Monday, June 30, 2014

Maundering Monday

Today, it feels like we wander from one end of life to the other. We finalize changes to our will and confirm witnesses, before my early-morning final doctor's checkup. (All is well.)

A lovely goodbye present, airplane socks
and a fragrant scarf to wrap around my neck
arrives from Lia, whose husband drops off
the beautifully wrapped presents. Mmmm, I breathe in deeply.
We pop over say goodbye to a WPPR accountability friend; pick up earrings at Carillon Point, left in the bike panniers we sold; and drop off some letters written by mentors.

Surprise, it's not the Riviera, but Kirkland's Carillon Point.
We get phone calls, texts, and emails all day, in a lovely chorus of farewells. Less fun than that, we clear the fridge (thanks for taking food home, Jono!) and bleach clean the shower. The washer and dryer whirl all day - bedding, rugs, clothing crisped and cleaned for the next occupants.

We even found some sparkly sneakers for our
Indonesia grandbaby, coming to live here soon.
W does an evening garbage run, meets a friend, and brings home fast food for supper. There's no time for that "fabulous-last-dinner in-Seattle" we planned. Not to worry, Indonesian food is wonderful!
Just a few of the things we'll miss after today:

Park-time with grandkids ...
and helping feed popcorn to their mice.
Hosting family celebrations
and tea parties in our flat.
Joining dear friends ...
on boat trips and other outings.
And cozy weekends with my accountability group.
... etc. etc.  (Tip of the iceberg.) 

Looking at old photos, I cheerfully admit: "Life with Jesus has been good, though it's always changing." Throughout, God has remained eternally faithful and loving. 

And you, God's people, have encouraged us, surrounded us, and prayed for us. Now you're sending us off. "Hurrah and hallelujah." We are so grateful for your partnership and friendship.

Our assurance and prayer on this very last day at home, 
before we lay our heads on these pillows for the last time: 

'The LORD will fulfill his purpose for [us ... and for you]; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.' (Psalm 138:8) Amen.

Read more:
*Light arises in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious and compassionate and righteous. Psalm 112:4 NASB

*"You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed--I, and not some foreign god among you. 

"You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?" Isaiah 43:10-13 ESV

*And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one. Zachariah 14:9 ESV

*During the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought the apostles out. Acts 5:19 ESV

Moravian Prayer: You, Lord, who have turned darkness into light: may we no longer live in darkness. Let us go and seek your light so we may let others know of your love for us all. Amen.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Seriously Sunday

 I thought we might wake at 6am and really get to work. We scramble to clear the flat of open suitcases and storage boxes - but it still looks like hurricane city. (Our Sabbath, besides today's "home church" with Bible reading and prayers, will be on the 24-hour flight on Tuesday to Wednesday.)
Part of the tribe gathers for goodbyes
It's the little things that kill you in the end, the "should I take this?" and "Shall I toss this?" for items often used - but for which there is no room in luggage. It's not like we can't buy new things. But still, we consider. And reconsider.

Our family comes. We eat one last time at the Szechwan Kitchen in Redmond - oh yum! After we get back home, we make coffee and have some cake. Then the guys move the furniture to trade rugs, rolling up the 10'X13' Karastan and putting down an easy-care bamboo. The coffee table is about 100 lbs, so it takes a lot of heft to move it around (not to mention the sofas.) Good to have willing family helpers.
Male bonding: with help from the gals

We portion out bags of leaf tea, pack up our VitaMix and teapots, and send a few other things to storage at Mom and Dad's. Luckily, Mom and I can wear similar clothes: she likes the sweaters I send along. By 6pm, we've prayed together, looked at family pictures, caught up with each other, and said goodbye.
There's no one like my mom or dad!
W's Acura goes up the driveway with the oldest son. And Waldemar starts to pack.

A final snapshot with the kids
By evening we have updated our will, packed most storage, and are ready to call it a day.

Read more:
*Happy are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance. Psalm 89:15 ESV

*Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Proverbs 7:2 NIV

*Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:16 ESV

Moravian Prayer: As we begin a new day and week, may we remember your commandments and the covenant you have made with your people. Keep us true to your word and may we always feel the embrace of your love. Amen.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sweet Saturday

Definitely in the suitcase:
Ralph Lauren sandals
Last night, I walked upstairs to turn on a few lights when the burglar alarm went off. (For whatever reason, the kids didn't mention they were setting it.) I couldn't remember the last part of the code and no one's phone was on - so it wailed loudly. Screeched. Screamed at me. Not a very restful homecoming. But a mother of 4 can block out most things, even at siren-pitch and volume. How do you label success? Sometimes: denial and deafness. I was successful.

W slept over on the boat one last time, had his two final early-morning, guy-group meetings, and arrived home before 10am. I write thank-you notes and update data on and off all day.

The flat continues to be a work in progress. The DR table now has just enough space for 2 plates. My dresser drawers and my side of the closet have been cleared. The pantry is nearly ready for the next guests. The next tenants mention that they're bringing their Yorkie. Oops. Guess we'll be taking up the antique rug, which is already worn. (A baby and her parents walking around would be fine. The romp of a little terrier would probably wear some holes in the high traffic.) We'll order things enough today to seat our family tomorrow, coming to say goodbye. I'm thinking that goodbye to my mom and dad will be hardest.

38-year-old flowers under glass:
an engagement gift from Auntie T
In the afternoon, people come by for electronics, a dog pen, and bone china. (I sell more than I had listed because people ask, "What else do you have?" There's to be no more! china out the door or I'll have nothing to drink tea from.) I post a few more things on Craigslist - and say they have to be picked up by Monday.

We wash linens, refit bedding, and haul out all the slipcover options from under the stairs. We trade the sofa covers from white to purple, a more child-friendly color. If Kristi wants, she can use pink or red for fall or Christmas; swapping is easy. (We like the IKEA Beddinge! If the futon model hadn't been discontinued this year - argh, we'd choose it for our Indonesia home.)

Little bits of information gotten yesterday and today answer two questions. Where will we live? We'll be in a Jakarta flat upon arrival, until we find somewhere in Bandung. How will we negotiate our arrival from the airport? Our friends will meet us.

The Hummels cheerfully go onto their boxes
It's been fun to eat up food we've collected, too. For lunch we thaw rice-filled grape leaves (Greek) and for supper I make an herbal chicken soup (Chinese). It needs to boil for 3 hours so I cook it as soon as lunch is done.

W starts packing. "Slap me if I ever buy another shirt," he says, shaking his head. Yes, he has a lot of nice, unworn clothing in his sorting piles. But gradually things start to settle themselves out. By nightfall, we can see the floor again. We can sit on the sofas again. Some of the dust has even been vacuumed out of the corners.

It seems incredible to us: three more sleeps and we're on a plane to a new season of life. Unbelievable. Sleep tight everyone!

Read more:
*The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes. Psalm 119:64 ESV

*The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 121:7-8 ESV
*The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:8-9  NIV

*Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 1 Peter 4:10 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Heavenly Father, your love is amazing, steady, and unchanging. May we feel your love in all we do, Lord, and remind us daily of your presence in our heart. Amen.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Final Friday

"Why are you counting down the last week at home?"

Here's why: sometimes the last days before a major transition get lost. They can be vibrant, filled with good moments and goodbyes, and memories can be life-giving during the turbulence of settling into the new place. It may be interesting for you to read this, and we appreciate your prayers during the move. But it will also be good for me to look at your faces and remember (with a smile) these lovely visits and many appointments.

I won't miss this WA gloom.
It's our final half-day with our grandkids before we move. Miss K slept over, crawling into our bed last night about 4:00am. This morning, W gets the oil changed so the kids can take our SUV; he doesn't have time to still for a haircut. Our kids leave for MT this afternoon while I'm at the eye doctor. So we exchanged hugs throughout the day before our final farewell.

"This is the hardest part," said one of my friends yesterday, "saying goodbye to the kids and grandkids."

My heart takes a while to catch up with my head, so I'll cry about this in a week or two. I haven't even wrapped my head around not seeing the faces so dear to us.

This morning, while her toenail polish was drying, Miss K talked about her prince: "My pwints will kiss me on da lips some day."

This Oma made up a lot of possibilities that could follow: "Then Miss K is going to say, 'Wait, do you like my nail polish?' Or, 'Let me brush my teeth first.' Or 'Marry you? Let me talk to my dad about that.'" She didn't know what to think about her options after the kiss. Haha. (This is the kind of memory I want to tuck away.)

Later in the day, we drive 2 hours to the funeral of Marvin Rody. Our Indonesia kids spent every American holiday with the extended Rody family. (The Rodys were big on American celebration and festivities: everything was a party. We Canadians pretty much preferred a day just hanging out, reading, or puttering, so it was a joy to see Kristi and Dae find this clan.) W and I met the family 30 years ago, a friendly welcoming group at the same church. Doris always had a wide smile and friendly remarks. One of the Rody children moved their family to Indonesia last year, so parents Marvin and Doris visited them.

The drive home: just the two of us
Everyone was shocked when Marvin died suddenly a few weeks ago. We're glad that his going to heaven was a moment rather than a long process. But Marvin will be missed by many, especially his family. We go to celebrate a life well-lived and to tell those left behind: "He will certainly be missed. And you will be in our thoughts and prayers."

The kids, grandkids, friends, and pastors, give moving tributes to a man who would have called himself ordinary, but lived so faithfully that his influence was extraordinary.

W and I drop by the reception hall before we have to head back. He's meeting some guys for a late supper and sleeping over on the boat.

No one like a dear friend! Thanks
for all the years, Willy.
I hop in the other car and head for the neighboring city for a final WPPRs coffee with Wilhelmina. Some sweet young gals in the next booth take our picture. I can't believe we have another chance to sit together - what a bonus. Wilhelmina prays over me before we part. The restaurant is closing when we say goodbye.

Life is full. Not a day is shortened. Not one takes God by surprise. Thanks be to God for his lovingkindness never fails.

Read more:
*God will help you, the Almighty will bless you. Genesis 49:25 ESV

*but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 ESV

*For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 16:25 ESV*

*Jesus said to the man who had been possessed, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.” Mark 5:19 ESV

*But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Lord, we give thanks for the many blessings you have bestowed upon us this past week. May we give what you have freely given to us back to others. Our promise to serve you will always be the most important duty we do. In your name we pray. Amen.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

One more Thursday

7 meetings today - each one special; the first 3 at 3rd Place Commons:
1. Family: Mel and Martha meet with W and me = God's good idea of best friends becoming family. (Thanks, kids - Jeremy and Rebekah!)

2. Family: Melissa, Kinsey, and Levi - a precious time to see their faces over breakfast. W heads back to work in the flat.

3. Friend: Sue drops in to support and say goodbye. A dear ministry coworker and colleague, Sue sends great news in the afternoon. She's cancer-free after 3 years. Hallelujah!

4. Friend: Kim and I drive to Savrika Tea in Kirkland. Their special-order Royal Tea - little sandwiches, scones with preserves and homemade Devonshire cream, AND pastries - oh yum yum - are worth every caloric morsel. What a way to celebrate a long and rich friendship, don't you think, Kim?

5. Friends: Kim joins me for tea with Julia and Marj, writing companions of the heart. Both Julia and Marj have mentored and encouraged me over the years. As a bonus, our kids loved Julia's classes at NU (because of Julia and her teaching style). How could I forget to take a picture?

6. Indulgence: using up my final monthly treatment with Josh at Elements Massage. After Josh "fixed" a non-working elbow in one visit, after 5 months of attempts by other therapists, I was sure that he knew what he was doing. I highly recommend him. You'll have to book a few weeks in advance. Other therapists at Elements may have cancellations so you can sneak in early; Josh rarely does ... for a reason.

7. Family: Shamiana takeaway supper, a treat by/with Timo and Melissa, who leave for MT tomorrow. We're saying goodbye to our grandkids then. How blessed we are to have lived in the same house this year.

How many ways can one say, "Jesus, we're SO thankful?"

Read more:
*Great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! Psalm 117:2 ESV

*Just as the gospel is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. Colossians 1:6 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Lord, we wish to spread the seeds of the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control through your spirit. Be with us as we bring the gospel to all we meet this day and every day. Amen.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The final Wednesday

"So what are you doing, this last week in Seattle?"

Beautiful food at a goodbye supper
This is what the day looked like:
  • Up early, I cooked breakfast, a healthy homemade muesli. Got the calendar, emails, and a thank you note squared away. I'm still a bit under the weather from my first (and last!) colonoscopy on Monday. Doc gave me a clean bill of health - after talking me into the exam. There's no reason to put myself through that again. Ever.
  • 2 pampering treats (who gets one, never mind two in a day!?) First, I used up a Groupon for the Aveda training school (got an exceptional facial  from student Renee), then got a quick pedicure at a spot recommended by Gail J. 
  • W was clearing out his computer office at NU, and later sold a few things.
  • A gal came by to talk and pick up donations for a garage sale. She's fundraising for her son's college tuition. She also purchased the first piece of furniture W and I acquired together, an antique table we bought in Duval just after we moved to NU as students. Very strange to see that go out the door.
  • Then dear Korista L dropped by for some tea and a chat. We move away before her wedding, so it was pure pleasure to have her share some of her plans and creativity. Plus her hairstyle is amazing ... so pretty (got a trial bride-hairdo today). So sorry we'll miss your new beginning, my friend.
  • Had supper at a nearby restaurant with our kids and grandkids who leave for the MT cabin Friday. Much of the food at our place is sorted or given away. We'll clear out the fridge tomorrow or the next day. I love noodles, so am delighted to have an excuse for Korean or Indonesian ramen at last once a day.
  • Kissed our grandkids goodnight. Repeated our sleep formula: "These are the eyes, the nose, the lips, the chin, one cheek, another cheek, one ear, another ear," touching each one, until our granddaughter was sleepy.
One of many things still to shed: a StorMor shell that can
be strapped to a van rooftop or stash stuff in the garage
Those were the to-dos that can be counted. In between, we did a few washloads of slipcovers and clothing. Little by little the house is unravelling and re-forming. 

Similarly, we feel an inner transition into the future, between the goodbyes and wrapping up things (6 appointments tomorrow). Each day this week is an ending: "the last Wednesday," "the last Thursday," etc. Very strange indeed.

Several friends who've gone to live overseas told us that they understand the shift going on in our minds. They've gone through the process of wrapping up life here to live out their calling elsewhere. Their kind reassurance of God's presence on the journey provides a reassuring perspective. 

Read more:
*You make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers. Psalm 104:4 ESV

*Since the ship was caught and could not be turned head-on into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven. Acts 27:15 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Kindle within us, Lord, the fire of passion to do your will. Let us be pushed along like the mighty waves to show others the fervor that you have instilled in us for the work of your kingdom. Amen.

Losing a day amid farewells

What leaving looks like ... in process!
So... we were all psyched to leave next Wednesday. Except that when we looked at the date, we're actually leaving Tuesday.

What do you do when you lose a whole day of prep? (Besides realizing that we must be somewhat stressed to have read the wrong day on the calendar!?) W and I shook our heads and laughed with each other. And we are relieved that nothing takes God by surprise!

Today I finished packing my suitcases. I have a few things to put in totes. I must say, it's strange to have so few outfits in the closet after the rest are given away or packed up. I'll be really tired of these things when we leave next week.

This week, W sold his car, our electric bikes, and lots of gear. He'll pack up his things when I'm done. Gradually the house is emptying; soon the basement will be clean and quiet.

Yup, we leave Seattle a week from yesterday. We'll be on the plane ...  headed off to see what God will do.

Our goodbyes come, one after another. Family. Friends. Coworkers. Places. Times of gratitude and affection. Occasions to tell each other how much our friendship and relationships mean. That we are thankful to God for each of you.

A few of our goodbyes this week:

Read more:
*Surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

*Jesus says, “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39 ESV

*Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” Mark 10:47-49 ESV

*Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Lord, be near us when we are restless and in need of your healing touch. Gather us into your arms and lend us your ear as we seek your wisdom and guidance. In your Son’s holy name we pray.

In the distractions of our daily lives, Lord, you watch over us and send your Spirit to guide us. Let us lift high the banner of your name and feel your peace as we do your will. Amen.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

3 things I forgot

Yikes - as we were doing our prep, I forgot a few things.

1. God's in control of "done." When we get on the plane, everything that needs doing will be done. We've stressed a few times about the mass of "to-dos" that hover around us. For every item we check off the list, there are 10 more things to do.

However, things here will be left behind when we start our new life overseas. Remembering that takes off the pressure to get "every last thing" done. What's done will be done. Less important details I would have loved to do - but had to leave undone - will be left behind and I probably won't even think about them.

2. Never wear knits on itineration. This is huge for me; I never before thought too much about my weight. I've maintained a healthy shape by fitting into the same trousers for 10 years. When they got tight, I ate less or moved more.

This morning, I tried on all the trousers hanging in the closet, tossing into donation duplicates and those that don't fit. Unbelievable! My jeans and some of my lined dress trousers no longer fit. Why? I wore comfortable legging-style trousers for travel and packing up. What was I thinking? Now I'll have to lose the #X pounds I gained. Silly me. (No way am I dragging these pounds around the tropics! Mind you, the traveler's flu may help.)

3. Major transitions both energize and wear us out. We've cleared spaces, our normal routines (among them, W's classroom schedule and my hospitality and mentoring), and said 101 goodbyes.

The other day, as I woke to familiar textures and smells in a room I know, I got a mini-shock of scary anticipation. In 2 weeks the environment will have changed. Before getting out of bed, I may be thinking:

  • What's on the floor? (Do I step carefully out of bed to avoid bugs, roaches, and maybe a snake or lizard?)
  • What does it smell like? (Do I smell spices, lots of people, rice, exhaust, and palm trees rather than firs and forest?)
  • The air density (It's cool and dry in our basement; there, we may feel muggy, warm and dampness.)
Then God's presence settled around me with a phrase, "Watch my back." 

My mind's eye saw a clear picture of Jesus walking ahead, a swath of His glory trailing behind Him, and unknown circumstances gaining perspective around Him. 

Even Moses could not anticipate what God would do by looking at His face. God protected Moses from His Overwhelming-Awesomeness, planting him in the cleft of a rock. Then God passed by and said, "Watch the Glory in My wake so you will forever after have unswerving confidence in Me."

If we watch closely and follow where He is going, fixing our eyes on His back, we'll be part of His glorious adventure. The lyricist wrote: "Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth." (Psalm 115:1 NASB)

Where is God leading you, day by day or hour by hour? Are your eyes fixed on your surroundings or on the back of God? Are you stepping confidently into his footsteps? Moving forward or pausing as He does? If anyone knows what the future holds, it's our God who always makes a way in the wilderness and slakes our thirst with springs in the desert.

Thanks be to God.

Read more:
*And Asa cried to the LORD his God, “O LORD, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you." 2 Chronicles 14:11 ESV

*Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5 NIV

*Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29:2 NIV

*O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. Psalm 71:17 ESV

*And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV 2000

*Paul wrote to Timothy: Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of. 2 Timothy 3:14 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Our gracious Teacher and Leader, keep us ever mindful of your doctrines and practices so we may follow your lead and teach those we see every day. Bless all those who hear your word and respond. Amen.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Our 3 countries and their surprising "peace index"

"Is it safe?" That's one of the most-asked questions about moving to Indonesia. Here's a startling ranking of national peacefulness in 2014.

1. Canada. W and I weren't surprised by the first country we checked out. We may sometimes seem careless about safety to our peers. Because we grew up feeling safe, we're not expecting trouble.

2. Indonesia. Here's where we're going.

3. USA. The surprise of the study, where we live now.

What do you think about this Vision of Humanity index? Do you agree or disagree with its findings? Check out the complete study by clicking here.

We're grateful to serve a God who brings peace to the Hearts of his people and is able to keep safe all who belong to Him.

Read more:
*God sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. Job 5:11 ESV

*The fortress will be abandoned, the noisy city deserted; citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever, the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks, till the Spirit is poured on us from on highand the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.  My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Isaiah 32:14-18 NIV

*God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 1 Corinthians 1:28-29 ESV

*To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. Colossians 1:2 ASB

*I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior ... 1 Timothy 2:1-3a NIV

Moravian Prayer: God, in your world we are humbled by your actions to bring good out of bad no matter the circumstance. Let us sing praises to you for your blessings and the lessons you have taught us through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

3 not-so-great ideas that we first thought were super

I'm bemused, reading the news this last week. Here are three of this week's ideas that sound good in theory but might lead to not-so-good outcomes:

1. Personal helicopters: Sounds convenient, right? But do you want someone your don't know buzzing along overhead as you drive? Can you imagine trying to enforce flight paths for 20-somethings hurriedly going to meet friends? Or having someone cut you off with a sharp turn in front of your little helicopter? Click here for the story.

2. Seizure of a person, for trial in another country:  Sounds like justice for terrorists who blew up the US embassy, right? But what if someone comes to the US, kidnaps a person they consider dangerous, and takes them back to their own country to be tried on war crimes? (For example, what if Pakistan or Afghanistan did this to American soldiers who've gone berserk and blown up citizens or government personnel?) Click here for the story.

3. Modified foods: The super-banana is about to be tested. So far, modified foods are a mixed blessing. No one in my extended circle of peers had wheat, peanut, or soy allergies when we were growing up. Something in the environment is polluting our bodies. We're reacting against formerly "normal" foods. Click here for the story.

Scripture tells us that a multitude of advisers and a careful look at our decisions brings wisdom. Rather than plunging ahead without a clue, we are warned to consider what we are doing and the consequences of our actions.

W and I are overwhelmed with gratitude to our mentors, who made us ask questions we didn't even know to ask. They told us things we had no idea about. They educated us, restrained us, and pushed us forward. Thank you, one and all!

Read more:
*Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Psalm 90:16 ESV

*Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 ESV

*Prepare plans by consultation, and make war by wise guidance. Proverbs 20:18 NLT

*Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29 ESV

*But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:4-10 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Lord, in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, help us to slow down. Remind us that through your power and presence we will have time to discover all that is good in the world you created for us. In your name we pray. Amen.

Monday, June 16, 2014

3 things as the house unravels

Today I officially started packing. W's sorting and scanning. I'm trying to get my suitcases closed and out of his way by next week so he can pack his things. The apartment is no longer the restful space that we've enjoyed for months. This week we've begun the move through chaos toward a new season of life overseas.

Ahhhhaaaaaah (BTW: that's my favorite perfume
on the table, not a bottle of alcohol.)
With two weeks to go:

1. What a mess! Spaces look worst when they're taken apart - before reassembly. The suitcases are open - half-full - in the closet AND the living room. Papers and books are mostly sorted, but piled on the chairs and dresser. We're eating food that we've saved for company - almost at the end of that season of hospitality here. One more dinner is planned, and we're considering a neighborhood open house to say goodbye.

2. Life is in the details. The china we've used (why save it?) is being swapped with everyday dishes for the students who will live here. I'm counting dishes, blankets, sheets, etc. to make sure there's enough; our bedding gets packed away before we leave. I'm sorting the final cut of winter/summer Seattle clothes. We'll each leave one bin of shoes/clothes/accessories for visits home. (The closet was already pretty empty compared to the "big house"; this week we'll have one more "Blue Bus" curbside donation.)

Our final trip to Eastern Washington = clouds without rain,
beautiful sky, empty roads - and great memories.
3. Paring away gets easier with less things to sort. But it's a bit wrenching to let the memories go with the final things we set aside. If we can remember to be grateful for every pleasure, every year surrounded by family and friends, and every blessing of working in Seattle, days are filled with joyful peace. I'm just starting to imagine what we'll wear and where we'll live: first we have to clear out the past. Might as well be thankful for yesterday's abundance.

How do you move through transitions? Are you happy? Looking forward with anticipation? Fearful? Dreading the future?

Our God, for whom life holds no surprises, delights to take us by the hand, to walk with us as we may feel out of control and helpless. Doing what's in the day, taking one step at a time, we'll look back with amazement at how clearly he was leading. (That's what I keep reminding myself.)

Read more:
*Do not be afraid of sudden panic, for the Lord will be your confidence. Proverbs 3:25,26 ESV

*The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Isaiah 60:19-20 NIV

*I will bring them through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. Zechariah 13:9 NKJV

*Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation. 2 Corinthians 1:7 ESV

*Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 3:14-15 ESV

Moravian Prayer: God, where you lead we will follow. As the morning dawns into a new day that you created, may we feel your presence. Lead us as we embark on our faith journey today. In your name we pray.

In this new week, we can claim your love and grace. We will shout out with thankful hearts that through your guidance, Lord, we will do our best to honor you. Amen.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

3 good things already

It's not even 11am and it's been a good day already.

This year my word is "gratitude." Among all our life-changes, we're focusing on being thankful for past blessings, current provisions, and future adventures.

1. It's sunny in Seattle. No further comment needed. (Anyone else think that's a very good thing?)

2. Lewis' rabies shot went off without a hitch - he's making the trip from Vancouver to his new family in Toronto tomorrow. He has no idea what a fantastic home he'll have, but I do. My college choir director spoiled Sonatina (her Pekinese) rotten while we were in school. She loves animals and Lewis loves people and other dogs. What's not to celebrate?

A friend's gift: a Spirit-dove and green (life) candle
3. I have more time than I planned today. God of course knows the "real schedule" and is never surprised. But having 4 extra hours (2 cancellations) is a lovely treat. Today, I start to box up the basement. I'm grateful for time in this calm space, however short it's been.

What are 3 things you're smiling about today?

Read more:
*O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Psalm 95:1 ESV

*He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth--the Lord God Almighty is his name. Amos 4:13 NIV

*Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 NIV

*A man who had been lame, with a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. Acts 3:2,8 NASB

Moravian Prayer: As we sing and shout our praises to you, Lord, may your healing presence be with us and those who are in need of your touch. Whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual, we thank you for being our rock of salvation. Amen.

Monday, June 9, 2014

3 things about a day

There are three things I can count on, no matter how tired I feel, no matter what I plan or think will happen:

1. Each day starts with the love of God surrounding us. We wake to a new morning, certain that whatever changes around us, God remains the same - faithful, kind, loving, watchful, protecting.

The day explodes into praise

2. Each day fills with people - and opportunities to serve others. We can go through an entire day thinking mostly of ourselves. (I felt like that today - stressed and a bit out of sorts because there's so much going on. I talked too much, listened too little.)

Or, we can think constantly of what God is doing around us ... and join him. (A classic resource to help align us to God's work is: Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby.)

This pretty much sums up the WPPRs, my closest friends.
3. Each day ends with God's forgiveness, his lovingkindness wrapped around us, and the assurance that whatever comes, He is with us.

Nightfall along the way
Sleep well, my friends. It was good to be together. (You know who you are...) Indeed, you are God's gift to me. Thanks be to God.

Read more:
*Praise the Lord, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. Psalm 103:2,4 NIV

*Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. Isaiah 35:5-6  NIV

*Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14 ESV

*Paul wrote: It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2:20 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Lord, through your love and compassion we turn to you in times when we have gone astray. Remind us that we are called by you to do your work in our communities and the world. Amen.