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Sometimes, we journey to the dark so we can be moved by the Light. We trace the furthest boundary lines behind our eyes. We get deep next to demons, weighed down from evil within and without. And when warmth first touches cheek or shoulder or the back of our knees, the weight may not lift but there is relief. . . . And it is the same magic— to feel Light's warmth after a cold night or a long stretch of summer, it is the same glory— to be reading the lectionary in a Home Depot parking lot with sleeping car seats or having a morning cup of coffee on the front stoop with my co-laborers. . . . Somehow, God has anchored the pale blue ombre sky above me like an endless umbrella. He covers and cloaks with Light and sometimes I have to go deep in dark to feel it's warmth. . . . Morning Call:  Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if  there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon  me, whom the Lord hath afflicted. . . . Opening Prayer:  Loving Father, as we journey with your Son in this week of remembrance and hope, help us to experience and receive you and your love for the world more clearly. Transform us by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of your Son, our Lord, we pray. Amen. #holyweek #notredame #outofthedarkness #intothelight
Naked morning comfort and I'm just basking in the humble light of it. They wear all their affections like clothes and this one makes me melt because they aren't so attached to their wholeness. They are ready to be broken to make peace with one another -- more ready than me, so I take notes. . . . The making of our Peace broke Him, completely. His humble persistence was full of glory because He was God, not because it looked good. Making peace means breaking pride, breaking selfish gain, breaking the sin inside that so easily entangles us, and breaking the power of the sin outside that so deceives us. . . . #newblog #momswhowrite #writersofinstagram #motherhood #siblings #siblingsasfriends #braveryofsmalllife #Godseconomy #kitchen #atlanta #family #teamkolts #teampixel #teampixelnofilter #nofilter #morningglow #morning #liveauthentic #kids #georgia #southernsummer
"Look, Mom! Edelweisses!!!!" And she passed the peace to me with flower weed stems and smooshed petals. The brisk tickle of Spring wind swept my elbows as I reached out to receive. . . . And it got made again, Peace. Established with delicate weed offerings and vulnerable outstretched hands, peace mended for a moment the breaks of the morning. The Great Deceiver's attempts to put us at odds— to wound one other with war words thrown in defense and pride— got smooshed underfoot in the backyard. . . . And I thought of Jesus making literal Peace, because the world doesn't allow it to come and be kept. Peace must be forged with active rebellion against the forces within and without that would rather war. We are a peace breaking people made in the image of One who carries Peace in his character, One who made Peace for us forever with God so that we can make peace today exactly where we are. . . . "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14 . . . And the little child shall lead us.
I studied Job's friends pretending comfort, while withholding kindness and refusing to revive a weary spirit. I taught about the people in Jerusalem spreading their coats out like a royal carpet for the King of glory to ride in on a borrowed mule. I learned about the invisible God we try to force fit our image but our invisible spirit is made in His. I chased my littles in circles in the newly cut backyard and followed Foster's gaze to find birds high on budding branches. I heard Zella yell to our neighbor two houses down to move her apple trees far away because our juniper tree has a bad disease that could infect it. I wrestled through pride and failure and defending ideas. I made a very late afternoon cup of coffee and cooked with my baby strapped on my back. I snuggled my girl and gave her choices while praying she would choose right. On the first day of Spring. . . . We rode to Bible study, the kids and me, in an Uber because I ran the battery down on the van. I caught the sun glory streaming in to hit all our faces in the backseat as Zella chatted with the driver about music, imaginary children, and her preference to not wear socks and shoes. Our Wednesdays have so much Bible in them — sometimes nothing connects and I arrive at the end with mush brain and then sleep in my day clothes. But yesterday, I fell into bed so thankful that there are constellations in all these bits of Light. He is holding all things together and sometimes He connects dots and reveals a special glimpse of the glory of it all. #writersofinstagram #momswhowrite
My brows converge over my nose and my face squints against the dark. I pray, "O, God. O, God." I lay flat on my bed between two littles and take a deep breath that reaches my shoulders and sides and ankles "O, God." . . . It feels like Spring shouldn't come, that it is so *wrong* here that Lent should last forever. That, though our hope for Spring is strong, it is mostly about escape and not about salvation. We have made ourselves at home in winter, comfortable with the frosted ground under our hibernation. Our evil isn't seasonal. It isn't an epoch, a phase, a time period. It is in us— bones, marrow and evil. And we don't even want out. A Stockholm syndrome sickness that's eating us up from the inside but we refuse rescue. . . . The mercy of the Lord comes anyway, budding trees and blooms for the just and unjust. He woos us— relentlessly— out of our captivity with kindness. He calls us to repent of our soul's winter so we can finally see and taste His Spring. He calls us out of shadow and into marvelous light where our winter is exposed and we can squint to see our salvation. And we can know even a little bit more the extent of His glory and the depth of His grace. . . . Spring is coming and we are Easter people, but today there is lament. #light #shadow
Why is it that when we talk about the beginning of the United States it's always "when we founded this great nation" but when we talk about slavery it skips to the Civil War and it's always, "they were fighting to keep slavery in the south." The same humans who founded this nation bought humans and made them slaves in it. And today, for that, I mourn. . . . Every human made in the image of God is the same amount of invaluable. The same amount of mysterious wonder is knit up in our bones, from those first moments curled up in the womb. Lord, have mercy on us for acting like it is not so. . . . . . #americanlent #lentenrose #whiteprivilege #slavery #lent #lament #foundingfathers #letstalkaboutit #repentanceproject #didyouknow #spring #teamkolts #liturgy #reflection #monday #teampixel #atlanta #blackandwhite #slavetrade

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making baleadas

If you ever find yourself in Central America, called to work at a Christian school… And if that school has only been in session 12 1/2 days due to swine flu and political crises… And if that length of time spent outside of your work (without seeing students’ faces) forces an inner struggle with purpose… And if that inner struggle turns into a more tangible questioning… And if all of this builds to an unaccountable climax, you may wonder what to do.

May I suggest making baleadas?

Emily and I ventured out today and walked the streets, which seemed strangely normal. Everything from traffic to hot dog stands to stocked produce shelves at the grocery store. It made yesterday seem like a day-long dream.

Taxi drivers still sat in the same spot by the hospital, shirts folded above their bellies and mothers still walked arm-in-arm with their grown daughters down the street to catch the bus. Furniture stores were still selling furniture and our favorite frozen yogurt place still sold frozen yogurt.

My brain quickly tired of trying to come up with explanations of why everything looked so… normal. We finally made it back home and I guess we both thought we’d like to turn our minds to the kitchen to tackle something important and patriotic… like baleadas.

Wikipedia says the name baleadas comes from either the bullet shape of the bean () or a legend that a woman making them was accidentally shot (bala means bullet). I’m not sure where the name comes from, but the taste is absolutely delicious. I’ve had baleadas at some of the most “local” places in the city – on the street in Guanacaste and at the stadium market – and I definitely appreciate the flavor. My neighbors from church also invited me over for baleadas one Friday night and I got to see the whole process unfold right there in the kitchen.

Well, I know we didn’t do everything right. And, to be honest, the result was probably not near as “Honduran” as I let myself believe (could that be due to the fact that we got all of our recipes online instead of from a wise, aging Honduran neighbor?).

Here, I’ll invite you to see our “normal therapy” today:
Emily started the beans YESTERDAY. That’s right, they took over 24 hours. I think we picked up the wrong beans at the store yesterday, but who could blame us? It was mayhem! I think she added garlic, chili powder, and cumin. After soaking and cooking them forever, she smashed and then blended them, adding a little oil.
I looked up directions for tortillas (something I was convinced everyone said was super easy, but I would find to be hard) and decided I would master it. Of course, I am doing whole wheat tortillas because I’ve got to try to make these things healthier because they taste so good. I found a recipe with five ingredients and simple directions (thanks sarah pachev). I added my tortilla-pounding skills from my church friend Maria, who used the brim of a plate (for uniformity, of course). After making about five, I realized why those women in the market sweat so much, with their hands constantly over a skillet!

Then, on to the eggs. Emily cut up onions, red peppers, and green peppers, and then I cooked them in a bit of oil and added tomato paste and water (we didn’t have tomatos). Then we added eggs and minutes later we were all through!
I know this doesn’t sound like a big accomplishment – refried beans, eggs, and tortillas. But, the big test is tasting the Honduras in everything. Because it’s not just beans, eggs, and tortillas… it’s way WAY better.
I think the baleadas was just the antidote our minds needed tonight. You know, I’m appreciating more and more this perseverance I see to do normal life, amongst very abnormal circumstances. Baleadas was the most normal thing we could think to do tonight after four days of uncertainty, no school, and mounting questions. Baleadas just felt right.

And tonight, after we heard we weren’t having school again tomorrow, we knocked on our neighbors’ door to ask the family of three if they would like to have dinner with us on Friday night. You know, because that is normal and this is life here, with or without demonstrations and school and my own understanding of purpose.

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