I hear a voice outside my bedroom window



We woke up this morning to a voice outside our window. As I listened to it, I realized that  a person was walking down the street and speaking to herself.

I got my tea and my iPad and went in the back yard. There I sat and then I heard my own voice. You know the one that states you can’t do it. That the day has too many things in it to get it accomplished. The voice that questions why I think that I can make a difference in this world, this community.

I had to silence my own voice and sit quietly listening to God’s voice speak truth into me. The voice that states that God is in control, the voice that God will take care of the lilies and sparrows and for sure will take care of me. The voice that brings peace to my soul.

Now an hour later she is still walking back and forth and I can hear her conversation of heart-break continue. Will I be brave enough to go out there and speak God’s peace into her? Maybe get her the help she needs? Or will I leave her struggle with her own hurt?

What if she s aggressive? What if she is mean? But she, just like I, needs to hear God’s voice of peace, maybe through me as I listen to her for a few minutes.

Well, I went out…. brought her a cup of tea and listened for a while. She did not make sense, but I looked her in the eyes and listened! By  now neighbors had called the cops but they drove by us to investigate another crime. I am sure they will be back; hopefully they will get her some help. (by the way – nothing brings neighbors together better than a nuisance or crime.)

So, off to work I go. Today I want to listen to God’s voice… hear that He still active in our neighborhoods and that he uses ordinary people to accomplish bigger things.

Happy Mother’s Day

My mother taught me survival. Despite an unplanned pregnancy, an unfinished education, a child that died at age 1, polio that made her fight for her life, a life confined to a wheelchair, a husband who drank too much, a son who was a psychopath and a struggling family with 7 kids…. She was a surviver.
My aunt taught me how to love and nurture. While she never was allowed to keep me, she loved me unconditionally.
Martilde taught me how to love people to Jesus. She introduced me to Jesus in a deeper way. While I was a hand-full she let me share life with her. She was the hand and feet of Jesus for me.
Joy taught me how to see the best in people. Her home was always open and she has influenced many people with her contiguous laughter and her joy in people.
Judi showed me how to trust Jesus and praise him in times of deepest despair.
Helen, my mother in law, was gracious, loving, and accepting of this German girl. She taught me to love Jim in deeper ways.
Judy, (I know you are not old enough to be my mom ;)) has been the best sister in law I could have imagined, knows what to say at the right time, is an amazing listener and counselor. She taught me to enjoy life to the fullest.
There have been many other women in my life that have shown me ways to live right, to love God more, to take responsibility, to have fun, to enjoy life. I have been fortunate enough to have been surrounded by women from whom I can learn.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women that have influenced my life, you are a blessing to me.


Of crabgrass and habits


I am spending most of my day digging crabgrass out of a neglected raised bed. As I pry out the shoots, loosen the root and try to rid of as much as possible, I realize how much easier it
would have been had I done a little every day or so and kept up with the weeding. But I got busy with other things and now it is a major undertaking.
Which reminded me of life: there are things I shout be doing regularly; things I should keep up with, but then life gets busy and it now is a major undertaking. There are the habits that I have neglected or developed, the routine things that should happen or shouldn’t, the sins (you know the stuff you know that is wrong) that have crept into my life and now are a major undertaking to rip out again.

…. My break is over. I need to go back to digging some more… And while I am at it I will think about other stuff in my life that might need some tending.

Fake or real?

I drive by a business area that is getting a ‘face lift’ – a new facade is being constructed around the building. As they are scarping it, the old signs are visible again, shops of by gone times… but it won’t last long and everything will be bright and beautiful again. A fake facade will cover up all the history, all the imperfections and the rough spots. The complex will look stunning in no time and nobody will know what is behind it.

I wonder what my life looks like? Some days I put on the make up, wear the nice clothing, have on a bright smile and have a perfect fake facade on. You won’t see that my heart is breaking over the injustice, that I have a vision and a dream,  or that I am angry because I feel snubbed, or that I just had an amazing time with a friend.

You might have to look closer, might have to actually look behind the facade to see what is really there.

When I take time to hear stories I get a glimpse behind the facade of people. I get to see the rough spots, the imperfection, the beauty that is lying hidden behind the paint.

Today I had a couple of those experiences. There is the 70+ year old woman who is helping me…. who has an amazing story to tell of a war gone by, of being part of a family of 14 children, of sleeping with 4 and 5 in one bed and learning to care for each other. She is reading a book for me “Working with the poor” and gave a wonderful synopsis of what she has studied. She wrote that poverty is a terrible situation but that by working together and teaching skills from an early age we can all do a part. – On the outside she might look like an ‘wrinkled old lady’ but behind the facade of age is an active mind, great ideas and amazing stories.

Then there is the friend who has kept a secret for a long time and was finally willing to let it go! What braveness, what courage. When you look at her you don’t see that… but when you listen to her you would be amazed!

Then there is the friend who is struggling with depression and chronic pain, who has so much energy to love people, to show compassion and care. On the outside the facade would see one thing… but behind it…. oh my!

There are amazing people I encounter if I am willing to look behind the facade.

So the next time you see someone ….. wait for the facade to come down.. you might find something amazing!!!

“You can do the impossible”

I am reading the amazing journey of a young 20 year old upper middle class white girl being called to work with abandoned children in Uganda. In her book “Kisses from Katie” Davis outlines her journey – a book worth reading to be encouraged and challenged.

One journal entry: “I serve a God who used Moses, a murderer, to part the red sea, a God who let Peter, who would deny him, walk on water. A God who looks at me, in all my fallen weakness and says, “you can do the impossible.”

As I am thinking about my own world I wonder if community transformation will ever happen. Will God use me to help people see how much harm long-term hand-outs do to the dignity of people? Will God use me to believe in the under-resourced and empower them? Will God use me to listen long enough to people’s stories before I come up with an answer? Will God use me to help others discover the beauty of working together? Will God use me to help churches, organizations and individuals on the journey to “WITH” instead of “to/for”? But in the quiet of the morning God whispers “you can do the impossible”.