Sunday, July 16, 2006

I took this picture in one of the little towns on the way to San Diego a few weeks...and the strong overhead light captured my eye. The old Dodge, the white iron gate. All seemed to belong to a different era. When we pulled off the highway, we saw a garage that said in '50's script "Harry and Son Garage". The signs were all worn and faded from the sun. It reminds me of another picture I took years ago in New York City; a girl sitting on an iron park chair with her feet propped up on an antiquated turquoise suitcase captured my attention and lens. She had a straw cowboy hat on (before they became popular as they are now) and she seemed not to care where she was going, just that she was there, in the present, in Bryant Park underneath the flickering shade of the leafy, summer trees. I love to imagine what the stories are from these places, and what makes these people who they are and how they got there. From this town, we also went in to a Mexican food cafe. The counter was long white Formica and the swirlable stools were fixed in the raised platform. As we attempted to use their bathroom, I felt like I was invading another story. All along the way in your life you will encounter these stories. Its just a matter of "reading" them-- that is with your imagination Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 14, 2006

For the Pancake Man

Just as I was about to lose hope of ever getting any eggs from my chickens, the most unlikely candidate redeemed the flock. Ruth (or Naomi...I can never tell who was who; but the one who didn't die) has laid a very small brown egg every day. So we added them to one of our favorite carb dinners... Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Pancakes. The skill is probably one of the best things my Dad ever added to my cooking repertoire. I can remember being really little and leaning over the pancake batter on Saturday mornings. We don't have "Washington Pancake Mix" here in Phoenix but we are making do with a multi-grain pancake mix from Henry's. And I learned from the master about the exact right consistency for the mix....just enough oil, just enough water and just enough eggs. And of course, we had to make pancake initials...another Jansen tradition. A "T" for Travis. But this post is really for you Dad since you (so discretely hinted :) wanted a little spot on the blog.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Out of the mouth of babes.

I heard a very unusual comment yesterday at camp between two 11-year old black girls. Being at an inner-city camp full of vibrant, talkative youth, you get to observe some very "colorful" commentary during the day. I was talking to the kids about whole-grain cereals for breakfast and asked them what they ate that morning. One black girl raised her hand and started off, "Well, in the moar-nin' I eat..." One of her friends sitting right next to her interrupted with: "Girl, you can' say it like that! Its MORN-NING! Morn- ning," she said wagging her head. I asked if the first girl was from the south, and the second one volunteered, "No, she ain't from the south. I'm from Atlanta. She's from Texas." The girl tried it again: "In the moarn-nin' I eat..." She didn't get very far again. Everyone started snickering again. Someone from the back said, "Thas the way that black people talk!" in their o-so-perfect Latin American accent. The second girl said, "Don' be distrespectin' black people. That's the way we talk." They'll make fun of one another brutally, but they don't let anyone else do it. It's the same situation no matter whether its black, Hispanic (I saw two 16-year-olds do the same thing on the playground earlier in the day.) Isn't it amazing to think that at eleven, they already have such a strong cultural identity and loyalty? They certainly know their differences.
Don't we all defend our differences though? In marriage I am learning that there are strong differences, and strong preferences we hold onto strongly. Don't you find it easy to say, "Well, if you had just said it that way..." or "Why can't you just accept this?" I think its all a desire we have to crave independence and to guard our self. I just wish we all knew our similarities as well as we knew the things that were not the same. Its a lesson we all need, to lay aside our differences and embrace one another as who God made us, different, unique, but joined together for His good purposes.

Monday, July 10, 2006


We were off to San Diego together again...with a little more successful early morning beginning than our last trip. Except our alarm never went off. And we awoke to the sound of the doorbell at 4:45am. But we still got on the road earlier than before. We were off to the city of beautiful weather, cool breezes, beaches, friends, sunshine without heat....did I mention that it's less hot there? But we aren't "grumbling and complaining" after listening to the excellent messages by Mark Mullery on unbelief...we're just stating the facts of our time together at "Together '06".
Adventures on the way there included many, many bathroom breaks in unfriendly places. Caravaning together can provide its challenges with a Suburban full of different people with different capacities, if you know what I mean, and a Santa Fe equally as requiring. Some of our stops included "El Cajon" which fondly became known as "the pit"-- a city that you couldn't get out of; and a little town off of the I-8 where we happened upon an unfriendly resturant with a sign that said "Restrooms are for paying customers only. Cash only. No credit cards accepted. Don't even ask." Of course Jordan and Seth had forgotten their wallets; and Clay and Travis don't carry cash. No luck there.

The weekend was for the purpose of being "together". It is a weekend conference made of 4 different churches out West who join to hear the word of God preached and spend time together in a beautiful place. A little history-- the conference for the first year was called Together '05 and this year it was Together '06....the question is: how do you find a conference which name changes every year? So one of the San Diego pastor's gave it a new, improved identity: Together Whatever. We also had the fabulous oppurtunity of meeting and greeting old friends like the Lauterbach's and our friends the Whites, who moved last year across the country from Covenant Life to Grace Church in San Diego. We also made better friends with Clay and Haley Richardson who kindly agreed to share the ride, and the gas money, with us. We throughly enjoyed our time with them on our drives to and forth from Phoenix.
Together is the best of all conferences. It has friends, adventures, messages, awesome worship...and then in the afternoon, instead of sweating it out playing sports, you watch the ocean lap up to your feet at the beach. It made all the difference to get there early, check in, get settled, then go straight to the beach. We also took another afternoon to go with a group of friends to Coronado Island to go again. Except this time our challenge wasn't finding lunch. (The day before, our only problem was to find a "cheap" lunch, of which we quickly found out there are very few places along the coastline that meet this qualification). On the way back from the beach, while we were driving on the highway, a car side-swiped our brand new Santa Fe. It was a car full of Marines, who had probably missed their exit and turned before looking next to them. They never admitted their fault but when the state patrol came, they changed their story and said that we veered into them. Oppurtunities to trust the Lord. We have fun confidence that God is working all things together for His good. And Mark Mullery preached an amazing sermon on unbelief versus faith. This is another reason to exercise faith as defined so well by Mark: "Faith is believing confidantly that God will fulfill His promises".