September 29, 2009


Sunday was a break through day for me.

We have been the church of a number of international people lately. The apartments in our part of the city are being used by the government to place refugees for a while so that they can settle into American society and try to find jobs. (more on this at another time, it's extremely hard for them to find work) We have people coming from All over Africa, from Burma, Iraq, and some other places I can't remember. Some have lived in refugee camps for most of their lives. Some have been through wars and abuses and have been separated from their families.

The language issue is such a huge barrier. I have not made near the effort I should to talk to these people because I find understanding them very taxing. Oh me, I am so selfish if 'feeling taxed' is such a huge burden when these people are desperate to make friends and to be incorporated into our society and our church, I have to admit.....confess.

Sunday after church we had a Family to Family potluck lunch. A lot of our families are teaming up with a refugee family to be their friend, to help them practice their English by visiting with them and helping them know where to go to get basic help and how to do things in our society. If they need rides we can help with that or take them on errands or invite them over.

So we all came in nodding awkwardly at each other, sat by our families we've been matched up with and ate each other's strange foods. (they feel the same way about our food that we do about their food we have found out) We ate, we talked, we nodded. Then Charles got up and introduced each refugee. They each stood before us and in their best English, told us their story. I can't count how many times my stomach lurched or my eyes filled with tears listening to each one tell of their harrowing experiences of wars and beatings and running away and looking to America for refuge.

One man lived in a refugee camp for 14 years before his name came up to go to America, one woman talked and broke down about her experiences of war and abuse and beatings that she still has nightmares and wakes up screaming from. Another woman told us about how her children were separated from them and they didn't see their sons for 3 years. They just recently found their daughter again after 7 years. She is only 15 years old. So half her life they did not know where she was....which turned out to be American foster care homes. Another man from Burma is trying to raise money and make the effort to bring his wife and children over to be with him here. They escaped to Malaysia and then India, where they wait for him.

I can see these people as individuals now and feel a deep ache for each one as I know their stories. Each one has a deep faith in Christ too. They all gave strong testimony of how they depended on God for help as they ran, waited or were separated.

I wish everyone in our church had been there and could meet these brave people who left their homelands for the security we take for granted here in America. It is precious to them. The next time you come across someone from a different land, give them a second look, a knowing nod or a handshake. Some of them are in such desperate times. They need work, but it is hard to find if you are foreign and do not speak the language well yet.

Pray for our refugees and be on the lookout for jobs you see available or help for them in any way. Let Christ be a refuge for them through you. And when you look at them this Sunday, SEE them.

September 23, 2009

True moxie

My two daughters went to their See You At The Pole meetings at their schools this morning. My high schooler, Emma, goes to a public school. She said there were only 5 when she arrived, then they ended up with 9 kids. She was excited because last year she was the only one there. Last year she just sat at the flag pole and read her Bible and prayed alone. Today she read some Bible passages and they all prayed for their school and for each other. Then Emma played songs on her guitar and they all sang, then prayed some more. Then they moved into the learning center to sit at a table and have a short Bible study.

My junior higher, Maggie, goes to a charter prep school (it is also a high school).....same part of town. Her cousin who is homeschooled came with her. When they arrived there was a high school boy leading a Scripture reading and then he prayed. Then they took turns praying for their school and each other. They were there almost an hour.

It occurred to me that a few years ago I would have wanted Emma to go to a school with a higher percentage of Christians attending too. But we didn't know about that school then and had to get her right in. And I am glad Maggie has the chance to be somewhere that is encouraging to her faith, even though it is not a Christian school. It feels right for her.

But I can't help but be sensationally proud (and spurred on) that my 17 year old is willing to be one of the few in a very secular environment who stands out because of her faith and life. Even if it means praying alone at a flagpole while kids walk to classes. That girl has moxie!

September 21, 2009

SYATP 2009

Wednesday morning September 23, 2009. Every flagpole of every school, 7am. I hope you'll be there to pray for your school and meet the other kids who are standing up for Christ there.

September 17, 2009


I saw this on a friend's blog today and had to swipe it! Thanks Mummy! It reminds me of an object lesson I once did during a True Love Waits emphasis in a youth Bible study (it was part of the curriculum, not my own idea). I gave each group of about 4 girls a bag of Skittles candy and told them the first part of the game was to sort the Skittles by color. I said I had to go do something real quick, so I had to leave the room. But before I did, I told them to just sort now, then we'll eat them later. They couldn't eat them until after the game.

The object of the lesson is that when you have a temptation, such as sexual sin, which was our topic that day, the more you handle, touch and look at it, the more likely you are to give in. Even though you know there is an appropriate time down the road and some day you can enjoy it in a healthy, committed way....marriage. It is truly a powerful way to get this point across if you're needing to......and if you have teens my friend, you'd better be trying to get that across. We are all weak and we desperately need clear boundaries these days.

Enjoy this cute video on temptation. ;)

Oh, The Temptation from Steve V on Vimeo.

September 13, 2009


Okay, e-mom has a great little synopsis of the Feast of Tabernacles up on her web-zine. I love studying the Jewish feasts and their Messianic meanings. Also called Sukkot and Feast of Booths, it will begin on October 2 this year. This is one of the feasts that has not been fulfilled yet and is widely thought to represent the return of Christ.

September 11, 2009

I remember 9/11 and 9/13

Yesterday I picked up Maggie from her jr high school along with 2 friends who I take home. They were all talking about having seen a video about 9/11. None of them remember that day, they were all 4 years old then. And they watched it with a sense of detached horror that something like that happened in our country. They talked about the man on the film who jumped out of a window in the World Trade Center as it burned. They talked about the building just crumbling down and the debri blowing out through the tall buildings like tunnels like billowing clouds, people disappearing as it consumed them as they ran. They were horrified as they watched video of the planes crashing into those buildings. And they wondered what it would have been like to have been in that building, waiting to die as it crashed down.

I cannot imagine that it's been 8 years since that morning. It seems like years, but not 8 years ago. It was a horrifying week for us for more reasons than the 9/11 attacks. I was homeschooling my kids at that time. Hannah was at the school for band practice though and Charles was in Phoenix for a meeting. He called around 8 or 9am to tell me to turn on the television. I remember just sobbing as I watched it unfold over and over and over and over again as the days passed. The buildings, the smoke, the planes, the Pentagon, the crater in Pennsylvania made by the fourth crash. We didn't know if it was over.....we waited with a panicky feeling as the days passed and we turned on the television each day to find out if there was anything more. It was like waiting for the other dreadful shoe to drop.

Charles came home and we watched a lot of television. We felt a strong connection with the rest of our country, stronger than any other time in our lives before or since then. We saw people praying on television, public leaders just pouring out their fears, pleading with God, humbled. People met for prayer. People wandered into our church at any time of the day to talk to Charles and other leaders there. So many questions, so many turning to God for answers.

Well, for us, for our little town, the other shoe dropped two days later. A 19 year old young man, well known in town and the oldest son of our very good friends killed himself. He thought the world could never be the same again. He had so many questions and fears and such anger in his heart.....thoughts overwhelming him as they plagued his mind. There were other factors too that I won't go into, but he felt his world was ending. He mentioned his fears to his family, but of course, they did not realize (how could they?) how tortured he was about it all. Everyone was feeling so insecure. But he could no longer see hope in his life. So in a final, permanent act of impulse and despair, he left us.

Our church and our town were shell shocked. Suddenly it wasn't just terror on the east coast, viewed for us only on a television. This act left us reeling and heart broken in our own circle, a very small towny circle. Such difficult days. We started taking every sad look or worried word that our youth in town had very seriously and we dragged them in to talk to us, the high school in town brought in professional counselors for anyone who wanted to talk. Scary days.

I cannot separate the two events now. They were extreme traumas....two in one week. People walked around in a daze, tears just behind their eyes at all times. We had no words, we didn't understand, but we did pray and sought God's help. This is also what I remember when I think back to that time.

Yet people kept turning to God. Tragedy turns us to God. Even someone who seems indifferent to religion and spiritual life will call out to God in a moment of danger or tragedy. So in a way.....a very far off, think about it deeply way, it was almost good for our country to go through something of this proportion. I hate that it happened but it shows you that deep down, people do still turn to God.

Remembering that day, that week, and seeing where our nation is these days, just 8 years later, I just think......God help us. We (I have to include myself here) are so affluent, so comfortable, proud and selfish. We are lulled back into it so quickly.

I just bought the new Jars of Clay CD and there is a song that describes our current apathy, our lulled apathy. Take off your blinders and talk to each other. We need to say things and be heard, we need a stronger sense of community and a much stronger hope and faith in God. Our lives are not meaningless.....unless you let them be.

I don't have to hear it, if I don't want to
I can drown this out, pull the curtains down on you
it's a heavy world, it's too much for me to care
If I close my eyes, it's not there

With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

We watch television...but the sound is something else
Just a song played against the drama,
so the hurt is never felt
I take in the war-fires, and I'm
chilled by the current events
it's so hopeless, but there's a pop song in my

Headphones on, in my headphones on
[ Find more Lyrics on ]
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

At the Tube Stop, you sit down across from me
(I can see you looking back at me)
I think I know you
By the sad eyes that I see
I want to tell you (It's a heavy world)
Everything will be okay
You wouldn't hear it (I don't want to have to hear it)
So we go our separate ways...

With our headphones on, with our headphones on
With our headphones on, with our headphones on
I don't wanna be the one who tries to figure it out
I don't need another reason I should care about you
You don't want to know my story
You don't want to own my pain
Living in a heavy, heavy world
And there's a pop song in my head
I don't want to have to hear it

If you want to hear the song, go here and find the song Headphones under 'View Tracks'.

September 9, 2009

Lost dog found!

I got a call from my sister this morning. She and her husband were driving on a mountain road (by Woods Canyon Lake area) and found a lost, emaciated chocolate lab. They were comforting her and feeding her beef stew as she called. So she wanted me to look up lost dogs on the internet. Instead I found the ranger station number up there and she called that. I got a call back after about 10 minutes that they did have a report of a chocolate lab lost in that area THREE WEEKS ago! That is an awfully long time for a dog to go without it's mom and dad. I don't think mine would have survived.

She called the owner's number and he thought it sounded like his dog. So she took it's picture and sent it to him on his cell phone. He was elated because it was his dog....minus about half it's body weight from the looks of it. When I called back to see if it was the right owner, my brother in law answered and told me my sister was on the phone crying with the owner and his voice started to crack too. It was a happy moment. They are making arrangements to get her back to her owner, who lives about 5 hours from the spot where the dog was found. I guess she ran off while they were camping up there and then she came back to the area and hung around there for 3 weeks. So sad!

Another cool thing was that my sister and brother in law were calling her Shadow because their border collie, who died this year, was named Shadow. When she asked the owner her was Shadow! Amazing and kind of bittersweet for them.

So yes, as well as being a currently unemployed stay at home mom, I help reunite stray animals with their loved ones.

All in a day's work, I say.

September 7, 2009


Weird thing happened this week in worship service. We had communion, which takes place from once a month to once every 3 months in our church. Well I guess it had been a while, because the little square wafers were VERY stale. I could tell by the smell when it was about 5 inches from my nose, but I ate it anyway. As I chewed, it became clear we were eating RANCID wafers!!! Oh it was GROSS! I looked around and everyone's faces were showing it, although they were trying not to. What to do? You can't spit it out, you can't make a sound, you just have to force it, and everyone did. It was disgusting. Then there was a quick rustling of gum or candy wrappers. Oh boy.....

The rest of the worship and study time was great. This is what we remember though.

I hoped it wasn't a that we can't handle Jesus or something.......that bothers me in a haunting way.....