Sunday, July 29, 2007

Frappucinos and Measuring Tape Suspenders


Upon arrival in Chicago on Wednesday afternoon, Sarah and I could not believe we were back in the States. We were tired from long hours of flying... looking greasy and probably not smelling like daisies. Finding the nearest bathroom we set out to try to improve the situation... getting lots of interesting glances as we washed our hair in the sink, brushed our teeth, and gradually morphed back into something like human beings. Those of you who have traveled internationally know exactly what I am talking about. We wondered... "Do people do things like this in the States? Oh well, if they don't that's fine." Strange how we felt a bit like foreigners in our own home land. Next stop for us was, of course, STARBUCKS. The classic look was the same... the only difference was a few shufflings of the menu. A few drinks replaced with new ones. The changes looked good to me, and we both ordered raspberry mocha frappucinos. Sweet coffee delicous-ness. After sitting down we quickly realized that Cinnabon was also necessary, and we grinned in sheer delight while devouring our North American treats. Still there remained an hour before boarding our flight to Fargo. This was fine with me, and the time passed incredibly quickly as we sat at our gate watching the passers-by. I have never spent a great deal of time thinking about American "culture", but certainly discovered that it is here in abundance. Some of my favorite sightings were a little girl on her dad's shoulders... I imagined headed for Disney World, and a sweet old man wearing a red t-shirt with thick, yellow measuring tape suspenders. Fashion has changed since August 3rd, 2006, which is a little bit scary. I must admit feelings of terror with all of the pencil-leg jeans walking by our gate. My personal opinion is that this look does not flatter anyone and should be avoided at all costs. We will see how I feel in a month or two.

I cried a good portion of the flight from Chicago to Fargo. There were many reasons... excitement, fear, gratefulness for the past year and sadness that it was over. The airplane was freezing and I desperately wanted to get off of it and into the arms of family and friends. Stepping onto the jetway was like stepping inside a hair dryer. The heat and humidity covered like a blanket as we waited for our carry ons, then ran the short distance to where our loved ones waited for us. Just like that, we were back. Amazing!!! I felt so loved. My friends had brought flowers, cards, balloons, chocolate, banners, and my Auntie Wanda had even called the news. God has blessed me so richly... I have no idea how to begin saying thank you.
Here I am with my beloved Rach the Dach and Luke the Duke this past Friday. A whole troop of soldiers had just returned from 18 months in Iraq and much of Fargo/Moorhead turned out to greet them as they drove by.

This morning I awoke much earlier than necessary (generally it is difficult for me to adjust to a time change) and watched the sun rise over endless rows of tassling corn from the vantage point of a nobby old tree. Hard work from my sister, Nina, helped this endeavor very much. She has created a little treehouse wonderland in our backyard woods, and after climbing a ladder and placing my Bible and journal on the platform I was able to quite easily shimmy up a strong, round limb to lay flat and welcome the sun. This was a regular custom in Mozambique... marveling at God as He stunned me yet again with matchless beauty. The past few days have been chaotic and difficult, so to find the stillness of the morning was loveliness for my broken heart. Gazing at the endless stretches of corn I could hear my dad's voice telling me over and over again through the years, "the rows must be straight." Straight. I thought about God and my life... how He asks us to walk the stright and narrow and how I am constantly failing to do so. Lately I have been feeling very very very small. Yet even at times when I feel the strong desire to hide from God, knowing that I do not deserve His love or His grace, I find that I cannot escape it. His mercy covers me like flesh. I cannot shake it off and I am glad, for I would die if it went away.

In the coming days I will write much more about thoughts such as these... writing helps me to bring clarity to what is spinning, disoriented and confused, in my mind. I am so thankful that my Abba is patient with me as I try to process and obey all that He is saying and doing...

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