Friday, June 29, 2012

ministry sharing

Tuesday night I was sitting in a motel room in Missouri when Jamey called me from Texas.
She had a coffee date that evening with a woman neither of us had met- a woman who is a relative of sweet friends from our Bible study back home.
I had been praying for Jamey and the meeting. . ."It went really well!"
She befriended the woman, gave her a Bible, shared grace and truth with her, opened a door. . .
One thing I love about personal ministry is that sometimes you get to share it--even from a distance

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

a well tended garden

We're on the road, headed to New York, Ohio, Tennessee, to visit those we love. . .and more.
Last month I surveyed my tangled and unkempt garden and concluded that inorder to have a thriving garden, a woman must stay home.
So- thinking about our summer plans, a 4 week road trip in the States followed by 2 weeks in Mexico City, I planted a tiny succulent garden in a green dish-succulents just may thrive untended.
Then I thought of the sweet relationships that I will renew and tend this summer. . .and then the ones left behind in south Texas. 
Friday night I shared with the girls in our our community group-I miss you when I'm away-and I pray for you. . .
Now, don't forget me!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

heart like deep waters

One complexity of personal ministry is that it's-well, so personal.
 I make it that way. . .and like it that way;  sometimes I struggle to give God the burden.
The other night I tossed in my bed, "This was a hard day." I told John.
"How so?"  (he always phrases the question that way)
 I just need him to remind me that Jesus gives hope to broken people in a broken world. "The best thing we can do right now is pray (and sleep)." he tells me.
Last week I was reading Proverbs 20 and again I stopped here:
The purpose of a man's heart is like deep waters but a man of understanding draws it out. (Prov 20:8)

So, I thought for awhile about the woman whose husband is loosing his hearing; he seems withdrawn and non communicative and she's frustrated, fearful.  How can this truth apply to her?
And I thought about myself and the woman who began to share a deep thing. . .how I jumped in with assumptions and answers before she finished.
So, the human heart is deep, but a woman of understanding listens and skillfully draws out what's in the heart.
Lord, make me a patient, compassionate woman-a woman of understanding.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

to honor Him. . .

On Mondays I survey the horizon of my week and usually there are  pursuits that seem more pleasant. . . others not so pleasant, more like obligations; I may say in my heart, "I wish my husband would do that one!" . . .not because I can't do it, but I'd just rather not.
Last week I sat in my white armchair, correspondence and anticipated reading on one side, a volcano of papers from an emptied file drawer on the other side-the great divide!
Really, I just need to buck up and do this-it's a small matter; dread overwhelmed me, dread that I'd waited too long to accomplish the business chore at hand.
I needed tenacious resolve. . .but I needed more-
I have set the Lord continually before me, because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (vs 8)

Lord, here I am, shaken. . . I don't know how to honor you.
over and over I set the Lord before me- and always, He is faithful.

Friday, June 15, 2012


The old Schwinn hangs in our garage. . .
when I was nearly a teenager, Mom and Dad Fortlage bought the tandem from the bike shop on Santa Cruz Ave. Growing up, I wasn't much a part of the tandem legacy, but my brother and sisters have lots of great memories.  Somehow the Fortlage tandem made its way to Texas.
So-the family came to town over Memorial Day.  Jeremiah brought a carload of bike accessories, including a shiny new wheel for the tandem.
Saturday morning we ate breakfast tacos at the park and biked on the Riverwalk extension.  There were 10 bicycles, 2 bike trailers, 2 strollers with babies, and the tandem..
 Really, you need herculean legs to peddle the old Schwinn-  it works to pull a baby or 2 in the trailer.
We're building bicycle memories around here. . .and I love the tandem connection.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

what I do. . .

The other day I had my biannual check up with  the dermatologist; following my treatment the doctor sat occupied with  my chart; then he asked, "What do you do?"
Me? is he talking to me or the nurse? I thought.
"Mrs. Newton, what do you do? he asked again.
"I'm a homemaker."  (I wanted to explain everything I do outside my home!)
Reflecting on the question. . .he's a dermatologist- most likely he intended to ask if I spend my days in the blazing sun, and if so he planned to urge me to an indoor occupation--nevertheless, his question makes me think about what I do.
Today  I read Ephesians 2:10:
"You are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he prepared before hand that you might walk in them."
So, no matter what I call it, God defines what I do as the good works he prepared before hand, specifically for me and for this season-this season that doesn't always appear as clearly defined as the last. . when I washed my children's clothes, cooked their oatmeal, taught them to read.
That season is finished. . .God prepared good works for me, walk in them!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

as stimulating as black coffee. . .

  Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after
(Anne Morrow Lindbergh)
The girls were in town last month and we visited with lots of nice people.
I love good conversation (then I can't sleep). . . there's a rhythm of  talk, pauses, questions- of listening, responding and restraint. I want get to know you, a person created in the image of the great Creator!
One day I was a frustrated observer as I listened to someone hog conversation.
 But it always comes right back to me. . . how do I communicate?
I love to ask: tell me about yourself!  but I don't always do the pauses well. 
And maybe I  fiendishly drive the conversation--or  ask a question, hoping that you will ask me one in return?
 I explained all this to my husband; he attempted to appease my frustration, "So, good communication is when you invite somebody in. . .then you give them space to invite you in too?" 
hmmm, that's good, it goes both ways, the inviting part. . .

Monday, June 4, 2012

in and out. . .

They're in and out of my life these days--my adult children and their children. . .
We played, worked, talked, and ate a lot of good food together last week; I'm getting better at listening, at holding unfinished thoughts and letting go of interrupted conversations. 
Naomi told us about good friends in Mexico City, "I hope God keeps them in our lives for a long time."
I know the feeling. . .
Naomi was the last one to leave town, and before I took her to the airport, we sat together on the high stools in Gabrielle's sunny kitchen; she made Spanish coffee.  
She showed me the amazing grid of the Mexico City metro; we tweaked this and that on my blog and talked about camera aperture.  Aye, technology! my brain takes in only so much.
Then it was time to go--it seems that after they exit, unfinished conversations hover. . .