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Monday, December 31, 2012

life thoughts.

Deep thoughts these days. Pondering the horrific events that brought our year to a close in a school not so far away... thinking--as we all do--why? And how do you ever get to that place? There are all the outcries of "this is what should have been done"... "this is what should be done"... "this is what really happened". Often, I hesitate to lend my voice to the multitude--fearing that giving attention to such atrocity might encourage other troubled youngsters longing for fame to try something similar.

I don't have the answers. The reasons, or the solutions. I just began thinking of some huge differences between children growing up here in the US and children growing up in many other countries around the world. Thinking about how many of we American adults grew up in comfy circumstances, watching Disney movies that told us that there was no one in the world as special as us. That if we wished for something hard enough, we could have it. That there was nothing we could not be. That we deserved to be happy. We deserved to have whatever we wanted because we were that special. We heard that message in varying degrees from many sources. Perhaps our parents re-inforced it with us. Maybe we never had to do chores around the house, because our parents said we were the princesses and princes and our job was to just be a kid. Maybe we never had to pay for the things we got, because our parents felt that was the way to show love. It could have been that we excelled easily, we felt only praise and encouragement as we performed or did athletics as small children. "If you don't like it, if it doesn't make you feel good, we will find something that does!"

It seems that a large portion of us feel that things should be fair. Things should make sense. There shouldn't be suffering. It shouldn't be hard. We deserve comfort. We deserve what we want. We deserve to be famous--brimming with confidence and purpose.

I contrast that with other societies. Other societies that perhaps live, as a many-membered family in a one-room, dirt-floored home. Where--if the children have the luxury of going to school--probably will only go until they are old enough to be of service to the family. Where, from the age they could walk, they knew how much things "cost". Perhaps water had to be hauled by buckets, waited for in hours-long lines. Perhaps small portions of food took hours of work to attain--and when attained, had to be shared among too many mouths. Working, suffering, injustice, sickness, death, scarcity-- these things are as common as breathing to large portions of the worlds population from a very early age. Yet, amongst what we would see as horrible life-conditions, I often see faces calm with acceptance. Bright and genuine smiles that bring sparkles to the eyes.

People, sometimes I think we suffer too little. We have too much time on our hands. Recently, as I hear people saying, "I just need to find my purpose in life"... "What is my great calling??" (and, believe me... I have said those very words)... my mind immediately takes me to images of a man in India, pulling his rickshaw in the oppressive heat, the pouring rain. Hard, hard, thankless work day in, day out. Living in a one-room shack, jammed into an over-populated slum. But, his take on his life? He is very happy. He loves that his shack has a tarp on it... and he says that the open end of his shack brings in a "beautiful breeze". He says he has the greatest neighbors and his son's smile at the end of the day is what he lives for.

The point being--I don't think many the people who, from sunup to sundown, are just working to stay alive are falling into depression as the wonder what is the great calling they have on their life. They don't have that luxury.

I do think we need to live with purpose. I also know what that purpose is-- knowing God! Being known by Him. After that, I think it is learning to walk with Him, and to LOVE what He has given us, where He has us.

I also think we need to accept--maybe expect--suffering. Sickness. Death. Injustice. I think we need to be proactive in loving and sheltering our kids--but also in making sure they know that life is hard. Things don't make sense a lot of the time. There will be more things that are unfair than they can count.

We need to make sure we know that God does have individual plans for our lives. But, that those plans fit inside His bigger, universal plan. We are only a piece in His puzzle. We aren't on this earth to become famous, have everything we ever wanted or even make the world make sense. We are here to know God and love Him. To love people. To walk in humility.

Oh, how little we know humility! Humility: Head bowed, hands open. Humility: Acceptance. Humility: I've been wrong more times than I've been right. Humility: It isn't about how it affects me, how it makes me look, how it makes me feel. Humility: All I am for all He is. Humility: Everything I have I have been given. Humility: Abundance or scarcity--I am content.

I am grateful to live in a country where, oftentimes, all we need is a little willpower and elbow grease to attain our goals and get ahead in life. I also am becoming aware of just how detrimental it is to make a child feel that they are the center of the universe, that they are all-capable and in-fallible. The damage we do when we don't allow our children to experience hard work, understand suffering, see pain. How hard it is, then, for us to truly bow our heads to the Almighty when He begins to mold our life as He chooses. How much longer the road to maturity and usefulness can become.

As I seek to be inside of God's will for my life, I am also learning to rest in the fact that life is often daily. That--as long as I am close to Him--it is okay. I am learning that, perhaps, the thing that would please God most is that I am overflowing with joy in the exact situation, the exact portion, the exact place, He has me at this very moment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

december's passage

Focusing on "light" this month! The passage is actually a series of many different verses... references listed at the end.

"God said, 'Let there be light'. And there was light. God showed His people where to go with a cloud in the daytime and a tower of fire in the nighttime so that they always knew which way to go. God is the creator of light and every gift that comes from Him is good and perfect. God is light and there is no darkness or changing in Him. I won't be afraid, because God is my light and my salvation. I don't need the sun or the moon--God will be my everlasting light and glory. God is the fountain of life and light. God commanded the light to shine out of darkness. God turns on the light. He shines in the darkness. 
The Bible is a light. The Bible shows me where to go and makes me wise.  
God showed us His light when He gave us Jesus. Stand up and shine! Jesus, our light, has come! The people sitting in the dark can now see light because of Jesus! Jesus is the light of the world. If I follow Jesus, I will never walk in darkness because I will have the light of life. I must walk in God's light, that way I will be clean from all wrong. 
I am a light in the world. I will not hide my light but I will let my light shine so that everyone can see the light of God in me."

(References: Gen. 3:3; Ex. 13:21; James 1:17; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 18:28; Psalm 119:105; Psalm 36:9; Is. 60:19; 2 Cor. 4:6; Is. 60:1; Is. 9:2; John 8:12; 1 John 1:7; Matt. 5:14)

This passage is a bit more abstract for the kids, but they do a good job repeating back the phrases to us... and I think the fact that "God is light!" stays very clearly in their minds. :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

looking for a good movie??

So, I have never written about a movie I have liked on this blog... so, I guess these 2 movies I'm about to tell you about must be really, really good! ;) And... they are!

Around this time of year, you hear so much talk of striving to find the balance between celebrating and consuming, between sharing love and becoming greedy and dissatisfied. How to not be sucked into the grinding machine of "I want it now" and "It's never enough".

Enter these 2 movies! I'd never heard of them before, but found them on Netflix--and the rest is history. I must say these are definitely movies for adults to view, not children.

The first one is called "Which Way Home".  

 Here's its "official description":

As the United States continues to build a wall between itself and Mexico, Which Way Home shows the personal side of immigration through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers with enormous courage and resourcefulness as they endeavor to make it to the United States.
The film follows several unaccompanied child migrants as they journey through Mexico en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call "The Beast." Director Rebecca Cammisa tracks the stories of children like Olga and Freddy, nine-year-old Hondurans who are desperately trying to reach their families in Minnesota, and Jose, a ten-year-old El Salvadoran who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center, and focuses on Kevin, a canny, streetwise 14-year-old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach New York City and send money back to his family. These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow.
They are the ones you never hear about – the invisible ones.
 Wow. This video pulled Rey and I in from the first images...and didn't let us go until the end. I felt like we were seeing Mexico's intestines, since we watched the train on its route all the way from the southern Mexico/Guatemala border and up to the Texas border. The camera crew is so unobtrusive. You feel like you are just another passenger on the train, a visitor in the home. The filming is raw and real. It brought back memories of many places and people we ourselves know. At one point, I was all-out sobbing. So heart-wrenching.

I feel that this film also perhaps brings another understanding to the whole issue of illegal immigration. It is a touchy subject in almost any crowd--but seeing what these people are coming from, their stories, at least helps us see a little bit more of their world.

As the video ended and the screen turned black, Rey and I sat back in silence. Rey finally said, "I.am.so.blessed." Truly. After watching the nothingness these people survived on, our drinking water felt cleaner, colder. Our house felt too big, luxurious. The amount of clothing we own ridiculous. I love it when that happens! We must know how truly rich we are to practice contentment--and appreciation.

The second movie goes by the interesting title of "HAPPY".

Again, the official description:


"HAPPY takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion."

Ok, 2 things:
1. Watch this movie
2. If you ever see an opening for the housing showed in Denmark, call me. I wanna go.

So interesting! Exploring what, scientifically, really seems to make people happy. The main finding here (sorry if this is a spoiler) is that community is everything. Having a close-knit group of family and/or friends in your life. They showed many examples of this--and it stood out to me how often our American culture does not encourage that kind of community. We can tend to be somewhat isolated from each other, with very thick boundary lines between "yours" and "mine". We can try to compete with each other, hide things from each other, be better than the other. In other cultures, it seems there is more of a fluidity there between families. Using what each family has to help the other, compliment the other. Seeing everyone as part of a whole entity, as opposed to everyone being their own entity.

While that way of living is definitely more "messy", I do see it as being more healthy and want to move more towards that way of thinking, living. Which is interesting, because as Rey and I are taking the classes to become licensed as foster parents--we are finding out that we are really going to have to practice that. To see ourselves as not the "it" for the child, but as a link in the chain of their life. Possibly even serving as mentors and encouragers to the birth parents--as opposed to their competition. "I can do this better than you..." I think we are going to really learn about true love in these upcoming months. Loving just to love, for nothing in return. Learning to encourage the good in someone as opposed to writing them off for their failings. Realizing that we are called to love even after being disappointed... because He does. Allowing things to get messy, be unpredictable. Letting our hearts feel just a tiniest portion of the pain that the Creator feels as He sees His creation subject to the choices and whims of sinful people. Being grown together, even if only for a season. Letting Him show us how to "lay down our lives" for our brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

befores and afters...

You know my favorite part about moving is all the fun make-overs we get to do!

We still have all kinds of things to do in our house to get it "how we want it"... but, in the meantime, I've been able to finish some smaller projects.

I picked up this chair for around $7 from Salvation Army. An ugly old gal with some serious "yuck" issues...


 But, also some detailing I really liked:























So, one fateful day, I just tore into her, taking her down to bare bones:


 Nice shape, right?

I had hoped to be able to rip off the old, orange fabric and just stretch new over it.

Unfortunately-- found out that one of the wood pieces was cracked and a spring was sprung...


















 I don't have pictures of what we did next... But, basically Rey traced the shape of the original seat, and we cut out a piece of plywood to match that.

I also spray painted the wood a nice, shiny black.
 
I had thought I'd buy a nice piece of cushy foam to put over the wood... but, when I saw how expensive it is ($17-30/yard???)... I decided to go another route. I remembered some pillows I don't often use... so, I ripped them apart and used them to stuff the chair seat. It isn't the softest chair you've ever sat on... but it
works!

 The fabric was about $4, pillow from Goodwill. ;)

Here's the after!


 The next project also called out to me from Goodwill. This purty, South-of-the-border-ish print:

 I loved the art, didn't love the frame. But, I remembered we'd been given some pretty big, gold frames.

It was priced at:



But, I got it half off because of this in the bottom, right-hand corner (which I didn't care about because I knew I had the other frame at home):
 Something that I always "remember too late" when I am buying frames to re-do them... is to check how complicated the back it. Some frames are really easy to "get into"... but, this one was NOT one of them. Whew! Whoever framed it did not want it to be unframed, I'll tell you that!















Another factor I hadn't counted on was how THICK the print was to cut down to fit my frame. A LOT of elbow grease!



 

















I put a couple coats of black spray paint on the big gold frame we'd been given...


The after:




 The other project... again, it's sad state on a Salvation Army shelf just could not be ignored.





But, I liked it's space and practical storage (I was thinking car keys, spare change..) and the flowers.... ;)



It was as easy as covering with a couple coats of spray paint:




Moral of the story: If you "almost" like something... try painting it... maybe that like will turn into a "love"! ;)

Monday, November 19, 2012

november's passage

I am always excited when I get new, do-able ideas for teaching the kiddos about God.

Recently, I began thinking about what do I want my kids to know--inside and out--about God? As I began mentally going through different things ("God is light", "Jesus is the way", "God knows me", "Jesus is salvation"), I came upon the idea of working to memorize either a chapter or passages around a theme each month. I plan to break down "big thoughts" into kid's words to help them understand the basic message. Then, as they get older, I can gradually change the wording until it is the whole "unchanged" passage!

So, here's November's passage... from one of my favorite Psalms--#139. I changed the format some, since the little ones can get confused with too many "you's", "he's", "me's", etc...

"God knows me! God knows when I sit down and when I stand up. God knows what I am thinking and where I am going. There is never a time that God cannot see me. God even knows what I am saying.

God protects me in front and behind. God has put his hand on me. This is amazing!

There is no place I can go that God is not there. If I fly way up into the sky, God is there. If I go way down deep into the earth, God is there. If I swim out into the farthest part of the ocean, God is there! Everywhere I am, God will lead me and God will hold me. Here's another amazing thing: God can see in the dark! Dark and light are the same to God. There is nowhere I can hide from God.

I will praise God, because I am perfectly made. Everything God does is amazing, and I know this is true. 

When I was in my mommy's belly, God saw me and God made me. God put me together perfectly. God wrote out my life-story before I was even alive!

The way God thinks about me is so precious. God thinks about me all the time. If I could count all the times God thinks about me, they would be more than the sand on the beach. I am always with God.

God, please look into my heart. See if I am worried about anything or have done anything wrong. I want to be Your friend. Lead me in the eternal way."

I just read off short phrases, with simple, made-up signs, and the kids repeat back to me the words and the signs. We read the whole passage together like that--either at dinner or before bedtime. The kids do a great job, and haven't complained yet about "Do we have to do the same one again??" They like it! Especially with fun signs like "sit down and stand up" and "swim to the farthest part of the ocean"! ;)

So great!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

couldn't have been...


Aww... Look at those two cuties having a lil' lunch outside... well three cuties if you count Noé's puppy. Oh, serenity:
 


 


What? You see something other than sweet perfection?

A broken window??

Must've been one of your ruffians, 'cuz I sure do know it wasn't one of my blessed angels.

I mean, look at them sitting there. The image of genteel behavior.

Ok, ok. So maybe it was one of them. Maybe it was the older one. It could possibly that he was so excited that daddy was home because "daddy home" = "go to the park time". It might have been that his way of expressing this excitement was running, shrieking through the house, banging on random objects. On of those objects could have been this window, and I may have shouted out, "Noé, don't bang on the window because you might--" and it might have been that at that moment I heard silence and a slow, scared, "Moooommmmmmm..."

So, the little slice in his finger and the huge mess taught him one big lesson: Windows make pretty horrible drums. 

It is hard to hold a grudge against such a child, though... when he makes you little gifts like this one:





Thursday, November 1, 2012

aleni thoughts

When we were growing up, my siblings and I spent most of the summer running around in the woods behind our house. We often played we were "Indians" sneaking through the forest... we even gave each other "Indian names". I won't say who was who--but I remember names like "White Fox", "Slow Turtle" and "Running Deer" being shouted through the leafy expanse.

I think if I had to give Aleni an "Indian name", it would be "Aleni with the wind in her hair". Or, possibly more correct, "Wind in Hair."


 Miss Confidence!

Aleni is a mover. It's actually hard to get a "non-action shot" with her. She is intense, confident and always busy. When I think of her, I really do picture her moving around, with the wind in her hair. She's always planning her next move...



 Industrious....


Mischievous...


 Running...


 I love that even in this early shot, we can get a glimpse of her strength and determination. "Of course I can climb this fence!"



Love you, my little papoose.   ;)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

laying it down.

Doing this book with a bunch of great gals:


As I felt myself "loosing momentum", I thought through verses that could help with motivation. Of course, one can go through the book and do what is outlined there--but, I needed to remember the "why" behind the doing. That can get foggy sometimes in the day-to-day.

I'm also doing this study with a bunch of great gals:


Wow. This book is really life-changing in the way I look at knowing and doing God's Will. So great.

Also, during these weeks, Rey and I felt God calling us to do something we'd never dreamed of doing. Doing something that would radically change--no, turn upside down our plans and goals for our lives. During sleepless nights and heavy days of praying, soul-searching and obedience--we found ourselves deciding to obey God, even in this.

We took the steps we felt God was calling us to make, wondering at what the outcome could be. I felt the passage of Isaac and Abraham--when Abraham goes to sacrifice Isaac--being whispered to me, but didn't take the time to look into it.

In the end, the decision was made for us, and we did not have make the life-change we thought we would. Which left us a little shell-shocked--like, "God, what was that all about?"

So, I recently picked up the "Experiencing God" book to do the homework before the next meeting. First day, first page of the study referenced the Isaac and Abraham passage. I started getting excited--this is no coincidence!

So, I poured over that chapter--Genesis 22. I switched out "Abraham's" name to Rey and Liz. I changed "Isaac" to goals and plans. I was amazed at what God's voice said to us:

"After all this, God tested Rey and Liz. God said, “Rey and Liz!” “Yes?” they answered. “We are listening.” He said, “Take your dear plans and dreams, which you love, and go... Sacrifice them there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I’ll point out to you.”  ....They arrived at the place to which God had directed them. They built an altar. They laid out the wood. Then they tied up their life's plans and laid them on the wood. They reached out and took the knife to kill their plans. Just then an angel of God called to then out of Heaven, “Rey and Liz!” “Yes, we are listening.” “Don’t lay a hand on those plans! Don’t touch them! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn’t hesitate to place your dreams, your dear plans, on the altar for me.”

And then I loved this conclusion:

"....The angel of God spoke from Heaven a second time to Abraham: “I swear—God’s sure word!—because you have gone through with this, and have not refused to give me your son, your dear, dear son, I’ll bless you—oh, how I’ll bless you! And I’ll make sure that your children flourish—like stars in the sky! like sand on the beaches! And your descendants will defeat their enemies. All nations on Earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me.”

All of this is not to say that the "test" is over. Not to say that we'll never again have to lay our lives on His alter.... But, I was profoundly grateful that God loves us enough to shake us.

Which brings me full-circle to when I was looking to regain my motivation as my friends and I journey through the book Seven. 

Our sacrifices--no matter how small or large they seem--are all ways of us saying, "Not even this will get between You and I, Lord!" When we seek Him and clearly hear Him guiding us to offer something up to Him, to leave something behind--and do it--we are tangibly showing our love. Often times, it is not that the "thing" in itself is evil. It is just evil if we refuse to allow God to burn it up, if He so chooses.

Does this passage relate to you in a way? Is God calling you to lay something down to test if it may be an idol to you?

Father--each time I say "no" to some thing, let it be because I am saying "yes" to You! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Aleni--the photographer

I was going through my camera the other night... re-living the past weeks and deleting unwanted photos. Aleni loves it when I let her use the camera, and she had quite a few shots on there. I started to delete them, and then stopped. It's fun to look at the last month or so through the lens--and angle--of a 2 1/2 year old!


Her takes on our overnighter in Indy:








 Her glimpses into moving/new house:





(She said: "Say cheese Noah!")


(Then: "Oh, wow, Noah! Good job!")





  :)


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

movin', movin'...!

Whew. A whirlwind. That's what these last few weeks have been.

But, I feel like the story started towards the beginning of this year.

Rey got permission to work in the US at the end of December 2011, and at that point began a rather discouraging look for a job. He applied time after time at place after place, but nothing happened. We were SO grateful that God always kept Rey employed--using all of his talents in mechanics and construction in the meantime. It was a hard time... Rey working all hours. No known schedule. Never knowing how much was coming in each week. But, God always provided abundantly.

As we sought God during these months, we asked questions: Are we on the right track? Should Rey be looking for work in the "professional arena"? And, if he does get a good job--should we stay where we are? Should we move? Should we buy or rent? We knew if we stayed where we were--we'd definitely be able to save up money quickly and then get back on the mission's field. We also loved the school district we were in--so good for Noah. So, did God want us to stay? However, if we moved into town--we'd be so much closer to everyone else. Closer to our church and be able to serve more there.

The weeks marched by. We weren't hearing any clear direction, and the job situation wasn't changing.

Palm Sunday, we were in church and the pastor was speaking about God calling us to minister, step outside our comfort zones. To be sensitive to His promptings. As we stood to pray, I felt God saying to me, "This time you have had since you have been back from Mexico has been a time of rest and renewal. People have been pouring into your lives and you have been able to rest. Now, I am calling to back into ministry." I felt Him prompting us to move into a neighborhood with more Hispanic presence to begin ministering there.

I have to tell you, the image that immediately flashed into my head was, "Ghetto". I wondered what this new place would look like; would it be safe for my kids?

At that point, a woman stood and shared that she felt the Lord was calling someone to move. To do something new, something they didn't know what the outcome would be. She said not to be afraid because God promised to be with that person.

Do I have to tell you that I cried before the Lord? I just love it when He speaks so directly.

I shared these things with Rey after the service, and he was like, "Yeah! Let's do it!"

But, of course. He didn't have a job. But, we felt excited. At least we knew what direction we'd need to go once he did get a job.

Guess what? By the end of that week, Rey had a job! I definitely felt that God's mind was: "Until you know what to do, I don't want you distracted by a job."

So, a couple months into Rey's job, we decided to start looking for a house in some neighborhoods with larger Hispanic populations. We started off in the areas that were not "so nice", seeking out if this was where God was leading. We looked through house after house and didn't find anything. We also did not like the schools these neighborhoods had. We looked at rental houses and houses for sale. Nothing.

We then found a neighborhood we loved, with a highly recommended school. The neighborhood borders with some of the more "iffy" neighborhoods, but is still quiet and family-oriented. Again, we looked at houses and houses and houses. And kept hitting road blocks.

Finally, towards the end of July, we decided that doors were not opening. We decided that maybe we should wait another 6 months and then see where we were. I felt conflicted--maybe I hadn't heard from God like I thought I had? We decided to re-prioritize things. Rey re-scheduled his weeks to consolidate his work-days and be able to spend more time at home and in ministry. I was able to begin helping out in a ministry that I'd been wanting to help out in for months. We just felt like, "We are in a good place here, let's just put God and family first, and try to keep work and busyness in it's proper place."

Also, when we'd been looking for a house, we'd been looking for houses thinking that my younger sister would live with us. That meant looking for houses with bigger square footage. Soon after we decided to wait, my sister was able to find a good living situation with a friend, so that changed what we needed in housing.

We also have been feeling God leading us into fostering (a whole other blog post), and began taking steps in that direction. We weren't frantically looking for a house any more--so now we had time! God also opened the door for me to help out in another ministry nearby.

And then.

About 3 weeks ago, I thought, "Hmm. I haven't looked at houses for a couple months. I wonder if anything new might have come up?" I was bored, and when I mentioned it to Rey, he said, "Yeah! Let's check, and then we can write down some likely candidates for December."

As we were scrolling through houses and jotting down addresses, we clicked  over to Craigslist. We found listed there a 3-bedroom rental home. As we looked at it, we realized it was right.across.the.street. from a house we'd tried to buy during the summer. We'd loved the street and the neighborhood then and had been somewhat disappointed when the deal fell through.

We saw the listing on a Tuesday. Went to see it on a Thursday. And had the keys 10 days later.

Can you believe it?

Seriously.

God loves to shake things up, doesn't He?

I really feel like God wanted to get us to a place where we weren't frantically searching... and where we had re-prioritized things. He wanted us to be stable, directed and peaceful before He moved us.

So, therein followed a flurry of all-over-the-place running...It was the last week of August and I had to find a preschool for Noah. Can I tell you that God had this all figured out, too? Weeks earlier, I had been whining and complaining about how the preschool Noah was going to attend started 2 weeks after many other schools... and then it turns out, that was perfect because then Noah didn't get confused by having one week at his old school, and then jumping over to a new one! God's love for us and tender shaping of the small details brings tears to my eyes. We found an amazing preschool at an affordable price that had an opening... and didn't start classes until after Labor Day! Noah didn't miss a day at his new school and has loved it from the moment he walked through the doors. And, it's about 4 minutes from our house. Thanks, God!

The day after we got the keys (Sunday), we ran over to Indianapolis for an overnight meet up with some beloved family members. We got home Monday, and Noah's school started on Tuesday. For that week, we were bringing a load to the new house each time we brought Noah into town for school. While he was in Pre-K for the morning, Aleni and I would be at the new house. I would unpack and scrub my little heart out, then run for Noah, head back to the old house... and then re-load the van and scrub the old house. A revolving door, it seemed.

That weekend, was a family reunion for my dad's side of the family. After that, a bunch of the guys went out to the old house to bring the last of the "big items" over to the new house--and we were officially moved!

We have been in our new house now for 10 days, and it is feeling like home. We are so blessed by how God has brought us to this place and are happy to be in His will! I feel as though God is telling us to fasten our seat belts, because the ride is about to start! :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

reaping.

Thinking about sowing and reaping.


Not just the "you get what you deserve" kind of interpretation. But a broader, more life-long way of understanding the verse.

The idea that you sow and you reap in two separate  seasons of life.

That all those seemingly meaningless, day-after-day decisions we are making today are actually forming our latter days. We can think of our constant choice to stop and give grace-filled attention to a perhaps inconvenient interruption as adding compost to our field.


The choice to serve when we want to sit as preparing the soil with good, thorough plowing. Determining to obey when we'd rather do our own thing as putting down only the best seed. Yielding to God's correction instead of explaining it away and hardening your heart is like the rain pouring down at just the right time.

 

I can't help but think of people who are now in their reaping stage--and reaping with joy. And their lives have been filled with unconditional love... even (and perhaps especially) when it hurts. Serving, always serving. They are people who have learned to stop for people--knowing they are made in God's image. Who listen to God's voice and have allowed them to soften, mold and use them in the way He saw fit.
 
I also mourn for other sad, bowed reapers. Who sowed, day after day, in anger, selfishness, and duplicity--and now look around in somewhat dazed wonder. "What happened? How did I get here?"

I want to end it joyful--watching load after load of life-filled harvest. A life well-lived. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

love

She sings it like this: "I love ME, you love ME. We're a happy fam-ah-wee...."

Ah, the revealing honesty of a 2-year-old.


Photo credit to Jamie at Ember Mae Photography-- https://www.facebook.com/embermaephotography

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

most important.



"Our children are the most important house guests we'll ever have." --Henri Nouwen