That face when…

You come home from church after dark, it’s cold, freezing, in fact, and you go into the laundry room bathroom (which nobody ever uses anymore because it’s so cold) and see something in the toilet and wonder angrily “Who didn’t flush?!?” and turn on the light and it’s a dead ground squirrel which probably tumbled directly in from the ceiling overhead where one of the ceiling tiles is messed up.

Not me, my husband.  Thankfully.  Well, I’m thankful ,anyway, because I’m shallow and squeamish and selfish like that.

 

 

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That ‘hate crime’ in Chicago…

The recent hate crime case in Chicago is falling apart faster and uglier than a square of one ply toilet paper.  Reports are now that Smollet himself hired to Nigerian brothers to buy the rope, red hats, and bleach and rough him up a bit.  At least one of them worked with him as an extra on set, and one of them is his former personal trainer, and the brothers seem to have been workout buddies with him at a local gym.  If true, he really put those two guys in a very vulnerable and difficult position and it looks like he’s ready to throw them under the bus.  I mean, they shouldn’t have taken the money, but it’s kind of a scummy thing to do- exploit two poor immigrants to commit a crime for you and then raise your hands in faux innocent horror when they get caught doing what you enticed them to do.

 

I’m not sure how successful this pretense at tossing them under the bus will work, though, when he said his attackers were white and unknown to him, and these are black guys he knows.

There’s a site that tries to keep track of these hate crime hoaxes– there’s nearly 350 of them logged so far.

Here’s another list- I’d forgotten already about the 150 bomb threats to Jewish centers that turned out to be the work of a left-winger.

 

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Good stuff

We now have transportation again!

Winter is almost over!

My husband has a part-time job mostly involving working from home or traveling that includes me (and the Cherub). He’s working with our sending organization on recruiting teachers for international Christian schools, so we still have fingers in missions and that feels right.

I finally got around to listening to one of Audible’s recent free offerings (and by ‘recent’ I mean I downloaded it last September)- Feeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington. Wow. I loved it. It’s a memoir about some of her childhood growing up in New York City in the seventies. She’s black, her father for a time had the job of janitor and caretaker for one of the city libraries and along with that job came an apartment upstairs from the library itself. She had free reign in the library after hours and much of her reading comes into the story she tells, which is really more about her family than the library. She deals deftly, beautifully, with all of it, good, bad, upsetting. There were lines that gave me goosebumps and parts that made me blink back tears. There’s a nice interview with her about her work here.

We’ve been in communication with the older of our godsons (The ‘Little Boys’ who are not so little anymore), and we are now working on getting him up here for spring break and summer vacation, and a visit down to see them sometime between the two. He asked to come for one of them, we invited him for both, and while I know he wants to see is friends up here, I’m also happy that he asked if he could come see us.

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Where are you?

A school-aged child from trauma who was temporarily living in my home once made a complete wreck of my stack of origami and Washi paper (some of which I was still hoarding from when we lived in Japan)- cutting up, ripping, and sometimes properly folding at least 100 pieces, many of them beautiful, gold trimmed, irreplaceable.

It was the end of a long day of frustrations with that child and mostly with the circumstances- and I hate to share the following part of the story because I am a jerk.  Although as a young foster mom reminded me today, we often do these things because they are the right and needful things to do, not because we instantly fall in love with little strangers.  No matter how cute they are, it is not always endearing to have even children you know and love and have raised pick their noses and wipe it on you, cough into your food, chew with their mouths open while trying to tell you a story that isn’t particularly interesting or well-told.  To be honest, children are often gross. They can be tiresome.  They can be annoying.  They can ask the same question far more times than you can even count and they will forget to wipe their feet and they will run their dirty hands along the wall as they go up and downstairs and they forget to flush and don’t wash their hands or don’t turn off the water when they do, and leave foul smears of you don’t wish to know what on the soap.  If they are not your own children or close friends, but are newly in your home, then you also have strange smells (as in unfamiliar, not necessarily weird), habits out of sync with your household, and you add to these things the symptoms of their trauma, their own shakiness and uncertainty.  Of course, they are only children and it’s not their fault and they are innocent and helpless and scared and have no control.  But you, the adult (I mean me)- are also only human.  Their trauma is not my fault, and sometimes I feel helpless and scared and have no control, or less than I would like to have because as you quickly learn with any child, you are not fully in control of anything anymore, except possibly, just barely, your own self.

On the day that this child waded into my origami supplies like a gremlin who had been fed after dark, I had also had several frustrating interactions with the adult who was the reason the child was with me and not at home, an adult I’d been trying unsuccessfully to help for the length of said child’s life.

I discovered the mess, the depredations, at bedtime. Child explained, “I am making presents for ….so they will be happy.” In the ellipses insert the name of the person who had caused pretty much all the trauma in that child’s life and was the reason child was in my home and not child’s own place, the person who had been calling me all day and saying things that made me want to pick the child and run far, far, away so no more damage could be inflicted, the person who had been making impossible demands and strange claims all day, all week, all the time I had known them.

 
Those words- this victimized child attempting to make their victimizer happy.  Are you touched? Grieved? Broken? Sad? Deeply moved?
Possibly I was, too, but because I am a jerk and Mad is my bodyguard for Sad, I came oh, so very, very shamefully and perilously close to just screaming, “STOP TRYING TO EARN THEIR LOVE THEY ARE EMPTY AND HAVE NOTHING FOR YOU IT WILL NEVER WORK GIVE UP THEY ARE NOT WORTH IT AT ALL.”

I did not say any of those things.  But I am telling you that torrent of words came very near to bursting out of my mouth.  Like, I am pretty sure I said, “When are you going to… ” and then stopped myself just barely before finishing with the all caps message above. 

I don’t know how I finished it.  It might have been ‘learn to stop making bigger messes than you can clean up?’  Or maybe “Ask me before you use up all my stuff?”  I hope it was just, “Never mind.  Let’s finish getting ready for bed.”

I don’t know.  This is what I do know.  We were doing what we were called to do when that child was in my house.  Not because we are superhuman amazing and wonderful people.  We are normal human beings and at least one of us is a jerk and both of us married idiots.  But there was a child who needed a place to stay and there we were and we did not have a solid reason to say no and we felt like we were supposed to do what we did as best we could.

Not too long ago a friend of mine was telling me about for a year her family had been picking up a lady who did not leave nearby to take her to church and then bring her home again.  I was so impressed.  How inconvenient that was- They couldn’t make plans for after or before church because then they didn’t have time to get her.  I was impressed and wondered aloud how they could do that.  My friend told me it wasn’t a choice, it was part of being a Christian and you were either in or you were out I’m paraphrasing badly- but I think really it came down to the same thing. She was doing what she was called to do.  She wonders, OTOH, how on earth we could go to the Philippines for two years and consider going back.  I can’t see myself going half an hour out of my way to pick somebody up for church week after week after week after week after week.   But when it comes to the Philippines, I wonder how could we not?
A couple of my now adult kids are involved in a mentoring program for adult males who are in a drug rehab program.  This involves going out of their way to pick the guys up on Sunday and bring them to church and then home for the afternoon and then back to their rehab facility, week after week.  I am amazed and astonished and wonder how they do this.  They are doing what they are called to do here and now and where they are- not because it’s easy and they don’t ever wish to do something else, but because that’s the field in front of them at the moment.
A week ago I was in a Missionary clothing closet in another city several hours away. It was purely by ‘accident.’ I was in the building for something else and didn’t know the missionary closet was also there.  As it happened I had an event to attend and the clothes I planned to wear were *not* working.  I packed them without checking, I hadn’t worn them much since returning to the U.S. but had pulled them out of winter storage. I had been asked not to wear dark or dreary colours, so I had a blue skirt.  That skirt did not fit at all when I got to town where my event was.  Like- at all.  It wasn’t loose.  It simply fell off no matter what.  So I grabbed another skirt I had brought to wear to travel in.  It was gray.   There was a hole, a coffee stain, and the skirt also didn’t fit anymore because of the weight I lost when I was sick- although it did mostly stay on, but would slyly slip down by increments so I had to keep hitching up my skirt or trip on it.
Also, my feet were cold.  Very cold.  I haven’t had a new pair of winter boots in over ten years and the shoes I had brought were not nearly warm enough. My feet were so cold I wanted to cry just driving up in a heated car.
  Inside the missionary clothing closet was an absolutely perfect skirt that matched the shirt I already had on, and it was just the right style for my event and it was neither dark nor dreary. It was funky and fun.  Also, there was a brand new pair of ankle boots with fleece lining, sturdy, water-proof, warm and toasty in my size and they matched the clothes I was now wearing.  I was delighted (my feet were warm the entire drive back and while standing outside and while walking through snow to get across a parking lot. I love my new boots).
A lady volunteering there  was excited with me, and then she said sadly, “I wish I could do what you’ve done, but I just can’t imagine myself moving overseas at all.  I can’t.  So I do the things I can do here.” and then she gave me more dresses.  She seemed down.
  I had tried to express just how amazed, blessed, and delighted I was by the skirt and shoes I already had found, and just how nearly bordering a miracle it was for me to find them then and there at that specific time- so for me, one of those things she seemed to feel was second best was absolutely, positively, outstandingly a ginormous blessing at a time I really could use one.  The event I was attending shortly was a memorial service for a dear friend gone much too soon, and I hated to have to show up in stained, ill fitting clothes, or a gray skirt when I’d been specifically asked not to wear black or dreary.  I had been wracking my brains trying to figure out how I could squeeze in a visit to a Walmart, but there simply wasn’t time between the stuff we had to get done in her building and the time we needed to be at the memorial service where my husband was one of those speaking.  It had really been bothering me.

I was delighted when I saw the clothing closet there in the building where we had to be for some other official stuff.  The moment I saw the skirt I knew it was there for me, bespoke, intended for nobody but me, in fact.  So I was immensely grateful that my new friend was there at the missionary clothing store, helping to run it, donating things, keeping it in good order, and there to make sure I did not leave empty handed. I kept trying to tell her, but I felt like it was coming across as a poor me story and not the exciting triumph of Providence that it really was and she was hearing, “Missionaries have dreary hard lives” and then thinking ” I feel guilty because I’m not going overseas like she did.”

I remembered something I had seen on facebook, posted by another missionary friend, and I shared it with her.

“It doesn’t matter whether you go or stay.  It matters that you are where God wants you to be.”

Her face lit up.  We hugged.  I left laden with blessings.  My feet are still warm.

Going? Staying? Fostering? Working to help moms parent their kids?  Something else?

Is it where God wants you to be?

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Transwars on society

“British feminists are right — trans dogma is harmful to women

This month, the New York Times reported on a leaked memo from the Department of Health and Human Services that, if adopted, would reverse the Obama-era federal decision to interpret Title IX as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in addition to biological sex. According to the Times, this meant that transgender people “could be defined out of existence.”

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While in America trans rights are the latest battle in the left–right culture war, in Britain they have sparked a bitter left-on-left conflict, and the most valiant opponents of trans militants have been not conservatives but a cohort of liberal women — or, as their detractors call them, “TERFs”: trans-exclusionary radical feminists.”https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/12/03/terf-wars/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/02/11/transgender-debate-transitioning-sex-gender-column/1894076002/

See also:the gory details about “Gender Affirming” therapy for minors- https://youtu.be/0Lu1r1pyGFc

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