“THE PROCESS IS THE END. FOR IT IS THE PROCESS THAT IS GLORIFYING TO GOD.” --Oswald Chambers

"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Friday, December 31, 2010

NEW YEAR’S CHALLENGE FOR THE WIFEYS OUT THERE

Here is a challenge for all you wives out there, if you so feel led to accept it :).

For one week (or maybe two!) keep track of all the time you spend talking to the following people:
-your husband
-your kids
-your friends (you can include extended family here-grandparents, etc)

If you want to be a little more exact, you could divide the husband and/or kid time into “meaningful” time and routine time. You could even have the chart divided for each kid.
Count your phone calls (not to hard when the cell phones tell you how long you’ve been on for!), your conversations in vehicles, your passing in and out the door, your pillow talk time too. You can count bedtime stories, prayers and conversations around the table (counts for both hubby and kids if everyone is involved!). If you go out to eat, count the drive time, the meal, the goodbyes, count it all. Yes, you have to be conscience of doing this-don’t just guess.
It may be best to wait until you are back into the school routine, next week or the following week. Don’t go out of your way to avoid any conversations, and don’t try to make a point to have extra if you feel you are getting low on someone’s minutes. This is just an exercise to see where you are, right now; and to see who you need to spend more time with-and less.

Why? What’s the point? Does it matter who you spend most of your time with? Of course it does! Our priorities are first to our Heavenly Father (suppose you could have a slot for Him too!), then to our husbands and families. I think we will be quite surprised when we look at just who we spend our time talking to. You probably think I am going to say “friend” time is bad. I am not. Because we need that as well (and I know my husband needs me to have that time too). But you know what? My husband is my BEST FRIEND, and he is the one I talk to about EVERYTHING. He is the one I seek first for counsel and then approval/permission depending on the occasion. I know that I talk to him way more than any of my friends. Sure, I might have a phone call once a week or so where I am on the phone for 30-50 minutes. Brian and I call each other 3-6 times a day depending on what we are doing. What do we talk about? Not much-just everything. And then we talk when we are home. We probably talk too much. Sometimes there are things I know he doesn’t like to talk about; but I need to talk through them.
Our created job was to be our husband’s helpmeet. I know that looks different for different people and different situations. But I do know we were created to encourage them, build them up, help (ASSIST) them lead our family (another subject to write about). We were created for each other-we no longer belong to ourselves-our bodies belong to each other (again, a whole other subject!). No, your husband may not be a first-rate husband and father, he may be struggling to hit the top 10; but that doesn’t change your God-given responsibilities to him and to your family. Your obedience isn’t dependent on his.
Okay, I could go on and on about that, but I won’t; for now. :-P

I added the kids category more for me. Sure, I am with the kids all day. But am I really with them? We do school, we do chores, but how much “meaningful” time do I spend with them, just talking or doing a project together? Not as much as I should I have to admit.

So anyway, I hope you are up for the challenge! Take time to start the New Year out recommitted to your spouses and your families.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When you aren’t walking well with the Lord, it is very easy to take others with you, even if they are. How easily our sinful nature is ignited. One little thing leads to another, to another. And unfortunately, if you look hard enough, you will also see that there are many Christians who, while reaching out to those in the “gutters” get sucked in. Those “gutters” can be many different places-the corporate business room, the recovery group, the college crowd. Wherever the Lord seeks us to shine light, there is a HUGE battle waiting to be waged for you. But so, so often it is not a full frontal attack. No, the enemy sneaks in through the back door when you least expect it-when you’re just trying to help somebody out.

Conversely, when you are walking well with the Lord, you may not have as many with you because it is a hard road-an unpopular road-an “I don’t want to hear what you have to say because I know you are right” road. That road is often hard and lonely; it takes patience and perseverance. But by seeing your life-your true joy despite trials and hardships-others will want to walk together in His footsteps. Maybe not always together with you, but on the same path.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A key to prayer: focus on praise not on problems. GOD knows what the problems are, HE wants the praise. Give it to HIM! HE deserves it! He inhabits those praises!

Easier said than done as our selfish desires, wants and needs consume us. Sometimes I wonder what I can praise Him for that I haven’t already done a thousand times. He is the same-yesterday, today and forever. What is there new that I can say? Sometimes it just seems like I am just saying the words.

How do you keep PRAISES new each day?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

the big picture

Been thinking about this because of something that happened not long ago with one of our daughters. She was hurt (emotionally) and it was not intentional (at least I would hope). To me it was just a way that people have lost focus of the big picture. But I am not sure they see it that way. It appears that the big picture to them was the “performance,” the “show”. It was not about a young girl’s feelings and how their actions would affect her. Their concern was the “show” and how they would sound. It was about the whole, even if one part was crushed in the process. I am just sick and tired of it being about the “show”. Does God really care about the show? Or about people-every single person, individually?
When this happened to my daughter, well let’s just say that my papa bear came out real fast. Nothing can elicit anger in me faster them coming home and seeing one of my cubs in tears because someone hurt them. When that happens, watch out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This was written a couple of years ago. One I (KJ) have sat on for a LONG time. Why? Because it could and does come across on the more offensive side and some people aren’t going to like how it is worded; and you know, a small part of me still wants to fit in, to have some friends left! :-)

THAT IS WHY I CHANGED WHAT MY HUSBAND WROTE (yes, Brian added that :-P )

So why post it now? Well, again, God has brought conversations and people into play that just make us think this is the time-some of the exact words were even used (even though I edited them a bit…)

James 4:4-10
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

This is not a very long passage but there is a great deal in it if you take the time to meditate on it. Here are my (Brian's) thoughts on it.

4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
The first sentence I think has a few meanings, neither are good news.
-One, we Christians are the adulterers/mistresses of the world. I see a growing trend in the church (which is the Bride of Christ) becoming nothing more than a prostitute and we practice “temple prostitution” (imagine Brian’s much stronger language here…). We go in when it’s convenient, when she has something to offer us and then we call that worship. She’s a form of entertainment and when she no longer satisfies we move on. I can only imagine how God’s Wrath must burn when this is the case.
-The closer we become to the world the more we alienate ourselves from God. God doesn’t move away from us, we move away from Him. In the world sin is acceptable; just look at what 10-20-30yrs. ago was considered unacceptable and is now the norm. And if you speak out against sin you are considered intolerant. That is often in and outside of the church. There’s a verse in a country song that says “if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything”. There’s a lot of truth in that. It becomes a very slippery slope very fast. It’s a slope that many in the western church are going down.

I take vs. 5 "Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, 'The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously'?" to mean that God doesn’t take a back seat to anyone or anything.

6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
James quotes Prov. 3:34 a familiar passage. Who are the proud? The proud are those who think they can do it {life} on their own. Who are the humble? Those who know they cannot and know they need divine guidance and wisdom.

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
First: submit to God. A word not often looked upon in a positive light.
----Submit: 1) yield, surrender 2) to commit to the discretion or decision of another.
Second: resist the devil.
----Resist: 1) to fight against 2) to withstand the force or effect of.
We often forget that we possess a great deal of power through the name and blood of Jesus Christ. To refuse or fail to use that power is a disservice to Christ. Note both of those words are ACTION words. We must do something-we must Resist.
Third: he (devil) will flee from you. The order is important, any change in order or removal of part one or two, and you WILL fall and fail.

8a Draw near to God and He will draw near to you
A word of encouragement, a promise to hold on to and claim.

8b Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded
The closer you draw to God the more you will see your sin. That’s a good thing. When you see it you can deal with it and thus be cleansed. Scripture is clear, you want God to be working in you and through you? You MUST deal with sin when it is revealed! The term double-minded literally means to have “two souls”. One part of you desires to follow this world/culture and the other desires to follow God and His Word and these two souls are at war with each other.

9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom
Grieve, mourn, and wail for your sin instead of celebrating in it.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. Fall on your face before His throne and allow Him to reach down and lift you up. Yes, easier said than done.

Monday, December 20, 2010

LOYALTY TO THE "CHURCH" OR LACK THERE OF

That has been something that we have been discussing as of late. A situation arose with someone who is loyal to the church but it appeared he was getting burned by the church in an area. We had said something to someone about that you don’t want to burn that bridge, you may never win them back. Some may wonder how I know that. Because my bridge got torched. I was very loyal to the church we attend (even are members of). For years I prayed for this church, tried to be involved and was essentially turned away at every door. I always thought the church’s job was to develop leaders for the future. But I began to see, it was to develop “certain” leaders. There appeared to be criteria, ones that I don’t meet and never will. Some would ask, “why not just leave and go somewhere else?” I wanted to for many years. I would pray about it but God would not release me to go, I still had a purpose for being there, something HE wanted me there for. And I have seen that and am very grateful that I was obedient to HIM and stayed. A lot has happened in the last couple of years. Let’s just say, for myself that bridge of loyalty went up in flames. Then after a congregational meeting earlier this fall I felt released. I did not ask to be released. You see, in the past God has always place a heavy burden on my heart for this church; well that was gone. We were sitting there listening to a lot of talk and little being said and the realization that things will probably never really change here. I walked out early and decided to go home. Thing is, I felt lighter; a weight had been lifted from me. I had been released of the cares of the church (the bureaucracy, the hierarchy, the politics of it). The place is a building, bricks and mortar. I believe that the best thing that could happen is if the building was destroyed, yes destroyed. (Whether the church is my own, the Baptist one of the corner, the Lutheran down the street, etc etc. –any “church” building). Then maybe, just maybe, people would begin to understand that a church is not a building and that often buildings are nothing more than a waste of money. Money that could be used to better further the Kingdom of Christ by meeting needs of people. Tell me, does a big church building bring Glory to God or glory to man? My loyalty lies with Christ and with my brothers and sisters in Christ (whether they be Baptist, AG, EFree, Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox, Presbyterian ...), not in a building or a denomination. Those things satan uses to bring division to the body of Christ. Do I still attend a church building? Yes I do, but for me it is for the kids to have that social interaction. I attend church on Friday night when I meet with our home fellowship group. We pray together, study the Word, some weeks we sing and eat together. We seek to meet each others needs and the needs of others. It is not a one day a week thing; it is a 7 day a week walking out our faith together thing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

selfish

Lately I have been finding out just how selfish I am. Oh, and quite a bit self-righteous too. Ouch. Not what I had been looking to find, those are things we never figure WE will be. It’s always someone else-like my four year old who won’t share his toys (or my 13 year old who won’t share her books…)

Entitled. How many times have I asked my kids why they think they are ENTITLED to play on the computer every day, or rent a video or… When really, I suppose I believe that myself. I am ENTITLED to some peace and quiet, some help around the house, kids who obey the first time…
Situations have come up that, instead of thinking how to help or be a part of, I think of the extra work it will be for me. I get annoyed by the way other people are doing things because it isn’t MY way.

Wow. Do I sound like a three year old or what?

My prayer especially last week for one of the kids was just help me LOVE them-not love because that’s what I am suppose to do; but really LOVE them because I just love them. It would seem I am being shown the reasons why I haven’t been able to. I seem to be too busy thinking of myself, what I need and not what they need.

Truthfully, I don’t feel up for this lesson. I want to shove it away. Wouldn’t you? It just sucks to be shown your own sin. Sure, the nice cliché thing is “well, now I can just pray and it will be forgiven and it will be all gone.” Yeah, right. If only it were that simple. I can pray, I can repent, and then, well then, I have to struggle against it. It’s a BATTLE. A battle against the one of the greatest sinners of the world-my own heart. It might be a sin, but don’t we all get comfortable in our own sin after awhile? I mean, it’s gonna be more work and more stress and hurt more to change. It just feels so. much. easier. to live in it awhile longer.
And the crazier thing? This whole time I sin and struggle and wrestle, my God is loving me, providing for me, forgiving me, NUDGING me (well, ok, sometimes it is a big SHOVE).
The question always comes down to, who am I going to love more: myself or my God? I wish I could say I always chose my God, but far more often than I care to admit, I chose me. I wish there was some “miracle cure” to change it all overnight. But what would I learn then? I’d probably just buy the bottle so when it crept up again, there it goes. Lessons are to be learned. Lessons are hard.
I am SOOOO grateful that God is willing to love me even when I haven’t earned the A+ yet; that He’s still gonna love me through every “retest” I have to take.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Greta is 9!!!!

This posting is a day late, as they all are-it was Greta's 9th birthday on Monday!

We celebrated with the usual trip to Applebees (this time for lunch) for her free ice cream sunday. She was beaming.

I went down to wake up the girls this morning, came back up and immediately she says, "you've forgotten what day it is." I hadn't yet, just didn't know I needed to say it first thing!

Brian rounds the corner, eyes still full of sleep after a long day yesterday snow plowing. She doesn't say good morning, or let him saying anything, just "you've forgotten what day it is." Oh, she was just soooo excited for this day!

Grandma Judi had taken her out to a movie Thanksgiving weekend for her birthday. Grandma Carole made a cake and her and Grandpa Wendell came down here with it.

She is just such a joker and gets sooo excited, she's goofy. Happy Birthday Greta Girl-you bring much joy to our lives!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I started going somewhere with this, but not sure where I was going to end anymore. What do you think?

Seeking someone/anyone out during a tough time seems to be a generational thing to a point. The “older” crowd had to grow up more self-reliant it seems. The past few generations it would seem have grown up expecting others to solve their problems for them! And then there are the in-betweens. The next older generation (than us) doesn’t seem to understand why we would regularly meet with the pastor, or ask for specific prayer requests, or need to talk through what we are feeling. The younger generation thinks we should talk more-and let “them” fix us!
Is seeking help out a sign of spiritual immaturity? Or is holding it in and not getting help the immaturity? Is being unwilling to be real and honest a front or façade? Who does it really hurt in the long run?
Why is asking questions viewed as having a lack of faith? What about iron sharpening iron? Building up the body of believers?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

On Saturday had our pastor and his wife over for supper to play with the kids and say goodbye before they move.

We invited some friends to come over later in the evening as a little extra surprise. They had no idea. If he would have known, he probably wouldn't have come!


He always enjoys bringing sugar over and trying to get the kids riled up. Well, it worked a little too well for him this time!

The kids were just eating him up!

She asked how she could help...I said entertain the kids...and she did! They love story time!


He really wanted a picture drinking out of a cup for some reason.

We wish you guys the BEST--WE WILL MISS YOU!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I just commented to someone yesterday that the devil's playground was our weaknesses...
I am feeling very weak (and fearful) about something today, so the enemy is having a playday. Appreciate your prayers as He leads today!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

So I have been thinking about something…again. And since we’ve been lead for some crazy reason to think things out in the blogosphere, I am writing about it…again.

I have faith. Don’t question that. I do question the aspects of what/why/when/how I believe at various times. And it is okay to question. Because I don’t want to just say “I don’t understand but I have faith anyway.” Eventually that sometimes happens, but usually not until after I have done a little more research. Then I get to the “This is what I think this is it, but maybe I still don’t understand it all, but I am going to believe anyway…” And well, people much smarter than me, people who spend way more time thinking about things than me…well, they don’t have the answers to my questions really. And even if they did, it’s not really an answer, but a starting point so that I can then dig deeper, so I can make it my own.
I don’t know where I would fall on most theological issues (like that really matters). Calvinism, Arminianism, other “Christian-based isms”… And I doubt I would fit perfectly into any one of those anyway.
But I digress a little.

Anyway, what I am still struggling with how to put into words and belief deals with the omniscience of God. As my English dictionary says, the “knowing everything” of God. And God’s omnipresence; His “ability to be everywhere at the same time”. We believe that everywhere includes every-when, because He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.
So what does God allow, what does God cause? What really is a result of the fallen world? One of our three miscarriages we believe was very clearly a part of God’s plan. But really, wouldn’t they all be? Because if He sees all, is everywhere, all the time, has all my days planned out…doesn’t He know my choices too? He knows what I will choose to do and what results will come out of each choice. Psalm 139 really lays it out- v16 says all my days were written in His book before one of them happened. V4 says even before a word is on my tongue He knows it. Maybe v6 sums it up, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.”


A friend is dying of cancer. Is this something God caused for His glory or is this something He allowed for His glory? Is this just a “result of a fallen world”? (What does that really mean anyway?) I mean, He knew it was gonna happen (but how or why?) and how it is going to turn out-so He then has a plan for it already. Just what does that mean? How do we wrap our heads around it? Yes, we live in a fallen world, but God is WAY BIG ENOUGH to do something about it, does He just hold Himself back?

I know, you could easily ask why we bother to pray then? God already knows how everything is going to turn out? But often, it seems my praying is for me to know and serve and glorify God better, and my prayer (that He knows I am going to pray) is already a part of the plan He has set in motion. I guess that goes to one of those “deep theological questions” that comes up-Did Abraham really change God’s mind about Sodom & Gomorrah? Or did He already know what was going to happen and He answered the way He did for Abraham’s benefit? He wasn’t lying by saying for this many people I won’t do it…they were all true statements.

I guess when a situation comes up that hurts and you feel personally, it makes you question more, it makes you struggle, makes you think. But I believe in the long run my faith is strengthened by my questions as we have to seek Him more.

Friday, December 3, 2010

BE YE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY

What does that mean? What does that look like? Does it look the same for everyone or is each person unique? Does it mean you go to church every Sunday morning? We used to have church every Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday night. Now Wednesday night is for the youth and the family goes on Sunday morning. Is that all it takes or is there more? Maybe you don’t consume alcohol (of any kind) or tobacco. Do you get rid of the TV and the computer? There is an awful lot of garbage on them. Maybe you read your bible every morning and every night? Pray a minimum of 3 times a day? What else? I’m sure the list can go on and on and on.
So what does it mean? What does it look like?

“Be ye Holy for I AM Holy”

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Yes, we are all moved back in, settled in, returned to life as “normal” as it is to us…just peddly things here and there to finish up.

The house is different though. At least there are some things that look different-paint, curtains, cabinets, who’s in what room. And that is good.

Sure it feels like home again, I guess, as much as any place feels like home. The problem-I was thinking it was never going to be my home again, definitely not this soon anyway. The whole year in Africa as we struggled with things out of our hands, one of the thoughts was that I don’t want to just come back to the same house, the same job, the same…and it’s like we never left.

Believe me; from the battle scars and hurt hearts, we know we left. And things are different-relationships are different. But yet, here we are, back where we started. Feeling again, is this it? We went to Africa just to come back to where we were? How? Why? Was it to be reminded that this IS it? This IS where we are supposed to be? That there are things here we are supposed to do? Was it to be better equipped to do those things? Are we still going to do what we are called to even if it isn’t as “exciting” as we wish it could be?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

phases

We are in many new phases of life.

New jobs for Brian that will hopefully pay all the bills.

New seasons of ministry and trying to figure them out and how we are do them.

New phases of kids. Boys. Need I say more?

New phases of school. Homeschooling boys. Need I say more? The boys are only 6 (almost 7) and 4.5, but I can tell (sniff, sniff) that all my teaching methods for the girls aren’t necessarily going to work for them. I finally changed a reading program for J, and I think that is going to work. YEAH!

We’ll soon be entering the HIGH SCHOOL homeschooling phase (gasp!). And I gotta tell you, I am not the most excited about it. It is a WHOLE. NEW. PRESSURE. for me. Picking curriculum, a foreign language, navigating CLEP and DSST tests, PSEO options, PSAT/SAT/PACT/ACT and every other kind of test out there. And every time I think I feel good about it, I see another option or hear of something else I should consider… Sometimes I’d just like to throw my hands up and say okay, this is it, we’re doing the basics and off we go. Then I get mommy guilt because I know there is more than they (and I) can do to help for college (thus all the initials I THINK I know the meanings off).

It was neat the other night though, to watch the girls having conversations with their uncle who is a college professor. And even only in 7th and 8th grade, they could hold their own (a bit) and he was impressed with some of the things they knew. Kind of a good pat on the back when you need it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If we are primarily focused on the obvious sins of the world, we are diverted from OUR sins-pride, a lack of grace, selfcenteredness. Our primary purpose is not to defend right from wrong, or truth from untruth-it's not even to defend Him. God can do that, Our ultimate goal is to be fully yielded to Christ. -Shanti Feldhahn in “Veritas”

Obviously, this is from a book Shanti Feldhahn wrote, which I have not read. But reading the quote, even if out of context, stirred me up a bit. On first reading I disagree because I believe God has instilled in us (personally) a great sense/desire of justice. I believe HE has put in us a desire to speak out on wrongs we see, experience, hear. I did not find any one specific Scripture on this, but there is a general sense of this in His Word. We are to care for the poor, widowed, oppressed…we are to correct, rebuke reproof… So we don’t need to defend God-yes, he can take care of Himself; but He calls us to take care of others (widows and orphans in particular in James), and that often means defending them.

On second read, I partially agree. We should not focus on the sins of the world with neglect to our own. So, yes our primary purpose is to be yielded to Christ and living a life that brings all glory to God.
I think though, that as we pray and speak out on the sins of the world (as God leads and directs), that God then does divert us back to our own sins where we are able to come to a place of repentance.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Words are funny- for as you perceive, that is what they are to you no matter what I meant them to be. Our perception is our reality, whether it is reality or not from the other persons perspective.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

And that's one of the things you notice about Jesus in the Gospels, that He is always saying, "you have heard it said such and such, but I tell you some other thing." If you happened to be a person who thought they knew everything about God, Jesus would have been completely annoying. ~ Donald Miller, Searching for God Knows What

Sunday, November 21, 2010

There was a saying that used to be popular:
Better to burnout for Jesus than rust out.”

One of our instructors at MTI explained that this is an extremely bad philosophy. She explained that burnout is not only unhealthy but it is dangerous.

You see your life is your testimony. What does it say about who Christ is? And what does it say about what Christ means to you? About how important HE is to you?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Can God cause divisions to grow the church? Or does He allow it (because we are all sinners, live in a broken world, etc. etc.) and then redeem it?
A few types of church divisions:

-One is a natural division that arises when we try to understand what it is God’s Word says. We aren’t perfect; we can’t know His Word perfectly. But what we do with those natural divisions is how those divisions will later be judged. This may mean a body splitting to focus on different things (more missional churches, more evangelistic, more discipleship, infant/believer baptism, gifts of the Spirit-you name it; it’s probably caused a church spit somewhere!)

-Divisions based on size. This may be that a church just doesn’t want to get over a certain size to maintain the community feel-when they get to a number, say 100, they split and start another church.

-One is brought on from our own selfishness. We have already posted various things about leading and following in a church body. When we step out of the authority of those we’ve elected to lead us, some things can get pretty hairy-dangerous even (in the spiritual sense). Equally dangerous of course, are leaders who don’t appreciate, listen and respond to the body who has elected them. Unless we have just cause and reason, we are really stepping out of God’s authority. Of course, those leaders themselves need to be in line with God’s authority as well. And as we are all human, there will be times when they step out too and then we as a body need to go to them in love and bring them back in line with God’s word (Matthew 18). Just because you are a church leader obviously does not mean you are immune from sin.
And yes, leaders will be held to a higher standard. And WE are also judged for their obedience. Daniel, Shadrach, Mishek & Abednego and all the other Israelites were in captivity because of the disobedience of their king. Okay, yes their own sins too; but not all the Israelites were turning from God, refusing to repent-but they were all in captivity because of those rulers not repenting when called to.
Daniel, Shadrach, Mishek & Abednego’s disobedience to man (King Neb) was obedience to God. How often are we looked at as “rebellious” when we don’t blindly follow where our leaders tell us to go? Do what they tell us to do? We are still ultimately responsible for our own obedience. And then to the obedience of those that we have placed ourselves under the authority of. So we need to be VERY careful of who we put ourselves under. Does it not often seem that the U.S. is blessed or cursed based on the decisions of our government as well?

But what does that mean in the national sense? We pray for our leaders, we can call them to obedience to God, we can be the watchman and the voice of warning and repentance; but we can’t just leave the country. It really doesn’t work that way (despite what some movie stars want to say and do!). That realization should make us cry out all the more for our country and our leaders. I know I personally haven’t been doing that-but haven’t really thought or realized all this until recently.

This translates down to our work areas. And is one of the reasons we were back from Africa when we were.

And it most definitely translates in our Christian walk. There are many leaders in a church-small group leaders, pastors, elders, and committee leaders, whatever. And ultimately we are all under God’s authority, I am not addressing that. What I want us to think about is what it means to be under the authority of someone and the responsibilities therein. Both for those leading and those following. Above our “hierarchy” of leadership (unfortunately that is the structure of most church leadership today), we are still all brothers and sisters in Christ. As such, we are called to rebuke, correct, teach, and admonish each other. The greatest commandment is to love God, secondly your neighbor as yourself. So any and all of those above things must be done in love. But hear this: IT. MUST. BE. DONE. And if it isn’t, there is bound to be a church split. It may not be a formal-people leaving split, but there is a split in mind, soul, spirit, purpose, unity …

SO…does God cause that some times in the church? (Yes, He does cause some things that don’t make sense to us at the time-HE said HE was going to be the one to harden Pharaoh’s heart) Or does He allow us to get ourselves into those predicaments and then use them?

Maybe the question is: does it matter? If the chief end of all man is to glorify God, I think we all need to work in our circumstances every day to do just that! And that will include doing the hard stuff too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

MORE RAMBLINGS FROM THE PAST ABOUT LEADERSHIP

What good does it do as a country or a body of believers (as a whole) for the people in it to personally repent but not the leaders? Or as leaders, is it good enough for you only to repent personally, or within your leadership group? When there are country/corporate issues, do the leaders need to repent publicly? If it is a moral failure, do they need to repent publicly? If it is a “little white lie” type of sin, is there a place for our leaders to publicly repent to show themselves as human?
What if they won’t? What happens to the rest of us? Do we desire to repent ourselves? Do we see a need? On the mission field we had a pastor ask us why he should discipline after those under him when his partners weren’t being rebuked and corrected for their indiscretions. He didn’t think he needed to--why would they listen to him when another leader wasn’t being disciplined?

Daniel 9 is all about Daniel fasting and seeking God in prayer and supplication for Israel, on behalf of Israel. I would assume there were others praying as well, it just doesn’t say that though. I would have to believe many of the Israelites were crying out (but maybe not in as much knowledge as Daniel-see verse 2). But in Daniel, we have this one man-a leader- (for Babylon the country, but also for the Jewish community there) crying out, repenting on behalf of the nation. Really, check out verses one to nineteen; it’s our story too. We have rebelled, transgressed Your laws-and we got what GOD said we would get if we didn’t repent (v 11-13). Daniel then petitions that God would turn away His wrath from Jerusalem (v 16). The last part (v. 20 and following) is God’s response through the angel Gabriel and in this we see some prophecies of the end times.

But where I want to go to is this-if Tom, Dick and Harry were praying and praying for Israel, but the leadership of Israel wasn’t, then…

What are the responsibilities of those who lead? Of those who follow? How do they intertwine?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Do you remember years and years ago the mom and pop grocery stores? People would just go in to visit. Everyone knew everyone, it was a family atmosphere. And now they’re gone and we have the big box stores. Sure things are probably a little cheaper but at what cost? And it has carried over and we have the big box churches now. The consumerism mentality keeps carrying over into all aspects of our lives and in conjunction with that is the competition of the businesses/churches. Who offers this or that program, which has the biggest and best state of the art facility. And just like in the big box stores, they can put out the fliers, have the promotional, and hang some balloons…to get you to come in and buy the latest and best whatever. Truth is, a lot of the time it is just crap that is dressed up to get you to part with your money. Sad thing is I see the same tactics used in the house of God. Instead of speaking the Truth we use gimmicks to try and lure people in. We try to seem to be very tolerant. We just want to get them in the door-it’s about the numbers. It appears that we don’t think Jesus did a very good job and we need to make improvements on His ministry style.
If you look at Scripture, Jesus’ ministry only lasted 3 yrs and He drove more people away than He brought in. But yet-those people were ready, willing, and DID-die for their faith. Are the people you are bringing in ready to do that? Or are they just “part of the crowd?” What are you doing to equip, prepare, and release the body of Christ to do HIS work? This just isn’t a question for the corporate Church. This is for you and me as well. We are all members of the body. How, or better yet-WHO are you shepherding along in their faith walk?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yes, I am very type A. What can I say?
There are a lot of unfinished or just unpublished thoughts, in our blog file. That means it is time to finish them up and get them crossed off. So in the next however long it takes, we are going to be reaching into the archives and get some older stuff up. Haven’t decided if I will tell you when we wrote them—guess that can be part of the fun!

Question for you-and of course, there is a story behind it, but no; you will never figure it out—so don’t try. Just tell me what you think.

Do you think Hudson Taylor, George Mueller-those types of guys who waited on God to provide every need, would accept the help however it came? Through a Christian group or church, a non-professing organization, through the government, etc. What do you think? Or are there examples of any of those that you know of? Did Mueller accept the bread from the baker whether or not he knew he was a Christian? Did he ever accept items for the orphanage from the government, etc-those types of things.
Thanks for the input!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rebellion
Sin of witchcraft
Bitterness
Resentment
Negativity

What about reality? Why is telling it “like it is” so often viewed negatively? Why don’t we want to see it, hear it, deal with it? If we disagree with what someone else sees, normally we can just say fine-we have a difference of opinion, we’ll agree to disagree. But there are many people who will put you in the rebellious category if you see things differently than your leaders-in government, at home, and especially at church.
There was a running “joke” on the mission field-if you disagreed (with leadership) you were told you had the sin of witchcraft and were just in rebellion from your agency. It was always a super “ouch” then when you would turn out to be right! But it wasn’t rebellion, it was just knowing from your own past experiences that something wouldn’t work for whatever reason.
And I should have freedom as a brother or sister in Christ to tell you what I see and feel and know, but then not be labeled or judged. And just so ya know, I am not saying that as a backlash (or whatever the term is) about something out on the field. I am talking about here and now too.
God often gives eyes to see where HE is blinding another.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Embrace your gifting

One of these days Brian will write his own story to this statement. Here is one of the thoughts I had for myself when He said God was speaking this to him.

Now, everyone who knows me knows that I am organized. I like to serve; I am all into common sense and getting it done. But I think I have another gift that I definitely haven’t embraced.

We talked about this verse in our training at MTI before we went to Africa:
17 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them. 18 Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids. 19 The sound of wailing is heard from Zion: 'How ruined we are! How great is our shame! We must leave our land because our houses are in ruins.' “20 Now, O women, hear the word of the LORD; open your ears to the words of his mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament. Jeremiah 9:17-20

I. AM. A. CRYER. Not just a crier out the corner of your eye. Nope I am an all out blubbery, LOUD, convulsing crier. And have you ever seen one of those types of criers try to hold it in? NOT PRETTY.

The point of the conversation at MTI was somewhat about culture, comparing the more “middle-eastern” way of in the street wailing to our reserved western way. The point was also of the GIFT that sitting with someone and just crying is. Not offering unwanted opinions (Okay, I struggle with that!), not telling them it will be okay, not telling them to suck it up/hold it in/whatever. Just sitting, being still and weeping and even wailing with them.
Why would you want to? Tears really are cleansing-they are a release of the emotional, the spiritual. There is something to the “just get it all out”. And there is something to doing it with someone else, even a stranger. This is the side where I am much more comfortable, but yet, I still fight against it. I wonder what people will think of me, I wonder if I should go to someone when I don’t know them very well-what will they think? What will other people think especially if they know I don’t know them well? It’s my own silly pride that holds me back.

I also cry, or start to, often during worship. Not from my own worship per se, but from seeing other people’s worship. It moves me, it stings me-I desire to be in that communion with God. I am not just looking for an “experience” though. I want to be communing-be in relationship-be in awe-be in the throne room REALLY worshipping. Let’s face it, as a mom of 7, 6 of them in the row with me, I don’t get to be as focused as I want to be.

I cry when I think about death, as most anyone would. I cry when I remember loss, when I think of what would happen “if”, or in some cases “when”…yup-I feel the tears burning now! But as much as there is the sadness in those cries, there is an anticipation too. The verse Where, O death, is your sting? 1 Cor. 15:55 comes to mind. Oh yes-I expect a sting. But really-there is just this tiny bit of excitement about death. I am sure it would be wrong to say, but it’s a little bit of a jealousy! They (if a believer) would be with Jesus! They will be free of pain, cares of the world, struggles…really-can you not wait?? Where, O death, is your victory? Really-we are the ones in victory-we will be in GLORY when we die. CHRIST HAS OVERCOME DEATH! And if we are in HIM, so then have we!

As in the case of these particular verses, there is also the weeping and wailing over the loss, the ruin, the devastation-often from sin. I do have a harder time here. As the mommy I feel so distracted, even in prayer and times of worship for what the kids are doing (or not doing!). But there is a call to be openly wailing over the sins of the people (church). I have attended our prayer meeting at church on Thursday nights. It’s not a sit around in a circle and pray for each other type of meeting. There are people walking and praying, there are people kneeling and praying, there are people laying on the floor praying. And there is weeping. Weeping and crying out to God. No, I was not one of them. But I should have been. While in a different prayer group, we did do this-on the floor, weeping, letting the Spirit intercede through us. It was an amazing time. The sins of this world should be driving me to my knees to weep and wail for forgiveness and mercy.
And really, that should make you uncomfortable. You should be uncomfortable and wonder what is so bad that she is going on like that?! But you should not want to come over to see what is wrong and just comfort me-no, it should make you look at your own heart and the world and drive you to weep and wail too. We deserve death, destruction, GOD’S WRATH. But, so often, for so many, others' tears don’t make us think of that. It just makes us uncomfortable. And we want them to stop. Sometimes we even ask the pastor to tell them to stop doing it-because people aren’t comfortable.

So I will try to work out how to embrace this gifting. I don’t know what that will look like. I guess it is a good thing I don’t wear make up!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In talking with someone a few weeks ago, a blog we had linked to back in July came up. It was this post, which led you to two other posts. I decided to go back and see if this guy had gotten any other comments on it or had written more about it. I came across this article that I thought seemed to go along those lines. We wrote about this somewhat here.

We do agree on the issue that not EVERYONE should be involved in EVERY aspect of church business. This guy gives a good definition of how most EFCA churches are “congregationally” run and what that means.

We have seen many issues though that get brought up and then die in either committee one, two or three on their way to approval. Many elder boards are now viewed as a yes-or-no totalitarian/authoritative board, instead of as a shepherding board whose role it is to be “responsible for the spiritual temperature of the church, ensuring that the congregation is taught, protected, developed - empowered and released in ministry and led well...All of this was designed in an atmosphere of trust where leaders were actually loved and appreciated by the congregation.” It seems many boards have become administrative instead of shepherding, thus many of them are no longer trusted or appreciated. Well, I would suppose many are appreciated on the "trustee" role they are playing-taking care of the building matters, finances, etc. But when the model of shepherding is lost, much respect is lost as well. It's almost a sneaky thing sometimes. You may not come right out and say or feel that you have lost respect for the board, but something just doesn't feel or sit right.

This congregationalism goes amuk stuff does not though, allow the leaders to run amuk either. We are all under Christ’s authority. Elders, pastors, musicians, members, regular attenders. And we are fellow heirs, all working for the same goal. So while not EVERYONE needs to know and be involved in EVERY decision, the heavier responsibility then falls to the leaders to listen, understand, and yes-appreciate all the differing views, opinions, hurts, needs and desires that the congregation brings and not favor any of one (group, idea) over another.

Monday, November 8, 2010

October was definitely a busy month-but also a very good one.

-We moved from the house in Willmar back to Kandiyohi. Good and bad I guess, I am sure we will write about that soon.

-We had TWO garage sales. After the second garage sale, we had a giveaway of the items left. We first invited the Spanish church from our home church. One woman had just recently moved to town and told us she had nothing in the house. So we loaded her up! She got furniture, desks, beds, and lots and lots of clothes. What a blessing to be able to do that! She was just so cute with her nervous laugh every time we found something else to ask her if she wanted. The guys loaded up the trailer than delivered it to their home. It turned out to be the exact duplex one of the guys had lived in 13 years ago! Crazy!



The remainder of the clothes were picked up by a friend for a local church who does a free clothing exchange each fall and spring.

-We also helped organize a benefit for one of our friends who has brain cancer.


Definitely not something we would ever want to have to put on, but it turned out to be a blessing for many. I know their family was blessed by the outpouring of support before, during, and even after. They were touched and felt God's love that day and HE was glorified. And we continue to pray for her healing here on this earth.

-The regular work, school, and home chores. We kept waiting for the month to pass as it was just. so. crazy.

And now we are off into the next season. Choir festivals, family, friends, small group, bible study, kids night at church, more school, work and home. Oh yeah-and our basement is getting some work done in a few weeks. Yes, it is never ending; but I think we are into a (brief) lull!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

salon day

The girls and I got to have a fun day at the salon last Thursday. I was bringing them all in for malibus (conditioning treatments) and hair cuts. While we were waiting I was asked if I wanted to be a model for back facials, facials, and make ups. I wasn't sure as those would take three hours and I knew the girls wouldn't take that long. But they said no problem-we'll do their nails, give them up-dos, no charge. My things were no charge too of course, so...how can you say no??
It made a busy day an even busier day-but oh well I guess! FYI-a back facial is just like what they do on your face-exfoliate the skin, moisturizer, a little massage, a "mask" to soften the skin. It sounds really weird, but it was a pretty heavenly day!

Here are the beauties!















Wednesday, November 3, 2010

As I said it has been a long time since we’ve written anything…really meaningful. I was told the other day by a gal who still reads our blog how thankful she was that we were still writing and with everything she’s gone through, she’s appreciated it.
So that makes me want to keep sharing what we are learning and dealing with and trusting God with.
This month has been surviving. It’s the promise land of November now :-) so things should settle down, right? Yeah right, we’ll see!
Thinking of our last 4 years (maybe longer) we have been in a pretty constant state of transition. The process of deciding on a mission field, preparing for it, going, being there, coming back, dealing with the hurts, wondering about a next job, wondering about housing, moving and that’s just the “unregular” stuff like school and kids and family life thrown in. So I wonder, what would I do without this craziness? We’ve been in transition so long, I don’t know if we know anything different!
The mental busyness seems to be more what bogs me down than the actual busyness. But even that I enjoy thinking through. Then the time comes to do it…and bam-I am overwhelmed at trying to do it all.
And truthfully, what gets left behind? Yup-God. My quiet times, my prayer time, my thinking and studying time. But God is so faithful, He is so loving, He is the Father waiting for me to come back. In the midst of all this crazy, I have had some truly amazing prayer times with others. So even while I struggled on my own, God was orchestrating times of refreshment for me as well.
So, so grateful for His love and provision and how He cares for me!

Monday, November 1, 2010

HAGGAI-written probably a few months ago

It's been awhile since we wrote. I am looking back to see what we may have written but not finished editing. This is one that I found...

I am up to Ezra and the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem during my chronological bible reading. In the middle of Ezra I was sent over to Haggai. This book is a small series of messages to the Israelites. The time is around 520 BC, August 29 to be exact I was once told…
Chapter one goes like this (thanks Dr. Larson for the teaching on this!):
1-2 It’s time! There were no more excuses for why they weren’t rebuilding the temple. The people were procrastinating; they were side tracked by many other things (mainly their own selfish desires).
3-6 God is telling them you need to set priorities-MY house is to be built before your (homes) and things for your comfort and pleasures. They were doing their way before God’s, they were more concerned with making their own homes beautiful than the Lord’s house.
7-12 This is a call to get involved in finishing the Temple- v8 also gives us the purpose of our obedience to God: He says, “that I may be pleased with it and be glorified.” In this section God takes responsibility for the drought on the land. He tells us why in verse 9-because His house lies desolate. God will do whatever it takes to get our attention sometimes!
13-15 Haggai reminds them that the Lord will be with you! This was needed encouragement to the Israelites as well as they had already had some opposition to their rebuilding of the temple, and it was a needed reminder-one will all need!
In chapter two God encourages the Israelites that the latter temple will be more glorious than the first. Some of the elders were remembering how grand Solomon’s temple was and becoming discouraged, so God was giving them a peak about His plan for this temple.
Verses 10-19 of chapter two address holiness. The message illustrates the concept of contamination and then God applies it to the nation of Israel. God requires holiness and obedience from us. When we sin, it “contaminates” and blocks the blesses of God. Because the people would (then) obey God (in building the temple), they will blessed from that day on. What a great incentive to repentance! Not only confessing your sin, but TURNING from it as well. Just what is turning from your sin? It’s walking in a new way. It’s turning from the path you are on to another path-God’s path. It’s not easy, and sometimes we fall off the path. But the Lord is gracious and kind and remembers His mercy toward us. HE helps pick us up and shake off the dust and start again.
In the last few verses Zerubbabel is a symbol of the Messiah to come. In these last few verses, God says he will destroy and overthrow the nations of the earth and the (Messiah) will be honored.
So, the questions to ask yourself are:
-How high is God on YOUR list of priorities?
-Do you have reverence for God?
-Have we lost sight of what it is like to be God’s child?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

done!

I went to the Willmar house this morning and did my final walk/clean through. Hopefully I didn't forget anything...like a pile of dirt in the middle of the floor somewhere! I think it should be good, I kind of lost my gumption towards the end when I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. A huge, huge thank you to Cathy M. Last week she showed up at the garage sale to tell me she was coming to clean. PTL! She spent about six hours there that day, three to four just in the three bathrooms. There is just NO WAY I would have been able to do it this week. Things have been incredibly crazy this last month-two garage sales, the move, two houses to clean, school and kids, Stacey's benefit. I keep saying I just need to get through to November 1st. I am keeping things off the calendar that aren't school related for now (or at least trying to-two things already came up for next week...guess it never really ends.)

A THANK YOU the size of Mt. Everest doesn't even begin what to cover what we owe Dennis & Lynnie for sharing their house with us the past year. The Lord clearly orchestrated the timing and the details and everything else. We have been so blessed by the use of your home this past year. May the Father continue to lavish His blessings on you, favorite ones!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

gone!

TV is gone-PTL!!

2 of the 3 bird feeders left...

few leftover garage sale items

Here are a few items from the garage sale that didn't sell, but we'd like to move ASAP.

One of these will be donated to a benefit this weekend; so let us know which size you want!


We need to move this. Hitachi 64" HDTV. This was our main TV, it works great. It would just take up half our living room at the house in Kandi. We are asking $300/best offer.



Leave a comment or call me at (320) 444-6501.

Friday, October 22, 2010

So, since I don't want to do what I should be doing (cutting peppers), I thought I'd get these "after" pictures up.

As a reminder, here's a picture of the "before". Sorry it's so crappy-it's a picture of a picture-lots of flash.


and here...is the "after!"
(the flash wasn't on so it doesn't look as bright as it really is)


I gots me a dishwasher!


As you can see we opted for the green up top only. In the hallway it is the toasted cashew with the green over the paneling on the lower half. (you can see just a portion of that up above by the door)


Brian is also making a kitchen table and benches for us. We were going to do a booth in the corner, but decided on the table and benches instead. He is actually making longer benches than this and we will keep the smaller ones for adding in as needed on the ends.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

update...finally

Well, we are moved! It went pretty well on Saturday with a couple families that came over to help. We slept in the house that night and were able to get around! THANK YOU Helen for supper that night-a real meal-and I didn't have to make it!

Sunday Brian finished some stuff up at the other house and we made another load of piddly stuff to Kandi. We had to take back a bed to the store as it wouldn't fit down the steps; but we got it all taken care of. My mom had supper for us that night (THANKS mom!) and we decompressed just a little bit at their house.

On Monday morning the girls and I headed to the Science Museum of Minnesota to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. They leave on the 24th so we needed to get there. We went with another family and it was pretty neat. I had wanted to go as a family with Bri and all the boys-but it was a good thing we didn't. The Dead Sea Scrolls got long for all the kids, but they did like it. They spent another 2 hours in the rest of the museum and we could have been there all day and more to see it. Brian was working around the house mainly that day and got some more things finished. The boys went to play at another friends (THANKS Hahne). That night I worked on the garage sale a bit.

Monday I had gotten a call from the realtor wanting to show the Willmar house. I tried to explain it was not cleaned up, we had just moved: but he was insistent. So Tuesday AM I got up early and went to that house and cleaned for three hours; it was passable I guess. THANKS Amy for coming to help for a bit.

The rest of that day was spent doing more unpacking, getting the desk I needed and trying to keep everyone sane (especially me!). Brian was working out at the farm as the last of the corn was being combined.

Today is Wednesday. What's left? Some boxes in our room mainly; getting down to that last what should we do with this?? There's clean up outside too-empty bags and boxes, toys and bikes that will have to get in the shed sooner rather later for the winter. And the garage-that too is where unknown things are ending up.

I guess all we need now is snow, huh? Or maybe now that we are in, the house will sell...'cuz living in transition for 3 1/2 years isn't enough... Good thing God knows what He is doing and knows what we can handle. Please God-a little break would be nice!

We haven't gotten any school done this week, except the musuem visit. And yes, that kinda bugs me. As my life seems to be about unrealistic and unmet expectations, I was HONESTLY figuring we'd easily get to school again by Tuesday. Really, I was. I know, I know-but that is how I think and work. It's not like we are behind, and that this move isn't the EXACT reason why we started school in the middle of August...but I don't like to take too much time off. It's not good for the kids in the sense that it gets them out of the familiar routine. They've (me) all been acting out lately. Not listening, not doing what they know they have to--just I need some normalcy and attention type of stuff. THANKFULLY we are getting close!

I think I should be about as done as I am going to get here in the house by tomorrow night. Nothing on the calendar yet. Friday I will need to finish pricing and setting out the new items for the garage sale, which is on Saturday. Sunday is a planned day too with some visitors and then cleaning up the garage sale. We should be all ready to get back to "life" on Monday.

I hope anyway.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WOW. What a 24 hours...

On Sunday we drove ALL THE WAY to Norwalk, which is just south of Des Moines. Oh yeah, then we drove ALL THE WAY back home-about 701 miles.
The first group of Zambian students that are at the IBC have been in the States for about two weeks and have another week here. We have known that they were coming for quite awhile and thought about going to see them, really for the kids’ sake and their processes of healings and goodbyes and all that. But still, we didn’t know. There was apprehension, obviously.
The students arrived in the Illinois at the end of September. The next day or so we received a call from them. Our friend who spent two months at the school in summer of ’09 had gone to see them. That morning she said they kept asking about us and when we were coming. That evening she finally just handed them her phone and said just call them! A few of them talked to Brian for a few minutes then when the one realized Ma wasn’t with him, they hung up on him! He says he knows how he rates now! Which I gotta tell ya, is still a little weird to me as I really didn’t spend as much time with them as he did. I sang with them and was around, but still, it’s just weird to me. Anyway, they called and I talked with four of the students and Lucy. We did the greeting-how are you? How is your family? And then they kept asking when we were going to come and see them. At this time we were still a little undecided, but this was definitely pushing (me) us to go. I just told them Iowa or Nebraska, maybe, we would have to see if it worked out.
We finally decided we had to go-the chances of seeing them ever again are pretty much nil. So it was important for the kids. And we have plenty of other friends in Iowa and our friend was coming from Indiana…so it was going to be good. There was of course apprehension about the whole thing, but it was ALL GOOOD in the end.
So we took this drive-about 6 hours for us to get there. We got to a park and let the kids play for awhile and took some pictures and run off a little energy. Then we nervously headed over to the church. Now remember, the students don’t know we are coming. We head into the church and the gym and finally one of the students noticed C & M. I can’t even describe the look on his face-someone else said it was like Christmas, but better. The next thing you know there are 14 students clamored around us and hugs and tears and laughs and handshakes and wow---what a blessing. I look over and the rest of the people there are just kind-of watching it all. It was just beautiful.
For the next 2 hours or so the students are loving on our kids. We had a meal, played games, talked, and caught up. Some of the boys were teasing C & M just like they always did, and the girls were loving on G & H. Other boys were running around with J, M & H. They can’t believe how big everyone is getting. I was steeling myself for the “you are getting fat” but I didn’t get one thankful (maybe they were reminded that it isn’t polite in America!), but C did. She was okay with it-she knew what they meant.
We greeted Iowa friends as well and had some good talks. It really just felt good to be loved, missed.
The service began with some worship from the church’s team and then the Zambians sang their way up and did some songs and some of the students gave their testimonies. They sang their way down and the service ended. We got some pictures and C was asking what was next-where they were staying, we were, etc. and I reminded her that we had to get back. “Oh, great,” she said, “more goodbyes” and started crying. So of course I did too! It’s like they knew it was coming, but there was the realization that in all likelihood we will never see this guys again-and they were such a part of our lives. It was hard. As the students came off the stage from some pictures they came over and started their goodbyes as they had to get going too. Oh again the tears started flowing.
It was good to say goodbye to Faith as she wasn’t there when we left last year. It was good to be encouraged by them, told they were praying for us, and again-just be loved and appreciated it. There were just good, sweet words spoken and felt all night. One of them told us as they left-“remember, we are one”. (A reference to a song they sang) I don’t know how all to describe the day-they were just so wonderful with the kids. Many talked with Brian and shared appreciation. It was SUCH. A. GREAT. DAY.
Of course, they want to know when we will be in Africa again!
There is so much more I could say, ‘cuz this post isn’t doing it justice. Such an awesome God we are called to obey. Such awesome blessings He provides, even amidst much pain.
We finally got on our way about 8:30 and there were tears in the van as we shared things they said and again talked about how this really is probably the last time we will see them. Oh, but it was so good to be there.
We headed up to Ames to see another friend-got there about 9:30 and visited and caught up until midnight. We then headed out, we were wide awake (or so it felt!). After about 1.5 hours we had to stop at a gas station and take a nap. About 4:30am we started driving again and ended up at home a little before 9.
A whirlwind, very long, but very refreshing 24 hours.
Pictures will be coming!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

volunteers needed!

Hey all-check this out, then hop over to www.staceywasikbenefit.blogspot.com to see how you can help. Bakers, servers, set up, silent auction donations, kids corner coordinator and advertising help are needed.
Thanks for sharing Christ's love with the Wasik family!

Click on the picture to make it larger to see)

Monday, October 4, 2010

So......

You'd think that with the (first) garage sale done, things would feel settled down and all that.

Not. So. Much. So.

There's plenty of time, no rushes...but my insides still feel all "ahhh" as there are lots of things I want to get done. But some of them I can't do myself and I am being very good about keeping school as a top priority. It's just all the other little things that come along and add up and pile on and just life in general.

I guess I'll relax when I die! Haha. Wait...I won't need to then.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

GARAGE SALE IS FINALLY HERE!!!!!!!

Here are some photos of some of the things on the garage sale tomorrow!! Please come!! 8-6!!

This is part of mine


My main corner


GE Fabric Care 4 setting dryer-2 1/2 years old


Computer Desk


LCD projector-blueray compatible, high definition
7.1Ch amplifier
Surround sound speaker system.
72" (?) screen


Hand crafted Bird feeders


John Deere JS63 6.6 HP lawn mower


A friend's corner


Her BIG stuff


The last of hers

Kenmore Stylite Hepa Filtration vacuum. New in November-we just don't' need two anymore!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIAH!!!!

Well, as per all the other kids thus far this year, I am a day late in getting the birthday greeting and photos up. Oh well. We DID celebrate yesterday by going to Applebees for appetizers and dessert. She pulled a "Hailey" and didn't want to eat too much 'cuz she didn't want to get full for her ice cream! :-)

She is now 12 years old! My how the time flies! She has a sweet tender spirit and is so gentle with kids (well, not our own of course). In nursery she jumps up to take the criers. In all the letters we got from the kids in Zambia, they mentioned how they missed Mariah. She was often with them taking care of one or the other.

Memory and Memory

Mariah at age 5

This was age 7

Age 9, all gussied up for pictures for a Father's Day present

Shortly after her 10th birthday

Mariah-yesterday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Such crazyness-feelings-tensions-acting out

Moving is excited in one way; really NOT.SO.MUCH. in others. There is acting out-by all the kids (and yes, by mom and dad too). One is lying more than usual, many are doing what they want instead of what told (‘cause I am not always around or too busy to correct every infraction), one is wetting the bed (again; the usual reaction for that one), some are whiny, some just want the negative attention of getting in trouble so they will do WHATEVER it takes to get it…all this leads to ME being C.R.A.B.B.Y. (any idea why we emphasize words that way online??)
Just because I know it is happening and why, doesn’t make it any easier. Unfortunately, it isn’t making my reactions any better. I am just getting more annoyed, more tired, and LOUDER. And we aren’t even to the actual crazy-physical-moving time. Right now it’s just more that mental list. I want to be somewhere doing something most often other than what I am doing, but which I couldn’t probably do on my own anyway...and then you throw in doing school, church stuff, small group planning, husband time, kid time…well, you all get the picture.
And some of the kids just get my goat WAY faster than others. And there are different reasons for each kid. Talking back and eye rolling are big no-nos, especially for the older ones. And they, like me, seem to have problems changing attitudes in a timely fashion. With the little ones they can be easily distracted with a different activity. Some are just LOUD-they talk loud, they sing loud, they play loud. Usually not a problem, but when my mind is already reeling, thanks-don’t need the noise right now.
I have HUGE expectations for my kids, like really huge, and in all likelihood unattainable. If I tell you something one day, it applies the rest of the day, week,etc-they should know all that by now. Especially when it is a daily schedule thing! Simply things, really, right?? I expect them to read my mind, I expect them to always play together nice, I expect them to listen, I expect, I expect, I expect. I do this with Brian too.
So, as good as recognizing it is, it’s not enough. It’s hard to change, hard to adjust, hard to fit everyone’s schedules, wants, desires and needs. I know I can’t do it all on my own-but I still seem to like to try.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Here is a photo further away, without the flash. So the black is not black-black; it's black with a smoky look-or something like that. The green looks maybe a little darker here than it appears in the other photos. Does it change your opinion?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

colors

I am SOOOO not good at picking colors, but have to...so you can help!

I know it is hard to really see the colors because of the photo and the flash and all that...but do tell me what you think!

I LOVE this! Black counter with the reddish stained cabinets. This doesn't change.


LOVE this green with the black counter. This is the tricky one, because it is actually a little darker than it looks on this cardboard piece. Pay more attention to the bottom half as there is less glare. Actually, if you scroll down and then come back up, it is a little easier to see.


So-will the green go with the cabinets? Lots of flash and glare on this photo on the black counter, so focus on the green and reddish.


Another try, not so much glare?

Here is a BEFORE from a few years ago. The white fridge isn't there, that's where the dishwasher will be.
So, the soffit will be green up top. There would be green behind the dishwasher and down to the entry on the right. To the left of the stove is the hallway. We will be painting that panel, probably the green and the top will be a little whitish/cream color. Behind the fridge that is up close there is wall that could either be green or light.


I suppose the soffit and the space inbetween could be lighter too, but I am digging the contrast and the green and black counter top together.
Oh, and did I mention that this green paint is FREE??