Friday, April 25, 2008

I Like Reptiles--Okay, There--I Said It!

PHOTO CAPTION: The above lizard comes to visit each night, and blends in with his surroundings. He measures about 2.5 inches long, counting his tail. It will be fun to watch him grow!

Ever since I was a little girl, I've liked reptiles. In Louisiana, MO, that primarily meant toads and frogs and sometimes snakes. We traveled to Marlow, OK each summer, and many years I brought home a horned lizard (horny toad) with me in a shoe box, with holes poked in the lid. I loved the soft feel of their underbellies and their rough spiny backs. Their eyes told stories, and their tongues slurped up insects quicker than I could blink. I've lived in various different climates and environments since then, and always paid attention to the cold-blooded critters in my midst.

Now I'm in hog heaven. Or I supposed I should say lizard heaven! I chase them around the yard like the little girl I still feel I am inside. The best part is that late at night baby lizards hang out on my brick exterior and carport. I think they are geckos. And they have the ability to change appearance to match their background. Sometimes they are the color of tan brick, other times they are as white as the carport ceiling, other times they look like the dead leaves in the yard. Some of the babies have tails longer than bodies, with plenty of room to grow. Each night I count at least 4 or 5 lizards. It's like a treasure hunt to discover where they might be next.

And I must admit, there is a part of me still desiring to bring one in the house to watch it grow and develop. For now, I'll just admire them on each evening's walk-about.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

One Word Answers

1. Where is your cell phone? unsure
2. Where is your significant other? church
3. Your hair? highlighted
4. Your mother? strong
5. Your father? memory
6. Your favorite thing? relationships
7. Your dream last night? work
8. Your favorite drink? Diet Pepsi Max
9. Your dream/goal? impact
10. The room you're in? living
11. Your hobby? cooking
12. Your fear? isolation
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? more
14. Where were you last night? home
15. What you're not? bored
16. Muffins? cranberry-orange
18. Where you grew up? LaMo
19. The last thing you did? e-blast
20. What are you wearing? clothes
21. Your TV? DVR
22. Your pets? adorable
23. Your computer? ancient
24. Your life? blessed
25. Your mood? hopeful
26. Missing someone? always
27. Your car? practical
28. Something you're not wearing? girdle
29. Favorite store? Target
30. Your summer? crazy
31. Like someone? absolutely
32. Your favorite color? lime green
33. When is the last time you laughed? recently
34. Last time you cried? yesterday

Monday, April 07, 2008

Burdened Heart in a God way

My heart wants so much for my community. I love the people. I want the hopeless to find hope. Now they only dream for such a thing, but it could be a reality. I want the bored to find purpose. I want the trouble-makers to use their creativity and boldness in a positive way. I want the poor to know success God's way (not necessary to have riches, but just to have a contentment in having what God desires for them).

But most of all, I want them to have a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Many have a ritual or a religion, but no relationship. That's sort of like saying you are a student because you go to a school building or because you have been assigned a locker. But you aren't a student unless you really learn, and you aren't really a Christ-follower unless you really seek Him.

I guess this is a strong thought today. A passion. Because of today's events. We have several friends who say they want something more in their lives regarding Christianity, and they are seeking, but they aren't ready to get invested into a spiritual decision yet because of what is clouding their minds and confusing them. Religion can be really confusing, but a relationship is so clear. Either your relationship is growing...or it is stale...or it is stagnant...or it is non-existent.

What we are finding here is that you don't even have to have been brought up in cultural or religious traditions to be steeped in them. It's just part of their being much like eating rice and beans every day. So, to them, it's about a ritual, such as asking when a loved one can be baptized or making the sign of the cross after praying. But a ritual isn't there for you when you feel you don't have a friend in the world-Jesus is. A tradition doesn't show up to visit when you've been given bad news, but God can comfort from the inside out. Baptism just gets you wet if it isn't symbolic of a transformation that has already happened inside.

Sunday night when we left our evening service, it was still light outside-at 7 PM. And we discovered at least six cars had been tagged with a magic marker with the sign of the North Side Latino gang. While we were inside studying about pre-believers (disciples before they met Christ) outside in broad daylight some members of a gang were marking cars. On some they wrote on the glass and others it was on the paint. We called the police, who knew exactly who did it. This is at least our 4th report of destructive behavior in the past 2 or 3 months. Interesting, one of the cars tagged was that of our county sheriff (his personal car). We aren't sure if others were tagged because some left before we discovered the graffiti.

We don't want to hate the ones who did's just an outward sign of an inward problem. The best part of last night was seeing our people smiling and finding a way to be lighthearted even though it was a serious situation. I told one, Brenda, with a beautiful smile on her face even though her car was hit the worst, how much I appreciated her attitude. She said, "I'm not going to let the actions of someone else affect my happiness. Only I get to choose that!" What a beautiful response.

It's a true calling and mission to be here. It's a LONGTERM investment of time because most will not enter a relationship with the Savior before they enter a relationship with us. Most won't trust the God we talk about until they know they can trust us. The changes won't happen overnight, but I have no doubt they will happen!