“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Monday, September 26, 2011

As of Late - September 26th, 2011

Grand-iose Canyon

Lately, I made biscotti using a cake mix I purchased for 50 cents.  It was on sale and I had a coupon, so I got two boxes of Betty Crocker cake mix for $1.  Frosting is ridiculously expensive (comparatively speaking), so I didn't buy any... knowing I could get a recipe on the web.  But I decided to look on Betty Crocker's website for recipes where you use the cake mix to make something other than cakes.  I found biscotti.  I didn't have all the listed ingredients, so I used the Devil's Food cake mix, flour, eggs, oil and slivered almonds which I had on hand. I skipped the chocolate dipped part, too.  They were so easy to make!  I purchased a carrot cake mix, too.  I am thinking of making a carrot cranberry biscotti.

Lately, I've still been able to enjoy my garden.  Although the lettuce grew weary... and wilted.  So for the first time all summer I actually had to buy lettuce!  I buy it at our local farmer's market. Now, I will be prepared for next year -- if we have a heat wave -- by covering the lettuce with cheesecloth.  The cucumbers finally came in and are about done.  The tomatoes are becoming ripe and I think I will be looking to make some salsa or freeze some or make sun-dried tomatoes.  Well, sun-dried without the sun... I'll use the dehydrator I got at a yard sale this summer.

Lately, Anthony and I finished facilitating our Sunday School class through the Conference Series of Love and Respect.  Although we have gone through the Love and Respect curriculum before, the conference series was amazing.  Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is quite a dynamic speaker and hearing the material from him directly just made it come to life.  I have to admit that realizing my contemptuous attitude could totally shut Anthony down opened my eyes.  And made me realize that there is more to just loving a man, but treating him with respect just as I expect to be treated with dignity.

Lately, I have been "replacing myself."  It has been a dream of mine for the past year or so, actually.  After reading the book Seven Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones, I became aware of the need to "Replace Yourself.  Learn to hand off what you do."  It's like mentoring... or apprenticing.  Seeing the potential in the people around me and helping them to be successful in an area that I tend to be successful at.  I end up moving on to something else that God is calling me to... and seeing others move into their calling.  It's awesome!
"If you fail to develop a strategy to replace yourself, you will…
…force talented individuals to remain in the wings.
…cause potential leaders to exit the organization.
…stifle needed insight from valuable team members.
…hinder your ability to recruit volunteers.
…limit the growth of your programs and ministries."

“No matter who you are, how famous or powerful, one day somebody will replace you.”

“Replacing yourself means that you are willing to hand someone else a significant piece of what you do.  You are then responsible to help this person own it and succeed at it.  When he or she succeeds, make sure they are applauded and recognized for what they have done.”
Lately, our ladies' Bible Study began the DVD Series Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby.  This is my 5th time through the study. (1998, 2002, 2008, 2010 and now).  I don't say this to brag.  Quite the contrary.  I say this for two reasons.  1. The material is timeless and foundational.  2. This material encourages me in my walk with God every time I go through it.  The workbook/homework is daunting, but you get out of it what you put into it.  Learning about how to "experience" God more than just "knowing" Him.  If you are in the Portland area, it is not too late to join us at Portland Christian Center on Tuesday mornings or Wednesday nights.

So, what have you been up to... as of late?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Love Stopping Slavery

“Now then, stand still and see this great thing 
the LORD is about to do before your eyes!" 
1 Samuel 12:16 NIV

Christopher and I volunteered at the SCTNOW.ORG Walk/Run this morning.  I have to admit that I don't know a lot about this organization or about the cause it represents, so you may wonder why I volunteered at all.  

And may I admit even more?  I don't want to know more about the cause it represents. 

Child sex trafficking.  Child sex slavery.  Adults abducting children.  Pimping children to make money.

When I think about the stories I heard this morning about why this organization exists, I actually have to stop myself.  If I think on the stories, I would cave in on myself.  Stories that are not part of my reality.  Stories that make me think that my tainted childhood could not even be considered tainted at all in comparison. They are so unreal.  And it is as if I have to force myself to partly think they are not real, so that I can continue on with my day.

Where I live.  Portland, Oregon.  We're considered a hub for child sex trafficking.  Better yet... Pornland, Oregon.   That's where I live. 

And it would be easy for me to think that there is nothing I can do to stop this situation.  To help any of the precious children.  But I wonder if awareness is part of the solution.   You can't be part of a solution if you don't know a problem exists.
SCTNow exists to stop child trafficking by targeting the source of child trafficking: predators who drive the sex industry everywhere in the world, including in your local community. SCTNow has partnered with specially trained operatives familiar with what it takes to infiltrate, investigate and bring to justice the predators victimizing children worldwide.
I know I can't solve the problem.  But I can't ignore it, either.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 
'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! 
Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. 
It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. 
And here's why:

   I was hungry and you fed me,
   I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
   I was homeless and you gave me a room,
   I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
   I was sick and you stopped to visit,
   I was in prison and you came to me.'

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 
'Master, what are you talking about? 
When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, 
thirsty and give you a drink? 
And when did we ever see you sick or 
in prison and come to you?' 

Then the King will say, 
'I'm telling the solemn truth: 
Whenever you did one of these things 
to someone overlooked or ignored, 
that was me—you did it to me.'"

Matthew 25:34-40 The Message

Monday, September 12, 2011

You Inspire Shouts of Joy

God's Sunrise at Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon
Those who live at the ends of the earth 
stand in awe of your wonders. 
From where the sun rises to where it sets, 
you inspire shouts of joy.  

Psalm 65:8 NLT

Thank you, Lord.
For the sunrise.
For the sunset.
For all the moments in between.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Clothe Yourself With Strength and Dignity
Even When You Are Hiking the Grand Canyon

 Looking Over Ooh Aah Point and Cedar Ridge from Yavapai Point 
(Saturday, almost 24 hours after the hike.)
Anthony brings the tripod to capture the three of us!
On Friday, we hiked to Ooh Aah Point (and Cedar Ridge) from the South Kaibab Trailhead in the Grand Canyon.  It was a 1.8 mile hike down into the canyon.  Descending 1200-1500 feet.  And with all the ooohing and aahhing we did... it took about 2 hours to get down to our goal destination.  We took the recommended amount of water per person.  We lathered the sunscreen.  We had hats and light clothing.  We had a lunch and snacks.  And we took plenty of rest breaks and photo op breaks.

Needless to say that this 43-year old mama was pretty durn proud of herself when she reached Ooh Aah Point (and Cedar Ridge).  Success!  What a goal for me... and what a view.  360 degrees of Grandiosa Canyon!  We were IN the canyon.  Seeing vistas that a majority of visitors would never see.  It was hot, but worth it.  We sat eating our lunch and swatting off the very aggressive red ants.  Looking at every detail far and near.

And then it was time.  Huh?  So, what you are telling me is that the real goal... the real success... would be getting this mama out of the canyon!  Still with plenty of water and rest, we headed back the way we came.  I knew it wouldn't be as scenic this time.  It would require every ounce of energy I could muster to get myself to the top.  

Worried?  Yup, he was.  Anthony was worried that I might suffer heat exhaustion.  So he hiked behind me.  Step by step.  Checking me every so often.  And making me rest and cool off as best as he could.  But the inevitable happened... and I was starting to suffer... and we knew it.  Our beloved water was becoming rarer and rarer.  Time to pray?  For sure!

And who would have imagined it?  But that a light rain began to pour down on us.  Just at the right time.  What a gift from God... because we knew without the blessing of raindrops we were going to have a situation on our hands.  It cooled my body temperature and I was able to pull/drag/tug/heave myself out of the canyon. 

She is clothed with strength and dignity... 
Proverbs 31:25

And as I was relishing my success... and dousing myself in water that was now so readily available... I found a rock to sit on as we waited for the bus to take us back to the car.

And as if I needed an example to share about my insecurity... I was about to get it.  Like it or not.  As we were waiting, I overheard a group of twenty-somethings say something about "how tired she looked... how worn out... how ragged."  And I looked up.  And they were all staring at me.

Immediately, almost instinctively, my head went straight down in shame.  I felt shame.  I knew how I looked.  I hadn't brought make-up or a hair curler or even a brush.  Barely any jewelry.  And even my top and shorts didn't quite match.  I knew my face was flushed red.  And I was still struggling to get my breathing back to normal.

And then almost as immediately, I felt this strange urge within me.  Shame?  I have NOTHING to be ashamed about it.  I am the same woman who was so proud of herself for pushing through and finishing this hike.  I am the same woman who decided not to worry with makeup.  Not to worry with my hair.  I was the one who decided to seek comfort over couture.  

And then in my strength and dignity, 
I raised my head.  
And looked them square in the eyes.  
And then I smiled.  
And my insecurity vanished 
as quickly as it came.

I have to admit that I am not sure of which instance I am more proud of... conquering the hike to and from Ooh Aah Point... or so instantly refusing insecurity to get the best of me.  Both things took a lot of hard work to do.  And I will always treasure the day that I hiked with my family and I will look at the photos and have the memories with me.  But knowing that I am getting to a point where I am not allowing my feelings and actions and reactions to be controlled by my insecurity... well, you know... that... is... PRICELESS!

Whether you are taking a hike... or trying to overcome your insecurity... make sure to invite some friends to go along with you!  I am so very grateful for the women who joined me this summer as we said, "So Long, Insecurity!"  We will complete our study on this Tuesday, but we are not finished.  We will continue on the journey, but this time we have one another!  Thank you, precious sisters, who helped me stay in the Word this summer.

Wordle: summer names 2

Friday, September 2, 2011

It Reminds Me Most

Anthony captures "Indescribable" at Yavapai Point

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him 
who brings good news... Isaiah 52:7 NASB

You can't describe it.
No words can capture.
Its enormity.
Its length.
Its width.
Its depth.

Grand must have meant something else when the canyon was named.
Because grand is just so... just so... grand.
This is bigger than grand.  MUCH bigger.
And now that I think about it the word canyon doesn't describe it very well either.
I've been to canyons before.
And this is so... so... well, bigger than a canyon.

How is it that light can hit one part without hitting another part?
How is it that it can be clear blue sky and as you look across the abyss you see rain.
And then blue sky behind that?
Why is it so deceiving that you would think you could reach the river in one day.
But most would die trying to do that.
Humongous?  No, that is not the word.

How can the weather be so different from the rim to the river?
How can there be so many layers and colors of rock?
And patterns.
And we can look at it all day.
And we can look at it from different viewpoints.
And we can hike down.
And slowly hike back up.

And so I have come to the determination that it reminds me most of God.

Scripture Posted at Hermit's Rest, Grand Canyon

Sing to God, 
sing praises to his name; 
lift up a song to him 
who rides upon the clouds; 
his name is the LORD, 
exult before him!

Psalm 68:4 RSV

I choose Psalm 68:4 for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse # 17.