Monthly Archives: June 2013

Lets all KISS

I’m on vacation this week…enjoy this re-post!
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When I was in 10th grade I took geometry. I don’t remember my teacher’s name & I don’t remember geometry. Something about shapes? Clearly it was an effective educational experience.

I do remember two things from that class. First, I missed the entire first week of class because I got stuck in Egypt, but that is another story for another day. Second, my teacher (whatever her name was)  started off class by telling us to K.I.S.S.
Keep It Simple Stupid. She said that the reason most people can’t find a solution in math is because they over complicate the problem. That one phrase is probably more helpful than geometry anyway.
Most of us feel stuck and overwhelmed by some problem because we over complicate the foundation of what the problem is.
Financial budgets + (marriage – moving) x whatever the heck God is saying + a prophetic word someone gave me in 8th grade / something not feeling quite right + new job offers < deep heart dreams + my kids needs x everything I’m afraid of = WHAT I AM SUPPOSED TO DO.
We try and calculate these ridiculous components. Take the above equation & K.I.S.S. it. It simplifies into questions more like these:
Who do I want to be?
What do I want my life to look like?
What is God saying?
Do I want to marry that person?
If I wasn’t afraid, what would I be doing?
Simplifying the problem isn’t minimizing the problem. Complexity doesn’t equal importance. We should all be doing a bit more geometry in our lives. Let’s all K.I.S.S.

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moments of pure humanity

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Tuesdays this summer are dedicated to travel. Ever since I was little, travel has been a part of my life.  My dad led medical teams of physicians and dentists into Central & South America when I was in elementary school. They would set up clinics in remote and impoverished areas and I tagged along whenever possible. 

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This is a picture of me somewhere in Guatemala ( I think ) holding the child whose memory still follows me today. The clinic had been set up in the middle of the mountains and people came for miles just to see one of our doctors.

The waiting room was full of locals willing to stay for hours. This may be their only chance for medical care & they would not miss it. I generally spent my time sitting with those who were waiting. On a particularly hot day, a mother walked in with her baby.

There was something about that baby. I knew it the moment I saw them come through the door. Such a tenderness in his face. I smiled at the mother who didn’t speak English. She smiled at the young American girl who didn’t speak Spanish. The little boy eventually found himself in my arms. If my memory is right, I held him while the mother saw a physician.

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I walked that boy up and down the dirty floor and waved the flies away from his face. My mom passed by and asked if I knew the child I was holding had Down’s Syndrome. I hadn’t noticed until then.  My arms tightened around his little body. I suddenly loved him even more.

My mind was too innocent to know what his life would  look like in the Guatemalan mountains as he grew up. But I knew enough to know that it would be hard.

Waiting, we held each other. The Guatemalan baby and the American girl. In that moment, I discovered the power of touch.

In that moment it was just two kids. Two kids who lived worlds apart and yet shared this space in time. This sweaty, smelly & crowded waiting room.

I remember thinking to myself how awful it was that I couldn’t do anything to make the situation better. I couldn’t secure a stable income for them, meet his medical needs or ensure that he would be surrounded by people who love him.

I felt his little fingers playing with a piece of my hair and realized all he really needed from me was to be held.  

To touch his life. Right here. Right now.

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His mother came out, got her medicine, took her baby & was on her way. But I have never forgotten that little boy.

I learned a lesson that day in a Guatemalan waiting room. I learned how important it is to touch people, really touch them.

To engage and hold each other in our vulnerable moments. Knowing that God holds us even more tightly than we ever could.

Those moments of pure humanity are the things that make life so beautiful.

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Happy Fathers Day

Fathers are this Sunday’s Kind of Love. Enjoy and Happy Father’s Day!

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June 16, 2013 · 12:31 pm

A Deaf Man With A Blindfold Almost Ruined My Marriage

My wedding.

It sounds like the beginning to a bad joke, but it is true. Last month I celebrated my 10 year anniversary, but the wedding almost got called off. Because of this…

We were at our engagement retreat & all the couples had to play these games that show the importance of good communication. All the girls took off our shoes, mixed them up & put them in a big pile.We then made a huge circle around the pile. The boys were blindfolded & had to find their fiance’s shoes, bring them to her & put them on her feet.
My job was to give clear directions to Jady so he could find my shoes among the chaos of blindfolded men. His job was to listen to what I was saying. This was a dumb game from the beginning. To top it off one of the guys was deaf and he was getting a blindfold too. How is a guy with no sight & no hearing going to stand a chance? Poor guy.
So, the game begins. I quickly realize we are in trouble. 
I need to pause to say that if my husband was telling the story it would be completely different. This is my blog so I am telling my story. Sorry sweetie.
I was giving clear, slow & deliberate instructions. He was not listening. As soon as a shoe was in his hand quickly he tossed it aside to keep looking for the ‘right’ shoe. Before he had heard if it was my shoe or not he had thrown it across the room & moved on to another shoe.
My husband is very competitive. He really doesn’t like loosing. He really really doesn’t like loosing a communication game to a deaf man wearing a blindfold. We did lose.
We are both very headstrong & stubborn people. He felt I left him to dry out there & gave him no direction other than an occasional whisper. I felt that he didn’t even try to hear was saying & it was a stupid game. Who cares if we lost? Yes, I actually looked him in the face & said “Who cares if we lost?”.
This opened up quite a few issues & we actually discussed calling off the wedding. In the end we decided that our love was strong enough to endure losing to a blindfolded deaf man. Jady learned to pause a bit longer to hear what I was saying. I learned never ever to say the phrase “It’s just a game, who cares if we lost?”.  And we were married a few months later.
God reminded me of this story yesterday. He used it to illustrate the point that I have a problem tossing things out of the way while trying to find the ‘right’ thing.
I move on too easily without really listening to hear God tell me if I should hold onto it or let it go. ——-> click to tweet
When I rely solely on how it feels in my hand I unusual end up missing it.
Point taken.
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camping with rabbits

Last week I announced a new series for the summer. Every Tuesday I will share a story or experience from my adventures overseas. I’m kicking it off today with the time I went camping in England. With Rabbits. During the summer solstice.
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I’d like you to meet my friends.  Nick and Carol Pett are on the left. Carol’s father, Reginald Beer , is on the right. Yes, I know. I have delightful friends and no, they aren’t the rabbits I mentioned earlier.

The summer of 2000 was spent living with this family in England. I went on a mission trip to Norfolk and they were my host family. I went back the following year and stayed with them again after a similar trip.

Being the adventurer that I am, I scheduled to stay an additional few weeks after my 2001 trip and hang out with this crew. I guess my parents felt that was okay given the age of my UK posse.

We loaded up their caravan ( American translation: camper) and headed down to spend seven days camping in Brighton.

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It was a lovely drive to Brighton which is on the English Channel.  I blasted my Whitney Houston’s Greatest Hits CD in my discman in the backseat in an effort to tune out the radio broadcast Nick & Carol were listening to. Some BBC program about a financial dilemma. I’m sure it was important, but at 19 I really didn’t care.

Every so often we would pull over when we saw an ice cream truck and a pretty view. No kidding. Notice the picture above? Ice cream bars being eaten randomly on the side of the road. Maybe that is normal English behavior? Or just my friends? Either way we had to pull over, get out the folding chairs and partake of some dairy goodness.

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When we got to Brighton it was absolutely beautiful. Here I am in front of one of my favorite buildings there. You may not be able to recognize me with this baseball hat on. This was before the days of dry shampoo, okay?

Eventually we arrived at our campsite where we were to spend the next week. It right by the beach, but very quickly we discovered that this was no ordinary week to go camping. The place was flooded with the who’s who of bizarre hippie English people.

The summer solstice had begun and Brighton beach was the place to be. There were nearly naked drum circles and tambourines with ribbons. Not kidding. If Woodstock had an English brother a generation younger…

And then there was me. A 19-year-old American who was vacationing with a retired British couple. In a caravan down by the beach.

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Ahh! Here is the caravan with an arrow pointing to where I slept all week. Yes. I slept OUTSIDE. Under the awning. In a sleeping bag.

I had assumed that I would be inside the camper with Nick & Carol. But no, twas not to be. Nick handed me a sleeping bag, a pillow and said “See you in the morning!”.

Grabbing my towel, I headed off down the hill to the campground bathrooms for a shower. The line was nearly out the door with the beach-going new age crowd. Not sure why they were there since it didn’t appear that showering was their thing. Eventually I got back to my sleeping bag & crawled in.

To my left was the camper where my friends were sleeping tucked in their beds. To my right just a little ways off were some ridiculously strange people and their drums. But there I was. Just me in my little sleeping bag thinking about how bizarre my life is.

I was about to drift off to sleep when I realized that I was very much not alone. They had come. Out of nowhere approached a herd of rabbits. ( is a group of rabbits a herd? I could google it, but that would take too long. Let’s just call them a herd. )

I peeked out from my blanked and saw twenty-something rabbits in the grass around me. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any weirder… They stayed there all night. In fact, they came for the whole week we were there.

Laying in my sleeping bag, I could hear the soft movement of grass. I would peek out of my blanket and see the rabbits sitting around me. One big fat one liked to sleep about two feet from my head.

By the third night I had learned to tune out the mystic drum circles and the fear of being bitten by a wild rabbit. I guess when you are 19 you adapt pretty quickly.

A week later I found myself flying home aware that this would make a good story some day.

I learned a lot on that trip. I discovered that Whitney Houston is good for drowning out the BBC and drum circles. Rabbits won’t bite if you lie very, very still. Most importantly, I learned that I really don’t like camping.

Anyone else have a camping story to share???

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adoption update

A Sunday Kind Of Love

Every Sunday I share with you guys something I love. Today’s thing that I love? Adoption.

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted our newest adoption update? I told you that I would let you know what we decided to do and then never mentioned it to you again? Well, I’m not forgetful, we simply didn’t have any answers until this past week. So, here is the follow up from that post:

Our family is currently on the waiting list for both Ghana and Uganda. Each one has their own delays going on at the moment & we are simply waiting to see which door God will open first.

Ghana has plenty of children that qualify for adoption, but there is a new ban prohibiting both domestic & international adoption. Hopefully this will be lifted quickly.

Uganda has children as well, but there are some delays in getting paperwork in order for the waiting children. Also, some of the children’s homes have had to take a break from adoptions due to some various issues.

And so we wait…

I would love your prayers that the process would start moving forward and that the remainder of the funds needed to adopt would come in.

Today, I wanted to let you know about an opportunity to help another family fund their adoption from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Allyson from All Our Days is opening up an Etsy shop. She is making downloadable digital prints for the home and this month 50% of sales in June will go to fund Lauren Mill’s adoption.

Lauren is a mama to three kiddos and her husband is a youth pastor. International adoption is very expensive and this is a great way to help fund them. You can read about their adoption journey here.

These are a couple more items from All Our Days:

Jeremiah 1-5 Gender Neutral 600 EtsyImage

via All Our Days

Blessed 600 EtsyImage

via All Our Days

Have a great Sunday and I hope to have another adoption update to share with you soon! All your prayers & thoughts are appreciated!

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where dreams are born

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It seems to me that in the stillness, the quite and remote places, dreams are born. Animals in the wild retreat into the wilderness to give birth to their young and human mothers bury themselves away preparing the nursery. These moments, in these seemingly unnoticed moments, God creates His masterpieces.
I’m sure that somewhere in the world a baby was born in a lunchroom cafeteria & maybe Steve Jobs came up with Apple’s ideas while attending a Coldplay concert. Either way, my point is this. Don’t underestimate your ‘unimportant’ moments. 
I have always loved writing, but never thought much of it. Then I had a melancholy evening. Well, two actually. The first was New Years Eve 2009. There was a party at our house, but I was downstairs alone with a bad case of food poisoning. Laying on the couch I began to think. Another year going by…what is God up to?
Seattle seemed to be trembling with an expectation of the Kingdom coming. I was so moved as I sat and reflected on a city that changed my life. Mustering what energy I had, I pulled out Jady’s laptop & began to write. I started a blog that night. I felt alive when I closed the computer. God awakened something that evening.
It was a full year ( January 2011) before I would write another blog. Jady was out of town speaking at a youth retreat, my kids were asleep and my days seemed empty. We had just handed over the church we planted to the new pastors and I was preparing to move to San Diego.
One melancholy evening I found myself at the computer. As I looked around a vacant house, I was alone with my thoughts. So many of them. Thoughts on politics, God, people, funny lists , rants against injustice. So many thoughts with no one to hear them in my empty house. I sat down and wrote the first entry of Lark & Bloom. 
Now, my blog is no masterpiece. It isn’t mind-blowing or NPR worthy. It is just my voice in a quiet room. But it gives me life.  It makes me thankful for unimportant, lonely evenings. 
If we are always in the spotlight, among the hum-drum of life, we miss it. There have to be seasons of restraint and simplicity. It feels like God is holding back, allowing others to run ahead of you. You will find that in those aching moments He is saying “this is the way, walk in it”. A new idea, a deep revelation of Him, a direction for your life, or simply a resurfacing of an old dream long forgotten.
David wasn’t qualified to kill Goliath because he was a skilled soldier. He was able to kill him because he did something profound during those lonely nights out with the sheep. He wasn’t wallowing in self-pity or blowing it off as another wasted day. He met God. Alone with no one watching. A foundation was laid that could hold a kingdom.
Maybe tonight is a melancholy night for you. Or your soul feels overlooked and tired of the fight. God has something for you in these solitary evenings. Perhaps it is big or maybe it will seems small.

No matter the size of the dream, when it is birthed from God it is destined for greatness. 

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