Monday, December 19, 2011

A week of...

Most of the month of our busy December is behind me!  Our church Christmas drama was presented last night and 5 of us were in it.  It went really well!  Although it will be a busy week, I am really ready to enjoy this week as we prepare for Christmas Day.  This is always my favorite week of the year!

This is a week of...

final shopping
letter mailing
picture taking
taping and re-taping presents that 2 yr olds tried to open
keeping the tree alive and looking good for 6 more days
delivering goodies to neighbors
preparing our home for company
watching Christmas specials
hearing the countdown at least 20 times a day
remembering being a kid
wishing for snow
no school
getting rid of old toys

AND most of all...

Remembering and reminding that the manger is the reason we have the cross!

I hope and pray your week is filled with enjoyable things this time of year brings!
Thank you for following me this past year on our journey! 
 I will be back in 2012 to share more and hope you will join me! 
I have a feeling it's going to be a WILD ride! 
I can't wait to see what God is going to do with us!
Hope you will be there with us!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Foto Friday~Generations of love

We have generations of love in our family! 
So fun to see my mom loving on my kids!
Thank you mom, for teaching me how to love so that my kids have learned how to love!
I love you!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blessings abound

Blessings are abundant in our family right now!  One after the other, day after day, for some reason God has been pouring out His favor on us!  Believe it or not, it is not always an easy road!  It takes lots of humbleness at times, to be put in front of others as needy.  It was never intentional to let everyone know of our "troubles".  It just became apparent to others, after conversations and prayer.   The loving hearts of other's, have been pouring out their love on us! we are with God and TOTALLY exposed of all of our issues,  God has used people to bless us and that has moved our hearts.  We have NEVER asked for anything!  God has amazingly placed us on other's hearts and because of their obedience, we have seen God move in ways that we could never have imagined!  We don't have any final details of our life and where it will be going for now, however, on the other hand, we do know that our lives are going in HIS direction!  No place to live as of yet, but we know God does see it.   Most of the time in life, we don't see which way things are going to go and we can try to do things our way.  Believe me, we have I have tried to figure out some plans along the way!  I am thankful for slammed door moments!  :)  I am asking for the 'wide open' door moments now, but I know that those will come when He is ready to show them to us!

 If you are going down a road of unanswered questions or a waiting time, know that I am there with you!  It is NOT an easy road!  We are in a society of "FAST" everything!  Food, internet, money, material things, and so on and so on!  Be thankful God is NOT in a hurry!  It takes time for artists to master their masterpieces!  And we are HIS masterpiece!  Hang in there!  Don't give up!  I am not and I will not give up!  Please don't either!  Wait on Him!  As I have heard and seen, God IS for us!  I will be telling of all the things He has done and other's will believe because of what He has done!  For that, I am sure of!

As Christmas draws closer in the next few days, remember that Christ was born to set us free!  That is why the celebration of His birth is so important!  We are to look at the manger and then at the cross!  (Both were made of wood!)  He came to this earth as a humble baby and died the most humble death imaginable!   Be reminded that with all the things that are going to be happening in the coming days, that Jesus came to earth for you!  Are you ready for Christmas?  You don't have to have all your presents bought and everything ready, but make sure that you do know in your heart day in and day out, that you have made your heart, Christ's home!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Courageous Faith

Last week, my daughter and I spoke and the title to our talk was "Courageous Faith".  I would like to share a little bit what our talk was about. 

 As we prepared for the night, it kept coming back to me how it is ALWAYS courageous to have faith!  It is not easy to be "courageous" but essential if you are going to believe in something that you have no apparent proof of right from the get go! 

Such was our Journey to Africa!  My daughter and I had similar experiences with "Courageous Faith" just different circumstances surrounded us. The definition of courageous is:  quality of being brave: the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action (Bing dictionary).

 The definition of faith is:  belief or trust: belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof  (Bing Dictionary). 

 No doubt, we were in need of both of those!  For me, sending my daughter a world away at the age of 16, and for her, going a world away!  Before that, really never being apart from her family her entire life!   We have both discussed that we are glad we did not know what we were really in for! 

We have realized that God gives the amount of faith you need little by little to get where He wants us to be!  TOTAL faith in Him! 

The day she left, we were both like scared, cowardly baby birds that really had not tried to fly out of the nest yet!  She was thrown into a world of Independence and chaos and I was thrown into a world of loneliness, fear, and desperation for HER!  Somehow the same and yet so totally different!  We still required the same thing, 'Courageous Faith' in the only one who could supply our needs.  I could not look to ANYONE but God to keep her and sustain her, and she did not have me to protect her and direct her!  We BOTH had to call on the same Heavenly Father we know so well! 

Her time with Malaria was a time of faith growth for both of us.  The phone call that I received informing me of her illness, left me feeling more helpless than I had EVER felt in my life!  Even in childbirth, you have people around to help you even though you are the only one who can actually "birth" the baby!  All I wanted to do was stroke her hair, find a way to bring her fever down, lay my hands on her and pray.  Not possible!  She wanted to lay her head on my lap, ask me for a drink of water and for me to place another blanket on her shivering body.  Not possible!  So where do you go?!  The only place we had!  Once again, our Heavenly Father!  I cried out for HOURS for her healing!  For God to comfort her and somehow be for her what she wanted me to be for her.  To take away her fear and calm her anxious heart.  She, as best as she could, asked God to bring peace to her heart and be all that she needed.  She needed Him to be her strength while she was weak.  The next morning, she woke up out of her sick bed, and walked to villages and was for the most part, all better.  She lacked a little strength physically but within a day, that was fully back also!  God was MORE than I could have been for her and He was more than I could be for me! 

My fears slowly began to fade as I continued to walk this 'Courageous Faith' journey.  Each week, I worried less until all the sudden, I worried no more!  My daughter stepped out everyday not knowing if she would make it through the day!  The physical challenges alone, was somewhere she had never been before!  The safety issues, well...neither of us like to go there!  However, surrounded by strangers who could not understand her day in and day out, something inside of her rose up!  She became able to trust that although nobody around her could promise her total safety, her earthly father was no where to be found, but her Heavenly Father was EVERYWHERE!  We both continued to see that our only possible way to not only SURVIVE but THRIVE was found in the trust that our loving God would supply our EVERY need!

As we look back, it was almost 3 months ago that we met at the airport again after the 6 week journey.  The unity we talk about in "Courageous Faith" is simply amazing!  The testimony of God's faithfulness on both of our parts, puts us in awe!  We both began to understand what it truly means to have Jesus as our one and only!  He put us BOTH in a place where He was all we had!  Now, we both find ourselves in sadness sometimes, because we see that "comforts" of this culture can make us less dependant on Him.  We are looking to Him to take us to a deeper place and to realize that He IS all we need ALL the time!  As we lose our home in 5 short weeks, and really no plan as of yet, where we will lay our heads, we are reminded once again, that He is all we have!  I am so glad that He chose to bring us through our Journey to Africa so we could little by little, day by day, and week by week, see His faithfulness!  Now, although our lives our going to drastically change, He has supplied us with that "Courageous Faith" that we will need to carry on! 

Thriving NOT striving!  Only one way that is possible!  "Courageous Faith" in our all knowing God!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hands on!

After having only one boy, I realized that he was going to need "hands on" activies!
And with the weather changing and not lots of time outdoors,
I quickly remembered what my oldest used to LOVE to do!

One of the favorite things for him to do was
 to take apart broken electronics.
We have passed down the torch, so to speak!
We had an old vcr that broke so I cut off the electric cord and they went to town!
For literally HOURS...
they detached every part possible!
Not a wire or squiggly thingy bob was left!
(I am a female and that is my terminology!)
They used screwdrivers and pliers and their own fingers
Until it was no longer recognizable.
They took turns and figured out which tools they would need to desassemble it all!
Then their older brother came home and showed them how to build a little engine out of the tiny motors. 
It was an unforgetable experience for all of us!
My 6 year old even carried his in his pocket to church!

I love boys!

I highly recommend it for any busy boys!
They will love it!

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Monday, December 5, 2011

You can say a prayer!

Tonight my amazing, incredible, spiritual daughter and I will be speaking at a women's gathering.  It will be about 'Courageous Faith'.  We will be sharing about her trip to Africa and my expericence as a mother while she was there.  I am so looking forward to sharing how incredibly God's grace and mercy reaches down to the most fearful, anxious mom!  :)  Our deepest desire is to show other women and teens how God is so faithful when we just depend solely on Him.  If He can reach this mama who used to walk CONSTANTLY in fear, and set me free, the He can do it for anyone!

We would appreciate your prayers today as we travel and share God's glory tonight! 

Thank you!  Update will follow!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Week in review...

This week seemed to last forever!
Full of appointments (expected and unexpected)
Broken teeth (they WILL now wear mouth guards when playing football with their brothers)
cut open lip (at a doctor's appointment when that happened!)
chicken pox
broken car belt
dishwasher motor...fried
music lessons
music rehearsals for Christmas
eating some "humble pie"
preparation for speaking at a women's gathering
talking with teenagers about life decisions
scheduling my December that is WAY to full
meal preparations
trying to decide if I am going to put up Christmas decorations this year
listening to the moans and groans when I told the kids of that idea
guess I will be doing that this weekend
cluttered mind
knowing I need to give my cares to the One who cares for me
Trying to figure out why that is so hard sometimes
realizing it's because I have let "life" get in the way of my time with Him
Can't go there!
Been there before!
NOT pretty!
Maybe next week won't feel so long!
Oh yes, there will be "life"
but if I stay focused on Him,
not my daily surroundings...
(that seriously make my head spin at times!)
even if my week IS long,
I won't even notice!
I will be doing it all for Him!
I kinda' forgot that part this week!
Have you ever done that?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trust, Comfort and Thanksgiving

When all that you know and are comfortable with, is about to change,
you REALLY begin to start looking at what IS TRULY important!
This Thanksgving was probably one of the most spiritual for me!

We started out going through the story of Thanksgiving with our kids and how God was the center of it!  Much reason to celebrate!  ( If only that were the way this country was now!)
  We talked about how hard it must have been for those pilgrims! 
 They too, left all that they knew in search of something greater and trusted God for their needs!  They went through many trials and suffered much but they continued on!  God blessed them and brought them through! 

We decided that in the coming weeks, that is what we must do! 
Wait and watch and see what God will do! He knows where we are going to live! 
 In that waiting, we will trust, do the things that God has us do and not get weary. 
if we do get weary in the waiting, we know that God will strengthen us!
The outcome for the pilgrims was incredible because they knew who they had on their side!
The ever-present, unfailing, God!
I too, was reminded this Thanksgiving that all that I have is His and I can leave it in His hands because He is the same yesterday, today and forever!

I don't know what the future holds, none of us do!
  But my children look to us to show them and they trust us without any doubt! 
 They run and play without a care in the world knowing that we will feed them, clothe them, and tell them of Jesus love!

That is what we must do!
  I have been reminded this past week with all that around me seems to be caving in, that my God CAN be trusted and as a child, I am to leave it my Father's hands!  He will provide!

Oh I am so Thankful!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Journey to Africa ~ Part 3

I felt so small!  So dependant on this God that I thought I knew so well.  That's the thing about African village life!  It will shatter every ignorant assumption your have ever made.  Sooner or later, you will be forced to think.  I realized how little I actually knew. How inadequate I was in comparison to how proud I was previously.  I was learning that brokenness and humility are not optional.  If my desire is to know God and to be used for His glory, the only way that will happen is if I crucify my self and choose the path of brokenness and humility.  Village life was simple.  Wake up to a beautiful sunrise, go bathe (with a small bucket of unclear water in an enclosed grass square area for privacy) and eat breakfast. Hike for an hour, two, or three, maybe up a mountain. 

They have a morning service consisting of praise and worship that could stir up the most stale and stagnant heart. Spirit-led preaching...

 Then, my favorite time!  The time that I SO looked forward to!  I would spend every spare second with the kids and babies! 

 Maybe it was their innocent wonder and curiosity about this crazy foreign white girl who was always either smiling, crying or both! 

 Maybe it was because spoken language was not necessary!  They are thrilled and satisfied with the universal language of a loving smile, a gentle hand grasping theirs, a tickle resulting in an outburst of giggles. 

There was nothing in the whole wide world that I would have traded even for ONE second of this pure bliss! 

I found my soul's delight as I sat holding a little child, effortlessly looking past the filth and stink.  In God's abundant goodness, He allowed me to see what He saw as I looked into each child's eyes.  A priceless, cherished, beloved, sacred, God-ordained blessing that was longing to be delighted in.  Whether for a few moments or a few hours. 

I would pray the mighty blood of Jesus over each child's life.  Then I would do what I enjoyed oh SO much!  I would show them love in action. 

 I realized that to tell a Malawian that God loves, often means nothing.  Why?  They have no grasp of the concept.  Biblical, Jesus-like love is non-existent to them.  So first I loved them with my expressions, eyes full of love, reassuring hugs and touches.  Hours of joyful, carefree play, long walks abounding with skipping, jumping, running, and LOTS of giggles!  Their are no language barriers with giggles!  All of this and so much more to demonstrate love.  Through this, they learn love and that my love was real!  So in turn, I could now point them to their perfect Creator, Lover, and Redeemer!

As my story closes, realize I have so much more!  I could share for months of all of my experiences!  I will share more after I have sifted through more of my thoughts.  The point I want to make with you is all of this works in America too!  Live your life spending each moment loving others with Christ-like love and in doing so , they will be directed to the supply of our love.  Indeed, they shall know we are Christian's by our love! 

Oh and may we all learn to NEVER resent the times when God gives us more than we can handle!  May we see that He is giving us another opportunity to give our burdens to Him.  May we see His glory revealed through our insufficiency!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Journey to Africa ~ Part 2

Trying to get the rest of the story out of a 16 year old BUSY girl, is not an easy task, but she has blessed us with the second part of her Journey to Africa!  Hope you are blessed!

People say that God will never give us more than we can handle.  I don't believe that!  I believe that God absolutely, completely, and purposely gives us more than we can handle.  Why?  So that we can see HIM provide and so we can see how good HE is at doing the impossible.  How ready He is to come through for His weak, broken, helpless, inadequate children.  God gives us more than we can handle to encourage us to surrender it to Him.  This sums up my journeys and lessons learned in Malawi, Africa.

6 weeks in Africa was absolutely NOTHING like what I anticipated.  I thought I was prepared.  Now I realize there is not really much preparation that can be done for something so drastic of a culture shock like I witnessed.  We had a few days in Blantyre before leaving on our first trip to the village.  Those few days were euphoric.  I felt so excited!  I knew that I belonged there and that God had so much in store.  Yet also there were strong feelings of caution and hesitation.  There is no way to describe what it was like to see Malawi for the first time. 

 I expected poverty, but nothing like I saw with my own eyes for the first time.  Orphaned toddlers digging through trash.  Hundreds of people walking every which way, people with absolutely no hope, ambition or vision except to find enough food and water to survive another day. 

Animals everywhere!  Goats, cows, chickens, dogs with bones protruding so much you could count their ribs. 

 I remember staring in wonder as I thought to myself, "This IS just like all the movies, the scenes in Africa!"  No real feeling of safety!  You can't call 911 if you need help!  There is no 911!  I felt so helpless!

My first reaction was probably deep grief and compassion.  The next was utter despair!  How in the world does anyone even make a dent in all this suffering and poverty? 

 Now I know that nobody can.  Only Jesus!  Only the gospel!  Only the souls who are willing to be the hands, feet, tears, and touch of Jesus!

We spent a LONG day of traveling to the first village.  The mountain views were spectacular! 

We arrived in our first village, Chididi after dark. 

 Getting there and stepping out of or Land Rover was surreal.  The whole village crowded around us to see the 'azungus' (white people).  I remember seeing dozens upon dozens of bright eyes looking at me through the dark.  The children were captivated.  Most having never seen a white skinned person in their lifetime!  Later that night I remember gazing up at the immense African sky.  I was in complete awe of the huge, bright, twinkling stars and constellations.  The sky was like nothing I had ever seen before!  Nothing to interfere with God's creation!  With tears streaming down my cheeks from the overwhelming beauty!  I felt so small...

Part 3 next to come!

Please also check this out!  One of my FAVORITE blogs has a giveaway!  Click HERE to see what I mean! In our homeschooling experience we have read many great Christian Books!



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