Showing posts from 2012

Hospitality for missionaries

credit: Wycliffe Associates God sent a neat blessing our way a couple of weeks ago when we had the privilege of hosting a missionary couple in our home for an overnight.  They had served in Indonesia many years, translating the entire New Testament for an indigenous group and actively working in church planting and development.  They have been seconded from their home mission to Wycliffe Bible Translators to share the Bible translation vision with Indonesian churches here in America, so are travelling cross-country for several weeks.  Our home was just one stop of many in this busy month for them. Which leads me to the point of this post.  Did you know that you and your family could be involved in this kind of hospitality ministry?  Missionaries who are home on furlough or traveling for ministry purposes are often on a very tight budget.  Staying in a home saves motel and restaurant expenses for them, and gives them a chance to build new friendships and share about their work. 

Tunnel vision

           We all have days from time to time where the issues of life simply overwhelm us…stress, confusion, discouragement, depression, sadness.  It doesn’t help that the world about us is oppressively broken and negative, confronting us at every turn with systems that are falling apart, dreams that fall to the ground, situations whose trickle-down effect sap our energy, vision, and hope. I had a day like that yesterday.  Felt like I was looking up at bottom and flat-out crying to God for a rescue.  It’s been one of those years where the unrelenting ‘stuff’ of life—whether in my own life or in those around me—has demanded that I keep a strong hold on my faith in God and His promises or lose my bearings altogether. Times like this always take me back to the basics.  God loves me.  God is bigger than all the ‘stuff.’  He isn’t the least buffaloed by calamity.  He has good plans for me and will see to it that I am where I should be today and all my tomorrows.  He is at work in eve

Month in review

Once again I’m caught in the rush of a new school year and finding myself saying, “Wait!  We aren’t done with summer yet, are we?!”                       Summer was entirely too short and my wish-list too long to get everything in this year.  God was gracious to give me July and early August to work on garden, yard, and home things, and get my school planning well under way.  Good thing, too—my dear Mom had a stroke in August and things have seemed topsy-turvy since then.  (Second family stroke this year—enough already!) It’s hard to be hundreds of miles away from family anyway, but when there’s a crisis it really hurts.  You pray and stay connected and trust that the Lord is working a testimony of  grace.  You jump when the phone rings, and shed tears of thankfulness at progress reports.  It’s ever a walk of faith, this life, isn’t it? But life goes on and we’ve settled into our new school year.  SweetPea is a junior this year, so with only a couple more years to go, we’re try

Why do I have hope?

                    (This is a re-post of something I wrote in response to the 9-11 tragedy that rocked our country.  It seems appropriate not only to share it again on the anniversary of that tragic day, but also to bring encouragement to many of us who are struggling with the multiplied challenges of life.)   Why Do I Have Hope? I have hope because... ...God loves me: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39) ...I am chosen: ...but you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.    (I Peter 2:9) ...when the world seems to have gone crazy, He is still God: In this world you will have trou


Among my favorite things on earth, other than people, are all that God created—living green plants and flowers, rock, water in all its forms, the animal kingdom, the stars.  No superhighways nor sky-scrapers nor technology in all their marvelous forms can compare with the incredible artistry and perfect functionality of all that He made. I have a thing for wood.  It fascinates me that trees were given to us for shade, for fuel, for food, for medicine, for paper in our books, for building our homes, and for creating all manner of tools for living.  They beautify our world in a palette of color, and renew the very air we breathe.  Imagine our world without trees!  Many things we prize most highly are made of wood—furniture, carvings, d├ęcor for our homes, and frames on our paintings.  Manmade materials can rarely compare with the inherent strength and usability of this single substance.  And for the most part, it is the perfectly renewable resource—quietly growing and producing all i

60th Anniversary!

We celebrated a momentous event on our recent vacation to see our families…my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary !  What a precious time to honor them and thank God for His blessing on their lives. With the traditional, Biblical model of marriage increasingly fading from our society and being redefined according to personal opinion rather than the Creator’s design, I want to stand up and cheer my parents.  They have lived out—through thick and thin—the covenant before God they made all those years ago.  Neither of them grew up with a strong example of a Godly marriage, but having chosen to follow Christ as young adults, they determined that with His help, they would establish a life together that honored God in every way. This quote from Jane Eyre sums up so beautifully what I would say of my parents’ marriage: "To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company.  We talk, I believe, all day long; to talk to each other is but a more animated a

Morning glory

These beauties greeted me a couple of mornings ago as I welcomed the day in the early dawn.  I didn’t realize until I saw the pictures on my camera that the rays of sunlight came through the back of the flowers, illuminating them from within.  Fantastic!

The emperor has no clothes on

One of the summer projects I have as a homeschooling mom is to preread a few key books my daughter has scheduled for her curriculum. In the elementary years, our literary adventures were a pleasure romp—wonderful stories of kids living in other places and times, biographies that inspired us, gripping mysteries that we couldn't lay down until we finished. But with each passing year, I've had to be more attentive to screening out titles that I think would not be good for her, not in line what our aims are for her education, character development, and spiritual growth. When she was little, she would have nightmares for weeks after seeing something as innocuous as “Willie Wonka” or a good old World War II movie. I realize that every child is different in their development, tolerances, and so on, and thus, we shape our curricula choices to that. And admittedly, my student is on the conservative side and I'm aware of the impact of troubling material on her.

Road trip

I love, love, love the Southwest.  Having spent most of my life living in one part or another of it, I never tire of the vast variety of landscape and climate.  Within a day's drive, you can go from arid desert to forested peaks to dramatic sandstone cliffs and pinnacles.  And always, the views that stretch on forever. One of my favorite things to do is to take a road trip through this incredibly scenic part of America.  We did that this last month for some vacation time with our families in Arizona, taking a more rural route and drinking in the ever-changing scene before us.  I thought you might enjoy a "postcard" look at some of the contrasts of this wonderful land... Mountain vistas... And mountains in the sky... Funny shapes.... I got to touch four states all at once--Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona--the only place this happens in our country.  Notice the inscription around the landmark... "Four states here meet in freedom u

Time to evaluate

I'm enjoying a breather of a few days to catch up after a busy, busy May...and before a busy, busy June.  Next week is our church's Vacation Bible School, then a homeschool conference, and a couple of weeks with our families.  It's been wonderful to get my house clean, take time to cook appealing meals, have more time in the Word, and watch the grass grow. As a homeschool mom, though, it's hard to put aside thoughts and plans for the coming year.  I no sooner finish one year than I'm prayerfully planning studies and schedules for the next.  And while I would truly love a mental break from it all, I'm grabbing the chance to analyze what worked and what didn't for us. I ended this year feeling particularly drained and overdone, out of touch with myself and our home life.  Some of the outside commitments I made took more planning and execution than I anticipated.  We had to adjust our curriculum and scheduling a number of times.  Various deadlines kept me f

Break time

This was one of those fill-your-well days, the kind you need after a long haul of concentrated effort.  I wrapped up our VBS curriculum last night (with no small sigh of relief!), and SweetPea and I decided we'd done enough school this year and needed a break for a bit, so... ...We went to Vienna this morning, courtesy of Rick Steves and PBS--in our robes and sipping a hot mug of jasmine green tea.  Oh, my goodness, such fun.  I love  travel shows, practically as good as being there without all the fuss. ...Cleaned out some daunting piles of paperwork and reduced them to a couple of civilized, ready-to-be-filed stacks.  Happy sigh. ...Swept the patio, washed down the furniture, cleaned out a storage table, sorted and cleaned piles of junk, and got thoroughly distracted by all the lovely green lushness and growing things, the birdsong in the trees. My yellow irises in the photo above haven't bloomed like this since the summer SweetPea was born.  And just take a look

Busy week, good week...

We think  that our raccoon problem resolved itself--we haven't heard them in the fireplace for a few days and can't see them down the chimney, either.  Yay!  I suspect that the Eau de Ammonia might have convinced Mama that this was not a lovely place to raise her babies.  One evening at my desk upstairs, I heard a loud thump on the roof over me and quite a commotion, so that might have been her departure.  We've got a chimney cap on now and haven't seen any frantic little masked faces trying to stage a jail-break out the mesh enclosure. I love the contrast of old and new growth I'm in the home stretch with our church's VBS materials. It got to be something of a last-minute push this year again, but the Lord is helping me get it done, and of course, it's an incredible blessing to be reviewing the fabulous truths of our faith.  This year it's a Treasure Hunt theme with God's Word being the treasure.  The kids will be working on a treasure map

Urban adventure

Cute, huh?  I mean, what an irresistible little face and appealing expression. Yeah...except when you've got one down your chimney! Hubby was up on the roof this morning after breakfast with a flashlight to see if he could determine what was trapped in our chimney.  We'd heard little squeaks and noises last night in the fireplace behind the insert, but couldn't do anything about it--and we thought it was a bird or a squirrel.  But a raccoon?!  Groan.  And it wasn't little. He hung a rope down the length of the chimney (two stories high) and called animal control.  Believe it or not, they said these critters don't generally  fall  down chimneys, they hide out deliberately and can get out just fine.  But just in case they don't, drop an ammonia-soaked rag down there and they'll hustle up and out pretty quick. Knowing they're nocturnal, we decided to wait until this evening.  SweetPea accompanied her dad up on the roof (homeschooler field trip, y

In which I lose a friend

I was having "one of those days" this week, when a stack of bowls slipped out of my hands, sending my Most Special Bowl crashing to the floor--with this result. Did you know you can cry over the demise of an inanimate object? Bowl and I have had a long and very special relationship.  Twenty-five years ago I spotted this lovely in an antique store and immediately had visions of perfect bread loaves I would knead to perfection in it.  At $15, it was a bargain and thus began our memorable history together. At the time, I was working at a "dude" ranch in Colorado as the back-up cook.  My job was baking all the cookies, cakes, pies, desserts, and breads for our mouth-watering daily menus.   Bowl was my constant companion, providing just the right size and temperature for high-altitude bread rising and lending me an primal sense of homestead-woman as I pushed and punched the springy dough.  It's large size, the thick, cool crockery and heavy feel stood

Of lilacs, literature, and life

Lilacs!  A full three weeks early this year, popping out in all their glory to keep up with every other green and flowery thing in our area.  This is an incredible spring--no complaints here! Seems like I'm scrambling just as fast as the green things around here, trying to keep on top of the immediate demands and fit in the catching-up things...when all I'd rather do is sit and soak up the sunshine to my very bones and just drink in the fragrances wafting around me. Since my last post, I made a whirlwind trip to see my family and help my Mom's book get launched at the Tucson Festival of Books.  Wow, what an affair!  One hundred thousand people plus, on a sunny weekend to enjoy all things books.  It was great fun and a very satisfying wrap-up to the months of editing and preparation for publication we put in.  If you want a clean, fun read, check out her book,  "The Magnetic Connection" , available through Amazon and the other link on the website.  You'll