Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Home Again

Cartegena is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever had the pleasure to visit. After a week in a poor barrio, it was a stark contrast. La Central was much poorer than the area we went to last year. Many of the homes did not have paint, just cinder block walls and dirt floors, or cement. One very poor family had a bedroom and their living area had no roof.
All the way home all I could think was, "I don't need."

It is amazing to see such beautiful faces and sweet spirits in such conditions. God has provided food for these indigenous people in this environment. The papayas, bananas, coconuts, coffee, and pineapples just grow. The people shimmy up the trees with their machetes and cut down the luscious fruits. Limes are plentiful. It is common to see donkey drawn carts heavily laden with the most beautiful fruit. The landscape is lush and thickly foliated. Here you do not see starvation even among the poorest people, a stark contrast to the suffering in Africa.

The photo with the million dollar view is from the rooftop of the mission. It is located in Galapa a town that looks a lot like Tijuana Mexico. Most of the little cement block structures have a "razor wire" on the tops of their walls, made from broken bottles and anything sharp to discourage intruders. The poorer neighborhoods have drug and crime problems. We had to be careful to leave by 5pm, and the one night we stayed for an evening, showing the Jesus film in a dirt soccer field we had army protection, soldiers with machine guns. Thankfully we did not need their services. It would have killed me to harm even one of them.

Where do I begin? Each trip has a life of it's own. This one was hard fought. The JW's had been here before us, and we had much work to do. Each house was harder, each place a field of battle, but God prevailed. 583 people chose Jesus Christ, over 800 attended the film. A small church has been started.

Last year we gave a gift for some booklets called, "The Book of Hope," they cost 33cents each in American money. Our national missionaries have worked with this organization to begin to place one copy of this booklet into every child's hands in Barranquilla, the entire region. What started with a very small amount of money $200. has been multiplied into a gift of amazing size. These booklets can be handed out in schools. Our missionary and the organization of "The Book of Hope," are working together to make this happen.

What do you do when faced with the questions raised by other groups? As I went from house to house I felt led to explain that many people are good at argument and debate. It was for each one of them to decide what to believe. I asked them if you were leaving how much weight would you place upon the last thing to be said? So it was that I led them to the last chapter of Revelation, the last few verses. Jesus himself gives a warning against adding to or taking away from his words, no extra books, no new prophets. Jesus said, " I AM the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father except by me." An unpopular message today in our culture of affluence, but in this culture it is the water of life. If Jesus were here he would be in places like this.

One woman and her brother had travelled by taxi from the country to visit a friend in the barrio. She told me that she heard a message on the radio in transit that she would meet God this day. She said she had heard of the Mormon's who believe in Joesph Smith, she had heard from the Jehovah Witnesses regarding their beliefs, but she had not accepted them. She said that today she had heard the true gospel and would move to this place to join the Bible study, so great was her joy. Again each one must choose for themselves what to do with Jesus from Nazareth.
Over 500 witnesses saw him after he was raised from the dead. Their are many religions and many books about spiritual matters, but only one man has come back from the dead and has power over death.

We worked very hard. 5 out of the 15 got sick. Medicine in Colombia is very cheap. We took one of our team members to the mission clinic where he received 2 bags of IV fluid and 4 different IV medications. The price for an emergency room visit and treatment? 82,000 pesos about $44
cash. I was impressed with their health care, they LOOK at the patient, their was so much more humanity in their care.

I happened to get sick on the bus on the way back from Cartegena. It's funny now but at the time I thought, maybe I was dead and in hell. We had chartered a nice air conditioned bus for this day that had a very tiny bathroom in the back which was not air conditioned, and perhaps had no air at all. I had NO warning that something was up until a blowout was occurring. As I hurried from the front of the bus to the back all I could say was, "Oh NO!" In the bathroom I struggled to get my pants and underwear off, the underwear would go in the trash, and put the pants back on. The drivers in Colombia drive as fast as possible and the back of the bus was bouncy. Bouncy enough that my big hiney was slapping the seat and at some points I thought I was going to rip the handle right out of the wall. It was not pretty. No toilet paper. But I had a small pack of wipes with me, the things you can be grateful for! Basics. I was the last person off the bus to hide my disaster but the team found out anyway.

On the way to the airport one of the fellas who is an absolute hoot was shuckin and jiving with the taxi driver. He asked to drive and other silly things. The driver liked him and wanted to party. James said, "No cantina." so the driver put on some music by Dairo Gomez and James starts talking about how well we already know "diarreah-go-mez" that Karen had a blowout on the bus. In ENGLISH praise God so maybe he didn't catch on and start worrying about his cab.
After the 5th person got ill I recommended the whole team go on antibiotics prophylactically until we got home. Nobody wanted to get stuck in quarantine so Bactrim for everybody.

It was hot. I have never been so hot. The water kept getting shut off, once while I was in the shower completely soaped up a with a thick shampoo lather in my hair. Their I am hollering, "HELLO!, I need to rinse off!" It was not fun. some of the guys said they would squirt our drinking water on me one tiny bag at a time, very funny. Fortunately the water did come back on and I got the soap off, el pronto! We also lost power. Without fans the heat is sweltering oppressive, like a sauna. I have not ever experienced sweating like that. I was wearing a money belt around my waist that I had to move to my backpack, it was literally drenched and all the money as wet as if it had been through a washing machine. In spite of these drawbacks our trip was incredible. I love the Colombian's. They are a beautiful people. They live in a richly blessed land even if it is on the equator. They treasure their babies, their old and each other. They have generous hearts and beautiful eyes. We can learn from them. They have so little and so much more than we do. They suffer from poverty and crime but are not defeated. Hope and humour beat in their chests, and I hope to return to them again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Colombia Last Year

See the parrot on his finger?

Colombian high fashion a guy got off a yacht like this.

Catfish sharks at the aquarium and a South American fiddler crab.(CBW would want to see it)

Driving in Colombia- anything goes everywhere at the same time.

This IS a RoAd!
Don't you want to come too?
Two posts today prayer requests next post.
I have to get my bloggy fix now.

Prayer Requests for Colombia

I'm ready to pack my bag. My hair is burgundy purple, I'm going to stand out like a neon sign. I don't know why I had to go and wreck a good thing but that's just my standard OP.
We are having a perfect fall day today absolutely beautiful. I felt like dancing in the street.
Some of you have asked to pray and asked for specific requests. Our leader sent these. Travel is essential. We were delayed by a day coming back last year just because Delta didn't have a fully booked flight. They cancelled it. Very hard when you are so tired. Coming back through customs is a nightmare. We had a 3 hour lay over and spent the whole thing in line, barely had time to eat. The airlines are not so accommodating these days. We have a full night layover going. We were going to be in the airport all night but they have made arrangements for us to stay at a mission house. Pray for Bernardo and Mildred who are making all these arrangements. One of our team members has just hurt his back and it has disc involvement. Always the heat of battle gets turned up because we will meet many, many people. Last year more than 600 people prayed to receive Jesus. We showed the Jesus movie in the street of the neighborhood we had been in all week and it was a huge crowd. We just fill the street with plastic chairs and set up a big screen on the back of a pick up truck. It's so stinkin cool! The people had popcorn, but it became pretty serious as the story progressed. I am so grateful to go. I will have a ton of news when I return.

The logistics of getting there
· Travel safety for the group
· Bernardo and Mildred as they plan for our arrival and the activities of the group
· The weather – that we are not hampered in our work or evangelism
· Cool nights – so we can rest well at night
· Roger Hartfield as team leader
· Greg Broom as evangelism captain
· Hal Shaw as VIP leader (the cook) and the workers there helping
· The neighborhood where we will evangelize
· That God is preparing the hearts of the people we will witness to
· The effectiveness of the testimony and clarity of speech as we witness
· For God to bind Satan from the neighborhood so as not to hamper the efforts of the missionaries (us)
· Logistics of getting the group to and from neighborhoods where we will evangelize- This is a big deal too.
· The interpreters working with the group – that there are enough when we need them THIS IS HUGE!!!
· The health of the group (If you ingest the water inadvertently you can get very sick – ask Greg)
· Efficiency in our construction work
· Safety in the construction work
· Gabrell as he prepares for the construction at Casa Grande
· The lives and ministries of those who will receive training in leadership at Casa Grande
· Hope for Today – the church planting organization working in the North Caribbean Coast area of Colombia

Thank you all. Above all else pray that God shows up MIGHTY and pours out His power and His spirit on us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Talk About JACKPOT!!

Red Lobster Cheese Biscuits

2 ½ cups Bisquick baking mix
¾ cup cold whole milk
4 tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese

Brush on Top:
2 tablespoons butter, melted¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes½ teaspoon garlic powder, pinch of salt
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter or a large fork. You don't want to mix too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter in there that are about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and ¼ teaspoon garlic. Mix by hand until combined, but don't over mix. (CARDINAL RULE OF BISCUITS!)
3. Drop approximately ¼-cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop.
4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.
5. When you take the biscuits out of the oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter is a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in ½ teaspoon garlic powder and the dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up ALL of the butter

I saw this tonight at Romantic Home and copied it immediately and told her so. News this good must travel fast! Seriously, I do not give a flyin flip over a single item on their menu. Dinner is ok but nothing to write home about. However! Those cheese biscuits slay me deader than a doornail. I don't need to order anything, just a cup of chowder and baskets and baskets of those warm melt in your mouth, seasoned, cheesy biscuits. If it wasn't 11:20pm I'd go make them right now. This is really hitting the jackpot.

It also spares you hearing how I tried to touch up my ROOTS myself and turned them a very bright shade of pinky orange. I thought I lost my hairdresser, he changed shops. Then I found his number and called him EMERGENCY! Help please, I don't look good in a ball cap.
He helped, I am kinda a burgundy hair head , now for fall maybe? But it's alright.
What a scare I knew ya'll didn't need to know nuthin about that mess.

Less go make a mess of these biscuits.

The Winner IS!!

Sorry, I'm late. I've been thinking about packing!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Giving Thanks

My friend over in England, In The Gutter is having a "I'm so happy it's fall" contest. Write a thank you to someone.

What a great idea. How do we pick ONE someone? I may have to do this all week.
But immediately the persons who come to my mind would be the very generous couple at my church who paid for most of my trip to Colombia. I am grateful for all the gifts.

When this sweet woman pulled me aside two weeks ago, it was to say that whatever balance was lacking on my finances to go, she and her husband would pay it. I was speechless.

I went to Colombia last year for the first time. It was my first trip out of the country. I really didn't know what to expect and it was nothing short of a miracle that I went on that trip too. But God...had definite ideas for me to go. There are so many stories I could tell you about my adventure there.

Our first day a crowd gathered in the park where we had gone to take a walk and we shared Christ with them. I have never seen anything like it. Where ever we went a crowd gathered and wherever we shared, our message was received with joy.

The Colombian people are beautiful.

The land reminds me of Monterey California only a bit lusher with green foliage but the actual hilly country looks very similar. It's spectacular.

The country itself is rich. They have emeralds and coffee, not to mention the incredible land they are blessed with. But poverty abounds, and violent crime. Kidnapping is the number one crime and drug cartels. We see armed military in the public and will actually stay at a walled in, locked compound. We have to be careful, white Americans are a prime target for kidnappers. Last time I had no fear. Well there was the one time we took a ride on one of the little bicycle carts and the rider took us into some dimly lit streets, not so good.

Since I was with a pretty big man I wasn't too worried. I would never go anywhere there alone.

The people drive like maniacs. when you come to a stop sign it's best to hold your breath. That means it's chicken game time. I dared to ask once about the stop signs that no one pays any attention too, "it's just a suggestion," was the reply.

One particularly amazing experience happened towards the end of our trip. We were working our way around the blocks of this little neighborhood of cement block houses. I loved the color and open yards. Everyone hangs out together, they also pick each others lice; yeeks. I hate lice. Just the thought of it makes me itch like a banshee.

I digress. What else is new? We came to the door of a nice home. Really, there is a difference, and some of the homes are wonderfully pleasant. I could live like that, and love it. We were welcomed inside. The Colombians are so friendly, they are excited that we are there and offer us the best chairs they have. Next door neighbors will want to peek in and come over too.

In this house a woman sat rocking a small child about three years of age. I was immediately concerned for the child. She was seriously ill. I am talking serious as in dire, as in call 911, as in we need a rescue. The child was limp and nearly unresponsive. she would barely rouse and her vision was dazed, her eyes glassy. Upon questioning her mother, through my interpreter she had not eaten or had even sips of water. The child had not urinated since early in the morning and then only a little. This is bad, in simple terms. Very bad. This is an admission to the ICU in an American hospital. It was worse because whatever was making the child sick also involved her breathing, she had rapid labored breathing, and I could hear her audibly wheezing. In short order, I was sure that without immediate help she would die. I tried to convince the mother to take her to the hospital, nothing doing. We had shared with them about Jesus. They had prayed with us.

I was in a quandary. How would these people feel tomorrow about us and our message if we returned to find the whole town grieving over this child? I really wanted to do something. The mother insisted that all I needed to do was pray for her.

Guess what? This missionary was thinking, CRAP!
I need to get this kid to a hospital and we're late, she still might not make it! So it was with no faith, as in zip; a great deal of dread, and apprehension, that I finally submitted to the mothers request for prayer. I laid my hand on her little, sweaty, heaving chest. My heart broke. Lord, these people have just begun to trust you. What will they think when she dies? I left with a heavy heart.

All that night I prayed. I barely slept. I wanted to run back to their house first thing in the morning and I was anxious until we arrived again in the afternoon. I had to work the neighborhood with my partner who had seemed so unconvinced of my diagnosis. She was single minded about our work. Truthfully I was angry that she brushed off my concern. She might not have seen what I saw, but I knew what I was looking at.

When we arrived and knocked at the door we greeted them, "Hola, beunos dias como esta usted?" "Where is the child?" I queried. "She's here,"
said her mother." She was healed within the hour after you prayed."
I was stunned. We praised God. I had goose bumps from head to toe. My faith quadrupled in that moment.

I leave Friday for Colombia. I am thankful. Thanks is not a big enough word. The people who gave so I can go are beyond thanks. May God pour out on them a hundredfold blessing for their gifts. I can't wait to go.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Call Me Corny

But I just can't get enuf of this stuff,...

and this one,

in case you mgiht be too relaxed after that try this;

Now that's getting happy. Love me some Old Bill and buddies.
If they don't cheer you up, you might just be dead.

I have to put one more, this is sooooooooo good. Don't you tell me that us Jesus people don't know how to have fun.


Today is a new day. We found ourselves glued to the TV last night. I didn't want to watch a storm the size of Texas tear up Texas, but I couldn't help myself. When I finally went to bed Geraldo was bracing himself against a small palm tree, trying not to be blown away in 130 mile an hour winds. Get out of the weather Geraldo. He must feel totally beat up today.

We had questions while we watched. Piglet asked me if God could pour out wrath on us. I replied that God can do anything he wants to do. He's God. He made the world with his word and can destroy it in a word. We quietly thought about that.

This morning I read about the difference between Jesus and the Pharisees. The Pharisees or the religious leadership of the day, had developed a perverted form of law observance that they beat the people down with. They profited from the peoples guilt. They taxed them and exploited them. They were puffed up with their own importance and position. They were not ready for Jesus when he came. They were looking for a political Messiah one who would come in power and rule.

Jesus came humbly, poorly, he poured his life out for the people. He lifted up the truth of God and let it be light. He was the light of the world and we knew him not.

In the Old Testament there are so many stories of people dying for lack of belief. This morning we watched people who spoke of having parties last night. How can one ignore a warning that includes writing your social security number on your arm?! Did that have to be spelled out for some? Surely not.

One of the many times that the children of Israel turned to false Gods and brought the Lords anger on them he sent vipers among them. As they lay dying Moses lifted up his staff with a serpent on it. If the people would but LOOK at it they would be healed. 40,000 died that day. 40,000 that would die, rather than look.

People are no different now. I do not believe to know the answer if these storms are the wrath of God but they may be a wake up call. It is only a sugggestion. I do not believe that people in Texas are any different than anyone else. They are not singled out to be the victims of fury. What do we think when we see the eye of a storm that is 600 miles wide? Are we really the product of some haphazard grouping of molecules? Can order ever come from chaos?

Just as in the days long ago people worshipped the gods of power and wealth, they called him Bael. They worshipped the gods of sex and pleasure and practiced infanticide. The set their infants in the burning arms of Molech to offer them as a sacrifice. We offer them with saline induced abortion, they too are burned to death.
We change our language to make it sound medical. We dress up our actions in fancy terms. We place labels of bondage around our amoebic beginnings and call them rights. Yes, we have rights. We have the right to look upon the light of the world or turn our faces away. We can hear with our ears the call upon our hearts and lives or tune the message out. We can choose whom we will serve.

That large eye spoke to me. For me it is a call to pray, a call to turn, to seek the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds. He has said that when we do this, He will hear and heal our land. The Lord is slow to anger, and full of loving kindness, each morning holds new mercy and new hope. Not that one should bear the brunt of wrath but that by some, the glory of God would be revealed, and his hand seen. Some are trusted to endure so that others would see. We are a nation as torn apart by our beliefs and ideals as a hurriciane brings destruction. We are a divided land. We are a divided people. Will we look? Will we see? Will we forget about our meager acts of self reliance? Will we turn as a people? Will we stand and see the healing of our land? I hope so. I love these people and this land.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Twin Towers Remembered

Time has flown by most assuredly, without skipping a beat. Seven years ago today my heart did skip a beat, as I watched the TV in a pediatric patients room. I watched the coverage live. When the second plane hit, I thought immediately that it was a terrorist attack.

We tried to focus on our work. It was difficult to concentrate. I wanted to go home. I remembered the day as a child that J.F.Kennedy was killed. I remembered that our great country has enemies that hate her, both inside and out.

What I don't understand now and didn't understand then or ever, is why? Why do our colleges teach such anti-American propaganda? Why do we talk as if we are the guiltiest nation on earth? Why would these men do such a thing, and think of it as something sacred? There are no answers when such events unfold. There is no justification for such acts of murder.

I do remember the nation for a few days turning towards God. I remember the fireman staking the flag on the hill of ruins. I remember the courage of the rescuers. I remembered thinking that all the ashes were people who had been incinerated by the fires. As days went by and more stories came out I marveled. I saw the hand of God in Todd Beamers story, as the people on that plane took it to the ground and their deaths; but fought a battle for freedom. I remember that in those days our president experienced popularity and favor. We were a grateful people then. Why have we turned on the man as we have? Why should he leave office so disliked? I think as a country we should be ashamed of ourselves that we show so little respect for those who serve. whoever they are.

I may not and don't agree with everything he has done or hasn't done. But George W. Bush has served this country, and taken us through perilous times. Ask any man home from Iraq and he will tell you how grateful the people are. The media will not say anything to us positive. Why do we listen to them?

Why do we let this man leave office with his head hanging? Why do we not thank him?

God holds the hearts of kings in his hands and he does with them as he will. Instead of worrying about OBama and what will happen if he gets elected why not pray for the man? What would happen if all believers everywhere sought out the Lord and his will now as we did on this day seven years ago? What might happen? Does the Lord hold back his mighty hand because of weakness? Not hardly. Jesus did little in Nazareth because of their unbelief.

Regardless of your political persuasion, we should be Americans first. We need to treat all people well, including our leaders weather we approve of them or not. It is called respect. Our country had a severe warning that day. We have survived. Amazingly so has Ben Laden. How is a mystery.

We should think and remember today, and never forget. To all the servicemen and heroes of our land I thank you. My freedom isn't free.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bring The Rain

Should Be's Don't Give Honey

I have a lot of time on my hands this week. I had a cyst removed from my back and the thing was as big as a gizzard, golf ball, extra large walnut, you get the idea. Anyway it was the third time to excise it which gave me frequent flyer status. I did not seek out a dermatologist this time they are chicken surgeons. I had a plastic surgeon take it out. They are good about removing anything bad like old scar tissue, and thinking about the best way to make a nearly invisible scar. He was surprised at the size, as were we all. Where is my camera when I need it? Nawh, somebody would've puked for sure.

Why am I talking about this? Because the good doctor told me not to bend over or to lift anything because that whopper left a big hole and my stitches could split open.
I took that advice very seriously and have been in my pajamas for 3 days. My feet have almost stopped hurting. I definitely do not want a big hole in my back, so no more shift work before going to Colombia.

With all this time on my hands I should be thinking of some funny, witty post. Or at least a story about something. I do remember the third grade, that's a lot of territory. Just not feelin it.

My Mama used to say, should bee's don't give any honey." Guess what? Right now I don't feel witty, or funny, not even creative. The truth is I feel burdened. I am worrying about picking a good job, one that won't do me in. I am sad from reading *Bring the Rain*, I am sad from thinking about our baby, even after all this time.
Nothing much seems very funny, or important.

but God,..is on his throne. I am going to Colombia in 9 more days. I will see miracles, and beauty in the midst of poverty. I will touch big brown eyed people and they will touch me. I will do my best to avoid the rampant lice. I will try not to over eat Hal's great cooking. I will walk the muddy streets of Galapa, rejoicing to be there again. I will marvel at the beauty of the environment, and the richness of spirit in the people. The colors will dazzle, the people so open, so sweet. I will return without this present slump, and then I will have something to say, something worth hearing. One cannot go to a place like that and not have a complete change of perspective. I am eager to go.

I will leave the contest open for 5 more days and then we will put the names of those entered into a hat and pick one. It's impossible to pick a best, I laughed at a lot of them. If you want to enter feel free. Closing the 15th at 4pm.

Monday, September 8, 2008

For A Short Time

One week after our marriage and return to town, we were made grandparents. Daddy BB's oldest son and his young wife had a beautiful baby boy. She gave birth to him in our home with a midwife, her MIL, and me. I was 32 years old when this happened. More than anything I wanted a baby of my own, and I knew that would not happen. His young Mommy shared her son with me, I saw him every day. Held him loved him, cooed to him, he was precious.
She had a job at a pizza place in the evening and we babysat. One night his Daddy called and said he was taking baby Joshua home and would try and take care of him himself. He had never done that before. We were a bit amazed and said to call if he needed help. I was aching to see him and so sorry to miss my daily dose of baby sugar.

About 10 that evening the phone rang, I said hello and there was no answer just a weird noise, so I hung up. Again the phone rang, nothing. The third time I picked up and Jamie screamed into the phone, "DON'T HANG UP LET ME TALK TO MY DAD!" He was hysterical.

What unfolded next was the beginning of one of the hardest trials I ever experienced. Joshua was not breathing. Jamie did not know how to do CPR. The paramedics were coming but they lived on top of a mountain a 20 minute trip from the beginning of their road; there was no way for a speedy rescue. My husband had the presence of mind to tell Jamie not to call his mother at work, but he already had. She had just left hysterical. We would have picked her up.

As we dressed I looked at my new husband and said, "It sounds like Joshua is dead."
We were about half way up their hill when a woman jumped in front of our car waving her arms. We stopped and she jumped into the back of the car screaming and crying. It was our babies momma. I do not know how, but I catapulted myself over the front seat and into the back to hold her. She didn't even know that it was us who picked her up. She had driven the car over a cliff and climbed up the muddy hillside, in complete darkness, to the road just as we were coming by. We would see the following day where a fallen tree had somehow wedged (angels?) under her wheels and stopped her from certain death. It was a steep cliff. The car would never be salvaged it was impossible to retrieve it.

We arrived at their house just after the ambulance had left. We took the sobbing parents and began our drive to the hospital. My heart could not be more broken. I understood words like anguish, remorse, shock, denial, despair, unbelief, in a new way. My guts were in a shredder. It was a nightmare to wake up from, this could not be happening.

At the hospital we went by an area where they were coding our baby. We went to a waiting room and sat there. I could not believe that this was happening to us and in this manner, it was the only time his father tried to take care of him. When the doctor came in he didn't have to speak. We knew by his face that our baby was dead. SIDS. A perfectly healthy, fat baby boy at 4 months of age gone, for no reason.

I had not been a Christian for very long, about two years. I had been cradled by the Lord and cared for. This event stunned me. I was angry. I screamed at God. I called him a liar. No lightening came to strike me dead. I wanted to be dead. The grief I felt for the baby was more intense than anything that had ever come before; including losing my mother and dear dear brother. My arms hurt, my chest hurt, I hurt for his parents and I hurt for us. I also did not have any sense of prayers. People were praying for the parents, they were being carried in peace. I wanted to scream, pray for me too!

I picked up that little lifeless body. It was heavy and strange. He still looked like our sweet boy, but he was not there. A sweet old Catholic priest had come to stand by us and he was weeping too.

Baby coffins are small, I could not breathe at this funeral, I had a shower of slinging snot flying from my nose and guttural sobs that I couldn't contain. I felt like I was losing my mind. Still I was angry with God. How could he do this? How could he take this baby away? No one else in this world would share a baby like she had. I loved him as if we were my own son. He was being buried in the cold earth, in January when it's freezing and wet. It was raining. It seemed so wrong to leave him there in the rain and the cold, deep in the ground. I wondered how would we live? Would my heart quit beating because it was broken?

Joshua would be 21 years old this month. My heart did beat. Our lives went on. The marriage did not survive. His daddy had the worst scenario possible for "what if's". It took years for him to be able to talk about it. It took years for him to hear that it was not his fault. We studied everything we could lay our hands on about SIDS. Babies have died in their mothers arms. They just die.

God began to show me how great his love for me was. God began to speak ever so softly into my heart of his love for his own son, the one that he gave for me. The death that he died, the violence of it, the brutality, and the reason. To redeem us. I would see the baby again. He spoke to me about the miraculous way in which he had spared his mother. My anger subsided. God was very gentle with me then. I prayerfully asked the Lord to appoint my own mother as his caregiver. I believe when I die she will be one of the first to welcome me, with my sweet boy in her arms.

Last night I read a blog

It is a sweet sad incredible journey of two people who gave life to a baby they knew would not live. My heart wrenched in understanding for them. Toby and Angie Smith of the group. Selah
As I read their story for over two hours, it took another painful turn. 7 weeks after her babies birth, 2 and 1/2 hour life, and death; Nicole Sponberg, Toby's sister and singer lost her baby son to SIDS.

These women will change your heart forever.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


These stories are so funny. What have I gotten my myself into? I may have to resort to that random integer thingie. Great stories, am enjoying reading all of them. Especially after working and having my feet feel like they are ready for the grave. Skinny little tootsies aren't they? The only part of me that is.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Preparing for Departure

As of yesterday all the necessary funds to return to Colombia are in. Just like that. God amazes me. I almost missed this trip. I missed the meetings, the deadlines, the first puchasing of plane tickets. That we will spend an entire night in the airport between planes, is minor. I'm going.
I have been anticipating the return since I left.

God has provided. On the other hand my work with the agency is drying up. I have been cancelled a lot lately. Not so good when your bills still come in and your paycheck doesn't.
But then, I have to look at what just happened. In less than two weeks the whole cost of this trip was given, including $115 in cash to exchange for pesos while I'm there. Incredible.

This morning when the phone rang at 5 am to tell me not to come to work, I paused. At my bedside is a book,"Moments With the Savior." I picked it up and read. Have you ever wondered why it was a temptation to Christ to change stones to bread? What was the big deal anway?
Didn't he change water into wine? What was wrong with that suggestion?

It's subtle, this trick. Self reliance is such an all American idea. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps and you'll fall flat on your face. Jesus relied on the Father alone. If he would have changed the stones it would have been a self serving act, not an others serving, God glorifying act.
Subtle, but Jesus saw right through it. No. Not that hungry, not even after 40 days.

Could it be that God wants me to take these days to prepare to meet the people once again? To set aside the worries of the present, the hunger for bread, and focus instead on him. Who is waiting? My prayer is that I would not miss even one opportunity, even one pair of eyes. The people are so eager to hear. Why would you come here? America the land of promise and dreams, and Colombia with it's colorful little cement houses, dirty streets, naked children, and crazy drivers. Why American lady would you come to a little village in Colombia? I come to share a story with you of good news, of how a man from Nazereth changed my life.

Today is a good day to pray, to read my Spanish Bible, to fumble with my story cube, and to pray. Would you also pray?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

IT's a GIVE AWAY- Your going to Be Pleasantly Surprised, and you will WANT to Win

In Every season there is a time.

A Time To Die which has certain expectations; customs and traditions which to ,..um pardon me but it's incomprehensible and appalling to make a mistake at a Southern Funeral and "Being Dead is After All No Excuse!"

Introducing Your experts of Southern Burial Rights and pageantry, not to mention the protocol of FOODS served at such an event; this perfectly lovely book is a signed edition.
In order to win you must post your funniest life story, embarrassing moment type of tale that will get a genuine guffaw out loud, from me. Your story can have something to do with a funeral, but that isn't necessary. Not many people find anything funny in a funeral. Personally I think comenting on how "natchrel" someone looks doesn't say much for them while they were breathing. The book is great anyone would enjoy it.
One more thing, to broaden the scope of contestants and not just make it a slam dunk affair between the faithful four. You must send other people this way to partake of our treasure hunt. The person who convinces the most new readers to take a peek, will win a pair of the most prized peri panties. Isn't this the greatest contest you have ever heard of in your sweet life?
Southern Etiquette of the dead with RECIPES, all the scrumptious secrets of the South at your fingertips. You'll understand if you have ever been to a funeral in the south. One cannot imagine the display of comfort foods, or know how delightful these dishes are; just each one makes you audibly gasp, because it's wonderful. So here you have it all in one. What to cook, what to say, what NOT TO SAY, and possibly a pair of these very overrated stretch net peri panties, (now they are a real dud). But you want them! So get to work on this contest and give it your best shot. There will be some tough contenders out there, CBW has to get her mama in the act. You all know who you are. Kathy may have spayed a male you never know, but those stories are going to set fire to the presses. You've got 2 weeks. I need to finish reading it myself and copying down the recipes. GiT to work! Make us laugh!

Safe and Sound

Seems we have been sheltered through the storms again. All the years I have lived here with tornado sirens and terrific winds, we have always come through unscathed. God keeps us safe.
The wind is still whipping about and it's been raining, but nothing savage on the home front.
I gave Piglet the drill this morning before going off to school. "what do you do if you drive up to a street that is full of water"? She answered correctly, "Turn around and go another way, I'm not stupid Nannie". This coming from the child who did drive in the last Storm we had that was a lot more severe than this one. It's not over yet, but so far so good.

Too pass the time you won't believe what we did. It was Labor Day after all. We had some friends over for dinner. I fixed a chicken and stuffing dish courtesy of my friend Debbie in CA, and I cooked up some whole cranberries with crushed pineapple for a relish. For my sweetheart who won't eat chicken, broccoli cheese rice casserole. Heidi's post made me hungry for creamed corn but mine was not fresh off the cob, it was a dismal substitute but no one noticed, it was gobbled up. My friend made her wonderful blueberry salad which is really a desert. It has a cream cheese and nut topping over a jello molded blueberry pie filling, pineapple ,delicious surprise. Since it was raining we lit candles and pretended it was fall. I turned the air conditioner down some to set the mood. I'm so ready for fall. It was fun. We played a game called Outburst, that was entertaining. And so the storm went by us. We enjoyed a pleasant evening and prayers for safety were answered. It was much better than anxiously waiting for an ax to fall on our necks. Our sirens did go off three different times yesterday afternoon. My kitchen seemed much safer than the neighbors ditch. I have been enjoying Debbie's play list so much. (Wisteria and Roses) I open it under one tab, turn the play list on and then work under other tabs. Last night I ran the play list for background music for our evening and everyone commented on the lovely choices! How fun is that? Blogger music, candles, AC, and a storm.
What a night!
I have been reading a book that I think would be a delightful give away. I want to make up something though that will entertain everybody, any contest ideas? Trust me ya'll will want this. It beats the peri panties any day.