Laura Goes National

I should’ve posted this earlier in the week, but our very own Laura Rhea of Coppell, TX is in Newsweek! I’m not sure how many of you check it out on a regular basis, but there is always one page that has a couple of Political Cartoons and eight or so relevant, poignant or hilarious quotes from the week. One of those quotes is sent in by a reader and it will say, “Reader so-and-so from wherever, USA sent in this quote…”

Well, this week, it’s Laura! Check it out in the real world by looking in the Newsweek mag with the bird flu on the cover. Her blurb is in the lower right corner on page 25. You can also check it out online here.

What makes this even greater is that Laura and I talk every now and then about our “life goals”. It stems from some cool videos that Petey Pab (Paul) showed us a couple summers ago. They’re things like hike a volcano, run for office and be teacher of the year. Well, about a month ago we were laying in bed reading and Laura says, “I’m going to add a life goal. I want to be in a magazine. Either as a letter to the editor or on the Perspectives page.” First try and four weeks later…

Getting Away From It All…

…underneath the approach pattern of a 737.

A couple weekends ago, Laura and I decided to go camping to enjoy a little nature. There is no better month in Texas than October, and no better way to celebrate the departure of summer than with a campfire at night and a hiking trail in the morning.

Unfortunately, by the time we had our Friday afternoons wrapped up and got the car ready to go, it was already 6:30. We just wanted to get in to camping mode as quickly as possible, so we set off for a camping area at nearby Grapevine Lake. By nearby I mean seven miles from our front door. From some front doors, seven miles away could officially qualify as honest-to-goodness wilderness or at the very least be enough to escape the buzz of the highway. But, when your front door is somewhere in DFW, it turns out that seven miles doesn’t do much for you in terms of escaping.

We had settled in to our “campsite” by 7:30 and as I got a potentially-illegal fire going (we thought we remembered seeing a burn ban sign on the way in, but banked on our ability to effectively play dumb) Laura started working on dinner. My baby can cook some campfire beans, I’ll tell ya what. We put our veggie dogs together, grabbed a handful of Doritos and settled in to the sweet, soft sound of a crackling campfire…and a classic rock band playing to a packed house of 17 at the nearby marina. By nearby I mean a quarter of a mile from our tent. One might think that an uninspired cover of Dwight Yoakum’s “Fast As You” mingling in with your campfire sounds might be discouraging, but it ended up turning in to “Campfire Name That Tune”.

At about 9:45, the song was “Margaritaville”. Friday night at 9:45. At all the smoky bars and wedding receptions across America (or, if you prefer President Bush’s pronounciation, Merca), how many times do you think that song was being played at that exact moment? I’m saying at least 1,000 and I’ll tell you why.

I think that over the course of a Friday night from seven o’clock to midnight it gets played 75,000 different times. That’s 15,000 times an hour which means that if the song is about 4 minutes long, at any given minute within that hour it is being played in 1,000 different locations. Agree? Disagree?

After a while, the band packed it in and we were left again with naught but the sound of crickets and our still crackling fire. Then, the 737s. *Ssshhhhcccwoooooosh* I suppose we could’ve turned that in to “Name That Departure City”, but there’s no way of knowing the truth so what’s the point in that, eh? Instead, it made us stop and think about the idea of “getting away”. Sure it’s great (and probably better) to escape to a place that doesn’t come close to resembling Home. You don’t recognize the exit signs, there are restaurants you’ve never heard of along the way and maybe even the accents are different enough to be charming. You travel a good distance and along the way you forget what a weekday feels like. As Wendell Berry would say, your tasks lie in their places where you left them
asleep like cattle.

But I was reminded of something on a hasty trip to the car to get a blanket or a lamp or maybe it was a can of propane. I found myself walking as quickly as I could, in such an awful hurry to return to my seat by the fire…in such a hurry to return to relaxing. I caught myself and said, “Hey. Slow it down, there’s no rush.” And then overhead, the 737. But it didn’t phase me. It didn’t scream, “Ha ha! You’re still in the city, sucker!” Instead, it seemed to say, “You control the pace. Even here, camping next door to the third busiest airport in the world and across the lake from a 476-room hotel, you can decide if you’re going to rush or walk slowly.”

Walk slowly.

Pray for Guatemala

As most of you know, I spent the ’02 – ’03 school year teaching at a mission school in Guatemala and serving in an orphanage there. That place and those people are deeply embedded in my heart, and my heart has just been breaking reading of the utter devestation left in the wake of Hurricane Stan last week. All of the rain and storms created flooding that created horrendous mudslides, and all of those combined have already claimed the lives of hundreds, and thousands more are left without food, water, power, medicines, and no way to find missing family members. 80% of the road systems have been wiped out and there are still entire villages that relief aid can not get to. Mudslides around Lake Atitlan, a beautiful lake surrounded by volcanoes where Brian and I got engaged, have taken so many lives and broken so many families–to the point that they have had to declare the area a cemetary, and sacred ground, rather than continue to try to ID and dig out bodies. Water rose 7 feet in the city where I lived, and I haven’t been able to get in touch with any of my kids or friends there, as most communications have been wiped out (along with homes and businesses) — though I have read that it is “utter devestation in every direction”. Think hurricane Katrina, except that in Guatemala — there is no government, no Irving Bible Church, and relatively few organizations that can take care of it’s people. The country is already so poor, that it absolutely can’t get to stranded people, take supplies to them, or care for the thousands that have lost homes, etc. — the ONLY thing they have is the Grace and Mercy, Compassion and Comfort of God Almighty Himself, Lord of the Broken, Lost and Hopeless. Please, please pray for them and God’s provision in that country and to all those dear, crying people. One of the most distressing things is that there has been precious little media and news coverage of this, as it is left in the shadow of the tragedy in Pakistan. I am so worried that they will be forgotten in the midst of the awful things going on over there, too.

here is an article if you would like to see pictures, etc…

I just looked at CNN.com so I could link to one of the stories about this, and of course–nothing on the main page — but do not be dismayed, because there sure as heck is a link to a story about Britney Spears pulling her bra from eBay that is obviously extremely important.

It is so, so, so sad…to sit here in my warm house munching on cheetos, and know that there are people sitting on their roof right now that haven’t eaten in 6 days, feeling the cold, cold rain STILL coming down. There are children who are separated — or have lost– their parents and had to hear that water coming in, or that mud coming down. It is so wierd and so hard to imagine–something about having lived there makes it so very real–when you have faces to put with a tragedy.

I covet your prayers for them, that they would be remembered before God….My prayer is that the God who knows and loves each one of us intimately, will be with each pesron going through every kind of anguish. That He would comfort them with the compassion and peace that pass our understanding, and that they might cling to Him who wants to and promises to carry our burdens and be our Rock so tightly right now. thank you guys so much :)

If you are interested in helping in the relief efforts down there, you can give through Mercy Corps.