Sunday, December 22, 2013

Open House

After church today, we had a Christmas open house at the parsonage for the congregation and various other friends we have met here in Dulce. We probably had 40ish people here enjoying sweets and fellowship.

After an hour and a half or so, most people had departed, although we had a friend of our daughter's watching a movie and playing. Then my husband's phone rang; it was another young couple, not from our church, who had been invited to stop by our open house.

I happily made up a small plate of treats and sweets, served some lemonade, and we all sat down and chatted for a while. We made up a plate of goodies for them to take home before they left. It is a tradition here to leave a gathering with a plate of food for later. (I like this tradition!) This is our second open house since we've arrived, and it was a lot of fun!

And as I reflect on our time here in New Mexico (all 4 months of it so far!), I relish the fact that our home is a part of the ministry of the Jicarilla Apache Reformed Church. We have extended a welcome to church members, to neighbors-passing-through, and to people we have met in the area... and that welcome is God's welcome. It is never burdensome to me. It is a joy to invite people to dinner, to Bible study, to open houses, to step in as they rent the church gym for an event. It is never a burden to offer a sandwich, a ride home, or a quiet prayer.

Sometimes people say things like, "Oh, what a blessing you are to these people!" or "You're giving so much!" But I don't feel that way at all. I love that God is working through us, but I am the recipient of the blessings, not the giver of them. And only God can work that way: That all parties feel blessed by the interaction. Nobody feels "used up" or "burned out."

Amazing blessings in God's house, God's family, God's place and time.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Down Time

Anchored 12x12
I have been in a busy season of my life for... well... a long time. If I look at just the past four months, I've been going non-stop. Moving. Settling in. Homeschooling. Setting up my glass studio. Fulfilling Christmas orders. Hosting open houses and friendly dinners. Laundry and cleaning and cooking... all those daily tasks. Did I mention homeschooling?

Going full-blast isn't a problem for me, most of the time. What challenges me is down time. Today is one of those days. The house is clean. The laundry is minimal. All of the possible preparations for our open house on December 22 are complete. I have all the Christmas orders fulfilled, so there's no glass to do.

Six Crows
I am (shh...don't tell anyone!) caught up! 

And I am at a loss for what to do.

I've been busy keeping up for so long, I've forgotten what to do when I'm caught up!

I am Martha-without-a-list-of-jobs-to-do. What do you think Martha did when she was all caught up? I'm guessing she looked for more tasks to put on her list. That's my first response too.

But I really want to be Mary. I want to sit at the foot of Jesus and soak in His wisdom, His grace, His love. I want to celebrate that I have a little time to study my Bible, read devotions, and pray.
Son Rise

But my first instinct is to clean and polish the wood floor. So very Martha. And while the floor is drying, I'm blogging, not reading, studying, and praying. I'm talking with my husband about our upcoming schedules. I'm finding little tasks to fill the time.

If I truly want to be Mary, I should...


Thursday, December 12, 2013


 This place is beautiful, beyond any doubt. It is a lovely land of mesas, mountains, rock formations, and sky. It is a gorgeous place to live and serve God.

When we moved here, we knew we would have to adjust to the altitude. In Minnesota, we were at just about 1000 ft above sea level. Here we are at about 6800 ft above sea level. For a while, we all had headaches and fatigue. We still get symptoms occasionally, but for the most part, we have adjusted to the altitude.
The thing I didn't expect was the difference in humidity. Oh sure, I'd heard, "It's a dry heat" and similar statements. I knew that it was drier when we visited in April, but I had no idea how much drier it was.

I am parched. When I wake up in the morning. When I exercise. When I forget to drink my three 12 ounce glasses of water in the morning, or my four glasses in the afternoon. Sometimes, I find myself realizing how thirsty I am just before bedtime. I drink and drink and drink. And then I sleep the night through. Dehydrated? Definitely.

We recently visited a doctor for the first time since we moved. In the course of conversation, I mentioned that I feel like I'm drinking constantly. He advised us that in this beautiful place, even though it has rivers and lakes, the air is extremely dry. We should be drinking about twice as much as I've been drinking!

I've been parched spiritually before, too. In those places where (maybe) things looked "beautiful," but were dry, dry, dry...

And how do I cope with such times? By drinking the living water (John 4:13-14). And when I still feel parched? Where should I turn? Back to the living water again. And again.

And again.

Jesus says that the water He gives "will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." He will sustain us and strengthen us to cope with today's trials. Each day, He will give us what we need to follow Him.

When we're parched, we need to turn to Jesus and drink of His life-giving water. Again and again and again.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Apache Dress

These Apache girls are in their full regalia.
"She needs an Apache dress," my friend said as she leaned over toward me. We were watching my daughter and her granddaughter (best friends!) dance at the Christmas powwow. And she was talking about my daughter. My mixed-race daughter with her wiry African-American hair.

Men's powwow regalia
My almost-7-year-old daughter loves to dance. She was delighted to be dancing with the Apache people, even though she was ignorant of many of the niceties of the dances. I had even gotten up and danced one dance. "Don't bounce so hard," was the advice I received during that attempt!

I was really happy that my daughter was invited to dance; I hadn't been sure if a non-Apache could join in. I certainly didn't anticipate the level of acceptance in that simple statement, "She needs an Apache dress."

Did I mention that I love this place? These people?

I do.

Traditional Apache Dress
"She needs an Apache dress," I was told again by the woman in our congregation sitting in the back row at the powwow. I had made my way back to say hello to her and her son, also a member of the congregation.

"Really?" I said. "That would be okay?"

"Yes!" she said. "The ladies of Sew-n-Sew would make her one. She needs one so she can dance."

Wow! What an affirmation that we are becoming part of the community here. We are so blessed.

My daughter and I had to leave the powwow before it was over, but when we returned from an overnight trip (missing church), my husband (who was unaware of the coversations above) said to me, "By the way, C (congregant) said that K (daughter) needs an Apache dress. She said she saw K dancing at the powwow, but she needed an Apache dress. C said for us not to worry about it, though."

Not to worry about it? I was figuring at the least, I would need to go buy fabric for the Sew-n-Sew ladies. But my husband said not to do anything, that C told him it would be taken care of.

God has blessed us so very much in this place. These people. They bless us every day, bringing us desserts at the back door of the parsonage. Introducing us to their families and friends. Inviting us to be with their families for Thanksgiving. Asking our daughter to dance.

Blessed indeed.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Son Rise

My husband wrote today about our first 100 days in Dulce. That thought had crossed my mind, too; that 100 days might be a time to reflect on the beginning of our ministry here in New Mexico. Our first hundred days here in Dulce have been delightful, amazing, fun, challenging, energizing, and interesting. I'm sure I forgot a couple of adjectives in there, too!

One thing I am relishing here is my glass studio. It is small, but it is on the main floor in the house! Its location means that I can work on glass while our nearly-7-year-old is playing inside the house. And my studio has windows! Which, in addition to great light, means I can work on glass while our daughter plays outside, too.

I have designed a few pieces since we moved. I find myself drawn to new shapes and colors now, like the design above: Son Rise.  It is my Christmas piece for this year. I have made and sold several of them, and I have enough time to make a few more before Christmas. (If you want to order Son Rise, email me at

Son Rise was designed as a mesa; mesas surround us here in Dulce, New Mexico! I love the way the sun rises over the mesas... and when I began messing around with a manger design, I immediately saw the sun rising over the mesa in my head. And that idea became Son Rise.

At first, I thought I'd use golds and yellows as the sunbeams, but the various bright colors keep pushing their way into the different versions of Son Rise... and I love the way they've turned out: Bright New-Mexico-y colors! They look great with the ridge in the background (top picture), don't they?

I want Son Rise to represent my life right now: I want Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, to rise up in my life. I want the brilliant colors of Jesus to fill my world, and I would love to be graced to reflect His glory in my life.