Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Back in Blog

Back in blog, yeah..... I'm Back in Blog!!! (Sing to the tune of "Back in Black" that wonderfully wholesome song from the 70s)

Okay, so if anybody is still checking my blog, I haven't died or anything serious like that. I just moved to the other side of the world. A few highlights (or lowlights) of the journey so far:

Thirty hours of air travel to get here, about twelve days of jet-lag recovery, strep throat infection, my son having a staph skin infection, meeting new friends, eating new foods, learning how everything works in our new place (I could write a whole book on that one,) trying to get enough sleep to handle the stress, major culture shock, thanking God for Skype, good communication with family and friends back in the States, a week of intestinal upset, observing a funeral at a house across the street, cows--cows--everywhere, monkeys everywhere too, and just general an entirely different way of life than anything we've ever experienced.

I wish that I'd had the energy to blog on here regularly over the last few weeks and give my impressions as they came along, but the truth is that I've been having a hard time adjusting to being here, and have needed way more sleep than ever before. I've been told this is normal, so I'm not feeling bad about it. But I'll be updating the blog more frequently from now on!

The thing that overwhelms me most in this new country is the lostness of the people. Fewer than 1% are Christians. I feel as though we moved back in time, in some ways, to about 3,000 years ago, with all the temples and statues of idols everywhere. And yet, we both now have cell phones (called "mobile" phones here) and have high-speed internet, which we've never had before! The technology is available here if you have the money to buy it.

The main thing about life here is that everything is harder. It's harder to get your food, it's harder to have running water--you have to pump it twice a day up to a tank on the roof of your house, it's harder to do the laundry, it's harder to buy furniture or anything else you need for your house, and the beds are harder, too. Most of the time I feel like a wimpy westerner who can't handle the toughness here. I know I'll toughen up, and get used to it, but right now it is draining me.

The thing that keeps me going is to not lose sight of the big picture. I am so blessed compared to the majority of the people here. Our family has a nice apartment with running water and hot water in the bathrooms. We have plentiful food, and blankets to stay warm at night. Many of the people here sleep outside on the streets every night, and it does get cold here these nights--down to 50 or even lower. Many people have no warm clothing, no blankets, no hot water, and not enough food. So I count my blessings and enjoy the time I have with my family and with new friends here. I thank God that our city got a McDonald's right after we moved here. I praise Him for yummy food here, for the fact that we actually found a tiny artificial Christmas tree in a store here, and that we can fellowship with other Western believers safely every Sunday.

I still miss everyone from home.

More soon from halfway around the world.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gracia Burnham's Book

Since I never posted my final review:

I give this book 5 stars out of 5: *****

The story of the Burnham's kidnapping and captivity is, as I said before, encouraging and uplifting. It also challenges the reader and gives you the feeling that you are right there with them. As my husband and I were reading it we started to feel like it was dragging, with the same things happening over and boredom setting in. Then it occurred to us: that is exactly how the Burnhams felt for a lot of the time in captivity. Their lives became an endless routine of marching from one place to another, trying to find enough food to stay alive, and trying to keep strong for each other. Although they experienced 17 firefights during their captivity (and Martin was killed in the final one) most of the time was spent traveling from one place to another, living out in the jungle. Gracia is completely honest about their relationship, spiritual walk, and even doubts during their ordeal. I really appreciated her candor. I strongly encourage everyone to read her book.

And off we go...

I know I haven't posted in almost a month; I probably won't be able to post for another month or so, but here goes:
We're off tomorrow on the adventure of a lifetime. We are still amazed that we even get to do this! It is terribly hard leaving family, though. Even though for the past four years we have lived pretty far from our parents and only been able to see them occasionally, it seems worse going as far as we are. We both have such great parents, with whom we are also good friends (now that we are grown-ups :) so that makes it even harder. Not only are we telling relatives good-bye, but we are also telling our best friends good-bye, and they're the same people!
We have said so many good-byes over the last few months that I have become emotionally weary of them. First in our last hometown in NC, then some friends down here in GA, then my parents, then all the new friends we made in VA, and now more people and my husband's parents here. Aaaaaargh! It feels as though someone is v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y ripping a band-aid off my skin instead of just tearing it off in one fell swoop. Most little kids think the slow method hurts less, but I know better. Of course, I'm used to good-byes; in fact, I grew up with them. And the fact is, they never get any easier. Every good-bye makes me long for heaven; I yearn for that day when we'll never have to say good-bye to one another again but instead will be together forever worshipping the Lord!
When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!
Sounds pretty good to me, how about you?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Reading Material

Sorry if that last post was a trifle petulant. I was feeling lonely after seeing everyone on Saturday.

I'm currently reading In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham. You may remember her as the New Tribes Missions worker who, along with her husband Martin, was abducted by the Abu Sayyaf (Muslim paramilitary group) in the Philippines in 2001.

This is a powerful book, and a should-read if not a must-read for Christians. It is increasing my faith and my confidence in a powerful God. To read of the trials they endured, the provision of God during their year of captivity, and their unwavering (except for one dark moment) faith, is encouraging and uplifting. It also confirms my belief that God is sovereign and purposes to do things in our lives that we may not appreciate at the time in order to stretch and grow us, and to reach others with the gospel. In their case, that even involved Martin losing his physical earthly life (but oh, what he gained!)

I haven't quite finished the book; I'll post a final review when I'm done.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Anybody out there?

I was nagged about posting on my blog, and now that I have I expect some sort of response. Half the fun of writing is to see what other people think of it. Feel free to praise, criticize, or just be indifferent, but PLEASE let me know you are there.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

God's Blessings

Yesterday our family returned to our most recent home town and met with our home church. For me it was a bittersweet time. I miss my sisters and brothers there so much. When we are back with them it's as though we never left. God has blessed us so richly with that group of friends who are willing to "hold the rope" for us as we venture out into the world. During our training here, one of the presenters said that two Christians can become better friends in five minutes than two non-Christians can in five days. This is something that my friend Alan has addressed at length in his posts on κοινωνία here. This feeling of fellowship and unity is such an amazing gift that God has given us as His children. Since we are adopted by God as sons, we are truly related to one another! This explains why it is so hard to say goodbye. It's as hard as parting from family, because we are family. That explains why my heart is so heavy within me today, and why I feel as though something is missing in my life--I miss my Messiah friends.

On a happy note, we got to see two beautiful babies who had been born since we left, and we were able to rejoice with two couples who are each expecting their first child. We praise the Lord for these gifts to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will be thrilled to meet many new children when we return in a few years.

This post is making me sad. More posting later.

So Many Thoughts, So Little TIme

I chatted yesterday with fellow blogger Theron about my frustration with not having time to post on this blog. If things go much longer this way I may have to give up the blog entirely. I have so many things floating around inside my head, brewing and boiling, and yet rarely have time to sit down and write about them. Even now, as I'm writing this, there are other more pressing responsibilities that I'm ignoring. If I don't blog, I feel guilty, and if I do blog, I feel guilty. It's time to go somewhere and indulge in a primal scream.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Brain Overload

My husband and I are currently in training for new jobs which we will soon start. The training is intense, with many seminars and sessions each day as well as reading assignments and all sorts of self-assessments to do in the evenings. I feel as though I'm back in college. There has been no time to read for pleasure (AAAAAARGGHH!!!) or for blogging. On the positive side, my brain feels very active and engaged, as though the cobwebs have been swept back and the gears oiled, revving into high gear. I know I mixed metaphors in that last sentence, by the way. I haven't had to process this much information in this short amount of time since I was 22--and that's a LONG time ago. Although I wish I had more time for writing, I do know that everything we are learning is necessary and valuable, even if we are overwhelmed with our own ignorance.

Pray for us.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Lake

Nearly fifty years ago my husband's grandfather, Harold Woodard, bought a property on the eastern side of Seneca Lake, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. It's about halfway up the lake, just north of Lodi Point State Park. There is a comfortable two-story cabin, a dock with a boat hoist, and an incredible view up the lake toward Geneva, NY. On the far south end of the lake lies Watkins Glen, which I posted about yesterday. The lake at this spot is about two miles across, and it is 40 miles long from north to south.

What makes this spot my favorite place on earth is hard to put succinctly into words. There is no telephone here, no television, and only this year is there internet access. What there IS here is total relaxation. A day at the lake proceeds like so: get up whenever you wake up; eat breakfast; read, swim, play games, talk, exercise, go for a stroll; sit on the dock until you are too hot to stand it, then jump in the cold lake until you are shivering and your lips turn blue, then get back out on the dock; eat lunch; repeat the morning acitivities in the afternoon; eat supper; have a campfire; make s'mores; go to bed. On rainy/windy/cold days there are plenty of places to visit in the area, so there is always something to do. It is a routine which fosters family togetherness while still affording each individual plenty of choices for activities. It offers plenty of time to catch up on books that have gone unread, personal devotions, conversations that need to take place, and spending time with family.

I have been coming to the lake for seventeen years now, since the summer I met my husband. He's been coming almost every year since he was born. We spent our honeymoon here. We look forward the rest of the year to our week at the lake. The cabins on either side are family-owned also, so the adults there are my in-laws' age, and their children are now adults like we are, who are now having the next generation. Everybody knows each other fairly well from summer after summer of close proximity. My children have grown up knowing this as their best vacation spot. The love swimming, playing on the shore, and going "tubing" behind the boat. When they are older they'll learn to water-ski like my husband. (My one attempt to learn resulted in a popped blood vessel in one of my eyes, so I've learned to enjoy riding in the boat or being the one staying on the dock to help.)

The physical beauty of this place also factors in to it being my favorite place. The pale, clear light at dawn, the deep crimson of sunset, and the expanse of sky to the west are simply reminders of God's greatness. And the lake: clear and still, or softly wavy with a South wind, or pounding in on the dock and shore from a North wind,--no matter how it's behaving it is beautiful. The sound of the waves at night is anesthetic. Then there is the pleasure of sitting by a fire on a cold, clear night, watching the other fires spring up around the lake, leaning back to gaze up at the stars and identify the constellations.

Now, some people may think that I like it here because when I'm here I am away from other obligations--homeschooling, running a household, church responsibilities, etc. Well, I'm sure that's part of it. Surely a vacation spot is treasured primarily because it's just that--a vacation spot. But even here I must help with the cooking, cleaning, laundry, discipline, and other main responsiblities which I face daily no matter where I am. No, I just think that the combined factors of real relaxation, being with my husband and children, and the beauty that God created bring about a sense of peace for me when I'm here that I haven't found elsewhere. The Lord has blessed our family with being able to come here. I praise Him for it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Watkins Glen

Today our family walked up Watkins Glen. This river-eroded narrow canyon is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. It ascends 530 feet in a mile and a half of trail that rises from the street level in the town to the top of the bluff overlooking Seneca Lake. There are multiple waterfalls, pools, rock walls, ledges, and steps. It is quite the work-out to climb! What kept overwhelming me was the sheer beauty of God's creation. What is interesting is that in a set of old post-cards that are here in the cabin, from 1919, this is what it says,"...beautiful scenes of breath-taking beauty which must be seen to be appreciated. They are never-to-be-forgotten scenes, and one cannot but be filled with awe and wonder at the magnitude of the handiwork of the Creator." In contrast, all of the signs and educational materials about the Glen today refer to it as the work of Nature; millions of years of evolution of the planet. There is no mention of God--far from it. It is just seen as an accident, a freak result of geologic forces. What does God's Word say about this?
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:18-21 NKJV

It's amazing to me that people can see such incredible rock formations and NOT believe in God.

Recent Readings

While at my parents' house recently, I read two different books--VERY different books. Now, I didn't take notes on them, and I wish I had. Trying to write about them in retrospect is difficult. One, Civil War Poetry, was a basic anthology of just what the title says--poems about the Civil War (the War Between the States, or as it's sometimes called in rural Georgia, The War of Northern Agression :) ) Standouts include Julia Howe's Battle Hymn of the Republic and Walt Whitman's When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd among others. I read the whole book expecting to be moved and touched, especially after our trip to Gettysburg, but, maybe because I had many distractions (3 whose names come easily to mind) during the reading, I wasn't too impressed overall.

The other book I read (actually re-read) was C.S. Lewis' God in the Dock. I was impressed again by his quickness of mind, agility with words, and prowess with the pen. His facile construction of an argument and clear explanation of logic is truly amazing. This series of essays, transcripts of speeches, and short articles is worth the read. However--a few disclaimers lest I be accused of being an ignorant Lewis-worshipper. C.S. Lewis could not bring himself to say that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. He explicitly states that he cannot discount God choosing to save people by other means. (He's not referring to Old Testament times.) I had read this book back in college and didn't remember exactly what he wrote, but upon reading The Last Battle again as an adult, I began to wonder about his view of salvation. He has a character in The Last Battle who is a young Calormene who has served Tash the false god his entire life. Aslan tells this young man that whatever he did for Tash that was good, was credited to him for Aslan. Basically this sounds like universalism to me. Would Lewis have said that if someone did good things for the sake of Buddha (which lots of nice peaceful Buddhists do, by the way) that these things are credited to them as having been done for Christ?

Also, Lewis held to the Anglican belief that the Eucharist is necessary for salvation. This is an un-Biblical stand.

On a positive note, Lewis writes arguments which absolutely refute evolution, self-centered Christianity, and materialism. His sense of humor was dry and yet a tad sarcastic. For example, he asks why he should ever listen to someone who believes everything is here by accident. He says that since evolutionists believe they are an accident of nature, then anything they say is also an accident of nature, and therefore not provable. Very well-said.

Now, it is not up to me to determine if C.S. Lewis was saved or not. (Thank God.) But what can I learn from this? Do I hold any beliefs or cling to any practices which are un-Biblical? How can I determine this? It makes me think and pray and strive to align myself so closely with Scripture that the Spirit may show me where I need to change and grow.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

God in the Dock

I'm going to be re-reading C.S. Lewis' book of this title over the next few days. Thoughts on it to follow in a few days....

Just finished reading Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography. Interesting, funny, and also sad because he seems to have been a person who knew God existed and even believed in living a moral life, but he thought he could do this on his own. He devised a multi-step system of becoming morally pure and sinless, all on his own strength. He does not seem to have believed in a personal relationship with the Lord, repentance, atonement, etc. And yet he was so intelligent, creative, hard-working, and persistent. After reading his auto-bio I felt more sad than anything.

I'm also reading an anthology of Civil War poetry. Thoughts on that later....

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I just realized that I never wrote about our trip to Gettysburg. It was awe-inspiring to say the least. If you have never gone there I cannot recommend it highly enough. Before we went our 7-year-old son declared that he thought it would just be a huge field and a bunch of monuments. Well...there are huge fields and there certainly are a LOT of monuments, but he changed his tune after we went.

The first thing we did was to go to the Electric Map in the Visitors' Center. This is an electronic light and sound experience which lasts about 1/2 hour. It explains the battle completely from start to finish, including dimming the lights for the night-time and having little reddish-orange lights on the map for the campfires of each army. There is also a nice little museum area that we all enjoyed. We then went to the memorial in the cemetary which commemorates Lincoln's Gettysburg address. Our son wanted to take all the pennies that people had left there...We didn't let him.

Once we had a good handle on how the battle progressed we went on the auto-tour, a self-guided drive around the entire battle area. We stopped at many monuments, took pictures, went up two observation towers, and got out at Little Round Top. I also did a panoramic picture of the fields which the Confederate troops had to cross in "Pickett's Charge," coming into direct fire from Federal troops.

Having recently read "The Killer Angels," about the battle, I had a keen interest in going there and seeing the lay of the land for myself. It was an amazing day. We all learned so much from the different displays--whoever has done the work of setting it all up has really excelled.

Enjoy seems a weird word to use to describe how we felt that day. It was an enjoyable day, learning together as a family, but I think we had more of a sense of awe, of respect for the dead, of amazement at the sheer numbers of men who died on those fields. It was arguably the most important battle in the history of our country, and as such deserves to be studied and remembered. Each side wholeheartedly believed that they were fighting for what was right. Men were willing to die to stand up for their beliefs. Even brother fought brother (the Culp brothers are one example--they have their own display case in the museum there) and friend fought friend. The bloodshed was almost incomprehensible, the numbers are staggering. It's easy now, in hindsight, to see what the various generals did wrong, what they could have done instead, and how things might have gone differently at Gettysburg. But it seems that these men did the best they knew how.

How willing are we to die for our beliefs? And how much more important are our beliefs about the Lord than beliefs about government/states' rights/economy/etc.? In the spiritual battles of life do we stand our ground? Do we press on in the face of seemingly unconquerable odds, obeying our Master's commands? Just thinking about it all....

What is a church?

I've been reading David Garrison's "Church Planting Movements' and highly recommend it for any Christian anywhere. It offers a definition, explanation, and case studies of church planting movements. The gist of it is this--people are getting saved and the Church is growing in countries overseas in an exponential fashion, but there is a huge difference between what we consider a church here in the U.S. and what is considered a church in these other countries. In the U.S. when we speak of church we often are thinking of a building or of a particular group of people who have been together for years, doing everything "the way we've always done it." My friend and brother-in-Christ Alan has been exploring these issues for a while now on his blog (see link on my site.) In many other countries a church consists of a house church of 15-20 people studying God's Word together and discipling one another. When the group gets too big to meet in the house, a few of them start another house church. This intentional multiplication builds the body of Christ at an amazing rate. The believers invite non-believers to the group with them to study God's Word, showing them how the process of evenglism and discipleship works before they are even saved! They do not stop to plan/fundraise/argue about a big building. They do not set up committees for every aspect of church life. They do not pay a pastor. They have multiple leadership chosen from among the men in the group. And then they intentionally split in order to grow the church. They model their churches after the New Testament church.

Compare this approach to the un-intentional splits that happen all too often in our churches here: arguing over who gets the building, gossipping about the "other side," dishonoring the Lord's name through actions and words, and most tragically--tearing down the body of Christ, causing non-believers to want to run as far and as fast as they can from "the church."

Oh, that the church in this country would emulate these church planting movements! Oh, that we would be willing to not sit in comfy pews or padded chairs being entertained by a polished, talented praise team. (OKAY--all you people who like the whole praise team approach--BACK OFF!!! I'm just saying that we are too comfortable in our churches,,,) All of these things keep swirling around in my mind: how can I promote a change in this country? how can I support church planting movements worldwide? How can I develop personal relationships with non-believers so that I can share the gospel with them?

Anyone else struggling with these things?

Update from Northern NY

So here we are at my parents house in East Pitcairn, NY. We have been relaxing and just enjoying being with my Mom and Dad. We also painted their house last week. Actually, my husband did most of the work. I did just enough to feel like I had helped out.

I have been unable to blog much from up here because for some reason every time I try to go on my blog (except this time and one other previously) the Blogger site tells me that my dad's computers cookies and Javascript are not enabled. But wait--they are enabled! I did nothing different this time except breathe a quick prayer--"Lord, please let me get on and update my blog..."

We are getting more and more excited about moving overseas and going for the training required of us. We really need people's prayers as we prepare spiritually for the days ahead.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

1100 miles later...

Just a quick "update" post. We traveled 700 miles on Thursday from Savannah, GA to Chambersburg, PA. Friday we went to Gettysburg--I think I'll write extensively on that later--then drove another 420 miles on Saturday to finally arrive at my parents' house in northern NY. Exhausted but happy to be here.

More in a day or two...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Okay, this acceptable?

Okay, so this is the general layout that I had before but without the overall PINK look. Blue is my favorite color, so I think I may stick with this look.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Faithful God...

So what did I learn over the past week? I learned that when God promises to take care of us, He is not kidding. I learned that He is my rock and refuge when I am lonely and sad. I have always thought of God's promise in Malachi 3:10 as referring only to financial matters, but I'm beginning to see it in other terms, as well. Yes, yes, I know that it is technically a promise to Israel and not to me personally, but I believe it shows God's character and His care for all who trust in Him. I Peter 3:9, after telling us in verse 8 how to live Christ-like lives, tells us that "you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing."
What are these blessings and how I have seen them manifested in my life?
1. My salvation is a blessing, a gift from God.
2. The Holy Spirit in me--the comforter and counselor.
3. My wonderful, loving, kind, caring husband. What a blessing to be married to my very best friend, and still laugh together after so long.
4. My three children, who have handled this move very well so far.
5. My church family at Messiah, whom I miss dreadfully, and who still support and encourage us. Just knowing that I can pick up the phone and call them (like I did to Alan and Margaret last night) and cry on the phone, helps.
6. The wonderful people we have met at the churches we have visited here.
7. HERE'S A BIG ONE: A 9-year-old boy, whom we have known since he was born, Evan, gave us a beautiful "book" he made with pictures of himself and his sister in it, as well as some flower seeds. As I was looking at it and admiring his work, he said, "There's something under the seed packet." When I peeled back the tape, there was a $100 bill under there. I immediately assumed that his parents had given it to him to give us. BUT NO... It was his birthday money that he had just received the week before--he wanted to bless us with it. How amazing is that? How many kids his age do you know who would give away that kind of money? I pray that God will continue to bless him and his family as he grows in the Lord. (That money is already coming in handy, as we have no health insurance right now, and our daughter needed antibiotic yesterday.)

How amazing and wonderful is our heavenly Father. His blessings are too many to count. Praise His name.

Frantic week...

A summary of our past week:
Monday the 3rd--shopping all day with mother-in-law and girls. My mother-in-law is the best in the world, and a more generous person is hard to find. She has blessed us (God blessed us through her) by providing new much-needed clothing items for the girls.
Tuesday the 4th--Parade in the small town where we used to live. (Rincon, GA) Hanging out all day at sister-and-brother-in-law's house, playing with their almost-four-month-old.
Wednesday the 5th--Beach in the morning. Dinner cruise on the Georgia River Queen in the evening to celebrate our 15th anniversary. It was wonderful.
Thursday the 6th--Prepare all day for a yard sale.
Friday the 7th--Our friends, the Adams, came down from Augusta for a short visit to Savannah. The few precious hours we were together were so sweet. Once again, I long for heaven.
Saturday the 8th--YARD SALE. Sold whatever remained of our un-needed wordly goods. Met with some dear friends, the Hartzogs, for lunch. I'll post more about that....
Sunday the 9th--Woodlawn Baptist Church in the a.m. Then our second child got sick, (strep) so only my husband went to Rothwell Baptist Church in the evening.
Today--recovery from a busy week.....

The new look...

Just for my young friend, Jeremy, I've adopted a new look for the blog with which he may be more familiar....We'll see how long I let it stay like this.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The thread that binds us...sehnsucht?

Okay, so, I'm really getting into this blogging thing. I hate writing things by hand in a journal because my brain is faster than my hands, but typing is another story. I have found my niche!

We have just about recovered from the days of moving, and are looking forward to some fun this week. On Wednesday my husband and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage by going on a dinner cruise on the Savannah River on a paddleboat. I may post some pictures from that one.

Today we returned to a church that we attended from 1996-2000. Having not been there in six years, we were unsure of the response/reaction we would get from the people there. We were encouraged, however, to see that brothers and sisters in Christ have a connection that never goes away. To feel immediately re-connected is such an amazing thing. The people opened their arms and hearts to us, embracing us both literally and figuratively....How many times did we hear "Let me hug your neck"... too many to count. With typical Southern charm and hospitality they welcomed us, showing us that the ties that bind us are very real. Our mutual love for the Lord and desire to glorify Him brings us together. I have experienced this many times before, but today's instance was much-needed, as we were extremely sad not to be at our home church, Messiah Baptist. It was overwhelming.

Any time I have an experience like this, it makes me long for heaven. It seems to me to be just a shadowy glimpse of what our unity will be there as we worship God Almighty together. Our hearts will be joined in a single purpose, and our love for one another here on earth will be overshadowed by our love for the Lord. Is this feeling what C.S. Lewis called sehnsucht?

Friday, June 30, 2006

My oldest child...

is a beautiful 12-year-old girl. She is growing up so fast that I feel as though I'm getting left behind. She is nearly as tall as I and blossoming into a sweet, poised young lady. I pray every day that God will give me the wisdom and patience to help her as she faces the challenges that lie ahead. I told her the other day that I feel she is now ready for us to be more like best friends and less like mother and daughter, although my authority over her still remains. She is fun to be around!

Yesterday we drove 350 miles to our in-laws to stay for a few weeks. My husband drove the truck with my oldest child in with him, my mother-in-law drove her car with our two younger children, and I drove our van all by myself. It was kind-of nice to have some time alone (about 7 hours) to think, pray, sing praises, and meditate on God's Word. Although I tend to miss my kids when I'm not around them, it was good to have some alone time, too. I ruminated on the fact that God has provided more than abundantly for our family in every way possible. We have been blessed with incredible families and church family, good health, safety, and financial provision. As we are about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime, I ponder what my response to the Lord should be. Is it enough for me to just say "OK, Lord, I'm yours, do with me what you will..." or do I need to be setting some goals for spiritual growth? Yesterday as I drove several areas came to mind in which I think the Holy Spirit is working on me. It's humbling to see how undeserving and in need of growth I still am. I'm setting myself some goals in the areas of parenting, wife-ing (I know it's not a word, but what else could I use?) and servant/lifestyle evangelism.

Okay, so the best way I've discovered to clean your under-the-burner drip pans is: Take them all out and put them in a bucket or dish pan. Run the hottest tap water you can, or even add some boiling water, just enough to cover them. Add about a cup of dishwasher detergent (Notice that this is the powdered granule type made for dishwashers, not the liquid soap kind.) Stir to mix and coat each pan. Allow to sit overnight. The next morning you should be able to wipe or scrub off most of the scum and cooked-on gunk. It takes a little elbow grease but is WAY cheaper than buying a whole new set! This method also works for oven racks but you have to soak them in a huge container--in my house this means the bathtub.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Oh, yes--why the title, you may ask? Most of the blogs I read are male-written. I know there are other good female bloggers, but I thought I'd make the point that I am a woman, I do have a brain, and if you read things here, they will be from a Biblically-minded woman's perspective.
Moving to nowhere is much more difficult than moving somewhere. There are so many decisions to make regarding possessions, paperwork, etc. that your mind starts to shut down and be unable to process even the most simple tasks. The only way our family has gotten through the past few days is with the help of our church family and their love and support. I have been pondering the outpouring of love we received. It can only be explained as a Biblical phenomenon. Sadly, I can say that I have rarely witnessed scenes such as the one at our apartment Tuesday evening. Over thirty people showed up to help us move, and when they had packed our truck they proceeded to spend time packing our neighbors' truck, too. Things like that should be happening all the time! It also makes me determined to actively seek opportunities to minister to others in a similar fashion.

So we're off on a grand adventure. More posts coming....