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the conflict that kills

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Conflict happens like that. It lunges, leaps, accelerates from a spark into a flame faster than expected; leaving your heart pumping and your mind racing, effectively ineffective endorphins flood your blood stream. IMG_1673

They were rough, homeless perhaps. In a big city, you start to not notice them; like moving, breathing tiles, they blend into the landscape. But suddenly and quickly, the skirmish was escalating. One tile threw a punch. Hair pulling. Screaming. Punch. Punch-punch.

There is a guard at the corner grocery, ‘Police,’ I asserted and in my haste, Bulgarian came out because years taught me how to express panic, cry for help, get attention in that beautiful language.  He understood and he followed me out of the door.

There we stood, the two of us, watching two women beat each other up. Punch. Punch-punch. Punch-punch. Kick. Ineffective bystanders. He refused to help. Refused to speak.

My mind began working, “Call. Police.”


I pulled the words from a locked room and made them speak in Hungarian, sticking my phone in his face. “Call. Police.” more strident now because the blonde woman was on top of the dark haired woman, strangling her.

In my panic, I could not remember how to dial the Hungarian police. At the moment I most needed help, I was helpless. It is a sinking thing to watch a woman’s face grow a blood shade of red as she fights for oxygen.

And, I am not sure that this post needs closure because the story certainly does not have it. We expect bloggers to wrap up posts with home-spun wisdom and story-tellers to create endings and journalists to craft a conclusion, and preachers to pray a prayer, but our world does not operate that way. Real life throws a punch and bleeds. And sometimes fellow humans stick around and watch, helpless, or apathetic, or paralyzed with fear. The woman on the ground struggled for breath while the other woman wrapped her fingers around a throat and squeezed.

Some kids are going to die today somewhere on this planet while I eat a panini in GoaMama on Kiraly Utca in Budapest.

And that is why I hate Auschwitz. It makes me face my greatest fears. Without God, this place is hell.

We do enough good things that we come to believe that we are essentially good. But, history and a street corner on Kiraly Utca bleed a different kind of truth. Remove the perimeters that define our morality, destroy the safety nets and make us desperate, feed our hunger with fear, and the punches crush jaws and the heads topple, and the body gushes blood.

Casting Crowns asks ‘If we are the body, why aren’t his…?’ I love that song.

GoaMama’s Panini was good but it left my body hungry. Ironic, is it not?

humans and their necks

“For some, war leaves no choice; for others it makes choosing a must. A small gesture can yield irreversible consequences. It can either save a life or ruin it. (A quote from the Schindler museum)

Barbed wire fence from Schindler's factory

‘saying you don’t come back from the cemetery’

I am angry in Krakow. Always. Angrier than a Christian should be. Angry like I could punch someone. Ball up my weak little fist and throw it into somebody’s gut. Is that righteous anger? I don’t know. But I peer through a grimy little window in a wall somewhere in Schindler’s Factory at photos of men hanging by their necks. Continue reading

snippets of thought


catching thoughts

catching thoughts


Saturday morning dawns like a secret weapon in the middle of a heartstopping video game. Here at the completion of a whirlwind 9 day journey that left 3 sweet girls waiting at home and 1 young woman starting a new life across the ocean, with the bank account at zero and the school year set to ‘go’ and the house in shambles, just for a second Saturday morning with the scent of Fall on her breath beckons. I willingly hit PAUSE.

memories of the Black Sea

memories of the Black Sea


Sending a child away to college is much like making an old fashioned quilt. I do not mean a new, designer creation with planned color-blocks that you find at Pottery Barn. But, rather, the old kind that grandma hand-stitched from the remnants of her sewing box. The denim from the days when her boy searched for frogs and came back muddy. Lace from her baby-girl’s Sunday baptism dress. Soft, worn, pilly plaid from her husband’s work shirt. All pieced together with an uncoordinated, unplanned, mixture of heartbreak and pride and sewn together with the tears of parenthood.

it's a journey

it’s a journey


College is a precious opportunity to grow into the person God created you to be. Do not waste it on learning facts. Study how to become the person God made you to be. Begin today.

Paul Restaurant

airports = yes. airplanes = no.


THE 17-hours on three airplanes that you are convinced will lose a wing, an engine, or be struck by lightening because humans were not made to fly. And, the corny sense of humor of a faithful Creator who gives you a job that requires you to fly so that you can learn to say, ‘God is good all of the time.’

ready. set. go

ready. set. go


The feeling that comes AFTER you complete a run.


That feeling you have as you pull on your sneakers BEFORE the run.

windows of insight

windows of insight


Digging into literature with students and finding treasures of insight and connectivity.


Our entryway – welcome everybody.


Home again and cuddled into the busy craziness of family life and challenging ministry and puppy shenanigans and welcome guests, and cooking and cleaning. The heart-racing, heart-stopping, insanity of life at video-game pace.


Bring it!

Hit Play. The blog resumes with stories from the field of mission that is our home sweet home.

Jesus Saves





home tonight

This is Nico, the owner Hostel Flensburg, the place we called home last night. He is proof that good people still exist. We pulled into the hostel late, called his number and he actually turned his car around and came back to check us in. Actually, everybody we met at the hostel was incredibly kind. Jay and I came to breakfast in a zombie-like trance. The kitchen lady rescued his forgotten phone, heated a hot pot of badly needed water for tea and poured me an extra strong cup of coffee. Saved my life!

Nico patiently answered my questions and told us that his hostel was like a 4 star hostel. I would agree. If you art traveling in northern Germany, where the sun is clear and the air is bright, Hostel Flensburg works!

As we made that long drive from Krakow yesterday, we listened to The Dawn Treader on CD (thanks Skinner family). Somewhere in their journey, they drank water that seemed like spun sunshine. I feel that way about the air, the sun here today. There is something pure, good, fresh, healthy about this oxygen. I am thinking heavenly thoughts.