Just Call Out My Name

Just call out my name, and wherever I am, I’ll come running to you!

I feel the tug in my heart. It makes me swallow hard. I fight back the tears, but they come anyway. It’s just too hard. Please show yourself to me somehow. Let me know that you are here. Let me know that you are happy. Let me see you once again. Let’s run in that meadow like we used to! OK?

You’re a few steps ahead of me, slapping your sides with your hands, prodding your imaginary horse to go faster. You yell at me at the top of your lungs, “HEY, PONCHO!” We race through the Eucalyptus trees, angel caps flying, our tennis shoes sprouting wings! “I’M COMING, CISCO!”, I scream, trying to keep up with you.

We fly through the field of wild flowers, beads of sweat on our foreheads – and you come to a screeching halt. Look! A dandelion!! Oh, cool, Sis! Let’s make a wish! You proceed to pull it out of the ground, root and all. We admire it for a few seconds and then bow our heads in solemn wish-making mode. Wishes made in silence, we count to three and then blow!

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I miss you so much, sweet Sis! May God hold you in His loving arms and sing Happy Birthday to you, like you’ve never been sung to before!

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The Dark Side

dark oceanOne of my daughters has practiced the art of painting for a number of years. The most recent series of paintings have been quite dark, and when she asked me if I liked a particular painting, I said, frankly no, it was so dark and depressing. She said, “Well, you’ve always had a hard time facing the dark things in life.” She’s right. And as we talked, the subject of James Foley came up. He is the journalist who was so gruesomely murdered by the ISIS. My daughter was surprised that I had been following the news and was fully familiar with what had happened.

In fact, as we prepare to leave on a mission trip to Cambodia (see earlier posts), I have become much more aware of the dark side. As I’ve studied Cambodia’s history and have begun to learn of its grim past, I have had no choice but to take the blinders off and pay more attention to the world. If I’m going to travel to the other side of the world, to one of the darkest places there, and try to do some good, then I need to “be smart about it”, and know what I’m getting into and who I’m dealing with.

And so, we sat and talked about James Foley. I asked the question, “How did this young man face this terror? How does anyone, for that matter, face such evil?”

My daughter said, “Mom, they do it knowing that they are loved. James Foley knew that he was loved unconditionally by two great parents back home, and surrounded in that love, he was able to face that evil.”

As I become more aware of the horrific things that go on in this world; of people so filled with hate, and the unimaginable crimes they commit, I can’t help but feel a bit weak in the knees. But I am reminded, thank God, that for every one of those lost souls, there is a person filled with love, ready to put their fears aside, and do what they can to help others.

My daughter reminded me that not all art is ‘about the decoration’. It’s about making people aware. It’s about helping people to remember. And so, I remember James Foley and his family today. With my deepest condolences and prayers for healing.

I will also pray for the little girls that we will meet and work with in Cambodia. Many of them, sold into slavery by their own parents, have faced horrors we cannot fathom and have done so, void of love.

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Excuse Me, Do You Have the Time?

mickey mouse clockI woke up to the 6:00 am alarm with a grunt and laid there for a few moments, contemplating the day. I had an appointment at 10:00 am. I made a mental note: four hours until appointment — check! As I got dressed I outlined in my mind what I needed to do to prepare for the meeting, and also, guesstimated the time it would take to get to the appointed place. Better leave around 9:30 to make the twenty minute drive just to be on the safe side. You never know, you may run into traffic, even though it’s an “opposite commute”. You just never know. Gotta be safe. I arrived at the meeting place with ten minutes to spare. I sat in the car and waited exactly eight minutes, giving myself two minutes to make it inside the building and up the elevator to the office suite. I knocked on the door at EXACTLY 10:00 am, letting out a little sigh of approval. In this country, we call it “Clock Time”. I have lived by clock time all my life. I like clock time. Clock time is my middle name!

In Cambodia, (as in many other countries) people run on what is called “Event-Time.” People run their days by an internal clock; they are focused on one task at a time and the present.

In clock-time cultures, showing up five to ten minutes after the set time is considered permissibly late, 15 to 20 minutes after is late, and 30 minutes after the set time is considered insultingly late. But in event cultures it is considered permissibly late if someone arrives thirty to 45 minutes after the set time. One to two hours after the set time is considered late, and two to three hours after the set time is considered insultingly late.

I’ve got a lot to learn! Hope I have enough time!

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What do you do?

Jeanette MacDonald's photo.

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Why Am I Going?

Cambodia girlsI am preparing to leave on a mission trip to Cambodia in November. Our team of 13 people will work with Agape International in their fight against sex trafficking of little girls.

In preparation for this trip we have been studying what it means to be “ministering cross-culturally”. In doing so, it has been important to understand the history of Cambodia.

Where were you between 1970 and 1975?

My first child was born in 1968; my second in 1970. By 1975, my daughters were seven and five. I was practicing the art of motherhood, honing my “June Cleaver” skills. My beautiful girls were learning all about school and making friends. They were safe.

At the same time, on the other side of the world, the Khmer Rouge noose tightened around Phnom Penh; the US began airlifting food, medicine, and military equipment into the city. Finally, in early April, Khmer Rouge troops advanced on the city, the airlifts stopped, the US evacuated its embassy and the leadership of the Cambodia’s government fled.

“The soldiers set to their job right away, evacuating Phnom Penh, forcing all of its residents, at gunpoint, to leave behind everything they owned and march toward the countryside. Hospital patients still in their white gowns stumbled along carrying their IV bottles. Screaming children ran in desperate search for their parents.

Yet while the mass evacuation of 3 million people was stupefying, the foreign correspondents saw little bloodshed before they were deported. And that is about all the world knew of the new Khmer Rouge.” (Cambodia’s Curse, by Joel Brinkley)

The Cambodia of today suffers from little or no moral compass. Much of the population still suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. In one of the communities where we will be working, 90% of the girls in that country face abuse and/or sex trafficking before their 13th birthday. The average age of these girls is nine.

For the next few months, I plan to dedicate this blog to the journey ahead of me and the team. Many have asked why I’m going. I ask, “Why wouldn’t I?”

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Here’s Lookin’ at You, Pardner!

john wayneAugust is my sister’s month. As soon as August comes around, I think of my dear Peggy. She was born on August 26. She is gone now, but memories — thank God for memories — keep her alive in my heart.

I’ve been practicing race walking. The form one must perfect is quite odd, really, and I’m sure when people see you race walking they question if you’re “ok”. I call it the John Wayne walk. Anyone who is 60-something knows what I’m talking about, and that reminds me of Peggy.

So, it’s 1950-something and Peggy and I enjoyed putting on skits for mom and dad. Typically these grand shows would occur in the living room, after dinner, homework done. On this particular eve, we decided to be cowboys and mimic one of those scenes where the two make their way to the saloon and belly up to the bar (kitchen counter). Well, Peggy had the John Wayne walk mastered. Both arms held out in front of her, she swaggered in, cowboy hat perched in a cockeyed fashion on her head, mumbling something John Wayne-ish, like “I’m gonna rope every calf, cow, steer in the corral…”.

We greeted each other at the “bar” and I said to the imaginary bar tender, “We’ll have two whiskeys, bar keep!” in my deep, cowboy voice. “John Wayne” runs behind the counter and puts two shot glasses up on the bar (jelly glasses that mom got free from the gas station!) and fills them with root beer, and runs back to the other side of the bar.

“Here’s looking at you, pardner!” I said, as I raised my glass in John’s direction. “Here’s lookin’ at you, pardner!” John bellowed. And at that, we raised our glasses and slugged our shots down. With one exception. As I raised my glass , I completely missed my mouth and root beer flew all over my face!

I can still hear mom and dad laughing. Dad slapped his knee and let out a hoot, and John Wayne and I laughed til the cows came home!

Here’s lookin’ at you pardner!

 

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Keep Your Game Face On

Some days are harder than others to keep your game face on. The good news is, the day ends and there’s a new one to look forward to.

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