Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Woohoo for movie night!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Menu on the fridge - their work and mine ... and a new word below
We go shopping. It's not my favorite thing @ 7-10:30am. We drive across the city to the food wholesaler, making a call to a friend on the way. 
Just a little dream of how nice it would be to have big serving dishes
We come home with a car full of groceries for movie night tomorrow. There's an afternoon of prep, peeling potatoes, washing vegetables, and ... well, it is busy.
Enjoying a little break in my office -
the perfect tea mug from Jojo and Kristi. Thanks, guys!
We look forward to this gathering all month, our monthly movie night. W and I walk the neighborhood at 6. Before 8, I start cooking and am mostly done by 11:30. I'm getting more efficient. The menu is ambitious today - but there's time for an afternoon nap.
Two ...
Three: the turkey roaster is full of 60 curried sausage
 The helpers come at 3pm to make nasi (cooked rice) and wash dishes (the few I don't wash as I go). Later, they'll fill up the serving dishes until everyone has eaten, and clean up as people set down their plates.

Our friends start arriving at 5:30 for the 6:30 dinner. Paper plates, cutlery, sauces, serving dishes, and extra serving table are set up in the kitchen. W has put the cart with infused mint-lime water on the porch. We buzz around saying hello. Today, I made labels for each dish - wow, they'll know what they're eating? (Usually, they're brave and try foods, or they ask.)

Beautiful birthday girl and her brother on the right
It's been a cool day with heavy rainfall about 5:00. The rain stops in time - though we lose about 15 people on the list, and the room and porch heat up with arriving bodies. The noise level rises, too - everyone's having fun, reconnecting or introducing new people to their friends.

Claudia has made potato salad, Maddie's mom has brought a cake for dessert to celebrate her 17th birthday. Bella is turning 24. The gals have people from 19 countries celebrating with them! Cool.

Dinner is a hit and then we start October Sky, a film about persisting with a dream and following your destiny. Conversation during intermission and afterwards is lively and warm.

The last few leave before 11:30 and we take one more phone call before falling asleep about midnight.

The last group to leave poses for a picture - still smiling
Contrasting lifestyles - above and below
Around 7, I walk a mile to join a friend at Starbucks. Except that the new Starbucks (or any other coffee shop) doesn't open until 8. So I walk on, meeting her partway to her hotel. We decide on tea, coffee, and conversation in her room.

The view is stunning - a luxury complex overlooking the poorer neighbors below. It's a typical modern city setting. Heartwrenching.

My friend is traveling back to the States in less than a week. I get a funny pang near my heart, walking up the hill to home and thinking about that. We are far from our families today. But the memories of yesterday's "new family" make me smile, too.

Read more:
*Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord. Isaiah 50:10

*The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11
*Bring the homeless poor into your house. Isaiah 58:7
*He rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son. Colossians 1:13
*We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Moravian Prayer: God of surprises, do not allow the darkness to be the last word. Trusting in your goodness, we gather our voices to raise a joyful song! Christ is alive! Alleluia!
Divine Architect of justice, give us courage to clothe our prayers in action. You call us to love as we are loved; daring to act with courage. United in Christ, we follow your way, serving the least of these. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Everything happens around food

I have to get back into the mood of picture-taking. In the States, not many of us take photos of daily life and I've gotten out of the habit. Here's what we have ...

Always the same crowded streets (2 lane road)
Sunday, April 7, 2018
We take a Grab car to town to the Indonesian church. Our friend's sitting in the front, so we join her. Not my usual seat: I prefer the back unless I'm participating. It's refreshing - and I'm amazed at how much we now understand.

Then we head to lunch with Bob and Riga - love those friends. It's good to be in town together and listen for God among us.

What a warm welcome back into our study group. "Listen to everyone talking and laughing," smiles a participant. "Our energy is high this morning."

They've done just fine without us. Part of developing leaders is letting them lead - and our study groups have many leaders emerging among them. They eagerly accept the challenge of leading again next week. We learn about so much various cultures, God at work, and our responsiveness from the individual takeaways and prayers at the end.

Our rescheduled team meeting lasts through lunch at the house. What a blessing to have good friends and colleagues. They share what they've been doing, ongoing processes, and a few wins. Then W and I pack suitcases for another trip, diving into bed for an early sleep.
The seasons don't change, so the cushion covers do

Wed - Friday
Up at 4, we're off to Jakarta, arriving by train in the early morning. The conference starts in the afternoon - and by Friday lunch we have met people from all over Asia. We learn a lot. My heart is open to how God will work because of what we've heard.

Hela and Gerhard have invited us over for barbecue. They're about a mile up the hill, a nice walk, especially in Saturday traffic. We pass the macet (stopped cars) both on the way up and back.

Seven dogs and a cat, plus a few birds and fish make their presence known as we walk through the gate. Gerhard is an inventor with many interesting things in his self-built home, including fish ponds that border on the jungle. His 3-part barbecue features a hot-fire compartment, and intermediate bbq and finally, a smoker chimney. He's prepared chicken and other meats, while Hela's made German potato salad, cucumber salad, snacks, and ... well, needless to say, we are bursting by the time we finish supper.

It's so good to be in church again. I enjoy being service leader: it's a comfortable spot for me, mic in hand, inviting people into the community of faith. Della offers us an interactive worship: after singing a song together (first one about God's goodness, the second about God's love, the third about God's care for us), we turn to 3-4 others. We share our observations for the first two: how has God been good to us in the past week? And, how have we experienced or shared his love? After singing about God's care, we pray in our small group, asking God for the things we need in the coming week. As usual, some are distracted and chat or just say hi. But those who respond, know the real Presence among us in preparation for the lecture.

The speaker, Pak Chandra, talks about the transformation of the heart, beyond a world of good ideas and good works. He says, "If all you need is good advice, you don't need the Bible. You can go to Buddha, Confucius, Plato, Socrates (any of the great thinkers). But they won't teach about Who transforms us and how He does it. That comes through union with Jesus, unity with Him, and by fellowship with God through Jesus." (my paraphrased quote) For that, say Pak Chandra, we need to read, understand, and obey scripture.

The lunch group is a first: everyone at the table (all 9 of us) pays attention to whatever one person is saying. It's usual to have multiple conversations around a table, but this is more focused - and fascinating to me. I have to leave for a second meeting before they disperse.

Rabbit Town dessert
Nearby Rabbit Town opened before their parking lot was completed. Flocks of cars sit through the entire neighborhood. The traffic jams of last night and today are a result: a complete standstill on the streets and blocked thoroughfares up and down the hill. Five new highrises on the hill were built without any traffic mitigation in the past 2 years = so the 2-laned road still has ditches and random curbs or plants on the sides. Now there are at least seven new eateries in our neighborhood. Maybe that's good for neighbors who can walk here or there, but it sure makes for nasty traffic.

There are four flower boards of welcome outside the gates of the rabbit place. Typically, a new shop or venture might have dozens or more. "Either they are not well-supported by the city or it is a pre-launch," someone remarks. It's a selfie opportunity and a petting zoo, from what we can tell. We haven't paid the Rp25.000 entry fee ($1.75).

Inside the gates, several top restaurants and a coffee shop cluster around a courtyard with multiple seating areas. My friend Tuesday and I have a very good server. I invite her to movie night - and then another server comes over.

"Do you remember me?" she asks?

Her face is familiar from another neighborhood restaurant. She gives us a warm welcome and says she likes working here.

It's nice to get home at 4. I left at 8:30 this morning, so I'm ready for a relaxing evening. "Ping" comes a notification but I ignore my computer. We'll get to work tomorrow. Today is set aside as a day of "rest." Sort of.
We put our feet up together

We were asleep before 10pm last night, so waking at 4:30 feels like I've had a long night's sleep - it will be a few more weeks before our bodies are completely acclimated to the time zone.

At 6am, the weather is cold (brrrrr @67oF; 19oC) when we walk the neighborhood. I'm glad for a fleecy top but shiver until the blood gets flowing. The dog is happy to be out and about. And I'm back in time for my first meeting at 7am - luckily it's online.

At 8:30, people start arriving for the study. We're a group of about 20 this morning. Simon leads and Tuesday presents a project for us during May and June. With so many friendships being formed in the group, we want to be generous together in giving back to the community. Ibu Apong has baked up a storm since we got back: there are 5 containers of cookies in the freezer, which everyone enjoys. (Put them on a plate, and they're thawed and ready to eat in 5 minutes.

The team meets for catch-up and lunch. Today we are feasting on green papaya soup, sausage, and rice. The salad man rings at the gate with the weekly organic/hydroponic greens. I let him choose what to bring, "Whatever you have lots of, as long as there's kale," I say. (5-6 heads of salads cost about $3.75, delivered via motorcycle.)

In the hour between meetings, my dear husband heads to the store for supplies with a snapshot of the grocery list: tomorrow, I'll be prepping for the dinner-and-a-movie night coming Wednesday. 70 people sign up within a half hour and another 25 put their names on the waiting list before evening.

At 2, we have another meeting at the house, about a hopeful future and good work ... over tea and cookies, of course. At 5, we're on the porch, enjoying raclette. It's a Christmas tradition with Terry and Sandy ... except that none of us has had time until now. (Wait, is it April already? Merry Christmas.) The soft wind blows against the windchimes and the lights on the teras shine on the faces of our friends and colleagues.

We're out of the house about 7. We're heading across town to the LotteMart wholesaler to save a few dollars on food and supplies. Traffic is moving (hurrah) so we're at the house to unpack the back of the car by 10:30.

The helper starts putting things away, peeling potatoes, and washing the vegetables. The meat starts to thaw in the sink ... and prep has begun. Looking forward to supper with a houseful tomorrow.

Read more:
*Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my soul is struck with terror. Psalm 6:2-3
*Behold, here I am, let the Lord do to me as seems good to Him. 2 Samuel 15:26
*Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15
*The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26
*See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. 1 John 3:1
Moravian Prayer: Gracious Savior, we are willing to serve you as you choose. You know that we love you. Grant us the courage to overcome our self-doubt, knowing you are always by our side. We’re ready, Lord!
Spirit of God, when our words seem inadequate to offer in prayer, our hearts rest in peace knowing that you intercede on our behalf. Praise be to you, Father! Thank you, Son of God. Amen.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Warm welcomes back to the city

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Dr H and Alice host tonight's study with a dinner at their house. There are two birthdays to be celebrated, as well as a welcome back for us. We are looking for a new place for the Thursday study, since two previous places closed. A restaurant would be ideal where everyone can come and go; the bonus is that some will stay to eat, beyond tea and snacks. But a community room would be good, too. Ideas, anyone?
Friends new and old enjoy time together
Alice's cooking is both pretty and delicious. And of course, because of the birthdays, we have noodles. I wouldn't mind having a birthday more often: I love noodles!
Starfruit is delicious and cools the spices on the tongue.
W is fading from jetlag because we arrived at 4 this morning. I slept for 6 hours this morning, but he only for 2 or 3. (I cann't sleep on the plane like he does.) So I take him home at 9pm. The balmy air and narrow lane, lit by house lamps on one side, make us feel at home. It's so good to be back.

Dr W and we are back in town at the same time. Unbelievable. (We all teach abroad.) So she comes for tea and cookies on the porch at 10. She spoils us with freshly-made banana fritters, too. I miss her neighborly friendship when she travels.

The Bandung Book Club has a lunch date at Maxis. Such a great group of women. There's no book on the table today because we are celebrating two March birthdays.

As usual, the birthday gals are international: Indian Manju and Can/US Rosemarie, along with our friends from Europe, North America, Australia, and Thailand.

The group buys our birthday lunches as well as a delicious cake. Those are cheese-flavored cookies on the outside. Um, we're older than 21, right? But the sparkly candles add a cheeky touch for sure.

I make oatmeal for breakfast. That should keep us sated until lunch. It's not the most exciting meal and the chopped dried cherries (Trader Joe) are wasted by cooking. They're much better munched as a snack!
So glad to be walking down our street again
We believe a rest day each week is God's gift. We're not always consistent but today rest and relaxation look like a 4-mile walk down the hill to town. It takes about an hour (as fast as driving on the weekend) and helps reset us from jetlag. W checks exchange rates for currency, thinking ahead to an upcoming trip. He needs an electrical adapter. No luck there.

I'm just along for the walk. The Bandung mayor has replaced potholed walkways of varied pavements and heights with smoothly-paved sidewalks. Unbelievable difference! Now you don't have to carefully place every step, though I do tip an ankle to the side, negotiating around a cutout for plants. Here, wherever a tree grows, everything goes around it - roads, people, cars, bikes ... so as not to disturb a spirit possibly living in the tree.

Himalayan treck with Salamon Mocs
My old grey Salomon Snow Mocs are fantastic - I hiked to the Tigers Nest Monastery in Bhutan in December and have walked the world in them over the past 8 years. The treads are worn down but the roomy toe box makes them feel like slippers. If I could find another pair or two (size 7 or 7.5/37 or 38), I'd get them in a heartbeat. (I gave my second pair away when we downsized in Seattle. What was I thinking?!)

Some little boys shout at us Bule, Bule! and laugh and run around us (= Western foreigner). Not the most polite, but hilarious enthusiasm. We get the chance to greet a lot of people, who ask how long we've lived here. We can understand so much more culture and language - that comprehension takes time, which can't happen on a short volunteer trip with a group.

One of our stops is La Belle, a Dutch-style bakery with a long history in Bandung. Our first month here (2015), we were caught in a fierce rainstorm across the street from La Belle. Soaked, we sought shelter - and tried their risole with a green hot chili in the middle. The mashed potato inside, crumbs on the outside, and hot spice are a perfect combination.

Who's that? Our dear friend Dr Gati is also at the counter. She insists on treating us with croquettes and risoles for "welcome home." We've missed the flavors of Indonesia! So yummy - but seeing her is the best present.

We catch an angkot (tiny public bus) back up; looks like rain. On board, we meet four civil engineering students. They're coming up from the city with hands full of gifts for friends who are graduating from the university today. We invite them to join a movie night before they graduate in July.

And sure enough, just before we hop out to walk 1.5 miles up the hill to home, it starts to pour. We change plans and scramble out to transfer busses. Or should we take a Grab? The driver cancels. Standing under an overhang, our shoes and trousers are getting wet from splash-up.

We finally hop another angkot to find a better shelter to wait for a ride. If we continue up the hill with the angkot, we'll still have a 1 km walk across the hill to the house. Maybe not the best plan.

Quickly, W downloads a taxi app - thanks, Blue Bird! The driver is friendly and courteous. He takes us right to the gate and even opens my door for me. We run to unlock - slip into the house for hot showers. (W powers up the pumps; we often don't have enough pressure for hot water, but today we're in luck.)

A few minutes later, the sun comes out, the porch and yard dry up, and ... wow. Welcome home indeed. I look out at the border, which is thriving. Indonesians have lots of potted plants - the visual clutter of plastic pots is ignored and the leaves and flowers enjoyed. (It takes some getting used to - just like ignoring the electrical extension cords that string from lamps and appliances to a single outlet in a room.) We ended up with about 50 pots on our porch from friends and by dividing plants, but needed more room for company.

What to do? A few months ago, the weekly gardener reluctantly and with some protest hacked back the green a few feet from the house and transplanted the plants into the ground. The plants have flourished and the flowers self-seeded into pink abundance.

"Ibu, indah!" he says to me. ("Looks beautiful." He's proud of his work. I think, just wait a few months until it's really established.)

"Put a stick into the ground and it will grow," say Indonesians. It's almost true.

Read more:
*So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

*Silver and gold cannot save on the day of the wrath of the Lord. Ezekiel 7:19
*Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Matthew 25:45
*Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12:22-26
*[Jesus told his followers,] Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. John 14:27
*For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Moravian Prayer: Architect of generosity, show us (and show us again!) how we will find fullness of life through the sharing of our bounty! Give us courage to follow the example of the ‘least of these,’ whose cup never runs dry. Amen.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sweet to be home!

My first look outside in the morning makes me happy.
The trip home takes 36 hours, door to door. I slept maybe 3 of those, between layovers in San Francisco and Narita (Tokyo). We get to our house in Bandung at 4am, unpack, and zip up the empty suitcases, storing them away for next time. Then we make up the bed with fresh linens.

I pull a sleep mask over my eyes and fall into a comatose sleep at 5:30, from which W wakes me at noon.

"Time for lunch." What? I missed all the morning prayers and the neighborhood waking?

Ah, it feels so good to have the warm tropical air on my skin, hear the cicadas rasping outside, along with the rustle of potted plants on the teras. The bamboo wind chimes click the approach of a thunderstorm. Home sweet home.
The amarylis border continues to flower
Monday, April 2, 2018
It's our last day in Seattle. We wash the beds, cram the last few items into our suitcases, and weigh the trouble we're in. Every piece of luggage is at capacity. How does that happen?

We're bringing along a suitcase for a friend plus four of our own. We've packed a few foods we won't get for a year (Costco brownie mix or a Trader Joe bag of olives, anyone?), a few clothes, and all the paper plates we'll need for movie nights. Those will last at least half a year, I'm guessing. With 70-80 people showing up, we go through paper plates quickly. The quality (a Dollar Store score) is so much better and holds up to the heaps of food on them, but I hate the thought of all that garbage.

Kinsey (6) and Levi (4) come downstairs to our basement suite. Soon, Isaac (2), cheerful after a nap, joins them. They "help" and play until Levi exclaims, "Oma, I think I wanna go to the bathroom. I'm going to throw up."
Tucking himself into the pillows heaped on the floor as we wash bedding
Saying goodbye to these kids is the hard part
"Ok, you know where it is." He runs for the toilet, vomits right beside an open suitcase, and continues on to the porcelain throne.

"Good boy!" I tell him. (He missed the luggage.) I wipe it up, thankful for painted concrete floors that are clean in an instant. I pat his back as he empties his stomach.
Minutes before his stomach rebels
He says, "I think that's it," smiles at me, and toddles off upstairs to his mother. Oh, the joy of being a grandma. Up he goes.

Poor Levi is sick the rest of the day, sleeping with cherubic face in the dining nook. The others swirl around him to shout and play, but he's oblivious. He rests - and has passed it to his little brother by the next day.

Kinsey and Isaac continue playing. Melissa brings the baby down for a hello. My head is already moving to the next days' travel and I can feel that I'm not present anymore. = A constant challenge for a person who lives in the future like I do is to live in the day ...

Melissa cooks delicious prime rib and burgers - oh my!, with sweet potato fries, asparagus, and other parts of the feast. I don't know how she manages 4 kids, her home, and still cooks this well. It's wonderful to sit around the table together one more. We pray a farewell for protection and blessing on their home and ours before we head downstairs.

We're asleep just after 7pm, preparing for the 1am alarm in the morning.

Tuesday and Wednesday
We make the bed, wipe the floors clean, put the last washed dishes away, and close the suitcases. Merlin comes for us - heroically - at 2am. He drops us at SeaTac and cheerfully drives off, hoping to sleep a few hours before his breakfast meeting. That's a true friend.
The landscape we leave behind on the Pacific coast
Our first flight to San Francisco is only 2 hours but the layover is 5. I walk 4 miles through each wing. It's going to be a long day and I might as well get moving before we sit and sit.

The longest flight is to Tokyo - 11-ish hours. Enroute, we cross the dateline into Wednesday. In Tokyo, we relax with a 3-hr layover before one final flight of 7 hrs to Jakarta.

We drive to Bandung in the wee hours of no-traffic-wow-this-is-amazing and arrive at in our gate just after 4am. The driver hops out at the bottom of the hill; his motorcycle is being repaired so he walked to get the car. But we don't want him walking a mile down the hill from our place in the middle of the night.

The dog goes crazy with joy. Bark bark bark. All the neighbors will know we're back, if the security guard who lifts the bar to the neighborhood doesn't tell them in the morning.

As we unpack, it's still dark. The morning prayers start. Our hearts join the calls for peace and ask God's blessings upon this nation and its lovely peoples. We're home and asleep by 5:30am. W wakes about 8, but I'm out like a light - until he wakes me at noon.

Ah, nasi goreng (fried rice) and the broccoli we blanched and froze. Good to have some food stored in advance. The familiar tastes so good.
First meal home includes mangosteen (imagine cherriy, lychee, and grape flavors combined)
This afternoon, we have just a few things to put in their place and suddenly, we're settled back in. The month in Seattle always passes quickly and is both hard and joyful work. Upon return, we always are happy for the short itineration. We may not have time to relax when we're in Seattle. But we also don't have to store furniture, find a new place to rent, and we are up and running in Indonesia within a day. Jetlag is another matter ...

We can't wait for tonight's study - Dr. Hanna is hosting a supper and then we'll open the Book with friends again. We are eager to see everyone - and see what God has for us in this next year.

Read more:
*My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. Psalm 57:7-11 NIV (This is one of my favorite songs - click on the link above to listen. Thanks, Tillie.)

*You have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. Psalm 63:7

*Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:22

*(this prophecy about Jesus was recorded by the prophet Isaiah about 700 years before Jesus' death and resurrection)
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53

*Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4
*Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2
*The One who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them. 1 John 5:18
Moravian Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, during this season of resurrection, we lay aside the fear of death and embrace the freedom from the bondage of sin, a lesson beyond our ability to comprehend! Savior of the world, thanks be to you for your gift beyond measure!
God of infinite kindness, when we find ourselves unable to see in the darkness of trouble, teach us to turn to your life-giving light. There may we find clarity for the present and hope for the future. We offer you thanks and praise that you name us your children. Enfolded in your loving arms, you sustain us throughout our lives. Protected from evil, we sing with joy-filled hearts. Amen.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter! to all

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
I sleep in and am in still in bed when the grandkids wish me a Happy Birthday, before they head out the door. Sweet! I make a lunch of leftovers while W's working, driving into the city. A perfect start to the day.

In the evening, we head for Lake Forest Grill, a family favorite since it's not far away. It's fun to celebrate with some of our kids - and the grandkids, of course.

After a morning of meetings, I forget to take pictures of those who gather. Oh well - you're in my heart if not on my phone.

Lunchtime is a treat: Kirsten joins me for a few minutes at the new home of a WPPRs girlfriend. We four women reflect on God's goodness and pray over the house for the new season and the new inhabitants. What a wonderful time together.

In the late afternoon, we meet Jay and talk about the cool things God is doing in their circles. Dane makes me a good cup of tea and W a laté to accompany the conversation.

We talk about the loving interest of God in his creatures and his creation, here and there. It's encouraging to W to hear how former students are changing the world.

Our son and his wife, who have 4 youngsters, are celebrating their 10th anniversary soon. So it's Opa and Oma and the 3 kids (6, 4, 2) for a sleepover. There's time for princess clothing.
 Kinsey also has brought flowers from school. She arranges them in an ancient IKEA vase.

While I make supper, Opa takes the kids to the park ... and then we make a cave with blankets and the huge Coach table. 
Good Friday
The kids blow bubbles and run around on another walk with Opa while I clean up breakfast. We read the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. How can we understand such love and sacrifice?

I'll miss the long view up the driveway, the beginning of so many visits this month with our friends and partners.
After lunch, the kiddos go home (upstairs) as their parents arrive. The kids are yawning after so much exercise: perhaps we should have put them down for a nap! Instead, I fall fast asleep - but wake when my friend calls. It's a 10-minute drive to their neighborhood - and what a pleasure to visit.
Zahra and Sadri have been our friends since our youngest was born ... and he's 29. They're from Iran - Zari serves us Persian tea and shows me how she mixes the leaves. Sadri's provided blueberry scones, too. Yum. (Our Iranian son Hadi, meet your auntie and uncle!)

After running some errands, we stop at Dick's Burgers, a Seattle institution since the 60s. As always, there's a garbage can handy - and visible - near the takeout counters.

W wants to say goodbye to his Saturday coffee group, so we pull up to the Starbucks for 15 minutes before heading to breakfast at 8:15.
Their medical clinics and communities are bursting with new members in Kenya and Uganda - yet they're based in Kirkland, our old hometown. We're inspired when we hear of their opportunities to serve and connect.
Poached eggs on toast with sausages
 And what a breakfast! Ben and Lia have invited us to a new café (Little Brother) with marvelous, creative food: it tastes as good as it looks.

Then we're off to Canada. The border is 2 hours north. The farmlands glisten beside the mountains in the sunshine.

First, we have lunch with W's mom and sis in Langley.

W walks his mom home (2 blocks), soaking up the sun while I drive the car back to her apartment. She tells us the story of how she came to love Jesus and serve him. What a heritage.

Then it's another 3/4 hour to Chilliwack - snowcapped Mount Baker looks stunning in the distance as we crest a hill.

The local arena still has hockey tournament pictures above the entry. Yay, Canada, where the national sport is hockey. Note also the child crossing the crosswalk with a flag for visibility (a recent trend) and cars properly driving in their lanes. Sigh - we miss this orderly driving sometimes ...

As we near my parents' home, we stop to snap a picture of the view I grew up with: Mt Cheam loomed above us every morning as we walked to high school.

And the house is familiar: full of years of travels, family adventures, and collected treasures. My mother is a maximalist, and I love "coming home" to these familiar surroundings, even after 40 years of marriage.

Wedding pictures line the stairwell.
My brother and his family bring supper, Chinese food from Mom and Dad's favorite place.

Deeelicious - and what great company. We pose for some goofy pics after enjoying time together..

We go to church together after a nice breakfast at Mom and Dad's. It's wonderful to worship and say thank you to God for his unfathomable gift in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again. To have someone pay a debt to God, which we could never match, is not something I understand. But I am grateful beyond telling that the One who will judge us at the Last Day is the One and Only who could satisfy God's holiness.

Before we head back to Seattle, we eat brunch at Jimmy J's, putting much of our food (huge portions) into takeaway boxes. How could we ever finish so much food? But the company is precious.

We wave goodbye in the rain - it's hard to believe that I won't see my dear folks for another year.

And before we know it, we're back in Seattle. The drive is just over 2 hours. One more day ... the suitcases are almost packed.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend. We've said it many times with friends and family today:
"Christ is risen."
"He is risen indeed."

Read more:
The Lord waits to be gracious to you. Isaiah 30:18

*Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again. Luke 24:6-7
*For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. John 3:16
*For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38–39
Moravian Prayer: Dear God, we cannot imagine the loneliness the disciples felt the day after Good Friday. They had no idea resurrection was about to unfold. In sadness, they waited. Help us seek out and comfort those around us who long for Easter hope.

Gracious Savior, we remember on this most solemn day, the sacrifice you made for us at Calvary. Through your death, you opened wide the portal of God’s grace for the cosmos, and defeated death. Words are not enough to say, “Thank You!” Amen.