Monday, May 24, 2010

Graduation weekend

Surrounded by friends.

Caught a friend's birthday party before all of the graduation festivities.
Staying busy with army men and dinosaurs.  Its amazing what becomes interesting when all of the other toys are packed.
They are displaying the Bionicles (sp?) they each built (perched on the boxes and bookshelf).  Elissa, their favorite babysitter ever, gave each of them a going-away Bionicle and became their heroine forever.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


These women (and others not pictured) are treasures to me.  Know that behind these beautiful smiles there are hearts that love God and others.

Monday, May 17, 2010

New York Times Op-ed from February

The New York Times
Published: February 27, 2010

For most of the last century, save-the-worlders were primarily Democrats and liberals. In contrast, many Republicans and religious conservatives denounced government aid programs, with Senator Jesse Helms calling them “money down a rat hole.”

Over the last decade, however, that divide has dissolved, in ways that many Americans haven’t noticed or appreciated. Evangelicals have become the new internationalists, pushing successfully for new American programs against AIDS and malaria, and doing superb work on issues from human trafficking in India to mass rape in Congo.

A pop quiz: What’s the largest U.S.-based international relief and development organization?

It’s not Save the Children, and it’s not CARE — both terrific secular organizations. Rather, it’s World Vision, a Seattle-based Christian organization (with strong evangelical roots) whose budget has roughly tripled over the last decade.

World Vision now has 40,000 staff members in nearly 100 countries. That’s more staff members than CARE, Save the Children and the worldwide operations of the United States Agency for International Development — combined.

A growing number of conservative Christians are explicitly and self-critically acknowledging that to be “pro-life” must mean more than opposing abortion. The head of World Vision in the United States, Richard Stearns, begins his fascinating book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” with an account of a visit a decade ago to Uganda, where he met a 13-year-old AIDS orphan who was raising his younger brothers by himself.

“What sickened me most was this question: where was the Church?” he writes. “Where were the followers of Jesus Christ in the midst of perhaps the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time? Surely the Church should have been caring for these ‘orphans and widows in their distress.’ (James 1:27). Shouldn’t the pulpits across America have flamed with exhortations to rush to the front lines of compassion?

“How have we missed it so tragically, when even rock stars and Hollywood actors seem to understand?”

Mr. Stearns argues that evangelicals were often so focused on sexual morality and a personal relationship with God that they ignored the needy. He writes laceratingly about “a Church that had the wealth to build great sanctuaries but lacked the will to build schools, hospitals, and clinics.”

In one striking passage, Mr. Stearns quotes the prophet Ezekiel as saying that the great sin of the people of Sodom wasn’t so much that they were promiscuous or gay as that they were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49.)

Hmm. Imagine if sodomy laws could be used to punish the stingy, unconcerned rich!

The American view of evangelicals is still shaped by preening television blowhards and hypocrites who seem obsessed with gays and fetuses. One study cited in the book found that even among churchgoers ages 16 to 29, the descriptions most associated with Christianity were “antihomosexual,” “judgmental,” “too involved in politics,” and “hypocritical.”

Some conservative Christians reinforced the worst view of themselves by inspiring Ugandan homophobes who backed a bill that would punish gays with life imprisonment or execution. Ditto for the Vatican, whose hostility to condoms contributes to the AIDS epidemic. But there’s more to the picture: I’ve also seen many Catholic nuns and priests heroically caring for AIDS patients — even quietly handing out condoms.

One of the most inspiring figures I’ve met while covering Congo’s brutal civil war is a determined Polish nun in the terrifying hinterland, feeding orphans, standing up to drunken soldiers and comforting survivors — all in a war zone. I came back and decided: I want to grow up and become a Polish nun.

Some Americans assume that religious groups offer aid to entice converts. That’s incorrect. Today, groups like World Vision ban the use of aid to lure anyone into a religious conversation.

Some liberals are pushing to end the longtime practice (it’s a myth that this started with President George W. Bush) of channeling American aid through faith-based organizations. That change would be a catastrophe. In Haiti, more than half of food distributions go through religious groups like World Vision that have indispensable networks on the ground. We mustn’t make Haitians the casualties in our cultural wars.

A root problem is a liberal snobbishness toward faith-based organizations. Those doing the sneering typically give away far less money than evangelicals. They’re also less likely to spend vacations volunteering at, say, a school or a clinic in Rwanda.

If secular liberals can give up some of their snootiness, and if evangelicals can retire some of their sanctimony, then we all might succeed together in making greater progress against common enemies of humanity, like illiteracy, human trafficking and maternal mortality.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Raven Run pics

We were collecting leaves for a school leaf project.  It was Elijah's homework.  I love this pic of him.  Totally spontaneous.
Isaiah took this picture and I didn't crop it at all.  He's quite the photographer.
Climbing the falls.  Miraculously, no one got wet, and I didn't have to go chasing after Micah's shoe down the stream either.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Grading memoirs today and ran across this 14 year old girl's piece.  Here is part of it:

We had listened to them fighting.  I was in my room, hiding, scared.  My brother came and got me.  We ran into his bed room, and closed the door noiselessly.  We turned on his TV with the volume up loud, but that only muffled the sound of our parents fighting.  I sat down on the wooden ladder, staring at the door knob, waiting for something to happen that would make this all disappear.  The noise finally stopped, the door knob turned.  I ran to my dad and hugged him.  He said we needed to talk.  We took a ride in his truck with its blackish purplish color that I so much adored. 
The divorce all happened at once.  The word we didn't understand had the power to tare a family apart.  The tears ran down my face like rain.  This memory haunts me.  It is truly the one thing I can remember from my childhood.
A reminder to me today.  This is part of my calling- to do whatever I can to bring the healing power of Jesus to hurting marriages.

ANOTHER ONE-  She writes:
...This went on and finally my dad told me about my mom cheating on him.  She did it when I wasn't around for her to look after.  I knew that if I didn't leave the house, she would have to stop so that's what I did.  My dad had told me that he was going to leave if she didn't stop.  I made this my new goal, not to let him leave again.  To do this I first had to stop her from going out which meant I couldn't go out and that's exactly what I did for five years.  I stayed inside every single day and night so she had no chance of leaving.  It worked.  She didn't leave the house.  Instead my mom decided she was leaving this time and she was taking me with her.  This made me sadder than ever.  I had to leave my house and all of my friends and go somewhere I hated.  All for some stupid reason. 
Today, I am with my mom still unfortunately.  I hardly ever see my dad anymore, but that's okay because I would rather have nothing to do with either of them than something to do with both of them.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Lunch on the trail. Hiking Saturday. Elijah is off chasing dragons with a stick.

Sent on the Now Network� from my Sprint® BlackBerry


Testing mobile blogging.
Sent on the Now Network� from my Sprint® BlackBerry

Micah story

Micah: My armpit is really itchy. (scratching this morning)
Me: Let me see. You have a dry patch of skin in your armpit.
Micah: Oh. Do I need lotion or Gatorade?
Me: lotion. Gatorade is for a dry throat, not dry skin.
Micah: No, not Gatorade. What's that stuff you and Daddy rub on your armpits?
Me: Deodorant?
Micah: Yeah, (walking off to himself) deodorant... that's a hard word to remember.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Table Versus Clock

(My poor attempts at poetry, part 13 -not an exact count- done as an assignment with my students this week) The assignment- "Write about something that matters to you right now."

Solid and rectangular
We gather around you.
The melodic clatter of forks, plates and glasses
is punctuated by fits of laughter-
symphonic resonance.
Tears soak into napkins, discarded
on your surface.

You support the weight of empty
plates, full hearts, sadness and joy.
You are the foundation
of elbows that support fists on temples
of heads that contain minds
that give voice to words
that change the world
of the women who gather around you.

A clock on the wall bears silent
forboding witness to the beauty,
genius and fortitude that you
are privvy to on this night.

Rank and file hands march steadily onward
mocking this masterpiece.
There is nowhere to run from your force.

Table versus Clock: the two are at war.
But memory of beauty triumphs over
To you, o clock, I say- "Do your worst!"
Our memories are keen
And the table will see us again.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Zay turns 5

How can you say "no" to that face..., and yet we do- on a regular basis.

I can hardly believe that our baby is 5 years old. Isaiah, at five years old... if I had to describe you in a word it would be 'charmer'. Some distinctions about your blossoming personality right now include your precision in speaking. You speak with careful enunciation of every syllable which often makes your speech slow and deliberate but easily understood. Adults find you charming because you know how to make conversation, and any stranger can understand you well.

You can be strong-willed at times, and you are VERY independent. Often, we'll notice that you're not with the crowd and when we go looking for you, we can usually find you building in the LEGO box or squishing sand between your toes in the sandbox. You have no fear of being alone for long periods of time- which makes you GREAT at playing hide and seek.

We love your easy laugh and smile, and you show a special affinity for music and dancing. In church, most Sundays you'll sing along with the worship music, even when your brothers and the other kids are drawing or whispering to each other. You are a special young man, we love you tons and can't wait to see who you become as a 5 year old this year.

Simile Metaphor Collection

Elijah after running: My heart is beating like a coconut rolling down a hill.
Elijah on urination: Pee is like horses galloping out of the gate. Once they get started you just can't stop them.
Elijah: If school were a human I'd give it a wedgie.
Elijah: I am like a hot rod and I just want to be a plain old Ford
Elijah on the fruits of the spirit: I've got them all covered except self-control. Its like a tiny green tomato and the rest are all big ripe ones. Especially love. Its like the biggest tomato we saw in the garden tonight.