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Guatemala

  • A North American Lent: When You Want to have an Appetite for More of God

    On Thursday, February 27 th, 2014

    She’d say it like she was dying. Nevermind that she’d been saying she was dying for the last 20 some years and yeah, we might have mocked and rolled our eyes. Why didn’t anyone grab our fool shoulders, shake it into us that it’s only the wise who feel time’s sands running right out of them. Grandma Ruth would stand there in the kitchen and say it gravelly, her hands o...

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  • Why Right Now is the Time to Shatter the Myth of ‘Not Enough’

    On Tuesday, February 25 th, 2014

    When he got to the top of that wobbling ladder, he whipped out the pencil from behind his ear and marked an X. Marked an X on the ceiling of the church. And then drilled. The Farmer made this mark and then broke through the ceiling of the church. Broke the ceiling with a hook — so he could hang a frame. Yeah, the pastor and the Farmer spend this evening hanging a couple ...

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  • The Real Secret to Being Healthy: Multivitamins for Your Weekend

    On Saturday, February 22 nd, 2014

    So, the last two days, I’ve been struggling with this hounding fever, this sickness chilling up the underside of bones. And hey, who knows if you pick up something when you walk through slums, when you step over sewage and the bloated bones of who knows what – a dog? a rat? the bones of God? Or maybe you get this sick when you’re sick of your cheap grace th...

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  • Don’t Read This. But READ THIS. Because WHO WOULD HAVE BELIEVED THIS would happen?

    On Thursday, February 20 th, 2014

    So there’s this 19-year-old cutter who laid down the blade in her hand and brandished a pen. And Mrs. Stoope, this 78-year-old Michigan grandma who has seven sons, her hair wrapped up in a white bun and has this Bic blue list she’s scrawled in her own hand, numbered now up over 10,000 graces. She always keeps a copy of the book on hand too, Mrs. Stoope who’s handed out ov...

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  • The One Secret for Real Change

    On Monday, February 17 th, 2014

    When we get on that plane early Sunday morning, that airline flight attendant hands us pretzels. The kids all say thank you. And I’m grinning like a fool, knowing a bit of the miracle that’s coming. I’m grinning like a fool, burning up with what happened last year. How last year, when we picked up the garbage in the streets of a slum, the sun was burning up th...

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  • The problem of evil? The Greater Problem of Good?

    On Monday, August 08 th, 2011

    So after dinner, she picks coneflowers in the garden. Cradles the long stems in her apron skirt, carries them up through the picket gate. And she turns to me on the top step of the porch, holds her apron out to me, all those purple petals — art in an apron. “Why is there all this loveliness?” She wants to know. I almost tell her — The World is full of loveliness bec...

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  • what really happens when you give to the poor

    On Thursday, February 03 rd, 2011

    The day her letter finally arrives, a letter from Xiomara, the girl in the middle of the frame and the only sponsored child I’ve met, I rip into it anxious, and part of me soars. We had wheeled happy the day we met, the happiest day. How long has it been since that day in Guatemala with Compassion Bloggers that had undone me, them showing me the bare heart of Jesus? She is a...

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  • To Set Up a Complete Nativity Scene:

    On Wednesday, December 15 th, 2010

    It’s Day 85 of my life-after Guatemala that I set out the nativity; it’s only now that I remember that the baby would be about 85 days old too. It’s my only souvenir from Guatemala — a red soil formed Mary, three clay-combed wise men, a Babe the size of a thimble. Headbands for the girls, a thin woven bracelet for each of the boys, a weaving made into bookmark for ...

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  • when you’re called to The Insignificant Significant

    On Wednesday, November 10 th, 2010

    The child who lifted up a corner of my life and upended me was born on Remembrance Day and I am now three thousand miles away and two time zones to the east and how can I forget? It was her eyes. Bright, like dawn breaking, a light flooding over me living in the land of the shadow of death. How many times just this week do I flip through the photos of those twenty minutes that ...

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  • when you’re dying to live radical: Fight the Middle Ground

    On Thursday, October 14 th, 2010

    Thirty one days I have been home now. It’s walking through Walmart that I know I haven’t forgot. That I am petrified I might. It’s walking past the aisle of towels and dishcloths and tablecloths, looking for those girls of ours who had gone looking for leotards, for those scratchy things you need when the weather turns colder and the flip flops are flung in exchange for ...

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  • where in the world, in all this world, is God?

    On Wednesday, September 22 nd, 2010

    It is the stench of the place. The rotting flesh, the burning rubber, the foul festering and decay. I’m a farmer’s daughter, a farmer’s wife, and this is what I know: I’ve fed hogs and I’ve extracted stillborn piglets from the uterus of sows in a gush of fetid fluids, and I’ve hauled manure. And I know the fetor of death exhaling from bloated green bellies and the w...

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  • there’s only a harvest when we break out of the mold

    On Friday, September 17 th, 2010

    All along the far side of the field, the pods tangle, hang waiting in the gilded and the swollen and the tractor keeps pressing alongside for the filling, the combine reel spinning, a ferris wheel rising and falling, sweeping pods up and in, splitting open each dry shell for a string of white pearled beans and a celebration of harvest. Out here, in fields and dirt, out h...

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