Goodreads to Muse

Click to read my reviews

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

Gigi's favorite books »

Entries in Honduras (13)


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. 


Click to read more ...


honoring loss

As the arroz con pollo rounded the table, each person spooned a mouthful of Honduras on their plate. With the taste buds stimulated, our memories came alive. In this way, we honored the fifth anniversary of our return from Honduras on Tuesday, August 2.

We lived in Honduras for a little over four years and over that time four boys lived with us as foster sons: Franklin and Edgar (brothers now 21 and 19), Rodolfo, 12, and Junior, 9. We deeply cherish our experiences there. In fact, this blog exists to honor it and share the hope we have gleaned from it. You can find another post on the fourth anniversary of our return under “remembering honduras” posted August 2, 2010.

And so on the fifth anniversary of our return, dear friends we met while in Honduras shared a delectable Honduran meal to honor the day. Jennifer and Denny dropped in on their way from Austin, TX to Washington DC. They ooohed and ahhed over the chismól, a Honduran relish. I marveled at God’s providence in providing dear friends to accompany us on this important day.

Earlier that morning, overwhelming gratitude had greeted me at 5:00 and I sat with the Lord on our patio and told Him how thankful I was for all He had done. I recounted the people who have walked with us well through loss, grief and finding hope. Some of the ways He has healed me floated across my mind and I opened them like a loaf, gave thanks and ate of the bounty spiritually.  He spoke back to me through His Love Letter with Psalm 21:6-7:

Surely I have granted you with eternal blessings and made you glad with the joy of My Presence. For my daughter trusts in Me, her Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High, she will not be shaken.

As I got ready for bed that night, something in my gut said that this day was incomplete. I did not want it to end. Curious about that, I asked myself some questions. I realized that while most of me felt that gratitude and joy, part of me still held some deep sadness. I had honored the majority but avoided the sorrow. Honoring sadness and sorrow is a conundrum of hard work, discernment and just plain difficulty.

In fact, I would rather iron than sit with my sadness. On the anniversary, I had some quiet time and I could have chosen to attend to the sadness of soul. Instead, I pulled out the iron and caught up on about a year’s worth of ironing. I mean, it was ok and all but really it reveals to me the lengths I will go to in order to avoid feeling sorrow.

Haven’t we already done this, Lord. Haven’t I cried enough tears already? Do I need to be sad again? Is it ok for me to forget the loss, the feelings of desperation? 

Over time I had walled off the sorrow and for the sake of survival, given in to letting it sit behind a shell unattended. To truly honor the day and the preciousness of the loss, I had to knock a little hole in the shell and let the sorrow leak out. 

This morning, I wrote a letter to Junior who will turn nine in October. The youngest of our Honduran boys, he was almost four when we left. Couch it however you will, our leaving inflicted a deep wound to Junior, our other boys and maybe even other people. We as a family have certainly suffered and grieved. Grace and perhaps time will re-frame our sons’ losses and one day I pray they find healing. But the pain in my heart asks, why did we have to leave, especially young Junior? Why isn’t it enough that we want him and he needs parents. I won’t be able to answer those questions today. In fact, understanding is not required for me to trust God. Surrender is imperative. Naming the pride in me that says my plan would be better is compulsory. But understanding is a luxury I won’t have this side of heaven.

Dan Moseley writes, “losing someone significant involves a loss to the body as well. Loss is a physical experience. The body has ways of knowing that seem to ignore the mind and heart... When we spend time telling the story of loss, we are trying to cause the body to come to terms with the loss.”

I am telling this story today in hopes that my body, my spirit, my soul can converge in more healing. I am telling it to honor our time and experience in Honduras. I am telling it to bring glory to the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. Grief or sorrow over the loss will always be with me but perhaps I can avoid self-pity and a plethora of other pitfalls by the telling.

Moseley goes on to say, “It could be said that through remembering we come to ‘full body’ knowing. When we tell of the one we have lost, we are integrating our body, mind, heart, and soul so that all of who we are fully experiences the truth of the loss.” 

I wrote the letter to Junior more as an exercise for my heart and soul. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to give it to him. Writing it honored him as a human being and as a son I had the privilege to mother for a season albeit brief. May God help us as we attempt to walk out His will and love from a place of wholeness and truth. 


watch and pray

Today we enter Holy Week. In Honduras, no greater holiday exists. La Semana Santa far outshines Christmas. Stores shut down. Most people, even the poorer families, find their way to the beach. 

In downtown Tegucigalpa, artists craft carpets of painted sawdust covering the narrow streets. Curators walk the streets with spray bottles sprinkling water so that the sawdust won’t blow away in the dry wind. On Holy Sunday, a priest and some men in white robes will walk the carpet and stop at each station of the cross. A mass is held at the end of that procession in a small cathedral nearby.

I am pondering the moment when Jesus enters the Garden of Gethsemane and asks his disciples to watch and pray. He says he is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. His disciples snoozed. 

When he returns, he says: “Stay alert; be in prayer so you don't wander into temptation without even knowing you're in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there's another part that's as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire."

This lenten season has been long. Amen, anybody? While I wait for spring, I am craning my neck to see the Resurrection just around the corner. It’s hard for us Protestants to stay in this death watch. Historically, I have paid little attention to this week. Living in Honduras changed me in a number of ways.

This week, I heed the words of Jesus: WATCH AND PRAY. The Spirit is willing but the body is weak. 

I want to learn to pray the words Jesus prayed. And mean it.

"My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I'm ready. Do it your way."


poor in spirit

Lately I have had a lot of chances to say “you are right” and “that was my fault.” And I’m not talking about a co-dependent whiney sort of victim line. I mean to speak the truth and mean it. It is somewhat difficult. Try it right now if you dare. Say: “I could be wrong.” Try: “That was my fault.” It kinda gets stuck in your craw, doesn’t it? That’s southern-girl talk for hung up in your throat. Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” The phrase “poor in spirit” is only used once in the Bible, here in the beatitudes found in Matthew 5.

Click to read more ...



To know wonder is to tangle with terror. I lived just such a moment when we we hiked behind Pulapanzak, a waterfall in Honduras. Understand that safety and often good sense do not abound in public parks in a third world country. No fences, boundaries or safety walls exist. A random “guide” ambled up to us on this day and asked if we wanted to hike behind the waterfall. Ignorantly, we followed the stranger toward a cliff. 

My friend Val nearly fell to her death as we navigated the path down to the bottom of the Fall. In a motion undetectable to the human eye, the guide grabbed her placing her back on the narrow path. As we blindly moved toward this fixed hurricane, I lost grip on my son Matthew’s hand. The guide held onto me. I was unable to talk and insist that he help Matthew who was 11 instead of me.  At one point, I could not breath. It was like having a fire hose stuck down your throat on full throttle. My Teva’s found one slick rock after another as we bouldered toward the monsoon. I lost sight of Matthew and only prayed that he was not being blasted down stream. The guide held an iron grip on my arm. I mustered up the courage to break free to turn back and at that exact moment the wall of water disappeared into a small cave. My lungs clamored for oxygen. My right eye was blurry and for a split second I thought I had lost my eye-ball. The deluge had blown one contact out of my eye. With my good eye, I focussed in on Matthew safe and smiling. Words cannot contain the elation I felt at the confines of that small cave. 

A different person emerged from that waterfall. On the way out, we hiked downstream and jumped off some giant rocks into turbulent water. My soul opened to something bigger than me. I mean, I still struggle with control, but my vision is changing. I am beginning to see that my demand to “understand” is an impediment to embracing the mystery of Christ.

To wonder is to encounter majesty and terror in the same moment and to never get over it. Unless I acknowledge a God whose power blows away my elementary understanding, I will have no need to adhere to his commands.  In the face of Sovereign Power, my puny facade of control evaporates like little droplets of water. Unraveled, we are pushed to admit that a larger story holds us. When our hearts are full of wonder and awe, all that we can do is lift our hands in surrender. And so begins the journey into the arms of our Loving Father.