Friday, August 26, 2005

College - Can I remember?

The school bell is ringing once again.

Kids are back in school and it is time for the sidewalks to be filled on the corners of each elementary, middle, and high school between 3 and 4:00 every week day. There is a bit of nostalgia drifting across me, as I read the blogs of those taking their children to different class levels.

Some of my friends are walking into elementary school for the first time and dropping off their babies in Kindergarten. Some are forging forward into Middle School traumas, or High School glories.

I got a call last night from Colorado. One such mom was so excited. We have been talking about this day for months. He, her oldest son, went to meet his teacher and take his pre-reading test. Mom has been a teacher. In fact, she was teacher of the year, one year. She is an incredible woman. Has a home that Martha Stewart only dreams of, because she creates it with love, kindness, honesty, and God. She is not a cookie cutter mom, or Christian. She is REAL and beautiful. She knows her son is ready, but it is hard. She has one younger. And at moments like these, she misses the one she lost in between. But, she is thrilled! Now, the phone is handed to her son. They are outside enjoying the cul-de-sac middle class suburban life. Mom hails him to stop and talk to "Ms. _____". He proceeds to give me about two seconds of "It was great, the classroom is really big, and we will be studying lots about animals and stuff. I'm really busy right now riding my scooter, so I've got to go! Bye, I love you Ms. ____!"

Mom is remembering the days.

I have another friend in Texas. (Wildly enough, she knows the teacher above - her kids went to the above teacher's school when said teacher lived in Texas.) Now, interestingly enough this friend is packing her oldest child off for college this year. They left yesterday to get her into the dorm. Now, the daughter is a bit apprehensive and more excited about the roommate situation than anything else. Well, that and grieving the reality that she is leaving the fella’ that she just met, and would like to get to know better, back here at home! (Don’t you just hate it when it works out that way ;^?)

This mom is so excited about being an Aggie Mom; which for those of you unfamiliar with this status means that she is just carrying on with the tradition of PTA mom. They will return without their daughter on Sunday, and this family will climb into their lakeside home and find a huge hole in an upstairs bedroom.

Mom is remembering the days.

A few days ago I sat in a huge arena. My ex-husband sat on the other side of the arena with his wife. With family and friends all around me, I watched my children walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. My son graduated Cum Laude at 9:00 am and his older sister (who graduated at 2:00 pm with letters on her board screaming “’03 FINALLY”) were drained, elated, and done. My son’s young wife and her family, friends of the family, family, my firefighter son, and I sat with wide appreciation for the hard work each of them had demonstrated. There was merriment, hugs, pictures, laughter, fun and of course, ICE CREAM! ---- They dunked their senior rings (an Aggie tradition – for those who don’t imbibe in a pitcher of beer). I drove home the next night, leaving them to their own responsibilities; their own celebrations.

Tonight, this mom remembers the days.

I’ll miss them, BUT – Dang Skippy, it’s DONE and they all DONE GOOD!

Hallelujah!

By the way – My daughter was interviewed and the ’03 FINALLY on her board was in the newspaper the next day along with her quote!

Who’duh thunk?
Looks like we are all mutating!

mutating missionary

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Starbucks?

I was at a Starbucks today waiting for a 4:30 appointment.

Familiarity is a great comfort. I've traveled to Colorado stopping along the way for a coffee and clean restroom at a Starbucks. I even have several Starbucks ‘long distance’ locations that I don't tell anyone about; I can go and work without seeing anyone I know... Not because I don't want to talk to anyone, but because I do.

I enjoy the hospitality of a Starbucks.

Today, while I was waiting for my appointment I took a few minutes to people watch (one of my favorite pastimes). A fella’ flew in from a nearby store and reeled off an order of drinks that made me question if he needed a red wagon to cart them away. Then his eye caught the two attractive young women sitting right behind me. He laughed and told them they had just missed having a free drink. It appears that he was taking a drink to anyone in his store at that moment and these girls had just left that store to come and kick back in relaxing chairs to cool off! (I silently questioned if the AC had collapsed at the other establishment… oh what a pity.)

But no, the fella’ proceeded to talk and question the girls. They laughed about the fact that Starbucks in the Dallas area was ‘The’ place to get a coffee. There was discussion of other places offering better, (i.e. New York, East and West Coast, Denver…) He soon bought them a snack and left, holding drinks in carrying cases that would have daunted the common man.

I like Starbucks. I love that one can sit for hours and imbibe in a character study, or a mystery, or work on one's computer undisturbed. I’ve even gone in and taken my own water – spent nary a penny and accomplished much. I don’t sneak in – I tell them up front… the hospitality never fails. They have won my patronage because of this. It is a great meeting place.

Starbucks – I wonder. Do they have Starbucks in Europe?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Unconventional Healing in Unconventional Ways creates Uncomfortable Response

John 5

Jesus went out to eat in Jerusalem. He was headed for a party, a joyous occasion, a feast!

Coming into Jerusalem, He passed Bethesda. Now, Bethesda was a place of miracles. People came from all around to basically live by this pool of healing. This was a site of interest. Today, when someone experiences something miraculous we do the same thing. We gather at the site. People come in droves to see the spot where something miraculous has occurred. Some come to bring their hopes of healing, others to observe, and some even to criticize. But whatever the case, people come in droves. Bethesda was no different.

Waiting for the angel to stir the water, some people lived in hope.

There was a man – a man by the wayside – a man waiting – a man hoping. This man needed help to slide into the pool. He couldn’t even get to his feet to walk to the pool when the water was moved. He was left at the mercy of those around him; the people around him had none. Most people were there for themselves, their pain, and their hurts. But, there were those that were there to observe.

There are two basic ways to observe the multitude hurting:

Review the hurting from a distance, whether it is your own or someone else’s.
Respond to the hurting up close and personal, whether it is your own or someone else’s.

And Jesus forces us in this passage to realize that there are two ways we can respond, either by:
receiving the hurting/hurt
resenting the hurting/hurt


Recently, I attended a worship service in Baltimore, Maryland. The location of this particular church was in the midst of a drug infested environment. While driving to the service, my friend pointed out a particular corner that is considered the worst in Baltimore.

Grand boarded up ornate edifices daily blink away their tears, as drunken or drugged men slip off of the once preened marble steps. An almost audible sigh slips through the sagging sidewalks, as a young woman dressed to please receives the ogling and clutching of an old man dressed in money.

This is hurting at its core. This hurt refuses to admit that it is even hurting.

I am a passerby.

I enter the church.

The purple carpet soaks me into its plush reception. Beautiful faces filled with love and excitement, receive me. I enter the halls of the hurting, the halls of the hurting in Him. The response is different in this place. Faces shine, clothing sparkles, and kindness explodes. The crowded room soon allows the men to rise and relinquish their seats to hats and high heels. The water is stirred and some jump in. But the message is for the multitude. The message is ‘Rise take up your bed and walk.’ Now, let me make it clear. This was not the message being preached with such candor and fervor… but it is the message that I see before me. The angel’s touch only healed one at a time. Jesus heals ALL who take up their bed and walk.

What is our response to the hurting? To our own hurting? Do we receive it, or resent it?
Or, are we so oblivious that we coldly review the hurting? Coldly review our own hurting?

And Jesus says, “Rise, take up thy bed and walk.” No matter what the day, the time, or the season. He offers.

What does all this mean? – Just food for thought.

I have oh, so many questions. – He alone has answers.

Because He is the I AM, i am
a mutating missionary

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Peculiar

Peculiar defined by Webster
1. of only one person, thing, group, etc.; exclusive
2. particular; special
3. odd; strange.

A Peculiar Person...

Today, during a conversation with a dear friend [parent of one of my graduated second grade students, wife of a military man (that was alone for a year while he was in Iraq), godly woman, and daughter of a Baptist minister], used these words to describe me.

She said, that her father used to look at people that were following God in an unusual way and exclaim to them, “________ you are a peculiar person for the Lord!”

The word caught my attention. First of all, it is a fun word. It is nestled right on the same page with pecuniary (of or involving money) and pedagogue (a teacher) - two words that bring much emotion to my brain.

I am thankful that she clarified herself. I might be a bit worried about that whole ‘odd; strange’ definition. Yet, I know that I am a bit odd. Some call me eccentric. I like that better than odd; but, odd I am!

I am foolish for a time as this. I am strange.

I have opened my eyes in the middle of the night and looked into the deep darkness of my room. What am I doing? Spending an entire year in that orientation process for the mission, flying overseas and connecting with women that are from a different culture, desiring that they know and love God, quitting my job as an elementary teacher (a profession that I thought I would continue until the day I died!) selling my home, leaving my children????? Oh my, the peculiarity of it all!

And yet, I cannot do anything other than – follow Him.

A few weeks ago, I sat across from a new friend and now co-worker. I observed this woman that smuggled Bibles during darker days; this woman that glistens when she speaks of Jesus. This woman I will spend more and more time with in the future. These are the type of peculiar people I will be joining.

She smiled as she shared a truth that I am beginning to understand.

“It is much safer to be in the most dangerous place in the world in the Lord’s hands, than in suburbia, if you are called to go!”

There are those that are called to go, and those that are called to send. It appears I am one of those peculiar people that are called to go. What I know to be true; that I have been peculiar for a long time. I have friends that are peculiar. Friends right here in this place.

I met with one last night. She is intelligent, self-confident, kind, a great mother, a supportive wife – but she is peculiar. She loves watching how God moves in her life. Watching how He orchestrates the most intricate details of her daughter’s dance lessons. Seeing His hands as she trusts Him to provide more money to give to others that are ready to go, she readies herself to stay or go, whichever way He calls. At present, she rests in the knowledge that she is called to send. It will be interesting to see if God changes her ‘peculiarity’ as He did mine.

Are you peculiar?

Are you a peculiar person?

I wonder if Paul was considered a peculiar person. What about Daniel? Timothy? Peter? Mary? Deborah? Ruth? Phoebe? Priscilla? The list goes on…

From one peculiar person to many others! ;^D

Titus 2:11-14
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."


A mutating missionary