Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I like that Jesus told stories.  It's comforting to me that he chose to bring Truth and Beauty in simple language--plain but hidden, accessible but in need of some mulling over.  While the religious leaders adhered to tightly defined rules that governed behavior, Jesus storyed (apparently not a recognized word) generous grace, new life, and harsh judgement, leaving his listeners to puzzle it out.  

There is something remarkably inviting about this approach.  We are welcomed into the story circle where we get to talk it through together.  We don't have access to the Spark Notes, and the teller very rarely explains his tale.

But rather than mull and talk it through together, we tend to want to explain, define and codify things.

(I wonder if that is really our role.)

Today I read three stories in the twenty-first chapter of Matthew and I'm puzzling around with a comment Jesus made.

In his response to the religious leaders Jesus said, quite starkly, "...The tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God ahead of you."

Are entering...  As far as I can tell, the Greek phrase is present tense.  These "unsavory" folks are entering the Kingdom ahead of the seemingly savory ones.

"How are they doing it?" I wondered to myself. 

Is it that they see and grasp the grace?  Do they grasp (understand) it and grasp (take hold of) it?  Without any sense of their own righteousness, do they simply get grace more quickly than the others?  Unfettered by a sense of entitlement, are they faster to comprehend how it works?

I don't know the answer, but I'm inspired.

I'm inspired by a picture of people who understand grace as a gift they choose to receive.

I want that for my days.

Yes, I receive the gift of grace today.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

To lift my eyes...

I'm not gonna lie, Africa can wear me right out.  See Exhibit A above, "The Road to Our House."

I'm not very good at remembering this, but it does dawn on me occasionally that I do actually get to choose where my eyes focus.

Here are five good things from the last few days...

1.  I watched two Muslim women share their sandwiches with a Catholic Sister on the 6 hour bus trip to Nairobi.

2.  I saw the setting moon hanging heavily over hills that would soon be lit by morning.  The moonlight cast shadows on my 5am bedroom floor.

3.  The crazy washed out bridge at the bottom of the long hill that connects us to the road to town HAS BEEN REPAIRED, AND a grader has been dealing with the other horrible bits on our way home.

4.  I bought a great big box of fresh produce, (bright, juicy mangos, tangy passion fruit and much more,) for a very reasonable price, and shared motherhood tales with the slender young mama whose veggie stand I frequent.

5.  Yesterday I enjoyed a long and pleasant lunch with someone who has prayed for us for going on thirty years.  We had never, ever met before.  Imagine!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

With Happy Thanks for Dorothy

George and Dorothy, many years ago

A dear old friend of ours, Dorothy Waterhouse Smoker, passed away in January and I'd like to honor her memory here.  Dorothy was 97 when she passed and I hadn't seen her in many, many years.  Still, my memories of her are close and vital.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Coming Home to the Farm

We were away from Africa for two months.  It was enough time to do all we did.  Enough time to celebrate Thanksgiving, multiple family milestone's including my mom's 80th birthday, attend fundraisers, speak here and there, connect with donors, revel in family and marvelous friends, work toward a second son's wedding, engage in Advent, give poetry readings, meet with our Board of Directors, enjoy (and also struggle with) Christmas in America, and finally, wonderfully, to help throw an outstanding wedding celebration.

Careening out of those packed weeks...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Morning

When Baby Jesus was presented at the temple, Simeon, said this of him,

"He is a light to reveal God to the nations."  

A light to reveal God...

Now, that's a good gift :)

Merry Christmas, friends!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thoughts for Advent: Day Twenty-Four

A Poem for Day Twenty-Four

I cannot do this
I cannot find words
to capture or convey

Language fails 
and I fall silent

In the silence

God incarnate
moved toward me

Be still
with me

And watch
The Light

-lisa, 24 December, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Thoughts for Advent: Day Twenty-Three

A Poem for Day Twenty-Three

There have been moments
I was sure
the earth paused
on her axis

indelible and
eternally bright

Four times I have held
the newest life

Four times I have
peered into a face
I had never seen
but loved instantly
more intensely
than my breaking heart
could bear

And in those minutes
that never never come again
I was won

Charmed completely
I was intrigued by one question

Who are you?

Yes, I know your origin
and who you are to me

Who are you?

On a scale beyond anything
She must have asked the same

This Advent
I turn toward
a face I cannot see
but know I love

My desire is
to be undone

Who are you?

-lisa, 23 December, 2013