Thursday, September 25, 2008

Room for Dessert

I'm craving dessert

A fresh-baked
fruit pie
a la mode

would top off this week
would top off the last year

I am tired
But even more than tired
I am weary

Isn't the fruit harvest ready
to be picked
after all the harvesting
after all the







Pie would bring





Where is the fruit
When will it produce
Enough to be plucked
And turned into pie

I'm full of the appetizers
the breadsticks,
soup and salad
And ready for dessert

Where there is always room

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

83 Ice Cream Cones

Today is National Ice Cream Cone Day.
We (the RA staff) served up 83 ice cream cones in the Rug Room to celebrate with our residents.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Violence in Bolivia

A good friend commented today on how good it was to be asked about Africa, the continent she visited a year and a half ago that changed her life. She said how refreshing it was to be asked about Africa - something that is so near and dear to her heart that she doesn't get to talk about very much for the simple reason that no one asks.

Well, friend, I know what you mean.

Bolivia. I was there 15 months & 1 day ago.
4 months that rocked my world.

I just spent the last half hour reading some blog entries of my friends who are still missionaries in El Alto. Cara (my Servant Team coordinator) just emailed me about current unrest in Bolivia.

My heart continues to ache for the people of B-Land.
They are land-locked and poverty stricken. And now this:

Monday, September 15, 2008


It was neatly written in pink chalk on the concrete slab under the bridge. The message could easily be read by the hundreds of people who sat on the grass because of the enormity of the letters. Though the letters were huge, the message was even bigger: "You are not forgotten. Jesus loves you."

My flat feet are not conducive to spending long hours standing or running around, so the gift certificate for a spa pedicure was an enjoyable gift from my supervisors. My toenail polish looks pretty, but it's the foot massage that I really cared about.

I slept in, sat in a massage chair, soaked my feet, ate a delicious lunch with a good friend, and then headed to the park under the Washington/Jefferson St. bridge to meet up with my church.

I came prepared with my hair-cutting scissors and a comb.

And then a woman approached me and asked about the empty basins and towels that were set up. I looked around, expecting someone to be present at the station - no one was. It's because I was the foot washer.

My heart softened immediately as I realized how perfect this opportunity was. So, without skipping a beat, I set down my scissors (aka my agenda) and beckoned her to follow me. I filled up a basin and waited for her to roll up her jeans. I lifted her stiff legs and began to rub water on her shins as her feet soaked. Her skin was spotted and her scabs and scars told stories of things she might not ever say out loud, at least not to a stranger like me.

I did my best with my hands, but I needed a scrub brush to remove all the caked on dirt that embedded itself in her dry, cracked callouses. I worked on her heels for a long time, stopping a few times to add a few more pumps of soap to loosen the grime.

"This feel so good." she noted over and over again. I silently agreed, glancing at my own freshly-massaged feet.

A man lingered nearby, commenting on how "biblical" this all was, and how he'd never seen a church do something like this. I smiled and invited him to be next. He politely declined but walked by several times saying "oh no, that's not for me. You don't need to touch my feet." I told him that foot massages feel so good and that he was missing out. He nervously chuckled and left... only to return 3 more times before finally consenting.

As I dried Denise's feet with a fluffly, white towel, she remarked at the difference a little foot bath had made for her feet. I couldn't scrub all the dirt off, but they did look much better. I massaged lotion into her feet while I told her the story of how Jesus washed his disciples feet, and quoted the familiar scripture "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news." I asked her how I could pray for her, and she mentioned her emotional well-being as well as her alcohol addiction.

I put my arm around her and prayed for Denise. I claimed that God hadn't forgotten her and would take care of her every need. I prayed that she'd feel loved and hopeful. I gave her a hug and noticed tears in her eyes. She thanked me and then disappeared.

Dave was next. He had just gotten his hair cut at a different station, saying he was going for the "I'm going to get a job" kind of look. After I washed his feet and prayed with him, I shook his hand. He said it was symbolic of a hug.

Then Eldy, a man who had been walking the coast out in Florence for quite some time. He was new to the Eugene area and he inquired all about Northwest Christian University when I told him what I did. He complimented my brownish-greenish eyes and called me beautiful.

Then another Denise, who tells people on the street that her name is Angela. Angela was a nickname given to her by her grandfather when she was a baby, because he told her she looked angelic in her crib with a lightbeam encircling her small head. She's been living in her truck for 4 years with her husband and requested prayer for a job and place to live.

These people touched my heart on Saturday and I've been thinking about them ever since.

I found a place of honor at their feet as I sat on a metal crate with my hands in the dirty water.

A freshman in my First Year Seminar class shared a lectio divina this afternoon with some song lyrics by Brandon Heath:
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the brokenhearted
Wasn't it far beyond my reach?
Give me your heart for the once forgotten,
Give me your eyes so I can see

These people may have felt forgotten in the past, but they were remembered on Saturday.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Uninhibited Worship

I prayed this morning, thanking You for such a free place to worship.

Where we can unload our baggage at the door.

I pictured a person standing just outside the main doors, peeling off layers, lifting off heavy shoulder bags, piling them up on the sidewalk outside. Cautiously walking inside, feeling a bit naked and self conscious without all their stuff.

And then realizing how FREE (a-ha!) it is to enter uninhibited.

To worship.

Sunday evening thoughts

I'm tired.
...of feeling misunderstood
...of making mistakes
...of falling flat on my face
...of not having a private life (it's rather impossible because of where I live)

I ache.
...for things said and unsaid.
...for how things were, for how things are, for how things will be
...for the thousands of miles that separate me from St. Louis learn something new for ME instead of how it might benefit someone else
...for peace.

3 weeks in, and the honeymoon is over.
Gossip runs rampant.
First year students spent 3 weeks discovering what they had in common with each other, and now they are discovering how different they are and what they don't like about each other.

It's all very messy.

I walked up to the 2nd floor and someone posted James 3:3-6 on the entrance. Words have power. The tongue is the most powerful thing in the world; why do we use it so carelessly?

Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

"But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It's from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, lies, thefts, and cussing. That's what pollutes." (Matthew 15:17-20)

It's the state of the heart.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Charge to the RAs

The evening before all the new students arrived on campus, Kirsten and I organized a commissioning service in the chapel for our student leaders. We worshiped and prayed together and I got to give them the following charge. This compilation of verses accurately depicts my vision for the RAs and it was wonderfully appropriate to share with them.

Charge to the Northwest Christian University "Dream Team" RA Staff
Chad, Jed, Brandon, Alana, Justine, Alana, Jessica
August 22, 2008

Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times, pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive with hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they are happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.

Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God, "I'll take care of it."

Our scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Romans 12:9-21 (The Message)

(A Litany of Humility)
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me!
From the desire of being esteemed,From the desire of being loved,From the desire of being extolled,From the desire of being honored,From the desire of being praised,From the desire of being preferred to others,From the desire of being consulted,From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,From the fear of being despised,From the fear of suffering rebukes,From the fear of being falsely accused,From the fear of being forgotten,From the fear of being ridiculed,From the fear of being wronged,From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I,That others may be esteemed more than I,
That, in the opinion of the world,Others may increase that I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred before me in everything,That others become holier than I,Provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Conversations lately

A taste of my conversations lately:
Some of which have been follow-up from last year... leaps forward, a few steps back.
Some of which give me so much purpose for why I'm here.
Some affirming.
Some challenging.
Some humbling, honoring, encouraging, and uplifting.
Some hurtful, heard-to-hear, confusing, and agonizing.
Some heart-hurting, some heartwarming.

Lord, may my ears hear these children like you do. May my words resound with grace and my actions with love.

Tired already

I've been tired all week.

I seem to have forgotten how exhausting it is to be "ON" so much. My summer schedule was so different and I was confined to my office cubicle for most of the day. Now, however, I am running from one thing to the next and wondering how I'll ever regain the stamina needed to make it through the next 9 months.

Monday was Labor Day and Residence Life sponsored a BBQ in the quad.

Tuesday night was a mandatory hall meeting for all the residents so Jocelyn (my new boss) and I visited each hall with a bag of candy & dry erase markers for their whiteboards. We both answered some questions such as "are nerf gun wars allowed in the hall?" I invited them all to my apartment next Tuesday evening for some homemade cookies. Each hall's dynamics are so different. Hendricks Hall greeted me with squeals and applause. The men's hall was indifferent to my presence except that I brought candy. I felt intimidated by those that are clearly "too cool for school."

My day yesterday started off with 3 one-on-ones and then I held my first staff meeting last night from 7-9pm. I worked until 6 and then laid down on my bed, dreading the upcoming meeting because I didn't feel like being 'peppy' for 2 more hours. I opened my door, though, and energy poured in. I really do appreciate this year's RAs; they really care for each other. We began by playing a hand-slapping game while laying on the carpet. Then we shared some encouraging words about encounters or conversations or quiet time over the course of the past few days.

We busted through some nit-picky paperwork-y things and spent some time brainstorming about events and programs that would reach our student body. I really pushed them on some "green" ideas and poverty awareness/global issues/spiritual truths. I dangled the bait for some really cool program ideas and I'm hoping a few of them will bite it and run with it. Sometimes it's hard not to take over and do programs myself, but I know it's not my job nor do I have the energy.

I'm enjoying this quiet morning to myself. I ate some instant oatmeal in the Caf by myself, checked to make sure the washer and dryer were functioning properly on the women's hall, and now I'm lounging in my Mary Chair, enjoying the chance to sit and be still.