I know I’m supposed to be a cynic. I’m an educated, thinking person. I’ve heard the stories about people who take advantage with their fake signs.
I know I’m not supposed to be moved by the guy standing at the interstate ramp with the sign saying that he and his wife lost everything and just need some help to get back on their feet.
Continue reading “A cynic and a guy with a sign”
A friend recently shared a quote from Paul Miller that I liked. It’s from a book on prayer. “Every minute spent in prayer is one less minute where you can be doing something productive. The act of praying means you have to rely more on God.”
To make space for prayer, we have to stop what we’re doing. But we don’t just stop what we’re doing. We have to stop thinking about all the things we think we need to do. We have to train our minds to be quiet and still before the Lord. It’s a submission. A humility.
Continue reading “Making space for prayer”
“So, you must like Indian food a lot? Why don’t we get Indian food for lunch?”
It’s question I’ve learned to dread.
It’s sort of a fair question since we lived there for two years. But usually what people don’t realize is that in India, Indian food is the main cuisine for every meal. In the States, we feel bored if we eat the same type of food three days in a row.
Continue reading “The food is not my favorite part of India”
It had been eight years since I left teaching high school for the greener pastures of marriage and a slightly nomadic, freelance life. Eight years is a long time.
When I had the substitute teacher interview, the principal said, “We don’t use a lot of subs.” So, I had sort of written it off as an option for supplementing my income. Chalked it up to interview experience and making a personal connection.
A few days later, I got a call to substitute for sixth grade. Honestly, I didn’t know if sixth grade would be middle school or elementary. Twenty-three years ago in Alabama, it was elementary. Turns out, it is middle school somewhere in between now.
I was so ready for the adventure I forgot to ask what subject it would be. I won’t make that mistake again.
Continue reading “My first day as a substitute teacher”
About 10 women sat in a circle poised to pray. Needy women. With broken families. Broken bodies. Broken marriages. Longings. Pain. Women like me.
One by one, each woman sat in a chair and shared what hurt her heart. Open. Willing to receive. From her sisters. From her God.
I braced myself for the onslaught of needs. I knew I couldn’t meet them. That lesson was deeply entrenched because of God’s work in my heart. I knew I couldn’t meet them, but I was still prepared for them to be overwhelming. Continue reading “A new way to pray”
Everywhere I turned, I saw a prayer request. A need.
When we were in India, part of my work was crafting honest requests on behalf of my family in a creative way. These requests were sent to people who supported us, for the purpose of making our needs known so that our team could come around us in prayer.
Another part of my work was sorting newsletters from families living all over South Asia to develop story ideas. Sometimes it would be 80 newsletters per month, two to three pages each. And, that’s just the people I didn’t know. There would be another 20 or so from people I knew personally.
At first, I felt like I should pray through each newsletter I received. Then, I allowed myself to focus on the people I knew personally. I felt like I should care about each family, each person. Anything less seemed insincere. But, I couldn’t do it.
It took me a long time to realize that God never intended to use me to meet everyone’s needs. Not even all of the needs of all of the people I am blessed to know. Continue reading “When God is silent”
Apparently, turkeys are like babies and weddings. Everyone has
a traumatic story wisdom from a past experience and is just waiting for an excuse to share it. Once people knew I wanted to roast my own turkey, friends were mostly encouraging at first. I heard a chorus of “You can do it!” and started to believe it myself.
But then, the warnings began:
- “Make sure you get a fresh turkey.” Oh, wait, I already bought a frozen one. Oops. I thought I was doing good just to think about getting my turkey before the stores ran out of them. (Note: It was actually Harry that remembered.)
- “Don’t forget to brine it. That’s how they have the best flavor. Brining.” Oh, wait, you can’t brine a turkey that’s been frozen. Continue reading “My turkey story”
Here’s the post I deleted from Facebook:
Proofreading an academic paper on child soldiers in The Congo. Man. I need a hug. (I’ve already had an oversized molasses cookie.)
Ugh. I’m a little disgusted to even write it here.
My counselor would say it’s not my fault that children in The Congo are forced to join the army, that they are raped and beaten while I sit in a nice coffee shop uncomfortably cold in the A/C, consuming $5-worth of Peach Ginger tea and an oversized cookie someone else made for me. Continue reading “Being uncomfortable”
Sometimes it’s better not to think too much.
I am the worst kind of planner — the kind who thinks it’s actually possible to have a perfect plan, the kind who feels a sense of failure when the plan doesn’t work, thinking if I could only plan a bit better,
I would always be in control of everything and everyone life would always be comfortable and pain-free.
If I had thought about all of the things that could go wrong on my adventure in the city, I wouldn’t have met the guy from East Africa who was waiting for bus #36 or noticed that Psychadeli Cafe was selling freshly made masala dosas for $6 (by the way, these cost like 50 cents in India and my mouth is watering just thinking about them). I also wouldn’t have
stood at the wrong bus stop for 30 minutes wondering why my bus never showed and remembering how to assess my safety and considered the challenges homeless people must face. Continue reading “Learning to live”
We moved almost three months ago, our third move since May 2012. I’ve gotten pretty good at unpacking. It didn’t take long. What I have forgotten how to do is settle in. The only things left to unpack are boxes of books and mementos I couldn’t throw away.
This weekend, I opened a box of notebooks and binders. Some of those crazy things have been moving with me since I lived in the house on Circle Drive with the people who’ve known me the longest.
Notes from classes I liked. And a few I didn’t.
Most of the contents can be traced back to college (which ended 11 years ago). But, they’ve always been in a box. And always out of sight. Continue reading “The box”