Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Delighting in the day

Drawing the prayers, one a day
Kim Martinez put together a "Mastermind" group this year and I joined. Each month, we have 15-30 minutes to share something we're working on and get feedback from other female ministers.

In January, W and I were smacked with the necessity of coming back a few months before our regular furlough for a citizenship application. I mentioned to the women how frustrated I felt.

"Well, you have two choices," said one of my mentor-peers. And then she asked if we had forced our timeline for personal benefit or if we were slacking off.

"No! This is disruptive to our work in SE Asia," I wailed. "So what are my two choices?"

"Either you can skulk around, feel guilty, and think about what you're missing back home ... or you can accept this gift. In which case, you should have a fantastic time and live each day to the full. Go see friends and sponsors. Eat all the foods you miss. Visit the places you love. Attend the churches who pray with you. Make the most of your visit in appreciation of the God who plans your steps - including this time in Seattle."

I chose the latter. All the advisors who said, "Keep a personal space so you have somewhere to land when you visit," were right. This has been a haven between a whirlwind calendar. I wake refreshed each morning, ready for the day ahead.
Night and day - the gift of a relaxing space!
Saturday, February 20.16
Chore: Canadian passport pictures. Two years of travel have filled all the visa pages so I have to renew my passport. I get photos taken at the only place I can find to do it - 10 miles away. It takes 15 minutes to get there via freeway and surface streets. While the photos are developed, I head for lunch in the next city. 5 miles. 10 minutes. (I know. I know, my envious Indonesian friends!)
Our steep hill by day. Where are the people? The cars?
And the full moon shining down our driveway by night
Coleena lives on the coast, a few hours away. She lived in Seattle and was part of the Thursday morning friends group before I moved. She emails me that she's back in town: shall we meet?

Oh yes! I'm always happy to catch up. Especially, I love the way Coleena tackles the challenges and opportunities that come her way. Though she's not comfortable with change, she is very brave. She moves forward to see what God will do.

We meet at Overlake, where hundreds of kids and their chaperones are on retreat (Nitro). (Coleena and her husband are here with a bunch from their church, too.) The rooms crawl with families; children bounce on the air toys outside and run the halls together.

It's back to Bellevue to pick up the pictures and send off the passport renewal. I always have a sick feeling in my stomach when I let go of my documents. There's no help for it. I'm going nowhere until the new one is in my hands.

I'm slightly ambivalent about my choice of where to go to church. Somehow it doesn't fit the day. Shall I walk - but the weather says rain - so I decide to drive ...

Except that a friend calls and says, "Come to Shoreline." W and I were going to visit anyway and that clicks into place. I pass the door of the Indonesian congregation in the same building.

"Selamat pagi," I say to the young man. He looks startled. "I live in Indonesia." And he nods.

I enjoy the music. And I get a warm welcome. The program contains detailed notes for the sermon. We are out by noon.
Pastor Bob Stone 
I get to visit with Waldemar's former boss - Dan and Sharon keep in touch and are near the top of our list for this trip back (and I'll see them twice!) They're people who show up to help others. It's fun to hear about a recent road trip and their adventures as retirees.

By the time I get home, our three sons are working away at the network. They go up and down the stairs: the main equipment is in our closet in the basement but wires run through all the walls. W and I pulled those wires in 1994 while the house was being built. These guys are all techies: they pop the speed of our internet to "incredible" ... especially compared to our creepingly crawlingly slow access in Indonesia.
Band of brothers - hard at work, or is it play?
I've been waiting to catch up with Diane since I got here.Finally, we connect in Everett. Starbucks, of course! She planted a church north of Seattle six years ago and has good advice.

The day wraps up with a trip to the "Sunday restaurant" Voula's - oh yum! Jonathan and I meet for supper and a chat. How I miss these times with our kids. 

I take a long walk around the neighborhood in the sunshine. Yup, the sun has come from behind the clouds and beams on the city. Glad I didn't miss that.

The kids come down for orange juice. They share the stepstool by the back door and make the lower shelf of the counter their little table.

Then they're off to find their "toys in socks." I've wrapped a doll and a stuffed mouse in new Daiso socks (which I'll wear on the plane home). The kids search for them each time we visit.
Where will she show up next?
I take a break from editing a doctoral proposal. I'm moving bookshelves to make way for the coming piano when I find a charcoal self-portrait behind my office door. The quick 14"X20" sketch was a class assignment. I remember how weird it felt to look my own eyes in the mirror and figure out the shape of my nose.

And how I hated the scrape and scratch of charcoal on newsprint! I disliked the dust from rubbing and shading, too. But 8 years later, I am glad I didn't throw it out. I check my art drawers: I gave away most of my supplies when we left Seattle. Aha! there's still a box of charcoal and the sketch pads are with the artwork. Maybe just maybe I'll try to sketch again some day ...

Read more:
*Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. Proverbs 14:22 NIV

*The word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

 "Alas, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am too young."

But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am too young.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:4-8 NIV

*For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:9-10 ESV

*There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do 
with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 NIV

God, your ways are perfect. You plan our days and we are safest and happiest when we align with your plans.

Please give us the wisdom to hear you clearly. And help us to obey you with all our hearts today and in the future. Amen.

C. S. Lewis on the ordinariness of life in Christ:
Before I became a Christian I do not think I fully realized that one’s life, after conversion, would inevitably consist in doing most of the same things one had been doing before, one hopes, in a new spirit, but still the same things.

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