In crossculture. Peoplewatching. Community in the two-thirds world and other places. About questions too: "Higher up and further in!" with an outreach twist? How?


“Desire, when harnessed, is power.”

“Desire, when harnessed, is power”. – Jack Shwartz in his book The Magic of Thinking Big, as recommended in Melody Beattie’s classic, Codependent No More.


When Our Hearts Break

Yesterday while continuing my project to gradually and systematically weed through, organize and de-clutter our apartment, I was dusting a bookshelf and happened to come across an old college textbook on 17th c. poetry.  Feeling wry  fondness for the faded green hardback, I pulled it and dipped in.

I came across a George Herbert poem, actually several of them, already marked up in now-faded pen, by the “me” of years ago, and they touched my heart, spoke to me, even YET, and YET AGAIN!  Especially this one!


Jesus is in my heart, His sacred name

Is deeply carvèd there, but th’other week

A great affliction broke the little frame,

Even all to pieces, which I went to seek:

And first I found the corner, where was J,

After, where ES, and next, where U was graved.

When I had got these parcels, instantly

I sat me down to spell them and percieved

That to my broken heart he was “I ease you”

and to my whole is JESU.

-George Herbert, a pastor in the 17th century.

The Coolest Monastery in Potosi, Reading and Writing

“Suppose you (over)hear a conversation with something marvelous in it, then I advise you to write it down in your journal.  A hint is to write nice and small so you won’t use the book up with big loping writing.

One of the first things I’m going to write is a phrase I overheard as two people passed by my window the other day, talking about a friend of theirs.  ‘Her feet aren’t any use to her – not as feet, that is…’

It makes you wonder what on earth they ARE useful as, and there’s surely some story it can go into along the way.

If you listen well, you will have many more, and probably better quotes for yourselves.  You will look through them and realize that it would be positively criminal to waste them, and you will start writing straightaway!”  – Maeve Binchy, in her book “The Writer’s Club”.IMG_5700

Funniest Passages by Good Writers #3

“It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.” – from The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

N.T. Wright

“How can we tell the story of Jesus in a simple way, when so many elemental forces came rushing together at that point in space and time?  So much history, so many bad memories, such high expectations and aspirations, such a tangled web of faith and fear and hatred and hope.

And so many memorable characters crowding onto the stage, catching our eye and firing our imagination:  Mary Magdalene, Peter, Pontius Pilate, Judas… the list goes on.  And then we catch a glimpse – or was it just our imagination – of Jesus himself, towering over them but without ever appearing aloof.  Who was he?  What was he about?  What was he trying to do?  Why should we care, two thousand years later?

These were, of course, the questions his closest friends wanted to ask as they woke him up in the middle of an actual storm on the Sea of Galilee.  It’s still a dangerous place today.  There are signs in the parking lots on the western side of the sea warning that high waves can sweep giant waves right over parked vehicles.  But Jesus wasn’t fazed.  According to the story, He got up and told the storm to be quiet (Matthew 8: 23 – 27; Mark 4:35 – 41; Luke 8: 22 – 25).  And it obeyed him.

I think his friends told that story not only because it was striking and dramatic in itself, but because they saw in it something of the larger story they were struggling to tell:  the story of a man in the eye of the storm, the storm of history and culture, of politics and piety, a man who seemed to be asleep in the middle of it all, but who then stood up and told the wind and the waves to stop.”  -“Simply Jesus” by N.T. Wright

So, I was in the market just now…

So, I was in the market just now, which is a section of pavement of the street. But with some of the more major weekly vendors having rigged sailcloth shades, on rebar extensions, to mark out their “puesto” (stand) and provide a little partial shade.

And, my eye was drawn to the colors of the yarn. I approached a woman selling yarn and, as I came closer, I saw that she had not only yarn but hand-knitted items of all kids; baby sweater sets, mostly.  It was beautiful work!

So, I asked for one skein of yellow yarn and she said, “Two?”.  I said, “Just one, please.” I could see she wondered what I would be wanting with just one skein, but she was too polite to ask. As she placed my lonely little skein into a plastic bag and handed it to me I said to her, “Yeah, I’m just practicing and don’t do this very well yet, but I want to learn. You don’t know anybody who gives knitting lessons, do you?”

Her whole face brightened immediately and she said, ” Well, I don’t, but my friend does; she’ll be here next Saturday, you know, that other woman who was here with me last week. You two could just sit here, for half an hour, and she could give you pointers!”


With a huge smile she told me her name, and her friend’s name, and I told her my name! I’m making a new friend, maybe two!

And, hopefully, learning how to knit faster without cramping my shoulder!