Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Get it Archbishop

Dear Design Sponge:
You apparently know about my thing for English Country Houses.
So thanks for the article on them.
Love, Katie

Also, check out the London Times' list of 50 Best Design Blogs.
Several of my favorites got a shout out - Design Sponge, Lobster & Swan, Desire to Inspire.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was at the Copenhagen climate talks over the last few weeks, leading a charge of Creation-loving Jesus-followers who prayed for the leaders and demanded justice. He delivered a sermon with an amazing quote:
"Love casts out fear. If we begin from the belief that God wants us to rejoice and delight in the created world, our basic attitude to the environment will not be anxiety or the desperate search for ways of controlling it; it will be the excited and hopeful search for understanding it and honouring its goodness and its complex, interdependent beauty.

In this season of Advent, we renew our confident hope that such a future is possible. We give thanks for the Christmas gift of Jesus Christ that has broken through our selfishness and begun the work of our liberation. We reaffirm our conviction and commitment in the name of love; and we say ‘don’t be afraid’ to all who stand uncertainly on the edge of decision. Don’t be afraid; act for the sake of love.

Love casts out fear. The truth is that what is most likely to get us to take the right decisions for our global future is love."

make love not war

I read an interesting article called "Six Floors of Sunday School Classrooms: To What End?" that talks about the Lutheran Doctrine of Vocation on IMonk. The most interesting (and comforting) part of this doctrine to me is the assertion that all vocations are equally pleasing to God. This is a big departure from those who believe that God is super happy with nuns and pastors and missionaries, but only kind of happy with firemen and nurses and bankers. The article also asserts that each person has more than one vocation, and by fulfilling each with integrity you honor God - I honor God through my vocation of US citizen by paying taxes and voting, and I honor God through my wife vocation by speaking lovingly to Ben.

Can you put adorable little-girl bedrooms in the same square inch as nuclear war? Well, here goes:
I read some shocking news today. Secret Iranian documents have been discovered detailing the nation's plan to build and test the neutron initiator, the part of a nuclear bomb that triggers an explosion. Western officials and United Nations officials are now investigating and evaluating those documents. This blows the lid off any Iranian claims that they are only using nuclear technology for peaceful purposes - to build nuclear power plants. They are not telling the truth. The whole world knows their true intentions.

Now, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyah will very soon make the crucial decision of whether to make a pre-emptive military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. The consequences of this decision are of utmost importance to every person on the planet. If Israel were to strike Iran's nuclear facilities (which they feel they must do, because they cannot allow Iran to create a nuclear bomb since Iran's president has declared he plans to "wipe Israel off the map"), other Middle Eastern nations will come to Iran's defense and lash out against Israel, which will involve the US, which will then involve the whole West........

If you are a praying person, this is a matter that deserves priority status in our conversations with God.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bienvenidos a Indiana!

What a joyous day this is! Why are we celebrating? Could it be because of the snow at my beloved Baylor?

That is joyful, but today we're thinking of a different reason. All around my office we are celebrating because today, after 7 years in a Guatemalan orphanage, Juan Pablo is coming home. In fact, as I write this, his plane is due to land there in 6 hours, 5 minutes, and 57 seconds. Praise God!

Praise Him for the Wigginses, who fought government red tape for 3 years to bring this little boy into a Forever Family. Praise Him for the loving Guatemalan staff who have cared for JP since he was just an abandoned baby with serious burns, arranging all sorts of special medical care for him including trips to the US. Praise Him for the thousands of mission trip travelers who have visited JP in the Baby Home, holding VBS after VBS, craft after craft, game after game to entertain and love and teach him. Praise Him!

And this is the hardest part - though I rejoice with all my heart for Juan Pablo's new Forever Family, I know the other children in that home, too. Juan Pablo gets to go home, dress up as Spiderman, and spend his first Christmas in Indiana. These are just a few of his friends from the Baby Home. That home is a wonderful, warm place filled with love - but it will never be as good as a family. I know the name of every child in this picture... they are still waiting.

One little girl especially is burned on my heart. Alejandra.

This is Alejandra and Juan Pablo. They are like siblings, having grown up in the Baby Home together. I met her in May, and we were fast friends. I know its terribly grainy, but here's my favorite one of me and Ale.

The love God has for Juan Pablo is no different than His for Alejandra. He had a plan for one, and has plan for her, too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Neutrals, Neiman's, Advent Echoes, and Peru

Dallas loves our flagship Neiman Marcus. Like our own little 5th Avenue, we wait for the Neiman's holiday windows to be unveiled. '09 windows do not disappoint!

What fun! It's very interesting to read the article about how they created and developed this interactive display around the themes of books and energy - the whole idea was inspired by essays from some local school kids.

On the holiday note, I read a fascinating account today titled Advent Echoes: Checkpoints and Childbirth on a West Bank Winter Night. It's the story of Hani, a West Bank Palestinian Muslim who lives just 23 miles from Bethlehem. The parallels between Jesus' birth and Hani's story of living a persecuted life and the birth of his most recent baby are striking. I was very moved. I believe we need to push Israel harder, as a friend and ally, to address their human rights abuses the same way we must push China harder.

There is a Buckner mission team in Peru right now celebrating Christmas with the least of these - abandoned babies,  teen mothers, special needs kids, and the like. They posted an amazing blog entry today called "Dear Suzy" about a young mom who, when receiving her Christmas package prepared by a church in Dallas, went straight for the card. The card's author wrote about her cat, little details, nothing out of the ordinary - except when she wrote that this young mom was loved by God, precious, special.  The little girl cherishes the letter. She begged a team member to take her photo with the letter.

One of the main things they do on these trips is give each child a new pair of shoes. You, too, can join a trip or host a shoe drive for these precious little ones.

Friday, December 4, 2009

DJ Pope

I bet you sat down and asked yourself today, "What is on the Pope's iPod?"
Well, now we know.
Tupac, apparently.

Love these festive Christmas doggies. I do so love my dachshund, Libby.

Also, on a more serious note- we all need join together to cover in prayer a great pastor and servant, Matt Chandler of the Village Church in Dallas. This healthy thirtysomething, whose wife Lauren just had their third baby a few months ago, had a serious seizure on Thanksgiving. That led to the discovery of a brain tumor, and today he had surgery to remove part of his frontal lobe.

His blog about his surgery today rocked my world.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Have you heard about the Farchana Manifesto? A great many women living in the Farchana Refugee Camp in Chad (they are refugees from Darfur and other places in Sudan) have gotten together and handwritten a manifesto denouncing their ill-treatment and the gender-based violence they face daily. They hand-wrote this document and delivered it to the Physicians for Human Rights team working in their camp.
Courageous, bold women. Heroic women.

Check out Michelle Obama's preview of Christmas at the White House. Magical:)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I'm skimming through promotional emails, deleting right and left, when this little gem popped out at me....

Last-minute deals from American Airlines
Dallas to Jackson, Mississippi $78
Dallas to McAllen, Texas $78
Dallas to Indianapolis $117
snooze snooze snore, about to delete
Dallas to Des Moines, Iowa $120
Obviously these are on sale because
no one wants to go to these boring cities
(no offense, Des Moinesians)
Dallas to Ft. Walton, Florida $120
reaching for the delete button
Dallas to Paris, France $343

Excuse me, did I just see Dallas to Paris last-minute tickets for $343?
Yes, yes in fact I did.

Just this moment, I added another item to my Bucket List:
Go on last-minute fabulous getaway using week-of flight specials.

And finally....

Oh Yes! The Yes Men strike again. Sorry, Bank of America. You know I love your customer service and my favorite teller Xochil, but you earned it.