Photos, garden, travel and life with a little white dog

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Formation

I think I’m walking into a time of reflective formation.  So I decided to change my blog look as well.

Challenge for today – where have I allowed self-indulgence to break down the walls of my life?

Am I a consumer of life?  Or do I invest in the lives around me?

Stories

The sun is setting on a beautiful day in Northwest Haiti.  It has been a whirlwind visit thus far.

Today I met with Marie Lourdes, a young woman who is sponsored and going to school through the help of the Mission.  She had just begun her first weeks of university classes in early January.  She was studying accounting in a university in Port au Prince.  Now she has returned to Port de Paix where she lives because there are no classes now after the earthquake.  She doesn’t know if her university will reopen or when.  I asked her why she is studying accounting and she said it is because the university didn’t offer the course she wanted to pursue.  She wants to become an airline stewardess or flight attendant!  Marie Lourdes asked for prayer that God would provide a way for her to accomplish her dream.  She has a twin sister, Marie Therese.  Their mother died many years ago and they now live with their father, who is unemployed.  They have eight other brothers and sisters.

I saw my friend Kenslen again today.  He is a young man in the local community in his mid-teens.  Kenslen is very studious and determined to work hard to study and accomplish his goals.  He speaks quite good English and always looks for the opportunity to practice.  I had met him almost two years ago at their local foreign language club.  It consists of twenty or thirty young students who want to improve their foreign language skills, so they will meet together and practice, interpreting from French, to Spanish, to English and back again.  Kenslen asks for prayer that he could accomplish his dreams – he wants to become either a doctor or a pastor.  He will graduate high school in two years and then search for how to continue his schooling.

Tomorrow I will begin travelling throughout the Northwest.  I will visit a school in La Fonte, then stay with our friends, Curtis and Danielle, who are missionaries in La Baie du Moustique.  After church on Sunday I will travel with a mission team to another campus in Beauchamp that is a couple of hours away.  The team will be doing VBS and groups with the teens.  They will also help me at the children’s home in Saline Mayette as we get updates and letters for all those kids, and just spend some time hanging out with them.

For tonight, a group is hosting a dinner/dance for the local teens.  As I sit up on the roof I can hear them testing the sound-system and carrying food and decorations back and forth – should be quite an event!  We also will spend our last evening with Pierre Garcon, the wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts, who has been here working with us.  I still need to pack my bags and finish a few odds and ends before we travel tomorrow, so I will sign off now.

Bon nwit!  (Good Night)

Thinking of Spring

Back in Kentucky after an eventful trip to Haiti.  The January 12th earthquake will leave plenty for us to process for years to come.  And creates many questions as to what next for Haiti.  How do we move on from here?

I’ve decided one of my favorite coping mechanisms is anything to do with cooking and gardens, farms and growing things.  Since the ground is white outside (yes, here in Kentucky!) that means this is a time to read and learn.  A few resources I’ve been excited to explore are:

Locavore Network – great place t o find local resources for fresh produce, meat and eggs.

Grass Fed Beef Suppliers

I’m planning out our garden for this year, as well as reading up on local sources for beef, poultry and eggs.  I like the idea of both buying these things locally as well as getting a product that hasn’t been treated with hormones and lots of antibiotics.  I’m considering Tarleton Tavern Farm for their meat and egg shares.  Lots to learn.

Perspective

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
The things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
Which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as we would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If we surrender to Your will,
So that we may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen

Reinhold Niebuhr

I have extended family dealing with a difficult illness and they shared this prayer.

A wise, hope-filled perspective on this life and the next.

Raindrops are falling on my head…or is that drywall?

Last Saturday morning we were awoken at 3:30 am to a suspicious rumbling crash.  Here’s what we found…

This is our stairwell in the kitchen.  That's our ceiling and insulation on the floor.

This is our stairwell in the kitchen. That's our ceiling and insulation on the floor.

We redid our roof a couple weeks ago…and turns out there was hidden little spot where the ridges meet that didn’t even have plywood…or flashing…yeah.  Like a water spout, pouring water onto our ceiling.

Andy with our hole...early in the morning.

Andy with our hole...early in the morning.

Well, much thanks to Andy’s dad for helping.  The holes are fixed – both on the roof and ceiling.  Better now than mid-winter.  Still not spackled and painting, but there’s no more insulation falling on our heads.  The joys of homeownership.

But so thankful for all the ways God protects us from what could have been.

Share the Well

ShareTheWellI was just enjoying a song and thought I would pass it along.

A couple years back, Caedmon’s call put out an album called, Share the Well.  As I understand it, the album was heavily influenced by mission work they had done, primarily in India and Ecuador (a place close to my heart).

If you’ve never heard it – get the whole album.  It’s excellent!  But for the moment, I was dancing in my desk chair to the title song, Share the Well.  (This is a link to a site where you can hear or buy it.)

I love how they use the concept of the well of water.  We have so many wells to share – physical water, financial wells, and the well of living water – Jesus Christ.

Nothing new, but music that shouldn’t be missed.  Happy Wednesday.

Food for the Soul

Zinnias from my garden

Zinnias from my garden

I recently asked on Facebook for some good worship music recommendations.  (I have an iTunes giftcard burning a hole in my pocket!)  I was given many good recommendations:

Hillsongs (Various folks)

Red Mountain Music (Molly Rego, AL)

Glory Revealed I & II (Christine Engert, NH)

Sovereign Grace: Psalms (Kristin Middleton, Washington, D.C.)

Kari Jobe (Eliza Olsen, GA)

Christy Nockels – formerly of Watermark (Christine Engert and Leann Morrow Ward)

I’m adding a couple of recommendations of my own – Indelible Grace (We intro’d their song – To Christ the Lord in our church this past Sunday)

Curt Vernon – Curt is from Nicholasville and has come to Haiti several times, including to lead worship for our Staff retreat this past February.  He doesn’t appear to have an album out, but has recorded a number of his songs and you can hear them on his myspace page.

I’ve just finished the Beth Moore Bible study on the Psalms of Ascent.  It has gotten me thinking about the beauty of music written very directly from scripture.  I enjoy many types of music, meaning both of diverse musical styles, as well as different lyrical approaches.  But at the moment I’m longing for some rich soul-food.  And it’s been exciting to spend some time listening to how God is speaking to His Church through “new” music.  Some with fresh lyrics, others with fresh music for words that are hundreds or thousands of years old.  There really is nothing new under the sun.  How wonderful to take a fresh look at the very familiar, only to discover enduring beauty.

It will take me a while to work through all this great music, bit by bit.  But thanks to my dear friends, near and far, for your great recommendations.  I’m excited to listen to the Spirit’s voice through these songs.

Blessings on your Monday.