Join Us for A Week in Clarkston this June!


Do you want to join us this summer?

Clarkston is a place where you can walk out of your front door and share life, food, and stories with people from Eritrea, Burma, Nepal, Iraq, Ethiopia and Sudan.  The local high school welcomes students from 54 countries speaking 47 languages.  In one square mile, Clarkston boasts a population of roughly 4,000 refugees living in 21 apartment complexes just 15 miles from Norcross!Image

June 14 – 20, you and your family can participate in hosting a summer camp for the children of Clarkston.  The camp serves 100 children, ages K-8th grades, relying on teams to support the summer camp staff each week.

o   Who: The opportunity to serve at camp is open to rising 9th graders and up.  If you want to serve as a family and you have children in K – 8, your younger child can participate as a camper for the week.  

o   Lodging: You would have the option to stay in Clarkston Sunday night (June 15) through Thursday night (June 19) or commute. 

o   Schedule: There will be an orientation and lunch on the afternoon of Saturday, June 14th and worship at an ethnic service on Sunday. The trip will end at 2:00 on Friday, June 20, after camp is over.  In addition to participating at camp each day from 7:00 to 2:00, we will do further outreach in the community two of the afternoons / evenings.  

o   Cost: $210 or less, depending on what we plan as a team for food.  Perimeter Church will help you raise support for the trip.

o   Other: There will be three team meetings prior to the trip to plan programs for camp.

If you want to participate but can’t commit for the week, you can also:

o   Pray that the Lord will both prepare and provide for the team as it comes together over the next few weeks. 

o   Prepare lunches for team members one or more days that week.  The campers get breakfast and lunch through a government funded food program, but serving the team their lunch would allow cost savings for the trip and would be a way to support the team members. 

o   Prepare snacks or a supplement to breakfast for campers one or more days that week.  There is an elementary camp and a middle school camp, so you could provide 60 – 70 snacks (K-5) or 20 – 30 snacks (6-8) for one or the other group.  I could provide direction about culturally appropriate options, especially with the Muslim campers in mind.  

o   Prepare and supply a 30-minute craft or game for 60 elementary aged campers that would serve as one of the 5 craft or game options for the week. (Either of the above two options could potentially be done the day before WITH some of the campers who you could involve in the preparation process.  We have a garage space behind our home where you could come and assemble either snacks or crafts for the next day.) 

o   Meet us on June 6 from 1-4 or June 9 from 10 – 1 to work on craft and game preparation. 

o   Share the opportunity with others who you think might be interested in getting to know Clarkston and serving in this way. 



It’s Raining…


In our newly-renovated house we have a metal exhaust pipe that releases air to the outside from the vent over the stove.  When it rains, the drops ping on the hollow metal and echo into the kitchen.  Ping…plop…ding.

This rain-music is one of my favorite new house sounds.  A surprise sound – one that slows time whenever I hear it. It makes me pause, waiting for the next metallic “…plop.”

The last few weeks, I have experienced the heart-sounds of raindrops in Clarkston.  We’ve been here seven months.  We’ve been largely just living, entertaining opportunities here and there as they have arisen. But lately, it’s starting to rain drops of opportunity, and my heart gladdens with the knowledge we are growing roots here.

The most beautiful part about these drops of connection is recognizing our powerlessness to generate them.  They are His.

A block party thrown with fun neighbors that pulled from every diverse corner of our city. It was a menagerie of personality and smiles, and it came in the middle of a long and frustrating run of crime in our area.  A bright spot and a collaboration.

A desire expressed by some moms at our kids’ school to learn about this city, its people, and opportunities to connect.  We have luncheon plans brewing for early November.  A chance to share the beauty of this place.

A victory won by Clarkston’s cross-country team at our kids’ school’s invitational meet.  This delightful intersection of worlds generated a dinner at our house with the Clarkston coaches and a possibility for future connection between the teams.  Amazing grace.

Watching where God chooses to stir up growth and where He allows lingering hard soil is fascinating.  We would have chosen other spots to see growth – success for our refugee friend’s job at the school, quicker building for new neighbors in the subdivision, more fruit from a serving fair at church last month.  More success growing from seeds we’ve planned, dreamed, and worked.

…But God.

Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain? Or can the heavens grant showers? Is it not You, O Lord our God? Therefore we hope in You, for You are the one who has done all these things.” Jeremiah 14:22



The last week has been my hardest one in Clarkston.  It held the very thing I was so afraid of, three years ago, when Doug shared his desire for our family to adopt a refugee family.  It held failure, brokenness, and deep relational pain.

I mentioned last time I posted that we had met a new friend in a parking lot in one of the apartment complexes in March.  He is a refugee from Ethiopia who speaks six languages and who has come to Clarkston via a very long and winding road with his thirteen-year-old son.  His wife and their two younger children are still not here yet.

He waits for so much.

When we met him, he was waiting for a job.  When we serendipitously ran into him again (same parking lot) in late July, he was waiting for a job…still.

The door opened ten days later for him to work at our children’s school via a temp agency that they use for their facilities staffing.  God’s hand was evident in the coming together of the details, and our new friend had a new job.  It was a good one – daytime hours, more than minimum wage by a fair bit, and offered us the chance to get to know him better as we drove him to and from work on our way to and from school every day.

Hope is beautiful.  It came alive in his countenance.  He dreamed big, grateful dreams out loud in sixth language English…

    “I tell my son he can be President of the United States!”

    “You to come to Africa with my family?  I show you my country!”

    “How much is car? How much is house?”

    “Job is good.  Very good.  Thank you for job.”

Three weeks of gorgeous hope.

Loss in the face of that much hope is devastating. Sickening.  Disgusting.

A week ago, our friend was sick.  His cheerleaders and teammates (his boss, my husband) told him the day before he was sick to be sure to call the temp agency if he could not come to work the following day.  He did not call.  He did not respond to Doug’s texts or calls.  He called (finally) at 2:30 pm and communicated what he thought best.  His words were received by the staffing agency as a lie. The combination of the late call and the perceived lie were enough to cost him this new job.

All week I have agonized.  “What if I had…?”  “What if he had…?” “What if the school had…?” “What if Doug had…?”  “What if his boss had…?”  “What if the agency had…?” 

Only one intervention on anyone’s part would have made the difference for him.  There was no intervention.

We found out (too late) that his pre-paid phone was out of minutes, which was why Doug’s messages had not gotten through.  He told Doug had used his son’s phone to call the agency in the afternoon.

We still don’t know whether the “lie” was a language-barrier misunderstanding, an attempt to deflect blame, or even a culturally different way to approach the hierarchical system of boss and employee.  Whatever it was, he used the wrong words to explain his lack of a call.  If only he had known…

I met with the school to share his story and convey the fact that Doug and I were on his team – to try to ask for mercy.  I was met with a lot of understanding, empathy, and care, but the communication even in that meeting was muddled and confused to the point that it moved the ball forward…none at all. The chapter is closed. Our friend cannot go back.

So the week has been rough.

I’ve spent a lot of time bargaining with God and asking Him “why?”  I am sure that our friend has spent so much more time doing the same thing.  We are still not sure he really understands how and why this all happened.  We are stymied and heartbroken.

Why do I write this story today, on this three-day weekend where those of us who are work-weary sleep in, cook out, do laundry, and meander through 72 hours of government sanctioned rest?

I write to tell you that Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He knows, first hand, the brokenness of our world and He was broken for it.  I write to tell you that it’s harder to hold onto the sorrowful Jesus than the one who multiplies food and calms seas, but He’s the same Jesus – just as trustworthy and true.  He calls us to enter into the sorrow of the world and to be broken with it, too.  I don’t like that part, really, but it’s in His word all over the place.  It’s the reality of following Him.

I write to ask you to thank God for the work you have – even though it is so hard sometimes – because work is a gift that so many people (even in your zip code) cannot obtain.

I write because I cannot hold this sadness alone, and I selfishly ask you to hold a bit of it, too. I write because I ask you to pray for our friend, his wife, and his three children.  I write to ask whether you know of a job our friend could have…you just might.

A Banner Week


“We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.” – Psalm 20:25

This has been a banner week in the lives of some of our refugee friends.  As I have mentioned, it’s been hard to know how to invest – where to invest – when to invest – here in Clarkston since we moved.  We have dipped our toes into relationships with new refugee friends, but we’ve certainly not hurled ourselves headlong into anything.

God isn’t bound by our mediocre efforts, though!  He is the Father to the fatherless, the defender of the orphan and the widow.  Sometimes, He lets us participate.  When we do, we are blown away by His goodness to those who live in a state of profound vulnerability.

Sunday, we visited three families here.  Anyone who has visited with friends from other nations knows that three families in one afternoon is a miracle in itself.  Most 10-minute conversations easily stretch to 2 hours of interaction and hospitality (on their part).  There’s no such thing as “quick.”  But God multiplied our meager time.

God provided for the first family we visited by opening up a space at an adult literacy program, Mommy & Me, after registration had already happened.  These African friends have been here only two months.  The dad is brilliantly pursuing growth and life for his family (wife and four small children) through his study of English and through his job on the night shift at the poultry processing plant.  His wife is working hard taking care of their children in this hot, humid, very confusing new place.  Her English is not strong, and we are thrilled that she will have the opportunity to experience 9 hours a week of instruction while her two preschoolers are enjoying a pre-school class of their own.  What a gift – language instruction by masters’ level teachers, community, childcare…all within walking distance of their apartment for only $10 per month.  God is so good!

He provided for another friend with a job!  Amazingly long story, but this gentleman was a “random” connection in a parking lot on a day in March.  He had just arrived in the U.S. at that point, and he was overflowing with enthusiasm to work, pride in the 6 languages he speaks, and tales of the life he left in Djibouti.  His wife and three of his children are still there, but he is here with his oldest son, blazing a trail.  We very randomly ran into him again a few weeks ago.  At that point, he was discouraged by his lack of employment and by the prospect of keeping his 13-year-old son safe in the harsh environment he’d encountered.  That night, some friends joined us in praying for a job for him.  Very miraculously, our kind Father provided him a job that pays more than minimum wage.  And, his work hours are during the day, which is so good for his son.  We met with this African friend Sunday, and yesterday God secured a job for him.  How sweet!

Finally, God has provided restoration and redemption for a widow and her two children who we’ve known for three years.  We met her the night she arrived here.  She was quickly overwhelmed to the point of illness and hospitalization.  When we visited over the weekend, she proudly, laughingly served us food and coffee in her clean apartment. She adeptly holds a job and provides for her two school-aged children in a way that showcases God’s ability to uphold the widow and care for the orphan. He has not let her falter. She is being redeemed.

I’m so humbled.  We are so inconsistent and poor in our efforts to love His wounded children.  This is because we are wounded ourselves.  He is so gracious to pursue all of us with His grace. He allows us to glimpse His tangible power when we fellowship with the apple of His eye – the vulnerable ones who quietly face giant obstacles with faith and resolute determination, even when all of life seems daunting and overwhelming.  What a gift to watch Him delight to do what He does best – to redeem.

Please join us in praying for these and other friends as they do the hard work of adjusting to life in the United States.

Forty and Pink…Rough Combo


I turn 40 in 21 days.  My mom used to be famous in our family for saying, “I feel better at 60 than I did at 40!!” Hmmm…I am beginning to understand. I accidentally colored my hair pink last night. I’m thinking 40 might be the low tide of reasoning, funding, and energy.

My morning’s email to my colleagues at work looked like this:

1.  Yes.  I know it’s pink.

2.  Yes.  It will be repaired.

3.  Yes.  It’s great to laugh with me.  Just not at me.

4.  No.  Not going to try it at home again.

5.  Yes.  I know you’re mostly men and probably wouldn’t even have noticed, but I feel better getting it on the table.

So, now that my colleagues are over it, and as I eagerly await the magic of my new best-friend-colorist “Camby” (she must be only 23 – I have no peers named Camby) at 3:00 this afternoon, I reflect on what has led me to the simultaneous mid-life/pink hair brink.

Let’s see…

I think we need to call this what it is: Vanity.  I am a redhead.  Really, a redhead.  My hair has always been my selling point.  Lately, it’s rusty and dingy and alarmingly shot through with gray.  I want to remain a redhead, not a very pale skinned, freckled, splotchy middle-aged lady with stale iced-tea washed gray hair.  That image is not in line with my long-standing self-concept.  Redheads know what I’m talking about.  The ghost colored cellulite, sunburns, rashes, and trips to the dermatologist are only worth it because people rave about “your hair!!”

[Ironic sidebar:  When I awoke at 4 am this morning fretting about my pink hair, I went to get a glass of water.  In the kitchen, my phone’s screen showed a photo of me at age 15 before the Christmas dance.  My friend Cameron had found it at her dad’s house and texted it in order to point out MY HAIR (she did not know of my pink-issues) and what a “do” it was back in the 1988 day.  I’m telling you.  Redheads have strong life/hair connections. Close sidebar.]

15 year old redheaded "do."

15 year old redheaded “do.”

Another factor.  Time.  I have none.  That box of color that I pulled off the bathroom closet shelf last night has been in there for four months begging to be used.  Have I found a solid hour of kid/chore/to-do free time to devote to turning my hair pink in the last four months?  Nope.  So, when I arrived home from a rare dinner out with a girlfriend and found no husband, no kids, and a peaceful dog in my home, I pounced.  A little too hard.  As the color marinated, I thought “Why shouldn’t I leave this stuff on an extra five minutes?  After all, it’s been almost 6 months since I colored my hair.”  While I lingered, I ate a few bites of Haagen-Dazs straight out of the carton and savored the sounds of Duck Dynasty in the background.  I felt so free, so adult, so empowered.  ARNNNHHH. (Buzzer sound.)  Bad call on the lingering, Strawberry Shortcake.  Bad call.

Shall we discuss money?  Oh, let’s.  None of that right now either.  I realize that living where I live among refugees who arrive here truly destitute, that whole “no money” comment sounds very catty.  It probably really is.  This is one of the struggles of integrating what I am seeing in Clarkston with what I am used to in my life.  Honestly, I’d patted myself on the proverbial back for getting the $6 box of color at CVS. (Proverbial due to a rotator cuff injury from trying a 5 a.m. boot camp…but that’s another mid life issue that I won’t explore here).  Being “thrifty and all” is a more intentional aspiration for me these days. (Not just because I’m being super spiritual, but also because kids cost SO MUCH MONEY.  Do you know how much it costs to be in band?  Or to twist an ankle?  Or to run cross country?  Or to buy school supplies? Or to insure two teenage drivers?  Of course you do – these are rhetorical questions.) Apparently, though, you sometimes get what you pay for. My thrifty drugstore  effort at beauty apparently backfired, leaving a lingering pink glow ON MY HEAD.

Last factor: peer pressure.  No, I don’t have shallow friends who want my hair to be vivid and rich before they will be seen with me. It’s pressure from my son!  (Those of you who know him will not find this shocking at all.)  My very own 12 year old boy has spent the last 18 months – my period of gray decay – chronicling the progress of the icicle strands and letting me know just how much he thinks I need to color my hair.  I laugh at him.  My inner and outer selves both laugh. He’s amusing and endearing and annoying all at once.  He’s 12. But, I have to admit that part of the reason I pulled the box off of the shelf last night was because I pick him up at band camp on Saturday and wouldn’t it be a fun little mommy-wink to have freshly colored hair?  Not so much. I think the pink would do him in altogether.

He might rather walk home.

Or maybe I’ll send all the kids to live with my parents for the remainder of the year and then ask my mom at Christmas if she still feels better than she did at 40.

(You want to see a picture of the pink.  No can do.  I tried to imitate my snap-chatting 16 year old and take a few selfies, but my nose looks uncharacteristically ginormous, my hair really is pink, and the lines around my eyes are very pronounced.  Let’s leave the selfies to the snap chatters and use our old-fashioned imagination.)

Not Looking for Wonderful


I’m stirred up.

Maybe it’s the caffeine this morning.  Maybe it’s the extra summer-time that I have to ponder my navel.  Maybe it’s the move to a place where I see different pass by my front window at least hourly.  Maybe it’s a week at the beach with 37 people who share my DNA – that’ll create introspection, I tell you.

But maybe it’s the Holy Spirit.

My gospel prayer continues.  Lord, show me what is True.  Show me what is Kingdom-Real.  Who is this man Jesus, and what did He mean when He said, “Follow Me”?  What did He mean when He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”?  What did He mean when He said to duty-driven Martha in the face of her brother’s death, “I am the resurrection”?

Break my understanding of Your gospel – Your good news – wide open so that my American, 21st century, educated, sanitized, power-gridded, GPS self bows before what is True. Only.

Over and over He says, “Believe.”

Over and over I try to understand.

Looks like those things are different.  Understanding depends on me; belief bets the house on Him.

This morning as I stare out my kitchen window and appreciate quiet rain and the gift of two teenagers still asleep, I think about the revival-prayer I just read on Beth Moore’s blog, Rain Down Revival.  I think about how it reflects my heart’s prayer and about how I want it to be my for-the-world prayer.

Then I begin to feel self-important.  Sneakily.

Surely, even if I wait until the waters of revival are stirring, and even if I take time to get a sense of the rhythm of it before I dive in…surely He will not be able to do this without Me.  I’m a big deal, right? Surely He will hold my part on the stage until I get my costume arranged just right.  Surely my resume is key to His work. Surely He needs my “wonderful” for His work.  Sneaky self-importance.

I hear Him whisper as I wipe down the coffee pot.

Not wonderful. 


Surrender is the place of Holy Spirit flourishing. Wonderful is a giant distraction.

God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.

When He and Martha talked, He knew her brother was lying in a sepulcher.  He altered that reality, yes. He brought Lazarus back.  But I wonder if He was also gently prying loose her self-important dependence on her resume of deeds?  I wonder if He was teaching her in a most spectacular and poignant way that resurrection follows death. Real life occurs when soul-surrender throws its full weight on the reality of the Holy Other rather than on the mirage of the personal wonderful.  I wonder if He was gently saying to her, too, “Not wonderful.  Surrender.”

Thy will be done.

The Agonizing Promise of the Small


This morning, I walked with a neighbor who has lived in Clarkston for many years.  For most of the years, her family lived among refugees in an apartment complex.  She is a teacher and became burdened by the lack of access to English classes for moms of preschool-aged children in the complex where she lived.  Out of that burden grew a program called “Mommy and Me” that is now a thriving adult literacy program currently held at the Clarkston International Bible Church.  Today on our walk, my friend shared details about the new burden God has put on her heart for economic development and its intersection with the adoption world in the Congo.  Wow.

(Sidebar: I’m so unfamiliar with this other-world that I am not sure whether the country is best referenced, “Congo” or “the Congo” as I type.  There ya go. Ignorance.)

She was clearly struggling to fit huge vision and burden into short bursts of available time to connect, fund, research, raise awareness, and birth this new ministry that God is crafting in her life. I, on the other hand, was feeling awed by the amazing power of God to take a human vessel and pour through it a tiny but profound piece of His redemptive work via a surrendered and willing heart.

Oh, and I was also feeling totally dwarfed by this friend who will have fostered two amazing ministries by the time I’ve figured out how to…fill out forms, master, procure the longest-lasting manicure, fund camps for my kids, get the mildew out of my shower curtain, and generally avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. I realize this self-analysis is not very gracious, but – face it – shiny, white, magna cum laude suburb-lady with three kids can look herself in the mirror and think these things pretty honestly on a “lazy” summer morning, right?

This is the wrestling I have.  I think many of my friends have it, too.  We’re full-out family mamas in a world where that job description is known to eat those of us who hold the title and spit us out medication-dependent and hand sanitizer-obsessed.  It’s not for the faint of heart.

BUT, there’s that other world out there – the one that we know grips God’s heart profoundly.  The orphan crisis.  The homeless population. The millions of refugees.  The clean water initiatives.  The sex-trafficking industry.  These causes and needs LOOM (on facebook, no less!?!?). In response, I genuinely ache and then go try a new smoothie recipe since I don’t know what else to do. (This morning: cantaloupe, ice, and coconut milk.  Pretty tasty.)

So today, I am both discouraged and encouraged by my amazing friend.  Discouraged that I’m not her – that my pro-activity and my surrender have been so often stunted by my fear, selfishness, and the tyranny of the urgent.  Encouraged that she starts small, too.  She spent two hours yesterday procuring an email address with the right @ “whatever” at the end.

That’s small.  And frustrating.

Small is all we’ve got, ladies.

Today I’m thinking about small and how agonizingly profound it is.  Not one of us is exempt from embracing the small as we follow the God of huge redemptive grace.

I think our culture tells us that we must (and can) be “profound” (read in a booming, deep voice).  So, we buy that lie and look for opportunities to leap tall buildings in a single bound rather than fighting for grace by the inch.

Today, may we embrace the agonizing promise of the small.

Being Rabbit


It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in our new home for two and a half months.  Often I still feel like I’m visiting Clarkston when I drive into my driveway.  The fact that we’ve had our first leak, our first dinner guests, our first re-organization of closets, and our first birthday in the house make me know I’m home.

I’ve been absent from the blog much of this year – little time to write due to the demands of job and family and move.  I’ve also shied away from writing because, while I want to process the heck out of this move, I also wonder how relevant my own stirrings and musings are to anyone but my own journal and me.

One of the things that God has nudged me about, several times, is the urging to bring others along with us.  Traveling with friends is so much more satisfying, orienting, and encouraging than travelling alone. I’m here to update you and to bring you along, should you care to join us.

So, where are we today?

Well, I’d have to let Doug speak for himself, but I do think that we’d both say that this has been one of the most intense seasons of our lives so far.

As for me, I’m struggling with “being Rabbit.”  Winnie the Pooh is my all time favorite children’s story series.  Perhaps I love the sweet community, or maybe I really enjoy the British take on being a child, but I think I most appreciate the absolute type-castability of Pooh’s neighbors.  In my four walls, we have a definite Owl, a total Eeyore, a budding Kanga, and even a Christopher Robin.  Unfortunately, I’m the Rabbit around here. Got to work hard and get it right.  Can’t play – too much to do.  “Why is she cranky?” “Not sure, but she’s too busy to ask.”

ImageThere’s really way too much to get right – being a neighbor, step-mothering, career choices, supporting my working-so-hard-too husband, learning a community, plugging in with refugees (with what time?), and staying connected with friends.  The Rabbit in me is daunted and wants to put a sign up in the yard that says “no trespassing” until I get my rows tilled and my seeds planted and my seedlings labeled.  Sorry, chickie-mama, but this life doesn’t allow for that level of control.

The problem with Rabbit-weaknesses is that most people name them as strengths when they compliment you.  Efficiency, care, awareness, and industriousness – these are good things that can be really important in running a home and nurturing family.  They are me, and they matter to our life. Right now, though, they feel like they’re causing me fret over a level of order that I have no business trying to attain.  Lists, lines, rows, priorities and tasks are dangerous rabbit trails (excuse the horrible pun) that are apt to suck the joy out of this transition for me…and therefore for everyone in my house.

Yesterday morning in my devotions, I stopped short at a verse in John. Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his inmost being will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38)  Rivers flow.  They sweep.  They swirl.  They rush.  They meander.  They cleanse.  They bubble.  They refresh.  They reflect.  They ebb.  They flow.  They curve.  They cut.  They nourish. They are alive. Things that are alive cannot be contained, cordoned off, parsed, or neatly organized. 

When I stop my Rabbiting, lay down my list, give up today’s fret, and believe Him, the well-defined rows may very well disappear, but they will be replaced with a powerful, nurturing force of Holy Spirit life that will allow for both adventure and order, both calm and chaos.  I don’t have to get it right, but I do need to lay it down and just believe.

So, “where am I?” –  I’m caught in the tension, and I’m glad He keeps showing up and loving the Rabbit in me enough to ask her to lay down her garden tools and take a walk with Him.

Well Defined Lasts


My friend Kitti ( is a sage who says that raising kids is sad sometimes because, while you always record their “firsts,” you never really know when their “lasts” are happening, so you cannot mark them in time or savor them while they happen.  True.  When was my son’s last sippy cup?  His last snooze in a car seat?  His last, “sing one more song, mommy!” before bed? I really don’t know, and that makes my heart a bit nostalgic for what “last” I might have overlooked today.

Moving is different.  Well-defined lasts abound.  Tonight was to be our last family dinner in our home, but a track meet ran late, so we ate on the fly rather than around the table.  That just-missed-last has me choked up tonight.

I just took my second to last shower in my shower upstairs.  I’ve carted the last load of groceries into my big-‘ole kitchen.  And, this afternoon, I helped a twelve-year-old sort through the last of his scattered and under bed (even in bed!) toys to decide what stays and what goes.  Head in hands, half way through, he lamented, “downsizing is HARD, mom.”  Yes, son, today it is.

Dread is a pretty disgusting emotion.  It’s heavy and dark and lumpy and doesn’t really fit.  Not that I dread moving, but I dread leaving.  I dread my next 48 hours of last.

As with this whole move, I think of my refugee friends.  I wonder how many lasts were unable to fit into neatly labeled cardboard boxes or carefully sorted piles.  I wonder how many good-byes were whispered, lonely into nighttime pillows rather than offered with loving hugs or savored over coffee.  I wonder how it feels to be ripped rather than gently pried away from a home.  It must hurt deeply, and the dread must linger more fully, when lasts aren’t marked and counted.

So today, I am trying to appreciate my cognizance of all of the lasts.

“Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord—with the first of them and with the last—I am He.” Isaiah 41:4

Human Venn Diagram


We are moving on Friday, and I am feeling a lot like a human Venn Diagram.

I know, that’s weird, but I teach English so cut me some slack.

Every time I drive out of my neighborhood in Peachtree Corners, I begin to mentally do the compare and contrast in my head.  It’s mostly contrast.Venn Diagram

Here’s what my head sounds like…

I love my brick house, but I’ve always wanted to live in a little frame house, too.

That silly crack in our garage isn’t going to be there to bug me anymore, but I wonder if living wrapped in asbestos shingles will be any less bothersome to my OCD self.

My closet now holds nearly four times the stuff that the new closet will hold. (Doug did the linear square feet…I love my accountant husband.)  Can I confidently say that only one in four pairs of my shoes are favorite-enough to make the cut? 

Our dog will love having a fenced yard. Now she hates going outside in the wide expanse of the front yard, where small dogs feel perpetually unsafe.

The QT will be so far away! Ahh, but the Farmers Market will be around the corner!

Suburban aesthetics are so soothing sometimes, so symmetrical and clean.  But in Clarkston, I get to exercise my quirkiest decorating whims because it’s “all good.”

I won’t keep going. That would be painful for you (and for me), but you get the picture.  There is much in the way of contrast going on.  I could be a photo lab for all of the contrasting images I’m sorting through.

So, my Venn has big, wide outside circles and a pretty skinny overlapping part. Let’s see, what’s inside that little wedge?

My kids will be there. (Good, because I thoroughly enjoy them, 85% of the time.)

I get to take my favorite books, my Burt’s Bees chap stick, my pillow, and my coffee pot.  Oh, and my desk.  I think I’ve figured out where my desk will go.  That’s real progress, folks.

The accountant husband will be there, and I’m totally fond of him.

And, not to spiritualize this silly English teacher exercise, but I am so thankful that Jesus promises that He is Immanuel in all situations.  All yards.  All closets.  All gas stations.  All garages or asbestos.  Always.

So, I think I’ll have to say that the compare part wins.  Thank you, Lord, that stuff really isn’t central.