A couple days ago, my friends and I created a backyard fairyland of texture, color and creativity.
For me, the most magic moment of the event illuminates a path of perseverance.
A friend stopped by and perused the offerings, bought a couple items, and left. But just a little while later, she returned. With tears in her eyes and a painting in her hands, she approached me and said she drove away but couldn’t stop thinking about the image. She expressed how unusual the experience was for her. She enjoys art but doesn’t usually allow her heart to engage, much less feel compelled to own a piece.
But for whatever reason, the art touched her soul journey like a signpost.
That glorious moment will keep me painting for months to come.
Many thanks to those of you who came and those of you who supported me in prayer and encouragement. In case you missed the event but would like to check out some of the products, below are links to pages for me and my friends who hosted the event:
- Re-find Restorations (hand-painted furniture and other products by Penny Taylor):
- Art by Colleen Briggs, Fragments of Light Etsy shop (art & jewelry)
- Pamba Toto (items hand-made in Kenya and jewelry made with beads from Kenya)
- Moni Orsillo (jewelry and beautiful products from India)
I attended a fairy tale wedding a few days ago. Two people aflame with the glory of true love… a blaze I am confident will carry them through the next fifty years. Witnessing the ceremony, the world seemed full of possibility, aching for all that is good and true. These two, I am sure, should the Lord let them live that long, will still walk hand-in-hand when they are old and gray.
Watching this couple, I remembered my own wedding day. My true companion and I walk somewhere in the middle between our wedding and fifty years. We knew so little of love on that first day, yet couldn’t imagine feeling more as the setting sun embraced our vows in gold. The tenderness and devotion forged only through tears and determination to clasp hands again-and-again, whatever wild winds blow, was inconceivable then. Our love for each other, battered and refined and re-chosen time after time, now glistens like mica, layer upon translucent layer, compared to that first day.
And yet the beginning and the middle pale in comparison to another love story, fifty years long. That initial blaze simmers into slow-burning ember. This is passion, true love, quiet and inextinguishable, lighting the way for their children and other witnesses, like me, into the luminosity of eternity.
Congratulations Dennis and Darlene, on fifty years of true love. I’ve been privileged to witness about forty years of your story. And I am grateful.
As friends know and readers have probably guessed from recent posts, I traveled to Kenya last month. From start to finish, it was a journey of overflowing joy.
When I left Kenya in 2012, I felt I heard clearly from the Lord,”Stay.” Stay in the US, don’t travel to Kenya. So I felt I needed a pretty clear reversal of that word. My husband and I talked about me traveling to Kenya earlier this year and wondered if the time could be right. Then we immersed ourselves in parenting issues and forgot to return to the subject. But, my dear friend and Pamba Toto business partner, Debbie Lee, said out-of-the-blue in May, “You should come to Kenya. It’s time.” When my husband eagerly (and heroically) concurred, I didn’t ask twice.
Stepping off that airplane, feeling the air, and smelling Kenya felt like coming home.
I’ll be sharing photos, thoughts, and experiences from the trip as time goes by. I’ve already written about a magical day Debbie and I spent at Kitengela glass factory.
Today, please allow me to share one of the most profound moments of my visit.
The binding thread of all my visits to Kenya is a heart broken for orphans. Since I first set foot in Kenya to adopt our son from a Mother Teresa orphanage, my soul irrevocably bleeds and my bones are on fire for the orphans of the world. For five years after bringing our son home, the flames burned hot. Then, in 2006, God opened the way for our family to help open Sanctuary of Hope through Hope’s Promise, which today provides a family for 24 orphans.
I first met Esther in Mathare Valley, the second largest slum in Kenya. She was viewed by her community as cursed because she was born with obvious disabilities. At age five, she remained unable to speak or walk. I shared details of her story in my blog post Every Child A Precious Gift.
Today, at age eleven, Esther is cherished by the Sanctuary of Hope family. She walks, she talks, and attends a special education school.
I experienced flashbacks while I stayed at Sanctuary of Hope last month.
In 2010, my then ten-year-old son Jedd and I helped Mama Karau take Esther to a doctor’s office for her initial medical evaluation for potential admission to Sanctuary of Hope. She sat on Jedd’s lap, still as a stone, not making a sound, not twitching a muscle. The only movement were huge silent tears, coursing from the corner of her eyes.
Fast forward six years. The Sanctuary of Hope family gathers every night for devotions – time to sing, talk about the Bible, and pray. Joining them one night last month, I couldn’t take my eyes off Esther, flitting happily around from one family member to another, grinning ear to ear, and making each person laugh.
It’s just too much for words. My heart swells with overflowing gratitude to a God who never stopped adoring Esther! And for ordinary people like you and me in Kenya and the US who went to extraordinary lengths to express God’s love and to give her the family she deserves.
Just in case you are interested, you can learn about co-sponsoring a child like Esther for only $40/month by clicking here: Hope’s Promise Thrive 305 Child Sponsorship drive.