned

So here we are at the end of Lent.

And my task for the day is to tell you what I've learned. I think that will be hard.

The Sunday before Ash Wednesday, our church passed out a small calendar. Across the top were the words, "God's Love Doesn't Just Add Up, It Multiplies."

With each Bible passage, there is an action, whether it is praying or donating or researching something.

So here is what I have learned:
That to "go and do likewise" does not always have to be with my hands, but also with my heart and my prayers. My prayers are just as important as my hands.

I can't save the world. It is God and God only who can change it. I am only a small part and, as the Sara Groves says, You are the sun and I am the moon and I am only a reflection.


So now, as I enter into Maundy Thursday, I want to savor it all. Both the sorrow at the death of Christ, but the joy in the resurrection. We cannot accept the glory without the tears. We cannot embrace the joy without the pain. That is what Easter is really about - the sorrow of our sins that put Christ on the cross as well as the joy of the Resurrection and our salvation.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Preparing For Easter

God dwells where we let Him in.
~Menachem Mendel

I have some photos for you guys. I'm just behind on posting. Sorry :)

Have a blessed Holy Week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Fast I Am Trying to Choose

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

- Isaiah 58:6

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Feed Homeless Teenagers

So I decided to give it a try and see if you would like to help me feed homeless teens who come to Covenant House because they have nowhere else to go.

Here's my giving page. I was going to do a Chip-In, a somewhat easier way to see on the page what's going on. But, by doing a First Giving page, you receive the tax benefit if you donate instead of me (extra incentive) and it goes straight to Covenant House (for added trust-bonus)

If you would like to help me in my journey, please visit here:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Feeding The Children

“My parents said they don’t want me anymore. I spent a couple nights at a friend’s house, but they said they didn’t have room either.”
                                                - Julie
Reading the stories on Covenant House's website always hurt.  I don't know what it feels like to be unwanted and alone and I can't really imagine it either, if I'm being honest with myself.

I received a packet in the mail the other day from Covenant House.  It was about food.  You know how appropriate this is for me right now! 

Covenant House feeds about 1,700 youth every day, in the hopes of keeping them away from the pimps, prostitutes and gangs who give them false hope.

It costs them $2,882 for EVERY dinner that they do.  $2,882 EVERY DAY to feed these kids dinner.

And I really, REALLY want to donate.  But it's $2,882.  And I started to realize that I always want to do things by myself.  That has always been my downfall.  I can do it and I can do it by myself.  This is very obviously not true.

So I guess I have a question: if I put up a chip-in, would you be willing to chip-in with me to help feed teenagers who have nowhere else to turn?  And don't feel guilty.  I would just like an honest answer.  Thank you!

"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins."
1 Peter 4:8 ESV