Tag Archives: hospice care

burdens worth bearing

The cats are curled up like lazy commas all around the house and  I’m tempted to join them except  it would totally ruin my “recovery from jet lag” plan!

Instead, I find myself sitting here scanning through the nearly three weeks of pictures and the very real memory of it all hits me right between my breastbone and eyeballs: the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen, the lives that were touched along the way.

The way my life was touched by theirs.

The faces.
The smiles.
The eyes.

Funny School Kids

The naked joy of uniformed school children in all degrees of dress, running, laughing and waving along roadsides strewn with trash.

The constant underlying tension of poverty and despair pulling hard against the unmistakeable beauty of life being lived more simply.

And how that strange medley of sight, sound and smell still gathers around the edges of each photo  taken in that land seemingly fueled by diesel,  dust and dung.

It gets on you. It gets in you.

It changes you.

It really has to and you sorta want it to even though you know… it won’t be temporary.

bearing burdens

I’ve done enough trips like this so that by now I expect and welcome the changes that must come in me as a result.

I’ve also learned not to exploit the situation by getting ridiculously sappy and over emotional (you can thank me later) while expressing what I know God did there– as if He doesn’t do amazing things right here or anywhere else if we only have the eyes to see that it’s not about the location.

I’m not here to say I’m moving to Africa (unless God calls us to) but I confess that I am being moved and I hope to never stop moving.

Honestly….I’ve found this article exceptionally difficult to write and I’m not totally sure why.

Blame it on the jet lag and the fact that somehow I left the ENTIRE month of July behind me in Africa. No doubt about it:  3 weeks, 5 families, 6 airports, multiple locations , countless faces and 16 hours in an airplane over open water will do something to a girl!  But that’s not totally it either.

It’s different this time.

My mind is heavier.    My footsteps and breathing… my thinking is just…. heavier.

My heart holds a new and permanent weight–not sadness but more like an added mass, depth or dimension.

It’s more like the welcome weight of a new joy and responsibility.

I’m free to feel and acknowledge it now. I’m allowed to inspect it from every angle and feel it’s heft upon my shoulders and  in my hands and heart.

Because now, I’m not standing in the room as one of the few strangers ever to cross their threshold. Not slipping into the scene, half-apologetic with my camera in hand and my heart wholly conscious of the sanctity of this moment…  of how this sudden, unbidden care may be breaking through to the moment of decision and eternal hope.

Now, I can also acknowledge how that high and low blend of those deeply soulful, harmonic choruses winging through those rooms, out the open windows and across the fields of Africa,  have found me here again, winding their way around my heart and giving me a measure of new hope as well.

Even though it was terrible at times.
Terribly ugly, awfully beautiful and totally,   earnestly,   painfully…. real.

Not perfect, but real and moving. Then it was Africa. Today it’s America. Tomorrow?

Who knows where, when or how God will move this discussion but that’s not the point of being moved. The point is to keep moving and being moved by Him right where I am.

Most understand even in the physical world, everything is constantly in motion. So while my table and chairs aren’t moving around the room on their own accord, the atoms inside are, even as gravity is pulling them downward and holding it all in place. (There’s your homeschool science lesson for the day!)

This is  what I sense taking place in my soul as well. God has me anchored in Him here and now and yet in constant internal and spiritual motion ready to move in any direction He wills for my life .

Realizing, I didn’t just go on a mission but rather, I am on a mission at all times.

And that weight… that added depth, dimension and responsibility… is to continue to be the vehicle of His story,    my story,   YOUR story… and theirs.

I promised.

Dorcas and her Mom

Standing there thanking each person we met , I  promised to tell their story so that others could be helped by this project as well.

It gave them peace to know they were remembered and prayed for, not dying forgotten and  alone.
It gave them purpose to know that their story could be shared and possibly help another know this peace too.
It gave them hope to know their pain would not be wasted and for some, that their eternity was now secured.

Because that’s the point: stories carry hope and can help to heal the hurts.  Jesus knows about the power of story too… He told plenty of them.

So the joy of this trip goes on today.

I’ll be telling some of the stories here as time goes on and others will be produced and shared as videos. In the meantime, I want you to consider this project and perhaps find a way to get involved because I’ve witnessed first-hand how this simple act of love is making a difference in the lives of the dying and their caregivers.

The hospice bucket program is a project similar to the Sole Hope project in that “many hands make light work”.  Any group of any size can collect the items needed to pack a bucket. Or raise funds to send to BGR partners who are already packing and shipping buckets today.

Mud Hut African Proverb

So many of you prayed for us along the way and we are grateful beyond our ability to express. Those prayers were most definitely needed, felt and shared with everyone we met.  Thank you!

And now, let’s strive to be one of those “little people” … being moved to do whatever we can to transform the world, on mission, right where we are.

In motion,Lorretta signature

P.S… no, we never came in contact with Ebola but we are praying for those who have.

thou shalt

Stepping outside,  I manage to catch the last rosy rays streaking low behind silhouetted trees as the sun passes it’s baton to a healthy slice of moon taking up post for the night watch.

The call and response  of crickets chirp back and forth as night sounds begin to creep in closer from every angle. Somewhere at the end of the street, a hoot-owl calls the evening to order as the sun exits and dusk finally gives way to deepening night.

I saw the first fireflies tonight. I heard a few cicadas too.

Laying on my back looking up at the moon glinting far beyond the trees, the angle of my repose makes the Queen Anne’s lace look smoky and sultry, mysterious and lovely in the gathering darkness.

A deep breath of the cooling air relaxes my body by degrees until I feel my shoulders give way against the grass, sinking into the comfort of God’s obvious and quiet presence there with me.

My cat joins me, purring,  and neither of us speaks a word. It’s enough just to be there together with Him.

I am thankful.

Soon, I will find myself under a different piece of the same sky in Africa.

Let me tell you more…

a rebel with a cause

Five  random facts about Lorretta that you may not care to know:

1) Lilacs are my favorite flower. I’ll take a fist-full of lilacs over a dozen roses any day.

2) My middle name is Lynn…making me, yes…. “Lorretta Lynn”. My mother hoped I’d be the next Country & Western star. She tried naming my baby sister “Tammy Wynette” but …thankfully, no.

3) I skipped kindergarten, becoming the only 5-year old in first grade and sealing my fate for social awkwardness for the remainder of my school career and… possibly for  life!

4) I come ridiculously undone in the presence of Jelly-Belly jellybeans.
It’s not pretty people; all social courtesies go out the door. #donottouchmyjellybellies


5) I have a warrior spirit.  I am a fighter….and a bit of a rebel…  with a cause.

a rebel with a cause

I almost joined the Air Force right out of high school and seriously considered the Peace Corps as well. Neither happened and I don’t quite remember why but in my heart, I knew it wasn’t a good fit.

I was right.

By God’s grace, I married instead and for many reasons, I  see how that decision has been used to hone my rough edges and temper this Warrior Spirit within me.



My husband has a warrior spirit too. I oughta know; he’s fought for me.

This is the guy who wanted to be a war photographer.  Back in his photojournalism days, he loved being in the middle of that breaking news story or on the edges of that raging wildfire. He did join the Air Force and for a time, that experience took us on many little adventures.

This is a drawing from the journal we kept when the Air Guard moved us to Reno:

Reno or BUST 2

As you can see, it was quite the adventure, and the adventures just keep coming!

Nearly twenty-five years of marriage and the raising of three children have served to purge a great deal of selfishness and immaturity from us, leaving behind a friendship forged and tempered in the merciful fires of God’s testing.

It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t always been great, but it’s good and getting good-er all the time.

So why am I telling you all this?


Well, many years ago….yes, many, MANY years ago…God began to speak into our lives and gave us a vision. It was then that our walk with Him got real. We started seeking hard and praying together and in the midst of a very large move-of-God project, we heard HIS call to serve.
We got all excited. Hubby quit his job. We started our own video production company with a humanitarian emphasis and knew deep in our hearts we’d be on the field telling God stories in no time .
And we weren’t going to do weddings because only lame film companies do weddings. We were media missionaries and we were gonna do important God-work.


Which meant…. weddings. Lots of weddings.
And humbling. Lots of humbling.
And pain. Loss. Uncertainty. Fear.
Bad choices and  bounced checks.


Feeling….thinking, ” Were we wrong? Did we misunderstand God?” No, we didn’t misunderstand God but obviously… we needed some schoolin’… and some time.


MANY years.
It took every one of those bless-ed  years to learn what God’s call to missions is  not. To learn how to serve Christ alone, leaning on God alone.

To learn how to serve with a Spirit of humility, working hard at whatever God brought our way. Weddings, volunteer projects and short-term missions with (and outside of) our church, cultivating in us a sensitive heart for God’s people everywhere.

We’ve had to learn to do it joyfully, often thanklessly and with complete humility and integrity. We’ve had to learn how to fail, repent and rise and walk again.

Most of all, we’ve had to learn to trust in the Spirit’s leading and God’s timing–to hear his voice, and to take our eyes off our selves and OFF THE CALL (yes, off the call) and keep them fixed on Jesus and letting the ministry of the Gospel apply to our own lives first.


 Sounds easy, right?
A bunch of years people.
Apparently we rank up there with Moses and Joseph at the top of the class in the School of Hard Knocks and Great Love.


the spiritual life
So we come to today with humble hearts. Because God is sorta “graduating” us to the next step. There’s more to this story (always!) than I can relate to you here and now but I’m grateful to announce that we
are going.

We are not moving …yet, no. But there’s a wonderful project I need to tell you all about, done through an agency I’ll tell you more about, working with partners and fellowships already in place and seeking to meet the needs of people all around the world.

It’s BIG.
It’s so very GOD.


So with our 15-year old son we’re headed to Kenya and Swaziland! We’ll be gone most of July visiting and encouraging partners in the field as we seek to tell the stories of the lives being touched through Baptist Global Response and their hospice bucket project.


Hospice buckets….for the dying...from old age and terminal diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS is taking lives by the thousands every day in these countries. Swaziland alone is on track for EXTINCTION (no lie) if  something doesn’t change.


So we’re going to tell the stories of what’s being done to help and of the Great Healer and Hope behind it all.  We’re going to help connect people in need with people who care.

Can I be honest?  I’m rightly terrified.  For all the reasons I could be and should be, I go in fear. But my awe and trust in God is far greater. All I have to do is look back at what He’s done and see how He’s patiently prepared us for this moment.  Fourteen years.

And if God thinks we’re ready, who am I to argue?!
But we need you. We need other warriors.

Prayer warriors who will join us in praying for wisdom and discernment, for provision and protection as God sees fit.

We need prayers for our strength as we travel to places we’ve never been, and for our hearts as we seek to hear God’s story through the lives being touched by this project and changed by Him.
Then prayers to do His work and tell these stories well.
We’ll need prayers to discern what God’s next steps might be.
Join us?


open road of prayer


I hope so.

In the meantime….nothing’s changed. Not really. I’ll just be hammering away and telling the stories of our very real God, very real and present in my very real life today. And I’ll be telling you more about this adventure along the way.

And weddings….if you know someone getting married, we’ll gladly come!  After all, it’s where Jesus began His work as well.   Let’s celebrate!


In Christ alone,Lorretta signature