Wet clothes and cold water

The dryer repair professional comes today. Hopefully to take away our new purchased dryer (lemon) that arrived last week that worked for ten minutes and bring us a new one! But I'm not going into that story of numerous calls to 800 numbers. My hero Stan took care of those calls anyway.

Meantime, to tackle the mountain of laundry, we've been washing and hanging. But it has rained a lot this week, so the mountain has been growing, even while I suggest that maybe that pair of shorts could get one more wear (ignoring the mud) or that tshirt could last another day (with only a tiny popsicle stain). I couldn't stand it yesterday though, I braved the clouds and hung three loads. It was stressful! Is that a rain cloud? So we prayed against rain all day. Isn't that selfish?

The thing about it is that I like hanging clothes to dry. It reminds me of being a kid and my summer chore of hanging clothes. The fresh smell. The cool feel of wet sheets in the hot summer air. I mostly griped about it then, no doubt. I didn't appreciate then the exercise and puzzle solving involved - hauling baskets of wet clothes outside (and up basement stairs, though I didn't have those as a kid). And figuring out how to get one more pair of jeans on the crammed line, and marveling that back in my kid days, we didn't have huge bath "sheet" towels to hang. Those are tricky.

Another bonus is that you can match socks while you are hanging up your clothes and they don't disappear in the invisible black hole in the dryer! Lydia has helped me some with the hanging. Training up the next generation!

Maybe our dryer woes will be solved today. Maybe I'll keep hanging clothes when I can and when the weather complies. Trying to be green when we can.

The saddest part about all of this is that NONE of us have run out of clothes. Pretty crazy. We haven't had our favorite jeans to wear, and only one of us has been in a serious underwear crisis (even when wearing them for an extra day inside out - just kidding). But we have not suffered.

Too many clothes. Appalling.

We also got a new hot water heater, and timed it so we went only one day without hot water, after milking the last heater for every last drop since January. Pretty good, huh?

I'm grateful and humbled that God provides us with so much, and so many conveniences for this life in America. And for jobs that we can replace this stuff, and make other adjustments to the budget (like only eating beans for the rest of the summer, or forgetting about that vacation). I'm even grateful in a way that is causes so much aggravation to replace our conveniences so we appreciate them more, and think about what we really could do without. Hot water and dryers are pretty awesome - but those we've shared the earth with since creation didn't have them, til when, 50 years ago in America? And today - probably more than half the world still doesn't have them.

It's a challenge to make better use of the time we have back by not heating water over the open fire, or beating our clothes with rocks in the river before hanging them on tree branches.

Kinda makes me want to barf

I pledged NOT to whine on my new blog, so I'm going to tread carefully. But then again, I have a sense today of what Jesus might have felt when he walked into the synagogue and through a hissy fit at the marketers.

$25 million. and a lot of change.

That is the estimated total of new building construction of churches in the metro area, according to an article in today's paper. And it was only a handful of churches. Add to that a dozen others who are in big building campaigns.

$10,000,000 here
$2,700,00 there
$9,000.000 over there
(can you count all of those zeros?)

They call these new church buildings "front porches" with mall-sized food courts (how intimate), workout areas and full sized gyms. They are equipped with the latest (for the next six months) technology gizmos, in their "living rooms" ... where unchurched folks who would never step foot in a "church" might come ... to work-out, eat and be wowed ... and maybe find Jesus amidst their "experience."

I buy that it's an approach that has met with success. Mega-churches are everywhere.

But, more and more, while our own congregation muddles through an identity crisis that is wrenching my heart ... I ask whether there's a better way?

I have been reading about a simple way. In fact, I've been transforming my heart and mind and approach since I read Shane Claiborne's book, The Irresistible Revolution. And also have read more clearly the words of the New Testament. (I've wasted a lot of time not reading what I've been reading all of these years, if that makes sense).

Stan and I have had his (Claiborne's) thoughts for a long time, but have been too complacent, and not nearly as versed in the Word or as matter-of-fact as he is. For one thing, we have questioned whether we are supposed to be a literal Acts 2 church ... All the believers were together and had everything in common. "45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,."

Commune living!

I suppose you can eat every meal at your new $10 million church building ... instead of getting folks on your own front porch and then into your kitchen to break bread.

But if you now work out and eat at the church, where do you meet new "unchurched" people?

Just confused ... I don't want to pick on anyone. It is just a bit appalling to read about $25 million spent on convenience buildings where on another page we read about one little law student here in OKC staging a protest to help those in Darfur. (How many folks will be exercising in the spacious new facilities at the new church buildings when that's going on ... she mused as she sat on her can in front of the computer screen). And when we have dear friends scraping together every penny to bring home orphans from Rwanda. Babies and toddlers who spend day after day staring at the ceilings of their crowded room. And here down the street, where kids will never have an opportunity to be "welcomed" to any of these new suburban churches because the Joy bus isn't running.

Every Other Spring

Below is a post I retrieved out of an old blog I had written when my aunt was dying. The other day, I remembered writing it when I was thinking about my Aunt Mary who was also dying a painful cancer death. She flew to Jesus yesterday.

Spring time for my family. My Aunt Glenda died in May four years ago. Her mother, my precious grandma, Virginia, died in April two years ago. Virginia's oldest daughter, Mary Lena, died this spring. And, my sweet Grandpa, Lester Giles, died ten years ago in March ... the spring when I was expecting our first child, Giles Christian, who was born later that year.

Spring replaced Fall as my heart's favorite season years ago. The renewal. The hope. The freshness. The blooms. The rich smell of earth and freshly cut grass. Dreams for a garden and bounty. And now, Springs brings relief and assurance that we have in our Savior who died for us to have eternal life ...

(May 2003)

As I sit down to write this, I don't know if I can make it make sense, but the experience is worth recording.

This Mother's Day, I had the great privilege to spend it with my mom, grandma and my only two aunts. We were gathered at the deathbed of my Aunt Glenda in NE Arkansas. These four women are terrific mothers, daughters and sisters. Yes, they will tell you they weren't perfect, made plenty of mistakes, likely have some regrets. But these girls are tough and they love each other. Three of them would have given anything to trade places with my dying aunt or pull her pain out of her body to wear it themselves. Aunt Glenda is dying from cancer. Everyone had been gathering for a sort of living wake, that's been lasting over a week since the word "she won't last through the night." Her family and a few friends were keeping vigil, saying goodbyes, begging God to take her and thanking Him for the gift of her life.

What a precious time. What an excruciating experience.

So to the flowers.

My ever-thoughtful sister sent a Mother's Day corsage to Mom
Mom was staying home with Aunt Glenda
Let's have Grandma wear it to church
My sister won't mind
Grandma wouldn't wear it
Didn't want to
Her daughter was dying a painful death
Not much to celebrate
What if we placed it at Aunt Glenda's bedside?
Her last Mother's Day
No one could bring themself to put it there
Not much to celebrate
The corsage sat on a lamp table in another room
Pink and beautiful
A symbol of the love that passes through these women
For no one to bear alone this year

Shall never perish from the earth

We met him today! Abe Lincoln! I don't know why Giles doesn't look very thrilled in the picture but it was very thrilling to meet him today. He was actually Fritz Klein, a Lincoln reenactor who was at the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum today as part of a Lincoln exhibit.

He spoke to a fairly large crowd of more than 100 school kids. We had front row seats thanks to our wonderful friend, Joanne, who works there! I thought it was very stirring. He teared up when he talked about his momma and how some of her last words to him were to be good to his family and be good to everyone! He also teared up when talking about losing two of his sons.

He spoke a lot about how much slavery disturbed him as a young child. How his father was against it. And how anger boiled in some to drive us to horrible acts to preserve that way of life, slavery. He also acknowledged that he stood in a place, the OKC National Memorial, to honor the victims of someone else's anger. (Someone who claimed he learned how to be an animal/terrorist in the US military during the first Gulf War ... but that's another thought for another day).

He was good natured and powerful. He ended with the Gettysburg Address. I know he was an actor, but he did it so well ... he teared up (we were on the front row) again during the speech.

I'm sure I loved it more than the kids. Since I was tearing up too! But hopefully they'll remember it, and remember those who've led ... and those who lost so much in order that - under God - our government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Big day

Waiting for claim jumpers

Lydia's view of the run from inside the wagon ... (nice tank! yikes.)

What's a Land Run without a row of minivans?

160 acres

We're homesteaders now. The run was so much fun. Grant was so excited to run that he started running as soon as he got out of the car, and failed to see a fence that met him on his right eye. But he quickly recovered.

The event organizer had put markers on the ground to signal each available homestead - some included small bottles of water to signify there was water on the land. Other land had oil.

Giles' charge was to find us one with water and he stopped at the first one ... Grant kept running! But we got him back. Lydia and Grant paid the $14 for our claim (the land was free but the paperwork wasn't) while Giles guarded the place against claim jumpers. But it was a pretty friendly crowd.

Some of the other houses and businesses were very creative. We had a church, several general mercantiles, a post office, an outhouse (charged 10 cents), a toy store, a blacksmith, a newspaper, a feed store and other farmers like us.

The kids earned snacks to feed their families by answering land run trivia questions. The prizes were sunflower seeds or Cracker jack. I thought we were going to starve when Giles answered Theodore Roosevelt on the question of who the president was in 1889 ... I couldn't believe he couldn't remember Benjamin Harrison (who?). But he came through for us when he correctly named the Redbud as our state tree.

A few of the swaps we came home with: nails from the blacksmith, a quilt square, pea shooters, home made soap, bread from the baker, a newspaper and seeds for carrots and lettuce.

In 1889

It's Land Run Day for us. These are pictures of us making our "house" (compliments of Sears and the refrigerators). Now, the house has a door, a red roof and a window.

This is a homeschool event with about 25 other families. We know no one! So that's appropriate. Giles decided we have come from Alabama (like his actual ancestors who came to homestead, but not in the 89 run). And since Lydia had a little mishap with her foot this week, she'll get to ride in our little red wagon that's been converted into a covered wagon. Lydia's name is Laura and I'm "Ma." The boys haven't settled yet. But Grant is thinking he'll be Ulysees and Giles could be Giles ... or Bill, his other great grandpa whom he never met who was part of that homesteading crowd.

We have our $14 to buy our claim, and our prairie outfits ready. I just need to make the Johnny Cake and put the beans in some sort of nineteenth century container (not plastic) for our lunch on our claim. We also have to have something to give to the other homestead children. We chose seed wheat. We bagged 100 tiny packages of wheat to help everyone start their farms.

Still have to figure out how to get the refolded box, covered wagon, three kids in a minivan. Something not right about that. It cracked me up that we'll be doing this at a park, and the moderator of our email loop made sure to let us know there is a skate park there???

It's also been interesting to "hear" the other moms on the loop wonder/worry about where to find a box, what we'll do if rains and whether they can set up early (aren't those Sooners?).

It's 1889 people. Let's run with it!

Fly fly fly to heaven

We have a new friend. We met him at the mission, where he has earned the nickname John the Baptist because he brings (drags) people from the wilderness (streets) to Cross & Crown all of the time. He takes care of them. I've been teasing him about the new tattoo he has on his hand. It's basically artwork of the inside of his hand inked onto his skin - metatarsal bones, tendons, muscles. He had brought the tattoo artist to the mission one week - a nice guy who told me he has been in the biz 20 years and is part of the group suing or fighting the courts or legislature to lower the exhorbitant insurance requirement for operating tattoo parlors.

But now the artist has "boogied." Sometime over the weekend, the artist had seen John come back from the ATM, and when John went into the bathroom without his wallet or fresh pack of cigs, well, temptation overpowered the artist. When John came out, the wallet was cashless, the cigs and the artist were splitso.

After he told us that story, he commented on the necklace Lydia wore. It's one of those prayer box necklaces. (As I typed this, I am remembering that the first one that her daddy had bought her was stolen when our house was burglarized a couple years back. So we had replaced it.) But this necklace is faulty. The hinge does not keep the prayer box closed so it springs open often.

So, I popped off to John the Baptist that Lydia's prayers keep falling out and we have to keep praying them and putting them back in. (What sound theology I'm teaching my children!)

Oh No, he said. Those prayers go straight up to God. The angels carry them for you.

I'm grateful for his ready answer to my religious error.


In Rwanda this week, children are out of school, some people are off of work, and they are remembering. Last Friday night (coinciding this year on the calendar with Good Friday), began the week's commemoration of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda that stole nearly one million lives from the earth.

The country mourns for a week. They wear purple ribbons. They remember and they forget.

In Oklahoma, ten Rwandan students at Oklahoma Christian University asked their classmates and the community to share in this time. The kids and I attended OC's chapel on Friday morning where the Rwandan students planned and led the daily service. The song they chose to sing was "It Is Well." That evening Stan and I attended a service the students planned where the PBS Frontline documentary Ghosts of Rwanda was shown and some of the students shared and prayed.

It was an emotionally exhausting day and weekend, but also one of hope. I just can't describe how much these students mean to us. They are Resilient. Intelligent. Faith-filled. They are the future. Since they came in August, we have gotten to know them on the surface - slowly building relationships and we knew eventually their stories would come in their time. They all have stories. They can't help but have them. And when you consider they were all the ages of my own children when the genocide happened ... well.

This commemoration gave an entre for some of the stories to be shared, but still we will never know or grasp the full horror they experienced and what they lost.

Until God sends our family there (to visit or stay?), I am left to read books and watch videos and movies about what happened. The titles are not pretty and on their own, give a sense of the horror.

The Machete Season
We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families
Left To Tell
This Voice in My Heart
Ghosts of Rwanda
Sometimes in April
Justice on the Grass

One of the students briefly spoke in church Sunday (Resurrection Day!). She said that although she was asked to talk about the genocide, she would instead tell us that the genocide was in the past and so was the crucifixion. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to save all of us ... and as Jesus forgave his killers, Rwandans must also forgive in the name of hope. Powerful.

Last Saturday, Alain traveled to Tulsa with us and we stopped by the praying hands at ORU. He was impressed with the statue. It is amazing. And the scripture at the base of the sculpture can be claimed by this group: Luke 2:52. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Good idea

Grant: "Mom, Instead of being the president when I grow up, I think I'll work at the zoo and take care of the Kookaburra."