Wednesday, September 14, 2016

All support for the missions trip to Greece has been raised!   Thank you so very much for your help!  Please continue to pray for our team as we prepare to go.   God bless you!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Athens in October!

I'm excited to share that I will be part of Orangewood Church's Missionary Team to Athens, Greece, this October, 2016!   Thank you to all who supported me in this endeavor in years past-- I could not have been part of this amazing team without your support, and hope that you will consider helping me get there again this year.   To see some photos from last year's trips, please scroll to the bottom of this page.

Why I Go

Several years ago, I traveled to Greece at the end of a Missionary trip to Turkey, and met the Pastors and ministry leaders that serve in Athens.  While there, we visited the churches we partner with in ministry and listened to their leaders share their vision for the Gospel of Christ in Athens and the surrounding areas.  Through hearing their stories, and getting to know them over time, I have become an active supporter and partner in the ministry of House Damaris, a home for women who are victims of trafficking in Greece.   This fall, I plan on serving at House Damaris, assisting the ministry team and residents in a project, and also to meet with others serving in ministry in Athens to offer support, encouragement, and physical help with the ministries they are running within their communities.

Who We Help 

Currently, we assist the ministries of The First Greek Evangelical Church, Athens, their daughter churches in the communities of  Exarcheia, Glyfada, Aghia Paraskevi,  the Iranian Church of Athens, and House Damaris-- a ministry for victims of trafficking in Athens.   Because the needs are great, and the laborers are few, each one of these groups looks forward to our arrival and the physical help we can provide, along with the encouragement in Christ we bring.   

How You Can Help

The cost of airfare, lodging, food, and transportation for this trip is $3000.00.   Currently, I have paid $1300.00 towards these expenses, and must raise the remaining $1700.00 in support.   Will you consider helping me meet my goal of raising the balance of $1700.00 by September 20th?

How You Can Partner With Me

Financial Support

You can make a tax deductible donation online or by mail.   My goal is to raise $1700.00 by September 20th, 2016.

To Give Online:

Just click the link below, or copy and paste it into your browser, then follow these easy steps:

1.  Enter the amount you would like to donate in the "Give" field.

2.  Select "missions" in the drop down menu titled "select a fund"

3.  Enter "Vicki Taylor, Greece" and your name and address in the "optional" field, then enter your email address in the field provided.
4.  Click Continue;  if you already have an account, you can sign in.  Otherwise, click "continue as a guest"

5.  Follow the screen prompts to enter your payment details.

6.  Click "Give" 

You will receive a receipt for your tax deductible donation.  Orangewood's giving site is secure.

Here is the link to Orangewood Giving:

Orangewood Giving

To Mail a Check:

Mail to:

Orangewood PResbyterian Church
attn: Missions/Vicki Taylor/Athens
1300 West Maitland Blvd.
Maitland, Florida 32751

Prayer support

Please pray for our team in these three areas:

Health and safety as we travel
That we might serve Christ and the community well
That our Heavenly Father would use each of us as the hands and feet of Christ

If you would like more information, or have questions, please email me at and I will get back to your right away!

Thank you so much for your interest and support!  


Please see below for pictures from our 2015 trip.

Athens 2015

Add caption
Meeting with old friends...

Sorting through gifts for children and supplies.

Heading to Victoria Square to work on a project for the First Evangelical Church in their efforts to minister to the refugees in the city.

We spent a day talking with refugees and gathering information with the help of an Iranian pastor, who interpreted for us.

We compiled all of our information into a photographic essay for the church to use as a way to help their congregation have a greater understanding of the ways they might minister to them.

We were shown an apartment the church had recently purchased to use as a place where refugees might have some of their needs met.   The apartment would need cleaning, outfitting, and then have places for children to play, mothers to nurse babies, a place to shower, charge cell phones, etc.

So much to be done...

On to the Olympic Ping Pong Stadium to hand out toys and activity books collected by the church to the children of families being temporarily housed there.  

We visited the Greek Bible College, where Joe delivered a message to the students during their chapel, and we toured the construction site of their new building.

We met with Dina, the director of House Damaris, shared a meal, a time of prayer, and were able to give her a much needed laptop to use for her ministry.


The church had collected toiletry items for adults and children, and we assembled the bags and prepped them for distribution to refugees.


We visited the churches in Glyfada. Aghia Paraskevi, and Athens.

We met with Dina and the House Damaris team to hear more about their ministry and find out how we might best help them in their ministry to those who have been trafficked in Greece.
We packed more supplies for the refugees...

We got the apartment ready for the church to use for the refugees-- cleaned, assembled furniture, and gardened!


Monday, August 31, 2015

All support has been raised!   Thank you so much to all who have partnered with me financially and through prayer!   I will update the blog regularly with prayer needs for the missions team and details of our trip.  

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Please Help Me Be Part of Orangewood's Missions Team to Athens, Greece

Two years ago I participated in a ministry trip to Greece and while there met a woman whose vision was to open a home to minister to girls who are victims of trafficking. That vision is now a reality! The House of Damaris, will open its doors in the spring of 2016! This October, I have the opportunity to be part of a ministry team that will travel to Athens, Greece, for the purpose of encouraging, supporting, and helping our ministry partners there. The House of Damaris is one of these partners, and I am very excited about the opportunity to help this worthy cause!

 How you can partner with me:

Financial support

If you feel led to give financially, you can do so online or by mail. My goal is to raise $2,900 by October 10th, 2015.

To Give Online:

Just click the link below, or copy and paste it into your browser,  then follow these easy steps:

1. Enter the amount you would like to donate in the "Give" field

2. Select "missions" in the dropdown menu titled "select a fund"

3. Enter "Vicki Taylor, Greece" and your name and address in the "optional" field, then enter your email address in the field provided.

4. Click Continue; if you already have an account, you can sign in. Otherwise, click "continue as a guest"

5. Follow the screen prompts to enter your payment details

6. Click "Give". You will receive a receipt for your tax deductible donation. (Orangewood's giving site is secure.)

Orangewood Giving

To Mail a Check:

Mail to: Orangewood Presbyterian Church
              attn: Missions/Vicki Taylor/Athens
              1300 West Maitland Blvd.
              Maitland, FL 32751

Prayer support

If you feel led to support through prayer, I would love for you to pray for these three areas :

 That our team would stay healthy and safe
 That our efforts would have a lasting impact in the community
 That God would use this trip to do immeasurably more than we could ask or predict for this
    community and His Kingdom.

Together, we can both be a small part of what God is doing to uplift those serving in
Athens, Greece, especially those serving The House of Damaris.   Thank you for your prayerful consideration of how you might join with me in support of this worthy cause!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me via email:

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Trusting God In Change

"To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life. So is to trust that something will happen to us that is far beyond our imaginings. So, too, is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life, trusting that God moulds us according to God's love and not according to our fear. The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, trusting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination, fantasy, or prediction. That, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control." Henri J. M. Nouwen

I love my ordered little corner of life and often wish I could just freeze time and just do that which makes my heart sing. My work as a church musician and music teacher follow a calendar and schedule that repeats year after year while the people in my life continually shift and change. I'd like to have more time to indulge myself in some fantastic music, or soak up some endorphins through a physical activity like gardening, or to express myself through art or writing. Such things are beautiful to me, rich in joy.

I began blogging several years ago after a missions trip and in it rediscovered a passion for writing that had all but disappeared over time. Whenever time permitted I'd pour over the experiences unfolding in my life and try to capture the thoughts and feelings they evoked in me-- words joining together to hopefully create something that might encourage or lift the spirit. I felt as if my word-well was full and I would be able to dip into it indefinitely, but another difficult season began, and I found my words drying up. It was time to learn, to listen, and to grow.

Today, I'm beginning another time of change. The past few months have been hard for my dear parents-- their health has been poor and it has become plain to me that I need to step in and help them. I resigned from my teaching job so that I can be more available to them, and even though I wrestled with letting go of a career, I was reminded that just as in every season that has come to pass, the Lord has been present in all of them. He moved before me and behind me in every step of every journey. Now, as I reflect on the grace of God in my life I find my fingers itching to put my thoughts into prose. What will God do? What have I to learn? One thing stands out in my mind beyond all others. That same God, who in Christ has made my broken, messy life rich and meaningful,spanning the chasms of hurt with forgiveness and oceans of pain with comfort, will also bring beauty and peace, faith and trust, mercy and grace into each day ahead.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

While preparing for a lesson I was researching the subject of wrestling with God’s sovereignty over suffering and came upon this message by Tim Keller, of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. I found it to be incredibly comforting, filling my heart with beautiful perspective. I hope this speaks to yours as well.


Ground Zero/St. Paul's Chapel
Dr. Timothy J. Keller
Sept. 10, 2006

As a minister, of course, I’ve spent countless hours with people who are struggling and wrestling with the biggest question – the WHY question in the face of relentless tragedies and injustices. And like all ministers or any spiritual guides of any sort, I scramble to try to say something to respond and I always come away feeling inadequate and that’s not going to be any different today. But we can’t shrink from the task of responding to that question. Because the very best way to honor the memories of the ones we’ve lost and love is to live confident, productive lives. And the only way to do that is to actually be able to face that question. We have to have the strength to face a world filled with constant devastation and loss. So where do we get that strength? How do we deal with that question? I would like to propose that, though we won’t get all of what we need, we may get some of what we need 3 ways: by recognizing the problem for what it is, and then by grasping both an empowering hint from the past and an empowering hope from the future.

First, we have to recognize that the problem of tragedy, injustice and suffering is a problem for everyone no matter what their beliefs are. Now, if you believe in God and for the first time experience or see horrendous evil, you rightly believe that that is a problem for your belief in God, and you’re right – and you say, “How could a good and powerful God allow something like this to happen?”

But it’s a mistake (though a very understandable mistake) to think that if you abandon your belief in God it somehow is going to make the problem easier to handle. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from Birmingham Jail says that if there was no higher divine Law, there would be no way to tell if a particular human law was unjust or not. So think. If there is no God or higher divine Law and the material universe is all there is, then violence is perfectly natural—the strong eating the weak! And yet somehow, we still feel this isn’t the way things ought to be. Why not? Now I’m not going to get philosophical at a time like this. I’m just trying to make the point that the problem of injustice and suffering is a problem for belief in God but it is also a problem for disbelief in God—for any set of beliefs. So abandoning belief in God does not really help in the face of it. OK, then what will?

Second, I believe we need to grasp an empowering hint from the past. Now at this point, I’d like to freely acknowledge that every faith – and we are an interfaith gathering today – every faith has great resources for dealing with suffering and injustice in the world. But as a Christian minister I know my own faith’s resources the best, so let me simply share with you what I’ve got. When people ask the big question, “Why would God allow this or that to happen?” There are almost always two answers. The one answer is: Don’t question God! He has reasons beyond your finite little mind. And therefore, just accept everything. Don’t question. The other answer is: I don’t know what God’s up to – I have no idea at all about why these things are happening. There’s no way to make any sense of it at all. Now I’d like to respectfully suggest the first of these answers is too hard and the second is too weak. The second is too weak because, though of course we don’t have the full answer, we do have an idea, an incredibly powerful idea.

One of the great themes of the Hebrew Scriptures is that God identifies with the suffering. There are all these great texts that say things like this: If you oppress the poor, you oppress to me. I am a husband to the widow. I am father to the fatherless. I think the texts are saying God binds up his heart so closely with suffering people that he interprets any move against them as a move against him. This is powerful stuff! But Christianity says he goes even beyond that. Christians believe that in Jesus, God’s son, divinity became vulnerable to and involved in – suffering and death! He didn’t come as a general or emperor. He came as a carpenter. He was born in a manger, no room in the inn.

But it is on the Cross that we see the ultimate wonder. On the cross we sufferers finally see, to our shock that God now knows too what it is to lose a loved one in an unjust attack. And so you see what this means? John Stott puts it this way. John Stott wrote: “I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the Cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?” Do you see what this means? Yes, we don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, but we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us! It can’t be that he doesn’t care. God so loved us and hates suffering that he was willing to come down and get involved in it. And therefore the Cross is an incredibly empowering hint. Ok, it’s only a hint, but if you grasp it, it can transform you. It can give you strength.

And lastly, we have to grasp an empowering hope for the future. In both the Hebrew Scriptures and even more explicitly in the Christian Scriptures we have the promise of resurrection. In Daniel 12:2-3 we read: Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake….[They]… will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and…like the stars for ever and ever. And in John 11 we hear Jesus say: I am the resurrection and the life! Now this is what the claim is: That God is not preparing for us merely some ethereal, abstract spiritual existence that is just a kind of compensation for the life we lost. Resurrection means the restoration to us of the life we lost. New heavens and new earth means this body, this world! Our bodies, our homes, our loved ones—restored, returned, perfected and beautified! Given back to us!

In the year after 9-11 I was diagnosed with cancer, and I was treated successfully. But during that whole time I read about the future resurrection and that was my real medicine. In the last book of The Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee wakes up, thinking everything is lost and discovering instead that all his friends were around him, he cries out: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead! Is everything sad going to come untrue?”

The answer is YES. And the answer of the Bible is YES. If the resurrection is true, then the answer is yes. Everything sad is going TO COME UNTRUE.

Oh, I know many of you are saying, “I wish I could believe that.” And guess what? This idea is so potent that you can go forward with that. To even want the resurrection, to love the idea of the resurrection, long for the promise of the resurrection even though you are unsure of it, is strengthening. I John 3:2-3. ‘Beloved, now we are children of God and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope purify themselves as he is pure.’” Even to have a hope in this is purifying.

Listen to how Dostoevsky puts it in Brothers Karamazov: “I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, of the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood that they’ve shed; and it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify what has happened.”

That is strong and that last sentence is particularly strong…but if the resurrection is true, it’s absolutely right. Amen.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blogging’s been the lowest thing on my priority list this Fall. I’ve blinked and 6 months have flown by along with a collage of experience, growth, and challenge. On Saturday afternoon, I was given the gift of an afternoon/evening by myself and planned to make good use of it by trying to set our house in order for the next assault of busyness, and decided I wanted to listen to a book on mp3 while I worked.

I generally like to listen to music when I clean and I thought about pulling up a fun playlist but on reflection thought maybe something spiritually encouraging would be good. I’ve mentioned in the past that I like to listen to Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast and have enjoyed the diversity in literature and literary styles that she offers so when I stumbled upon a new podcast I was pleasantly surprised that it promised to deliver some great reads. The Podcast is called LibriVox and I’ve just downloaded Anne of Green Gables and am thoroughly enjoying the book. The sweet and innocent Anne and her love of life have given the last few days a lightness that was sorely needed.

Another other podcast worth mentioning is Great Books. If you’re an avid reader but have a busy life and an ipod, you just might enjoy the world of podcasts too.

Monday, November 09, 2009

When tragedy strikes those we know or love, we can often feel powerless to help them. What can we possibly say or do to comfort and help those who mourn? The following articles answer some questions on how to help people through the loss of a loved one. They are provided by BASIS, an outreach of Handi*Vangelism.

What is grief?
What can I say and do to help the healing process?
What will hurt the healing process more than help

Grief Can Be . . .

* an overwhelming sense of loss
* like walking through a dark tunnel
* an inability to find your way out of that tunnel
* loneliness, emptiness, and sadness
* a feeling of hopelessness
* letting go
* anger and denial
* asking "Why?"
* losing a major part of yourself
* turning toward God
* turning away from God
* tears and more tears
* normal

Grief can be all of the above and more. It may take all of your energy to grieve for your lost loved one. Every person's grief becomes an individualized journey of feelings, emotions and responses.

In John 11, a story unfolds in the town of Bethany, home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Lazarus became very ill and died. When Jesus arrived, His soul was grieved because His dear friend had died. Jesus wept with Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus was modeling for us that grief is a normal reaction to the loss of someone you love. His tears mingled with the tears of other mourners and He was not ashamed to express His true feelings.

You may find that coping with those same feelings in grief can be overwhelming. Here are some practical suggestions which may help you through your grief journey:

* Don't put a timetable on your grief. Allow yourself the freedom to grieve as
much as you need to for as long as you need.
* Allow the tears to flow.
* Don't make any major decisions during the first year.
* Talk about your loved one.
* Express your true feelings with a trusted friend who is willing to go the
distance with you.
* Set small attainable goals for yourself.
* Plan ahead how you will spend anniversary dates and holidays.

You do not have to travel alone on your grief journey. God provides hope for your suffering. Reflect on the following verses that promote God's hope in the midst of grief:

* Isaiah 43:2: Even through much suffering, God is always with you.
* John 14:27: There is no need to feel alone and afraid because we have God's
* Psalm 23:4: Grieving the death of a loved one can be overwhelming, but God
walks beside us every step of the way.
* 1 Corinthians 15:26: God promises that death is the last enemy to be destroyed.
* 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18: We can experience grief with hope because of the
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If we believe in the hope of Jesus
Christ, then heaven becomes a place of wonderful reunions with our loved ones.

Trusting God with your grief can bring both peace and comfort. Jesus, God's Son, experienced grief so He knows what you are going through. May you find rest knowing that God cares for you and desires that you seek Him for hope and comfort.

© 1999 Handi*Vangelism Ministries International

Things That Heal

"I can't begin to understand."

"This verse has been a help to me. Maybe it will be an encouragement to you . . . " (Written down on a notecard and given or sent to the individual would be best. Then he/she can read it when he/she feels up to it.)

"I'm so sorry. I can't imagine how much you hurt."

"I really care about your heartache."


Giving freedom for tears. (They are so therapeutic.)

Giving freedom for anger and questions -- even against and about God.

Giving freedom for talking about the loss. (In the case of a death, the one who experienced the loss often fears that the deceased loved one won't be remembered. Talking about the deceased loved one is very important and very healing.)

Placing no restrictions on the time of the grief process. (The real work involved with grief actually takes place 4-5 months after the loss and may continue for 18 months, depending on the type of loss and the people involved.)

Responding very practically to needs:
bring food, paper goods, other staples to home
clean the house
make home repairs
take car for inspection, tune-up, etc.
food shop
give certificate for dinner out with spouse/friend

Saying nothing rather than saying the wrong things.

Share a picture of or a little story about the deceased loved one with the family. (It helps preserve happy memories.)

Send cards -- always add a personal note.

Send cards on birthdays, anniversaries, any special occasion that will be especially difficult for a hurting person. (Imagine the pain for someone approaching the death date of a loved one. Imagine the pain for someone approaching the anniversary of his/her marriage after a divorce has taken place. Now imagine how much it would mean to know that you are thinking about him/her and praying for him/her on that day. A card or note to the hurting individual would indicate this.)

Remember siblings -- including grown up ones who are not living at home because they also have hurts. Take them out for a special treat. Help the family plan birthday or other special occasion parties so they won't get lost in the shuffle of grief.

Be ready to drop what you are doing when someone needs you. PEOPLE SHOULD ALWAYS COME BEFORE PROJECTS.

Accept the person where he/she is. (Don't expect others to respond to a situation the way you might or the way someone else has, even if the circumstances are similar.)

Do something special for someone; or give something to someone or some organization in honor of the memory of a deceased loved one -- not just at the time of death but months and years later. Let the family know you are doing this. It will really lift their spirits. (i.e. take a basket of food to a needy family in honor of a deceased loved one. Let the family of the deceased one know you are doing this.)

Avoid fixing blame even in your own mind. It's dangerous and pointless.

Organize relief care for a family with a handicapped child. The parents and siblings need opportunities to be relieved of the care of the child from time to time.

Pray for a hurting individual. Drop him/her a note to tell him/her you are praying and what you are praying for. (Be careful not to be pious in this.)

Project yourself into hurting individual's situation --never to say you understand but just to give yourself sensitivity and discernment in speaking and acting. For example:

imagine the pain of being deformed or physically scarred in some way -- think
about how it feels to be ridiculed or shunned or stared at

imagine spending your life in a wheelchair -- think about how special it would
be to have someone sit by you to converse with you

imagine that you have difficulty speaking because of cerebral palsy or a
stuttering problem -- think about how appreciative you would be if people would
give you whatever time you need to express yourself

imagine that you are mildly mentally handicapped -- think about how much you
want to be treated with dignity

imagine that you are divorced -- think about how poor your self-image might be
when you face others

© 1999 Handi*Vangelism Ministries International

Things That Hurt

"It's time to get on with your life." "It's time to snap out of this."

"I know just how you feel." "I understand."

Quoting Romans 8:28. (It's not that we don't believe it -- it's just very difficult for someone grieving to hear it at the wrong time. Make certain you know the context of the verse. It will help you to use it appropriately.)

"Don't you think you've grieved long enough?"

"You blew it!" (Insensitivity at the time of divorce, separation, or even accident.)

Placing blame -- "It's your fault." "You are letting others down."

"If only . . . " (Everybody can be a Monday morning quarterback.)

Prevent individual from asking questions -- being angry with God.

Avoid the individual because you don't know what to say or do.

Offer advice.

"It's never God's will for a Christian to suffer." (What do we do with Christ's suffering which was clearly God's will?)

Giving pat answers. (There usually are none. You can't always explain God's ways so don't try.)

Forcing forgiveness. (It's important to healing but forcing it only complicates things.)

Kick 'em while they're down! (This happens so often in the Christian community when a brother or sister falls.)

See yourself as God's "messenger" or "ambassador" rather than His instrument. (You have to approach a hurting individual with much sensitivity and compassion -- not with an "I have it all together" attitude.)

Interpret sadness/depression as weakness or lack of faith.

"If only you had enough faith . . . " (How much is enough? A grain of mustard seed isn't much. Additionally, God heals because of the faith of others too. See Luke 5:20.)

"If there's anything I can do . . . let me know." (Most grief stricken people don't know what they must do, much less what someone else might do for them.)

"You're young. You'll get over it." "You'll have other children."

Avoid mentioning the deceased one's name.

"At least you have other children."

Change the subject when the deceased is mentioned.

With a miscarriage -- "At least you never really got to know this child. It should hurt less."

© 1999 Handi*Vangelism Ministries International

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lean into the
trial or pain you endure;
for there are treasures
hidden for us in the dark places
by the one who loves us.
Take your time.
Cry your tears.
Tell God what you need to tell him.
He sees your hurts and hears your cries.
You are his precious child.
Remember that you're dear to him,
remember you are forgiven.
Live for Him
out of the immense spring of gratitude
that wells up within the believer
when grace is fully realized.
Every trial is a mixed cup,
both bitter and sweet
of which we sip
the mercy of His Spirit.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I love it when the Lord gives me a full screen look at myself. I like to think that I'm an open, honest, good-natured soul with a winsome spirit and I want to be seen as one who has it together. But to be honest-- sometimes I get a little puffed-up. I am by nature a fairly self-centered person, and know this about myself and want to be other than I am, but there it is.

The past two weeks I’ve been listening to the four Gospels on my ipod while going through the solitary parts of my days. Yesterday I listened to the first half of the Gospel of John and was so stricken by his beautiful telling of Jesus’ ministry that I couldn’t think of much else during the day today. I wove it into my teaching and was feeling great about myself and life by 3:00 pm. I had had a good day-- I'd motivated, challenged, and inspired the young. After school, I had a fairly good homework time with Marla and was thinking that this living in the moment with Christ thing was pretty satisfying. Success. I had my act together.

Then I walked the dog.

Just a block from our home is a rather busy street that has a good bit of traffic for a residential road. There is a very nice sidewalk that many people use as part of a neighborhood dog-walk. As I walked our dog down the sidewalk I noticed that his harness was askew and needed adjusting. Squatting down on the low embankment I began to work on the harness, but somehow lost my balance and fell over sideways and then on to my back… in a dress. Awful.

Mortified, I climbed back to my feet as the cars whooshed by. I found myself laughing aloud as I mentally replayed the topple in slow motion. It was humbling. All of a sudden I wasn’t so cool-- my ego had been downsized to a minuscule portion just when I was starting to feel like I had it all together. I was looking at my outward appearance and feeling pretty foolish.

I’m thankful to the Lord for reminding me of how silly I am on my own. I am thankful for his grace which enables me to truly get back on my feet and walk as if I'd never stumbled. I'm thankful that when He fills me with his truth, no amount of condemnation from the evil one can keep joy from my heart. I'm forgiven-- free. I need him every minute to redeem the time and remind me of whose I am.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What’s For Dinner?

Last night as I prepared some pork chops for grilling I was thinking about the rub recipe that I generally default to and was uninspired. My taste buds were begging for something new and different. Thinking through the ingredients that were readily available in the refrigerator and pantry I decided to Google ginger and pork chops and after scrolling through a few entries landed on one that promised to be a winner. Quick, easy, and delicious! What more could I ask for?

Ginger and Honey Glazed Grilled Pork Chops

4 pork chops, 1 1/2 inches thick
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon powdered ginger or 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place pork chops in a shallow glass dish. Pour marinade over chops, cover, and allow to marinate in refrigerator for 1-3 hours. Preheat grill for medium heat. Remove chops from glass dish and discard marinade. Place chops on a lightly oil grill rack and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes, turning once.

*These pork chops are not only simple, but really delicious. Though you can use any kind of pork chop you wish to, center cut is recommended for this recipe.
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Served with Jasmine rice, black beans, and sliced kiwi-- Delicious!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” ~Anais Nin

“You were off all summer—you should have been writing!” chided my erstwhile friend. What could I say? It was true. I did have 8 weeks off, and only really had one week where I was away. Why haven’t I been writing? I had great intentions, surely, and I sat down at the computer countless times. Yet, each time I’d try I’d find myself dry, empty of beautiful words.

Earlier in the year I abused my voice by teaching on laryngitis and by the end of the term I sounded like a carton a day smoker with constant throat pain and hoarseness. After seeing an ENT and a Voice specialist, it was decided that I needed two full weeks of voice rest. I am a very relational person, and communicate for a living. Two weeks of voice rest had about as much appeal for me as two weeks of bed rest would for an athlete; but I did it. The first 10 days were unremarkable albeit long, then Marla caught a throat infection and I came down with it too resulting in an additional two weeks of quiet time. Now, I’m not complaining, really… there are treasures to be found in the silence when you listen, and I uncovered quite a few; however, I found a melancholy had descended upon my spirit that didn’t lift when the silence ended. The long season of quiet brought about sadness that I just couldn’t shake. I read uplifting books, worked at the church, listened to beautiful music, worked in the yard, and played with our child, but all under a gloomy cloud.

Somehow in the passage of the last week it has begun to lift. The stress has lessened and the enjoyment of creativity reawakened. I’m thankful for the return of enthusiasm and passion for each day’s undertaking and a lighter spirit and for the grace of God that never departs even when I’m low. Words are returning, beginning to flit through my mind like dry leaves stirred by the breeze.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


When I was very young my mother taught me how to build sandcastles. There was something immensely satisfying in packing the moist sand into a bucket, forming turrets and walls, and then decorating them with coquina shells that seemed like tiny pastel butterfly wings. We'd add spires and designs by scooping up wet handfuls of sand by the surf and dripping small bits on in little glistening globs. Each one seemed like a work of art to me.

Last Summer, we played with sand art just a bit on the beach while we vacationed in Sanibel. A small starfish took me over an hour to make, and a giant swordfish took us all day. We collected close to 1000 shells to create that one.

Last night, a friend sent me some pictures of sand art from the Cannon Beach Annual Sandcastle contest on the coast of Oregon. It takes patience, vision, and skill to create something truly beautiful. The creators of these incredible sand sculptures truly possess those attributes and more!

If you'd like to see more, you can check out the contest's website. The photos are simply amazing!