"...be ye stedfast, unmoveable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is
not in vain in the Lord."

19 April 2014

Five Minute Friday ~ Glue


I knew she would be here, but I forgot.

What?

My sis who lives on the West Coast while [for the last 14 years] I've been living in West Africa just happens to be in town and I knew and I got distracted with the busyness of life and this family and I forgot... until I talked to Mom...

Our plans rapidly changed.

We enjoyed a lovely evening and were heading home when on impulse, we decided to load up the van, drive to the "Big House" and hang out with Aunt Julie. It was 10:30... Yes, p.m...

Brendan was flying in on Friday morning - but we could just as easily drive to Detroit from Lansing as drive from Midland. So we did... and we've had a blast.

Talking, laughing, teasing, maybe a little gossiping, eating, enjoying the spring-ier weather, shoe shopping, Easter dinner eating (a little early), pie eating, kitchen cleaning, Qwirkling, Pictureka-ing.

But for my four big girls, the manicuring took the cake. Bright colors, crazy designs... even glue to fasten googly eyes.

Can you figure out each design... and then match each hand to either Rebekah, Nadia, Anna or Tori?

We've got a surprise for whoever comes closest.

Go ahead. Leave your best guess as a comment!

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Joining Lisa-Jo for another Five Minute Friday!

11 April 2014

Five Minute Friday ~ Paint


My girls have discovered Pandora this year while we've been home.

And Disney just might be their very favorite "station."

If there were any Disney movie songs they didn't know, let's just say that THAT is now a thing of the past!

One song they really like to sing comes from Pocahantas... and for so many reasons, lines in this song pierce this expat-at heart's heart.Tthere is truth in some of those words, truth that might easily be dismissed just because you don't agree with the whole message ~

You think I'm an ignorant savage
And you've been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don't know?
You don't know ...

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew...

You can own the Earth and still
All you'll own is earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind.

There is only One Who paints with all the colors of the wind, 
     the same One Who crafts each West African sunset, 
          that One Who imagined -then spoke- and then the imagined spoken became, 
               the very One Who sacrificed all and Who is the only Way to the Father ~

~ the One and Only Who created all that is true, all that is noble, all that is right, all that is is pure, all that is lovely, all that is is admirable, all that is excellent, all that is praiseworthy because HE IS. 

This One ~
  • laid the foundation of the earth, determined its measurements, laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.
  • shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, made clouds its garments and thick darkness its swaddling band, prescribed limits for those waves, saying, "Thus far shall you come, and no farther."
  • enters heavenly storehouses laden with snow, storehouses of the hail reserved for the time of trouble.
  • knows the way to the place where the light is distributed,and where the east wind is scattered upon the earth.
  • has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground sprout with grass.
  • fathers the rain, has begotten the drops of dew, gives birth to the frost of heaven.
  • binds the chains of the Pleiades, looses the cords of Orion, guides the Bear with its children.
  • knows when the mountain goats give birth.
  • has let the wild donkey go free, loosening the bonds of the swift donkey, gives it the arid plain for his home and the salt land for his dwelling place.
  • gives the horse his might, clothes his neck with a mane, makes him leap like the locust.
  • His understanding allows the hawk to soar, He commands the eagle to mount up
  • and makes his nest on high.
Yes. It is my God, and only He, Who paints, Who ever will paint, with all the colors of the wind.

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If you'd like to spend a few minutes writing on the topic of "paint,"  

09 April 2014

When it rains, it pours...

When it lightenings, it thunders...

When it snows, it blizzards...

AND in the Midwest... when it blows, it tornadoes...

We actually drove through some pretty wild weather last week as we were traveling... but cliché-ish statements like these describe how I've been feeling the past few days... weeks...

Let me be the very first to say ~ I don't think those clichés imply ALL bad... I love to play outside, singing and dancing away in a good downpour. In my opinion, watching a wild thunderstorm is better than any movie I've ever seen (and you should ask Tim sometime how July 4th fireworks compare to heavenly fireworks when you watch 'em from 30 000 feet!) Winter blizzards bring memories of silent white, snow days, and snow men. Maybe it is my Okie upbringing - but tornadoes mesmerize, thrill, horrify, terrify and fascinate all at the same time and that tornado warning beeping on the television starts a quick adrenalin rush, every time.



But those clichés CAN and, at this moment, DO imply a breathless "What's next?" questioning that I'm whispering after the past three weeks, which have included 
  • flurries to blizzards of activity, 
  • showers of obligations with downpours of miles in the van, 
  • whirlwinds of friends, faces and places... 
  • and too many thunderous strikes of loved ones seriously sick way too close for comfort... and seemingly all at once.
And so, yet once again, this blog has been sadly neglected.

To quickly summarize ~ We had an amazingly great trip to Iowa where we reported to and visited with an awesome and totally-spoiled-us-rotten group of partnering churches. We caught up with dear folks we had seen in a few years and the fellowship resumed like there'd never been any interruption. It was truly a delight in every which way.

Our way too brief day at the Omaha Zoo was a blast... more photos to come, very soon!

We briefly caught up with Niger friends in Illinois and then relaxed for a small chunk of time with family in SE Missouri before heading back to Michigan.

While we were traveling, we received word that both Tim's dad and Richelle's dad were quite seriously ill and hospitalized. Thankfully, Tim's dad is now out of the hospital, regaining strength and hopefully working on some good habits to prevent a similar occurrence in the near future.


Richelle's dad is still in the hospital. After major surgery and at least 3 major medical procedures in 4 days, he's got several weeks of the recovery road to travel before he'll be dancing with his granddaughters, again. We are thankful for talented doctors, surgeons, nurses, technicians and other hospital personnel who have not only done their jobs with expertise, but who have/are also gently, kindly, patiently and repeatedly explained/explaining what was/is happening: detailing problems, solutions and results, even when their words were sometimes hard to accept.

We are so thankful that the Lord has granted this good and perfect gift of nearness during this year, for this season. 

Even in the hard, it is a treasure.

And can we ask you to please keep praying for our dads?


Thanks!

We really appreciate it!

We knew we could count on you!



29 March 2014

"You are... You will be..."

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). (John 1:43)



Is it just me, or does this seems like an anti-climatic "confirmation of/or call" to ministry? 

After all, this is Peter we're talking about.

You know... the guy who would
  • walk on water...
  • only to then sink dismally;
  • recognize Jesus as the Son of God...
  • only to turn around and tempt Him to walk a different path;
  • be chosen to keep watch and pray
  • only to repeatedly end up snoring instead;
  • bravely and loyally step forward with sword to defend Jesus
  • only to deny even knowing him when confronted later;
  • give up on himself and go back to fishing fish
  • only to become an impassioned preacher, gifted with words and a heart for souls that could only come from one mightily forgiven.
...Paul's conversion and call to ministry was nothing short of miraculous and amazing. I guess, if I didn't already know the story, I would have expected something similar for Peter. Fireworks exploding or the like!

That just isn't the case....

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To read the rest of this edited & from the archives post,  
head on over to Missionary Moms Companion, where I'm posting today.

And go ahead and answer the questions I've thrown out... even if you AREN'T a missionary!

24 March 2014

Home Assignment Blues

I remember when I used to think that teachers had the best job in the world BECAUSE they had a whole summer vacation.
Many of my Nigerien friends think that that distinction actually belongs to missionaries on home assignment BECAUSE they have a whole YEAR vacation.
Halfway through our home assignment year, halfway through our fourth home assignment year, halfway through my first home assignment year with a parcel of teenagers, my response is “UGH!”
Eloquent, I know.
I also know that “vacation” is a definite misnomer, even if the blog, Facebook and prayer letter photos sometimes seem to contradict that statement.
2014031220140119_170850
We’ve been on the road almost every weekend of the last three months. We’ve been in or traveled through nine different states. We’ve visited over ten of our partnering churches and have also caught up with some of our individual supporters. And our kids have mostly been back to school on time by Monday morning, every week.
Most of our traveling happens on the weekends. Friday evenings, after school lets out, are usually filled with high school games, school activities or visiting – sometimes just for fun but not always. Saturdays are times to clean the house, catch up on laundry, make sure homework is mostly done, tournaments and other competitions take place, big girls work their jobs, more visits with more people. Sometimes we need to leave on Saturday to get to where we need to be on Sunday. Sometimes we leave before the sun’s even up on a Sunday morning and the only life at our home church is the snow crew shoveling and salting in preparation for their Sunday morning services. Sometimes, not even the snow crew is out and about....
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If you wanna read the rest, please head on over to a life overseas: the missions conversation ~
I'm up for any ideas and suggestions you might care to add to this conversation!

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