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Wednesday, 23 December 2009


I like birthdays. I like that they mean a new life. A day of birth! So many of my friends have had babies this past year. So many birthdays to celebrate!

I like that they give us a time every year to ponder again how God has made us. I like that when you have a birthday I am given an opportunity to stop and thank God for you.

December 2nd is Cheryl and Kendra's birthdays
December 6th is Annie's birthday
December 8th is Beth Ann's birthday
December 11th is my mom's birthday
December 14th is Matt M.'s birthday
December 22nd is Deb's birthday
December 23rd is Christina's birthday
December 24th is Jana's birthday

December 25th is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus who gives us new life! When I was a child we had Happy Birthday Jesus Parties at Christmas. The party was a real party with cake and ice cream and punch and the happy birthday song.

I do not celebrate Christmas with a happy birthday Jesus party cake and ice cream anymore, but I do celebrate the birth day of Jesus. And oh what an amazing reason to celebrate!!!! Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby.

Babies always bring joy to those around. I watch it on planes, in trains, in churches, at grocery stores...everywhere! And Jesus came as a baby... that Joy goes all over!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

It is Christmas time... and here are a few things that I have seen the past week.

Here are some photos from the Kandern Christmas party. Some of the people I love and will miss greatly when I move to Italy.

SNOW!!!! It snowed in Kandern and these photos are of the beginning of the snow fall.

I drove through the snowy weather to meet up with some friends who were up from Italy. We met in my favorite city of Switzerland. Luzern.
I had so much fun I forgot to take photos most of the time. which is sad... because Luzern was stunning in the snow!

Here are some photos of Lausanne, Switzerland... French speaking Switzerland.
The International Christmas market in Lausanne where we saw the First Bagpipe Band of Switzerland perform.. this lady was amazing! And from the top of the hill overlooking Lausanne...
And then I drove home... through a lot of snow and cold. It was stunningly beautiful.

And so... tomorrow I get on a train to get to Frankfurt and catch a plane to Riga Lavtia to visit good friends for Christmas! I am so excited to have this time to be amazed at the Gift God has given us and to share it with good friends.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

sleeping and eating patterns

My sleeping and eating patterns are not easily recognizable as patterns these days.

Some days I am ready to go to bed.. literally falling asleep in my chair or on my couch by 7pm. Some days I cannot go to sleep until 1am. Some days I am awake from 3 am or 4 am or 5 am until a nap later in the day.

Some days I am hungry at normal meal times.. 7am, 12ish, 6pm. Some days I am really really hungry at 10am or 3pm, or 11pm, or... And why when I eat a good meal am I hungry not more than an hour later?

  • Jetlag... The German word for the reason that you are so tired at strange times after crossing several time zones is... Jetlag. I have seen many beautiful sunsets, sunrises, mountains, oceans and cities from the window seat of an airplane the past few months.
  • Finding ministry partners...there is a six to nine hour time zone difference between myself and the people I am trying to contact. This means that sometimes, I am actually trying to get up at 3am. I love the people God brings together on this ministry team!

  • The weather... It is 8am right now. (I have been awake since 5:30am) Outside my balcony window I see a light grey sky. The day is beginning to show itself as day. I love the description in the creation account of day and night. Genesis 1:3-5 "And God said, 'let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day,' and the darkness He called 'night. And there was evening and there was morning the first day." I LOVE the light. I love the day. This time of year the sun does not show itself very much in this part of the world.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

faith in all areas of life

When God calls me to have faith He is calling me to have faith (full stop)

He is not calling me to have faith just during times of raising support or times of waiting for a husband. He is not calling me to have faith just when I plunge into new adventures or travels. He is not calling me to just have faith when my heart breaks over those who do not have hope in Christ. He is not calling me to just have faith when I enter into difficult situations.

He is calling me to have faith in Him through all situations and relationships in life.

Have you ever thought about how your life would be different if you truly entered into all situations and relationships full of faith?

I feel like I am daily processing what this means.

God has given me a deep desire to be married and have children. Yet I will trust that God will provide this life adventure in His timing.

I know God has called me to move to Rome, Italy and this means I need to find the ministry partners that He is providing. I will trust that He knows where the money will come from.

I have friends in many different difficulties and I wish I could ease their pain. I trust that God is the best at easing pain and fixing difficult situations. I also trust that God is the only one who can give me the wisdom to care and listen and offer words of hope and peace.

It helps me to look for the evidences of the things not yet seen. Hebrews 11:1-- do you have that one memorized? :-)

God has allowed me to see evidences of His faithfulness all over the place!
  • Unexpected people joining my ministry team.
  • Confirmations that I am marriage material.
  • Friends growing in their faith.
  • and more...
Do you see the evidences that God leaves you of His faithfulness?

Friday, 20 November 2009

Book I think every Christian should read

If you have not read this you need to.

Bo's Cafe
is a fiction book about living authentically. I read it on my flights to Omaha from Portland. A quick but impactful book.

Monday, 19 October 2009

the energy and exhaustion of sharing my heart

so I returned from Northern California this past Saturday night. It was so good to be with dear friends and to be able to share the passion that God has put on my heart to see Europeans know Jesus. My dear friends Mikey and Jamie Shaw and their lovely daughter Mercy Cadence were my hosts for the week. I LOVE them! I did not get many photos of them.. but here is one of Mikey and Mercy. This little family, introduced me to many of their family and friends and arranged opportunities for me to share with several different groups. It is such a blessing to have people like this on my team.
I was blessed to share with the Sparkies and 3-5th graders at AWANA. I even remembered the Sparky theme song... So I got to tell them about being a light to the world like it says in their song.

And with the 3-5th graders, I got to share with them from Proverbs 3:5... a verse they either have or will soon memorize. I also taught them how to count to five in German. My friend Jamie has some of those kids in school...and she said that they next day they were still trying to count in German. I love kids!

Then I got to share with bigger kids.... Jr. High and High school age students.... Isaiah 25:1, Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 15:4.... don't we all want hope? And those of us who know Jesus have hope and we need to share that with everyone! And of course... in High school you have crazy games with saran wrap, tin foil and paper towels.
I was blessed to share with adults who were in their early 20s and late 80s and every age in between. I do not know what God plans to do out of that yet... But I do love expanding the vision for reaching Europe!

On the trip back, I was exhausted... but I got to see Mt. Shasta with snow. and many many many amazing fall colours. God is so amazing in His vast displays of nature! I crossed the Sacramento River, the Shasta River, the Shasta lake, the Kalamath River and went up to 4,000+feet high and back down again. I wonder if God ever just stops and admires his creation today? I am continually amazed.
So... while sharing over and over and over is exhausting... it is also energizing and it does remind me that with God... nothing is impossible.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The in between moments

As I am in the states, it is fun to reconnect with the people I love and the culture I come from. It is also fun to trust the Lord to work out who will be part of the team He is putting together for me to get to Italy where He has called me to go. hmm.. that is a lot riding on the Lord. :-) I am okay with that.

It was really fun to go to the Portland Timbers game with my brother and his wife. the Portland soccer scene was really fun to see!
I got to be around for my dear friend Bekah's birthday! I love celebrating life events with my friends and family.
And then I drove to northern California on Sunday. Some things I saw on the way....

this sign at a rest area made me laugh...
And another beautiful mountain.... Mount Shasta... a lovely view after crossing over the Siskiyou Mountains.
I am in northern California sharing the vision God has given me to reach Europeans with the Gospel and to be part of the development and care of Europeans to be who Christ has called them to be. I pray that God would expand this vision and increase the team.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I am in Portland

I am in Portland. Arrived last night. Today I helped get my grandparents to the airport and on a plane so they could go back down to southern California. It has been a long time since I could go to the gate with someone to say goodbye. And after being at the airport 2 times within a 24 hour span after 24 hours of being awake.. I am not very coherent. :) I was confused when a friend told mentioned her sister... because I got her sister mixed up with another friend's sister... both of whom I know really well. Ah.. Jetlag. fun times.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

going to the States...

Tuesday I fly to Portland. If you have been there.. you may have seen this sign. I love this sign. It makes me think of all the ways God calls us into different places to fulfill the Great Commission.

My arrival to the states begins a time of discovering whom God has been prompting to join my ministry team for the calling He has given me to work and live in Rome, Italy.

This is an interesting prospect during these economic times. But I have to believe that God is still the master and holder of all finances. He is the one who clothes the flowers in finery and feeds the birds of the air. He is the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He is Jehovah Jireh, my provider.I find it humorous how we try to figure things out for God to provide. For example. When I look at how much money it will take for me to live and work in Rome, I can figure out that if all my facebook friends gave 10 dollars, I would have enough to move and settle in. And if all my facebook friends gave 3 dollars a month, I would have enough to live and work in Rome.

But... God does not go by our calculations does He?! And isn't that a good thing?! I do not know how God is going to do this. But I trust that He will.

I am looking forward to seeing so many of you.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

"Crazy Love" -Francis Chan

I am reading a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Special thanks to my dear friend who sent it to me!

page 42:
Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.
Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional.

As I look ahead to the next couple months, I have many opportunities to sin in these areas.

God has called me to work in Italy.
And I see how this could leave me wanting to fall into worry and stress...
It costs considerably more to live and work in Italy than it does to live where I am now. The economy as we see it in the media and in life around us is in crisis. Where is God going to provide the resources for this move and change? Who is He calling to join me financially? Are there people whom God has prepared?
I am in Rome right now for a few days before I go to the states. As I look around, learn about the people, see the need they have for Christ, I know again that God has called me here and I know again that I need to trust that He is the great provider and I need to not worry or stress.. Oh Lord, may I not sin in these ways!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

getting rid of junk

Twice a year there is an occasion when all the residents of Kandern put their junk out on the sidewalk in front of their houses. Everything from potting pots, to mattresses, to mirrors, to couches, to random statues show up on the streets this day. It is the most messy you will ever see the streets in Kandern. But it is for a purpose.
This twice yearly day is a way for the residents to purge the things from their houses. I think it is brilliant! All day, anyone who decides that one person's junk is another person's treasure may take that junk to their house. The following day, the trucks come and take the remaining items to the dump. I put out an old coffee table and someone took it. I could not think of who might need it so now someone who needs it has it... I hope. :-)

The thing that it makes me think how we often hold onto the junk in our lives. The junk we can see with our physical eyes and the junk we can't see with our physical eyes. We all hold onto junk in our lives. Stuff that clutters up our minds and hearts and our homes.

Have you ever cleaned out a room in your house and felt the lightness and freedom and freshness that it brings? Have you ever cleaned out the thoughts in your head or the lies in your heart and felt the lightness and freedom and freshness that it brings?

How often do we intentionally go through the things in our houses to get rid of junk? ...other than the times we need to move.

How often do we go before the Lord to ask Him to go through the junk that piles up in our lives which clutters our relationship with Him?

Something to ponder.. and for me... something to take more action on.

Streams of living water can't flow through my life if it is cluttered with junk.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Thanks for praying!

I have slept well two nights in a row now. Ah.. sleep is a beautiful thing. Designed by God to give our bodies energy, to remind that each day brings new challenges and excitement.. sleep is a good thing!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Jet Lag

Jetlag- a temporary disruption of the body's normal biological rhythms after high-speed air travel through several time zones.

I hope this disruption of my body's normal biological rhythms is temporary. I have not been able to sleep normally since my return to Germany.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

trusting God to provide

As a missionary, I am on a constant adventure of finding out who God is preparing to partner with me financially and prayerfully. I love that God does not call me to go out alone into the mission field to which He has called me. He provides ministry partners along the way.

People who pray for me and for the requests that I send out. People who give financially. I am humbled and amazed by the people who give sacrificially so that I can do what God has called me to do.

Especially when I think of the financial crisis that is hitting everyone in the world. It would be easy for us all to stop giving in fear of not having enough. Isn't that what the man who stored up grain in Luke chapter 12 was doing?

I think of that as I tithe and support other ministries and missionaries. It is a temptation for me to stop giving so that I will be sure and have enough. but that is not what God calls me to do. He calls me to give faithfully and trust Him to provide for me.

It is an interesting way of living.. being a missionary. I love it! I love that God opens my eyes to see the world in need as He sees it. I love sharing with my ministry partners what God is doing in Western Europe. I love that I am continually faced with trusting God to provide for me. I love that God puts me on the hearts of others as they pray for me and give to the ministry.

Isn't God good?! I was watching a sparrow today and it reminded me of Matthew 6:26- "look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them."

I can trust the provision of my heavenly Father who even cares for the tiny birds. He will provide people to partner with me. He will provide people who pray fervently for me and the places that God is using me. And He will provide for those who partner with me.
God is good!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

it is about God.

so I am in Colorado right now at the Campus Crusade for Christ US staff conference. This occurs every two years and it is a gathering of all those in the US who are called by God go reach students and faculty on campuses, to reach Athletes, to reach families, etc...

I go because it helps me to understand this organization that I am a part of now.

This year, I heard the Vice President of the Americas speak about how we all need to be more about God than about the organization. This was music to my ears. I have been struck in the recent months with how often we as Christians focus on the the thing that God has given us to do rather than on the Lord Himself. We are called to worship the creator not the created! We are called to give our lives to Christ, not to give our lives to our work!

I go because it is here that I am blessed to see people from all over the organization that are dear to my heart.

Do you ever wish that you could have all those dear to you in one place? I wish that a lot. And here in Ft. Collins, CO, i have the privilege of having many who are dear to me in one place. It is so fun to run into people that I joined staff with, or went through international training with, or met when they were part of a conference that I organized in Europe, or met some other random way. I love hearing stories and sharing the heart that God has given to me too. There is something so sweet about hearing and sharing what God is doing in the world.

So... it is about God. God IS. there has never been anyone like Him there will never be anyone like Him. Amen?! Amen!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

life these past days

I have been blessed with some dear friends over the years and I love that God does not ever leave me alone in that department.
In the end of May, my friend Amy came with her dear mother Sue. As I have written before, it is so pleasant to be in the company of friends who have known you for ages. Thank you both for coming!!!!
May was also a time of Spargel!!!!! Asparagus to the English speakers. SO good! There is a small group of us in Kandern that makes it a point to get together when we are all in town to enjoy some of the local seasonal delights like Spargel.
Also in May I had another Birthday. And even though some key friends were not able to be there, I enjoyed the company of all who came! And a HUGE thank you to Rick and Mary Beth Holladay for hosting it. A beautiful May day for a BBQ!
Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold. ... that song goes through my head any time I am thinking of the people God allows me to enjoy in life. One such person whom I have only known since December of this past year is Kari Sue. :-) She is a delight! She works with the English Camps that are held at Black Forrest Academy each year. I thank God for her! We went to the Alps a week ago and at one point we were saying.. "has it really only been since December?" That is what happens when you have a kindred spirit.

So in the midst of preparing for some time stateside, and planning for the upcoming transitions in my role and living place, I have been delighted by God's provision of friendships.

going to the States...

There are some people who would not like to hear me say this... but going to the States is not going home. I love people in the States. I love Oregon. I miss the Pacific Ocean. I miss Stumptown coffee. I miss family and friends all across the states... but the states does not feel like home. Europe feels like home. Home in the way that you know you belong there. I know I belong here.

But that aside, I am looking forward to seeing some of you dear people soon! Honestly!

Friday, 12 June 2009

re-occurring dreams

I woke up this morning and realized that I am not in school anymore. Yes, I know that is an odd statement, but I had to really think seriously about this in relation to a re-occurring dream that I have.

In my dream, I am in school. for some reason, I think it is high school... because the hallways seem to scream HIGH SCHOOL! :-) So always in the dream, I am really enjoying a class and I am doing well in the class. It is generally a literature or philosophy class.

Then I find myself not going to class. I never know what is keeping me from class...all legitimate reasons but nothing concrete... and I know that really enjoyed the class and I get more and more upset and the thought that I might fail due to absences scares me.

So I try to go to class. But I can't find the classroom. I can't remember the schedule or where classes meet. And then I stumble upon the classroom at the right time, because I recognize the teacher and the classmates.

The teacher is always forgiving and understanding. I had been doing so well and the teacher kept wondering what happened to me... I had just disappeared.

So... I don't fail. but I always wake up as the teacher is telling me how worried they were and as I am feeling relieved to have found the class and scared that I cannot make up the absences.

Last night I had that dream. And when I woke up... I thought... I am not in school anymore. know I wonder... why did I not realize this truth the other times I have dreamt this dream?

But it does make me wonder what God wants to show me through this.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

stuff and nonsense

it is the little things that bring me delight... My friend Amy is here and she has known me since 1995 when we were roommates at Northwestern College in Orange City Iowa.... seems like ages ago, but what a blessing to have her here!

She keeps remarking on how easy it is to make me laugh... we were on a plane to Rome and they were showing a Mr. Bean cartoon... I was cracking up! and she was laughing at me. I had another friend tell me recently that I am funny because I think everyone else is so funny.

Honestly though... life is full of funny moments. God made us all so different! We each approach life in different ways based on our experiences and our personalities. The encounters we have with each other can be really really humorous!

Ever notice that every child... no matter what country they come from... can pout if they don't like what is happening? they all master it! incredible!

We are all hilarious when we try to imitate an accent or dialect that is not our own. Admit it... you northern American's have tried at least once to pull off a British accent...

Have you ever watched a group of high school aged girls when they are around high school aged boys? or have you watched the boys? and does that behavior change as we get older?

I was struck recently, as I was watching people in a city, that every morning we each get ready for the day...and generally... when we leave our living place, we think we look good enough to enter the day... but what we think is good... is sometimes down right hilarious!

And what about the intensity with which we can argue a topic that really does not make a difference for eternity? Does it really matter if one person leads differently than we think they should? Does it really matter if one person squeezes the toothpaste from the end instead of from the middle?

The last time I laughed so hard I cried... was a couple of weeks ago when my friends were putting on their "back woods" accents... One friend made the statement that his grandma said she would slap him into next week if he ever made a girl cry.... skip a few beats... other topics covered... then he said, thoughtfully... "i missed a birthday one year".

The Proverbs 31 woman laughs at what is to come. in Psalm 126: 2 and 3 laughter and joy are tied to the Lord having done great things!

i guess that is why i laugh so much. i am truly delighted by what the Lord has done. and I believe that joy, true joy is from having my hope for eternity in the Lord. And if my hope for eternity is in the Lord, than i can laugh at the funny things of the world.

Do you laugh enough? what do you find delight and joy in? Do you see it enough?

Amy just asked me what I want to do for lunch... i replied... "eat" .. she said.. rather sarcastically... you are SO funny!


Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Being who God made me to be

i was just thinking... I have been in Rome for the past couple of days with my dear friend Amy... and in those days, I got to help a German couple figure out what they were looking at, and a Spanish couple figure out the bus ticket machine. and I thought... Thank you Lord, for allowing me to have enough of those languages to be able to help those people.

one of my favorite things when I move to a new place is the day that I get asked for directions and can help the person asking. Whether that means I finally know the area or that I finally know the language enough.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

the beauty of face to face

I work on several different virtual teams. I stay connected with friends all over the world through the virtual means of Facebook, this blog, their blogs, Skype, etc... Some family and friends I know what they are thinking or doing because they Twitter about it. Some because they update their status on Facebook multiple times a day. Sometimes I wonder if I am spending more time with my virtual teams and connections than with the faces around me.

The question is.. does virtual connection really maintain relationships? If we take out the face to face reality is it still possible to go deeper?

In the Bible, multiple times over the idea of seeing the face of a person seals the reality that they exist. For example: Joseph about his youngest brother (Genesis 44).

In Exodus 3 Moses is afraid to show his face to God. I think it is easier to hide behind virtual connections because then our real faces and emotions are not seen. Then in Exodus 33-The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.

We are encouraged and exhorted to seek the face of the Lord over and over in scriptures.
The apostle Paul ends some of his letters with the hope of talking with them face to face soon.

It is interesting... while I am grateful for skype, facebook, twitter, blogs, etc... I guess I feel like sometimes they cheapen the depth of relationship that I could have with people.

Have you noticed that we went from birthday cards or party invites, to e-cards and e-invites, to facebook wall posts and facebook event invites? I am so grateful for the people in my life who call me, send real mail, visit me. They are good role models for me. I think I have been lulled into thinking that a facebook message is a good a connection as a phone call. Yikes! There is a sweetness to hearing the voice of a friend. To seeing them face to face.

I have a dear friend here right now. Amy Kroesche. We were roommates in college 14 years ago... and from that the Lord developed a beautiful friendship. We have maintained a good friendship over the years even though since college we have not lived on the same continent. Maybe some day. But having her here is so sweet.

I am not confirmed on what action to take in this thinking. But one thing I do know... relationships with family and friends should not be cheapened.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Changes ahead

if you receive my update.. "Melissa's Musings"... you will have read of the changes in my future... if you do not receive my musings... you might not know what is changing. :-)

are you curious? :-)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

birthdays and friendships

So today I was pondering the fact that in one month I will be 34 years old. And how strange that seems. And I thought back over past birthdays.... some very memorable and I thought... Isn't God good? He is so good to give me dear friends who love me even when I fail and who let me love them even when they fail. Friends who strive to make each birthday special. Do you all even know how much that means to me? I cannot put the value of that into words.

One year a friend brought me flowers to my place of work. That was actually the first time anyone had ever bought me flowers!

One year some people managed to pull off a big surprise birthday party for me... the amazing part to me.... is that many of you managed to avoid me to keep from spoiling the surprise! And some people drove from as far away as 3 hours!

Last year a friend arranged for me to have a massage... I was at a conference that I was organizing on that birthday. So that was a very special and unique blessing. memorable

I have had many birthdays where I shared celebrations with a roommate or a dear friend. (sometimes they were one and the same!) :-)

One year I was in a friend's wedding on my birthday... that was cool... I loved that she and her mom got me a maple glazed donut with a candle on it while we were all getting our hair done.

When I turned 20 I was living in Austria... that was memorable

One year I was in North Africa with dear friends and they arranged notes from many of you to give me throughout the day... and the passport control man wished me a happy birthday too!

There are many more that I recall and many more to come I am sure.

Anyway, I thank God that He has allowed me to have such varied experiences. And I am SO thankful that each birthday I have been able to have at least one or two dear friends with me. For there is nothing I enjoy more than the company of a good friend. And you all know who you are in the above memories right? Good times

Friday, 17 April 2009

Coming to Portland this summer

I have purchased my tickets to come to the states this summer. I fly into Portland on June 25th and fly out of Portland on August 2nd.

In between that I will be in Colorado for our Campus Crusade staff conference the end of July.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Easter 2009

I had the privilege of spending Easter with some great people this year. I am so blessed by the people God has put in my life over here.

In church we focused on 1 Corinthians 15:14-19. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our faith is useless! How incredible that Jesus came to earth as a man, suffered, bled and died on a cross for our sins and was raised from the dead! He is RISEN! He is risen INDEED!

Then Easter lunch with some friends.

And the story of Easter through resurrection eggs. The wonder of children as they recount the story as they have heard it is always inspiring to me.

And at the end... just had to jump on the trampoline! This is me showing a new friend how to jump, sit, jump. :-) Fun times. and a LOT of laughter.

Friday, 10 April 2009

My little brother is 30 years old!

I want to take this post to tell you about my youngest brother Michael. Today, April 10th, is his birthday. And this year his birthday celebrations are a celebration of him being alive for 30 years. Amazing!

Michael is one of my two fabulous brothers. Matthew is the other brother. And I am so blessed to have them both! God has gifted them each to be smart and creative. But this blog post is about Michael.

No.. this not to sell him to you.
It is to let you all know some of the reasons why I love him SO much!

Michael can give a fantastic Karaoke show. He can make a fabulous latte. He is adventuresome. He is an entrepreneur. He can dance! He cares deeply for others. He is passionate about knowing God and making Jesus first in his life... even though it is hard. He is a gentleman. He desires to have healthy relationships and works to do that. He loves me. He is musically and artistically gifted. He is mechanically smart. yeah... I could go on... but you get the picture.

I believe that God has great plans for Michael's life. And turning 30 is just the beginning.
I love you Michael!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Rome Reflections

While I was in Rome for my last meetings, we had the opportunity to spend an evening with the Saint Egidio workers. We joined them for their nightly prayer time. I would like to share that experience with you.
30 of us from all over Europe and the United States followed the Saint Egidio workers from their main housing complex across the streets of the Testereve area and into a church. We joined an already almost full congregation. The workers had previously informed the group that the service was to be a prayer service for the persecuted countries.

We all took our seats, some were immediately solomn, others took a bit longer to reach that state. We each received two song books, both in Italian.. or was it Latin... I do not really recall. But the nice Italian man in front of me kept turning around and showing me which book we were singing from and which page from the book.

The speaker took the front and as the choir sang a prayer of peace he began to announce the names of the countries which were not experiencing peace. Those who were at war or had religious persecutions.

As each name was read, (DRC, Mynamar, Colombia) a candle was lit (Madagascar, Algeria) and added to the stand. (Pakistan, Palestine) More candles. (Somalia, Sri Lanka) All the candles. So many candles... they began to mesh together in my eyes. No longer was each candle distinguishable... So many countries without peace. (North Uganda....)

And at the end the prayer of "Oh Lord, by Your mercy, bring peace to these countries who experience afflictions."

I was overwhelmed during this time. They cry peace peace but their is no peace. They need Jesus who will tell them? They need help physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.. who will go?

The Saint Egidio group is world wide. They practice praying and listening to the Lord. And they serve any who God brings to them to serve. They work with children, artists, homeless, teachers. Each worker has a full time job and does this in their extra time. They dedicate their lives to a cause bigger than themselves.

Oh Lord, may I be moved as Your heart is moved.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

lessons of life through lessons in skiing

Some of you were there many years ago when I tried skiing the last time. Thank you Mark Lundeen for the lessons! Well, here I am, a stone's throw from the Swiss Alps and in the almost four years that I have lived here, I have never tried skiing. Crazy!

With the visit of my brother Michael, I thought it was a good chance to experience skiing in the Swiss Alps. Michael is a good skier and my friend Brad is a good skier and between the two of them, I was fairly certain that I would survive and even re-learn the things Mark taught me so long ago. Was that 6 years ago? 5? 7? a long time no doubt.

Here are Michael and I. He took photos.. and video.. not sure I want to share those.. I really don't like looking like an idiot. But maybe I will share them when he gets the photos to me.of my trying to learn to ski again.. by the end I was pretty comfortable.. isn't that the way it goes? We were up in the Swiss Alps of Adelboden. It was beautiful and warm. And this group was enjoying a snowball fight after lunch. All these people enjoying the skiing, snowboarding, the weather and the amazing mountains.. and I had to wonder if they thought about the amazing Creator who provided this setting? I was in awe of His beauty and creation once again.Learning to ski for me is always a lesson in trust. Trust in my own instincts. Trust in the people who are teaching me. Why do I second guess my instincts? Why is it so hard to trust? Brad told me that I needed to stop looking at the ends of my skis and just look at him. That I was so focused on not crossing my skis that I was crossing them. He told me a few times that I need to trust my instincts and not panic. And both Brad and Michael saw a look in my eyes of wanting to give up after the first couple times. But they were so encouraging and patient.

Between Brad, Michael and the T-bar lift guy... I learned a lot.

Things like this are a great lesson for me as I maneuver this course of life. Do I trust the instincts God has given me? Do I trust the poeple He has put in my life? Do I walk in faith? Do I give up when it is hard or do I keep trying? Do I accept the help of those who know more? Do I ask for help?

There is a quote that I have held close to my heart for over 10 years now... "Fight the tendency to prefer security to availability. In other words, quite hanging on to today's comfort. It will keep you from anticipating tomorrow's challenge."

That requires a lot of trust.