Hello. Welcome.

I'm a very determined kind of individual. Sometimes my determination is misplaced and things get very ugly. But, sometimes my determination leads to laughter, deep thoughts, and words on paper.

I write everything. I'm not very good at filtering ... so you will see it all. Maybe there will be a little inspiration for someone else along the way. I hope so. My sister also likes to guest blog and I'm sure you will appreciate her wit and wisdom.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New! Exciting development for foreign heart!

I can hardly contain my excitement in the recent thrilling turn of events! My sister Christina (the clever, creative cat of former blog fame) and I have decided to merge our talents. This blog will no longer be the musings of one foreign heart, but TWO.

I already know she'll harass me for pushing the sentiment, so let's get to the real exciting part. We have been wanting to launch a website for a long time. Not just any website (of course), but one that would combine our creative energies and be a one-stop shop for both sides of the brain!

Of course, we are convinced we are different than all the other pages and writings and musings out there. And, if you are skeptical, well... then just stick around to see!

We will be having a soft launch of the new format starting next week. In the meantime you might see her doing a bit of blogging by way of introduction. We will be on a six day schedule that will give readers a wide variety of insight into two very different creative worlds.

Lest you think this will all be written in detached abstract (as I tend to do), rest assured that we will open a window into our daily lives and hope that you laugh as much as we do.

In the spirit of this new voyage, come sail with us!

foreign heart

So, it may be about time that I share why I chose the title, "musings of a foreign heart." Some people have asked, and at times I found myself struggling to articulate. Not that I'm ever completely surprised to stumble over my words, but on this specific point, I would hope my mind, heart, and words would be in sync.

Let's see, this blog doesn't have a very long history, but the background does give a bit of context to this rather haphazard journey. When I was in my senior year at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, my sister inspired me with her creative blogging about the adventures of being a new graduate and NYC nanny. I began to think about what adventures I might write about... for I adored writing and aspired to be a great intellectual. Right around this time, there was a conference at rival Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was never so much into the rivalry, but the title is what caught my eye, "Faith and International Development Conference." Oh dear! How do I combine those two passions?

The conference was a fantastic success. I learned a great deal from the outbreak sessions, speakers, and students. My outlet for processing has always naturally led to writing in one way or another, and with my sister's cue, I started to explore what that process would look like on a computer screen.

On February 11, 2006, "faith and international development" was the first post.

I fiddled with the gadgets in blogger that held a dream-like charm. My childhood hopes to be an accomplished and published writer were quickly coming into view, via the new world of internet technology! Actually, these blasted things have done well to make dreams of 'being known' seem more accessible than reality affords. Nonetheless, off I went to make a name for myself as a 'foreign heart.'

Why foreign? I am living as a United States citizen, you say.

My first understanding of foreign comes from my primary identity. In the Bible, we read that this world is not our home.
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 2 Peter 3:13

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:11-12

We will always will (and should) feel a mite strange living as we do in this skin and walking on this earth. God has promised a glorious inheritance to His children - apart from this world. In this way, I am glad to be of another land.
These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:7-9
Praise God, for He has redeemed us for His glory!

The musing, then, comes quite naturally. I'm not sure I had words to call it in my growing up years, but when I enrolled in Philosophy 113 with professor James Allis, I immediately found an affinity to talk of deeper things. I love conversations, literary works, and discoveries that challenge the mind and heart. And I believe God created us this way; in His image we are created with minds to probe and question and ponder.

Over the course of two years, 'musings of a foreign heart' has quite evolved (and sometimes not for the better). I admit a lack of vision, frequent rambling, and far greater focus on self then there ought.

I'm not really sure (naturally) how I will remedy these last concerns, but I have some ideas. So, be on the lookout, for this foreign heart may find a rhythm.

I'd LOVE to hear your muses! So jot 'em down and let me know!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

holy heartburn; an invitation

pre-script: I have been doing some writing for the Gathering blog and so posted this piece there in response to Jeff's Sunday sermon. Sorry for the duplicate!

As I listened to Jeff speak on Matthew 25:31-46 this past Sunday, I realized I drastically misunderstood God’s call for us to serve the ‘least of these.’ The severity of the passage is evident in the language, but the heat rising in my chest seemed like more than realization of the weight in such a responsibility.We heard about the overwhelming amount of ‘least of theses,’ awareness without action, and the passion of service.


It just takes a brief look at some of the alarming statistics to feel the overwhelming wave.

  1. Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day.Source 1
  2. More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening.Source 2
  3. The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.Source 3
  4. According to UNICEF, 26,500-30,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.” Source 4

I’ve had the conversation so many times with myself, “Seriously, Caroline, what can you really do to fight AIDS?” “Yeah, but I should probably help somehow” “But even if you help a little, the problem is so huge, it’ll never get better.”

How depressing! That’s the trouble. Instead of looking at the problems of the world and saying, “How can I serve?” we look at the problems and say, “How can my service possibly make a difference?”

Our focus is all wrong. We are accustomed to getting a decent return on our investments. I don’t want to be a part of anything that isn’t successful, so every time I serve I should be able to see results. But, wait a minute, does God call us to serve for success or just to serve unto Him, for His glory?

awareness without action
Jeff called us out. We all know - we’ve all read the headlines and watched the nightly news. We can’t escape the knowledge that there are people in need around the world.

“It’s not an issue about awareness for most of us … people watch the news and then go on eating their dinner”

So, if I do decide to break my routine and serve as unto the Lord, what really is the right action? Instead of gravitating toward popular movements and giant foundations, what if the right thing to do is make it as personal as you possibly can.

“Many people know about poverty, but very few know the poor by name.” John B. Hayes

When Jesus says, “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me,’” he’s talking about getting real personal. And, here’s the thing, it will be much MUCH more rewarding (for the Kingdom and for yourself) if you break your routine for personal service.

passion; an invitation
This holy heartburn I feel rising in my chest is not condemnation for all the times I have “gone on eating my dinner.” No, this holy fire is in response to the greatest of invitations. Service has, quite unjustly, received a bum rap because it appears weak to the world. Yet, what Christ offers in salvation is a share in His suffering and a share in His future glory.

The way we describe and define passion today is very different from its original meaning, which is ’suffering’ and ‘agony’ and to have compassion is to ’suffer with.’

Even as I write now, I’m feeling again the heat rising in my chest. And, now I am sure that service is not penitence. It’s not our payment for all God’s mercy and grace. It’s not piety. Service is an invitation to know God; to share in the sufferings of the ‘least of these.’

The Kingdom is already and not yet. And in this tension, God has extended an invitation to us to take part in HIS ultimate redemption story.

as servants.

So... if you dig this serving thing, check out Compassion in previous post!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Change a child's LIFE forever!

You know all those ridiculous TV commercials that show children starving in the middle of Africa. And then they ask you for money? DON'T do it.

Do this instead - find out about Compassion. Because it's not about throwing money at the poor - it's about sharing hope. If we are truly about the 'least of these' let's show them!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A General Masquerade

In light of our reading Animal Farm and its symbolism of the totalitarianism government, "classically inclined" met to watch a French documentary tonight. The documentary, made in 1974, invites the audience into the life of
Ugandan dictator Général Idi Amin Dada.

This film is truly surreal. At one moment you are entranced by this jovial, disarming man and the next you are appalled at his confused and evil mind.

Here is a clip from Youtube.

You can find it easily enough, or if you are really ambitious and thrifty you can watch all 17 parts on Youtube.

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Oh dear!

I am quickly going to write a post tonight about my most recent tears over this movie, Bella. Tragic and ordinary. Ugly and beautiful. Lonely and communal.

When we've come to rest all there is at the river's edge, we become aware of our brokenness. Jose and Nina are broken creatures. They each lived not ignorant or innocent of the world in all its white-washed charms. So, we wait on our seats to see what they make of it.

We are each one tempted to make homes in white-washed tombs. But, see there is a choice.

There is life!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Texas heat and Prince Caspian

I was almost uncomfortable today in the Texas heat. But, as my mother quickly reminded me, "that's what you like, you know." One of my strong arguments for Texas and the South is the weather, so I have to be careful about complaining.

I called my mom after I left work today and she was tending a fire, waiting for it to die down enough to cook some bratwursts. Now, that's an Iowa way to usher in the summer months! I almost felt like I was right there - within ten feet of the flame. Then I realized that I was just walking on pavement under a clear, hot Texas sky.

I don't think "hot Texas" would make news anywhere, so why don't we move on to something more interesting - one of my favorite topics: C.S. Lewis. I went to see Prince Caspian.
Like any good reader of brilliant fiction, I was disappointed with the first movie because it simply failed to live up to the glory of the film I produced in my head. So, given that, my expectations were quite reasonable for Prince Caspian.

No matter how much of the story is lost in film translation, the pure innocence of the child remains. Lucy Pevensey is of course the most endearing. We love her because we all try to remember a time when we were like her. Maybe some people liken her faith to Santa Claus and fairy tales, but Lucy understands what others are convinced to "grow out of." But we all secretly hope that we could be more like Lucy. We hope that it is possible.

What is so magical... so brilliant... is that C.S. Lewis did not intend this series to be exactly symbolic of the Christian story as we perceive it here on earth. Lewis instead asked the question, "If God had created a world (a different world, where animals could talk and trees could move and all sorts of other mystical things might happen)... if God had created another such world, what would redemption look like?" (He says something like this in his replies to children - see "Letters to Children")

Lewis uses the artistic gifts God gave him to pursue this idea to its outermost reaches. He stretched his imagination and took us along. Sure, we are captivated by the characters, the magic, and the absurdities, but the true hook is in the brilliance of reflecting something much greater.

C.S. Lewis so artfully asks us to think about redemption outside of ourselves.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

beautiful sunday

Today was absolutely gorgeous. I ended up doing some of the things I love most - with a twist.

Thing I love: Devotions in the morning
twist: with a bagel and a cup of decaf

Thing I love: Church service on Sunday
twist: spanish style - went to the Spanish service and there was a visiting pastor from Honduras (go figure) who is interviewing to take a position at our church

Thing I love: summer heat
twist: forgot sunscreen

Thing I love: working with my hands
twist: gardening ALL afternoon with good company and conversation

Thing I love: beef brisket
twist: Rudy's style - slow cooked over oak with special bbq sauce

Thing I love: C.S. Lewis
twist: went to see instead of read Prince Caspian

Sometimes I love to be exhausted, because there are times when it seems fit to be so.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday in 100 words

Every once in awhile it's good to stretch creatively. Making anything succinct is always a harrowing struggle for me. So, I'm going to start writing Friday in 100 words. It may be poetic or it may be the beginning of a story or it may appear quite cryptic, but stretching is the key. You see, and now I've already succeeded superfluously.

I awoke adrift a misty sea with the sunshine a glorious gold at my window. A big yawn and stretch greeted the day like any other, but a Friday always holds a certain mysterious promise. Spirits are high, grumbling low and a new kind of energy hovers around the office. My weekend is heavy with plans for entertaining (some call it babysitting) children and doing housework. The end of the school semester finally arrived and past and now the campus stands a ghost town. Though the weekend affords change in routine, I will still wake adrift the misty sea, greeted by the glorious, golden sunshine.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

words - interrupted

I don't watch much television, but the little that I do see reminds me that society has just as much potential to regress as progress.

I just recently saw this ad by AT&T where the mother starts talking to her daughter (and mother?!) in text-speak. I actually found the clip on splendAd, called "IDK Scrabble."

So, the mom concedes defeat as a parent, but then AT&T tells us we should all be so lucky: now, it's FREE. That's just what I'm hoping for when I have kids someday - free defeat.

REALLY? Are we really okay smashing a bunch of letters together in place of thoughtful, intellectual conversation?

Today just after I finished up work I got a phone call from a fellow 'classically inclined' book clubber. We are reading "A Clergyman's Daughter" by George Orwell right now and he shared his sincere interest in the imagery, style, and character development. Our discussion lasted no more than 15 minutes, but when I got off the phone I felt a bit inspired. He mentioned this idea of 'the dumbing down of American society,' that we use so few words now and miss the weight of reality by doing so.

Words communicate ideas. If the only ideas we have running through our heads can be communicated by a string of disjointed letters, how much progress are we really making?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

true ambassadors

I'm just going to throw this out there: Have you ever secretly wished someone might fail so you might look good?

I can't really back pedal now and pretend I was asking the question without first-hand experience. That would be a bold-faced lie AND sneaky. It is neither.

I started to really examine my thoughts recently as I am reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called, "True Spirituality." (Interestingly enough, there is now a need to qualify spirituality by designating Truth. Yet, there is no spirituality outside Truth, just as there is no God outside Jehovah. Another day, perhaps?)

Let's get back to your confession, you say. Well, alright. Here it goes. I realize I am making myself vulnerable (as we were encouraged at LeaderShape), so here's to that.

I've noticed this ridiculous thing in me... a suspended suggestion that hovers whispering between my ears. It usually happens in group settings, when I feel most called to present myself as an ambassadors on behalf of Christ (1 Corinthians 5:20). I start to feel a little pressure, a little frustration, and the words racing around in my mind stumble over one another. I may appear composed, but inside I'm frantically trying to figure out how to represent. And then it happens...

I'm doing my part of a group activity, when I look up and see someone else shining. The whisper suggests, "Wait, that person doesn't believe and follow Christ... why are they so likable?" and "That's not supposed to happen - only true believers can understand joy!" and "There's no way that person could really understand love or suffering or compassion - why are they making so much sense?"

Okay - go ahead - throw the stones. I know this sounds elementary and proud and shameful. I didn't say I wasn't ashamed. I just said the silly, suspended suggestions are there. What I do next, of course, is the test.

I have self-diagnosed a classic case of the gospel is about me. If I am so concerned with appearances, keeping score of who shows joy and pain and sorrow, than I've made the gospel about less than Jesus. Praise God that he has mercy on such a fool!

Paul cautioned the church in Corinth to remember what they were before Christ redeemed them... that no one was wise.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Am I so puffed up that I can sit back making judgments about who is happy and what good can be done? Shame on me.

We are all created in the image of God, every single one. We each bear the marks of the Creator and without knowing or trying, we each reflect His glory. The Lord is gracious to name us heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). What shall I do then, having done nothing to receive such a gift? Shall I shrink back to pre-redeemed ways, wanting only my personal gain? No. I would then only use Christ as a mere tool for my own pride.

Romans 8:17 continues, "if we indeed share in his sufferings that we might also share in his glory."

So, regardless of what my mind or any other whispers to distract the True glory at hand, I know that a true ambassador sees the glory of God in every face. A true ambassador speaks in love and knows that the gospel never returns void.

A true ambassador is not a name, but a servant. And these ambassadors will suffer with Christ and see His glory.

... I just realized I meant to speak more on Francis Schaeffer. I suppose I will come back to him again.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

what's on my mind...

Here's a quick run-down of the first 10 things that come to my mind this Tuesday morning.

1. An interesting piece on Christian artists over at Between Two Worlds
2. The second book for classically inclined, "Clergyman's Daughter" by George Orwell
3. A great resource on modern reformation called White Horse Inn, if you like listening instead of reading
4. The song Tuesday by Sarah Masen
5. The stack of books I am reading (or aim to read): True Spirituality, Clergyman's Daughter, Little Women, The Adolescent, The Reason for God, oh my!
6. The nagging, relentless run-on sentence in the book I'm composing in my mind
7. Spring means babies! My friends and family are welcoming spring with new life...Amaya and Titus and two more on the way.. sadly all in different states!
8. The devastation in Myanmar ...
9. The joy of carpooling (this time not because I don't have a car, but because I can't afford gas)

10. It's best to start the day waking up smiling

I will write more later...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Poem from LeaderShape

Anyone that knows me is aware I received the 'cheesy gene' from my mother. I sure put it to good use last week during LeaderShape. I facilitated a small family cluster of 12 students and we became very close over the course of the week. My cluster chose the name 'mountainmen' and under that name we shared in the lessons and laughter. At graduation on Saturday, each facilitator said a few words about the group. Mine, of course, came out in poem.

(for the mountainmen)

not so long ago
in a very near place
a family formed
at a thing called LeaderShape

We were strangers
not a soul knew another
first words were precious
but guards soon went asunder

as each day passed
the closer we became
sharing stories of life
and visions beyond the mundane

it became about more
than 'my vision, my dream'
it became about serving others
and changing what seems to be

stuck in a basement
we would not fret,
12 heads together
will surely survive instead

given little or plenty
in life or in play
we will always be content
to hope for change someday

we all have a vision
they are BIG, I'll admit
we share our fears
but not too much to commit

twelve unique people
one unique place
challenged and stretched
to step out the rat race

laughter abundant
and smiles a many
we bonded together
and now we've friendships a plenty!

mountainmen, go out now
and don't stop your climbing
just remember the process
is more about refining

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I just returned from a week at LeaderShape - filled with tips and training for our future leaders. It was quite a week, but maybe I'll get to that later.

For now, I want to follow up on the post my sister so kindly shared with us on Thursday. I have to admit, it feels a strange holiday to celebrate without the mothers I love.

My last memory about my grandma happens to be at her funeral. With eight children and too many grandchildren to count, the sanctuary at little St. Paul's Lutheran church was filled to the brim. Though certainly a full house, her touch reached way beyond her own fold. I remember the well known phrase that "Avonell would never turn someone away... there was always more room at the dining room table."

So, her gentle, steady spirit was celebrated that day and I remember sitting in the uncomfortable, wooden pews with all the cousins and writing notes to one another about how we would sure miss grandma. We wrote notes about the dresses she made (one of which I was wearing), about the things she would say, and about memories we held dear. This at the ripe age of about 10.

I remember actually going to the hospital with my parents to see her and when we arrived, she had already passed. My grandpa sat in the room with wet cheeks and asked if I'd like to kiss her to say goodbye. It's all a blur now, but still very real at once.

Yes, what a woman indeed. She inspired and motivated her children to not only love, but to love as Christ loves. I'm sure I'll never know just how she accomplished what she did with the so little that she had. What I am reminded of now is in a song called "Find us Faithful" where the words plead,
"May all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire in our devotion light the way
May the footsteps that we leave, lead them to believe
and the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful."
I am so fully convinced that if any legacy points back to a person, it is not so bold. A true and lasting legacy is one that points beyond oneself at the eternal. This - yes THIS - is what made my grandmother (and other women in my life) so brilliant. It is the way their lives point beyond the temporary that has me captivated and hoping my life leaves the same.

So, sister, this is where we start. Our journey must begin and end with Avonell's passion for Christ. I can't believe she would want it any other way.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Missing Avonell

Since I'm out at a Leadership Conference this week- I'm having my sister guest-blog for me. She's technically retired from the world of blogging, but is coming out of retirement for a post or two to help me out.
Welcome, Christina, to Musings of a Foreign Heart!

My grandma died- and I'm so sad. Yesterday I found myself having to drive home at lunch, to be able to cry about it in peace. When I stopped at stoplights, I rolled my windows up to have some privacy from the drivers around me, even though I am aware that this doesn’t make me invisible. My heart just hurt so much, missing her.

The weird thing is- my dear Grandma died about 15 years ago. And you know, I’m really used to it. Its part of my life now, something I take for granted. I’m really not sure why suddenly I started thinking about her so much. Maybe it’s the book I’m reading with my new mentor, Becoming a Woman of Excellence. (She was- very much so.) Maybe it’s the fact that yesterday I was writing Mother’s day cards to my mom and Grandma Sponsler, and I found myself wanting to thank Grandma Avonell for being such an amazing woman, mother, and Grandma, and couldn’t. Either way, she’s been on my mind in a big way these past few days, and I’m just missing her so much. I just wish, as an adult, that I could know her.

There are so many questions I have for her- so many things I didn’t know to ask before she died. I wish I could talk to her about being single at 25—she experienced it and waiting for the “right guy” really worked out for her- in my Grandpa Fletcher. I wish I could tell her about the great father her son, my dad, grew up to be, and how he and my stood in the gap for me while I learned how to make my own choices, and stumbled a few times along the way. I wish I could learn from her in person, how she found that perfect place in between feistiness and having a quiet spirit… my constant struggle. I wish I could learn from her how she was the kind of mother-in-law that made my mom think, when she married my dad, “I want to be just like her.”

Maybe I’m selfish- I have an amazing Mom and Grandma, that are excellent examples to me of Biblical Womanhood- who am I to want more? But I just keep feeling like there is this piece missing. I don’t know enough about her- I don’t know about her walk with the Lord, I don’t know how she encouraged my Aunts through the world of Dating, I don’t know how she handled 8 kids on my Grandpa Fletcher’s dairy farmer budget. I remember so little of her, and her with me- I’m having a hard time deciphering the difference between my memories and stories that I’ve heard. And I’m mourning for that.

So, I’m going to start digging. I’m going to ask about her- about her walk with her Lord, about her parenting and letting go, about her feistiness.

It’s time that I got to know her.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Today again I will defer
my mind, stubborn will not concur

I have only to recommend
the thoughts and wisdom, freely lent

though sometimes late, I'm known to dwell
Read with me, these thoughts are swell


This is a story in Christianity Today interviewing the director of Prince Caspian. For the whole story, click here.

The Weight of Story
Director Andrew Adamson, whose latest Narnia movie, Prince Caspian, releases to theaters next week, fully feels the burden to get it just right.
by Mark Moring | posted 05/06/08

Why'd you change this? Why did you leave out that? How come you didn't

Andrew Adamson has heard all those questions, and then some. When you're trying to adapt some of the best-loved children's books of all time into big-screen movies, there will be plenty of naysayers and nitpickers, and Adamson fully expected it.

The director sizes up a scene

Already an acclaimed director for the first two Shrek films, Adamson stepped into a whole 'nother world, literally and figuratively, when he took on the first two Narnia films—2005's The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and the sequel Prince Caspian, which opens in theaters May 16.

We recently chatted by phone with the 41-year-old director, who was working on final edits and polishing up special effects in a London studio. His wife and daughters (Isabelle, 4½, and Sylvie, 2½) were living with him in London—sort of a home between homes for the New Zealand natives. After living in Los Angeles for more than a decade (making the Shrek and then the Narnia movies), Adamson will take a break after this one, moving back to his home country for some R&R and extended time with his family.

And he'll pass the Narnia torch on to Michael Apted, the veteran British director behind such films as Amazing Grace and James Bond's The World Is Not Enough. Apted is directing The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, slated for a 2010 release—and Adamson, who will stay on as a producer, assures fans that the franchise is in good hands.

For the rest of the story click here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

day one

Well, today was the first day of LeaderShape and I am completely and utterly exhausted! It brings back so many memories of my summer counseling at Covenant Harbor... I had forgotten how much energy is required!!

Because I have absolutely no capacity to think or write at the moment, I just want to give a little blog space to a cause I care about: Compassion International. Now, you can help out this amazing organization just by using Search Kindly as your search engine in the month of May.

Read this!

Sunday, May 04, 2008


To begin.

This means so many things right now.

Last night I began to add to my small list of Spanish music artists. This past Thursday, I formally began a book club. Students finished up exams at St. Edward's last week, so I guess that means summer begins. After training today, tomorrow begins a week as a facilitator at LeaderShape, a leadership conference for students.

Beginnings are like endings are like hellos are like goodbyes. Cryptic, I suppose.

Maybe beginnings are like inspiration: contagious. My long-time friend Patrick was in town last week and what a fellow! He had just barely recovered from jetlag after returning from Africa and now he's off for a three month gig assisting a photographer.

I consider Patrick a kindred spirit, in the Anne of Green Gables sense. Sometimes you need such a friend to remind you about where things begin. Do you ever feel bogged down in the middle somewhere, or preoccupied with the end? I certainly do.

If I do succeed in regaining my focus on the true beginning, inspiration nearly always follows.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

the world is bigger on FM 969

I almost gave up. I had driven back and forth so many times on FM 969 that I was tempted to stop at the roadside, knick-knack garage sale and head back home.

I drove in and out of several drives until I saw a wee-bitty sign poking out from an overgrown entrance. Austin Samaritans shared the sign with another local non-profit and between the two of them, the inches were precious.

I wound my way around the curves into a ghost town. The layout suggested maybe a school or education center, but the weeds had long declared this territory. I finally came to a cluster of cars, and, relieved, saw the most-welcoming registration table, where I signed a form saying I wouldn't hold anything against anybody if something happened.

This weekend my church organized Serve Austin at local organizations; to build capacity through service, to be obedient and effective as servants, and most of all to magnify the Lord. And that's how I ended up in a deserted school on FM 969. Not too long ago, Austin Samaritans moved their warehouse operations to a small portion of this school. From this humble space, they collect surplus medical supplies to ship to Nicaragua, where a hospital anxiously awaits every box.

Nicaragua, I learned, classifies 85% of their population as being below the poverty line (defined as $1/day). Next to Haiti, its the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

As we sorted today, we came across medicines, sterile needles, infant formula, x-ray film, syringes... the list is endless. As we worked, we speculated at the reception of this package. I came upon some loose cottonballs and instinctively wanted to trash them, but thought about how resourceful I would be if I didn't know cottonballs were so easy and cheap.

We are so flippant with surplus! Every single thing sorted today would have been in the garbage dump, completely useless and adding to the alarming amount of waste. But now, with the vision of a few to bring first the transformation of Christ, the people in this Nicaragua hospital might understand how the true gospel is to care for the orphan and the widow.

I just kept thinking, "This should be every day."

And so, as I meandered out of the hidden drive, I wondered at all the acts of service and all the giant foundations and galas and bake sales. For some reason it struck me that so much was happening in this little place just off of FM 969 with out any hoopla.

The world outside is still consumed, wasteful, and self-absorbed, but in this little place the world is a little bigger... and purpose a little greater.