Monday, September 22, 2014

Exodus 15:2

The LORD is my strength and my song: He has become my salvation.  He is my God and I will praise Him, my father's God, and I will exalt Him.

From 1990 to 1994, my husband and I had the privilege of serving with Habitat for Humanity International in La Paz, Bolivia.  Our two young children were also part of the adventure.  The Habitat for Humanity project was a "project on paper."  That meant it was brand squeaky new and we were brand squeaky new International Partners, sent to Bolivia to get the project organized and up and going.

We soon learned that anxious landowners are eager, ready and raring to build.  But first, materials need to be purchased, experienced local house-builders need to be found, local landowners need to be organized into groups to work on each other's homes and local families that qualify for Habitat materials need to be selected.  This requires a local purchasing committee, a local money managing committee, and a local family selection committee, at the very least.

It took about a year to get all the committees organized and the materials bought.  We organized qualified families into groups of four.  The families worked on building each other's houses.

Towards the end of our time in Bolivia, the committees decided to celebrate the progress made by having a picnic for the committee members.  The houses we built were in the area known as El Alto.  El Alto is at 14,000 feet; barren, brown and cold.  It is where the poor live.  The better off Bolivians lived an hour down the mountain where there was grass, palm trees and balmy weather.  It was a real treat to go down the mountain and there is where the celebratory picnic would be held.

The barbecue grill was actually 1/2 of an oil barrel.  The park was unremarkable.  There was a fenced off area to play soccer and relax.  The picnic included barbecued chicken, local bread and pop.

I had picked my chicken bones pretty bare and was searching about for a trash can.  As I was searching, I was enjoying the feelings of belonging, of accomplishing so much together, of making a difference.

I had no luck finding a trash can and decided to look for a deserving dog for my scraps.  A member of one of the Habitat committees saw me searching about and said, "Why don't you give your scraps to that little girl over there by the fence?"

I know the pain the Grinch felt when his heart "grew two sizes."  I had not even seen the girl, much less thought of giving her my scraps.  I gave them to her.  She eagerly accepted them.  I felt like weeping for my bounty and my blindness.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Psalm 9:10

Those who know Your Name will trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.

My apologies for missing last week's blog entry!  Monday was a holiday and suddenly it was the weekend!  I nearly missed this week's entry due to battling a virus.  Another school year, another blast of germs!

I have come to realize in reviewing my diary that I am weaving a tale.  I will strive to share things with this purpose in mind.  Therefore, how's about another diary entry from 1990?  We left training in Georgia briefly to attend two weddings and visit family in Minnesota and North Dakota.  Our time of training in Georgia was winding down... 


We're back!  We had nine days of weddings, dancing, GREAT FOOD, visiting, driving, being wanted, being loved, being cared for and cared about!  Thank You Abba!  I'm going to nod off.  Thank you God for Your care of us.  It is complete.  Amen


Today in training we will cover construction.  I don't try to do all the readings.  Naughty me.  Hope I don't get "crawled."  I feel a lack of pressure and worry and concern.  Thank You Abba.  I'm glad I'm going through training with my thorough, detail oriented hubby.  He takes good care of me and the kiddies.  Because God loves us, we will be OK.  I like construction.  I'll get a hammer high, I hope!  I've cleared up my glasses, and hearing aid problems.  For now.  Which is enough!  Thank You Abba!  We talked with BD yesterday.  He has been with Habitat for Humanity for two months.  Everyone is new around here!

I'm looking forward to language school in Guatemala and settling down in our new home.

Fund raising should be enjoyable, too.  Speak for an hour and be free!  Hopefully with friends and family to enjoy it with us before we slip away.

I felt a welcome surge of "my parenting is just fine"yesterday.  More!  More!  It was a good feeling.  We all played Frisbee and swinging and sliding in the park.  It was oh-so-good. A. and I are good parents.  Thank you Abba!


Yesterday was construction.  We learned about the Wood Mizer; a portable saw mill.  Exciting idea and fun doing hands-on stuff.

Today we will be inside (Ah!).  It was HOT yesterday.

A. is doing his "till the end of class"countdown.  I'm enjoying each day as is.  I know class will be over in a flash.  I'm gonna miss these people!

Fundraising should be enjoyable and varied.  I'm definitely looking forward to getting settled in our new home.  With a routine and a stableness.  And living happily ever after.  I really feel good about Bolivia.  I want heat for our bedrooms, though I hope I'm happy even without it.  I feel we will have it pretty nice in La Paz, Bolivia, in a rental.  All the HFH partners that I've heard about that had rentals seemed to think it was good.

My worst scenario?  No heaters.  Cramped and crowded.  No place for the kids to play.  Dark.  Cloudy and windy everyday.  Dirty.  Smelly from pollution from the factories.  And sewage.

My best scenario?  Sunny.  Big rooms.  Heaters.  Electricity.  Water.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Psalm 63: 7 - 8

Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings.  My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.

By the grace of God, I have been married to A. for 34 years today.  Where did those years go?  Looks like it is time for a blast from the past.  Here is a diary excerpt from 06-25-90.  We were in training for HFH international in Americus, Georgia.  We would be shortly returning to ND for some family matters.


Yawn!  Been to daily devotions.  I thought I was awake.  Cool outside this morning.  Construction today.  Soil samples.

The devotion was if we are faithful in practicing the little things, the impossible becomes possible.

I, for one, am so sometimes overwhelmed by little things.

I need to invite a couple over for dinner.  I need to wash clothes.  I need to write to my grandma.  I forgot one of my hearing aides back in ND!  I do have my journal, my shoes and my hat!  Is my head screwed on???

I'm getting excited about our trip to ND on Thursday.  The drive back will seem unreal.  Hope it goes fast.

Hope we arrive looking not-too-wrinkled.  Maybe even sharp?  Alan will look great for the wedding.  I love him in a suit!


Happy Birthday A.!  I sure wish I knew how to make it special for you.  Shut up and quit complaining, I guess.  I hope he knows I love him.

I love the people in our class.  Individually and together.

Boy, what I would give to see what Alan writes today in his journal!



I glimpsed past journal entries while trying to find where I left off.  How real my faith in You is, when I see it on paper.

You are alive and real.  What more do I need?  What could I fear?

Today's daily group devotion was great, a potpourri:  I am stained by the blood of Jesus.  Forever.  Everyday.  Through and through.  It is well with my soul.  Amen

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Psalm 37:7

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him;  do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

This has been a wonderful summer.  I have dipped my toes into the following volunteer opps:  Ministry in the Margins (Food Pantry), Abused Adult Resource Center and Circle C Ranch.  There are the neatest people in our community a phone call away!

I am currently reading A Beautiful Mind about John Nash, mathematics and schizophrenia.  What a world, what a world!  I keep getting the impression that manic/depressive disorder and schizophrenia are kissing cousins.

I took a daring step in taking care of myself regarding a husband that loves me to pieces, provides for me in the nth degree, yet seems to be unable to articulate feelings, dreams, plans and thoughts.  I had a walk in the cemetery (one of my most favorite places!) and a lunch with a past social work professor.  I have always been intrigued by him.  He is articulate, has worked as a counselor in many settings, seems open and has a great sense of humor.  I pretty much asked him to be an example of an honest, decent man, who (by the way!) can talk, in my life.  We had a lovely walk, a great lunch, lots of laughs and found we had sexually molested childhoods in common.  And yes, my wise, wonderful girl friends, and my hubby are all informed of my daring-do.  I would like to type my professor's memoirs and help him to self publish.  We will see what develops.

Yesterday was my day for making connections.  I came home from my above mentioned lunchy-poo and there was a voicemail from my darlin' cousin in Minnesota!  We caught up on what our kiddies are doing.  Her college aged daughter would very much like to join our medical mission trip to Guatemala next year.  My cousin is o so not sure about the whole idea of letting her sweetie go.  I shared with her my recent angst over my daughter's rejection of my personality and my religion.  My cousin was very supportive of my parenting and I just feel blessed.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

John 10: 10 - 11

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Last weekend I went to Becoming an Outdoors Woman with my good friend of twenty years.  BOW is provided by North Dakota Game and Fish.  I learned how to use a compass, tie new knots and cook outside in a Dutch Oven.  It is good to know how to make something over charcoal besides toasted marshmallows and hot dogs.  The weather was lovely and new friendships were made.  BOW really has women figured out.  They gave us high quality cloth bags and then gave us other freebies to fill it!  What freebies, you ask?  A compass, a book on knots, cooking utensils, matches, fire starter, silk flowers, and a T-shirt!!!

As I have noted earlier, I am very grateful to God and my hubby for my new hearing.  I find myself wondering what I will do to show my gratefulness.  Which leads to the question of "What will I do with the rest of my life?"  I know this is a common question of people of a "certain age."  Ahem.

So, my friend and I mulled over this question into the wee hours of the night, instead of sleeping after a full day of BOW activities.  I don't know if she had any "a-hah!" moments.  The comforting thought that came to me was this:  I don't need to answer that question right now.

Then, wouldn't you know it, the following Tuesday Bible study focused on Martha.  You know, the hardworking follower of Jesus, the hostess with the mostest who got frustrated with her sister who didn't help her.  It seems to me Jesus told her she didn't need to DO anything.

I guess Jesus did it all.

How's about another blast from 1990?  We learned our Habitat for Humanity project would be in Bolivia, South America:

06-20-90 Wednesday

I'd like to be happy.  Move onward and upward.

Bolivia sounds downright cold and harsh and citified.

LORD, how did You manage to find the opposite of all I had hoped for?  The other choices for projects are hot and isolated and countrified.  I had hoped for beauty, moderate climate, flowers, birds and trees.

I feel lost.  What do I want now?  Are my priorities all screwed up and selfish?

Boliva pro's:
not hot
no malaria
hard working people
politically calm (?)
God's will (?)
near to medical care (?)
good food nearby (?)
new project
house-building materials handy (?)

Bolivia cons:
water not potable

06-21-90 Thursday

Dear Abba -

Bolivia. Peace. Happiness. Gratefulness. Humbleness.  Thank You for Your patience as I slowly let go of "I Want" and "Me."  Thank You for the return of the feeling of rightness.  Thank You that I can look my children in the eye and know I am not leading them into KNOWN problems like malaria, tropical heat (and all its charms) and isolation.  Thank You for Your faithfulness for all Your people.

The project hasn't been approved yet.  That is in Your hands.  If it is indeed Your will and we get this project, I rejoice in the fact that a woman is wanted there.  I am an important part of the package.  My husband and me and the kids together.  You are so good.  I will give You thanks with all my heart.  I will tell of Your wonderful deeds.  I will rejoice and be glad in Thee.  I will sing praise to Your Name, Most High.

Lead me, Abba.  Thanks for Your persistence.  Let me and mine be Your hands and feet and voice.  Amen

Monday, August 4, 2014

Colossians 4:2

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

I am thankful for any interest shown in this blog.  I want to be watchful in that I am "up front" about what will be shared.  Therefore, I will reassess my niche in this world of blogging.

What special something do I have to share?

I was born in 1953 without ear canals or ear drums.  At the age of 60, I am the happy owner of bone anchored hearing aids.  I am hearing better than I have heard in my life.  Every morning is like Christmas morning as I look forward to hearing things I missed before.

I was born in Alexandria Virginia into a family of origin that included the trials and tribulations of a father with bipolar disorder.  My father sexually molested me.  My mother died at age 38 from cancer.  I was sent to live with her parents on a diary farm in Minnesota shortly thereafter.  My grandfather died from cancer a few years after my arrival.  I had a bit of an Anne of Green Gables upbringing as I competed with milk cows for my hardworking grandmother's attention.

I have generalized anxiety disorder, which is managed by Paxil and prayer.  I love to go on "walk abouts" with my camera.  I am very interested in geocaching.  I am a voracious reader of biographies and autobiographies.  I believe in the goodness of God.  I have a ragdoll cat that I love with abandon.  His name is Beamer because he often "beams in" out of nowhere.

The marriage I share with my husband of few (very few!) words has been a challenge to us both.  We have two brilliant children.  Our daughter lives far, far away in Germany.  We daily learn from our son, who has Asperger's Syndrome. 

During our marriage, we have lived in Australia, Guatemala, and Bolivia.  We were in Bolivia, South America, working with Habitat for Humanity International.  We had the privilege of helping 100 families build 100 homes.  We travel annually to Guatemala with a medical missions team.

God willing, I hope to blog my memoirs and day to day treasures.  Forthwith, here is some random loveliness encountered on today's urban walk-about, my son and my cat!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Matthew 22:37

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Just returned from a six day visit with my best friend forever in Duluth.  Let me say it is ever so easy to love the LORD my God when I am with my friend.  We both enjoy talking about how good He is.  She is celebrating each day of being cured of Hepatitis C.  I am celebrating my new life of hearing with ease.

We rented a quad bike near Lake Superior, with her daughter.  The three of us went down gradual slopes and back up, muscling along and doing the work of four.  Her darling hubby came home from work the first day bearing wine and beer.  Such a sweetie.  Later on, we indulged in our ritual of eating smoked fish, cheese, crackers and fruit in her car, facing a fantastic view of the lake called Superior.  My friend has a hobby of photography and a snazzy new camera.  We committed our memories of Gooseberry Falls to film.  Including a sweet pair of newlyweds.  She in white and he in uniform.  It was classic.

We did devotions.  We walked my friend's dogs.  We talked.  We laughed.  We cried.  We watched the "Joy Luck Club," "A Beautiful Mind," and "Shadow Recruit."  She spoiled me rotten with her cooking and the use of their downstairs apartment.  It was a lovely, lovely time.  A taste of heaven, I am sure.

God has a way of sending the right book my way.  I am presently reading The Map of Enough, One Woman's Search for Place, by Molly Caro May.  She is a philosophical young woman who sees herself as a nomad.  This mindset began with her family of origin, with whom she frequently transferred from country to country.  Her outlook remains the same as she travels through life.  The main event her nonfiction book covers is the time she and her fiance built a yurt on her parent's Montana property.  There is also a pre-existing cabin on the property with heat, water and electricity.  The couple split their time between the yurt at night and the cabin during the day.  The author savored the free time, once the yurt was built.  But for her fiance, time "would open like a black hole beneath him every few days."  I can identify with the fiance.  And yet when she writes "I liked not having to respond to anything or anyone."  I say "Amen sistah!"

Thank you LORD for this glorious, free summertime!  Amen.