May 29, 2012

Wishful Thinking: The Fertilizer of Disappointment

The gummy, difficult clay soil that plagues my region magnifies the nagging garden failures screaming from every corner of my yard: the half-eaten hostas; the yellow-leafed rhododendrons; and especially the blue-spruce ground cover my mom swore I could plant in gravel. “It grows anywhere. You can’t kill it!” 
Am I the only one who can’t grow the impossible-to-kill-plant? I blame it on the soil, but who am I kidding. So why do I get excited about Memorial Day plant sales and a beautiful day to work outside in the yard?
Like some hair-bent squirrel, I run around the yard digging holes and shoving poor little snippets of life in the ground, praying they survive in spite of me. I seriously wondered if it was heartless – maybe even tantamount to sinful -- to try planting anything again this year knowing full well the inevitable crucible of suffering it must bear!
Nevertheless, the holiday found me humming, and digging and planting away in my nasty unyielding clay-cursed soil. Did I take time to prep the planting area?  Nope.
Wishful thinking is the fertilizer of disappointment!
Still, a post-planting thorough watering eased my conscience and convinced me I was not guilty of subjecting these Green Beings to merciless agricultural ineptitude.
I’m in the “gardener’s honeymoon phase” right now. Checking the flower beds and watering my verdant little friends draws me outside early. This morning the soil still held the dampness of last night’s deep dousing, and a few large clay clumps caught my eye. When I gently compressed the softball-size clod, it easily broke apart in my hands. I was startled at the sheer joy that shot through me. I worked more clumps into delightfully dispersible little crumbs.
As the crumbled pieces fell back into the flower bed, I relished the feel of running my fingers through the surprisingly workable earth. The seedbed still isn’t what I want it to be, or what it needs to be to yield the best results. But it’s better than it was yesterday and far better than last year. With ongoing attention, my little garden beds will continue to get better until one day they boast the kind of rich, black soil I can’t wait to sink my hands into. The kind of soil that brings forth beautiful results and delights my heart.
In the meantime, no more wishful thinking! There’s work to do.

Father, please continue to prepare the seedbed of my heart. Help me yield to the work of your hands so that one day the results might bring you much joy.


May 9, 2012

Rainforests... here we come!

There has been a lot going on with this crazy writer of this weird little blog about seizing-the-cup and experiencing Life in Jesus Christ. My pen has been silent for a while, and I need to bring you up to speed:

The chapel at Hospital ShalomWe are returning to Guatemala to serve full-time with New Covenant World Missions and the ministry team at Hospital Shalom

Rainforest here we come! Suffocating humidity. Snakes. Big spiders. Scorpions. Howler monkeys. Banana trees. Little gecko's that bark in your room at night while gobbling up mosquitos and roaches. The five-minute-face, impossible hair, almost-always-ice-cold showers, and the never-quite-dry feel of a tropical wardrobe.
This would never have been our climate choice, but what we saw God doing in the hearts and lives of the people in this region stirred us like the promise of a refreshing breeze that evaporates the discomfort of soggy dampness and refreshes the spirit like a sudden, easy breath drawn by heavy-laden lungs.

Planning, preparation and language studies began immediately after we got home. 
I now have the equivalent Spanish skills of a pre-verbal Latin-American toddler! I totally get what it feels like to understand more of what I see than I can formulate into a coherent response.  Frustrating!  I guess this is a sign of progress?
The heart. How do I explain the way God seemed to instantly download a love for people so unique in experience, in life-perspective – in culture and practice – a love and compassion for men, women and children who have seen so much pain, so much war and heartache – who long for the assurance of lasting peace, quietude in spirit and rest from weary burdens? How do I convey God’s heart burning for them within us?

Ahhh… my pen. Our hands. Our feet. Stirred into action by the power of His love and by His Spirit, and so we go…
Artisan at Mayan ruins in Tikal

We are so overwhelmingly blessed by the many one-time gifts and your pledges of monthly support as your hearts have responded to God’s heart, and together we reach out to serve the people of northern Guatemala with the message of hope and healing through the ministry team of Hospital Shalom. Thank you for joining us on this journey.

Simply serving…
De & Rod
Ephesians 1:17-19

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Oh, yes I DID!

Did I mention the big spiders? This one is just a baby… or so I was told!


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