Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My African Brothers

My husband invited his group project buddies over to the house tonight. It was a last-minute thing....everyone else had kids or lived out of the city. I thought, "Whew! Good think I cleaned yesterday!" And then I thought, "Will they be hungry? Should I get snacks?" And then I was annoyed, thinking about another trip to the grocery store on a weeknight. Where's my free time!?! So, I decided not to go to the grocery store. I decided that the boys would do just fine with chips and salsa and triskets and cheese that we already have here at the house. We can serve them water and tea if they want. Hmph.

I forgot to mention that this is a missions class group project and that there are two African men joining their group. They've been in America for two months. Ernest and Daniel introduced themselves and smiled sweetly. I went into the kitchen to wash dishes while the boys talked, and overheard stories of refugee camps and being fired from work for not speaking English.

Kev came into the kitchen and said, "Daniel just told me he hasn't eaten in two days." WHAT? Oh, no he didn't go hungry in MY living room! I brought out peaches and apples and carrots and hoped that my attempt to fill their bellies wasn't misinterpreted as being lavish. I was giving away everything in my kitchen. And, it felt real good. All of those things in the Bible about the poor inheriting a kingdom, and the meek inheriting the earth, dude I believe it. I can see how that works. Not that I'm poor or meek, but the idea that you gain when you give away is the truest seemingly contradiction that I know.

I think I'm having a break-through here. If only I can remember how good it feels to serve, to give. Maybe I'll stop loving the money that we earn. Maybe I'll not think twice when Kevin wants to give $1000 for some lady who needs diapers. Maybe I'll start using what God has given me to be a blessing to people. That's a thought.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Domestic Diva

I've decided to start cleaning my house. The dustbunnies and spiders are taking over, and I will not have it anymore thankyouverymuch. www.flylady.com has aided me in creating a schedule in which I clean a little bit every day. Such a wonderful concept. My previous method was to clean only (and I really do mean only) when we were to have house guests. This meant 1.) we could never have any unannounced guests for fear of my eyes becoming lasers and catching fire to everything in sight, and 2.) we lived in filth. Our new system is good for these things then, because being in the ministry doesn't really leave a lot of room for privacy, and it's inevitable that we have people over often. And now the spiders know who's boss. (Get 'em, Kevin.)

Tonight was "Sweep the kitchen and bathroom and if you feel like it, tackle the windows and mirrors night." I was feeling extra rambunctious and actually cleaned off the bathroom counter as well. I had almost forgotten that our sink drain stopper bears the name "Delta".

So, if you're in the neighborhood, no need to call first. Go ahead and stop by. I might even have a glass of iced tea waiting for you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Don't 'Cha Think?

I forgot to tell you guys how ironic my Father's Day gifting was. It went a little something like this: We gave a book to my grandpa, who's currently having trouble with his eyesight and can't read comfortably; We gave my brother-in-law a nice red mug, and after the fact remembered that he's colorblind and can't see the color red; We gave my dad a coffee mug with a pirate on the front that says, "Loot the Booty".....not only did he not get the innuendo, he also doesn't drink coffee anymore.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

To Be Continued.......

"Mooooooooom. I'm borrrrrrrrrrrrrrred!"

Emmajane stomped into the kitchen where her mother was reading the Travel & Leisure section and painting her toenails in Pumpkin.

She gave her mother the most dreadful look she could muster, the one she'd seen so many times in that commercial about the cough syrup with the little boy in blue pajamas.

She waited, frozen, with that dreadful cough syrup look on her face.


"Yes, yes, Emma. Did you know that Mommy and Daddy can get a flight to Tuscany for under $400? I wonder if that's the first class rate....."

Emmajane squinted her eyes, balled her fists, and took a deep breath. It was time for Plan B.


"Fried pickles and jam, Emmajane! Look what you made me do! My toes are a mess and I spilled coffee all over my paper! What is it?"

"I SAID, " Emmajane started loudly, but grew softer as she noticed the pulsing vein in her mother's neck and the beet color that now shaded her face. "I'm bored."

"You're bored. With all of your toys and games and puzzles. You're bored."

"I've played with those already," she said, beginning to tear up.

"Well then, why don't you go outside and play? Go see if Ruston and Brady want to play."

Ruston and Brady were the neighbor boys down the street. They played tag together and Super Mario Brothers, and even dress-up, although she wasn't supposed to tell anyone about that. Ruston made her swear with her spit and blood. It hadn't really hurt when he pricked her finger with the safety pin. But he'd kept the EZ-Mart napkin she'd bled on and swore that he'd tell what they'd done if she spoke a word of the pink heels and eyeshadow. She wasn't sure how her mother felt about making swears with your own blood, and she decided she didn't want to find out anytime soon.

"Fine. I'll go."

"I'll call you for dinner."

Emmajane pouted as she slipped on her pink jellies and slammed the front door.

"Emmajane!" Her mother shouted as Emmajane ran down the gravel driveway. "Don't you slam this door again, or I'll whoop you!"

Emmajane ran until her mother was out of sight and then stopped to survey the neighborhood. She didn't want to play with Ruston and Brady today. They had hurt her feelings yesterday by playing with their wrestling man pillows while making her be the scorekeeper.

"I wanna be Hulk Grogan next!"

"It's Hulk Hogan, stupid!" Ruston laughed.

"Yeah, girls don't know anything about wrestling. Why don't you go play with your Barbies!" Brady had teased.

Well, Emmajane would just play in the woods by herself today. She didn't need those boys telling her what to do.

She scanned the houses on the street. Things looked pretty quiet. Mr. Taber was out trimming his hedges with his new electric trimmer that was the envy of the neighborhood. She heard her father talking about it last night at dinner.

"Thing'll cut twigs and branches in half the time!"

"Honestly, Bill. What's it, like, $24.95 at Sears? No, sir. That'll buy us new hats for our trip next month. You've got to protect your skin, Bill. You know what the doctor said about those spots on your face."

"Well, I'd be out in the sun a lot less, Francine, if you didn't insist on me hand chopping every single bushy twig in our yard!"

You know. Father had a point. Mr. Taber was already done trimming and was now enjoying a glass of pink lemonade on the porch. He waved.

"Hello, Emmajane!"

"Hi, Mr. Taber." I said as I walked quickly past his yard, careful to keep my voice low in case the boys were anywhere lurking.

The woods were ahead of me now, on my left. If those boys were anywhere, they'd be in Brady's fort, just before the woods. I stopped and listened. There was a lawnmower in the distance.....a cow....but no boys. I sprinted the rest of the way.

The smell of honeysuckle and pine needles greeted me at the edge of the woods.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Good day, friends. My husband is in search of black ink tonight for our printer. We've been out of black ink for a good month now, and have been printing everything in blue. Which has been fine for recipes and sermon outlines, but just won't do for an actual assignment that needs to be turned in. No siree.

And here I sit, homework done. Dishes and laundry done. What in the world should I do? I have been in the deep, dark, dank, depths of school for so long that evening homework has literally been my life. It sounds pretty dull, but it's what I've known. And now, there is no homework. My time as a student is quickly drawing nigh, and, honestly, it's a little scary. I don't quite know what to do with myself.

I know what I will NOT be doing, however:

I will not be reading any more really boring books.

I will not write any more papers on topics I know nothing about.

I will not fall asleep in class.

I will not get to study with really great Bible teachers in class anymore (that's sad).

I will not be taking the TBTK (Test of Biblical and Theological Knowledge) ever again. Shiver.

I will not have to go to Chapel (although I will because it's great....Bring it, Chucky).

I will not make any more book charts (maybe).

I will not.....oh who am I kidding. There are actually quite a lot of classes I'll go back and take....because I just can't help myself. This stuff is fun to study, ya'll! Here are just a few I didn't get to take, but really want to:

History of Doctrine

The Theology of the Early Church

Seminar in the History and Theology of the Middle Ages

Creative Writing in Ministry

Pastoral Counseling

Premarital Counseling

Missions Stragegies for Unreached Peoples

Spiritual Warfare

General Linguistics

Okay. It's official. I'm a nerd.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Maybe I Need Some New Glasses

Today, someone knocked on the door while I was reading. Thinking it was our duplex neighbors, I jumped up, excited and ran over to the door. While I was unlocking the deadlock, I noticed that Mike looked a little funny......and then realized that wasn't Mike at all. It was some strange man....with a backpack....and old shoes.

Don't open the door! Don't open the door! Don't open the door, my little heart pounded. Wait a minute! Kevin! Yes! Of Course! He can answer the door! (after all, that's what big, manly husbands are for, right? to answer the door when there are strange men standing outside.)

"Kevin!" I yelled. "Hurry, honey!"

He jumped up from his nap and said, "Do I need my glasses?"

"Yessss," I hissed. "There's someone at the door."

I feared for his life as he walked out that door. What if that man pulls a gun out of his backpack and shoots him dead right there on the porch in the middle of the day? Will anyone see? You hear about these things on the news everyday.

I called our duplex neighbor at that point. "Mike! Do you see that guy talking with Kevin? I don't know who he is, but keep your eyes peeled!"

And then I proceeded to stand against the wall so that I could hear their conversation.

"...Pennsylvania....$64.25.......commission.....they don't like for us to, but I could give it to you for $24.95......"

Whew. This scary looking-man was only trying to sell Kevin something. He wasn't here to attack us. He wasn't here to ask for money.....in the conventional way anyway.

I moved to the couch. Maybe I should get them both some water.....Nah.

Kev eventually came back in and told me that the guy's name is Paul and that he travels the country selling heavy-duty (and expensive) industrial cleaner. Paul is from New York and is only 21. His parents got into some trouble and he decided to leave. This is what he does now.

Kev is so kind. He has such a heart for the marginalized, the poor, the homeless. He is my hero.

I was immediatly sorry for Paul and sorry that I had been so freaked out. What is it that I do again? I'm in seminary? Studying Missions??? Wow. You couldn't tell it from today. What if I were overseas and someone even "stranger" came to the door. What's Jenny-the-missionary going to do? Have an anxiety attack? Whack him in the head with the rolling-pin?

I decided this afternoon that I need to start trusting God more and stop being so afraid all of the time. We live in a big city, and there are awful things going on all of the time. But, if I believe that God is in control of my life, that He has purposes and plans for me, I need to be a little more bold. I need to love people, to reach out to them, to care for them, and not worry about their motives. I am a giant scardy-cat.

Well, you guys heard it first here today.....I'm going to start trusting God to take care of me and be a little bolder. I'm not going to do stupid things....but when I feel God bringing people into my path, I'm going to care for them in the best way that I can.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Oh, That Sweet, Sweet Chalk

When I was in elementary school, I was a bit of a miss goody-two-shoes. I was really smart and good and a little on the self-righteous side. When teachers left the room, they ALWAYS asked me to take names on the board....which I loved because chalk + blackboard=supremacy. If students whispered, giggled, farted in their chair, their name went on the board. And I wasn't afraid of the checks after the name, either. Sometimes the teacher would come back into the classroom to find everyone's name on the board with multiple checks. Needless to say, the students didn't LOVE me.