Wednesday, April 28, 2010


In less than 24 hours, I'll be bound for Cambodia!
I'm so grateful that God has given me this opportunity.
I'm so grateful that it's bigger than I am, so I have to lean on Him.
I'm grateful for the people serving with me over there, they're a wonderfully eclectic blend that is well balanced and meshes splendidly.
I'm grateful for the people serving with me from home, whose prayers and generosity are making this trip happen.
I'm grateful for Pastor Vek, who is responsible for the orphanage we'll be building a schoolhouse for, and I'm grateful for shrimp fried rice, the "safe dish" that was recommended to me (it's hard to fake a shrimp. Chicken or beef could be anything overseas, but a shrimp is always a shrimp.)
I'll probably not have much blogability until May 16 on this venue, but I will update our Cambodian blog as often as possible.
Check it out:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


There is nothing like the feeling of fresh, minty, squeaky clean teeth. I just packed my toothbrush and one of those mini toothpaste tubes for my trip to Cambodia.
I am not a history buff by any stretch, but in some of the historical fiction I've read, they reference tooth powder.
while I'm sure it was better than nothing, it can't be as good as the minty freshness of those little mini white strips floating in blue gel that leaves the gentle bite of peppermint on your tongue.
There are a lot of good flavors out there. Some are just a flash of sweet and some are heavy and dark and last. But peppermint is special. It cleanses. Purifies. And prevents cavities.
I will resist comparing my brushing regimen to the cleansing power of being a new creation in Christ, washed clean each day by the Spirit by His presence that lingers, powerful, pure, and sweet. I will, I promise.
But, I'm grateful for both.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rollin', rollin', rollin'

I got a nail in my tire at some point this weekend. It began a rapid decline on Sunday afternoon. Don't get me wrong, I drove on it anyway, but this morning I knew my time was up. I had to drive to Charlotte and by the time I hit the office, the rubber was already puddling at the base of the wheel.
Fortunately for me, it is a company car! So I made a phone call and they patched me through to a tire guy, who came out and put the donut on for me. (That's right, I had it but I didn't even have to put it on myself.)
Then, me and my car limped to the nearest Firestone and in a mere 30 minutes, a brand new tire smiled from the rear passenger wheel and the donut rested comfortably under piles of detritus in my trunk. All was well.
Now I still tried to have a pity party, however, my Mom called and refused to let me wallow. She reminded me that God is in charge and has my best in mind. I argued, mostly for form, but it was pretty pathetic even in my own ears.
This whole thing was a blessing in that it resolved itself with ease. But it made me a bit philosophical....surprise, surprise, no?
There are a lot of times when nails pop up along the road of life and a trip that was set on cruise control suddenly gets lopsided and pulls hard to one side. It's not fun. It's not easy, and it's a little scary.
But, even then, when it seems like I've stalled out, I have the Holy Spirit right with me ready to replace the broken pieces. We may limp along for a while until full healing happens, but I'm not stranded and I'm never alone. In times of crisis, He's my spiritual donut...only better.
And what's more, I don't have to do the fixing! I'm on God's fleet plan, so He sends friends, loved ones, or sometimes just extra awareness of His own sweet, powerful Self to do the tire changing for me, and all in His timing, on His dime.
God is so good! Thank you for hanging with me, even when I get whiny. For fixing me when I'm unable to fix myself. For being in charge. And for company cars.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Love notes

I got in last night at midnight (travel, not even revelry) and had to be at a meeting this morning and ready to present. I slept comfortably past my alarm, and awoke unsure of where to begin preparations for my the two client meetings that comprised a high-stakes Friday.
It was one of those times when you know you could have done more to prep ahead of time and you know your lack of foresight could cost you. And you pray, pray, pray it doesn't.
And, it was one of those days when God, in his infinite wisdom and grace, grants the fortitude and mental acuity to not just BS your way through it, but to actually perform near the apex of potential and achieve genuine quality results.
I had a marvelous day. I was dead tired, and still managed a marvelous day! And it was a Friday! And the sun just grinned upon Atlanta from dawn until dusk! And then I got a facial that melted the webs of tension clinging stubbornly to my shoulder blades!
Sometimes, God just smiles on us. He knows that packed amidst the days of intensity and stress, even when we're not holding up our end of the righteous bargain and even when we have nothing to offer in return--perhaps especially when we have nothing to offer in return--He showers our day with tiny love notes and does the heavy lifting so we can relax and bask in the warmth of His love.
Thank you, Jesus, for your days of blessing. Thank you for your love that is always lavish, always abundant. And thank you for the days when it is especially apparent. When you stoop and swipe the clutter of life aside, so I can see You and how near and how loving and how...You, you are, through it all. I love you back with all I am.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The lovely green circle

We all have those places that are more than just a location. They embody happiness, excitement, or home. They have so many good associations that the mere sight makes something inside get soft and gooey like a roasted marshmallow.
I have a few, but my two greatest are 1) Borders bookshops, and 2) Starbucks.
In principle I'm a huge fan of the independent business and boutique. The cutest parts of any city are those areas that are unbound by chain stores. However, when it comes to 1 and 2, I adore the uniformity. They are an island of familiarity anywhere you go.
It's a thrill to approach the glass paneled door of a Starbucks, push on the handle, and be greeted by the warm hiss of steaming milk, the entreating stare of the pastry case, the overwrought music piped through the stereo, the artfully displayed merchandise, and the heavy sent of roasted coffee. I get happy faster than you can say "grande non-fat light-roast misto with 3/4 coffee." And it only gets better when that crisp white cup is fitted to my palm. Two Splendas and...sigh.
Before I begin to drool, the point is, we all have those spots. Our "happy places," if you will. I'm not sure where that would be for those who are not chemically dependent on caffeine. But we have them. It's the memories built over time that form an arch of warmth and security around that place. For a girl who spends a lot of time on the road, having the familiar nearby has grown very valuable.
Which makes me recognize how precious it is to have a God who never changes. Amongst the foreign, He is the same. Amid the whip-lash inducing changes in our world, He is constant. Starbucks might be a comfort available in a lot of places, but God is everywhere and He is my home.
Thank you, God, for caffeine, for Starbucks, and for that warm sense of familiarity that makes new places feel less intimidating. In a world that changes faster than I can keep up with, thank you for the consistencies. Tiny anchor points. And thank you for being unchanging. Thank you for being faithful no matter where life goes, for cruising the highway of this crazy life with me always. I love knowing you are with me! Even in the drive-thru lane.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


When I have a big event on the horizon, my worry genes act up. I fixate. Ponder. Mull. Dwell. Analyze. And the start the process over.
I use up my emotional well-being on this entirely unproductive process, which leaves very little "se la vie" for actually life. Like driving. And flying. Travel of any sort, really.
The good side is I tend to petition God a lot, albeit frenetically, so at least He gets invited into the process. And He would calm me I'm sure if I paused long enough to let Him.
Well, today part 1 of a big event went down. It involved travel. Need I say more?
Here's where the blessing happened. I found myself smiling at strangers. I strolled instead of pounding along at the speed of sound. I...relaxed. IN THE MIDST OF MY CHAOS!
Now that is God. He took a day I have fretted over and sucked the winds of anxiety out of my soul, then breathed in His life-giving, peace-making, path-directing Spirit. He smothered the fear with His love until it's talons unhooked and crumbled.
Thank you so much, God!
And then after a day of peace, He gave me a reason to laugh out loud. If you want to also, check this out:
We serve a God of lavish love. He doesn't just meet needs, He overwhelms.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Comfy Friends

My roommate and I just finished cleaning up after five of our friends. We had a dinner party with some of 'the old crew.' You know, the people who you don't have to explain your jokes to, in front of whom you're comfortable getting seconds, and you can argue about which band is the best and not really mind who wins the debate.
Relationships are almost all blessings, whether they last a season out of convenience, or are cemented through shared experiences. But there's something special about the ones that, like a favorite pair of slippers, just get more comfortable with age. The people who you can talk to once every few months without tripping over insecurities or misunderstandings.
I'm sure part of the beauty is the rarity of these relationships. It is somewhat uncommon to reach a point where you care about a person enough to stay in touch when it's no longer easy and neither feels forgotten in the meantime. It's amazing now, and I imagine it will be downright splendid in a couple dozen years when we can look back further than a decade and see how lives have bloomed like wildflowers and where their seeds have been carried by the wind.
Thank you, God, for the lives you've braided with my own. Thank you for the handful I can count on no matter what, for the pile I can enjoy a lovely chat with, and for the heaps I have yet to encounter. Thank you for the comfy friends I have, and for those I will meet further down the road.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What does stabilitrack mean and why isn't it working?

There are times when like I'm flying through life at twenty miles over the speed limit. I get so focused on keeping up that I forget to look at the scenery sailing past. This is one of those times. So God decided to plant a speed bump in my path today, in the form of a little orange light on my dashboard in a shape that I assume approximates the engine. A message in the digital window said my stabilitrack wasn't working, and just like that, my gas pedal quit...gas-pedaling. I ended up on the curb on the side of I-75 Southbound.

I've spent the day at a corner table in the McDonough Starbucks instead of meeting with customers on the coast. I didn't take it so well at first, but after the frustrated tears passed and I gained a bit of perspective, God pulled me to my feet, kissed my scraped knees and explained what had just happened.

I had been given a gift. I was too busy to take a full breath of air, and now, suddenly, I have an entire day, free of charge, to catch up on things. One moment I was racing to another meeting which would generate another report that I would stress over, and the next, I was sipping tea, critiquing for my writing partners, preparing for some upcoming work meetings, and reading for small group. I don't have to spend the night out of town!
In the end, it seems God has scooped me into His arms and taken great big strides to get me where I need to be...and couldn't have gotten myself.

The irony of the warning message about my stabilitrack being off balance didn't hit me until I started to type....hmmm, our God has a sense of humor, no? I had become focused on getting things done. I'd totally lost the balance of experiencing this life as it happens. Of living moments, instead of check boxes. And it took my Chevy complaining of it's own wonkiness to show me I was off-kilter.

Thank you, God, for speed bumps. It hurts to fall sometimes, but it feels sooo great when you lift me and I can just relax in you instead of scrambling on my own frail legs. Thank you for being perfectly balanced even when I get wonky.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I am sitting, legs crossed, on the futon as I catch up on personal email and indulge in Top Chef Masters.
Like all pseudo-intellectuals, I think reality TV is an oxymoron. But like the vast majority of the entertained public, I have to know what happens!
However, watching the artistic machinations of these very talented chefs makes me grateful for....microwaves.
I love baked goods and I love defrosted foods. After a long day's work, nothing hits the spot like a french bread Lean Cuisine, served without the usual side of guilt that accompanies real pizza.
I can't imagine the days when one had to figure out how long before dinner to put the rabbit on the spit so it would be ready at the same time as the homemade bread.
And, I suppose I'm grateful for people who care enough still to figure that kind of stuff out anyway.
But for now, the perfect balance of pepperoni, shredded cheese and thick tomato sauce, balanced delicately atop a crust that manages to be at once crispy and soft is the best thing I can imagine in three minutes. And the ice cream is always ready!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Where am I?

If you've ever been to a really old city, you know that streets didn't always have unique and well-marked names. It was assumed that one would know where they were going and how to get there. In my case, one would not be correct.
In Dallas, the roads are, thankfully, well-marked and they all have a name.
Some have more than one.
I know because on our way back to the hotel yesterday after training, we were looking for Bass Pro Drive and did not find it. Why? Well, because once you're a couple miles away from Bass Pro Shop, the road of the same name becomes Bethel.
Fair enough. I just wish we'd been paying attention.
As it was, what should have been a 10 minute jaunt comprised of a whopping four turns turned into a fifty minute scenic amble through Grapevine, Irving, Coppell, and other Texan hamlets, complete with rush-hour traffic.
So today, I'm grateful for GPS! (Assuming, of course that the unit's batteries are charged...ahem.) It is a modern marvel to be able to start anywhere and get to a destination near or far, guided by a 3-D map and an authoritatively soothing female voice. I've found more Starbucks that way than you'd think. And, if I'd had my unit charged yesterday, I would have buzzed directly to the Homewood Suites.
So, thank you, God, for providing technology for the directionally disabled. And thank you for people who are a phone call away and can google map me in when such technology is not readily available.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mirrors never lie...right?

I am in Dallas for a training class for work this week. So, aside from vast quantities of invaluable knowledge regarding safe operations for construction workers, I am also receiving large--one might rightly say Texan-- meal portions.
As much as I would like to say I am one of those birdlike eaters who nibbles no matter what is placed before her, I am not.
So, I am grateful, so very grateful, for skinny mirrors. You know, the ones with that fun house-esque quality where all your parts look narrower than they are? Well, the ladies room in the fire house where our training is conducted has one such mirror. After a lunch salad that could have easily fed the Dugger family, I went to wash up and was pleasantly surprised by the image smiling back at me. It was as if five pounds washed down the drain with the soap suds.
The darned logical side of my brain doesn't fully buy it, and I know that when I land in Atlanta on Wednesday, the treadmill will be my best frenemy. But for now, its nice to just enjoy the picture.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I drove to the coast again today. I spent an hour and a half walking around a really cute outdoor mall and through not-so-cute restaurant kitchens. As a rule, food tastes better when you don't see it prepared. Especially when the kitchen staff is scared to see you for fear you're the health department....never a good sign.
As strange as it sounds, driving wears me out. By the time I finished my work day and made it to the hotel I was ready to put on pjs and curl up for the night. But, it was only four-thirty.
I managed to keep my momentum going and got some important things done this afternoon, but was soooo ready for a treat by the time I finished.
Enter, peppermint tea. Not one, not two, but three mug-fuls. And since one of those was a venti from Starbucks, it's probably the equivalent of six. Peppermint is one of my favorite flavors because it's refreshing, yet calming. Wholesome with a dab of spice. Natural and rich and satisfying. And it makes me feel healthy! I mean, it's tea.
Thank you, God, for all mints, but especially peppermint, and all that it embodies. Thank you for Starbucks and their bucket-sized servings, and for the company dollar that pays for those.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Add to Cart

I am in the market for a lot of things right now. It's not often that you need to make a significant number of purchases at once. (Note that I said need to. The desire to make a lot of purchases at once is way more typical.)
Well, its hard to work, do the occasional bit of laundry, exercise, eat, and buy a lot of things in a day's time. Especially when one must look around at options before the actual purchase is made. Thank goodness we live in the age of Internet shopping! Over the past week I've looked over a lot of choices, narrowed the field, and reassured myself that there are, indeed, good choices to be sifted. It takes some of the stress away to know what's out there. I'm less worried about the actual shopping now that I have a sort of game plan.
A small thing, but one that I am genuinely grateful for tonight.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tresspassers Beware!

Red wasps like chimneys.
I learned this last week when one dive-bombed the potted faux flowers that sit on my hearth. When he flew into the open window screen I pulled it shut and had a pet bug for a few days.
Saturday, a second wasp shimmied through the closed flue and made his way into my apartment. Trespasser.
He spent his final days the same way his partner in crime did.
My roommate and I spent the first part of Saturday taping together some Amazon and Girl Scout Cookie boxes and then securing them over the opening to our fireplace to protect ourselves until the bug guy could come.
Well, today he did! He was nice enough not to laugh in my face at the crazy cardboard collage plastered over the fireplace, and he told me how to get rid of the wasp nest.
He suggested I light the starter log that graced our fireplace all winter long without use. He said it would scare them off, and keep them from coming back. (Just in case, I have his card, too. He has chemicals.)
Well, on this fine afternoon, I cranked up the A/C and burned that starter log and those cardboard boxes. I'm happy to say I've been wasp free for three hours and counting!
So, I'm grateful for fire, for cardboard and its incredible flammability, and for bug guys who know that wasps don't like either.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wasn't that a Beatles song?

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.
This verse in Ecclesiastes is feeling like my own personal mantra today.
I indulged in one of my favorite activities this afternoon. I curled up in a wicker chair on the balcony, draped my feet over a second, and sipped a glass of Riesling while polishing off a good suspense novel. It's the perfect temperature in the shade on an eighty degree day. The book was tense, the wine sweet, the birds loud, the breeze soft.
A few months ago, heck, a few weeks ago, I wouldn't have ventured outside, and would instead be in the corner of the futon with a glass of red. But today was a white wine day.
While this is a minor change, there is a rather large change hovering on the horizon. It's not for sure, so I'll be irritatingly nebulous, but let's just say my future was a fairly straight line and is now hooking hard to the left.
So, about every thirty minutes a get a shiver up my spine and try to see around the corner to what awaits.
The thing I'm grateful for today (aside from the aforementioned book/wine/weather combo) is that God can see around corners. So He know exactly what's coming. He put it there. And He's guided me this far, so in the coming season, I have no doubt He'll continue to lead the way, or push from behind, or whatever He must to get me where we're going.
Thank you, Jesus, for being all-knowing and wise and so sweet! I just love that the tremors I am dealing with are just that, and needn't turn into a full blown fear of the unknown. Because for you, nothing is unknown, and with you, I'm the best place I can be.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

Revelation 5:9-13

And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth."

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne
and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I love Apples

So, Atlanta is finally acting like Atlanta again and today we broke eighty degrees! It was a stunning day. Stunning.
So, for the first time in, (gulp) I don't even know how long, I actually did some intentional exercise beyond a weekly tennis match. And, because it was so glorious, I decided to walk/run outside. I donned my running shoes, stretchy capris, tee, shades, and....drumroll....iPod!
How cool is it that a little gizmo roughly the size and weight of a credit card can hold over half my music library? I don't know how people did it before this century. I mean, I thought life was tough that back in the day when you had to try and run as smooth as glass so your CD didn't skip. What if there was no killer beat to tell you when to inhale and take another step? What if, gasp, you had to run in silence?
Thank the good Lord that I will never--and I mean never--have to solve that riddle myself. Instead, I'll just clip my little pink nano in its fun black case to the waist of my capris and try to keep from singing out loud as I pound out a couple miles.