Posted by: Donna Douglass | Saturday December 6, 2014

a gingerbread lesson

We made the first batch of Christmas cookies today. Zoe helped me mix the Pepparkakor (gingerbread) batter. I mixed while she held on to the spoon. Then I removed my hand. She moved the spoon up and down but it didn’t progress toward mixing the batter. "This is hard," she said. Kind of reminded me of making progress toward becoming who God made me to be: I work really hard and sometimes even think I’m getting somewhere, but looking back I recognize that it is God’s unseen "hand on the spoon" that has accomplished the work. Unless He changes me, I spin my wheels really fast but the body of the car goes nowhere.

Posted by: Donna Douglass | Tuesday November 4, 2014

Same and different

Homeschooling Zoe, we just finished a unit on leaves including the concept of "same and different". Glancing around my life, I wonder at the pervasiveness of "same and different" and how often they are wrapped up in one, resulting both in comfort from the predictable and excitement from the unexpected. A leaf is always a leaf, yet there are pointy ones and round, complex ones and simple, big ones and small, and at this time of year, leaves of nearly every color of the rainbow! But they’re still leaves.

And it is Fall, when a welcome, familiar crispness comes and leaves pour forth color. Fall comes every year – some years slow, some fast. Some years the colors are swept away quickly by storm, other years they linger, some years brilliant and some mellow. But each fall it’s the same: leaves and temperatures change in the same, but different ways. And there’s comfort and beauty in both the sameness and the difference.

Zoe and Matti are both children, playing their way through early life, thriving on both little daily changes and on the structured routine (just ask their Daddy whose not as familiar with it as Mommy!). Both marvel at the new, yet respond to it uniquely. For Mommy, there’s humor and wonder in both the similarities and the differences.

Our newest baby has arrived by the same method called "natural birth" though each of the three has been completely different (and its own great story!). We now know just enough to say "Generally you might expect something like this, but be prepared for anything!"

And so it has been, too, with God’s moving us to France, Africa, Germany, Palau and now Japan over the last five years. His directions have come at just the right time, never far enough in advance that we might walk a while without Him, but never a moment too late. And they’ve come in ways we understood and to which we can still point. But when they came – and how – has been as varied as creation itself.

So thankful we are for both certainty which prevents chaos and for change which prevents complacency. As in so many things, it forms a perfect balance pointing to a Creator aware of, and concerned for, our needs.

Posted by: Donna Douglass | Sunday June 8, 2014

Life lessons from my dog, part II

There she was, one of hundreds due to be euthanized the next day, a stray from the sweltering streets of El Paso, Texas. We showed up and chose her over all the others in the crowd. If she were aware of the situation, would she not have asked how she could repay us for saving her life? She owes us her life itself. Of course (if she were a thinking animal) we would want (even expect!) her to express her thankfulness appropriately.

But she’s not a human and has no clue how humans might show love or thankfulness – how could she have any clue how to respond?! If she had a reasoning brain like us, we might give her a list of tasks, prohibitions and required attitudes that would communicate the thankfulness and love she wanted to express. In our personal situation, our wonderful mutt happens to have these naturally. To us humans, infused with sin and selfishness, such an idea never even occurs.

So there we are, snatched from death row and allowed to live in the beautiful creation of our adoptive Father, cared for and loved deeply by Him, all by His choice and doing… And when given a list of tasks, prohibitions and required attitudes, we buck and complain, calling Him authoritarian and demanding, rather than thanking Him for going to such lengths to tell us how on Earth we might begin to love Him in response to all He’s done for us. Why is that?

Let’s change the question from what does God demand of me? to How can I respond to Him in a manner that expresses my love and appreciation? The question I ask makes all the difference.

Posted by: Donna Douglass | Saturday January 4, 2014


Like the riddle Samson told, Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet. That was our day. Out of the heartbreak, something humorous; in the midst of calamity, something comical.

Missionary flying, like all flying, is hours, weeks, months of monotony punctuated by moments of sheer terror, great joy or at very least, intense suspense. Today was punctuation.

Just as Matti ran into our room, arms high, from the door smack to the bed, as she does every morning, Slick read a text. A man we’d met often on our trips to Angaur, father of three kids around the ages of ours, was missing from a capsized fishing boat the night before. A third man swam to shore but two and the boat were still missing.

On the second three-hour flight of scouring the deep blue a sudden commotion drew my attention to the back of the plane where two of our "eyeballs" sat. I expected them to be pointing adamantly at something in the water. Instead a mass of wriggling reddish claws filled the space above their seats. A fat, mad, foot-long sand crab apparently didn’t like his seat assignment of cardboard box in the cargo hold behind the aft seat. He’d joined our passengers, uninvited. We continued searching the seas while crustacean rode docilely in the lap of an experienced crabber, though I don’t believe it ever put on its seatbelt.

Back home, the question still haunts me. How long is long enough to look? We may have seen someone on the next pass. The boat was found. From there maybe we could have found the two missing men if only there were more time. If only darkness weren’t coming. If only we’d started out with better info. If only, if only, if only. How much have we prayed today – how much have so many people prayed? Yet at the end, the decision for life or death remains in the hand of the only One to whom it has ever belonged. And only in submitting to His ruling do we find peace in the swarming "if only’s". Will not the Creator and Judge of all the earth do right?

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