Saturday, October 27, 2012

Today, My Heart

Today my heart is at Rondo Retreat Center in Western Kenya. On the expansive lawn. Laughing and learning in the living room. Worshiping in the chapel. Having long heart to heart talks with sisters I dearly esteem and love.

Today my heart is in any number of  living rooms in Nairobi, Kenya. Tuesday night potluck. Ladies Bible study. Planning ladies retreat. CDT is cross-stitching a million notebook covers. Seasoned missionaries sharing life. Teaching me how to survive. How to thrive.

Today my heart is at a dinner table. Turtle Bay Resort. Rondo, again. The Reppart’s home. Laura and I are reconnecting. Pictures of grandchildren. Memories with her children. The conversation circles and meanders but always points to God. Laura sat right up next to her King. Leaned into Him. Sought after Him. I learned from her, every time we spoke.

Today my heart is on a mountain top. Jeff has led amazing young ladies on a senior year adventure.  I tagged along and summited with them. One deliberate, difficult step at a time. Laughter. Success. Brutal chill. And communion.

Today my heart is in our second house in Fort Portal. Dear friends, the Browns, are with us. They are newly weds and we are newly parents. Two year old Kinley beebops around us and Alex is three months from arrival. We are sharing the stories of our hearts and lives. Until the wee hours of the morning. And it is good.

Today my heart is in Fort Worth with dear missionary community gathered to honor, to remember and to say goodbye.

Today my heart is in West Texas. With my enduring man who continues to recover. With the Cashlings enjoying the delights of America.  With my parents who are so good to me and mine. And with my sister and her amazing family who welcome us into their lives. Their activities. Their world.

My scattered heart, all broken and mended.

Gathered and strewn.


Today every piece of my heart finds welcome in His.

Pressing into His Knowing is Glorious. Familiar. Safe.




“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted…” Psalm 34:18

 Laura Reppart, beloved wife, mother, Shosho, and friend passed from this life early this week. She is Home. And Healed. But we will all miss her here. 
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Four AM.

Jeff is moving quietly, allowing me to sleep as long as possible.

I release to the awakening around 4:30. Sleep will be elusive now.

We talk quietly. Our difficult flight experiences yesterday. Travel.

Arrival in my dear Texas.

We are thankful to have traveled safely.

Thankful for our amazing children.

Thankful for each other.

I walk silently into the kitchen to make tea and I’m greeted by waves from the Cashlings. All awake soundlessly in the dark room.

“My body thinks it’s daytime, Mama,” Silas whispers.


We begin to move slowly in the morning dark. Enjoying the stretching of our legs. The comfort of a bed. Being safe, together, here.

We are cycling a travel cold. Stuffed noses and raw throats. Warm tea soothes and Tylenol eases.

Jeff has taken the sickness hardest. Any virus deeply affecting his weakened body.

He endured much yesterday. Thankful for his strength.

I sip my second cup of coffee. The caffeine does little to push back the weariness of jet lag. We must feel this until we don’t. There is no way around the tired. Just through it.

My brain seeks. Searches. Works through this transition.

Through the wardrobe.

Shifting of gears.

How to describe?

When we first moved to Uganda, seventeen years ago, someone mailed us the VHS tape of the movie Twister and I watched it over and over again. The movie was good, but it was the scenery that called me back. The camera shots of a wide, open sky. Tarmac roads. Scenes that reminded me of home. A place I understood.

Watching those landscapes soothed me then.

I remembered this feeling yesterday as I watched another movie on the airplane. There was a scene of arrival in an African airport.

And that same soothing, familiar feeling washed over me.

Africa. The Third World. Now the place I can negotiate and understand.

I am still shocked by this.

This being an alien.

Landing in Texas bears a deep familiarity. Volume and accent and a warmth of welcome. A manner of conversation and joking that I recognize and remember.

Football games. Church. Restaurants.

Kindness of strangers.

We have met such kindness in every culture we have passed through.

But when the kindness reaches you in a familiar accent it touches uniquely.

We have two nights, cozy in our hotel room, to sip hot tea. Rest our weary bodies.

And allow our brains to shift.

Tomorrow, we make one more flight.

To family. Hugs. Connection. Conversation.

Another home.

This life is good. Rich. Full.

Even from weariness. Especially from weariness.

His Strength sustains. And He is ever, more real. Always Present.

“…And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.”

“…they were longing for a better country---a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”

Hebrews 11:13b;16

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Gift of October 8th

It's a Rerun! Which, if you know me and my sister, is entirely appropriate :) This a post from one year ago today. Happy birthday Cherise!  

The suitcase made a tap-tapping sound as I bounced on it’s hard case. I stood on my tip-toes on the wobbly case, peering out the bedroom window. Mam-ma had just announced their arrival and I was eager for a glimpse.

I could see the car. And Daddy. But Mom was still sitting in the car, and she was in her pajamas and robe.

My hair was combed and tidied in barrettes. My clothes were clean and fresh. This moment was important and the joy of the impending introduction was reverberating through my tiny frame and making me jump and wriggle and hop.

I bounced down the hall and out the front door, with Mam-ma holding my hand. Warnings to be careful and quiet played in my ears.

Mom was just sitting and holding and I was curious about that. I pulled up on Daddy’s car door as he unloaded things from the trunk.

Mom smiled at me as I strained to see the bundle everyone was making such a fuss over.

“Come around over here, Cheryl. Quietly.”

I stood at the opened passenger door, relieved that Mom seemed to be just fine.

She pushed back the blanket with these words, “It’s YOUR baby, Cheryl! She’s here!”

It was... A Sister!

From moment one, I was enthralled.

She wriggled and stretched. I gasped, wide eyed.

My VERY OWN baby?!?!

I could hardly contain my joy.

I was called back to Mam-ma’s hand as Dad helped Mom inside. Everyone paraded down the hall to Mom and Dad’s room where Mom lay the tiny baby in the middle of their bed.

I was bounding with excitement.

Mom nodded at me and I (oh so carefully) climbed up beside the waking bundle.

The blanket was falling back and her legs and arms were squirming. She was tiny. And she didn’t have ANY hair. I smiled down at her and our eyes met for the first time.

She reached out towards me and grabbed a handful of my hair. And tugged. I startled with the sudden pain of a hair pull. Everyone laughed and calmed me, assuring me Sweet Sister meant no harm.

Despite the adult take on the situation, I was pretty sure I had seen the first smirk pass across that sweet baby face. (smile) I , to this day, adore that smirk.

It was the first of many moments that would be for us alone. Instantaneously, an understanding. We would know each other in a way no one else ever would.


My world changed forever on that day.

And I am so glad it did.

Happy Birthday, Cherise.

I am forever thankful for you.