When Your Life is Under Construction

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view of our backyard, early Summer, from the upper deck

I have been pondering the tension lately between between the image I project to the world about my life and what is ACTUALLY going on.

Every morning I stand at my kitchen sink, I see a variation of this view above. I often post the photos on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, giving folks well, a certain kind of impression.

Some mornings the view looks like this:

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(we’re a little nuts about birds)

Our backyard is pie-shaped as our lot sits at the back of a cul-de-sac; lots of grass, shrubs, garden area, roses, trees and so on

Summer garden, obviously…..

If I cast my eyes in the right direction, looking OUT….I see beauty in every direction; that’s what I want to focus on.

What Forgiveness Tastes Like

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Photo by Tai’s Captures on Unsplash

I wanted to title this “The Night We Ate Tacos & Nobody Got Hurt.” Read on to find out why.

Family gatherings around life events are often joyous, emotional occasions; wedding preparations definitely take the cake when it comes to lots of Big Feelings. Mix the mother of the groom, the father of the bride, siblings, relatives—shirt-tail or otherwise—and there is sure to be no shortage of rough edges on the Big Day. Everyone involved has an investment in the couples’ happiness. Or at least an opinion, (“They paid HOW much for the honeymoon?!”)

Pressure for the event to be Pinterest ®perfect is not helped by the fact that those who are invited into the picture are often strangers. The bride and groom know and love each of their friends, but rarely do all the friends and relatives know or necessarily love each other. Even when they’re in the same family.

My nephew was married six summers ago. To celebrate the occasion of her only child, my sister invited my other siblings (there are five of us altogether) and respective spouses to stay with her during Wedding Week. She has a large home in Southern California and we had all visited one time or another, but never all at the same time; this would be one great sleep over.

Mornings and evenings were chillaxing times over meals, telling the same old jokes, teasing each other the way only family can do. There was an ease about the early morning coffee quiet and comfortable dinner table conversations. We enjoyed late nights on the patio listening to a backdrop of crickets or inside listening to the electronic ‘plink’ of Words with Friends (on our separate devices while sitting in the same room. Of course.

Part of the celebrations prior to the big day was a luncheon my sister planned the day before W’s wedding.  It would a sort of an ice-breaker/get-to-know-each-other time with the groom, his Best Man from college in Texas, and…her ex-husband. This could a very tricky situation.

To Be 94 {a #poem}

I’d sure like a cup of coffee.
The grounds go in the top, but where?
And here is the glass pitcher
6 cups full of water
but I don’t remember
where to pour it.

My mind is like a leaky bucket,
a sad sieve that saves 
less and less these days,
an empty, worn-out basket.

If I could stop up the holes,
plug the places
where my mind has slipped out
perhaps I could remember 
where to pour the water.

I DO remember this–
I’d sure like a cup of coffee.

~~~~~~~~
Caring for my mother in law who is at home with us… Changes are coming faster than we would all like.
It is hard for us to watch, but it must be awful for her.  Writing in this space helps.

Not in My City-Sex Slave Trafficking

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view from the Vashon Island Ferrry, Seattle WA, July 2020

This small corner of the interwebs began over eight years ago with a different name, Three Way Light. I chose it because light has three properties: it warms up cold places, reveals what is hidden and shines and reflects on what is seen. 

Processing the world through words gives me a chance to do that–pour a little light on the virtual page, so to speak. So today I want to shine light on the scourge of our lifetime–the prevalence of sex slave trafficking and its presence in cities like mine all over the country.

I attended an event two years ago featuring the film ‘Rape for Profit’, a gritty recording by two young Christian men committed to exposing the sex trade in Seattle.  But it could be in any city–Phoenix, Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Memphis, Las Vegas.

In the year of our Lord 2020, sex slave trafficking has grown to include the business of selling children’s bodies. Although it makes me sick to my stomach to say so, we are called to be light bringers in the world, so what can I do about a huge, horrific industry?

Pick up my (virtual) pen. And pray.

Here are some frightful statistics from a faith-based outreach–REST Real Escape from Sex Trafficking— here in Seattle. REST ministers to girls on the street, providing them with support and protection, job skills and a safe place to live.

First Aid Arts is an organization I’ve written about before also.  They are a faith based outreach also in my city which uses Healing Arts Toolkits to bring healing to women coming out of the human slave trafficking industry.
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith started an organization, Don’t Sell Bodies, and partnered with the Rape for Profit filmmakers as an Executive Producer for their film.
What Can YOU Do?
:READ PRAY GIVE SAY:
As believers we are called to be the voice for the oppressed 
in our day, moving in our spheres of influence. Begin where you are–
speak up, shine the light, dispel the darkness.
 
“For the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18
 
Will you ask our Jesus how you can do that today?

Names Matter

 
 Goodnight Moon   -              By: Margaret Wise Brown                   Illustrated By: Clement Hurd
“Nana, do you have any kids?”
 

I am wedged on the couch between Abigail, 4 1/2 and Paul Silas, 2 1/2.
We are reading a bedtime story. ‘Goodnight Moon’, no doubt; it is always ‘Goodnight Moon.’

“Well, Abi, I have two kids. One is your Auntie Leah and the other is your Papa.”

“Oh.” (Maybe she wanted to know if there was anyone else in the house to play with besides her Grandpa and I…)

I could tell by the sound of her voice  she had absolutely no idea what I just said.
Paul, of course, was oblivious; he is after all, only 2-ish.

(l to r) Hanan, Peter, Abigail and Paul
 

My son Aaron will be 36 today.  He actually has 5 children (four of whom are pictured above.)
 
When I was pregnant with him back in the day, ultrasounds were unheard of and doctors only ordered them if complications were suspected.  So knowing a baby’s sex ahead of time was out of the question.
  
At any rate, we were hoping for a boy–I wanted to name him after my husband’s father Paul.  So when he was born it was ‘Aaron Paul.’
I don’t recall that I spent any amount of time seeking God in fervent prayer about it.
It just came to me. (or so I thought).

Three years later we were blessed with a girl.  While I was pregnant, the name ‘Leah Michelle’ just sort of dropped into my heart. There was no ‘thus saith the Lord about it’; I just liked the way the names went together.

Aaron, Leah and their father, comparing Smartphones

As I watch the way my children have grown into their names to become who they are it is astonishing to me. Even though we weren’t intently purposeful about the process it is clear God had them in mind long before we ever did. Both of them match their biblical counterparts perfectly.

Aaron and his lovely wife Courtney’s 5 children are, in birth order: 
Hanan–from the Hebrew ‘to entreat grace’. Hanan was one of David’s mighty men.
                  (yep, that’s Hanan. 9 1/2 years old.  Gracious and strong)
Peter–the Rock.  Stubborn, impulsive, strong.  (You remember Peter?)
                  (Fits this Peter to a ‘T.’)
Abigail–‘the Father’s joy’ from the Hebrew (and she is!)
               Her middle name is Sophia–(Greek)’wisdom’.  She is very smart….truly.
Paul–from the Greek ‘Lucanus’–‘little’. Small but mighty, like the Apostle Paul.
                   (well, he is now. He is also a clown and a charmer and wonderful with   
                   strangers…yes, that sounds like a Paul to me.)
Luke….well, Luke is only 10 months old, so time will tell how he grows into his name.
My concordance says, ‘Greek, a Christian.’ Luke’s middle name is Ezra, for the prophet who encouraged the Jewish people to return to God. Yes God, may it be so of this Luke Ezra.

So–named on purpose, becoming who they are, who the Father had in mind.  I can see God’s hand on my grandchildren, my children and even on me.

My given name is Joanna.  Growing up it was my ‘in trouble’ name–“Joanna Lee!”–as I recall.

Abigail and Paul ‘dancing’ with their Nana and Grandpa

I was never able to ask my mother who I was named after; she died when I was young and raising my own children.  She lived 5 hours away and my conversations with her were few and far between.

I became a Christian when I was 19 and it wasn’t until I was forty years old and my mother had been gone several years that I saw my name in the Bible. I was reading the book of Luke and there it was. Twice.

Joanna ‘Whom Jehovah has graciously given.’ The wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee (Luke 8:3). She was one of the women who ministered to our Lord, and to whom he appeared after his resurrection Luke 24:10).

I was amazed.  Joanna was one of Jesus’ followers.  So was I.

After all these years it was clear God had His hand on me from the very beginning, naming me even though my own mother didn’t know why. 

He knew me from the start, knew I would be one of His kids.

I’m so glad I heard Him calling my name.