Thursday, June 30, 2016

My California Closet Girl

 For a long time we have thought that the girl in the California Closets advertisement looks like Jane.
What do you think?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Photogenic Foot

Fritz photography

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Obedience that Leads to Net Ripping

It was a striking new lesson for me when I reread Luke chapter 5. Simon Peter, James and John were called into obedience by Jesus on the Lake of Galilee. He told these tired men to put their nets in the deep water, the place of risk. They tried to reason with him, "Oh, Lord, we have fished all night and caught nothing." But even though circumstantially it made no sense to obey Jesus, they chose to do as he said. When the fishermen had let down their nets in the deep water, the fish caught were so abundant that the nets began to rip and the boats began to sink. STOP. Wait.

Did Luke 5 really say their nets began to rip and their boats began to sink? Do you know what that meant to me? Following Jesus, obeying Jesus' word can cause human disasters. I have lived there in the questioning, and I've seen the holes in my net and I've felt the boat under me vying to drown me. In that moment it is easy to ask why the Giver of good gifts didn't prevent my net from ripping, my boat from sinking. I become so inwardly focused by the fact that my very survival tool is ripped that I forget to see the abundance of new blessings in my torn expectations. I don't see beautiful, wriggling fish; I see more work when I'm already tired. I see my safety net is now useless, and the boat I thought dependable is slogging low in the water.

What if following Jesus' call on my life leads to many net rippings? Will I trust him? Will I come to realize that he wants to expand my net, bigger than my perception, bigger than my dreams? Will I come to accept that he has a better boat for me?

As I saw the Scripture again as if for the first time, I felt like frugal fishermen would probably mend their nets. The visibility of a patched net gives us a tangible reminder of the moment Christ showed up in all his Glory and the fish in the sea responded to his call.  Jesus wants us to look on the unmatched rope woven into the painful rips in our nets to be reminded that when he gives, he gives in an overabundance. He wants us to have a memory for how His generosity has no bounds, and it will always rip human limits.

In my mortal eyes and in a senseless state, I often can't see that the rips are divine.  Instead I become fearful that Jesus gave me something bigger than what I think I can handle. I understand how Peter could tell Jesus to depart from him, because I too have been overwhelmed by Jesus gifting in my sinful state. Jesus is lavish when we least deserve it.  His character drives us to our knees.

Will I ever get to the place where I live in such fellowship with Jesus that I invite him to rip my net and sink my boat to fulfill his purposes? Will I gratefully accept "disastrous obedience"? 

Remarkably, Jesus still speaks to my fears, "Don't be afraid." Oh, how he loves me. Oh, how he longs for me to beach my former boat and leave my limiting net in a tangle. May my actions say, "You are still worth losing follow."

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Look into My Eyes

and tell me I'm not cute.                                   (Fritz photogrpahy)

The eye of the camera                               (Fritz)


Jane asked Fritz to photograph her favorite stuffed animals.


The eye of a droplet  (Fritz)

Can you even see my eyes?         (Fritz)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

June Reunion

A seven year friendship (age 10, 11, 12).  Emily and Jane celebrated their June birthdays with a visit from an out-of-town friend.

Birthday Lass Makes a Splash

splashy 12

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Bad Person Meets a Bulgarian

Little did I know that as I sent Alex to Africa, God was sending me a man from Bulgaria.  This week I had a divine appointment at the airport that I knew nothing about.  There are no coincidences in my Master's timetable.  The fact that it took Alex x-number of minutes to check three heavy suitcases bound for Uganda, x-number of minutes to pray over him one last time, x-number of minutes to watch him snake through the security line is not lost on me.  It took x-number of seconds to wait for the elevator back downstairs where Beth, Luke and I would catch the bus back to remote parking.  It took x-number of seconds to wait for the sliding glass doors to part and x-number of seconds to file into the departing bus.  As we sat in the very front of the bus facing the inner aisle, a seemly nondescript man climbed aboard and sat down across from me.  Later as he shook my hand, I realized how only God could orchestrate such a meeting, because to put the man across from me also depended on the man's schedule to take x-number of minutes to exit his plane, x-number of minutes to claim his luggage, x-number of minutes to find the nearest exit which happened to put us in seats facing each other on the same bus at precisely the same time. 

Let me tell you that God cares about the lost with a passion.  It all started when this man asked Luke if he spoke English.  Well, when you really don't, it is hard to reply.  Luke looked confused.  I chimed in, "No, he doesn't understand very much.  He has only been in the US for three months." Then the floodgates of common experience, unleashed the lips of the man who also immigrated to America.  He told me he was from Bulgaria and asked me if I knew where it was.  I told him that I had studied Eastern European politics in college, and my brother had taken trips to his neighbor Romania.  The man was surprised that I was more educated than many Americans about his part of the world.  We talked about Communism, and he told me how people had eaten back then.  We talked about learning a language as difficult as Hungarian, Russian or Estonian.  He told me an enchanting Bulgarian proverb his father use to tell him, "You can't fatten a pig in two days."  He told me that meat was so expensive that they rarely had it.  When Christmas festivities began, they would butcher their pig, but it had to be diligently fattened through the year rather than just the two days before you feasted.  He told me language learning was like that.  Mr. Bulgaria liked to talk, and I liked asking questions.  Then the man wanted to know more about my major and asked me why there is so much fighting in the world.  I told him that it was because the human heart is never satisfied, and wants what it doesn't have and tries to take what someone else has.  Oh, the uproar.  He defied my statement in saying that the majority of humans are innately good. 

Well, it seemed pretty clear that I needed to introduce Mr. Bulgaria to his "first baddie", myself.  He was appalled when I admitted,  "I am a bad person."  I then went on to tell him about Jesus dying on the cross for my badness and that I was so grateful that Jesus knew my inner badness and still chose to die for me.  I didn't do anything to deserve that love.  He reproached me as a man born in '48 could and quite ironically huffed, "It is a SIN to call yourself bad.  Who told you that you were bad?"  I told him that Jesus came to help me choose good, but on my own I was bad to the bone.  This man of years with silver hair was growing more uncomfortable that this sweet-looking young lady who brought children from around the world into her home could consider herself bad.  I was educated and should have known better.   The crazy thing that day is where I picked up that bus meant we had to travel through many terminals before we reached the remote parking.  God gave me time to share the good news and make a fellow traveler on this earth hopefully question some deep-seated beliefs that we can work our way to heaven.    I hope my friend, the Bulgarian, will become the Bad Person, and by personal confession know the wondrous exchange which happened on the cross.  I pray that as we waved goodbye in the parking lot, he will come to realize the divine appointment God made for him that day was because Christ made himself sin so that we could become the righteousness of God.  Alleluia!