Monday, July 30, 2012


This is not a story, but it is "me"... and describes how I have become one "rocky" woman. Here's the poem I wrote about 20 years ago.  It's worth a chuckle or two.

Scripture says, “the rocks ... cry out” --
(My out-of-context translation)
And they did.
[They really did!]

I planned to not take some home.
(That is what I planned!)
But they would have none of it.
They shouted to me
to rescue them -- take them away --
away from battering waves and
freezing blasts of wind --
Shouted with colors
and sparkles
and barnacle-patterned mouths.

And I !!stopped!! --
oh, just for a moment --
just for a short glance.

And they grabbed me --
my heart, my soul, my arm --
and forced me to pick them up --
until they over-flowed,
first hand-- and then pocket,
and finally made a temporary lodging
pouched in my over-sized sweatshirt.

[Taking me to the shore and saying “no rocks” --
is akin to taking a
to a penny-candy store and saying,
“We’re only looking.”]


At a Lake Superior beach I sat on rocks, happily, at Minnesota Tettegouche State Park.  Today, a large number rocks live in my house and yard [and car and backpack and jackets, and purses].  Sometimes I have thought I should stop bringing rocks home... from our States and other countries [Uganda, England, Costa Rica, Morocco]... but they simply can't be set aside.  I love them too much. [Hope God keeps a few in Paradise.... just for me.]

Tell Me a Story

Friday, July 27, 2012






Tuesday, July 24, 2012


After spending a bit over 2 weeks in various locations, and needing to be ready to hit the airport early the next day, we were put on a train in Marrakech to go to Casablanca for the final night.   It was a 3-hour ride.

When we were on the train, doors to compartments were opened and we were placed inside.  I was the only one of our group that was placed in one that had 3 various-aged ladies and 2 kids.

That's when the miracle began.

Rajah, the mother of the boy, Joseph, 15, and the girl, Miriam, 11, spoke English quite well.  Since I spoke just a little French and only a greeting word or two of Arabic, the opportunity to visit would have been very limited.  Instead, it would be one neat opportunity to share and learn more.  I was excited.

In a very short period of time, after she knew I was from the States, she told me she had been there for some time while her husband was in a college for a Master's Degree in Forestry and that now he was the Agricultural Ministry leader.  I asked where they had been.  She said, "Moscow, Idaho."

I could do nothing but laugh in amazement.  I told her that back in 1963, I had gone to Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.  It was only 7 miles from my college to Moscow, slightly across the Idaho border.  Rajah was just shocked at that nearness of our lives, that I would actually understand where she was and what it was like to walk through it.

Her son, Joseph, had been born there.  She said when they were leaving at the airport many of their friends and associates from school came to see them off.  She was so touched by them, by their caring.

Rajah and her kids fed me and fed me and fed me as the sales person came past the door with piles of cookies and sodas and chips.  I was one appreciated and blessed lady.

She gave me her address and phone number, but I've never been able to follow through, and I'm really sorry about that.  I think we would be good friends. 

That three-hour visit was one of the most wonderful events that occurred, not only in Morocco, but in my life.  It was so obvious that the Lord had planned it and put it into place, and then He just watched from above and grinned.  I still grin back.

[I hope Rajah is grinning, too, and that she also feels gifted by the Lord and blessed.] 

 It's obvious the camera didn't work well in the compartment... too much sun flashing through and the film damaged somehow.  I still love seeing them, because I remember how blessed I was by their kindheartedness.  [And, actually, just FYI, there is an elderly lady hiding behind that curtain.  She was afraid of being photographed, since it was against her belief system.]


When in Soroti, Uganda, during the Joseph Kony rebel damage, God dropped a young girl into the lives of me and my co-"minister" Jill. An aid worker for a Ugandan organization wanted to help in the girl's situation, but couldn't, and Kevina laid it in our laps. When we followed through, our lives changed. The girl was at the local hospital caring for her brother ... she was guesstimated at 12, and he was 14. We met and cared for them on Wednesday.  He died during surgery on Thursday night. 
Her parents had died and other family members couldn't help. After her brother's death, the local authorities gave us permission to take her back to the orphanage with us, a much different district area nearly 200 miles away, and we left for Christmas break the following week.

The assumption was that she would be added to a family group home. That changed before we reached the orphanage. My Ugandan son and daughter-in-law, Sam and Adhe, picked the three of us up in Kampala, a couple hours from New Hope.
Before we reached there, Adhe had "adopted" the girl ... and for eight years, she has lived in this family. Her whole life changed: From -- little or no education, no daily care, ragged or nearly non-existent clothing, little food, no medical care, and working incessantly to the bone because of the others' expectations and her servant-heart attitude. To -- a good education, good food and nice clothes, medical care, and a totally sold-out mother and father, and young sister, and "Aunt" Jill, and piles and piles of friends. And, yes, she still does chores, but not in the harshness of her former life.

Before we reached New Hope that evening, Adhe had changed her name from something informal and "nick-namey" to Rebekah. When we discovered this the next day, Jill wanted her also to be called "Sanyu" because it means "joy" and we saw it flowing from Rebekah constantly, even when she was in the hospital caring for her brother. I presented that idea to Adhe, and she immediately applied it and "our" girl is Rebekah Sanyu.

The reason I'm telling this is because when I returned home several weeks later, I was very sick... Post traumatic stress from what I'd seen and heard in that refugee area; many physical problems connected to exhaustion, malnutrition, sleep deprivation and malaria; emotional residue from the separation from my husband, having spent 2-1/2 months without him, except for the occasional phone call [he came the last two weeks, which caused great rejoicing among many of our family and friends, and my heart could relax again]; AND the overall cost for that 3 months came to approximately $6,000, not exactly a "cheap date."

About three months later, Sam and I were talking on the phone. I was feeling better, doing OK. And I said to him, "Sometimes I think the main reason the Lord called me to Soroti was to get Rebekah and give her to you." My son, knowing all that we had gone through, and not taking any of it lightly, said he agreed and ended with, "... and it was worth it, Mom."

Now, why is July part of this after all these years?  It's a big natural birthday month for me.  A nephew, myself, my Twin granddaughters, my half-brother, half-sister, Sam and his daughter Stella.  Filled with people.

And there's another one.  When Rebekah was taken into the family, no one knew when she was born.  Comments from side-family members in Soroti had guesstimated that she was about 12 years old, as I mentioned before.

Here's a photo of Sam and our dear granddaughter. It was taken just a couple days after she reached the orphanage, and wore bright "kid" clothes [nothing compared to the large "old woman" dress she was wearing when Jill and I met her a week earlier].
Before Dave and I left Uganda, I was told that after everything Sam and Adhe had begun to walk through with her, they had decided that her birthday would be July 9th.  The reason?  It was my birthday and now she was my granddaughter, so she was given to me as a forever ever birthday gift.  I've been blessed beyond belief.

Would so love to go over and see her now.  So much has changed for her in appearance, education, and loved ones.  I just turned 67; she just became 20.  Still in school, but she has gone forward so quickly, since she had hardly any education until she was "12".  What a blessing.

You can become July-ful by visiting Peter Pollock's Word Carnival.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Niki was my first sister... in the next 3-pushing-4 years of births, Patti, Teri, and Betty arrived.  Kristan came about 5 years after those girls, when I was 13.

OK.  That basic info begins the story.

As I've indicated in many posts, we were raised in an intense and abusive home.  When it came to being responsible for my sisters, which began when I was 6 and Niki was a toddler and Patti was an infant, it didn't take long before I became a very angry babysitter. To be honest, I don't remember too much about their individuality in those beginning years, but overall, some became very angry, too, and were young fighters.

I actually don't remember whether  Niki was like that.  She had a less intense personality at times than the rest of us.  She observed some elements differently.  I used to think -- sometimes angrily -- that she lived in another world.  Niki rarely was a "go for the throat" kind of person, which I had almost always been.

The Lord broke into my life, and I came to Him when I was 20.  Five years later, when she was 19, and had just gone through a horrific violent experience while out and about one day, a lady, whose kids Nik was caring for, led her to the Lord right after Niki returned to their house.

Because my family lived in Tacoma, WA, and I had been shifted to Redwood City, CA area, Omaha, NE, and Edmond, OK, and was fairly poor, I rarely saw my family between 1969 and 1985. In those days, as you probably know, letters and long distance calls [calls quite expensive in those days] were the only ways to keep in touch.  In our family, it didn't happen often, because all of us were poor and addictions and other forms of abuse were still taking place.  Communication was not an easy aspect of life for us.

In the late '70s, during my first visit in several years, spending some nice time with Niki, she really re-entered my heart.

A couple weeks ago, I was re-reading journal papers stacked in my file cabinet, and I came across a poem I had written to Niki about 30 years ago.

When I had read that poem recently,  it made me grin... and I hope you will grin, too.


Oh, how we teased you
When you were a kid
Mostly, for scattered brain
Things that you did.

The fur-trimmed o'rnge hat
In the school pic you wore.
And saying your sentences
Backwards to fore.

The time that your teacher said,
"Draw me a pot."
'T weren't a flower or tea,
But a toilet she got.

The birds and the bees
Were nearly in peril
When you said the male frog
Makes the laid eggs be sterile.

I had laughed through the years
At the things that you said.
I have laughed right out loud
When they popped in my head.

But I want to tell you,
For what it's worth,
You're the best-hearted person
On our Lord's good earth.

Your spirit's so gentle.
Your love is so stout.
So certain that goodness
Will always win out.

Standing up tall for the
Things you believe.
Never allowing the false 
To deceive.

Although I can't see you --
And miss you a LOT --
I thank our Lord often
For what we have got.

For we aren't just sisters,
But friends -- strong and true --
With heaven to share in
When this life is through.


I posted when her 60th birthday was occurring in 2010.  It was my gift to her and her family.  It's long, but it isn't too boring.  It would let you come to know and understand the lives of both of us.


Tell Me a Story

Thursday, July 19, 2012


 I posted most of this about 2 years ago.  During this past year so many new blog friends have asked me if I live in the Northwest because of the Mountain.  I've explained the reason for my photo several times to individuals, but decided this would be a good way to fill in the gaps.  So... here goes.

During worship at my church here in Omaha, the last song was I Stand in Awe of You. It's one I like, but I had no idea it was going to overwhelm me. As soon as the lyrics showed on the screen, so did Mount Rainier.-- [An especially wonderful treat to swarm my heart and eyes here in the not-overly-hilly place] -- A beautiful picture. My favorite sight ... period. Even though I've been blessed to see wonderful, breath-takingly beautiful scenery in other places in the States and the world ... this one is "it" for me. My sisters who live in the Northwest have told me that when they see the Mountain in all its glory they think of me and how much I would enjoy that particular sight at that particular moment in time.

I have lots of photos of the Mountain, but even the best of them lacks the true reality of the view.

Back in March, 2003, while I was in Tacoma, checking up on my Mom, a time when seeing the Mountain is not so frequent because of the cloudy spring days, I was seldom able to have the blessing of seeing it. However, there were a couple of times... and I wrote some less-than-wonderful prose/poetry about it. But decided that I would pop it your direction and you can laugh/roll your eyes and wonder about my addictive personality -- well not "wonder" about it, but have it proven once again.



I’ve pleaded with The Creator for just one more look -
Climbed atop my car in a parking lot to take a photo
 sans poles and power lines.

I’ve begged for a seat on the Mountain side of a plane
so I could gaze
 just one more time
 When exiting the Cascade Mountain range.


I’m not sure why any of this is true.
Maybe I have a hole in my faith 
that needs visual reminders
that no matter the problems
or the challenges

The God Who made the Mountain –

Can handle my molehills.


I’ve never thought of myself as a “groupie”
I’m not easily OVERimpressed.
But, today,
on a plane –
rubbernecking and photographing –
I realized

I am an unabashed,
uncontrolled, uninhibited, overawed
Mount Rainier groupie.

I don’t, like some, worship the Mountain,
I worship the Maker of the Mountain –

He who made the rain –
Made Mount Rainier.
I’m so glad He did.


Seattle to Bremerton --

I despaired of never seeing
“my” Mountain 
during the weeks-long visit –

Too many gray days,
overcast, clouds plumping
around the sky edges...

BUT – on the ferry – out on Puget Sound –
we broke ‘round an island
in majesty

SHE rose off the horizon
– Center stage –
Robed in Light.

[I was ready to jump up and down 
and scream with delight!]

If you’ve never seen The Mountain –
You can’t possibly understand
the rush of awe, of joy,
I find with every encounter.

Monday, July 16, 2012


So, this is the story.  A really fun one.

I was in Morocco, April, 2001, on a prayer journey with hundreds of us -- from the States, Europe, and Africa -- going around and about in tour buses, visiting a variety of towns, going to the markets, sharing with anyone who would listen to us, and worshiping on rooftops and singing sometimes on street corners.

Our bus had about 30 of us.  Eleven had come from California, four from western Colorado, and five of us from Omaha.  The other 10 were YWAM-ers from southern Spain who had come across the Mediterranean to be part of our team.  I couldn't have imagined the joy with the "pray-ers" or the scenery or meeting dear, dear Moroccans.

We had been in Casablanca, 

 and Fez,



Bene Mellal.

 It was interesting, to say the least, and times filled with intensive worship and prayer.

Then, while traveling towards Marrakech, the bus suddenly pulled over and a new life began.  A whole bunch of camels were lingering along the side of the road and off into the side lot.  We were given the fun time to touch them, pet them, hug them.  AND they put up with us. 

We had been going through tough, heavy heart and spirit times... and more coming up ... but this was plain old fun.

A bit later, we DID head for Marrakech.  One of the most spiritually challenging towns in the world, according to some teachers, and I certainly recognized that very quickly...  but it also became my favorite place.   I would love to go back there!

And Casablanca on lovely evenings.

Really, really....

Tell Me a Story

Friday, July 13, 2012

PSALM 65:8

You make the places 
 where morning
  and evening
 have birth to
  shout for joy...