Monday, December 31, 2012

Ring in the New!


Here we are, on the brink of the new year. Bells are ringing throughout the world to celebrate the dawning of new opportunities, new seasons, new dreams. What a year we had -

January - Beach days, dessert days, & Cancer Scares
February - Mother in Law is CANCER FREE!!
March - Let the purging of the stuff begin - time to put the property on the market...
April - Doors and Windows fling wide to possibilities in Central Asia
May - Moving... Oh, Moving!
June - Haiti with Rachel. Always walk in an attitude of expectancy - Expect the New!
July - REST
August - Beach Days & the Simmons/Butler Wedding
September - New Schools - MAA & EJHS, New Home Group & the Color Run!
October - Compassion Connect Banquet - Unify & Mobilize the Church to Serve
November - Sophia is Expecting!
December - Sweet Baby Olivia, Long Talks with a great friend, & Canoeing the Santa Fe in Florida

If I were to pick three words to describe this past year, they would be
unexpected, adventurous, and daring

Unexpected - Cancer, the lack thereof... Home sales, the lack thereof.. Moving anyway...
Adventurous - Beach Days, Dessert Days, Haiti, New Schools, Florida & Central Asia
Daring - There was so much of this category... the most daring? Discussing the faith symbolism of my butterfly tattoo with a guy on the beach in Haiti. Awesome.

Lets close this year... Consider your greatest gift -  the blessing to impact and free people with the truth of Christ. The glorious mystery of grace, the beautiful joy of a whole and complete life!




 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

On Hospitality



Hospitality is such a funny thing. I love people and love visiting and talking and sharing a meal - Summer is an easy season for this - throw things on the grill and hang out until the sun goes down… outside… Winter means… well, I just can't think of more than 3x in the past 10 years that our family has invited friends inside our home for a visit and a meal!


A meal from the beach in Haiti - one of the
most  incredibly poor and yet truly gracious
and hospitable places on earth
The truth is - I no longer know how to have people hang out IN MY HOME and be entertained by US. When the kids were tiny it was easy, they would be off playing and we could chat with the adults… but as they have grown and become true parts of our family, well… it’s a whole new adventure that I have no experience in! We find it easiest to fragment – for Jake to have a group over to play games while I do my own thing, or for me to have a group over to chat and eat while he does his own thing… The girls, well, they naturally follow suit. Not ideal at all!

I've been learning quite a lot about hospitality through some blogs I follow, and so I want to share my unpracticed wisdom with you -

Reluctant Entertainer – this has to be my favorite hospitality blog EVER, Sandy Coughlin is a champion for the cause of hospitality and is both Hilarious and Wise! 

Simple Bites – Part of the Simple Mom Network, I love this blog because I love food and story. Since it is designed for moms, tips are practical and often very kid friendly!

Smile and Wave – not quite on the topic of hospitality but more on creating spaces in your home and life that are well lived in, practical, and clever.
 
Our homes speak volumes about who we really are… so I would encourage you to plan an invitation into your home this month. Think about it, what better season!

One final thought. With so many working moms out there, I wanted to share a gift that I would have never thought of on my own. A daughter and I went visiting some friends who moved an hour away. We enjoyed catching up for hours (as girls would!) Dinner was served, a delicious, healthy, scratch made casserole that I MUST get the recipe for. The family is quite large and so they are used to feeding 12 – we all crashed about their large table laughing, eating, and enjoying the best food I have had in weeks. It was better than Thanksgiving (sorry fam) and I was near tears at their generosity. How much easier it would have been to bake a handful of giant pizzas?

The icing on the cake… She made 3 casseroles, 2 very large ones and one small – and she sent the small one home with me. She knows I’m busy and weeknight dinner is often served very rapidly in 30 minutes or less… I’m so excited to enjoy this meal again, with my family, on Monday night.  I’m so thankful for friendship and the blessing we have to share with others.

Share thoughts and comments with me, and Practice LIVING!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mentoring . . . thoughts from a college paper

For a course not so very long ago, I had to write a simple little paper. (note, this is actually the unfinished rough draft, hahahaha!) Nothing profound, mind, except that maybe... just maybe... it will resonate with the reader in some way... I just found it on my harddrive and decided to post it here. There is a group in our community working hard to have a YMCA presence in town, and I'm hoping it happens because I plan to sign up!!
As a child growing up in America during the 1980’s, I found myself in a world of welfare, poverty, single mothers, no fathers, little employment, fewer cars, and less, and less, and less. Yet I was able to break away from the world of my youth, graduate high school, marry, and not only finish college but successfully stay out of the welfare system for most of my adult life. How did I do it?

I was one of the fortunate ones; a good friend and her family took me in and developed a mentoring relationship with me, one which I consider to have had a long term impact on my life. As I have become a parent myself, I have found that mentoring relationships can bring about long lasting change to anyone (Mentoring.org), but they are especially beneficial for those youth that are raised in poverty. 
Let us define poverty. It is easy to get caught up in the dire levels of need found around the globe, and therefore easy to diminish the critical level of poverty that is found in our country. Poverty, according to Mirriam-Websters dictionary is “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.” (Merriam-Webster.com) I appreciate this definition as it is appropriate for this discussion. Poverty in North America looks wealthy, when compared to the rest of the globe. Yet, the term “socially acceptable” is critical for our understanding. In a country full of people with much, yet not enough, I intend to examine the value of mentoring relationships for youth in poverty.
What are some of the long term challenges faced by children in poverty? In addition to the possibility of continuing the cycle of poverty through a second generation, there are other challenges that our youth face, which can be limited or even erased entirely through having healthy mentoring relationships (Kids in Crisis) (United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania).

· Educational rates are found to be higher among youth involved in mentoring relationships.

· Crime rates are lower when youth are involved in mentoring relationships.

· Drug and alcohol use among teens is reduced when youth have healthy mentors.

· Teen pregnancy rates are lower when youth are involved in mentoring relationships

· Youth in mentoring relationships have a greater chance of breaking the cycle of long term poverty themselves.

Education
The topic of education in America has been hotly debated for years. But for those youth who are living under the label of poverty, a good solid education is often just out of reach. Parents who are working several jobs in an attempt to keep a roof over their family have very little time to spend reading to their toddlers, or working on math homework with their elementary age children. Unfortunately for these children, it has been determined that by the third grade test scores can fairly accurately predict how students will do over the rest of their “educational life.”

The good news is that there is hope for such families. Programs such as Head Start (Head Start Programs Overview), a nationwide program specifically geared toward at risk children in poverty, can greatly prepare a child during the preschool years, giving the boost needed to keep up or even stay ahead during elementary school.

But what happens when such a child hits junior high? Typically, children begin to identify more with their peers and form their own identity as they enter their teen years (Novella Ruffin). This is when mentoring relationships are critical for building upon the level of education attained through early childhood intervention and elementary school. The results are startling; in study after study, teens involved in some kind of mentoring or after school program do better in school, have lower absentee rates, and have a greater likelihood of going on to college immediately after high school. (Robert George)

This form of educational boost provides much toward changing the course of a young person’s life. According to the US Census Bureau in the 2005-2009 American Community Survey, the rate of poverty among those without a high school diploma was 24.2%, but was only 11.6% among those with a diploma or equivalent. (United States - Educational Attainment)

Crime
Strong mentoring relationships can reduce criminal activity among teenage boys, particularly those raised in poverty with a single mother. According to Dr. Dean Rojek, from the University Of Georgia Department Of Sociology, "(The) No. 1 problem is poverty -- single mothers have a difficult time holding a job and finding child care," he said in an e-mail. "This leads to poor educational experiences, lack of supervision, delinquency and eventually early imprisonment." (Folk)

Mentoring relationships help where parents, and in this case, primarily fathers, are not able to be. Much like when preschoolers need someone to read to them, teens are in need of continued relationships to help them develop their identity, and if they do not find it at home, they will turn to their peers. Even when both parents live in the home, living in poverty increases the likelihood that their time at home is limited.

One on one mentoring is ideal, but where one on one mentoring is not available, after school programs, such as the After School Matters program in Chicago, are an incredible asset for our teenagers.

Teen Pregnancy
The Alan Guttmacher Institute says that over three fourths of teens who have babies come from poor and low-income families, according to the book Poverty in America (Kowlaski).

Breaking the Cycle
Poverty has many roots, some of which stem from circumstances beyond a person’s control, like involuntary unemployment or poor health. There are other issues that create a level of poverty, such as lack of education or limited parental involvement. Mentoring relationships which help build healthier family structures and better educational levels have the ability to help break the cycle.

Conclusion
Poverty is full of hardship. Hunger, homelessness, and a lack of basic winter clothing, for example, can be common daily issues for a poor family. These types of circumstance create challenges that can have long lasting effects on children. As individuals we cannot erase poverty. However, we can help to reduce the long term impact of poverty on children, possibly changing the course of the next generation.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Living Life... an update!

I'm writing this note as our family travels home at the end of Thanksgiving Day. Days like today remind me of how much I gained in this life when Christ redeemed me and called me his. My life is much more full, free, and alive than I ever thought possible. How awesome it is to share the love of Christ with others, to offer them hope, life, and freedom forevermore.

I believe that at the proper time, God calls people to himself. He speaks in many ways, and in the case of my life, he used believers who were willing to live and breathe grace and truth into my life. When I had nowhere to live and nowhere to turn, these friends were willing to extend themselves beyond what most would ever do; willing to open their home, their pocketbook, and their lives. Miraculous, undeserved grace...

In the spring Emily & I will be joining a team on a journey overseas. I am awestruck when I consider what God is up to worldwide.  The word of the Lord is living and active - people are finding victory and a saving faith in Christ! REJOICE! This is nothing short of miraculous evidence of the depth of Gods love for us. When people in closed communities come to know the truth, they often find themselves without a family or a place to call home.

Our team will be walking alongside these believers as they bravely continue to share the gospel. We will be encouraging and praying with them as they seek to grow in their faith in the midst of intense persecution. We will be helping them as they develop homes for new believers to come to, to live and grow in their faith.

Our group is even taking books and decor for a coffee shop to help build a meeting place for people to gather to have a great cup of coffee and talk. The culture we are going into is very relational and having an inviting neutral space is desperately needed, with the added perk of providing employment. Emily says it best:

I want to go because I feel like God is calling me there, and when I get there, I am gonna work in a coffee shop and talk to people who know that they can talk to me about stuff they don't feel comfortable talking to other people about. They will hopefully know that they can trust me about this. So, now that you know this, please pray for me during the trip! Emily King (13 years old) (14 at time of trip)

What a privilege it is to equip others to grow in their faith!

We encourage you to practice these things with us here at home every day - Will you also pray and partner with us as we prepare and go?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quiet Means...

Mostly, thoughtful.
It has been a busy season here, with lots of comings and goings and happenings; I have been thinking of amazing things to say but never getting them out of my head.

Such is.

Today I'm in a big dreamy mood. God has a grand adventure planned in this life, which is called, aptly, LIVING.

Really, I'm not making this up!

Its not so very complicated. One part sleep, one part eating - the rest comes together in the form of going through your every day. Living - faithfully walking forward into what it is God has purposed before you. Living - sharing what you live FOR with those you live AROUND. Living...

A living plant is continuously growing and producing sprouts or flowers or seeds.

A dead plant decomposes.

Be alive.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Deep Seasons

Oh, my five year old self, laugh.
Ten year old self, laugh.
Fifteen year old self, you laugh too.
Thirty-five year old self,
Remember the laughter? Can you hear it?
Look at the laughter all around.
You were once that five, that ten, that fifteen.
Life was deep then. And yet, there was laughter.
Depth is reality.
A shallow season is really no season at all. 
So smile, and laugh, and dance, and sing.
 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fall

This is my favorite season of the year...

Time for fall bike rides ... Apple desserts ... Home cooked meals ... Books ... Cozy warm sweaters ... Crisp mornings

On the menu this week
Homemade chicken curry and naan

Okay that's as far as I've gotten :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekends are for -

It is Monday - Monday it is!
The weekend is over and here are some things I'm thinking of thankfully

  • early morning quiet with coffee
  • lessons in living free of fear
  • upcoming changes which provide opportunities toward maturity
  • beautiful weddings 
  • friends safety in the midst of a hurricane
  • drizzle. Yep I said drizzle.

This weekend I didn't browse about the webby. I didn't unpack as I wanted, clean as I wanted, or visit as I wanted. This weekend I went with the flow (a lot) and forced myself to remember that the summer is fading fast... I read a little, I rested a little, I chatted a little, I indulged a little, I slept a little (ugh, lol!) and woke today ready to start a new work week! That is a good thing, I believe...

Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth - 1 John 3:18
Encourage someone today!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Seven by Jen Hatmaker

This, my friends, is a book review. Or more like, my responses to a book.

The book, Seven, takes the reader through a season of life with Jen as she challenged herself to change seven things about her world.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress

Here are my responses to seven, in random order...  Literally taken from an email so this is my real voice, folks, not my fancy writing voice.

Firstly I will get rid of the excess stuff I've got - I don't need most of it! It causes me heart palpitations and I have to find places to put it; lets all store things just in case someday we turn into people who decorate for holidays/fix our cars/go skiing/garden... I am looking for places to take my things that will be beneficial to those in true need. Sorry Goodwill. I'm thinking of other avenues here...

Secondly I want to go to her church. I am 800% weary of church here, and she describes the tension that I feel about the american church in such a plain, non aggressive way. As she describes their church that is Exactly What I've Been Talking About. Too bad Texas is a couple (hundred) miles away from Oregon. lol. I dunno. Prayerful as God continues to reveal reasons to be hopeful for the american church.

Thirdly, food. I really need to start cooking more at home again, for both the budget and our health. I don't know if I can bring myself to buy organic (much) as financially it is NOT feasible, but I have been buying some things that way. I have been THE LAZIEST COOK for the past several months. I've even figured out ways to eat what I want ultra cheap and then just serve the girls top ramen or cereal. great parenting, eh? 

Fourth, stress. I've been on that band wagon for months. its been nice, when it works - it works very well :)

Media, ditto. I barely do anything media-centric but I married a gamer tv-aholic. Easy for me and impossible for the family. Carry on.

Waste is the easiest one for our family. I had to strongly convince the garbage company that a tiny trash can would be sufficient for our family. Living in Oregon, we recycle (alot of stuff) and since I haven't been cooking much, there isn't much packaging for the trash. But when I do cook, I tend to cook whole, fresh foods and they too have very little packaging. win-win.

Spending. ouch. OUCH. We have been talking dave ramsey, considering doing dave ramsey, and even started a budget for the first time ever. Which has failed for the month of August. Things were going well, until three things. One, the reality that my rebellion against the envelope system means that tracking spending (on food) is impossible, two, twelve cavities that needed fillings... in the mouth of just ONE daughter... and three, two emergency visits to the vet for our basset hound. Yep. The budget this month, my dear friends, was utterly blown. It isn't even the end of the month yet. It comes as no surprise to me that the first month we tried to follow a budget would include over $300 in veterinarian bills, even though in all of our years of dog ownership we have been incident free. Asia is 8 - this is a lot of years we are talking about here!

There is a ray of hope here! I have learned hard-core valuable lessons. Envelopes are required.
I am on a spending freeze, with the exception of budgeted groceries and household items (from a list!) we have need of nothing between now and Christmas. Rachel has a birthday in October and her gift is a visit to the DMV for her driving permit and a haircut. Sarah now has all of her required fillings so we are clear for another season as I hand out flossers and flouride.

There is my assessment. world = rocked.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A little bit o truth

Many are the strange chances in the world, and help oft shall come from the weak when the Wise falter..

JRR Tolkien, the Silmarillion

I re-read the quote above about a week ago... In our moment by moment lives it is easy to lose sight of the simplest of truth. When presented with the choice of water or a frappacino, let me tell you, the frappacino wins more than it should. 
We are often presented with choices and chances that are far more important than a beverage, and yet, our wisdom falters and the voices of wisdom fade away from our mind at the smallest opportunity.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
Life is lived daily, to be met new every morning, for a very important reason. I believe that God himself, who created us and knows our weakness and passion and desire, provided us with the help we need if we seek.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The year of 35

Summer

Non stop and super slow
With late nights, heat,  and laughter.
Never forget the laughter,
It will last long after the warmth fades.

Girls are 14,13,12.
12,13,14. In a blink they will fly.
We talk college, careers, homes of their own
Lessons on cooking, on laundry, on being kind

I'm 35..
Finally able to operate a manual transmission
I laugh, I wear what I want, and I know what I like.

Forget the mocha - give me a strong house french.
Extra spinach in the salad
pepperjack cheese
People.

I'll take ethnic over american, please
Spices, variety, flavor fusion
Dancing, smiling, mischevious grins

Video games will be the death of family
So will texting 
Get off your PHONE!

City over country, although chickens are pleasant.
No green thumb, give me a windchime!
Sometimes I think, what will I really want to remember
The year I'm 40... 50...

I think, I want to remember laughter, people, joy.
The delight of hearing Emily tell of her favorite camp foods
Rachel's passion for the world
Sarah's mastery of cooking and baking and our shared love of people.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Inescapable Joy

Joy -

As I have settled home and spent time processing our time in Haiti, beyond the lessons in thankfulness and humility... ...  I have found myself with a radically different perspective on joy.  The joy they share is a deep deep joy that springs out now matter the season, no matter the weather, no matter the moment.

My friend Adam said it well to the children in Lira (Africa) as he prepared to leave,
"You children have a joy that so many people in America wish they could have, yet they fail to see the way to experience the real joy that you experience. We always say that we are coming here to do all these things and give you children something that you need. We forget to say that when we come here, you give us something that we need. We are in debt to you, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as you. You are co-heirs with Jesus Christ, and your joy that comes from Him overflows into our cups." http://adamneil.blogspot.com/
Everywhere I go on the web, people are sharing the same thing... Ann Voskamp shared the same lesson during her very recent trip to Haiti,
Hope, it is exquisitely fragile and it is an exceptional force and it is essential to faith and you can’t afford to lose it. Lose your fears but never your hope. The whole church fills with this trumpeting worship and we raise our hands and sway and hope can create a quake that cracks all despair. Our smiles can be real epicenters. Christ-centered joy that brings down all the walls. There is hope here — a hope refrain that won’t end. Hope, it lives in us, in Christ Who is in us. And how can the horns not herald it, even here: Never despair of a situation more than you trust in your Savior. It isn’t the likelihood of your hope that sustains you, but the object of your hope that sustains you. http://www.aholyexperience.com
Joy - something so desperately necessary all the time... but especially in this time, in this place. As a backyard people in a fast paced world, we crash every night longing for something we can't always find, and hunger for a food that lasts... but in lands distant, where poverty and hunger and war and disease are battled EVERY DAY, there is joy, there is hope, there is peace.

I pray that we would be awakened from our slumber -
Bonde Bene Ou!

Monday, July 9, 2012

experiences

The girl and I have been home from Haiti for one week...


One week?


I woke this morning drawn to the passage I shared one evening in Haiti, as thoughts of heading home were beginning to solidify for our team... We were off to the beach in the morning, the work we were doing to be continued by others... heading home in just 36 hours, yet I think to most of us it felt like we had surely just arrived...
"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail, and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will REJOICE in the Lord; I will take JOY in the God of my salvation.

God, the Lord, is my STRENGTH; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places."
Habakkuk 3:17-19
I'm still impressed by, and quite possibly overwhelmed by, the gift that God has given us to live thankfully. God doesn't want us to have mountaintop experiences that fade away as we wander a valley on our way to heaven, but longs for us to be drawn to him, to live at a higher level of faith in THIS life - placing our feet on the stones he has laid before us on the walls of a cliff... facing each sunrise confidently with the wind hard in our face... tucked into a cave trusting the maker of the storms... That's what Habakkuk says, and that is what our friends in Haiti would say - in the midst of life, rejoice as they acknowledge that things are fleeting but GOD is not. So here we are, thousands of miles from this lesson, and I'm still drawn to it. The sun is rising in the trees and I have an office to spend my day in... What would Habakkuk say to me?
"Though the fig tree blossom plentifully, and fruit is heavy on the vines... the produce of the olive is bountiful and the fields are full of food... the sheepfold grows by the day and the stalls are packed with herds... I will REJOICE in the Lord; I will take JOY in the God of my salvation.

God, the Lord, is my STRENGTH; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places."
God is still the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Defining Prosperity

Marjorie proclaims "You are my Haitian daughter" and proceeds to fix my hair. Humbled, I sit patiently as she combs out dandruff I pay thirty dollars a bottle to keep under control. I can almost feel her thoughts - don't those Americans comb their hair? I have a lot to learn from the world around me...
 
My hair is short and soon it was styled beautifully, perfect for the American daughter who was pierced clean through by genuine thankfulness.

Thankfulness.. a term that we use rather flippantly at times, and humbly at others... but in Haiti, thankfulness was a lifestyle. Thankful for each other, for water, for sunlight, for rain, for tap-taps... for a toothbrush, tylenol, backpacks... jump-ropes and barrettes, hugs and kisses and tears... joy and sorrow, all mixed into a jumble of perpetual thankfulness.

We were able to install solar lighting during our trip; a gift of a little something from believers a continent away to six families in Jacmel. One family said that the lighting meant prosperity to them. Four lights equals prosperity? Merriam-Webster has this to say of prosperity- Prosperity is the condition of being successful or thriving; especially : economic well-being

I have a lot to learn about being prosperous...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Let's Talk About Haiti

One.
Haiti was, by far, the most eye opening experience I have had... and I have experienced many things. The people were the most humble and thankful that I have met anywhere... having nothing and less than nothing yet praising God in the midst of it all for the life that they do have. Thankful for the chance to get a solar light set for their house... for a pair of shoes... for water.
Two.
Live simply so that others may simply live. This is the common line from Pastor Lefleur and Restoration Ministries. This is a message that we have been sharing for years here in the states. This is a message that pierced my heart while in Haiti. Anna, a beautiful woman very similar to Annete in India, lived this message before us as a visitor from the states. I pray that I can see those areas in my life that are overflowing with excess and let go to live more simply.
Three.
The Caribbean Sea is so amazing ... Isn't God creative? Isn't God loving? wow.
Four.
Living missional. Here is where I will say that the challenge lies. Do we have to travel three thousand miles, spend two thousand dollars, and work in 99* heat to learn what it is to live this life that God has called us to? Probably not. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities I have had to travel on short term missions, but on the flip side, I long to live that life right here.

Returning from Haiti, I feel very conflicted. On the one hand I know we worked and played hard. I know that we shared in the love and grace and freedom of Christ. I know that we brought new money to the neighborhood pot, and there are a little more needs being met today due to the blessings we were able to shower.

On the other hand, I know that when we worked there were people who were not able to. When teams aren't there local laborers are hired. I know that we received extra attention from the kitchen, from the children, and from the community at large. This isn't a bad thing, but we added a burden to the community while being there. I read it like this on another blog; could you imagine pulling up in a poverty stricken neighborhood in America, walking about taking pictures and saying hello to the poor people present? This would, in America, sow seeds of bitterness. I pray that we would always seek God as we go out - pursuing his leading and calling. That we would be willing to do whatever He calls us to do, wherever he calls us to do it.

I am so thankful for our brothers and sisters in Haiti, for teaching me so much and allowing me to encourage and share life with them. I long to return already - to worship with them, teach them English, wash dishes with them, and play games with the children...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Haiti

Here it is, the final week! This means that some of us have already packed and repacked our bags a few times…. double checking everything to make sure its all in order. I still need something... Oh, grapefruit seed extract? I've been fending off some kind of virus this week... a cold, I think.

We had a great time Sunday as we packed away all of the gifts going with us - about 50 pounds of childrens tylenol, 50 pounds of shoes, about 100 pairs of reading glasses, lots of clothing, and cases of jump ropes  - THANK YOU!

We had room for everything in the baggage limits we were give, as God would so design it :0)

The solar equipment is going with us in our carry on luggage, so that it will make it no matter what!

Please pray for us -
  • we are excited and need to get a good night's rest the next few days.
  • we long to be spiritually ready for Haiti and so some of us are fasting today or tomorrow.
  • some of us still have financials to be worked out.
  • six of our team mates are new to short term missions. these new travelers may be nervous, apprehensive, excited, overwhelmed, or all of the above.
After a red-eye flight across country, we will arrive in Port-Au-Prince at 1pm Saturday. The anticipated forecast for Haiti is 97* with 80-100% humidity!

Excited for the opportunity to be the hands, feet, and words of Christ in Haiti -
Lanelle & Rachel

Friday, June 15, 2012

R.E.S.T


R.E.S.T - I was blessed with 30 minutes yesterday in which I didn't have to do anything. There were, as you can see, many things I probably should be doing. But instead, I rested. I sat back, closed my eyes, sipped some coffee, and just breathed.

God loves us so much that he says, come to me, and I will give you rest... I will be your shepherd, I will provide you the perfect way... the door is open, if you would come...

Jesus spent so much time in prayer and seeking the will of God, and we... rush about crazy. I do wonder what we think we will be able to accomplish...

Rachel, the eldest, is preparing to travel to Haiti next weekend with myself and a team of 10 others...  She shared her favorite verse with me...  and I share it with you...
Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:11 ESV
Copper spends all day wandering about this house while I'm at work... and he still loves this mirror. I know, absolutely random... but I think its a pretty good "snapshot" of Copper...

Bonswa!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Home and...

Today is the very last day of school for the three...
(note to self, take last day next year off work)

The dogs aren't happy with the weather, as their walks are limited...
(note to self, find doggy coats, ha!)

I don't really feel like I'm at home yet.. because I've not been.. daily working and nightly errand running with one or more... it feels like all I do is spin around in a circle pouring away gasoline...
(note to self, breathe. and make no commitments at all beginning tomorrow morning!)

Speaking of home... the house is not unpacked. pile, pile, pile... ugh ugh ugh... 
I don't know of any good tips for that. Perhaps in my next week without commitments I will have some time to nest...

Cars and keys...
Make sure you always have a spare set. I'm learning that replacing keys when they are completely gone is a very hard and expensive task... SIGH.

But all is not hopeless and stressful and busy, never fear. It just feels like it right now.
L.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Weekend Links

Moving is harsh and I feel like it has swallowed all of my mental acuity whole... I am fully prepared for this bit to be completely behind us; one last weekend to go!

So, since its the weekend, I decided I would share EVERY blog I follow with you.

Don't worry, there aren't that many...
A Holy Experience - http://www.aholyexperience.com/
Internet Monk - http://www.internetmonk.com/
(in)courage - http://www.incourage.me/

The Hambulletin - http://hambeltons.blogspot.com/
Pilgrims - http://wethreepilgrims.blogspot.com/
Adams Page - http://adamneil.blogspot.com/ 
JD Pet Photography - http://www.jdpetphotography.net/
Reluctant Entertainer - http://reluctantentertainer.com/
Simple Bites - http://www.simplebites.net/
Simple Design - http://simpledesign.net/
Simple Mom -  http://simplemom.net
Rachel the Hat - http://www.rachelthehat.com/
Andy & Belle -http://andyandbelle.blogspot.com/
Smile & Wave -http://smileandwave.typepad.com/blog/

Whew!
I found many of the food ones on http://www.foodgawker.com - my all time favorite website. And most of the clothing and style sites were found through friends! I'm turning 35 this weekend...and feeling just a little bit insecure...

Here is what I've been thinking of the most this week - No one can make us quite as unsure about ourselves as another woman.

And filtering through me on a daily basis, the hymn, I Surrender All.

Cheerio!
Lanelle