May 14, 2008

So, we have a cyclone in Myanmar, a small country also known as Burma in Southeast Asia, and countless numbers are dead and goodness knows how many more are homeless and in desperate circumstances. As always, the international aid community, led by the United States, swings into action. Supplies ready, medical staff standing by. And, according to a report by the Associated Press, here’s what happened: “Even as the death toll climbed, Myanmar’s authoritarian regime continued to bar nearly all… Read more

May 5, 2008

Every four years, a group of people come together for a somewhat strange gathering for the uninitiated: it is called the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. At this gathering, there will be representatives from across the world, who have traveled to pray and worship and debate and learn and eventually to make decisions that will affect all members of this large group, over eight million strong. The process is slow, laborious, often tedious, frequently frustrating. Because we are… Read more

April 24, 2008

I knew well a man who had put himself through college with an athletic scholarship. He often used football analogies to describe life and growth and the human condition and our relationship with God. One of his favorite phrases was, “You are only as good as your last play.” By which he meant, of course, that one can have played a powerful game two or three weeks before, or even earlier in the game, but the only thing on the minds… Read more

April 24, 2008

Who among us has never done something that is regretted later? Who has never said an unkind word about someone or to someone? Who has never gossiped or spread untrue rumors? Who has never deliberately inflicted hurt or pain on another in a moment of high emotion? Who has not made some life choices that turned out in retrospect to be destructive to one person or another? Who has not violated written or unwritten moral codes at one point? Would… Read more

April 21, 2008

Supermarkets are truly amazing places to shop. There is almost nothing of daily need that can’t be found there and occasionally, one can even find food. On a recent, fact-finding shopping trip, I netted some of the following items: · Fresh Fruit: blackberries, strawberries, oranges, and lemons. · Fresh Bread: a whole grain, heavy and rich loaf. · Fresh Cheese: a wedge of flavorful Jarlsberg. · Fresh Vegetables: several ears of corn, still in the husk, a potato, some fresh… Read more

April 12, 2008

“Je suis désolé. Je ne parle pas français.” This is the phrase I memorized: “I am sorry. I do not speak French.” I said this many times on my recent trip to France. For the most part, my apology did not bring about a sympathetic response. French people expect people to speak French. Period. And while many do speak English, there was an expectation that I would have also sought to learn their language. I did give myself a quick… Read more

April 7, 2008

This will be the last post for this trip. Tomorrow is my last day here, and I will be doing “kid duty” again as Adriana needs to go back to Paris to finish getting her travel visa. Then it is time to pack. We will leave very early Wednesday morning so I can catch my plane. For the first time today, I cared for Joshua without his parents present. After the first few bad moments were over, we settled in… Read more

April 6, 2008

OK, the question has been, “How can I spend two weeks in France just 100 km from Paris and not see Paris itself?” Since it was becoming clear that I was in danger of doing that very thing, today, Sunday, April 6, became the day to remedy the problem. Although we had originally planned for all to go, it turned very chilly overnight and snow was predicted, so at the last minute, just Jonathan and I went. As we entered… Read more

April 6, 2008

Saturday was Jonathan’s 31st birthday and Adriana was absolutely determined to surprise him with a party and an American-style cookout. This party took a week in planning, unbelievable coordination, many hands to help, and much trust the people would keep it secret. The big fly in the ointment is that Jonathan decided on Friday that he wanted to taken me and the family to Paris on Saturday so I could see the city, and Adriana just had to agree to… Read more

April 4, 2008

Friday in France The day started hard. Both the children were restless during the night, especially Samuel. Little sleep for anyone and we all gave up around 6 a.m. Adriana and I had said that we’d walk together to the village at 6:45 to get some fresh crossaints and a baguette from the bakery, but it was clear that she couldn’t leave the fussy Samuel. So I threw on some clothes and left the house. The sky was turning light… Read more

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