Saturday, October 27, 2007

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

...and I'm so very glad I came! The Carthage trip was a wonderful success as I met up with dear friends from the past four years.
Thank you so much to the Murphys, Murphys, and Murphys for all your friendship, hospitality, encouragement, and generosity! You are the dearest friends a girl could ask for.
The kids and coworkers at Illini West High School made me feel so welcome--and teary-eyed--as they gushed with stories of the new school year and all that I had missed. Hang in there, guys, in the midst of all this transition and hard work you are going through. Go Chargers!
My little ones in AWANA were wonderful as well as they sat attentively through my mission presentation. The faith of children and their acceptance of us adults is a beautiful gift that I will never take for granted but miss often now that I'm far away. (I can't believe that I didn't get any photos to share. Sorry! Maybe someone will email them my way.)
Carthage and Keokuk are special places to me. I pray that God will encourage and challenge the people of these communities with His love and purpose for their lives. And thanks again, everybody. You made my week. Sometimes I just need to go where everybody knows my name. Love to you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Divine Dichotomy

Sovereign and sweet—
Oh, how can it be?
Awesome and gentle,
The One God in Three.
Endlessly powerful,
Setting us free.
Gracious and beautiful

Glorious Godhead,
Weak little boy.
Creator and servant,
Restraint you employ.
Facing all hardships
And bringing all joy.
Emmanuel, with of God:
Heaven’s envoy.

Defeated, then risen;
Amazing to see
One worthy of glory
With humility.
Simple and marvelous,
One and Only
Jesus: the wondrous

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Anybody with me?

Today, I can absolutely relate to this Paul fellow who said,

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's
law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

I gratefully cling to that concluding understatement.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Gimme the beat, boys...

Music and exercise are wonderful gifts for health and the reduction of stress! This week, a dear college friend introduced me to a local fitness center, and I am feeling good. The free classes are set to fun and invigorating music, and the cardio "jam" sessions are so freeing in this intense time of life. In addition to the physical benefits of this place, I have run into a few high school and college friends; laughter with those who have known me for years is good for the soul. While I don't want to get into a routine here--Budapest bound and all--I'm so thankful to have this fitness outlet for now. Jehovah Jireh provides all that we need, even when we don't realize our need ahead of time. Well, off to the gym.

And yes, in my head I have been replaying the scene from The Office when Jim endures a car ride to this same tune. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wrapped in a scarf, Snuggled in by the fire

I love Autumn. I have been waiting for the crisp wind heralding its arrival for weeks now--ever since returning from balmy Orlando, I suspect. Creation is gorgeous throughout the year, but I am inspired by the changing colors, the need for sweaters, the appeal of steaming coffee. Okay, that last one exists year round, but anyway...

I haven't taken the time to write any original poetry noting the season, but I did document a neighborhood tree as it changed colors. I also spent quite a deal of time perusing the poetry of various writers to find suitable odes. Please enjoy the following with the warm beverage of your choice and toast the beautiful Fall.

Listen! the wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!
~Humbert Wolf's
"Autumn (Resignation)"

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.
~Emily Dickinson's
XXVIII. Autumn.

Or this classic that I adore...

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost's
"The Road Not Taken"

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