Tuesday, April 28, 2009


[what's brewing: it's not what's in the cup that matters]

The start to my day this morning was ruled by routine. I woke up, walked the dog, checked in with the world through email and the usual morning news broadcast, ate my oatmeal and packed my bag – laptop, notebook, letters to mail and a few snacks to keep me going. I washed several dishes, picked up the most visible areas of the house, and started a list of things to do when I return in the evening. Lastly, I filled my travel mug with my daily portion of coffee and jumped into the Jeep to head out for the day. Jason’s not much of a morning person, so if I’m in a somewhat sedated mood and simply operating according to routine, our first real words of the day are sometimes exchanged in the car, as they were this morning.

As we pulled out of our neighborhood, a little girl passed in front of us, skipping along a dusty path with her dog by her side. Her hair was not pulled back, so it danced wildly in the wind created by her movement. Her skirt matched that same movement, dancing back and forth across her legs as she jumped nearly as high as she was going forward. Her feet were fitted with black dress shoes, tattered and scuffed on every surface. Her dog, unleashed and scruffy as could be, ran alongside her, looking up to watch her movements as they moved along the street. Her eyes flitted back and forth between the puppy at her side and the perfectly blue skies above her, all the while stricken with a beautiful smile across her face.

I was captivated by the pure bliss that was captured in the little girl’s face. Almost instantly my heart was seized with a deep desire to experience that same feeling of bliss through such a simple means. The contrast of this scene with the way my morning had started was stark, and I was convicted by the lack of celebration and thankfulness in my heart for simply the start of another day. The demands of life had taken over, and the significance of simply another day had been overlooked.

This image is now saved in my mind and serves as a great metaphor of how I want to live, no matter my circumstances. What a beautiful depiction of the Psalmists words:

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Do you have an experience or an image like this that reminds you of God’s truth about this life?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Coffeegirl Challenge #4

[what's brewing: "5 Things About Me"]

If you have a Facebook account, you most likely saw a swarm of postings crop up from among your friends a couple of months ago titled “25 Things About Me.” These were simply lists of 25 random things about oneself – facts, habits, goals, dreams, quirks, fears, etc. I learned a lot about my friends through their lists. In fact, I was surprised to hear some of the things that were posted in their lists that I’m fairly certain would never have come up in the course of normal conversation, no matter how much time we would spend together.

Naturally this got me thinking about us, the Coffeegirl café patrons, and the things we would never think to share about ourselves on our blogs. Thus, I propose a week long list exchange here on Coffeegirl Confessions.

Need a little motivation?

Coffeegirl Challenge #4

Simply by leaving one comment with your list will earn you one entry into a drawing for a $25 gift card to your choice of iTunes, Amazon or Shutterfly.

The winner will be announced in next week’s posting. Comments must be received before Monday, April 27 at 12:00pm, Mountain Time USA when the drawing will be held at the WOTH headquarters.

I’ll get us started with "5 Things About Me" and then it’s up to you…

5 Things About Me

1. If I had to choose just one thing to eat for the rest of my life, it would most likely be mashed potatoes.
2. I sometimes wonder when I outgrew the decision to have a Funfetti birthday cake and if it’s too late to go back.
3. Few things in life can force people to bond faster than international food-induced stomach problems. My knowledge of this issue began on my first missions trip to Mexico as a high school student – oh, the memories.
4. I get little cuts inside my nose that not only irritate me, but have caused me great embarrassment when scratching at them while I thought no one else could see me.
5. One of the simple pleasures I miss about the US is the freedom to listen to my iPod in public without fearing for my safety.

Let the games begin!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Technical Difficulties

[what's brewing: we're brewing a new pot, can you wait?]

Editor's note: Due to some unforeseen computer problem at the WOTH home office, Coffeegirl's 60th (wow!) post will be posted later in the day on Tuesday, April 21...please come back...or talk amongst yourselves. Ummm, have you watched the music video or the WOTH Spring Retreat video? Are you receiving Picture Praise (this week's is soooooooo cute)...now I'm just stalling...sorry for the delay.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


[what's brewing: 3 kid-size hot chocolates, extra marshmallows, not too hot]

Nearly 3 months ago we received word that 3 of the little boys in our Children’s Home were being adopted. While joy was undoubtedly surging in the hearts of their new parents in a far away land, my heart was breaking. I don’t think I was aware of the depth of love and motherly concern that I have for the children in our care until we received this news.

I felt possessive over these little darlings who brought so much joy into our daily lives – a protective possession, like a mama bear looking after her cubs. While I had no doubt that the parents who were coming to get them were wonderful individuals who would give anything for the needs of these little boys, they were a foreign entity to me that I couldn’t extend my trust to right away. I cried daily for several weeks at the thought of handing these boys over to families who would take them away, never again to be privy to their daily needs or developments.

The experience of introducing them to their new parents was one of the most intimate moments I’ve ever been allowed to observe in someone else’s life.

The gradual process of spending time together over the coming days eventually culminated in our final goodbyes as we waved and watched them drive off in the back seat of a taxi, waving out the rear window as the dust billowed up between us. I stood there for a moment, knowing that this would be my lasting memory of this experience.

The boys would spend 2 more weeks in country with their families, finalizing paperwork and preparing for the journey home, but that was goodbye for us. I have cried in bed several nights since then, wondering what the boys were thinking and feeling. I said bedtime prayers for them, asking God to give their hearts a sure sense of their new belonging in their new families and to remove any fears and doubts related to their past experiences.

This weekend Jason and I ventured down into the city center for an afternoon walk. I noticed Jason’s eyes were lighting up and I looked ahead to see one of the little boys coming down the street with his new family. He was facing the other way, hanging onto his mother like a little monkey – arms around her neck and legs around her waist. As his parents recognized us and stopped to greet us, he looked curiously at us, smiled and said hello. As Jason managed the conversation, I was captivated by the way the little boy from our Home stayed completely focused on his new mother. He smiled at us, but did not reach out for us. His eyes lit up and he laughed as we spoke with him, but he never once loosened his grip on his mother’s neck.

We eventually went our separate ways and my vision was blurred with tears.

Jason wrapped his arm around me and offered his support, “I know it’s hard to see him and know he’s leaving us.”

He was right, but that wasn’t the true source of my tears. I found my voice enough to express my overwhelming shock at how attached this dear little boy was to his new family already. Sure the future would hold many more adjustments as far as attachment was concerned, but I couldn’t believe how confident he was in the arms of his new mother.

Our meeting on that sidewalk was a gift from God, specially chosen in response to my worries and prayers for the boys as they were leaving us. Had I not been given the opportunity to see that, I know I would have wondered and worried about them for many months to come. But now my heart was at peace, and the lasting image in my mind has been replaced with his smiling face in the arms of his mother.

This experience, coupled with the triumphant message of Easter, has created a beautiful image in my mind of the implications of our adoption as sons and daughters of the King. We have been adopted into God’s family – we are no longer orphans, but sons and daughters. Our identity has been changed and secured in light of this event, and we are loved unconditionally. Truly, this is the message and the power of the cross.

Oh Lord, may we be as confident in our new identity as your children as this little one, clinging to his mother’s neck, never reaching out for the securities we knew before you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chickens, Cookies and Culture

[what's brewing: the usual]

One of the delights of the past few months for me has been the developing cohesion and cooperation among the women in the church. After a slow start, the events I was planning on a monthly basis started to take off and the women have started to take ownership in our future plans and activities. I’ve found myself in an interesting position of trying to provide some of the leadership they need, while at the same time sitting back and letting them guide me culturally.

Many times, they love ideas I share that they’ve never heard of before and are eager to embrace them. Two months ago, I planned an activity of preparing glass jars layered with the ingredients for brownies. They then took a jar home to give as a gift to someone in the community on behalf of the women’s ministry at our church, along with an invitation to our next women’s event. They thought this was pure genius, and I have to admit I felt quite content as I surveyed the excitement on their faces as we tied a bit of ribbon around each completed jar.

This week, however, my “new idea” wasn’t so well received.

We are planning a fundraising event to fund a Mother’s Day outreach in the community. The most common fundraiser around here is to sell tickets in advance that can be redeemed on the day of the fundraiser for a plate of food - a quarter piece of chicken, several boiled potatoes, beans and salad. We’ve done this twice before, and had difficulty selling enough to recuperate our costs and earn enough profit to make it worthwhile. Granted, it would be hard to make the hours of preparation the night before, followed by the 4 a.m. start time for cooking over the open fire, which pushes over into the 8 a.m. start time for selling and serving, and finishes at noon, to be considered “worthwhile” in my book.

And besides, who really wants to eat a meal like that between 8 and 10 o’clock in the morning?

Thinking that I truly had an idea worth considering (and knowing I wanted to avoid that early morning handling of raw chicken if at all possible), I presented a new idea to the group: a bake sale. We could get together and bake for a day, package the items up the night before, then set up our table o’ goodies where we would normally set up our chicken stand and enjoy our time talking together with clean hands (and far less chance of a stomach bug). The profit per item would be less, but I was sure we would earn at least the same amount of profit overall with much less hassle.

I presented my alternate idea in the same manner my father once presented the options for our summer vacation: “Who wants to go to Disney World, where we will be hot and stand in long lines and only get to enjoy the vacation for a little while before we come back home…and who wants to use the money to get a HOT TUB instead that we can enjoy every day?!! Disney World for one week, or a HOT TUB to use every day?”

Of course, we three kids cried out, “DISNEY WORLD!!!”

I modeled that same salesmanship that I’d seen at an early age when I pitched my idea to the ladies. A chicken cookout with lots of work, a 4 a.m. wake-up call, a big mess to clean up, and earning barely enough to cover our costs OR a few hours of baking, meeting in the afternoon, and earning the same amount?

I should have known what was coming:


The nature of my bake sale idea was a foreign concept to these women. They didn’t understand why anyone would rather purchase a pack of 2 cookies when they could buy a whole plate of chicken goodness for lunch. Their discussion ensued…

The desserts would look quite skimpy out on the table, when you think of how full those plates of chicken would be.

And who’s ever heard of a bake sale? No one around here will know what to think.

The chicken cookout would be much easier to plan – we know everything to do already.

Mary has a grill we can use, and Pamela and Elizabeth will do all the market shopping when they go for the children’s home groceries anyhow.

I tried to clarify my idea for a moment, baffled that they didn’t see how much work we could save ourselves. But eventually I took the back seat and jumped on this culturally-driven bandwagon.

And next Saturday I’ll be up at 4 a.m. to start the chicken grilling.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Coffeegirl Book Club

A Severe Mercy - In Review

Over the past 12 weeks we’ve journeyed with Van and Davy through their young, pagan years marked by “inloveness”, into their days of considering and then encountering Christ, and then into the months of travailing the heart wrenching reality brought upon them. I have been challenged by many elements of Vanauken’s writing, frustrated at times with the exclusivity of his perspective, but primarily enriched by both the story as a whole and the detailed accounts of their journey that have been documents within the pages of A Severe Mercy.

Because we have been able to share our thoughts on the specifics of each chapter as we moved along, I am now most curious to hear how this book has impacted you. Did you learn anything about yourself, or your life perspectives? Were you surprised by anything that particularly caught your attention, or that annoyed you? If you were to recommend this book to someone else, what would you say about it?

Personally, now that I’ve stepped away from the details of the chapters, I’m left with an inspiration to live with much more intention in many aspects of my life. Jason and I have been talking about what our “Shining Barrier” should look like, when we could hold a “Navigator’s Council,” and identifying areas of “creeping separateness” that we want to address. I read this book a couple of years before I was married and was inspired in a totally different way than I am now; I am more appreciative of the practical applications than the somewhat elusive dreams that captured my heart the first time around.

I am inspired to pour myself out more fully in relationships with people around me. I loved the descriptions of the deep relationships that were established over long hours of conversation and fun with their friends in so many different settings. I feel inspired to delve into honest conversations like the ones shared between Van and Lewis' exchange of letters.

I am challenged to continue thinking deeply about my faith, considering the very real challenges and implications presented within the truths of Christianity. It is far too easy to forget the connection between reason and faith and simply live in a comfortable world of belief that the world around us may not understand.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book with you all, and am looking forward to a final round of comments before we bring this first season of the Coffeegirl Book Club to a close.

For those who are interested in another book club, it is currently under consideration - stay tuned for more information!


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