Our achey breaky hearts

Who knew we'd miss him so much? This is pitiful. Grant even cried himself to sleep last night.

We miss Giles.

Hopefully he's not missing us because he's having too much fun at church camp this week.

It's the first time he's been away from us for this long - a whole week. Okay, it's not a whole week- only about five days. It's strange to be without him though. It's neat occasionally to have one child gone, and see how the other two interact with each other. Changing up the mix is good, but this is a long stretch. Plus, I need him to go on fly patrol to take care of that ginormous buzzer that's swooping around the peaches in the kitchen.

When last we saw him, Giles and buds were lizard hunting under every rock and log in the vicinity. He and his best bud Ethan who were sharing a tiny unairconditioned cabin had not yet bonded with the other sports lovin,' Tiger Woods talkin' boys from TEXAS who grabbed all the better bunks before we got there.

Who needs football when there are reptiles to hunt?

Joy took the picture of him before we left and then we drove all the way home. Our husbands gently chided us for worrying about whether the boys would bond with the Texas kids, find their toothpaste, get too hot, remember to use bug spray and hopefully shower.

I know they'll make friends, and the shower and teeth part will just be good for me never to know!

They'll come back grimey but closer to God and that's pretty cool.

Like we haven't heard this one before

Don't leave home without it

My camera. Approaching a busy intersection yesterday after picking up Lydia and friends from Camp Sing-A-Lot, I noticed some kind of hubbub ahead. A wreck? Someone stalled? I rolled up to my front row stop at the left turn lane and we saw what was holding up traffic.

Mama Duck and her five little ducklings.

She was jaywalking from the south west corner to the north east corner of Memorial and Eastern. Duckies were scrambling as fast at their tiny web feet could take them across scorching July asphalt. Mama was behind them quacking the whole time. "Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. Go. Go. Go."

We all stopped. Watched. Cheered. I think we were all also holding our breath ... please make it. And wondering whether we could find parenting classes for Mama. But we all make parenting mistakes!

They made it. Yay ducks!
The photos would have been awesome!

He's hooked!

Grant has been a resistant fisherman. Ever since his favorite little lawn chair became windswept and blew from the dock to the bottom of the lake (he wasn't sitting in it), he's not had any interest in fishing. That incident was quite traumatic and there were lots tears and anguish. He liked that chair. That all was way back when he was about three.

His Dad and Giles persuaded him to go with them last Saturday night.

Guess which ONE of the three caught something?

Yep, he's hooked.

Used to bes don't count anymore

Everyone once in a while, I get a

(this is a post I started a few days ago. Blogger auto saves for us now. I can't, for all the white tea in China, remember what this muse was.)

Ecclesiastes 8:17

Giles' autograph on the cd cover.
UPDATE: actually the autograph is Todd Agnew's. He gave it to Giles. Righto.

"then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it."

What if your job included signing your name and sharing a scripture?

Lydia and I got Psalm 115:1. He signed my "purse" Bible and a Bible that Lydia got from the KLOVE/AIRONE people.

"Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness."

Prince would have never done that for my Purple Rain 8-trak case.


He's the kinda guy who's cool to sing for free for a couple hundred people in the midst of school supplies at a Christian bookstore, and then sit patiently while all of those people step up to him for a picture and autograph.

He's the kinda guy who's cool to play acoustically in barefeet, and say honestly, he's a little freaked out still to play for people, when he's spent much of his life as a worship leader. He's the kinda guy who is not afraid to say, write about and publish songs with words that challenge us to quit talking about the poor, and get our hands involved to erase poverty (then there'll be peace).

I gave the DVD to his (Todd Agnew's)manager guy and told him about Cross & Crown and he said, (and I quote) ... "Awesome. We'll watch it on the bus tonight."

The vid is on Ron's blog right now. I plan to pull it over here, and am contemplating expanding blog/website with iWeb, but who am I kidding? Every time I sit here, I'm stealing time from kids, work, house. So, here's Ron's blog, vid's on the right.

Giles took this picture.

I think it would be very easy to crop myself out of this picture. Yuck. But who cares? One neat thing is that Todd mentioned reading a book last year called "Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne. There I stood in full view with my Jesus Was Homeless shirt that I got from Shane's movement. I don't know if he saw the Tshirt or not, but we made eye contact. COOL.

BTW - Shane's house burned down in Philly last month. The dude who went to live with the poor in a shanty neighborhood is now homeless.

I don't have good words right now to share more about the whole experience, and could not adequately convey his message (he's the songwriter!). Or the awesome experience with my kids. The intimacy we shared (and between brother and sister! so sweet ... and sadly, rare) - the thrill over getting autographs from a Christian guy - pondering what their hearts took in from the experience and how God will use it - and their eyes rolling when they caught my tears falling more than a couple of times.

But Todd's bold and he's living it. I want to be more like that.

Here's one part of the lyrics from one song called "if you wanted me" ... it's asking God "if you wanted me to die to myself, why'd yo make me fall so deeply in love with life?"

and ...

"if you wanted me to be like YOU.
why'd You make me like Me."


New feature

I just discovered something that made me irritated and happy at the same time. A new (to me) feature on my iMovie software.

I discovered this today while burning a dvd in hopes of handing it personally to Todd Agnew today!

He's doing a concert and autographs at Mardel in Norman and we're going!

The kids like him (except for Grant who is staying home with Dad), and so do I.

I especially have been a big fan since his label gave me permission to use his song, My Jesus, in a video for Cross & Crown. For free. How awesome.

So, I'm burning the video, in case he wants to see it. In case. I know he probably gets a dozen of these or more at every stop, but God will do with it what he wants. I will say that I love watching the images of God's children at the mission under the bed of a song that says

"Blessed are the poor in spirit
Or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness
Or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand

Cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins
He spent His time with thieves and sluts and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the rich
So which one do you want to be?"

Not that everyone at the mission are thives and sluts and liars. No. No. But there's a point there to be made. On some level, ALL of us are one (or more) of those.

Back to the discovery. While choosing the opening graphic for the DVD (what shows on screen before you start your video), I clicked a menu option and lo and behold ... the button I selected (where you would click to start video) puts the video in a tiny square, so the whole video plays on that screen in a tiny square until you start the movie.

Doh. That would have come in very handy during VBS when I was trying to quickly scroll down to a certain song in the music room, and was trying to see over a sea of 100 kids (or I could have had a monitor).


I'm guessing the next post might feature pictures of the My Jesus guy. :-) We've never done the bookstore artist concert thing. We're gearing up not to get frustrated with crowds and waits and elbows and just have fun.

The Secret Gift

Awesome website for books online!

This is a project of the Screen Actors Guild where Hollywood types read children's books. What a hit. And there are some really awesome living books in the mix!

It doesn't hurt to have Tia and Tamra "Sister Sister" reading, or Haylie Duff. The kids don't know who Al Gore is (wew ... Hollywood type?), but he read a good book. Lou Diamond Phillips reads one, and Hector Elizondo.

The biggest surprise and treat was discovering a book read by Jane Kaczmarek. It's a Patricia Polacco book (there's another Polacco book on this website read by Melissa "Laura Ingalls" Gilbert).

Polacco is one of MY top five children's authors. Maybe my fave. She has written many books. Before yesterday, my favorite, hands down, was "Pink & Say." We also really enjoy "I Can Hear the Sun." I had seen "Thank You, Mr. Falker" at the library but had not picked it up yet.

This book, "Thank you, Mr. Falker" was just God's little gift to my daughter and me. Lydia and I had been reading earlier in the day. Let's just say that darling daughter is not a confident reader, and the light that I fully expected to be glowing in her room every night while she turns pages is not exactly glowing yet, unless I'm reading to her - which I will love to do every day for the rest of her life (we're plowing through The Secret Garden again). But I won't do that. What would her husband say? There's time. (One thing I've rested in from home schooling is to not stress or pressure her into this, because she WILL read, or her LOVE for reading will come. Still, the pressure's all around us.)

Anyway, we had a little frustrating episode, and I told her to put the book down because when it's not fun, I don't want her to read, especially in the summer.

We wandered to the computer to open this site up again and SHE picked the Polacco book. Turns out it's an autobiographical story about a girl named Trisha who was a late and struggling reader. She wrote the book to honor her teacher (Mr. Falker) who finally helped her (after she was shunned, teased and passed up from grade to grade without being able to read til the third grade).

Jane Kaczmarek was awesome, and she choked up in exactly the places I would have choked up as she read.

Typically, I'd park Lyd at the screen and wander off to do something else (like complete that assignment for my JOB). But we watched the screen together. She laughed at me when I cried, and then we hugged and hugged. It was a very teachable moment, for both of us.

Miss HIV

My cool and connected niece Chandy invited me to a screening of a new movie, Miss HIV, produced by the folks who brought us End of the Spear. We went last night to Harkins Theatre to watch it with an awesome group of kids from Rock Island.

I was all over going to a screening - how cool is that? I knew the subject would be heavy ... the first clue to that being the title.

It was docutainment. Awesome music and editing. So cool. But the movie was hard to follow for me a bit. It might have been designed like that though.

They showed a ton of footage a Toronto AIDS conference from last year with a lot of big deal smart people like Bill & Melinda Gates, Bill Clinton and others who got digs in to those who would dare try to teach abstinence over condom use or other prevention (there is none). The movie also featured a lot of footage and interviews from their tour of Africa - Botswana, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.

The talking heads used a lot of big words and acronyms that lost me, and I spent a good part of the movie wondering whether I should agree or not with the Gates. They are super involved in this issue, and I think their real deal is coming up with a vaccine. But they also stirred up the left angst about pushing "morality over human rights." What does that mean, seriously?

The human right to have unprotected unmarital sex with someone who is infected with a disease that will kill you?

One talking head lady actually said that, accusing "our leaders of embracing moralistic programs that undermine human rights."

No easy answers. At all. But in Uganda, they have led the world with a campaign to decrease the spread of HIV infection. How? Led by President Museveni and his wife, they promoted a rigorous campaign of A-B-C. Abstinenece. Be faithful. If you can't, use a Condom. The president himself even went into schools and told them "if you have unprotected sex, you will die." It worked - infection numbers went down, abstinence was/is being openly celebrated by young people, but the world (and many here in the US) slammed them for it.

Why can't Bill and Melinda and Bill Clinton just acknowledge that abstinence does work without slamming it. Say it works and keep doing your own thing with your money and power.

The movie ended (hope this isn't a spoiler) with footage of the Newsboys at a concert in Uganda singing "Something Beautiful." With a huge crowd of Ugandan youth jumping and singing ... I want to go to Uganda (or it's neighboring beautiful Rwanda) and see the Newsboys in concert!

One of the big tear points for me (almost sob) was when a beautiful South African woman with HIV was speaking on a stage with Melinda Gates and others about her experience with the church when she became infected. You guessed it. They kicked her out. And she called the church hypocritical. No doubt.

Another conviction against the hands and feet of Jesus who are supposed to be His church on earth, but we've messed that up ... too.

I'm going to pray for the Gates. I don't know if they know the Lord, but I'm going to pray they find him. Meantime, I'm so proud to be a MAC user (I'll pray for Jobs too. Does he know the Lord?)

Here's a trailer ... MISS HIV

Gospel for Asia

Here's the site for the book I'm reading: Gospel for Asia

Is Missions an Option?

I received a FREE book in the mail. I heard about it either through a homeschool email or another Christian email. It's called Revolution in World Missions by KP Yohannan. He's the founder of Gospel for Asia. The book has been a nice autobiography of how God has led KP through his years as a "pioneer village evangelist" in North and South India, when he was beaten at least once for the cause of Christ and lived on about a dollar a day or less. Then through his journey to the US for his education and founding of Gospel for Asia.

But now the book is getting tough. He's letting us have it and I can't disagree.

Here's the beginning of Chapter Nine.

"If the apostle Paul had not brought the Gospel to Europe, foundational principles such as freedom and human dignity would not be part of the American heritage. Because the Holy Spirit instructed him to turn away from Asia and go West, America has been blessed with its systems of law and economics - the principles that made it rich and free.

In addition, the United States is the only nation in the world founded by believers in Christ who made a covenant with God - dedicating a new nation to God.

Born into affluence, freedom and divine blessings, Americans should be the msot thankful people on earth.

But along with the privilege comes a responsibility. The Christian must ask not only why, but also what he should do with these unearned favors.

Throughout Scripture, we see only one correct response to abundance: sharing.

God gives some people more than they need so that they can be channels of blessing to others. God desires equity between His people on a worldwide basis. That is why the early church had no poverty."

Ouch. But preach on brother.


uh. yes. i did more shooting pictures than picking berries.

The best is yet to be

We skipped the Independence Day parade to partake in another activity that makes us grateful for the bounty we have in our country. Blackberry Picking!

As you can see, the best is yet to be. But we grabbed nine quarts yesterday. Stan threw together a cobbler (as only he could) to enjoy while watching fireworks with his sister and fam last night. Lyd and I are about to make scones or muffins.

Next batch. Jam.

Robert isn't homeless anymore

Robert. We first met him at Cross & Crown Mission. It's where he came for food. Meds. It's where he picked up his laundry once a week. He would stop by, get his bin that is marked ROBERT that would hold a fresh clean set of clothes. He'd change and leave the dirty clothes there that would be fresh and clean the next time he came by. It's where he came to check in with his family.

I interviewed him on video once at winter time. He said or rather slurred that he was just there for a blanket. "A blanket. Just need a blanket." And then he bowed his head in prayer with a volunteer.

We saw Robert walking around downtown lots of times. Sometimes in our neighborhood. He got around. I once saw him in Bricktown with a "to go" box of food. We surmised he had charmed someone at the fancy restaurants! Each time we would spot his tall, lanky figure walking while we drove - I would feel guilty and inspired at the same time. Should we give him a ride? Or, man, that guy gets around. He owns these streets!

He worked. He would sweep the parking lots of liquor stores. He would be paid in product.

I don't know where he lived, or rather, didn't live - either the homeless camps or a storefront somewhere, maybe the shelters once in a while. The folks who work at the mission full-time know his story much better. Know his heart. Know his struggles. Know that his answer would be NO each of the thousand times they asked him if he was ready to make a change, to go into recovery. Know that he believed somewhere in his tormented soul that Jesus loved him.

Robert died last week. He's home. And his streets will be paved with gold.