I love activity books. Coloring pages, fill in the blank pages, crossword puzzle pages. In my childhood, there was nothing like a fresh workbook, ready for my pencil. While they may have lost their fun factor as I grew, and the fill in the blanks were harder, the coloring pages disappeared and the crossword puzzles turned into New York Times impossible; there was still always a page I eagerly searched for.
Dot to Dot. Could there be any more simple instructions? Or activity? As long as you could count relatively high for your grade level, or follow the alphabet, the dot to dots were accessible and satisfying.
There is no vocabulary out of reach that must fit the squares, no one right answer to fill in the looming blank. Just 1, to 2, to 3.
My two sisters live 7945.1 miles and 6.9 miles from where I sit. Some days they both feel as close as sitting next to me on my couch, coffee in hand. Some, it feels like every measured mile.
I know I’ve been extravagantly blessed with the amount of time I’ve lived in the same city as my sisters. And in the connection that has only grown the times we haven’t. My youngest sister, Angela, she’s the one who lives less than seven miles from me, on a hill called 5-mile. My middle sister, Heidi, she’s the one, who since July, lives almost eight thousand miles from me, in a city on the other side of the world, called Sydney.
It took awhile for the three of us to get into any semblance of normal communication after Heidi moved for her year sabbatical. (Yes, that’s what I’m calling it Heidi). She had to set up her digital stuff, I traveled back and forth to places with sketchy wi-fi, and for a time, Angela was our translator. Since I couldn’t figure out how to call Heidi on my plan, this also meant no texting. I felt like we truly were separated by every mile and ocean between.
So, I resorted to a language as old as time, letters. I’m a bit of an old school girl when it comes to such things. Oh, I love technology, at least in the vein of what it can do. (I have little patience for when it doesn’t do what it is supposed to, however). So, when tested with a glitch, I go full on back in time.
Heads up Paper Source, Papyrus, stationary and office supply section of any store: I am your target customer. Paper and pencils and all of their offspring have been my friends and source of contentment for a very long time. Long before that green cursor began blinking on my Apple. And light years before any phone was even unleashed from its’ cord.
I wrote my first letter to Heidi as if we were living in the 1800’s, and the only manner possible of communication was by post. I slipped into ye olde British accent for my prose. She’s probably the only one I know who could discern what I said, but she got it. My writing accent was spot on Jane Austen-esque (my opinion), and my sentiment was clear; I miss you. And I can’t tell you.
It was after the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl victory last year that I became quite adept at maneuvering around the web-o-sphere. I wanted to know more, and everything I could, mostly about Pete Carroll, their coach. My post this girl loves football talks about my obsessive reading and love for the game and the Hawks.
I started reading Seahawks.com around that time, and following their links, to articles on other sites like the Seattle Times, the Tacoma News Tribune and whatever catches my eye. I’ll watch podcasts and press conferences and videos, some days it’s the print that resonates with me, some days, it’s the screen.
The one way we do connect, my sisters and I, whether we are aware at the moment of it or not, is by prayer. The three of us ask each other frequently via text, phone, whatever means necessary for prayer requests, urgent and long-suffering. And we’ve had many conversations about a time one of us was praying when the other one was in need of it. There is power there beyond us.
18-20 “Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”-(Matt.18; The Message Bible)
It finally occurred to me one day to email my sister in Sydney. My sister Angela had continuing success with texting and face time; I was still struggling to connect in real time with Heidi. The emailing worked. I often need to say more than a text is meant for (you should see some of our text boxes), and often it’s far easier for me to express myself in writing.
What I was looking for that night on Goggle Chrome, I can’t recall. I’m not even sure how I ended up on the site I clicked on. I do know that what I saw was profound.
I think we can see God’s plans. Maybe not in the present. Maybe not even always in retrospect. But they are there, we are in them, and it’s all part of an intricate tale, a love story.
There are those glimpses, though.
Let me see if I can connect the dots for you.
1. I was missing my sister in Sydney.
2. I had a frustrating month of trying to connect via all things tech.
3. I wrote letters, and then belatedly thought of emailing her.
4. I have a long time fondness for writing, in all it’s versions.
4. My interest in the Seahawks post Super Bowl led me on wild, seemingly random searches online, as well as plethora of stories, books, articles…you get the idea.
5. I realized, hey, I can email my sister in Sydney!
6. Prayer is the constant connection between God, Heidi, Angela and I.
7. Seven months after the Super Bowl, I stumbled upon a video that, well, you’ll see.
I watched the video, and immediately emailed it to my sister Heidi in Sydney. Oh, and she’s in Sydney, Australia attending Hillsong College for a year, studying song writing.
Heidi watched it, and was as affected as I was, so she mentioned it to one of her professors. Here’s what she wrote:
Just had to tell you – I sent the football Seahawks- bible testimony video to My teacher in personal evangelism – and she played it for the class today (75-100 people) and so many people were affected by it – even some tears!
Sent from my iPad
Oh, and with all my post Super Bowl reading, I read both recent books on Pete Carroll: Always Compete: An Inside Look at Pete Carroll and the USC Juggernaut, and Win Forver; Live, Work and Play Like a Champion. Because I’d read both of these, the name Ben Malcomson, and USC captured my attention.
It was just around this time, that Heidi texted a group message for the three of us. I automatically texted back. Later, I thought, oh, my text didn’t go through. But it did. It just started working. I didn’t change anything. Partially because in the world of putting-off-tasks-related-to-calling-people, I’m super good.
This past week, I had the joy of reconnecting with a friend I just love. The last day, we were talking about songs and Lauren mentioned a song by Hillsong Young and Free. I off-hand mentioned that she and my sister would have a lot to talk about if they ever met, and she said that she did know someone at Hillsong, a guy named Alex Pappas. She and David Baker (of the Lutherhaven Idaho Baker’s) and Alex grew up together. She’d just recently found out that he was singing with the group there in Syndney.
Thrilled with this info, because I love nothing better than connecting the dots and people, I texted my sister as soon as I got home. The next morning, I was greeted with an awesome text to start my day:
So guess who’s friends with Alex Pappas now?? This girl! Ha! I introduced myself to him last night and he is actually from coeur d’Alene. He said David bakers bday parties were always at lutherhaven – 🙂 too crazy fun! He said we were automatic friends 😉 thanks for the link!
Watch how God connected the dots in these lives, for a bigger purpose:
–While I’m dot connecting, I need to give credit where it is due; I wouldn’t have even found that video, or be writing this blog, if God hadn’t brought some certain people at a certain time into my life. So thank you to:
-Mark Eastman for the time and space and patience carved out for me to start writing again.
–Camp Lutherhaven in North Idaho. Where through the years, God has continually allowed me to cross paths with the most incredible people.