Friday, February 26, 2010

Culinary Problem-Solving

I finally did it; I finally made crock-pot 30 clove garlic chicken. What took me so long to make this simple and delicious dish? Fear. Not fear of my breath - Listerine will fix that. Besides, the health benefits of garlic, not to mention the flavor, outweigh the temporary "earthy breath."

I worried that, with my open floor plan, my drapery, carpet and furniture would smell like garlic for the next 2 weeks. Then I got a tip from a "Food on Fridays" gal. She suggested I cook it in the garage. Brilliant.

So Monday morning I chopped and tossed half a large onion and one large shallot in olive oil and put it in the bottom of the crock.  Then I tossed a few chicken breasts and about 30 cloves of peeled garlic in olive oil and dumped that in.  I topped it all with sea salt, cracked black pepper and about 2 teaspoons of paprika. Plugged it in on the work table in the garage and cooked on low for 6 hours. This is what I got:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

God's Power in Weakness

There are four days left in the Vancouver Winter Olympics … four days until I get my life back and Rick gets his wife back. You see every evening since they began, I’ve been fixated on my TV - vicariously experiencing the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Actually, I did miss last Saturday night to attend a faculty dinner party. I handled the withdrawal by throwing caution to the wind during the dessert round. Other than that, I’ve been a diehard snow bunny from the warm safety of my recliner.

My husband, knowing my love for the winter Olympics, actually sent me a card that essentially said: See you in a couple weeks, Honey. Until then at least we’ll meet daily at the dinner table.

I’m not certain I have what it takes to get off the couch and throw a Double McTwist 1260 on the snow board half-pipe like Shawn White. But if God ever calls me to it, I’ll readily go into training - knowing that God doesn’t always call the equipped but He DOES always equip those He calls to a task. And we're all called to some task or another.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Free book for you and you and you

Back in December I did a giveaway with the novel Scared by Tom Davis.  Well, 23 of you wanted it but I only had one copy to give.  I have great news for the other 22 of you - and anyone else looking for a good read.

I feel like Oprah because I get to announce, "You get a copy, and you get a copy, and you get a copy!"


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Learning the Hard way

Last Wednesday my devotion on loving God through gratitude published. On Thursday I wrote here about the intersection between gratitude and faith. Then on Friday I wrote about other benefits of gratitude and how it helps us accomplish things.

Then I got tested on it all.

It so happened that my husband went out of town on Wednesday, for several days. That evening the disposal got clogged. This is the sort of (icky) thing that falls in the realm of his job to deal with. But he wasn't here to fix it and I was bummed about that. (Why does stuff like this happen when he leaves?) I left it over night, woke up Friday and decided to try to fix it myself.

It worked! I thanked God.

Riding high on that success - as well as the fact that I already had dinner fixed in the crock-pot, the Olympics opening ceremony was that night, and we were forcasted for snow - I had a terrific day! One of those happy, efficient, exciting, successful days.

But just before dinner that evening, my washing machine stopped working. Mid-cycle. Full of sudsy water and wet clothes. And Rick wasn't here.

I was tired, hungry and really didn't want to face this. But I knew I couldn't leave it or I'd have a mildew mess.

I checked the breaker switch, it was fine. I pulled the wet clothes out into a laundry basket - water went everywhere. I searched the garage for a shop-vac and extension cord and began sucking up water. Every minute and a half I had to carry the heavy vac out into the cold air and dump the dirty water. My back started hurting after about the 3rd trip.

Then the shop vac started shooting water out the side - turns out I didn't have it clamped back together fully. It made a bigger mess than it was cleaning up.

At this point I sat down and wanted to scream. Or cry. Or quit. Or do all three. (Did I mentioned I was also PMSing?) I was extra frustrated because it had been such a good day up until now. I felt it unfair for this to ruin my good day - as if I would welcome this problem on a day that wasn't going well.

But I knew what I needed to do. I decided to give thanks to God instead of complain. I thanked Him that the broken machine was all I had to deal with. I thanked Him it was the washer and not my central heat that broke. I thanked Him that while this would be an unexpected expense, and Rick wasn't here to help me with it, Rick was gone because he has a job. And that job will pay for this repair.

I got up, called Best Buy where I had bought the washer 5 1/2 years ago - the washer with the 5 year warranty that had just run out - and scheduled a repair man. Then I finished cleaning up the water. Got a hand-truck from the garage and lugged my sopping wet, extra large load of clothes down 3 doors to a neighbor's house who let me use her machine to finish the load. And I sat down to a hot, tasty meal with my kids. Afterwards, we snuggled up under blankets on the couch and watched the Olympics.

It was a good day.

All this back breaking work reminded me how great it is to have a washing machine with running water in my home. No trips to the laundry mat - or worse, to a nearby river to wash by hand. It reminded me that I can deal well with a lot more trouble than I tend to walk around thinking I can. And finally, it reminded me that gratitude is a choice. It's an action. A stance we take, regardless of our circumstances.

And I discovered once again that the beauty in taking that stance is our problems somehow become much more manageable.

Thankful for the lessons I learn through difficulties.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Surviving Spiritual Slumps

Monday and Tuesday's winners announced at the end of this post.

Yesterday I asked 150 people what usually helps them when they're feeling spiritually "dry." A great many listed more than one answer in their responses - suggesting a multi-approach is wise. I thought I'd summarize their answers for us here.

Music - up beat praise music, worship, or hymns - 84

Bible - mostly just reading, though some mentioned formal bible study - 38

Friends & family - godly girlfriends & mentors, husband, mom or children - 28

Prayer - mostly just talking to God, some also mentioned contemplative meditation - 20

Books - devotionals, Christian books - 18

Reflecting - on blessings, on God, or on what God has done in the past - 16

Solitude - retreating, getting alone, spending time in the quiet - 16

Journaling - writing down problems, feelings or prayers; looking thru old journals - 8

Teaching - from sources like radio, TV, sermons, podcasts - 8

Exercise - walking, running - 6

Nature - being outdoors, enjoying or noticing God in nature - 5

Looking over this list I realize most of these deal with getting God's words of truth (back) into the forefront of your mind - Bible reading, music lyrics, Christian books and teachings. Even prayer and journaling, depending on what you are saying or writing. The friends category too (assuming they are speaking truth and godly advice to you and not just providing distractions).

The remaining strategies deal with unplugging from the daily noise and routine long enough to plug back into God and regain spiritual perspective - solitude, reflection, time in nature, prayer. Journaling or exercising could fit here too. Music also as it has the ability to "carry us away" as we close our eyes and listen or sing. I was not surprised that music was mentioned the most - it functions both ways.

I loved the gal who said sometimes she just goes and sits in her dry bathtub for some solitude. And another gal who said the upstairs closet is her retreat place at times. :)

I asked this question for two reasons. First, I really wanted to know your answers, your strategies. And second, I think its important for us to know what generally "works." For you and I to have a go-to plan to implement as soon as we recognize we're drifting into a spiritual slump.

The trick is to recognize it early and react quickly. Too often we make a long, slow decline of it and don't make adjustments until we're dehydrated and near bottom.

These same strategies that pull us out of the slump and bring God back into focus are the very ones that if utilized regularly, keep us from drying out in the first place. It's all about taking the time and making the effort to get and remain plugged into God.

But then you knew I was going to say that, didn't you?

Interestingly though, there are times God takes us through the desert on purpose. He took Moses to the desert. He took the ancient of nation of Israel to the desert. He even took Jesus to the desert. In those times we may not be able to escape the heat immediately - we have to walk the course - but these strategies will ensure we're in tune with God or His purposes as we walk that dusty terrain. And I believe they will prevent us from spending a single extra unnecessary day wandering there.
So if you tend to drift into slumps, or find yourself in a desert now, make a plan and get proactive. Plug into the source of Life and abide there, even if it seems nothing is happening at first in response. Life will flow again.

Winner of the $15 Starbucks gift card for participating in Monday's Devotional Carnival of Love is JENNY RAIN. I so enjoyed doing that carnival and reading the devotions, I plan to do another one on March 15. So stay tuned for that as I announce the new topic.

Winner of the P31 Whirlwind Giveaway "Bread for Life" is OLIVIA. Congrats to her! And thank you to everyone who took the time to answer and enter.

Thankful that spiritual slumps aren't a permanent way of life.

Bread for Life (P31 Giveaway)

What a great week this is shaping up to be already! Sunday was Valentine's - my sweetie brought me chocolate cheesecake. Yesterday I hosted the devotional carnival on love - you can still jump in on that if you'd like - and I enjoyed reading devotions all day long.

And today the celebration continues with P31's Whirlwind Giveaway carnival!

I thought carefully about what to give away today. I decided I wanted to give you something that's been bringing me joy this year so we could share in it together.

First, I'm reading thru the Bible this year in The Message translation (learn more about that decision here). I got it in a daily reading format that only takes about 15 minutes a day. Each day has a section of the Bible, followed by a proverb or a psalm, and the readings end with 2 reflection questions. Oh, and this plan takes one day off each week. I even got the audio version to listen to on my treadmill.

If you win, I'll send you a copy of the Daily Message Bible and you can jump in reading on whichever day you receive it. Really, what better gift to receive than the Bread of Life? 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Devotional Carnival - LOVE

Welcome - hope you had a heartwarming Valentine's Day.

My valentine-guy was at an academic conference in Florida Wednesday thru Saturday ... absence sure made this heart grow fonder. At least we had some snow to play in Saturday while he was gone.

I wondered if I should write a devotion on love and post it here today. I decided against it since the purpose of today's carnival is to hear your devotional thoughts on love.

Plus, I didn't want you to view mine as any kind of a model, but to feel free to write from your own heart, in your own style. So if you've posted a devotion on love - guidelines are here - I can't wait to come read it today!

Just click on the green "Mr. Linky You're Next" graphic below and a box will open for you to type in your name (or blog name, or devotion title) and the URL to your blog post (make sure you are entering the link to your specific post on love and not just your general blog address). Mr. Linky does the rest. *Clicking there is also how you'll find the links to read others' devotions if you just want to read today.

Put a link in your post to the carnival here, then make sure you leave a comment if you want to be entered to win a $15 Starbucks gift card. You know you want to win some latte love!

Finally, cruise around the links and read others' devotions. Maybe introduce yourself to them or let them know if their devotion makes you smile or touches your heart. And I do pray your heart will be touched afresh today. ~ Thanks for participating. ~

PS. Be sure and come back tomorrow for the P31 Whirlwind Giveaway Carnival - which by the way, requires no writing by you but a comment. :-) I'll be giving away "Bread for Life" and my P31 teammates each have terrific prizes planned as well.

Thankful for friends who open their hearts and share their thoughts with me online.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Happy Valentine's Day.

C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite writers. Thought I'd pop in and share a quote from him today:

"Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives."

May you experience that affection today - from a loved one or from God Himself.

Stop by tomorrow to participate in or read in the devotional carnival on LOVE.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gratitude Helps Us Meet Goals

Been talking this week about how gratitude functions in our lives. I could write for days on this topic! Not only from all the verses in the Bible calling us to give thanks, but from the scientific research on it ... which of course shows what God's been saying all along: We need to give thanks.

One landmark study by Emmons and McCullough found that people consciously giving thanks regularly we're less materialistic, more willing to give, less envious, less anxious, and more willing to help others.

I'd like to be less focused on what I own, or don't have. I'd like to feel more content, and less entitled or shortchanged. I'd like to be more generous. I'd like to be less frustrated with interruptions from people - like my children for instance - wanting my help. Wouldn't you?

And that's not even half of the list of benefits these researchers found among those who began giving thanks daily. Check out the rest of the list:

  • They were more optimistic.

  • They were more energetic.

  • They were healthier - getting sick less often.

  • They were more joyful.

  • They slept more.

  • They exercised more.

  • They felt more confident in their ability to handle challenges.
  • They were less prone to clutter.

  • They were more determined.

  • They were perceived more favorably by others.

  • They made more progress towards important personal goals.

I'm guessing this list looks a lot like the lists of New Year's Resolutions you've drawn up over the years. It sure looks a lot like my lists looked (before I shifted to My One Word).

From all I have studied on this topic, and experienced myself, gratitude is a powerful thing. It's a spiritual discipline to be fiercely thankful. I suspect it's a marker of spiritual maturity as well.

And yet all too often we imagine gratitude is a nice, but trite concept. A good idea - who would disagree with being more grateful - but a little too simplistic for today's world. And we don't make the effort to cultivate or maintain it ... preferring instead for God or life to continually WOW us and make us feel (momentarily) happy and appreciative.

I know I'm guilty of that. Of wanting my circumstances to continually be so great that I can remain grateful, rather than remaining grateful no matter my situation.

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess 5:16-17

That same verse in The Message says: "Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live."

Let me remind you about a chance to proclaim the goodness of God's love in your life -- the devotional carnival I'll be hosting here on Monday. Follow that link for details. Then grab some cocoa, sit down and write today. And don't worry if all your commas are in the right places or even if all your verbs are strong. Just write from your heart about love. And we'll love you on Monday just as you are - comma splices and all. :)

Thankful God has built benefit into following His commands.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How gratitude grows love and faith

We're chatting this week about gratitude. Yesterday I was talking here about how my personal awareness of sin - and the realization of the magnitude of the debt Jesus paid for me - sparks my gratitude towards God.

And just as Jesus taught that she who is forgiven much loves much, it increases my love for Him.

Not only does gratitude grow my love for Christ, but it strengthens my faith as well. When I realize all He has endured and done for me in the past, I grow confident He can and will see me through today and tomorrow.

Gratefulness over the past says to my worry over today, "God will be as merciful, rescuing and gracious today as He was then. He never changes. You, however, can and will."

John Piper explains it this way in the book Future Grace:

"There is a sense in which gratitude and faith are interwoven joys that strengthen each other. As gratitude joyfully revels in the benefits of past grace, so faith joyfully relies on the benefits of future grace. Therefore when gratitude for God’s past grace is strong, the message is sent that God is supremely trustworthy in the future because of what he has done in the past. In this way faith is strengthened by a lively gratitude for God’s past trustworthiness."

When I take the time to recall and recite my gratitude, God comes strongly into perspective. My problems dwindle to size. And eternity seems a bit closer than it did before the welling of my remembrance and gratefulness.

Are your problems looking huge today? Even insurmountable? Perhaps it would help to reflect on some of the hills you and Jesus have already climbed.

Thankful for the spiritual summits, which also provide hope in the valleys.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Loving God Through Gratitude

"Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you,and you will give me glory.”
~Psalm 50:14

Welcome if you've found me today through my published devotion: "How to Grow in Love for God"

In that devotion I wrote about the woman who washed, perfumed and kissed Jesus' feet. Her story can be read in Luke chapter 7. In her account, Jesus teaches that those who are forgiven much, tend to love Him more. They are more aware of their sins.

Does this mean we need to go out and do a lot of sinning, so that we can be forgiven much, so that we will love God more? Of course not! It means we need to realize how much we've already been forgiven - and probably will have to be forgiven in the future - and express our gratefulness to Him for that.

I suspect we think that we are thankful people, but in reality we rarely show it or express it. Especially to God. Let me challenge you to do something about that today.

Else, we're currently stuck in a difficult situation, and we assume there isn't much to be grateful for at the moment. Let me encourage you to examine that assumption closely.

Here are 5 ways you can cultivate and show God your gratitude this month.

1) Perhaps the simplest is to spend some time right now remembering your life before you came to know and follow Christ. What was your life like? What was your spirit like? What what your mind and thought processes like? What guilt, habits and sins weighed you down? And how have you changed? What have you been delivered from? What's been transformed? Give thanks to Him for this!

2) February is the month of love, try writing a love letter, or a thank you letter to Jesus this week for enduring the cross for you. And for producing that transformation in your life. It doesn't have to be long or skillfully written - just heartfelt. Tuck it in your Bible in Luke 7 next to this woman's story as a reminder to cultivate gratitude in your heart.

We don't have to relegate our gratefulness to removed sins, the Bible says all good things in our lives have come from God. Everything good. All of it. Even those things you thought you earned yourself, or got by chance. All the big things and the little things God has had a hand in.

3) Try this, try keeping a gratitude record for the rest of this month. Keep it in a notebook, on a legal pad, in a journal, or on some post-it notes on your desk or bedside table. Doesn't matter what you write it in. Each day for the rest of February write down one to three things you are thankful for from that day. Can be anything - just direct your appreciation and gratitude for it God-ward in prayer as you write it. I've challenged myself to end all of my blog posts in 2010 with something I'm grateful for.

The Psalms can be terrific reminders to give God thanks. They rehearse what God has mercifully done for us (Psalms 107 and 136). They challenge us to express gratitude for what we have (Psalm 92:1). And they remind us He is the source of everything we have (Psalm 104).

4) For the rest of February, read a Psalm each morning after you rise (or every night before you go to sleep) and give thanks in prayer for anything that comes to mind as you read. See if you don't experience gratitude expanding your heart towards God

Finally, are you a devotion writer? Have you always wanted to be? You like reading devotions?

5) Check out my previous post here or from my side bar called "Calling all devotion writers," and try your hand at writing a devotion about love - it can be yours towards God or God's towards you - on your blog. Then come back here after Valentine's Day and post a link to it in the devotional carnival that will be up here. Be sure at least to come back next week and read some of the devotions that are posted - hearing others give thanks and recite God's goodness often grows our own gratefulness and faith.

And there you have 5 simple ways to grow your gratitude towards God. Research shows focusing on gratitude can reduce your stress and improve your outlook. I've found it can put your problems, and your God into proper perspective. And help you enjoy life more. The verse from Psalm 50 above shows it somehow gives us direct access to God when we need rescuing ...

So which of these 5 will you try this month?

Thankful that my dad came to love this God he cannot see.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Calling all devotion writers

As you may or may not know, I am the editor for Proverbs 31 Ministries' online devotional "Encouragement for Today." I'm also the General Editor, along with my friend Lysa TerKeurst, of the devotional book God's Purpose for Every Woman. I write devotions myself as well. I heart devotions because in just a couple minute's time, they pull my heart towards God.

Today I got this email from a sweet husband who wrote to say:

"I signed my wife up to your daily devotionals about 2 years ago. I have noticed a change in her heart, her actions, and words. She is even more beautiful today than when I married her. Thank you for your words of encouragement your transparency and most of all sharing God's truth and Love. God has called you to this ministry and I know it is touching the lives of men and women all over the globe. I encourage you to stay on the course God has you on and know that on the day's you probably don't feel like writing anything, God honors and uses you. May God lift you up today as you follow His leading. Thank you for being

I got a bit teary-eyed, y'all. Reading devotionals can be a powerful spiritual exercise.

Writing them does wonders for my walk with God as well. Writing them helps me see what God's doing or has done in my life. Writing them helps me apply God's truths. Writing them helps me turn my thoughts heavenward.

So I got to thinking today ... what if you wrote devotions too? And what if I could read them and enjoy them, and others could too? And then I got, what seemed at the time, like a brilliant notion and I decided to hold a devotional carnival here on February 15th, the day after Valentine's Day. Doesn't that sound like all kinds of spiritual fun?!

If you're interested, here's the simple how-to: Offer a key verse at the top or bottom of your devotion. Keep it under 650 words total. And write on the topic of love, in honor of Valentine's of course. It can be about your love for God, about God's love for us, about how we are to love others ... anything to do with love. It can be serious, or it can be fun. It can be funny or it can be poetic - all up to you! Just be sure that it draws our heart towards God and His truth - that's the purpose of a devotional after all.

Then post it on your blog on Monday, Feb 15th. Next, come back here Monday morning and you’ll find another post all about the devotional blog carnival. Within that post there will be something called a Mr. Linky (weird name I know, don’t be scared). There you will follow the instructions to type in your name (or blog name, or devotion title) and type or paste in the url address from your devotion posted on your blog. Mr. Linky does the rest. Then people will be able to get to your devo post from my blog.

And if you enjoy next week participating or reading the linked devos (that's what I call them for short because I have to type this word a lot in my line of work), you'll have to let me know. Perhaps I'll do it the 15th of every month. But you'll have to help me figure out what to name this devotional carnival - because my brain is tired from reading and editing multiple devotions today. But at least my spirit is happy.

OH, and there's a $15 Starbucks gift card in it for one lucky devo poster so she can sip some latte while reading everyone else's devotions, and the comments on her own. Hope you win!

Thankful for those who pierce my heart with just a few devotional words.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Help for Haiti - 4th & final

The final post on my friend Charlene - an ordinary woman (well, I think she's pretty great) who decided to fly to Haiti a few weeks ago to help wherever she could. She has no real medical training (though she is a mom!). These are her final emails back to the states during her trip.

I don't even know where to start about today. The day started out by going to the "central dispatch" to get more supplies. This place was amazing. This is where all supplies go to and where they are distributed. It was just so totally amazing to see this room filled with so many supplies from band aides to orthopedic screws! Amazing at the good of mankind to give so much to even the least of these.

Then we went to the our hospital and began our morning rounds of cleaning wounds and traiging patients for surgery. It was cool though, this morning, because as we started our rounds on one side of the room The doctor from this hospital that we "invaded" asked if he could help.
Now this was the first time he had asked to participate in the care of these patients. So I think that by watching us for several days they gained some understanding of how to take care of these wounds and they wanted to jump in and try it for themselves. So this was really exciting! Volunteers are not going to be here forever and ultimately these patients are under his care so this was a big step! One of our concerns, as we think about leaving, is the care for these patients that we have invested so much of ourselves into. Who will do their
follow-up? So this was a big step for us and for them!

After our morning "rounds" we then helped with the surgeries scheduled for the day. We did more bone setting, casts, mandibular surgery and even an orbital bone surgery! Yes, I retracted the inside of an eyeball while the surgeon did whatever it was that he needed to do inside the eye socket. I am telling you, This is just the most SURREAL experience.
I feel as though I am just kind of walking through a dream and I am going to wake up and all this was just the most unbelievable dream.

As the day came to, what we thought to be, the end.... alas it was not. There was a little 8 year old boy who came in today with injuries that had absolutely nothing to do with the earthquake. He fell and hit his head so he was brought in to the hospital. One of the surgeons on our team is a neurosurgeon. He was called into service. And things were fine until 5:00 when all of a sudden this little boy was listless and non-responsive. So he was rushed into one of the operating rooms and he was in really bad shape. He was in a comma and totally non responsive.

A few of us did pray for him as the neurosurgeon tended to him. This boy was literally dying right before us. We took turns sitting by him as the anaesthesiologist was medicating him with the drugs he needed. I sat by his side humming songs and stroking his face. Within moments all the volunteers at the hospital worked together and went into emergency mode and before we knew it, there were like 20 of us on cell phones, satellite phones and blackberry's and before you know it, people were on the phone with different countries looking for helicopters to air lift this boy out, calling the UN, calling the White House, contacting the US Navy, etc. Long story short, this boy suddenly got woke up and his eyes were tracking and he could respond to commands, etc. So he is in the hospital tonight with a nurse watching him overnight. Tomorrow we will see how he is doing.

Speaking of tomorrow, it doesn't sound like we are going to getting out of here tomorrow. The plane that is expected to come in with some cargo, is not able to get here until late in the day and you can not fly out of the airport after sunset. We also are most likely unable to make it home in a military plane as they are not flying in and out as swiftly as they were a week ago. So, we will most likely be leaving here Wednesday morning to Florida and then need to get home from there. So we will keep you posted.

There are many ortho surgeons who have committed to come down and continue helping these people. Right now this organization has a group of 19 ortho docs committed to coming in shifts for several weeks. What is really going to be needed is Rehab Therapists and occupational therapists to come down and work with these people. So many amputees and so many people with broken bones in casts that need to learn how to walk on crutches and need to move limbs to stay ambulatory, etc.

Again, thank you for listening to me. This is just a great way to "unwind" at the end of the day and to try to begin processing things.

Au Revoir,

Well, it is Tuesday and we are still here! We completed our morning rounds and some surgeries. Then a new team showed up a the hospital from a church missions team from Nashville, Tennessee. It was a group of 10 to 13 people which included doctors, surgeons and Pastors!!! What an answer to prayer they were as we were uneasy about leaving our beloved patients. We worked 1/2 day at the hospital and then left for the airport. The plane that was coming in for us to fly out was a private plane that was flying in to delivery orthopedic supplies. Well, the plane didn't arrive. Planes can not land in the Les Cayes Airport after dark because the runway has no lights. So, we are truly here on faith and hoping to make it home tomorrow. We have two options with two separate flights coming in tomorrow and we are praying that we get on one of them. The question is where they will be flying to from here on their return flight and how to get home.

Many of the patients were able to be discharged today. We finally received some crutches and Bob did some OT with them on how to use the crutches and then they could be discharged as long as they had a place to go. Many of these people do not have a place to go but do have family who will take them in. One of the young girls apparently lives 50 miles or so away and, in the mountains, so it is impossible for her to go home so we have no idea how long she will be at the hospital.

The little boy who was struggling to live last night had a miraculous recovery and this morning was doing much better. By this afternoon he was talking and smiling and had made progress that can not be explained in any other way than purely miraculous .... and you all made the difference! Thank you for your prayers.

At this point we are totally exhausted -- as much emotionally as physically. It has still seemed like this amazing dream and that we will wake up at home and it will all be over. I am sure, however, that once home we will have alot to process for months to come.

Hoping to see some of you as early as tomorrow,

Au Revoir,

My friend, an office worker, retracted the inside of an eye ball during surgery!! A week or so after she got home I asked Charlene to write down her thoughts after processing this whole experience. Here's what she had to say:

A friend of mine asked me to do a follow-up email to share some of our thoughts and feelings now that we are home so here goes…

Home on American soil once again. I have had the blessing of traveling out of the country before on a few mission trips and it is always good to be home but this time it is vastly different. I was ready to come home. I was ready to leave the long days of being on my feet and working in the hot humid air. I was ready to leave the sight and smells of such despair and pain that we faced each and every day. I wanted to be home and “be normal” again. Don’t get me wrong, I was so happy and blessed to have the opportunity to go to Haiti and do the little part I could to help these dear children of God but you know the saying, “there is no place like home.” The only problem now is that since being home, all I do is think about the people in Haiti. I am always thinking about the patients that we cared for and wondering where they are now, how they are doing, are they feeling any relief from their physical pain, are they getting any relief for their emotional and spiritual pain? Bob and I find that we are drawn to the television whenever we hear the work Haiti – to catch a glimpse of what is going on there and even scanning the pictures to see if we recognize anyone from the small hospital where we worked.

I have learned many things from this trip. I have learned what it is to put your own feelings aside and be drawn by God to help even the least of these. I am not the person ANYONE would have thought to be working in a hospital on such traumatic injuries. I am the most unlikely person to be able to keep my emotions in check to be able to function at all under these circumstances, yet God chose me for such a time as this. I am humbled at His calm and peace that surrounded us as a team and me personally. I saw God more in this week than I think I have ever seen in my life. This was a Spirit-orchestrated trip from the time we said yes until we got home and even now continues.

I have a quote on my desk at work that kept coming back to me while in Haiti… “the will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you”. WOW just think about that for a few minutes. That makes me want to sing out a verse or two of the song “what a mighty God we serve”!

When we were in this small airport waiting to leave Haiti we had time to kill so I was just walking around. I wandered outside the airport to the parking lot and stood by the street just taking in the sights and sounds of the normal day living in Les Cayes, Haiti. All of a sudden I was struck that I was hearing a sound that I recognized but couldn’t put my finger on it immediately. Then it came to me, that was the sound of the theme music for Focus on the Family. A few minutes later I heard a song on the radio playing in English… “I stand, I stand in awe of You” I just stood there and sang the song softly in a moment of worship to God for the tremendous opportunity He had given to me during the week. Even that was a gift from God.

Don’t wait for the time to be right and everything to be just perfect…if God brings an opportunity to serve Him, grab it … even if you are fearful, and best of all if it takes you outside of your normal confines and surroundings. Change is good and being stretched by God can bring amazing results. He can and will do exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask or think…there is no better place to be than where God is and where He is moving powerfully.

Thank you for your prayers --- they made the difference.


If you've read through these 4 very long posts, thank you. Thank you for caring. Thank you for allowing your heart to be pricked by the suffering of others. A soft heart is pleasing to God.

Can I ask, have you done anything to help with the great needs in Haiti? I realize we can't all fly to Haiti for a week like Charlene. But we can give, enabling others to go and meet needs in the Name of Jesus. You can follow this link then click on the blue Compassion International banner at the top of the page, and look for the word Haiti. May God's love pour through us - through me and through you - into Haiti.

Thankful for those like Charlene who answer the call.

Help for Haiti - 3

The continuing story of my friend Charlene - an ordinary woman (well, I think she's pretty great) who decided to fly to Haiti a few weeks ago to help wherever she could. She has no real medical training (though she is a mom!). These are her emails back to the states during her trip.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Super (taco salad) Bowl Sunday

Got plans for Superbowl Sunday? We will go to my church in the morning, then to a friend's church where my daughter will sing. After lunch I have a Williams & Sonoma cooking lesson - meatballs and marina (Mmm).

We'll then shuttle the kids back and forth to their 2 afternoon church activities before getting together at my place with some friends (these friends) for TACO SALAD and the game.

Because nothing says "Superbowl" to me like chili, nachos, or tacos. And I heart taco salad. And I wanted it easy this year.

My daughter and her choir/youth group made the chili on Thursday night at the church to sell as a fundraiser. They made 98 quarts of chili! So the hard part is done. I just have to do some chopping - onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and such - and some combining to lay out toppings, salsa and guacamole. Easy-peasy!

Let's take a vote: do you like guacamole? I find people either love it or hate it. I can remember eating my mom's guacamole on Ritz crackers when I was in pig tails. (Sadly, she passed away when I was a teen, taking her recipie with her.) Here is Alton Brown's Guacamole Recipe - but don't just take my rec for it, it's gotten 258 rave reviews.

Meanwhile, continuing my easy-peasy theme this Superbowl, I'm serving a football Carvel ice cream cake for dessert. I heart ice cream cakes too.

What will you be doing/serving/eating this Superbowl?

Giving God thanks today for church youth group leaders.

(linked to Ann's "Food on Fridays")

Help for Haiti - 2

Continuing on from the previous post, I'm sharing emails from my friend Charlene. She is a married woman --with grown children, church responsibilities, and a day job as an executive assistant -- who dropped everything and went to Haiti the other week to help out.

I told her she is my new hero. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Help for Haiti

Have you watched the horrific coverage of what's happened in Haiti? Have you felt awful about it? And then felt even worse because you felt like there wasn't much you could do? Yep, me too. So did my friend Charlene.

Charlene and I met about this time last year. She read one of my devotions and invited me to come speak in Pennsylvania at her church's spring women's retreat. That went so well she decided to invite me back at Christmas time to speak at their two large outreach teas. She and I just clicked - I've only spent a couple of weekends with her, yet she already feels like family. We share a deep love of Jesus, chocolate, outlet malls and HGTV. Only difference is I'm a word girl and she is a details girl - she's an executive assistant.

So when Charlene contacted me last week regarding another event they'll be doing and mentioned she'd just gotten back from Haiti, I begged her for details. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

My One Word for 2010

ding, ding, ding Can I have your attention please?

I have an announcement to make:

January - New Year's - is now officially over.

Did you make some resolutions? Did you keep them?

All of them?

If you're like most Americans, you're already feeling frustrated with yourself, defeated. And you're deciding that next year you won't bother making resolutions.

Or maybe you decided that last year and didn't make any this year (but secretly felt like a slacker hearing all your friends talk about their resolutions last month).

Well I have good news. You get a second chance! And it gets even better ... rather than writing out a long list of resolutions covering the many ways you'd like to improve this year, I'm going to suggest you prayerfully choose just one word as your 2010 resolution.

JUST ONE WORD to be your focus or lens for 2010.

JUST ONE WORD that represents what you most hope God will do in you and your life in 2010.

Doing resolutions this way forces clarity and focus. This is my 5th year doing resolutions this way and I recommend you give it a try. I've even got a way to help you remember your word - your singular resolution - through out the entire year. Because let's face it, most resolutions are forgotten by April.

Intrigued? Pop over to to learn more about this resolution revolution. It will guide you in picking your word and getting started. *Be sure and register your email address there to receive the email reminders and application activities throughout the year.

This year my word is SLOW. Perhaps you'll hear more about that later in a post here, or in a video there. For now, go check it out and if you decide to pick a word, come back and leave a comment and share your word with me. Let the revolution begin!

Grateful for my one word.