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Talls and Smalls.

July 27, 2015





The Chinese exchange students timidly walked through our home.  Eight kids was kind of blowing their minds. I started to think this was a bad idea.  I could not imagine a whole week of these quiet people tip toeing through our home.  My mind started to reel at how exactly I could back out of this.  Every interaction between us and them seemed awkward.  I told my HusBen that I was getting overwhelmed and I was doubting this whole adventure.   A few hours after they unpacked their bags they ventured down into our music room…”Excuse me… I play your guitar please?”

I looked up confused.  But truthfully I was just glad they were talking.

The tall one pointed at the wall of guitars.

“ummm… you play?” I wondered if perhaps she had never seen one and just wanted to try it out.

Talls nodded and I handed it to her.   She sat down and she blew our minds and expectations away….”Hold…Hold on a second… let me get you a better guitar….,” my HusBen went into his special stash of guitars in humid proof cases….”here this one is a 1956 Martin.”

It turns out the Talls is a classically trained guitarist.  It turns out Smalls is an amazing singer… like an angel that one!  At the farewell performance Talls  was the host of the evening and she worked the crowd making jokes in English and in Chinese.  She also did a guitar solo that wowed everyone.  Tiny little Smalls sang  in Chinese with another guy who was no match for her talented range.  Only five of the 40 students performed… and our Chinese girls did most of it!

Needless to say they were a perfect fit.  I miss them already.  I learned so much.  Talls and Smalls  visited New York City, Washington DC and Philly while they stayed with us… but when I asked them about their favorite part  of  America  they both answered, “Being here… staying with you and going to the pool.”

Things I am forever grateful for from our time together…

  • Talls reading the Jesus StoryBook Bible during church…each page read can never be undone.
  • Evenings with all TEN kids playing kickball in the backyard
  • Placing my two year old daughter onto the hip of  the Chinese chaperone who has always wanted to have more than one child… but isn’t allowed.
  • Smalls always trying to teach me how to pronounce her last syllable in her name… which I still can’t do.
  • Being proud as any mother when the girls performed at the show.
  • The kids hanging out  and playing UNO and watching America’s Got Talent.
  • Our conversations about how things really are for women in China.
  • Teaching them to swim and all that goes with it.
  • How He always brings just the right people to our home.
  • Instagram and social media and how Talls and Smalls and our family get to stay connected.
  • Every single Word that He told me to covertly speak into their lives.
  • Teaching them the ancient American art of s’mores  and then glow stick hide and seek on our last night.


Our Very First Horse Show

July 12, 2015












I stood in the stands at the first show of my daughter and watched the horses swat flies with long braided tails.  Some kids slouched in the saddle as the summer heat melted them  beneath black helmets.  My daughter didn’t flinch.  Her smile did not waver.  She is built for this.  I looked through the long lens of my camera and the only movement I saw was her eyes flicker and look right back at me.  Each horse stepped forward for their ribbon and I realized Yen had not received one.  My eyebrows twitched as I raced to remember her number… 1056.

third place to the boy with the red belt…

second place to the girl with the shiny black horse with the perfectly braided mane…

“Number 1056…. First place”..

…and we jumped to our feet and cheered.  Her grandmother lifted her pink parasol and her grandfather smiled and clapped, “Go Yen!”

Her very first show and she won first place!

I jumped down and ran to the other side to meet our aunt who had made all of this possible.  Beth had bought the horse… got the trainer… ordered the outfit, organized this whole day  and most importantly swooped in and adopted us all when our family abandoned us.  When we were shunned and told to never come back… she invited us in.  When Yen had been abandoned by family who was supposed to be hers forever… Beth came in, lifted her up and put her on a horse and showed her how strong Yen really is.  She has taught us all about a selfless brave love  that changes hearts.

We sucked back our tears as the next show started and 1056 needed to be back out there… to win that show also!

and the next one!

Yen’s eyes were beaming .  Three bright blue ribbons flapped on the reins, “Momma can you believe it!”

She added a third, fourth and fifth place ribbon before we took a break.

In the shade of the gooseneck trailer  we sat and ate the  gourmet lunch our  uncle Bill made while the horse munched hay.  A little girl walked up and Yen and her struck up conversation in the background.  Beth said they would stay till the end and come back with the horse and trailer… I said I would meet them at the pool with dinner and ice cream to celebrate.

All was so right in the world.


When they arrived at the pool Yen walked up with two new metals…. Grand Champion of the whole show!!!

We laid all the ribbons out… and I noticed one of the first place blue ribbons was missing….”I didn’t want to stop her,”  Beth said with an apprehensive expression.

“I gave it to the little girl who didn’t win anything,” Yen chipped up …  “she only got second to last and last in her shows… She was so sad she lost and it wasn’t  supposed to be a sad day… I had plenty and she didn’t.  Now she is having a good day too.” I teared up… to watch her use that selfless brave love that changes hearts.

“And then I won Grand Champion!!!!!”




not just a tent anymore…

July 8, 2015




My HusBen would never have gone on this father son camping trip if it had not been for Ralph.  Ralph is one of those humble type of guys.  He does not demand much attention… or any at all.  But people who can see  in the spiritual know Ralph is special…. a giant of sorts. He is the type of father other fathers want to be like.  And yet in the quiet moments around a fire Ralph would talk of big dreams to bring Jesus to people…. to take his wife on a wild adventure and become Jesus to people  who are looking for Him.   To be…Jesus…. to people who needed to see Him.

There is no bravado in Ralph…. just a heart that glows with a Light.

He just dreams of being Jesus to people.

As my husband crept in the house at 4:30am , I knew something was off.  He wasn’t expected till after lunch.  For him to be here at this hour meant he had left camp at 2am.  If it was an emergency I knew he would wake me… I left it till morning.

As we sipped our morning tea he explained that at two o’clock the red headed kid had puked in the tent.  He’s a puker that one.

“Wait! Where’s the brand new tent!?” I couldn’t help  laughing.. I knew where this was heading.  I know this husBen of mine well enough.

“Are you kidding?  I threw it in the dumpster.”

“That was a brand new tent… What the heck,” I tried to act serious but really what would anyone have done at two in the morning with a tent full of puke?

“Good news is I am back to help with Sunday Dinner.”

a few hours later we got a text from Ralph…

“saw you leave at 0317 hours… we pulled your tent  and hardware out of the dumpster and thoroughly washed it at the campground.  I then brought the tent and all the hardware home with me and am in the process of disinfecting the tent and hardware.  We will drop it off sometime this week. We left the sleeping bag… there was no salvaging it.”

I looked around the table of Sunday Dinnerers and we all learned about  how to be Jesus as I shared this incredible story.

We all agreed that  Ralph was more like Jesus than any of us could believe.

We have our tent back. It’s in the bag it came it.  It smells better than when it left.

It smells holier.



overriding fear.

June 22, 2015










I cringed as the motor roared and the herd looked up.  It was only a matter of seconds till they would bolt.  I had never mowed in the pasture before.  This was an unfamiliar  sound to them.  Sheep can be a skittish bunch.

With the rumble approaching they looked up… the leaders of the flock searched my eyes.  Then one by one their heads went back down to eating.  Not a hoof picked up and not one flinched.

Surely on the next swipe of pasture they would run.

As I leaned into the mower to circle back around I had to slow down as they leisurely took their time at the water trough.  The lambs look up and eyed me curiously.  I scratched one behind her huge ears as she followed her mama back to the big pasture.

“You are their shepherd.  They know if the roaring , unfamiliar smells and sounds are controlled by you, they have nothing to fear.  You are overriding their perception of fear. The next generation will know even more.”

No one would believe this. I capture a picture.  Sheep can be a fearful bunch. But yet… no fear. “… overriding their perception of fear…”

“Within My Hands there is nothing to fear.  

No matter what others say… you must redefine your idea of what you should fear.

Let me override your perception of fear.  

Fearlessly come as close as you can to Me.

There are those who do not fear… and there are those who are so fearless they return with absolute trust. “



Unlocking Creativity

June 19, 2015


What a great experience to teach at a school smack dab between Jeremy Riddle and  Steffany Dawn Gretzinger and Sean Feucht.  That is where they put our class! Seventy-five percent of the entire school signed up for our class. No pressure.  I am glad I did not realize this until afterwards.

First we gave everyone a snack… because how can I not feed people…plus who wants to be in class with low blood sugar! And I took one single picture can you believe it!?

and from there…

It was amazing to see the Holy Spirit show up.

We broke off the lies people believe about creativity .

We taught them how to disciple each other and recognize the lies when they say them or when they hear them from others.

Remember how I told you about the risky experiment?  Well it went beautifully.  At the start of the class we brought out an object and we made them write from a place of humanness…. or your finite being. It could be a lyric, a poem or any thought at all then we had them put it away and we moved on with the bulk of the class with no explanation.  Most perceived it to just be a warm up exercise.  They got so wrapped up in the breaking off of lies and empowering each other they believed that to be the point of the whole class.  Fifteen minutes before the end of class I brought out the same object.   Then we engaged the Holy Spirit , inviting It in to the process …. we made them write again.  Write a lyric, a poem or whatever He is telling you.  As we sat on the fringe praying and they were writing… one would cry, one would laugh and there were more , Woah‘s then I could count.

The beauty of their second writings was jaw dropping.  To see them empowered.  To watch them have their minds renewed was humbling.

Each person writing about the same object and with the same Spirit but seeing the difference of what Heaven looks like in each person’s life was inspiring.

I can see the same things you see but when you bring your gifting, your perspective and your relationship with Him to it… that is the only way I can see that specific glimpse of heaven.  The heaven you bring with your creative endeavors is different then the one I bring…  I want to see more.  I love the way He talks to me.  I equally love the way He talks to you.

getting creative.

June 17, 2015








Ohh I went on the most wonderful date with my husBen on Monday.  Our very dearest friends invited us out to celebrate a birthday with them.  For many many many years I could never do that type of thing.  I was so gripped by anxiety that it was never even an option.  As we drove to the restaurant I was  moved that even still I do not take my freedom for granted.  I am so thankful to be able to just get dressed up and go out with the love of my life… but I am equally thankful that I am still humbled by His goodness in healing me.  To be in that car and to be smiling is reason enough for my heart to burst in celebration… but then to be able to share the night with great friends… He is so good!


on another note…



I love getting asked to speak places. I love it even more when I get to do it  with people I truly respect and enjoy.   Tomorrow I will be teaching with my dear friend at a worship school. Last year we spoke at an art conference and our class was the best reviewed and most sought after class of the entire event! Can you believe it?! I did not know about this till we were invited to teach at this worship school.  Apparently other people heard about our success (eek) and wanted us both to come to this  school!!!  We will be delving into Unlocking Creativity. I will admit , this time, I am just the smidgiest nervous.  Just a teensy bit.  I have this idea for an in class experiment… it could go any which way based on the students. It’s pretty risky.  However, if it goes as I hope it will be story worthy for sure.  You know I love the response of God to our worship… so it will be something along those lines.

So most of this week has been spent fine tuning what I will present to the class.  We have gotten together and with our combined total of ELEVEN kids hashed out the whole class. Think of what we could do if we did not have to be mothering while we worked!  Then again… it probably keeps us sharp.

I am so excited.

Can’t wait to share it with you.

till then…



The Process of Hearing a Redeeming God.

June 10, 2015

“Momma, ” my youngest called and turning in my chair I saw her pencil tracing over her previous elliptical marks… oval after oval, again and again she traces her track.  Her smile beamed.   She turned back to her art.



I know she did not see me cringe.

That  drawing motion always reminds me of being beaten…swung like a rag doll and being told not to scribble.

“Why are you scribbling!? That’s not how you draw… “an angry voice barked at me.

I was three.  A year older than my baby. I was just a baby.

I was little. I remember the white paper and the pencil therapeutically  going round and round while they fought behind me.  At some point they were not arguing with each other and then I wasn’t drawing anymore….

I remember going round and round being knocked about and begging, “it’s Wonder Woman’s lasso.  I am not scribbling.”

But I was very little and my voice did not seem to matter.


I shake my head and push it back.  I know these memories well enough and many others like them… I push them back into the old wooden wardrobe  where I keep them tucked away inside me.    I smile back at my baby in this here and now. She picks up yellow and gold crayons.



I watch her hands and then He Speaks… while this baby traces round and round.. He breaks through with vision and sound and He speaks… and  He reminds me of this dream He had given me last fall.  In the dream I was in the center of a spiraling whirlwind of light.  Like a million shades of spun gold it cycloned around.  Layered as high and as low as I could see were moving threads, all many shades from the brightest orangy gold to the whitest buttery yellow and every color in-between.   There were a few thin threads of a turquoise and cerulean  weaving in and out of all the shades of gold and light.  All of them moving and spinning quickly.  Even though it was a dream I was overwhelmed with the most authentic joy I have ever felt in my life.  I could feel it  glow in every fiber of my being. It was everything and all things.  The threads traced each other in an elliptical never ending  dance with no noticeable beginning or end.   I had woken up and tried to paint it… and nothing did that dream justice…..  “I am always with you… Don’t try and explain yourself to evil… you were trying to manifest Truth in your art … this dream was stamped on you long before you ever dreamt it… you keep doing what you were created for… to create…. that image they called scribbling is actually of My making and you saw it…. you were created in My Image… You knew it then… you know it now…. keep bringing it through.”

The Process of Hearing a Revelatory God.

June 9, 2015

John 10:25-28The Voice (VOICE)

Jesus: 25 I have told you, and you do not believe. The works I am doing in My Father’s name tell the truth about Me. You do not listen;

26 you lack faith because you are not My sheep.

27 My sheep respond as they hear My voice; I know them intimately, and they follow Me.

28 I give them a life that is unceasing, and death will not have the last word. Nothing or no one can steal them from My hand.









I walk through an invisible membrane.  No fanfare or forewarning and then It is there.

The phrase.

The picture.

The Voice.

I love it.

…. as I hear ” never a matter of “if”.  He said it Himself that I will hear.


I know where it comes from.

I know Who it comes from.

and the clincher is… now it’s up to me.

Do something.  Do nothing.  It is my choice.

Doing something brings Heaven to earth and changes everything… and makes you one of the willing.

Many times it is a message just to me.  A Voice breaks through my thoughts to bring a Truth I never had before… A conversation starter in our never ending discussion.  Something unique to my struggles or celebrations…. often about thoughts only He would know… with answers and ideas I never had.

I love it.

I love Him.

Then there are the times the message is for someone. Walking, standing or sitting it can happen the same way… as if I just passed through a  thin membrane.  It may be for the cashier , it may be for  he woman a few seats down, an entire congregation, a friend or for you.

More often than not it is well received.  Most people want to hear from Him.

Sometimes they hate my voice …

He could tell me about the refining He wants to see in an area…  How He is raising up a generation and wants them to be well equipped and not just passively watching cartoon vegetables on a screen. How He sees their souls as stronger than their elders and   if  the dangerous predators ,who have come to rob and steal, are  not removed and the godly are brought in to teach the hopefuls; everything will collapse.


I call out a spiritual warfare I see right above… I call out their gifting, “You have authority over this.”  They squint their eyes and try to hear as if I speak a foreign language…

But when it is well received… it is worth it all.

When the criminal prays against the slaughtering spirit that follows him and plagues his nights.

When the grandma bursts out in a prayer language and I giggle with joy to hear her freedom.

When the older wiser prophets from different sides of this world… shake their heads in affirmation and thanks.

When I speak hope to Hope and she can’t sit still from the Presence He sweeps her up in.

When the cashier with head hung is brought to joy to know He is thinking about her and knows her dreams.


To Hear from Him there is a certainty …. that was His choice to make.

To act on it  and what to do with it… there is uncertainty … that is your choice to make.

To receive it and how to respond… there is uncertainty … that is their choice to make.

We were built for the process.


The Process of Hearing a Creative God.

June 3, 2015


Like a flood tearing through a canyon….it rolls and rumbles up the hill across the pasture. It’s as if the grasses know it and bow and swirl with the intensity of it. I can feel it and a bit of me, around the shoulders, scrunches up just a smidge…
I prepare myself…
make myself available… fling wide the creaky doors of a heart that knows it will be worth it..
and like a huge wave you can not get back to shore ahead of…
I almost hold my breath as it overtakes me and I am immersed , sinking yet being covered, and I hear it all around me…
and I only have a few minutes or moments..
it will continue on..
I need to absorb as much as I can..
I can feel it swirling about me
a thundering
a wooshing
a stampeding of wild words
not one bit of me is left in this world…
complete immersion in it…
but I know like a wave it will pull away, it will lift and go roaring across the country seeking others so willing…
and then its up to me
how much did I take in?
how much can I retain?
How much can I put back out?
I can feel it…
it’s about to lift and I know the time will come to move and move quick.
this is the key to the Hearing and the more important … The getting to Hear again…
so I take another breath… almost in hope that I will bring more of this Heaven into my lungs…
Like a swimmer when the wave pulls back and they are sent to the surface because of their own limitations..
ready set… and it continues through me and I am left standing with it… and now…
Run past the floor that needs swept and shimmy past the toddler…
almost drop my eyes from the screen with a million ideas left open…
hear nothing else…
see nothing else..
get to paper..
maybe to the person…
maybe paints..
maybe the tip taps of a keyboard…
get to what ever It said…
with full arms I drop it upon this cedar desk and I blast music so that I can hear nothing else…

It is a discipline… and if I don’t hurry, all of what I had Heard, will seem to evaporate .
I have to keep my mind loose to everything He said… and yet braced against everything else…

and like the drip drops of the last bits of rain at the end of a storm… it’s gone… and if I didn’t get it.. I won’t have it.
It may come back another day
or never at all

It is always happening
It is up to us to block out everything happening
to make the space..
to leap over the obstacles with full arms from Him…
to get to that place… and drop it and sort through it

He’s been doing it since the start.
It’s why He made us.
More than to save us.. He made us to catch what He was sending out.
Before we were takers we were receivers
like sails of a ship waiting for the next big wind.
like thirsty shores waiting for the next crash of a wave.
like creation waiting from the next Word to fall from the lips of a Creator.



Sunday Dinner people in Iraq

May 29, 2015

Lately we have had so many of the people who eat here every week go into the front lines of Iraq.  They have brought back stories that would swell your heart.  They have seen ISIS… they have worshipped within earshot let alone gunshot of the enemy…

My friend Ashley went a month ago.  She came back with pictures of refugees who held up long lists of their dead family which ISIS had slaughtered.  She sat with children and taught them to worship.  She went into the medical clinics on the refugee camps and heard the stories of what was needed.  She met the exAmish couple who runs a ministry right there in the middle of the camp… dishing out bowls of chicken pot pie and beets and hardboiled eggs any PA Dutchy would be proud of.

Daniel Hazelwood kissed his daughter and wife goodbye and headed off into a land that made his homeland of Texas seem cool and breezy.  He walked with our friend Sean Feucht and they met with the children of northern Iraq… they could hear ISIS firing as they handed out Jolly Ranchers to the dirty faces of children refugees.  Children who’s daddy’s didn’t always get to give out that kiss goodbye. Then they loaded into an armed convoy and were escorted right up the front lines… they looked out and saw ISIS… right there. Then they walked the ruined palace of Saddam Hussein.

But you my fine readers… you know these people.  You come here and you see Ashley jiggle my babies and take peas and carrots to our long table.  You have known Daniel and Natalia from way way back when we met them…. and they were “just those people we met last night”. To the people who speak the language and change the atmosphere in Indonesia… you know these people.

See what His people are doing… See what our people are doing…



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