There is nothing like family, is there? I have had a blast these few days "at home" in Minnesota with Dan and his wife Maureen and with Laura and her husband Paul and with my nephews and niece and with my mom and dad . . .

Words don't do it justice. If you're interested in pictures, create a FaceBook account for free and go here:


And I'll post just a few here for those of you who don't want to be bothered with FaceBook:

This sums it up: there is nothing like family for fun!

And it reminds me of what those of us who have these kinds of blessings are called to do:

To remember those who don't have the same kind of network, and help create "family" for those who want it but don't have one they have spent their lives around.

"Blessed to be a blessing" doesn't get turned off when we leave the walls of a church, nor do we get to forget it when we are on vacation!

I do thank God for my wonderful family and my "home" in Minnesota!


From Yorba Linda to Minnesota during PCUSA GA218

What a week it has been so far!

I moved a whole lot more of our stuff to storage over the weekend to leave my house ready for my husband to manage us through a bit more of the never-ending interior remodel. I was very pleased at what I was able to get done.

And I thought I'd left work in good shape with all the technology in a state to support what is currently going on with sales and web development and the conversion to a new accounting system . . .

And I prayed as our denomination opened the General Assembly in CA's Bay area -- for God's Spirit to be poured out on all the delegates in new and fresh ways, and for His purposes for causing us all to walk together in Truth and Grace and Obedience and Joy to be fully accomplished in every detail.

And on Monday I loaded Noah and Brooks and 3 weeks worth of stuff into our van, and went and picked up Dominique Davila -- their 23-y-o nanny who just graduated with a BA in Elementary Education -- from her house, unpacked all our stuff to fit her MONSTER suitcase into the small space in the back of our van, repacked all our stuff on top of it, leaving the cooler at her house . . .

And drove to St. George, Utah.

The next day we packed everything back in the van again (it all has to come out to get Dominique's bag out) and drove to Ogden, Utah, where we checked into the hotel with Brooks saying he was going to throw up and his head hurt. I unpacked it all again, and then Noah and Dominique went off to the pool. Brooks wanted to as well, and felt a bit better; so I put my swimsuit on, and we all swam. Then we ordered room service and hung out, as Brooks proceeded to throw up again and again all night. It was a long night!

Yesterday I was exhausted, but Brooks was feeling better by 10 a.m. I packed up the van again and we drove to Yellowstone and had a wonderful, wonderful day driving through Yellowstone. Brooks still felt a bit sick, but he walked with us to see Old Faithful, and was awake to see the moose and buffalo and bears and wolf and other assorted wildlife that amazed us all. We drove out of the mountains before the sun had set fully, and checked into our hotel in Cody Wyoming in the dark.

This morning I finally had a good time of prayer for the first time in the week. I closed myself in the bathroom for privacy before anyone else was up. I am very concerned about PCUSA's General Assembly and all that has gone on and all that will go on . . . so prayers for all of us in those concerns! And I am concerned for things at work and at home and at my church and with my friends and older sons . . . and prayer is such a healing thing!

God is good to all of us all the time! We just need to learn to enjoy His presence fully, right here and right now! And today I did that. And even when I allow myself to become disconnected from the full intimacy of His presence, He is still faithful to care for me and to draw me back to intimacy with Him.

So today we will see the Buffalo Bill touristy stuff, and I'll get a memory card for my new camera that holds more than 7 pictures at a time, and we'll drive on to Roosevelt National Park and then stay the night in Bismarck, ND. And tomorrow to my parent's in Minnesota, where we'll see my siblings and their spouses and kids. And then on to Cornerstone 2008! And finally we'll drive home through Colorado and enjoy some touristy time there.

And I will make time to not only "practice the presence of God" as I enjoy prayer all day long (which I did all week) but also to find daily solitude and experience the joy of giving Him my full attention and receiving the fullness of joy and peace and power that comes only from that kind of time.

Another day today . . .

And God is God over it all . . . Anderson Bat Company, my life and marriage and kids, PCUSA, St Andrew's in Newport Beach, our economy, the election . . .

But He desires our prayer, and each of us -- and all of us together -- need our prayer. It is the core of obedience and joy, for without it our actions are powered by us rather than directed by Him.

May we pray!


Quotes on Humility

Where in the world did I come up with the ideas that flowed into my last post? Well, if you asked me, I would have said that I couldn't list most, but that it was a lifetime of reading and listening to preachers and teachers, and a lifetime of pretending to be humble when I really was anything but, and then a transition to not worrying about what anyone but God thought, and the baby steps toward humility I am finally experiencing as I learn to encounter God and see only Him, and not even be conscious of myself, rather than see myself as something small and dirty (a paraphrase of CS Lewis in Mere Christianity, I believe). But, here:

Dallas Willard: "Imagine a bumper sticker that says: “My child learned humility at school this month,” instead of “My child is an honor student at Success Academy.” The fact of the matter is this: the essence of morality is to tell you that in some circumstances you must do what you don’t want to do. If you have already set it up that you should be able to do whatever you want to do, then goodbye morality. Empiricism will just become an excuse."

Dallas Willard: "A vision of God secures humility. Seeing God for who He is enables us to see ourselves for what we are. This makes us bold, for we see clearly what great good and evil are at issue, and we see that it is not up to us to accomplish it, but up to God--who is more than able. We are delivered from pretending, from being presumptuous about ourselves, and from pushing as if the outcome depended on us. We persist without frustration, and we practice calm and joyful noncompliance with evil of every kind."

Frederick Buechner: “If it seems a childish thing to do, do it in remembrance that you are a child.”

Henri Nouwen: "Success, popularity and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of a much larger temptation of self-rejection. We have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions ... Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the 'Beloved'. Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence."

Frederick Buechner: “Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality--not as we expect it to be but as it is--is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.”

Tryon Edwards: "True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us."

Charles H. Spurgeon: "Humility is to make a right estimate of oneself."

David Benner: ""In all of creation, identity is a challenge only for humans. A tulip knows exactly what it is. It is never tempted by false ways of being. Nor does it face complicated decisions in the process of becoming. So it is with dogs, rocks, trees, stars, amoebas, electrons, and all other things. All give glory to God by being exactly what they are. For in being what God means them to be, they are obeying him. Humans, however, encounter a more challenging existence...With a little reflection, most of us can become aware of masks we first adopted as strategies to avoid feelings of vulnerability but that have become parts of our social self. Tragically, we settle easily for pretense, and a truly authentic self often seems illusory. There is, however, a way of being for each of us that is as natural and deeply congruent as the life of the tulip.... Our true self-in-Christ is the only self that will support authenticity."

Rabino Nilton Bonder: "Many people believe that humility is the opposite of pride, when, in fact, it is a point of equilibrium. The opposite of pride is actually a lack of self esteem. A humble person is totally different from a person who cannot recognize and appreciate himself as part of this world's marvels."

Ezra Taft Benson: "Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right."

John J. McCloy: "Humility leads to strength and not to weakness. It is the highest form of self-respect to admit mistakes and to make amends for them."

Steve Smith: "Humility is at the equilibrium of ego. When we’re on center, we manage our ego rather than it managing us."

Martin Buber: "We cannot avoid using power, cannot escape the compulsion to afflict the world; so let us, cautious in diction and mighty in contradiction, love powerfully. "


Humility and Reverence

Humility, respect, truth, and reverence are inextricably linked. True humility and true reverence are the natural result of valuing things rightly.

Humility is understanding where I actually fit in the picture of the TRUTH. When I know what is really true, I have a respect and reverence for those things that should provoke respect and reverence. True humility cannot fail to show deep reverence for others, and would be disappointed in seeing others show a lack of respect for each other or for one's own self . . . because humility understands what is valuable and what is not, and is keenly aware of dissonance between the actual value of people and the way our behavior shows we assign value.

A disappointment in how one sees oneself or another treated would not be a violation of ego, but rather a violation of the expectation that the other is also rooted in TRUTH and love. The disappointment might not express itself to the one who showed a lack of respect, but would most definitely express itself to the One Who taught true humility . . . for it is He who also provokes the deepest reverence, and Who sets that example of showing respect to all His creatures.

Love cannot fail to listen and to take another very seriously. Love never minimizes the feelings of another, even as it teaches humility and patience. The love produced by the Holy Spirit values people enough so that it shows reverence to even those who are long-winded or slow or full of themselves or lacking normal social skills.

Such a humility teaches reverence by words, actions, and unspoken rebuke.

True humility, by example, teaches others to value things rightly, and in so doing, to value each other properly.

When we value people properly, we give them all we have to give them -- in time, attention, and reverence.

THAT is humility. Anything less is just posturing and self-deception.