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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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a la orden: iowa

Okay, let me give you the skinny:

a la orden (in spanish) means at your service

In some Spanish speaking countries, you’ll hear it as much as you hear “Hola,” which was the case when I lived in Honduras for the past three years. Bus drivers, taxistas, people in cafés and people on the streets – they all say “a la orden” for one reason or another. But it wasn’t the common-ness of the word that got me hooked, it was a few particular instances.

I noticed, when I hung out with my high school girls, they would ALWAYS compliment each other on the clothes they wore. The girl wearing the complimented clothes would nearly always respond with, “a la orden.” After a little investigation, I found that this translated to, “Oh, thanks! If you want to wear it – it’s yours anytime! Just ask!”

This was their way of saying thanks for the compliment:
Girl 1 compliments Girl 2 on her blouse
Girl 2 recognizes the compliment and then makes the blouse available to Girl 1
Girl 1 could then ask to borrow the blouse if the need came up

Pretty simple.

So, I started wondering what would happen if we did the same with our spiritual gifts AND the material things we own. I wrote about it here and here and here. What would happen if we offered the things about our lives that draw out compliments? Because, generally, the things we are complimented on are things we get pretty excited about. A shirt, a car, an art project, guitar playing skills, hanging out with kids… you can fill in the blank with a possession or talent that has sent some compliments your way.

THEN, you take that compliment and turn it around to say:

a la orden

Yep. You make that gift, talent, or possession available to whoever recognized it was good in you.

There is nothing good in me (I know that for certain), save Christ. So, whatever is good about what I do, think, say, or have is only good because of Christ in me and I can’t be selfish about Him.

This is the a la orden philosophy that I realize is not anything new or revolutionary (my friend and I found GOBS of a la orden examples in the Old Testament). But, it was something that put flesh on the bones of “put others ahead of yourself” and has kept me accountable to keep at it.

In Honduras, my friends and I kind of went crazy. We made “a la orden” a verb and a noun. We would have a la orden parties, a la orden discussions, a la orden clothes (if you so much as mentioned you liked it). We carried food and toys and clothes in my car to a la orden to the kids at stoplights. We tried to remind each other of the things we needed to make available to others – that we shouldn’t and couldn’t hoard the good things God has given us.

Now, I’m taking this sweet Spanish phrase to the great plains of the Midwest.

It’s been interesting, but I guess it means helping with wedding plans, talking beside a campfire in the middle of the night, babysitting, meeting for coffee, calling my Honduran students who are now in college, talking on skype, driving to Colorado to encourage a sister who is struggling, functioning as a taxi for church events and a shuttle service for a mission conference. It means farming (and providing some un-farmer-like comedic relief) and writing and jumping like popcorn during game time at AWANA. It means letting a future missionary take me out for coffee and answering all her questions about “how to get there” with “Trust in the Lord, my dear.”

It means a lot of things I never thought it would, but it always means thinking less of me and more of others. If I’m holding on to something to tightly, it might be something I should try to give up – like time and physical treasures.

I’m excited to find out there are OH-SO-MANY ways a la orden lives on here. I do miss doing a la orden lifestyle with my community in Honduras, but I figure we’d better spread the love around and what better place than Iowa?

Here are some of my favorite a la orden buddies.

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Here is a beautiful tune for your Tuesday! Enjoy!

3 comments on “a la orden: iowa

  1. Debbie says:

    Free Lance children of the King!!

    1. Caroline says:

      Yep, just how I like it – thanks for being a partner in [good] crime! 🙂

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