Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beautiful Cities and Books That Come Alive

Kevin and I just returned from a business trip to Norway and Sweden (and by "returned" I mean we have been traveling for 20 hours and are in Seattle waiting to board our final flight home). Once I finished my work each day, I was free to roam the city far and wide while Kevin remained tied up speaking the language of mobile technology.

I love the freedom of wandering a new city on my own. While I love, love, love traveling with my family, there is something especially delicious when every choice is my own. Want to walk to the other side of Oslo (even though there is a perfectly good tram) and see the sculpture garden? Done. Want to pop into every church along the way? Done. Want to sit in a cafe people watching for an hour? Done. But my favorite is the opportunity these solo days give me to read. I can sit in a new cafe every day, or twice a day for that matter, mixing all those things I love, caf├ęs, people watching and reading. All in a gorgeous Scandinavian city in a cafe filled with super polite people who look an awful lot like me. Except that they're all taller than me but I've forgiven them that.

On this particular trip I was reading Walter Wangerin's novel, The Book of God. The author writes the Bible in a story format, and I was captivated. I loved that the book made the Old Testament clearer to me in terms of chronology, although reading Jeremiah's sad life was hard on my heart. The New Testament, in particular, was so real the people and events seemed to jump off the page and into my own life. I was completely drawn into the story and sometimes found myself crying. In a cafe. In Oslo. I finished the book in the middle of our trip and for days afterwards found myself missing Jesus. I felt so much a part of his every day life as I was reading, that I was lonely for him when the book ended. I've never experienced that before with a book. I'm pretty sure that, in spite of its 634 pages, this is one book I'll be reading again.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Together We Change the World

On Fridays I (sometimes) link up with Lisa-Jo Baker for a writing flash mob. I write for five minutes on the topic Lisa-Jo has chosen. Today's writing prompt is together. 

For an introvert I'm pretty fond of "together." For as much as I love a solitary run or my quiet time in the morning, I know we are better when we come together.

A week ago Kevin and I left Boise for twelve days of travel. I love to travel but as we have become more and more involved with our community, leaving has become hard. Saying goodbye to the ones we love and take care of is not easy.

In the midst of packing and preparing, I received phone calls, texts, and emails about the various needs of our friends: transportation needs, housing needs, medical needs, etc.  All of this tugs at me to stay, and yet together we can see to all of these needs even when one of us is far from home. A text or an email sent from another continent, a quick message to friends who walk with me in this community assures these needs are met whether I am in Boise or Oslo.

If you are thinking about jumping into the real and messy life in your community, jump all in. Don't think you must meet every need or have an answer to every problem. We do this together, and where I lack you fill the gap. Where you lack I fill the gap.

Together we love.

Together we meet needs.

Together we create beauty.

Together we heal.

Together we change the world.

"The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now." Rick Warren

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five Minute Friday: More Ordinary Please

On Fridays I (sometimes) link up with Lisa-Jo Baker for a writing flash mob. I write for five minutes on the topic Lisa-Jo has chosen. Today's writing prompt is ordinary.

I’d like a little more ordinary in my life. Not in all the parts of my life. I like the wow factor as much as anybody, but I’d like to get a better handle on my spoken words. You know, those words blurted out, the ones you wish you could rewind. I look forward to days when it is ordinary for the words I speak to be consistently kind and meant to build up. You might think this isn’t an issue for me but check out the Bible verses I’ve chosen to memorize for 2013. I'm no analyst but there appears to be a pattern.

Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”

Colossians 4:6 “Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.”

Romans 14:13 “Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another. Instead, decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother or sister's way.”

Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called, in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.”

That last verse says it all for me, “control your hearts.” As I walk each day with my Lord, I want my heart to be all in for him.

Let this be ordinary for me.