Five Things I’ve Learned From my Daughter

God has put all kinds of teachers in our path  They’re disguised as bosses and baristas, friends and foes, artists and authors.  And daughters.

Monday was our daughter, Katy’s 28th birthday.  She celebrated with friends in D.C. where she lives.  As a mom, celebrating her from afar, I started to think of some of the things she’s taught me in the past 28 years.  Here are just a few: Continue reading

Do You See This Woman?

There’s a rooster crowing over and over in the distance, and the trill of another bird I don’t know. Giant storks roam in the field. The smoky aroma of cook fires and bright tropical flowers in a brighter hot sun surprise my senses.  Mt. Kilamanjaro wreathed in clouds is in the distance.  Dark, friendly faces greet me.

“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” (or Minnesota).

Tanzania.  The surroundings are unfamiliar.  Different. But God is here and remains the same.

And His Word remains the same too, but I don’t.  He seems to show up as a tour guide, pointing out unseen treasures especially in new places.

There is a passage I’ve been reading every day while I’ve been traveling, praying, “Lord what do You have to say to me?” (and yes, that’s a smudge of coffee and chocolate in the picture :))

Luke 7:37-47. The Message translation.  The story of the “harlot” who comes to a “Pharisee’s” house where Jesus is visiting, anointing Him with expensive perfume and her tears.  The indignant Pharisee is schooled by Jesus who calls her “impressive” and points out that those who have a lot to be forgiven, will have a lot to be thankful for.

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Heavy Lifting

I nod, sleepy, trying not to doze as I look out on a pool of black, inquisitive faces patiently waiting, waiting, for things to start as they bake in the hot sun



I hear mamas caring for babies out back.

DSC00525Someone is pumping water from the new well to the right of where I sit.


I feel a drop of sweat meander down my back even though I have a seat of honor in the shaded porch of the school.

I watch the children, trying to focus on each individual child’s face instead of the nameless group.  I notice the musical instruments these Zambian kids have fashioned out of bottle caps, wood, string, and cardboard.


It’s hot and I’m nodding, nodding.  The faces blur as in slow-mo my eyes close and then I jerk awake, lifting my head again.  It’s the story of my life.  Striving to pay attention. To not miss the God-moments. Continue reading

Christmas Funeral

Dear Friends,                                                                                                                            I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, planning to post it today.                                             And then the Connecticut shooting happened.                                                                     And we’re reeling, wailing, mourning, grasping for answers and comfort.  No words are adequate.  So I want to be clear that this post is not in response to recent events, but nevertheless, I pray may be some small encouragement.

Here’s the thing.  I hate funerals.  I avoid them like a cat avoids water.  I really don’t like them.

I know they’re important and showing up to grieve with the family is good, but still…I’m just being honest.

Friday I had to go to a funeral.  The son of some friends of ours was killed riding his bicycle.  We love them and our kids grew up together.  It was just a freak accident, as they say.

Corey was a troubled young man who struggled with mental illness all his life, and so, in a sense, his death was a relief from his torment, an escape to peace with Jesus who he had claimed as his Savior.

Still…Both John and I had a hard time getting through the service.

As the words of Mark Shultz’s song “He’s My Son” bounced off the windows of our beautiful sanctuary decorated with greens and twinkle lights for Advent, we thought of our own girls, our own prayers, our attempts to protect them, our parenting mistakes…

I’m down on my knees again, tonight.  I’m hoping this prayer will turn out right…

Can you hear me?  Can you see him?  Please don’t leave him.  He’s my son.

How do you make sense of it all?  How do you survive the death of one of your babies?

I just don’t know.

But here was the biggest thing about Friday and that funeral...  In the midst of that tremendous, palpable pain at church, there was also an overwhelming sense of ….Emmanuel.

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