Monday, October 29, 2007

What will be here in the New Earth?

I was talking with a man who recently returned from working in central Asia for several months. He went to be of assistance to folks living there in whatever way he could. He ended up building roads for part of the time. It’s the kind of work he can sink his teeth into. What I mean is he can be asked, “Can you build a road between this village and that?” And he knows how to do it. He can just go, no handholding. He was willing but it wasn’t his intention to go there to build roads.

He made the comment that he reckoned that anything done to the glory of God would be there in the new earth. If he made a road to the glory of God it will be there when we get back here. The concept struck me. Certainly that would be true of caring for God’s earth! If we plant trees to the glory of God wouldn’t the new earth be more like a lush garden then a paved parking lot? Unless of course that parking lot was made to the glory of God. At least a city with a great park system and lots of green space would be a better picture of the new earth. That sounds so much more pleasant than the Nairobi I picture these days with the garbage heaps and puffs of diesel exhaust.

We’re here now. It’s my great desire to spend myself on behalf of God’s great Name for the sake of those who are “hungry and afflicted.” Isaiah 58 says that if we do that we will be like a well-watered garden. – to His glory.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Living Green has become Trendy

Political figures and Hollywood stars are speaking out for living green. It seems that you can hardly turn to the local newspaper without finding an article on how we can become more energy efficient and earth friendly. It almost feels like the 70’s all over again. I even heard today the some republicans are talking about what they can do! The great thing about all this hype is that it really is making it easier to be green. If you haven’t quite jumped on the bandwagon, here’s your personal invitation. And some easy tips:
  • Wash your clothes in cold water
  • Bring your own mug to the coffee shop

  • Install a low flow showerhead

  • Replace you household light bulbs with compact fluorescents

  • Install and use a programmable thermostat

  • Bring your own bags to the grocery store

  • Don’t let your car idle
  • When buying new appliances get the energy efficient kind

If you have more ideas, add to this list! Just click on the comments button.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Shopping with Christina

Have you ever met a 10 year old that you can totally picture as a 30 year old and yet is so delightfully 10? Meet Christina. I met her when she was 5. It’s hard to believe I’ve known her that long. She’s the kind of kid who answers the phone in her squeaky little voice, “Hello, this is Christina” with an inviting little crescendo at the end. If her tone were older you’d think you’d have just called your hair salon, a local clinic or some other professional business. But if you ask Christina a question or two you will start her in “chatty girlfriend” mode. I’ve seen her in action. And not just listening to her but seeing her go on about her day and what all happened while loading the dishwasher as if her were her mom’s age. A full-fledged multitasker at 10.

The other day I took Christina on a trip to the mall. She had one thing in mind. She wanted to get a make-up kit for “doing make-overs” when her friends come over. She’s not allowed to wear make-up outside the house until she’s 16 she told me. Of course Christina wanted as much bang for her buck as possible. Her hope was to find an all-in-one kit for around $15. We checked at least three stores for what she was looking for in addition to a few stops for me. My bargain hunter wasn’t convinced it was a great find to have a set with 33 eye shadows, two lip sticks and 4 more lip glosses, plus a couple of blush colors and all the applicators for $12 bucks until she’d seen the other options.

Christina entertained herself while I tried on clothes in another store. I listened to her take three sales calls on her imaginary cell phone and handle them all very pleasantly but firmly. The most impressive thing about Christina is her polite manner. She said please and thank you and every turn and was thoughtful enough of others to bring home a sticker for her little sister.

She’s quite grown-up but she still likes to hold your hand while crossing the parking lot. She is still 10 after all. But her engaging conversation style might make you think otherwise. I’m sure I’ll blink one day and she will be 30.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Packing Puzzle

It's been a little while since I blogger. It's not that I haven't thought about it. Last week was a very busy week and this week I'm packing. I have folks taking some extra pieces for me. They leave on Friday, so I'm sorting the big pile of stuff I want to take to Kenya and making the bits and pieces fit into the various duffel bags and foot lockers I have acquired.

It's like a giant puzzle. I'm not one to sit down and work a regular jigsaw puzzle, but I can generally do fairly well at guessing space capacities. For example, I can usually choose the right size Tupperware container for the amount of leftovers.

Packing various size pieces of luggage with various items all ending up at just about 50 pounds each without going over is a little more of a challenge than putting away leftovers. Add to that securing each piece once it's packed. I mean those little tiny luggage locks are really just for zipper pulls. What's a gal to do?

The fact of the matter is I rather enjoy the challenge of getting the pieces to fit; getting round cookware into square footlockers and deciding how many tea towels will squish into the corners... I have nearly completed the task. And whatever doesn't fit I can take with me whenever I actually leave. My very packed attic will seem spacious once I'm done. I just hope the people taking the stuff don't scrutinize the odd list of items I'm sending. You can't get chips clips in Kenya, you know.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

7 nice things about today...

  • I got up really early (4:45) to go to the jazz station to answer phones for the membership drive and we met our goal for the morning drive (6-9).
  • I finished getting the curtains up in the missionary apartment.
  • I got a belated birthday card.
  • I got the official letter that my Private Mortgage Insurance is cancelled and I now own over 25% of my home.
  • It was sunny.
  • I got an uncashed check back from my ISP because I overpaid.
  • I’m going to bed “early” with a good book.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

still floating

Yesterday I 'moved'. I was staying with a girlfriend and now I'm staying with a family. There are a number of reasons for the shift (as they'd say in Kenya). This new place is a great fit for me. I am tucked away in the attic and back in the neighborhood where my house and small group bible study and general life is happening. Once here, I wanted to let someone who cares about me know that I had settled into a nice nook for the rest of my (hopefully short) time in the States. So I thought of calling Mom. It only took a couple of moments to remember that Mom's not around anymore and hasn't been for over two years. But it made me realize that a long for some more structured things to be in my life during this time of transition. Of course I miss my mom. She was always so nurturing and reassuring. So it's understandable that I would think of her and wish to call her.
I take it as a sign of still floating...

Monday, October 1, 2007

the meaning of Felicity

On the day before my birthday (9-23) friends Molly and Abraham Piper discovered their baby girl – due to be born on 9-25 – was no longer alive. She was perfectly formed, but once delivered it was found that the umbilical cord was wrapped too tightly around her neck. This was likely the cause of it.

There are all kinds of grief and I have wisely heard it said that you cannot compare one to another. Still losing a healthy baby at full term, in a place where medical care is no problem – is oh so intensely sad.

Molly and Abraham had chosen her name as soon as they knew it was a girl: Felicity. The irony of this struck me immediately; felicity means intense happiness. I have no doubt that Felicity herself is intensely happy right now in the presence of her Savior Jesus Christ. I know her parents rejoice in that truth, but at the very same time they and others have waited with anticipation for her joyful arrival. Many of us are sad along with her parents who are grieving all kinds of losses and enduring new sorrows every day. Surely this loss will occupy their thoughts and emotions for weeks and months to come.

Therein lies the paradox. It’s hard to explain (that’s why they call it a paradox) but somehow there is both an intense pain and intense joy in this loss. For we are so aware as we walk through life with Christ that he is in control of all things and all things are for our benefit and for his glory. The apostle Paul called our afflictions ‘light and momentary’. But we rejoice in what those afflictions achieve; an eternal weight of glory.

The week before all this sadness came I was thinking about how what we suffer (which is so minor compared to what Christ suffered on our behalf) to reach for our God-given goals. I feel this way as I wait for my departure from here to Kenya. But this light ‘suffering’ is my joy. And the burden of living cross-culturally will also be my joy because I delight to glorify God’s great name.

In human terms it’s hard to put the two ideas together. Maybe the meaning of Felicity; that she came and went so quickly and that she is so very sadly missed in a number of ways, is to help us understand intense happiness and intense sadness can be mixed together all at once for the glory of God.

Other thoughts about Felicity can be found at the following: