Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mike Bright

Old friends are the best friends. Damien's former boss was in town today all the way from Texas and came to visit bearing cigars and port. What a great man. You know those types that just light up a room with their energy, make you laugh, love you, relax you and give good sincere advice? Well, that's Mike Bright. He came all the way from Texas last winter too to visit Damien in the hospital. A true friend. God bless Mike Bright - that's what Linnea would say!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

An Ever-Fixed Mark

God-like love is divinely generated says Martin Lloyd Jones. It starts within and goes out to others. Circumstances and situations will not move it, shake it or affect it. Wow. I get a sense of this if I don't move or breathe. Dear God, give us this kind of love.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No Bounds

This is going to be a very frivolous blog entry. Some Howards spent time at 9501 this weekend as Chalice had ballet auditions in the area...anyway, Faith Harr is living there and has anyone noticed her beauty?? I was trying not to stare. I predict her beauty will know no bounds when she reaches her 30's. I told you this would be frivolous because, you know, inner beauty is the thing...

Friday, February 16, 2007

One good sentence

"Every experience God gives us, every person he puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see."
- Corrie ten Boom

Thursday, February 15, 2007


When Betsie and Corrie were harshly pronounced by a Nazi official as "free", given back papers and some of their belongings, and their father's precious things like his watch and ring (because he had died there), instead of being released they were taken to another prison camp without explanation:

"What better way could there be to spend our lives?", said Betsie.
"What are you talking about?", wailed Corrie.
"If people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love. We must find a way Corrie, no matter how long it takes."

I slowly took in that she was talking about the Nazi guards around us. I saw gray uniforms and visored hats. Betsie saw wounded human beings. I wondered again what kind of person my sister was...what kind of road she followed while I trudged behind with feet of clay.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I remember Mrs. Gutsche saying to me a long time ago, "The older you get, the more you yearn for your first family-parents, siblings." I am still turning through the pages of The Hiding Place revisiting all my favorite paragraphs and I just think I should read a page a day of this book til I die. Corrie and Betsie seemed to me in my 20's sort of like my mom Ruth and her best friend and dear sister, Maugie. Maugie died of cancer a day before Lowen was born. That was a low time for my mother. They only reminded me of Corrie and Betsie because I saw how much they loved each other. Today when I reread one of my favorite parts of this book, I thought more of my sister Dawn and me as I imagined us in that horrible situation:

"After 4 months of being separated in the Nazi prison camp, I saw her auburn hair amid the crowd and as we stepped on to the train at the same time, I seized her hand in mine. Together we found seats in the crowded compartment, together we wept. It had been our first separation in fifty-three years. It seemed to me I could bear anything with Betsie beside me."

Isn't that beautiful yet painful and doesn't it make you realise what luxurious lives we live?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Another Route

I was paging through The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom to inspire me to post and I found a little something. I think I will dedicate it to Lowen Grey. When the only young man Corrie ever loved came to visit one day with his fiance, this is what Corrie's father tenderly said to Corrie later on in her room. "Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are 2 things to do when that happens. Kill the love somehow so it stops hurting or ask God to open up another route for that love to travel." Who can argue with Corrie Ten Boom's father? Sounds like a call to get involved in ministry...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Just Weird

Pax and Damien and I playing Scrabble on a Friday night, Pax and Damien watching football and chatting away as I am falling asleep in my bed, Pax getting help from both of us on papers to be written for school, Pax and his friend (or friends) spread out in our home, Pax talking to Damien and me before leaving for church with the neighbors (Damien is still taking it easy as he is recovering from pneumonia), Pax and I working on a Science Fair project with no interruptions.... My mother had 9 children and felt this way with her last son and I guess the more children you have (Damien and I have six), the stranger it is when only one is still in is just weird.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My brother-in-law

I love my brother-in-law. For anyone who knows my history with David, it is clear that this is a miracle. I asked God for many, many years to change my heart toward David because I couldn't even fake liking him or being kind to him. Last year David saved my husband's life by being the bone marrow donor he desperately needed. Of Damien's siblings, David was the only one who had a perfect match for Damien. He needed David's marrow to live. The doctors at Johns Hopkins made sure that happened last year at this time.
It is David's birthday today and a group of us took him to dinner and bought him some presents. What makes this so special is that he has spent the last 5 weeks at a rehab to stop drinking. He has never looked better and is feeling better than he has in years. He is an amazing person. Very bright, extremely extroverted and with a new hope about the rest of his life. May God continue to bless David with sobriety, a clear mind, and a new heart.

Friday, February 9, 2007

A Good Saying

You know those signs in front of some churches that have a saying on them -- a lot of them are corny and not worth reading twice like "Seven days without prayer makes one weak" -c'mon...I can see saying it maybe but posting it big on the church lawn for all the traffic to see? Today I saw a good one: Blessed are those who give without remembering and take without forgetting." Now that one stuck with me all day.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

One of a Kind

I got to substitute at the little Christian school where I was a teacher's helper for two years. I helped Mrs. Bloodsworth who has worked heart and soul at that school for 30 years. Her son Steve has put in almost as many years and he is the strong male figure/headmaster at the school. He is known for being the most energetic, most playful 50something year old that anyone will ever meet. The mother-son relationship at the school is something that everyone benefits from. Mrs. Bloodsworth is often expressing concern over what Steve eats or needs to eat to be healthy and brings him wonderful food. Mr. Steve is heard laughing heartily over one thing or another throughout the day and playfully exclaims "the train has derailed!" All the kids know that some minor catastrophe has occurred when we hear that familiar phrase. I had 4 kindergartners to take care of today and by the time I left I felt like I should have paid the school for the privilege of being in a relaxed, loving and respectful environment. Long live Open Bible Academy!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Dear "ol' Pastor Shelton"

Actually I have heard from some medical people at Hopkins that folks in their 50's are in the new "middle age". I am eleven months older than our pastor. I think one feels old in their early 50's but then I hear we get a "second wind" and get renewed in our energy for the last couple legs of our journey here on earth. We do things like join the space program, open up an orphanage, you know, that sort of thing. Here's a verse for our beloved pastor:

"Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age."
-Psalm 92:13-14

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Way Up is Down

My girl is struggling with her work load at Covenant. Yearbook commitments. work study, and an impossible exam to pass. There are only so many hours in a day. What's the worse that can happen? Failing at some things with the hope of new beginnings. Hard days at home, hard days in Africa, hard days at Covenant...hmmm, I see a pattern! The way up is down I think. It's good that God shows us our weaknesses. We won't stray far from Him that way and we learn slowly but surely what it means to have "His strength in my weakness". Hang in there babydoll.

Monday, February 5, 2007

It Takes Two

I had this great idea on Sunday to make a patchwork quilt pillow out of some pretty material I didn't need and some unused valences. I felt sure Damien would help me with the details. I knew if I said the words "pattern" or "design" he would get that light in his eye. Dame googled a quilting pattern, figured out the measurements and how it should look and then I did all the cutting and sewing. Lowen and Brae were little the last time we did anything like that so maybe that's why it took all afternoon. It was really fun. It's a great art project for long, chilly winter days. I guess it was working on it together that made me want to write about it. What creative projects do you like to spend time on?

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Another Country

I know something. I know that I am easily satisfied with earthly joys and pursuits. I put my heart and soul into preparing a vegetable garden out back for the spring and summer and feel fulfilled and happy when I gaze into the face of a little child. I'm ready to call it a day. I know that I still drink deeply from the wrong fountains - good water but not the best.
I know there is a boundless sea of delights if I would only learn to draw comfort and joy in the life to come and in the inheritance of the saints. If there were books on this to fill the earth, I bet it would still not plumb the depths of all that God has for us in the life to come. If I would devote myself to this glorious secret of real life, I would understand more of what it means to be a sojourner on the earth - not being overly troubled by this loss or that one or by anything else. I would be less likely to be undone by life's winds and storms. Christians are born to great hopes (future certainties). So... Let us long for and seek after another country.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


The blog I wrote for today is a bit "heavy" (I'll save it for Sunday). So for fear of losing the few viewers I might have ("that blogger is too serious.") I am going to try and get you to giggle. My sister sent me a copy of the book she is reading called A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. She is thinking it might possibly keep her out of the insane asylum. She heard that laughing each day, even if you have to schedule it, like putting in a tape from comedian Brian Regan, just may preserve the last little bit of well-being she has--hey, it's worth a try. So we are reading the book together and I am reading it aloud to my husband. In the beginning of the book the author is at the diner and asking the locals what they think of him striking out on to the Appalacian Trail for about six weeks. Here goes:

"Scary stuff waitin for ya out there on the AT...Remember Jeb?...tweren't nothin' left o him but a scorch mark."

"lots of diseases out there waitin to getcha...lymes there's a disease for the person who wants to experience it all."

"and Budd..was visiting a bush in the middle of the night, got swooped down on by a fearsome owl and the last he saw of his scalp it was dangling from talons prettily silohuetted against the harvest moon."

I don't know. Maybe it's a book for the Pastrana girls-we're tickled.

Friday, February 2, 2007


After watching a clip of the Dr. Phil show yesterday about someone's destructive dad, I left to pick up Pax from school. I started thinking about my dad in a light-hearted way and how he was a really good one. Generous came to my mind first. Freedom came next - I realise now that some dads are overbearing or too sheltering but my dad was at the other end of that spectrum, for me anyway. He laid down the law when I was little, and from that point gave out more and more freedom. The third thing that came rattling off the press of my brain on my seven minute trek down Rt. 50 was that my 6 brothers and their friends treated me really well while I was growing up. That is no small thing and I attribute it to my dad's good example.
What three things come to mind when you think of your father?

Thursday, February 1, 2007


God, hurry to their rescue, go quickly to their side!
Their feet are slipping, their hands can not hold on
to Yours. In Your great love, revive them.
Send relief, refreshment, and a place to heal.
May they be taught by all Your testings what is
right and true. Let them shout Your name with
a praising song because all things are under Your feet.

-A prayer (based on several Psalms) dedicated to my sister
Dawn and her husband as they seek help in raising their
adopted son from Romania, age 15.
To all the saints, a call to pray.