Planet Impressions. Encourage. Inkblots in Rainbow Colors. Doing community in the global south and other places. "Higher up and further in!" with an outreach twist.



Snapped while shopping at my favorite super MARKET yesterday!


Little Sneakers Slung over a Sagging Electrical Line

Yesterday.  How will I ever forget?  I want to forget, and yet, I don’t.  It’s burned on my heart forever, I hope.  With my friend, the same one I’ve been writing about here for awhile, we took a walk together through the “neighborhood” and she pointed out the “homes” of our children to me, by name.

The narrow roads were unpaved, just mud and heaps of garbage.  The stench of human urine and feces was strong enough to be oppressive.  S. explained to me that the dwellings have no plumbing, and no electricity, that the tiny dark rented rooms where our children live are usually so small that not even one little table and chair can fit, and that sometimes up to eleven people live in this windowless cell together.  I asked, “What about a kitchen?” “No kitchen”, she replied.  “The families don’t prepare their food.  When hungry, they walk out and they buy a bottle of soda, or a pack of cheap biscuits, or, look (gesturing down the road), in that spot one can buy a paperful of fried chicken, for only a little bit of money.”

With sadness in her brown eyes she paused a moment, looking into mine.  “These children get nothing but junk food.”

She pointed above us, in the intersection of four rutted dirt lanes.

Two pairs of dirty, worn-out canvas shoes hung suspended over the sagging electrical lines.

“You know what that means, right?”

Feeling a little foolish, I replied honestly to my friend, “No.  I don’t have any idea.  What does that mean?”

“It’s the current signal, meaning that in this place, drugs are sold.”

“Oh.  What kind of drugs?”

“Cocaine and yellow glue.”

________        __________



In my less sanguine moments, in all my moments, really, I don’t believe I have what it takes to be involved in this kind of ministry. Last night I could not sleep.  Now, I need to tighten up my spiritual armour, raise high my SHIELD of faith, tighten my HELMET of God’s salvation!  I KNOW God has the strength to help me and my sisters and brothers who are working with and on behalf of these 57 children.  I KNOW that even though I personally have NO SPIRITUAL AND EMOTIONAL RESOURCES to confront this kind of evil, oppression of women and children, and powerful systemized corruption, this kind of a spiritual BATTLE, God does.

God does.

And, we have prayer, together, in the Body of Christ.

A Vignette from when Teaching the Children Eight Days Ago

-the little guy four years old who spent two minutes philosophically explaining, aloud, to himself and others in the room that the reason why the adult in charge was not letting him and the other little children go to the bathroom or go to get a drink of water, was because that would be using TOO MUCH WATER and would make all the faucets run dry in the whole property.  (actually a very real possibility, and a fact of life there at least every 3rd day!)

Vignette # 7 from the Children

#7 Amanda, 5 years old, kept complaining to the adult monitor that some of the little boys kept calling her a SPIDER (araña)!  They kept insisting that they were not!  (a lot of these little ones seem to have lisps and slight speech impediments)  Several of the other kids chimed right in and they all had a little philosophical discussion about it.




Children’s Bible lesson to teach, at 2 p.m.

IMG_8362img_2769Today, a children’s Bible lesson to teach to about 30 kids, at 2. This morning I am studying for it, preparing for it. I’m asking prayer, that God will help me to give the lesson in a super clear and accurate way. It’s on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace (Daniel chapter 3) so, plenty of grist for our mills there! As in just about every spot in the Bible, if only our eyes were opened…

And, asking prayer also that God’s amazing love and freedom, proffered, and unfailing friendship available, will impact each of the children’s hearts through the true story and talk.

Installment #2 from old notebooks just after I had turned sixteen. End of sophomore year.

June 1973. Wednesday Afternoon.

” I’m sitting down at the picnic table in the backyard – the sun is late afternoon – filtering down on me through the leaves of the mango trees above my head. The birds are having a symphony above me, twittering and singing and chirping at the top of their voices.

Rusty (the kitty, now with two kittens) has followed me down here and is in the process of rubbing her fur against my pen – which doesn’t work too well when your’e(sic) trying to write!

It is SO beautiful down here, quiet, filled with God. That is something I really miss in Kinshasa; Kinshasa with the trucks ROARING past the hostel, literally shaking it, the horns honking, people yelling, and loneliness. In the midst of over a million people, loneliness.

I don’t think I ever feel lonely here, really, and yet I am alone so much of the time. Probably because I’m right in the middle of my family here.

our longing for deep relationship and how spiritual disciplines can help us achieve it.

“For the sake of brevity this handbook often leaves the stories and relationships surrounding spiritual disciplines for another to tell. For me, all these disciplines come with faces and names and times and places. It is my prayer that these thumbnail sketches of spiritual practices will open you to the breathtaking and inexhaustible world of relationship – relationship with God, others and even yourself. Let these disciplines draw you deeper into your life and the people you live and work with. Let them reveal the human, authentic, God-given truth of you that we all long to see.” – p. 22, Adele Calhoun

Copy of the “Good Books Read, and Reading” Page




Self to Lose, Self to Find; a Biblical Approach to the 9 Enneagram Types – Marilyn Vancil

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

The More With Less Cookbook – Herald Press, Scottsdale, Pa. “There is a way that gives not less, but more. More joy, more peace, less guilt, more physical stamina, less overweight and obesity, more to share and less to hoard for ourselves.

QUIET by Susan Cain

The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook – Practices that Transform Us by Adele Calhoun, IVP.

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller

The Reason for God by Tim Keller

When the Darkness will not Lift by John Piper (small and short, almost a booklet) (on psychological health)

Christy by Catherine Marshall

The Lord of the Rings (trilogy) by J. R.R. Tolkien

NARNIA (series) by C.S. Lewis

Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

Perelandra by C.S. Lewis

That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (on creative writing)

The World Book Encyclopedia, hard copy

Feeling Good by David Burns (on psychological health)

Where there is No Doctor – Hesperian Foundation

Where there is No Dentist – Hesperian Foundation

The King James Version, Holy Bible. Also, the New King James Version, Holy Bible. Also, the English Standard Version, Holy Bible.  (all my favorites.)

NIV Thompson Study Bible –  1984 NIV and with the wonderful, OLD, Thompson chain link reference notes usually found only in KJV.  Kirk bride Bible Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. Possibly out of print, might find in used book shops. My most-used Bible – I love this Bible…

Extending the Table – Herald Press, Scottsdale, Pa.

Living More with Less – Herald Press, Scottsdale, Pa.

Healing Your Emotional Self – Beverly Engel (on psychological health)

Here I Stand – Biography of Martin Luther – Roland Bainton

Surprised by Joy – Autobiography of C.S. Lewis

AGATHA – Memoir of Agatha Christie

A Chance to Die – Biography of Amy Carmichael – by Elisabeth Elliot

Candles in the Dark – Amy Carmichael

No Graven Image – Elisabeth Elliot

Let’s Roll! – Lisa Beamer

Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer

Self-Compassion – Stop Beating Yourself up and Leave Insecurity Behind  by Kristin Neff (on psychological health)

Finding Calcutta – Mary Poplin

FLOW – the Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (on psychological health)

Effective Biblical Counseling by Larry Crabb (on helping others with psychological health)

Unashamed – Healing our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame – Heather Nelson (Biblical theology and psychological health)

How God Became King – N.T. Wright

Legacy – Mary Stewart

Page by Page – Heather Sellars (on creative writing)

Bonding – Brewster & Brewster  (on the outreach task)

Language Acquisition Made Possible – Brewster &Brewster

Sleeping with Bread – Holding what Gives you Life by Dennis Linn

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Kisses for Katie by Katie Davis

Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart

Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart

Writing Fiction by Gotham Writers’ Workshop (on creative writing)

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Volumes 1 and 2 by Josh McDowell

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

The Law of Happiness by Henry Cloud

Hidden Art by Edith Shaeffer

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What is Family? by Elisabeth Elliot

Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Listening to Prozac by Peter Kramer (on psychological health)

All is Grace by Brennan Manning

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller (small, short, almost a booklet)

The Message by Eugene Peterson

The Shack

Radical by David Platt

The Winds of War by Herman Wouk

War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk

Simply in Season – a Cookbook    Herald Press

The Instinct to Heal by David Servan-Schreiber

A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

A Resilient Life by Gordon McDonald

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Orphaleena by Sara Currey

Holy Bible, NLT

The Message by Eugene Peterson

Golden Cord by Amy Carmichael

Patchwork and Quilting WITH Kids by Maggie Ball

The 101 Habits of highly Successful Novelists compiled by Andrew McAleer

Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

To the Golden Shore – about Adoniram Judson

Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge

His Thoughts said, His Father Said..    by Amy Carmichael

The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

Laurel’s Kitchen (cookbook, vegetarian) by Laurel Robertson

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer McCauley

Stones of Fire by Isobel Kuhn

The Narnian by Alan Jacobs

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden

Hold Me Tight – Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson

Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Spurgeon Gems (clippings from the many sermons of Charles Spurgeon)

A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear

Marriage to a Difficult Man – biography of Jonathan Edwards’ wife

The Complete Father Brown Mysteries – G.K. Chesterton

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

Gaudy Night – Dorothy Sayers

Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman

Knowing Scripture – R.C. Sproul

Authentic Happiness – Martin Seligman

Caleb’s Crossing – Geraldine Brooks

Jesus Driven Ministry – Anith Fernando

All the Light we Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling – John G. Kruis

Call the Midwife series, the books, not the video series. or both.

The Knowledge of the Holy – A.W. Tozer

The Amplified Bible (AMP)

How the Irish Saved Civilization – Thomas Cahill

Humility by Andrew Murray

Lord, Teach us to Pray by Andrew Murray

The Pirate Coast by Richard Zacks

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

The Siege of Washington by John Lockwood

The Alexander McCall-Smith Africa short novels (#1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Morality for Beautiful Girls, and all the following books)

Gerald Durrell African animal books

The Art of Beatrix Potter by Enid Linder

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

All of the Jan Karon “Mitford series” novels

Escape from Reason by Frances Schaeffer

L’Abri by Frances and Edith Shaeffer

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom

Letters Never Sent by Ruth Van Reken (on third-culture-kid stuff)

Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax

Why Johnny Can’t Read by Rudolph Flesch

CHILDCRAFT (hard copy)

Sonlight (classics-based, excellent homeschooling curriculum)(very adaptable to different situations) (time-consuming and demanding in a good way!) (TRULY for authentically “deep love-of-learning-for-learning’s sake” families – others might find it unsatisfactory for one reason or another)

CALVERT CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL – a very basic, very thorough, very structured but also somewhat classics-based homeschooling curriculum that has been around for a long time. Good for when a homeschooling teacher is first starting to teach and feeling a lack of self-confidence for the responsibility (which is SO much more than just a task!) (If you do this curriculum, concientiously with your child, step by step, not skipping anything, you can KNOW that your child will have received a top-notch education that school year, in every subject. However, it is not onerous for most children and leaves the child plenty of time for extracurriculars of their and their parents’ choosing. Enough flexibility is there, but, not too much.)

getting back to other kinds of books: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

God’s Smuggler by Andrew (autobiography)

The Heavenly Man (autobiography)

Cultural Intelligence by David Livermore

Bruchko by Bruce Olsen

Changes that Heal by Cloud and Townsend

The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart

The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart

Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

Death at La Fenice – Donna Leon (a whole string of character murder-mysteries set in Venice)

Seven from Heaven – Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey (memoir. about having septuplets)

In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Turnham (memoir)

Joy of Cooking (classic Western cookbook)

These Strange Ashes by Elisabeth Elliot

anything by Dan Allender

Give Me This Mountain (memoir) by Dr. Helen Rooseveare

Confessions of Saint Augustine

Born Again by Chuck Colsen

The Rest of God – Restoring sabbath to your life and your life to sabbath. by Mark Buchanan

Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? by John Joseph Powell

Frenchman’s Creek – Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

The House on the Strand – Daphne du Maurier

How People Grow by Cloud and Townsend (on psychological health)

for delicious leisurely relaxation, pure and simple : each of the M.M. Kaye India and Madagascar epic novels (The Far Pavilions, Tradewinds, etc.)

the M.M. Kaye murder mysteries set in the late forties and early fifties

The Peacemaker by Ken Sande (on conflict resolution)

The Third-Culture Kid Experience by Ruth Van Reken and Tim Pollock (on third-culture-kid stuff)

The Enneagram by Richard Rohr

Breathing Under Water – Spirituality and the 12 Steps – Richard Rohr








Vignette # 7 from the Children

#7 Amanda, 5 years old, kept complaining to the adult monitor that some of the little boys kept calling her a SPIDER (araña)!  They kept insisting that they were not!  (a lot of these little ones seem to have lisps and slight speech impediments)  Several of the other kids chimed right in and they all had a little philosophical discussion about it.





Living Coral, Seattle Aquarium