Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dancing through the Tears, Resting on Everlasting Arms

 City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana 
One of the most inexplicable things in my life is that in the midst of worry and trouble, I can experience peace. And not only peace. Sometimes, I have unbelievable joy welling up within me that plainly is arising from an origin that is not from my own heart.

A very long time ago, when I was in junior high school, my oldest sister was in a devastating car accident that almost ended her life. Her life was saved by the skilled doctors and nurses attending her, but she has suffered physical pain, as well as emotional pain to be sure, since that day. The nerves in her legs and feet were damaged beyond repair. I remember the peace that engulfed me, as I sat pondering her broken state, laying in a hospital bed.

I have seen her suffer over the decades, most of the time without a word of complaint, as she pursued and achieved many of her goals: university degree, a challenging career, marriage, and family life. I don't understand her pain, her persistence, her patience. I admire her immensely. Yet, I know her strength is in Christ, as she has put her trust in him. Through his power, she can dance through her mostly silent tears.

Over the past few days, I have had reason to feel over my head, caught up in the fray, without strength. Will I sing on the battlefield? Will I dance through my tears? I hope to spend part of my Sabbath rest today doing just that: joining in praise to God, being filled with joy and peace beyond my understanding despite my circumstances.

Worshipping God is more than an arbitrary command from a seemingly archaic God.

No. It's more.

When we sing, when we gather as believers in worship, there is another Presence bringing power that multiplies in our midst. When we give him the worship due him, we became more like the creatures he intended us to be: people who have peace, love and joy even when the battles are raging.

I invite you to listen to this music clip by Kathryn Scott, a songwriter from the United Kingdom. The YouTube version has embedding disabled so I cannot publish it on this site. However, if you follow the link here, you will be able to listen to Sing on the Battlefield.

May I invite you along for another challenge? Take time to rest today. If you cannot, due to work or schedules, make time to set aside a day of rest each week, so that you, too, can dance through the tears.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mission Accomplished: Zambia Fund


For the past month or so, I have been raising funds for clean water in Zambia. My target was $510 in honor of my 51st birthday. I celebrated my birthday on Saturday, March 22. We raised $505 dollars, which is great since I made only a few announcements concerning the drive. All funds will support clean water projects in Zambia, Africa. I am going there in May with a short term group from New Orleans, Louisiana. All funds for this drive will be dedicated to water initiatives, not my personal fund-raising needs. 

Thanks to all who gave generously towards this worthy goal. If you feel inclined, the fund is not closed. You can still donate at CleanWater Zambia. I hope to write about the trip to Zambia later this year.

6:00 pm GOAL OVERREACHED!!! THANKS!!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Gumbo Forecast: Strong Winds

QWERTY. I stare at the keyboard, forcing myself to write something. There is no tragedy, no emergency-stopping words. There's simply no time to reflect, to ponder life's odyssey.

Instead of seizing the day, each day seemingly seizes me, throws me up and around, and lands me where it wills. Then, I sleep, awakening in what seems like a moment's notice, to face another dawn that won't end until the stuffing has been pulled out of me, and I drag home after dusk. Aspirin helps. Meditation and Scripture, yes, to be sure.

This month, after a seemingly interminable period of declaration, I will cease to be directing our ragamuffin operation on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

The work will be turned over to our staff who have done the work for years, with oversight by His Eyes Ministries. 

On the last day of March, I leave for the United States. In April, I will be preparing for a trip to Zambia, Africa. In May, I journey. Not alone, which is good. I will be accompanied by a small group of wanderers/wonderers from New Orleans, Louisiana. We will visit churches, encourage leaders, work with water projects, and visit sick children and lepers.

I return to Honduras, again, in June. To work in something new. I can't say exactly what it will be, but I have surmised in general what it will look like. Something alongside the church, the Vineyard, to be specific. I want to see new churches planted. I want to see established churches prosper.

Until the whirlwind ceases to disarrange my life and mind, I probably will be less engaged in blogging. When one's feet are not on the ground, and the winds of life are blowing, it's hard to catch thoughts to fling on paper or screen.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bottle Brush Tree: Sundays In My City

Sundays in My City are hosted by Unknown Mami.

Unknown Mami

In Tegucigalpa, March is dry, dusty, and hot. Rains are rare. The sky is clear, day in and out, unless it is punctuated by plumes of smoke and ash as the hills surrounding the city smolder and burn in the relentless heat.

In the midst of the barrenness of the dry season, trees bloom. This bottle brush tree is blooming now just a few blocks from my house. For me, these blooming trees are a reminder that God has respite in the desert. He has treasures for us even in the driest seasons of our lives.










Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Iko-Iko and Jackamo - Celebrating Carnival in New Orleans




Today, New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras, the last day before the Lenten season. Of course, Carnival is celebrated in many locations all over the world. However, I love the blend of African, Carribean, Native American and European influences that converge in New Orleans culture to produce great costumes, songs, and traditions for Mardi Gras.

I have never viewed the parades of the  Choctaw Nation, which is solely presented by African Americans in elaborate feathered costumes each year. The words are somewhat obscure, in part, because the words were part of traditional folk songs from African/Indian lingo popular hundreds of years ago in the southeastern United States. Iko-iko was a victory chant of Choctaw Indians near New Orleans. Jock-a-mo was the black name for a jester. The song is about 2 tribes of parading groups who encounter each other in the street.

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Metro Mall Parque in Tegucigalpa, Honduras (Sundays In My City)

A dusty slope used by pedestrians and thieves alike was recently converted into a park. A statue of a street sweeper was added, too. Recently someone snatched her broom, leaving her hands frozen in a perpetual empty clutch. 

My friend, K, and I stopped along a busy stretch of highway so I could venture into the park to take her picture. K calls her Santa Domestica, literally Saint Domestic. I think she's a rather pitiful  saint without her broom. Honduras is in such a desperate economic state, someone stole her metal broom, probably to sell for scrap. Pity. 


Sundays In My City are sponsored by Unknown Mami.

Unknown Mami

Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments are sponsored by Mrs4444.
Half-Past Kissin' Time

My mind is spinning as the week has been exceptionally busy. The entire month of February has been a blur. Thank God for Friday Fragments, where the minutiae of the week can be sorted and sent via the Gumbo blog.

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Yesterday, I visited the vet's office with my German shepherd. As I approached the building, I saw a convoy truck filled with barking guard dogs. Soldiers were everywhere. I thought,"What if Iggy reacts badly?" In this country, there's a good chance a soldier would shoot him for distracting or interfering with a soldier. Thank God, my dog followed instructions to walk, stay, and sit as we waited our turn as soldiers were also getting their guard dogs immunized, too.

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Did you know our city has a recycling plan? We put all trash in a bag by the curb, but recycling is performed by armies of the poor who rummage for plastic and metal scraps which they sell to survive. My heart never fails to have compassion on these desperate souls.

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This year I want to celebrate my birthday differently. On March 22, I will be fifty-one. I want to raise $510 ($10 for each year of my life) for charity. You can donate at CleanWater Zambia. More details are in an earlier post this week, Help Celebrate My Birthday. I am 1/2 way toward my goal. Who knows? With your help, we can overreach and help more people have fresh water.

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For breakfast today,  I will stop at a nearby bakery for a Honduran breakfast sandwich. What's in it? The popular sandwich is made of corn tortillas which holds a thin layer of refried beans, a smattering of sharp crumbled white cheese, and thin slices of ripe, cooked plantains. Delicious, or as we say, rico!

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Where was this picture taken? What strange group of earthlings buy this so-called food in large containers? Was it taken in Louisiana or Honduras? Take a guess, or if you are impatient, the answer is in the footer. 
Pickled Pigs Lips. Delicious?