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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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Entries in heroes (10)


student of mercy

I echo David in Psalm 27: ONE THING I ask and seek, to muse the beauty of the Lord. During fall break we camped at the Smokies. I had plenty of time to muse and drew this sitting around the campfire. My journal still smells like smoke.

I am a student of mercy. 

If I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned my need to continue to gaze at the mercy of Christ in order to live a merciful life. As we have pondered and grappled with mercy over at Mercy Mondays with Jenn LeBow, all of us have been changed. That’s because when we gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, we are changed. Some facet of our lives reflect more purely the character of Jesus.

Mercy exists because our God is merciful. He has more attributes than I have words. In my finite mind, I like to boil His character down to Mercy and Strength. We humans are usually stronger in one of these character traits than the other. But God holds them both equally.

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mercy in action

Today, on Mercy Monday, I choose to share about one person who has shown me more about mercy than perhaps any other. 

Silvia worked alongside me in Honduras where we served as missionaries by fostering four boys. She served our family by helping us with cleaning, cooking and laundry. At one time, seven children gathered round our table. That’s a lot of mouths, socks, and leaves tracked in on shoes. Silvia walked to our home in the mornings arriving around 8:00. 

Although she could not read, Silvia hid God’s word in her heart. She memorized large portions and could retrieve verses to fit particular situations. She never came across proud or as if she had this spiritual thing wrapped up. 


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beautiful: byo͞otəfəl|


  1. pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically: beautiful poetry | a beautiful young woman | the mountains were calm and beautiful.
  2. of a very high standard; excellent: the house had been left in beautiful order | she spoke in beautiful English.

A friend of mine nominated me for a Beautiful Blogger Award. Thank you, Jenn LeBow of HOBWAS. It has taken me a few weeks and a moderate amount of courage to attempt to comply to the rules for the award. Here are my nominations:

  1. HOBWAS.
    Jenn LeBow lived in Honduras at the same time as we did. She and her husband served in the embassy. (It is a team approach, people.) When I found out about being pregnant with Sam, I told Jenn before Matt. This should tell you where she falls on my friend list. She clearly nominated me, in part at least, out of obligation. Plus I took her with me on a silent retreat to the beach. We were only partially silent.
  2. J. E. Lowder
    Jay and Laura participated in the initial Bible Study that became Fellowship Bible Church. Jay -  granddaddy, daddy, painter, bassist, philosopher - recently wrote a book. His stories are full of grace, inspiring and funny.
  3. Venturing Out
    I met Marilyn in Honduras. She had a driver and bodyguard and appeared to be very mysterious. I got to know her and realized she is one of the most down to earth believers I know. I conned Marilyn into blogging. Her perspective stretches me. I need people in my life like Marilyn. You do too. 
  4. Hanna Kate Flora
    I’ve never met Hanna but feel like I know her through a mutual friend. Her talent for re-claiming furniture is spotlighted on the Nate Berkus show. I live in New York City vicariously through Hanna.
  5. Soup Addict
    Hungry? Check out these photos and your tongue will thank you. I read Soup Addict not just for recipes but because Soup Addict is hilarious. And I learn new words from Soup Addict like Shakshuka. It’s an Israeli egg and tomato dish. Need I say more?
  6. WordGirl
    The name should give it away. I love words. I love WordGirl. If you love words, follow WordGirl on Goodreads. She does all the work and tells you what a goodread really is. Plus, she instructs me on faith, life, parenting myself and my kids
  7. Living Story
    Elizabeth Turnage is passionate about story. Her approach to the throne beckons me to come. She is a mom of four, a survivor of shoulder pain and surgery and a purveyor of grace. 

Rules of the Award:

1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post. This may require you to use an image widget.

2.  Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog. 

3. Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Beautiful Blogger Award.


mothers love

Today a mother will hold the hand of a son with a traumatic brain injury. She will talk to him and know deep within that he hears her. Her words will call to him and summon hope. Every cell of her being calls him to heal. 

Today a mother of four boys will visit the grave of her own mother. She will sit in the rain and remember. Grief will mark her days. She bears the scars of the fall  - of cells that have rebelled and gone their own way. 

Today a mother prepares for another week of chemo. She checks the freezer for the meals brought by friends. Her daughter sits in her lap and she brushes the braids from her hair. 

Today a mother will dial up her son on Skype. Her daughter runs through their front yard and dark curls bounce. She lives in Honduras and the son in Illinois. This is the first Mother’s Day she will not greet her own mother and thank her. 

Today a mother will call her son. For 40 years plus they were separated. She chose life. She chose another family to raise him. They found each other. 

Today a mother will cry into her pillow. Her daughter is lost. Will she come home? 

Today as I thought about mothers - myself, my own, my living grandmother and the women who have mothered me - I pondered the failures and the victories. 

These are all true stories of people I know. Mothers fight for their kids. Mothers search until they are found. Mothers sacrifice, clean, cook, love and mold. No one impacted my story like my mother. No one continues to call me up to a higher standard of love than my own children. 

Today I thought of my children as arrows. Weapons in a spiritual war. I asked God for the strength to love them well and to launch them. 


my mamaw

Mamaw hand needle-pointed the pillow I am holding... Sunflowers.Today I told someone this of my grandmothers and my childhood: “They were like two pillars on either side of us... holding us up.” 

One the town side: Momice. She had CIA instincts. The first sniff of trouble, she appeared at our door. 

On the country side about a mile and a half down the road: Mamaw. Preaching the Word to us.

I have written a tribute to Momice aka Zelda Bernice Williams Morgan. Read it as posted on 4/8/10 and tagged under “heroes.”

Mamaw holds a power over our lives. Growing up at times I felt like her presence could hold my world together. And on a number of occasions, it did. 

The Sunflower River bordered her back yard. An azure pool separated her house from the river and entrapped all the water moccasins. I remember the snow-ball bushes, aka hydrangeas, lining the back of her house. A lover of roses, she grows a garden of them wherever she lives. She seems to carry a bunch with her whenever they are in bloom.

As an adult, I’ve sometimes thought that I possessed a similar power. Like a quintessential jewish matriarch, I have hoped that I possessed some mo-jo that could ward off evil. If I took communion, confessed sin, read (even memorized) the Bible; wouldn’t that protect me from evil? 

That is not the way of Calvary.

God dunks me headfirst into the world, at times being laid waste by the effects of the fall. For a believer, the power of the cross means that God uses even evil to polish our souls so that we can reflect more accurately the image of our nail-scarred Savior. Broken and healed. Resurrected on our behalf.

We show our Father’s power, His omnipotence, when we walk in our broken places willing to be known. We resemble Jesus more and more as our brokenness is healed in His presence.

We walk with scars. We walk with glory radiating from our faces. Jesus bore our shame in His Body. Our abuse. Our perpetrations. Our sorrows. He bore them, so we don’t have to.

Momice is in Heaven with Jesus. Singing in the choir like she used to belt out praises from the back row. I’ve never felt safer than right under her wing in that back pew. I know for a fact that she is up to a lot more than that, though. Her mischievousness must be a delight to Jesus. 

Mamaw, still with us, is recovering from a fall. She still holds a mysterious power over her family although not in the way I thought of as a child. She is a beloved woman and those she loves are blessed.