The Dignity of Hope

We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.  I Chronicles 29:15

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.  Proverbs 13:12

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:5

Hope does not put us to shame.

Shame condemns. Shame grows as one’s weaknesses are exposed. Shame is defined as “a condition of humiliating disgrace.”

Shame strips us of our dignity.

There were parts of India that were hard to see. Realities of poverty and the exposure of shame. Dignity was lost between the streets used as bathrooms and the cows that roamed as gods. It was shocking to my soul.

My soul was shocked by the dignity that evaporates when the last drop of hope is squeezed out. Hope clothes us with dignity. Hope is what gives us worth. So what becomes of one without hope at all? It seems inconceivable (especially to an American mind) that one could be completely. without. hope.

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Photo by Kirby Trapolino

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Photo by Kirby Trapolino

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Photo by Kirby Trapolino

Dig°ni°ty: the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed

Tears stream down my face as I think of the life of the woman cutting shoes for rubber.  Has she never been told the worth she has in the eyes of the very One who created her? I want to tell her.

I want to honor her and the devotion with which she works. I want to give her dignity. And I want to wrap my arms around those precious little bodies of youth and pour over them words of esteem. Of hope.

My friend Kirby, who graciously allowed me to use these photos he took firsthand in Indian and Filipino slums, spends every day of his life working to bring hope to the least of these. I am so jealous. We help him in every way we can and yet I can never send enough to satiate my heart’s yearning to touch these lives.

He provides them with clothes and places to learn. Peace Gospel, the ministry he started, trains widow in how to sew, rescues girls from a life of sex-trade. He takes pictures of those who have never even seen a reflection of themselves before. He brings hope. He clothes with dignity.

It is crazy beautiful.

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Photo by Kirby Trapolino

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Photo by Kirby Trapolino

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Photo by Kirby Trapolino

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Photo by Kirby Trapolino

That is the crazy beautiful I want my life to be about. May God grant me the grace to clothe others in dignity. Dignity brought through hope in a God who loves the very least among us.

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A Story From My Grandmother

My mom’s mom died when I was five. My memories of her are vague, and I often wonder what I remember versus what I know from the stories I’ve heard.

She was tall–six feet. She had red hair that has now been passed down two generations. She loved to laugh, to push hard on the gas pedal and made the most amazing chocolate chip cookies.

She was the wife of a farmer and tough as nails.

One of the things I didn’t know about my grandma was that she liked to write stories. My mom and I were recently digging through some old family photographs when we came across a couple of hand-written stories my grandma had put on paper to enter into a contest. I got to see the handwriting of this woman who I hardly knew but who forms such a vital piece of my heritage.

I thought I’d share one of those stories with you. It puts a smile on my face to think of my grandma putting pen to paper in 1956 and now having her words published for the world to read. I hope you enjoy a little glimpse into the life of an Oklahoma housewife.

The Day I Was a Widow for a Few Seconds

Last summer, one Saturday in July, we made plans to meet friends for boating and a picnic a few miles from our home.

We arose to a calm, warm Saturday and proceeded with our plans. We fixed a picnic lunch and serviced our boat.

While my daughter and I got ready for church, my husband decided to go out to our steel granary, which was a few yards from the house, and check the wheat for heat. The wheat had been up in the granary from the harvest a few weeks before. He put a ladder next to the granary and started to climb to the top. He was carrying a long, iron rod, which he always put through a small door down into the wheat.

He had just put one end of the iron rod into the wheat when a gust of wind caught the other end of the rod and blew it against the high-line above, which carried 7200 volts. The voltage went down the rod, into my husband’s hands and on down through his body, coming out his stomach. With his weight being over 200 pounds, he was knocked off the ladder to the ground, 14 feet below. When the voltage hit him, his heart stopped beating, but when he hit the ground, the impact started it again.

When he came to, he tried to stand but couldn’t. So he crawled towards the house until he managed to get on his feet.

Our daughter heard him calling us, and she ran to the door. He was in shock but was able to tell us what happened.

We rushed him to the hospital, which was a long fifteen miles that day. His hands had third-degree burns and for a moment we thought this was all the burns he had. A small hole was in his shirt just above the waistline, about the size of a pea. When we took his shirt off, his undershirt had a hole the size of a cup and a deep third degree burn was staring at us. We removed his trousers immediately, which had pinhead-size holes just above the knees. Everywhere there was a hole, there was a burned place on his legs, the size of a nickel.

The doctor said he was hurt bad, and it would take a few days to know how much skin grafting would have to be done.

My husband has a lot of will-power and decided immediately this would not get him down. By morning, he was out of shock completely, was moving his hands as usual and was very hungry.

He had very good care and by Wednesday the doctor let him come home with several instructions.

It has been almost a year since this accident happened. There is a scar on his stomach and legs, but his hands don’t show a scar of any kind. His was a miracle because he didn’t have to have any skin grafting.

We know someone higher up was looking over us that day and it’s a lot nicer to be a widow for a few seconds than for ever.

Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

You have to go make these cookies. They are yum.my.photo (24)

Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts/pecans (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375. Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla and milk. Stir baking soda into the flour and then add both to butter mixture. Beat just until combined. Add oats, chocolate chips, nuts and pecans. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

I’ll warn you, these are a little life-changing. You can thank me later. 🙂

It’s a Lime!

Guess what?!?!

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The day before my birthday, I went out to water my tree, and there it was. . .even though the “season” doesn’t start until September.

It’s a lime! On MY tree!

My birthday definitely held a certain sweetness this year (and not just because it’s the last one in a certain decade). I felt like the Lord had whispered a special word of encouragement to me: “I see you and even care about the joy that limes will give you.”

Oh the beauty that the Lord gives! I’m seeing it today. Are you?

I’m back!

Hello there. It’s been awhile.

I’m so sorry for the delay in returning to this little blog of mine. I grossly underestimated the lack of time I would have with three kiddos waiting for school to start. Thankfully, we have survived, and my baby started Kindergarten today. My oldest baby started Middle School.

So what’s been happening in my crazy beautiful life? I’ve been working hard to remember the beauty. I wish it wasn’t the challenge it has felt in the past few weeks. It has felt painful–not beautiful.

As I type, my heart is crushed by its short-sightedness. It has believed pain to be the opposite of beauty. But it’s not, is it? There is something captivatingly beautiful in the metamorphosis that comes from the struggle to heal. Rough edges are smoothed. Calloused places become soft. Strength begins to shine.

Beauty appears slowly. In the midst of the struggle, it doesn’t even feel like it’s coming at all. But in the hands of the perfect Creator, it always comes. It always comes.

My eyes are opening to the truth that beauty surrounds my crazy life. Sometimes that is far more by faith than I would wish to confess. But in the craziness, there are shapes and figures of a beauty that doesn’t inhabit the world. I am trying with all I can muster to embrace it.