Posts Tagged ‘faith’

La Familia Sagrada

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

If ever architecture was an act of worship, it’s Barcelona’s Basilica by Anton Gaudi.

Pillars that branch out like trees hold the vaulted ceiling and stained glass mimics the colors of sunrise on one side and sunset on the other. And the outside of the edifice is as enthralling as the inside with all the bible stories that are depicted beneath the 18 bell towers. Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus is scripted above the passion of Christ sculptures revealing the alpha and omega of our faith.

Tickets have to be purchased in advanced online because everyday they are sold out before they open. Though still under construction, a completion date of 2026 will honor the 100th anniversary of the architect’s death.

To experience the Sagrada is to be swept up and drawn a little closer to heaven!

Selfie Stick Improving

Selfie Stick Improving


The Reality

Monday, September 5th, 2016

I sweat in places I never knew I had! Carrying 15 pounds on your back is uncomfortable and then you add a couple bottles of water. Washing yourself and clothes in the shower and hoping they dry by morning as they are strung all around the room is a test of faith. Chopping all your hair off and forgoing make up eliminates all vanity almost as much as wearing form-fitting wicking clothes and then binding yourself with all the straps giving you a Michellin Man appearance.

Dawn doesn’t come until 7:45 but you’ve been walking for almost two hours with 100 people who want to pass you. You climb a mountain only to turn and see 2 more ahead. You see other pilgrims stop for a break but you push on because you’re slower and there won’t be enough beds at the hostel if you lag. And at first you try to avoid the sheep poop but after doing a jig all over the countryside you just give up. That’s why you leave your boots at the door!

But having conversations with others about faith and their country of origin (Finland and South Africa the farthest so far) gets deep. Talking with Rolph, with terminal cancer, who is trying to get right with God and sharing your faith and cancer travels . Getting your first bedbug bites and considering them your badge of courage. Praying all the time, mostly for those back home and taking time to listen to answers, but also for that cramp or stiff back and waking new every morning.

It’s a trip of gratitude, testing, and like a praying friend said “with perseverance, even the snail made it to the ark!”

And it’s only been a week.


Lady Dye

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Off the beaten track, I have a question to ask any readers.

Should I color my hair?

The post-chemo emerging hair is black and white and looks like a dirty ashtray, and it is curly at the moment. I planned on coloring it as soon as possible to resume looking like me! Do I delude myself in thinking that I look younger when in fact I can’t escape that 62 years is my reality?

BUT I came across a couple Bible verses.

Proverbs 16:31: “Gray hair is the mark of distinction, the award of a God-loyal life.”

Proverbs 20:29 ” Gray hair gives prestige to old age.”

Was it a God-thing that I came across these verses?

What to do, what to do?

“Vanity, thy name is woman.” Shakespeare

Adolph From Pennyslvania

Monday, July 9th, 2012

On our travels we always pray that God would show us His GLORY – and it has never failed that scales practically fall from our eyes and we see incredible sights and wonders.  Yesterday I teared up as it hit me like a ton of bricks, that it wasn’t the scenery that was the glory, but the people on this cruise!  In our attempt to meet everyone on this ship, we have heard about some amazing lives, and found the world a smaller place.

…but my tale.    

Adolph is a lively elderly gentleman whose son put him in assisted care a few years back when his wife died.  Adolph showed him up by deciding to travel 11 months of the year.  But the real story is that Adolph was a Nazi tank driver in World War II.  One day an officer commandeered his tank and subsequently the tank was blown up. Adolph’s dog tags were in the tank so while he became a POW in a Russian Prison Camp, his parents were told he had died in commbat.  Five years after he miraculously survived the experience he showed up on his family’s door step!

He’s a real hit with the single ladies on the ship and his dashing figure is always on the dance floor.              

I’ll try to get a photo soon!

Rivers Of Europe 2012 Victory Jubilee

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Greetings from Amsterdam, a beautiful country with so much history, but a sad place as all the churches (the big national treasure ones) are being used for secular reasons now.They aren’t even open to view. They have evolved not to need God. But God will show us His glory and He knows He can use us on this cruise.

We saw Anne Frank’s house, the Van Gogh museum and the Heineken Experience and did the all day pass on the tram (our own version of Hop-on-Hop-off bus, and cheaper). Oh yeah, and the Red Light district.

The river cruise we are about to embark on is my CELEBRATION cruise! Watch out world! It looks like we are the youngest on board, cept for the crew. And our Chinese waiter at lunch was from Escondido!

My heart and prayers are with you all (Isnt it great that God’s portable!). Miss you all, but having a really awesome time.

The New Positive is a Negative

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Positive is a NegativeThe best news I can get is a negative, a zero. How did the test go? Nothing there! In this respect, I want to fail these tests. Earlier this week I had a pet-scan where they put radioactive isotopes through me via IV, put me in a dark room, and an hour later processed me thru a large donut that clicks and whirs. Then the cat-scan is where they put holy-mother-of-hot-sauce thru my veins and send me thru again. These chemical cocktails attach and light up any fast growing cells in my body (and my trip to cancer started with this 8 months ago). But they showed NOTHING. I’m smiling, really big! Hallelujah!

I’m not complaining, but while I was going thru chemo and radiation, I was doing something to fight this. Now I am on my own and the only thing I can do is be healthy. I must eat better, sleep more, de-stress, and continue to rely as heavily on my faith as I did in the dark times. My doctor (who I love) will see me a couple times a year to put me thru those test once again. And I will pray for a negative and be at peace because I had some truly remarkable people who walked with me and gave me such appreciation for the cancer journey I was on.

After all, ultimate healing is heaven with Christ, and that’s a real positive!

Scarves Of Love

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

So thrilled to take lovingly knit scarves from the ladies of N. Street Village and blessed at Luther Place in Washington D.C. to Moscow.  I was able to give these to the teen and adult members of the Student Venture Russia Project who wore the warm neck wear with the goal of being moved by the Holy Spirit to give their scarf away!

Stories are filtering in as folk were inspired to gift their scarf; one went to a Russian teacher who was the head of a christian teacher association in the town of Volgograd. She sat in on my class and was stern and taking lots of notes. Later we went to tea and she tearfully told me of her desire to have a camp like ours in her home town and of her own faith. I gave her mine!

One went to an interpreter who made the huge difference  in a beginners class. One went to an orphanage, and several went to Russian students who prayed to live Christ-like lives.  Mind you, we had been spoiled in the warmth of the scarves. It was a sacrifice AND a gift to give them away!

Leap Of Faith

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Today in our class of Russian teens, we shared our personal testimony.  Talk about putting it all out there.  Our topic was “Character” and what that meant in today’s world. Reputation: an intangible that you can never get back if you give it away for worldly gratification.  Honesty, integrity, values,morals. Lastly, that which makes it all possible = Faith.

With heart pounding, I gave my 3 minute personal story, and my American teen helpers gave theirs (I was so proud of them).  Half the class was in tears and we ended with lots of hugs.  I don’t know if we got through, but seeds were planted.

I am sorry that there arent photos yet, internet weakness, and late nights here!

English Camp

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Let’s see, how do I describe this experience???

We have 37 teens and adults from the U.S. who have raised support$ to travel all the way to the outskirts of Moscow and rendezvous with 100 Russian teens (teachers and some parents too) who have given up their Spring break and paid a lot of money for this mutual experience.  The Americans have a curriculum  at advanced and Basic levels  of English that we are teaching the Russians.  Their desire is to better their English: the key to success in life.(?)

Our theme is “Preparing for the Future” and ultimately as we get to know them and talk about choices, and challenges,we ultimately share our Christian faith with them.  We are making friends, and trying to be supportive and loving.

Our facility is a pretty nice dorm-like compound, with auditorium, cafeteria, meeting rooms and sleeping quarters. We are warm and cozy inside, but enjoying the snow and it’s challenges!

Out Of Africa

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Brenda and Perry Jansen

This summation is probably for my benefit as I reflect on the incredible experience Steve and I had In Malawi and South Africa.  Safari’s are not glamorous but folk who dedicate their lives to helping others are rock stars! They are the people who captured my heart on this God-led journey.

Dr. Perry Jansen: visionary, doctor,awesome guitarist, expert in AIDS and tropical diseases, Man of God, Caring father, colleague to many, and funny.

Brenda: devoted Mom and helpmate, tender and focused heart, hostess, musical,anchor.

Nate: bright student, college bound, passionate worship leader, great guitarist, kind big brother, huge potential.

Jansen Family

Erin: emerging woman, playful kid, good writer, great big sister, sweet tooth.

Olivia: small voice, big smile, large heart, pixie, chocolate bundle of joy and delight.

Blessing: phenomenal natural talent, dependable, quiet, polite, appreciative. Bird painter extraordinaire.

Donald:  supportive friend, gracious, focused ladder climber.

Anna, Miriam, Joseph, Lester, Ida, Lucy, Octavius, Grant, John Hamilton, John Fielder, Cory, Elizabeth, Stalkers, Colleen, Maxwell, Agnes, the kids of Takambe, nurses in frilly caps, Blue-gingham girls, the 4:30 ambulance pile-in, Chijenzes, ironed shirts, short ties, and the miracles God brought about to pass every single day.

Blessing and Donald

Things I wont miss:  Goats, potholes, crumbling roads, cold showers, bicycles, smoke, power outages, no internet, pushy vendors, extreme poverty, flying for 26 hours, converting kwatcha$, nsima.

Things I did miss or will miss:  Family at home, new friends in  Malawi, wine, big salads, servants, the warmth of the people, power outages (hey candlelight is nice) the African worship, people with passion, childrens’  faces, visiting, tv-less, early nights, early mornings, MASH episodes.

Dick and Charlotte Day

In Zomba we now have fond memories of Moira and Steve Chimombo, Dick and Charlotte Day, Windeson’s cooking, Winston, Ben, Jean,Irene, Isabel,Catherine, Faith the villages of Simyoni, Kawiya,  Makundula, the Mponda School and Zomba Central Hospital.

And we took the love of wonderful folk who donated panties, time, baby caps, pencils, quilts, stencils and funds to make it all happen,  and PRAYER and those who offered it up that kept us safe and healthy!! and a husband who shared a passion and humbly served others. Love him even more.

Thank you Editor, you keep me grounded and connected.

What a journey!