Friday, December 28, 2007

Wow!

I found this over at my friend Calamity's place, and I think it is only fair to allow any and all things Christmas until after the New Year rings in. (and stealing blog posts is OK as long as you link them, right?!) Never mind that today I took down the tree and all of the Christmas stockings hung so beautifully over the banister... just listen!
3 minutes of ... well... really great!



KP maybe we will sing this with you... next year!

It has been a while!

I was gifted with my own computer several days before Christmas! Oh the Bliss, I thought, at having my own internet connection and desk and key board! I would be able to walk away and pour myself some nice warm tea without calling "fives" on my chair! It surely seemed like life would be good with respect to my time spent on the computer!

A bloggers dream come true!!

Well, you all know I have a four year old, and children are so much brighter these days than a few years back! An afternoon of "what can I let her do so I can get a little gift wrapping done?" turned into me competing- on my own computer- for computer time!!! Yikes!!! How did I let it get so out of control?!?!

What is the culprit wonderful child's interactive website that is causing all my dreams to blow away like dust in a windstorm? See for yourself, here.

It is a really great place to visit- I had several minutes of fun while showing her how to navigate the site. I am getting a little tired of it, but she enjoys it. A lot. Perhaps too much!

I wouldn't mind the real thing, (is that not the cutest idea... and face!) as it would free up my chair, but I am sure I would suck up the pieces in my vacuum as I am a non discriminate vacuumer! ... if it is small enough to fit through the nozzle, it will be hosed-for lack of a better term! And what fun is a puzzle with only 3/4 of the pieces?!

Any suggestions for other things to keep a precocious little girl busy? And out of trouble? And that does not involve my computer?

I am sure the next big event in our family will prove to be attention grabbing. Molly is due for her puppies within the week! We are expecting her to have 3 to 4, and cannot wait to see the little 4 oz wonders! I will be sure to post pictures!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

If you need a laugh...!

As a home schooling family I love things like this! Even if you are not, though, you will laugh at the insanity creativity displayed here.

Thank you to my source of this, to whom I promised anonymity.
I love you Tonya! (...oops!!!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mission Monday

Love with Shoes On

If you never have, take the time to listen to this audio. You will not be sorry for the time spent.

The first time I heard the above message, it was Thanksgiving day, 2006. I was in Zambia, Africa, with my husband and two children, and Missionary Kevin Pestke. We were driving on a horrible dirt road- the main highway in that region- clicking off mile after mile trying to return to Lusaka, and then continue to Kafulafuta Baptist Mission- a 10+ hour trip.

This message changed my life forever, but not so much because of the truth it contains or the compelling message and stories this preacher tells. The circumstance surrounding my first hearing this message was in the presence of a man doing exactly what the message was all about. Loving God and doing what He has called you to do in the face of any and all things.

The one year anniversary of that day - and Kevin's father going home to Glory- has come and gone, but the impact of witnessing Love With Shoes On has not diminished. It was by no means his desire to be 14,000 miles away from his family, or to have to talk to his dad for the final time this side of heaven on a crackly cell phone connection. For whatever the reason, though, God allowed these things to be. What I saw was: in the moment of the most sorrow to date in his life, he did not question the Sovereignty of his Savior, he still praised God, he continues to joy in his salvation.

I am so thankful for the example of real life people. I am so thankful for the friendship and example of Kevin in our lives. If scripture were to be written today, I am sure this would be included in the stories of 21st century passionate followers of Christ.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Just a little Comment on Comments


I am not whining too badly here, just a little.

Is anyone else as challenged as I am by the comment security boxes? You know the ones... They have all the random letters and numbers in barely recognizable fonts and all sorts of angles and not in the least on a straight line. The penmanship teacher in me just cringes when I see them! (note: I am not so bothered in the least by run-on and compound sentences!)

My real complaint is that it takes me more time to type the little letters in the box than it did to type the entire comment! Mind you, I am not a speedy typer either!!!

Just a little hint here to make your life easier as it did mine...and I discovered it completely by accident. Really.

If you don't type the letters and just hit "post comment"... it will give you another box... with different characters! And if they are longer and harder to read, do it again! One of those times you are bound to get an easy one, and then the stress is much less.

Go ahead - try it! Only not on my blog. Because I don't have that "security" feature on my comments. Not because I don't wish to be secure, I just do not in any way want to discourage anyone from commenting. And has anyone ever actually seen a random computer generated comment, anyhow? I was just wondering.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Home Made Christmas...

First let me say... (Imagine beautiful singing here...)

Happy Birthday to my Daddy!! He is 68 today!!!! "I love you Dad!"

Now on to the regularly scheduled post...!

I love the Holidays and all of the gift giving, especially as "gifts" is one of my Love Languages. More than receiving them though, I love to give them. My mom is perhaps one of the craftiest and creative people I know, and I must have gotten some of the genes. Home made gifts are some of my favorite things!

In years past we have done everything from chocolate covered pretzels to assorted cookies. We have made boxes for movie nights and "Y2K survival baskets". (Remember all the panic?! While there was never a crisis, all those oil lanterns and fleece blankets are still well-enjoyed on a cold winter's night!)

This year... Home made hot cocoa with mini marshmallows, and glass mugs hand etched with the names of the recipient.


This is a photo of a pan of home made marshmallows... I have never done these, so I was excited to see how they turned out. Much yummier than store bought. A little chewy and very melt- in- your mouth! I used this recipe for them. I placed them in a shallow dish to make mini-marshies! They cut up with scissors, and look so cute holiday in gift baggies. Perfect for the hot cocoa! This cocoa recipe has a pinch of Cayenne Pepper in it... so great! It tingles a little in your throat, and makes it feel all the more warm! YUM!


Micah is always so helpful with holiday baking dishes!!! Never too far away during any food project!

Here are a pair of mugs. I love the cobalt blue when it is etched. On David's, I taped off a band and put stick on letters from my previous life's** craft of scrap booking. You can see through the glass and see some stars, too. Danielle's was made with these little re-usable plastic templates right next to the etching cream at Wal-Mart!


These are clear mugs, and the etching looks just as nice. The mugs are still dishwasher and microwave safe. The cream is an acid and just barely roughs up the shiny surface of the glass.


Here is *most* of one finished basket. (The marshmallows aren't quite finished yet!) Love the Dollar Tree for the glass containers to put the cocoa mix into! The painted wooden Christmas tree is sitting on a jar of Concord Grape Jelly... Thank You Jane for the grapes!!!

These baskets were less than $8.00 to make, but all together are such a nice gift.


This is a previous year's craft! My whole family LOVES Veggie Tales, and my sister Lynn had the kids in our home school group make these. Olivia made this little "Asparagus Family" singing. The lights are battery operated from ... where else!... the Dollar Tree! My sister was the first born in our family, and while I got some of the genetic creativity... she definitely took the lions share! The woman is a creative, artistic genius! (Unfortunately I took all of the organizing and computer genes, so you will never have the pleasure of her sharing all of her wonderful talents on her own blog! I will try to feature her some times for you.)

The clay is home made with bread and glue! She has used paint for the tints instead of food coloring. It was a loooong time before the food coloring came off her hands! The paint color just washes off now!

There are a few other things home made for this holiday, like place mats sewn into tote-style bags, (mine don't have pockets...!) and apple pie filling canned with a separate jar of crisp topping. These are a few of my favorite things ...! I hope you have enjoyed a sneak peek at my holiday gift giving. I am off to baggy up marshmallows!

**by "previous Life" I mean "before 5 children" ... just to clarify!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Uncle!

I give up! The time is flying by so fast I am not even going to try to keep up!

You know it is a futile effort when your four year old says "Wow... today went by so fast!" I don't remember anything but loooooong days when I was a kid!

Once again I feel a little less than great. Thought I had it whooped, but I must have kept one 'lil bugger for such a time as this. The Puffs company didn't profit enough from my last bout. Let me tell you I can only go for so long with napkins, and then I must use tissues! Wow, my poor nose! (I hope that is not TMI for those of you with more delicate sensibilities!)

Institute is almost over for this semester... THANK YOU JESUS! Although I am not the one actually doing all the hard time in the books, I sometimes wonder if that is not the easier of the tasks! This truly is the closest I ever want to come to single parenting! I know he needs to devote huge quantities of time to school- I am just glad I don't have all little ones anymore! I think of Sarah and Steph... God must be carrying you through it all... there is just no other way!

Dan is doing absolutely great in his classes- the Lord has increased his brain or something, because I went to college with the man, and he didn't use to be this smart! Whatever it is, he is (we are!) thankful! We look forward to his second-to-last full semester... shouldn't be too tough. Two of his 6 classes will only be Church History II and Greek IV... hmmmmm- both Pastor Curran's classes. Is that just a coincidence? Or does he specifically choose the less liked more difficult subjects to teach?

I think this should be all for now. No one reads long posts unless they are written by a sick, stressed out, slightly medicated, over tired mother of 5. And then it is not with interest or pity- it is just for ammo! So in the interest of self-preservation... I will go for now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Well, I missed it again!

Mission Monday came and went this week again! I think I should just change it to "Random Report", as I know it would take the pressure off me and a few others I know! But I will just make note of my flaws and you all will still love me anyhow... Right? OK... on to the update!

My husband's boss got SAVED!!!

It has been a hard task for Dan to continue to see the purpose of him working for a large eyeglass retailer. As many of you know, that means crazy retail hours (including Sundays!), and man-power cutbacks all in the name of "bottom line profit dollars" without any regard for customer service! My hubby is a 150% kind of person, and that makes it all the more hard! The store puts out so many demands, no one human could ever meet them all. The integrity in my husband, though, pushes him to try!

He has long been burdened to obey John 6:27, "Labor not for the meat which perisheth", and has therefore striven to make his time there eternally profitable, and not only a means to earn a paycheck! This has been a great experience for him (and ME!) as we have seen how the Lord has made him bold in ways he may not have previously been. One usually feels the need to be covert and creative on an illegal endeavor. (Which is how witnessing seems, what in the day of "tolerance" and "everyone has rights except the Christian" and all!) He has out-loud witnessed to co-workers and patients while on the floor, punched in to work and everything! He has found conversation about the Lord will weave into every situation and it doesn't have to be "in your face" and obnoxious to be effective! He has been praying for this man for years now, and slowly but surely Dan's testimony and integrity have given many opportunities for greater witness and more pointed times of conversation.

Well, last week on Thursday, the entire day netted 20% of sales than a normal day... aka- dead as nails, long and boring shift! Dan spent most of the day witnessing to his boss! After the store closed they continued to talk until Dan asked him "What would stop you from right now calling on Jesus Christ to save you?" ... His response?... "NOTHING!", and right there he bowed his head in repentance to God and got saved! Dan was so excited to see "meat which endureth unto everlasting life!" It has renewed his desire to go to work there, and to want to go and do what you have to do anyhow is a great thing!

This man has already made comment that "they" (he and Dan) need to help another co-worker that Dan has been praying for almost as long! He has told his wife about his decision for Christ. This is a huge blessing, as we have known her to be searching for something, and even being open to tarot and other new-age things. We pray they would be open to discipleship as a couple, or at least the Dan disciple him one-on-one!

We are learning of many of the workers from our church's building project getting saved as well! The fields are truly white unto harvest!

What a great time we are living in! What a huge opportunity to jump in to the work of the Lord!

What an Amazing God we serve!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Inspired...



Our church has a monthly Couples Connection class. It is a nice time to be with like minded people and just have some Godly fellowship. The leader of the class found a "new logo" for us, and I loved it so much I copied it with an additional personal touch of our wedding bands. Kind of neat. Here is another one...


God is so good in even the littlest things in our lives! I didn't have a magnifying glass for this, and couldn't find one for a price I would be willing to pay (!)... (what could be too much for such sentiment?!?!) I just "happened" to work at LensCrafters where we just "by chance" got some in for the holidays! I didn't even have to buy one! They said it was scratched and I could use it. How cool is that! Brings Psalms 138 home for me! He knows it all and cares too!

... can you tell I got a new camera? I am sure many posts will have pictures now! (Mostly for all you less than literate friends out there... I must confess- I still like the pictures books , too!)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Where has the time gone?

It has been days since I have even thought of "down time" on the WWW! I cannot believe we are already over a week past Thanksgiving! Lest you all thing I have been just sleeping in late and enjoying bon-bons when I awaken, I have some pictures to share!

Last year at this time we were still on the African Continent, and weren't even home until after Dec. 9th. Knowing we would be moving shortly after the new year, the thought of decorating, Christmas cards, or even a family picture (which all you with more than one child know it is an all day affair!) didn't even cross my mind! Well this year is certainly much different!

We are in an amazing home that has a perfect place for our tree! We didn't have to rearrange the living room, nor are we sitting on the couch with a pine bough (albeit FAKE) in our faces! These things are a very big deal! There are electrical plugs in close proximity to the windows for the single candle light I love to put there. So Pretty!

As for social events, I am actually having, in my home, a cookie exchange party! I am expecting upwards of 16 people, and I am not stressing (too much!) about seating room! Yeah! for a big living room! Making 12 DOZEN cookies has me a little freaked, but that cannot be helped right now! I can only contemplate the mess it will create because I can't bake them until the day of. You all do remember what is in my freezer, right? Many pounds of salmon with very smelly tasty seasoning all over it! I would be thrilled to offer Chocolate Buried Cherry Cookies with just a hint of fishy gourmet goodness for interest, but my guests might question my sanity decision! So Tuesday has been officially BLOCKED to all activity outside my home. Nothing but baking, cleaning, and deciding how to arrange seating for 16+ ladies and teens! (Also figuring what form of entertainment and food choices will be the best to keep three adolescent boys occupied so that they will be sufficiently distracted and not plotting ways to crash join my LADIES ONLY evening! ) Not too much to do in an average day in the life, huh? Oh, and I forgot! I have to take Molly to the Vet for an ultrasound at 9:00 am. It had to be that day, too, of all days because it is DAY 30 of her pregnancy, and will be THE MOST ACCURATE to determine how many puppies she will have! Of course it was the same day! For sure more to come about the puppies!

OK enough BABBLING! Here are the wonderful pictures! Only after I had agonized over outfits and color schemes, did I remember my bloggy friend's decision to do hers in sepia!!! Wise girl! I had settled on brown and pink and did OK after all! Ready? The following is for your visual pleasure!
My beautiful oldest daughter Olivia. It is beauty inside and out!

#1 Son, Josiah. A true gentleman, and quite the artist as well. At 13, he is 5'8" and already has a size 12 shoe... we are truly afraid of what a growth spurt will do to him!

#2 Son, Levi. The quieter of the bunch, but do not be fooled! When you least expect it, he will say the most hysterical things and you will just crack up!

#3 Son, Micah. Name your children on purpose! This boy is an evangelist from the get go, and will surely be a Prophet of the Gospel and reach many for Christ! Those eyes get more "yes's" than are good for him!

Child #5 and daughter #2. Alliteration does well to describe her! Precious, Peppy, Precocious, Persuasive, Positive, and Pulchritudinous. (go ahead...look it up!) There are five years between her and Micah. The Lord knew we needed to gear up!

Here is a sneak peek of our Christmas card picture!



Many thanks to Kate, Olivia's BFF for the amazing photography! Thanks K8! We love you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A few light hearted reasons for Thanksgiving!

Reason #1- I am thankful these are not my children!

Reason #2- I am thankful my children would not have mistaken them for kitties!

Reason #3- I am thankful my children have never seen a litter of baby skunks... because if they ever did I am positive they would find a way to keep one or two! (and the sad truth is I might let them!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ah Lord God!



The phrase "Ah Lord God" is exclusive to the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel in scripture. I can just picture these unique men in rich Jewish accents saying these words! When they were said, it was with passion in awe of God, or with a great burden for their nation of Israel.

Our teen class sings a song taken from the verses in Jeremiah that contain this phrase:

32:17-19 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: ... the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: ...

In this verse, Jeremiah is praying to God, and he is acknowledging the limitless of the Lord. Later in verse 27 the Lord asks Jeremiah, "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?", almost saying... "You said this a few minutes ago, but do you really believe it? What action will follow your knowledge that nothing is too hard for me?"

Enter my thoughts as I sing the song taken from the above verses. It makes me want to know more this amazing God! What is too difficult? NOTHING! And He really wants to use me to show it... to anyone... in any circumstance! I want my life to show the works of this great God so that none will question the source. It will be painfully obvious it is none of myself!

Now enter the current challenge before my church family. We have a beautiful facility that we owe A LOT of money on! There are humanly insurmountable obstacles before us that we will be slammed into if they are not removed. And it WILL hurt! What are we going to do about it?

Did you ever read the verses in Jeremiah that talk about God, and how nothing is too difficult for Him? Am I - are WE! - going to wait until He asks us "is there anything too hard for me?"

We have been called to prayer from our Pastor. We are led by the example of our deacons to around the clock prayer for this situation specifically. We have been challenged to allow God to give through us, sacrificially, to this cause. Anything up and above. ANYTHING!

Have you had an extra hour or two on your schedule at work? Did you get to the register and something rang up cheaper than you thought it would? Did you go out to lunch and your friend picked up the tab... that you expected to pay? Think about it and be purposed to faithfully look for the BLESSINGS OF GOD!!! He is just waiting! Get out of the way and let Him do it!!!!! Let us prove our God! Let Him be high and lifted up! Loudly Tell of His great works that are being done through you! Be creative in your understanding of just what God will use to show you He wants to bless! Acknowledge the commonplace and things we would normally chalk up to every day as the direct working of God in your life. It is only by His mercies that we are not consumed!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A year ago...

2Corinthians 8:10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.

The theme of verse seemed to become a "buzz phrase" a while ago, but it still is so true! Are you "forward a year ago"?

This was so very clear to me yesterday as it was the one year anniversary of two very big things in my life.

One, was the day we (4 of my family) left for Zambia. November 16, 2006. The purpose of the trip was a return visit for my husband to see the mission field he feels called to. A survey trip is what some call it, we chose to say "vacation" because it sounds so much more rich... and we aren't! We also took our oldest two children to whet their appetite for Zambia. By the time we are actually ready to start our first term on the field, they will be "old enough" to decide to come with us or not. We want to do all we can to ensure their choice will be "to come"... at least for a year or two! It seems so long ago, and yet only yesterday at the same time! I know we are hard to spot in the picture! ;) This is of a church in Chipata, a town in the Eastern Province of Zambia.

That was an amazing trip. Our children both want to go back, and for that we are thankful and blessed. To God be the Glory!

Are we forward from then, though?

As I look over even the mission monday posts here, I know yes, we are. God is so amazing in His ways, we are only glad to be a part of them. As I read in I Corinthians 14, "There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. " I realize our significance is only because of Christ! Let us be bold in His work, for His glory, and purpose!

The second event was, on November 16, 2006 my close friend's 1-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Lukemia. The irony of all of it was two weeks before we left she said to me (jokingly!)..."Jan, what am I going to do without my friend for three weeks!!!" I found out at the Rochester Airport (before we even left home!) about little Angela being in the hospital. I couldn't call her to tell her we had heard and would be praying. I couldn't sit in the hospital with her 24-7 while her daughter's little body was pumped with chemo. I couldn't pray with her, cry with her, help her other 4 children at home with dinner, laundry, school. The Lord was teaching us both some things! I might have tried to be "God" for her, and she wouldn't have had the sweet care of her Heavenly Father the way she did. She might have tried to ask the unanswerable things to me, instead of Jesus, and I might have never known feeling of powerlessness that is only overcome by fervent prayer. I am so used to being like"Martha", and God forced me to be like "Mary". All of these were lessons well learned!

Yesterday, the one year anniversary, I was privileged to sit with Tonya for a few hours at the hospital while Ange had a lumbar puncture to draw out spinal fluid. Chemo doesn't cross into the spine, and needs to be injected directly. The fluid will be tested for any stray cancer cells-so we all pray with them for a negative. While she is in remission, the treatment will continue for another year. Med's, chemo, procedures, lumbar's- all the crazy things that are part of their every day normal now. They have learned a new vocabulary through all of this!

The question though... are they forward a year ago?

Yes, and again AMEN! yes! Angela is in remission, Thank You, Jesus! Their marriage had been tried, tested, and strengthened from the refining fire. Their finances have been strained, and God has miraculously supplied. They have been such a witness and a testimony to anyone who has seen them. Tonya gladly rests in the Lord's provision for her, spiritually, physically, and most of all emotionally. I have seen her become a pillar of strength because she rests in and on the Lord. She has no shame in telling anyone of her hope in the Lord, and I have learned so much from her.

It is good to look back and see from where we have come. It is even better to recognize Who has brought us here!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Chains are GONE!

This is a song that I will be using with about 20 FBBC teens at the Teens Involved (TI) event with Word of Life. It is a great song with amazing lyrics, re-written and arranged for the movie "Amazing Grace". Never thought the original could be made better, but I do like this!

At TI this will be accompanied by 2 violinists, a flutist, pianist, as well as vocals. It will be visually impactful with about 15 students doing sign language. Pray for the event, the ministry we can accomplish with this, and the students I will be working with. I am neither a music major nor fluent in Sign, so this is all God's, for sure! There will be no chance I could take any credit if it is awesome. (If it bombs, then yep... all ME!) I hope to video the Finished project, and will post it here if I do ;D !


Sunday, November 11, 2007

The depths of shallowness!

I wonder why I think the way that I do! If you must give me your thoughts, please do be kind... I may be forced to moderate...! (hey, if you comment, I would make sure to leave it... It may never happen again!)

Anyhow, the reason the wonder came up about the way I think is...

After teen class today Pastor T. offered all the students little plastic bracelets to remind them all to pray for a student that is taking a trip to Dominican Republic for a missions/hurricane relief trip. Nice idea, cute bracelets-kind of like the hospital issue ones only red. Therein lies the problem, They are red! I, for a fleeting moment, thought no way! It is red! I don't like red! It is bright and just a little obnoxious! Someone might ask, "So why do you have a red hospital-like bracelet on?" Then I would would have to tell them.... WAIT! That would be a good thing! I was being so shallow! I would definitely think about this young man much more with that little piece of plastic strapped on my wrist, and that would accomplish the desired result... I would remember to pray for him!

This entire discourse actually occurred in my tiny little head... in the span of about 1.2 seconds! I quickly placed it on my wrist, and haven't thought another moment about it's color. I did, however, continue to think about the reason behind the whole hesitation. Am I really so vain that I would forgo a reminder to pray because of the color? How many other things in my life have I allowed to go on unchecked? Is this really a big deal? OH MY! I could be in the middle of a crisis, and not even realize it!

Now lest you think I am serious here and begin planning an intervention to save me from myself, I must also tell you what the message in church was. It was out of Ephesians, and Mr. G was saying that every day we should have a goal set forth to be accomplished. Every day there should be lasting fruit that is pleasing to God. We should work -every day!- to the end that it would be a profitable day in light of eternity, not just school, work, facebook... whatever consumes our day! (I was already beating myself up on how much time I waste. It wasn't going to take much more to knock me out completely ... the little red piece of PVC really had the advantage over me!)

I kept thinking of all the days I (only!) do laundry, cook, clean, school...., yet never leave my house! How will that ever produce spiritual fruit? Can I really pray, "Lord, my goal is that all of my children will be fed, clothed and still breathing smiling at the end of the day", and expect lasting fruit to be laid up in heaven? Yikes! I would be ashamed to tell you all the days I would pray that! It would be more times than I care to think! I guess the phrase "the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart" applies here, too. ( Just like it does every where else! )

I have a verse I cling to whenever I would really, really, really rather be doing something OTHER than what I am doing at the moment.

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

I know the verse applies directly to my attitude to my husband and being subject to his authority, but it really does do wonders for me when I think of it in reference to all aspects of my life. This laundry is my daughters, but I am doing it as if it is for the Lord. I am cleaning this bathroom, again, for the Lord. I will wear this ugly cute red band and pray for Spencer, as I would if it were for the Lord! Wow! It all seems so much, well, more worth it! I would do anything for the Lord! Especially if it was HIM, right here in front of me in flesh and blood asking me to do it, right? OF COURSE!!! Well, if I know my Bible... he is!!

Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

The end of shallow and the secret to lasting fruit!

Hey, there are extra bands... anyone want one?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Winter is Coming!


The past few weeks when we all pile outside to go anywhere, it is so neat that the season change is so obvious, by even the not so obvious things! Of coarse brilliantly colored leaves falling all around and shriveled up flowers are the give aways to those with less than keen perception. But for those with a gift for attention to detail there are other clues.

While we were leaving a store, the weather was just beginning to get a chill. The fact that we had turned our calendar page to November did not matter, and we failed to grab coats before going out the door that morning. As the first bite of the wind hit our faces, little S. said "Mommy, I love it! It smells just like snow!" Now, mind you, she is only four! How does she know what snow smells like? Well, she does, and for sure the air did! We scrambled to the car and all talked about the things we love about the change in weather.

I said how much I love to dress in fuzzy sweaters and make all kinds of soup and chili recipes. Usually I have two or three favorite sweaters and by spring I have to throw them out! They have been so over worn, even Molly our dog is sick of looking at them! Another thing I notice by often donning the same thing a time or two (!) between washings, (though not always so great!) is I can tell exactly what soup or chili I made the last time I wore it! Off it goes and into the wash! (you see it guarantees circulation. I inevitably have the favorite, and might never give the others a chance... Please don't categorize me as a complete lazy slob!) But it still gives me the reminder. Yum!

Smell is said to be the most effective memory maker and reminder. I cannot open a new box of leather shoes and not think of the time when I was about 9 and got my first pair of shoes that "I chose!" Every time I smell doublemint gum I think of my mom, and the smell of Love's Baby Soft perfume makes me remember (with a little twitch in my eye) junior high school! All of this nostalgia! where is all of this going?!?!

We have a spiritual smell too! God says our prayers are a smell to Him.

Psalms 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

The smell of our prayers are to be sweet and pure. The book of Leviticus is full of specifics on the incense and smells in the temple. I am sure there are huge applications on all of that, but another blogger will have to do it better justice than I will do here! Suffice it to say... we have a smell before the Lord! Whether fresh or rancid, it is there. I cannot help but know that others can "smell" it too! How often do we spend time with the Lord and let his aroma get all over us? Is our "spiritual perfume" the first thing someone notices? Is it good or bad?!

Back to memory being so closely tied to smell, I know one reason why God made us that way. We need all the help we can get! I want every sense to be able to connect me with God and his ways! I hope to be a sweet smell to Him, and in overflow th others around me. I hope to be like Onesiphorus, who oft refreshed Paul in prison. I hope to see others how God would have me to, and in seeing their need be a conduit of God to meet it.

All this hoping is for naught unless there are actions behind it. Like faith without works is dead, hope deferred maketh the heart sick! Let me not defer these hopes! God has given me all the tools I need to ensure I smell great, and I need to put into practice those things.

"Read your Bible, pray every day and you'll grow-grow-grow!" Funny, even as a kid I always thought of a flower when I sang that song. Flowers smell good, don't they?! :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pride goeth before destruction...

Last night I went to a concert at our church sponsored by FLN. It was a fun night because there was food, a lot of my friends, and I was away from home for a while and able to unwind. Originally I wasn't intending to go at all, but a friend wanted to volunteer at the event, and her 3 month old was going to be just a 'lil hindrance to her. Being the great friend that I am, (please don't choke on the sip of coffee you just took!) I sacrificially offered to take her precious bundle for those times she would need to be doing other things, and thought it would be nice to help her out. Then she decided it would be better to be at a missions conference in Florida trying to raise support with her husband for their mission in Italy. Whatever. I guess we all have our priorities!!! :)

Anyhow, I am glad it worked out that I did end up going. Not because I particularly loved the concert... though it was very nice. I would have liked to take home with me a CD of hers, mostly the Christmas one... never can have too many of those! Low (actually NO) cash flow prevented that.

What I did take home with me was something she said between songs. She kept reiterating how she used to seek fame and wanted a secular singing career. She would make a dramatic stop in her body language and emphatically say with a tinge of sarcasm, "I am just glad God has not struck me dead!" We all laughed, but a while later she continued the thought. She said her sin was the same wickedness that got Satan kicked out of Heaven- a prideful desire to get some of God's glory. The only reason she did not receive the same fate was God through Jesus Christ made a plan of redemption.

WHEW! That made me stop in my mental tracks, and think of all the times my pride has put my agenda ahead of Christ. All the times I blew the chance to glorify God instead of talking about what I did to achieve something in my life.

I would like to say I had an alter call moment right there in my nice stadium style seat, but it took me a while to really come to a place of surrender. God really wants to change the fabric of my heart, and still hasn't let me stop thinking of it. Even through math integers and terrestrial biome studies, the Lord continued to press me and ask "Am I the Lord of all? Are you fully surrendered?" My heart says yes, my head says yes, but I just know that my flesh will war with me. I know it is THE battle I must fight to live victoriously in this life, and I know fasting (...!!!...) will play a major role in winning this one. And not just once! Nice time of year for all these thoughts to take root. Yeah, I know!

p.s. The picture is compliments of my daughter... becoming quite the photographer, she is!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Mission in Progress

After being told we are planning to go to the mission field, a woman asked me... "So do you feel called to go too?"

My response was likely a surprise to her, because I said..."No."

She probably had ideas of our marriage splitting up, or my husband dragging me by my hair- we are after all going to Africa... isn't that accepted practice in such a heathen and tribal continent? :)

To explain... my not being "called" to Africa isn't a problem. I am called to my husband, and therefore by mathematical property, I am called to Africa.
1. Jan called to Dan = God's will
2. Dan called to Africa = God's will
3. Jan called to Africa = God's will

Not too hard to understand, but maybe a better question would be... Do I want to go to Africa? Inquiring minds want to know!!!

I could get real spiritual here and give book chapter and verse on why I should want to go. Or, I could tell you that as a Godly woman I should go whether I want to or not. But none of those would make for interesting reading. Well not too interesting.

What I will tell you is... I do want to go! I did not receive the call to the field of Africa, or any other place on this earth. I will tell you I decided that I want to do what the Lord's will is for me. I will also tell you...the Lord has changed my natural desires.

What do I mean? I will give you an example in one area of my life.

I used to live for nothing else than the next room to decorate or the next wall to paint. Sales at the local store... department, warehouse, hardware, any! ... used to lure me with even the lamest commercial or sales flyer. I was a spender, buyer, shopper, consumer- you name it, I was it! Now lest you think I was frivolous, I will tell you I was the most frugal and conscientious shopper their was! I could save over 70% off the retail price on a bad day. Without coupons!

Now, I still enjoy all that stuff! I just no longer have the drive for it. I have the same likes of fashion and taste with regard to how I like to decorate, I just don't feel consumed by it. I am also making many decisions on "to purchase or not" through the filter of two questions. "Would I ship this to Africa?" or "Will I get my money's worth out of it before we leave?" That makes a lot of decisions really easy!

OK, I need to get a little spiritual here.

Psalms 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

I have experienced this verse. He put within my heart the desires I now have. As I continue to delight in the Lord, He does so much more for me than I could ever imagine! I marvel at the things- large and small- that are mine. God is so good, no matter what. If going with my family over seas and living in another culture is what puts me smack in the middle of His will... that is where I will be! There is so much more joy and happiness there... just ask Jonah. Well, on second thought, don't. Read the book, and then try out obedience for yourself... it is great!

"If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?" -- David Livingstone

"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light" - John Keith Falconer

"If God calls you to be a missionary, don't stoop to be a king" -- Jordan Grooms

"Go, send, or disobey." -- John Piper

Saturday, November 3, 2007

It's Hunting Season!

I love venison! My children love venison. My husband is a hunter.


This sounds like a great working relationship. It's all about supply and demand.

And, thanks to the tireless efforts of my husband and two of my sons, we have a freezer full.

The only problem... this is what it is full of!


Needless to say, only my hubby and this Field and Stream caliber fisherman are eating well these days! It was a nice catch! 14 lbs and 35" long. Pretty good for the equipment he had to use.

While at lower falls here in our great city, there was a professional there who works for ESPN, and he had a bunch of "special recipe" Salmon eggs. (hmmm, should I include them on my Thanksgiving table?) Micah had no problem going right up to him and striking up conversation. The man asked how he was lucky enough to be fishing on a Thursday morning when all other kids were in school, and M. said this was a field trip with his dad and that we home school! It turned out the man was a Christian, and was very generous with his special recipe bait. Micah hooked on a glob of eggs, and with his "Mickey Mouse" pole (that is what Mr. ESPN called it!) and 20 lb test (sounded good to me, but again Mr. ESPN informed him that was WAY TOO HEAVY...!) proceeded to reel in this beauty! (again Mr. ESPN's title... definitely not mine!)

Salmon are some of the ugliest fish in the world! They have teeth that look like they were transplanted from a shark- much better suited for survival in the great Ocean of Life, and not the rinky dink streams they find themselves in! Now to be fair, they do quite well in those huge rivers, too! I think when they are muscling their way upstream they are just chomping all the water up and that propels them forward!

Anyhow, I am putting out a plea. If anyone out there in blogdom has a surplus of venison... I would be glad to take it off your hands!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

It is good to be prepared!


Watch This!
It made me think twice about how many I want to invite over for Thanksgiving Holiday. Well maybe not how many, but who! I need one really strong someone!

Just helping y'all to be thinking ahead!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mission InProgress

My husband is in Homiletics Class at NSBI, and he gets to preach this week. His text is in Mark 7, where Jesus is being asked about his disciples eating without washing their hands. This seemed like a slam dunk text- pretty clear cut. Of coarse we get into discussions and then we realize there are so many things about this text that are anything but clear cut. With regard to the historical account, the scribes and pharisees were just poking around at them trying to discredit any thing that Jesus would be a part of. That seems pretty straight forward. They like to hide their inward filth by washing their outward flesh.

On the other hand, the disciples have clean hearts, and presumably dirty flesh. At least not washed like most mothers would expect before eating dinner. Where am I going with all this? And on a Mission Monday post as well?

We really do judge by the outward appearance. I have the tattoo pictures here, and if I see a person all inked up, I wonder what was missing in their life that they felt they had to do that? Some would say it is preference. For me, I prefer to drive a Montana mini van. I have my clothes look like the stereotypical suburban wife and mother. I choose to make sure my children address people as "Mr." and "Mrs". But am I judged as a good person because of these choices? By some, yes.

Now others would say "It is my conviction" that I drive, wear, educate ... the various choices they make. Is there a way to draw the line? Could my preference really be someone else's conviction? This is murky water here, and I am not taking this lightly. What is my responsibility to other Christians in this matter? Do I treat all as weaker brethren, and choose to cut out liberty in Christ? Or do I stand on the position that I have a clean heart and God knows it? It is so wrong to say because someone has tattoos they are ungodly. Or because some wear head coverings and don't wear makeup they are holy and righteous. Man looks on the outside, God sees the heart. Just an FYI, look here, and see a few peoples views.

Why does all this seem so monumental to me right now?

Deputation.

In the foreseeable future we are going to be driving our 1998 Chevy van all over this great land of ours. Now we know who we are in Christ, and where we stand on "the issues". What we don't know is anything other than FBBC. We have talked to many, but I am convinced experience will be our only teacher! So, how do we prepare for this? We are already in the process of being in the process of starting to see how we should proceed in getting meetings scheduled. (No, there are no typo's or grammatical errors in the previous sentence.) How do we portray our family on a prayer card? Should we use a lot of African-ish colors? Would a 4x6 be better, or the newer "smaller" cards? And then once we are on the road it gets even more complicated! Should we warn our kids that people will ask them strange questions, like "so did your father pray with you every time after he whooped your hide with a three inch leather strap?"- or- "have you ever even looked at another version of the Bible?" Yikes! I know I am being a little dramatic here, but it is tons to process!

In all things, I can only pray that we are taking the next step in the path that God would have us on. I think it will be fun to do a prayer card. I like the idea of seeing in print a tangible copy of our call to the mission field. My kids are such great people! Who wouldn't love to meet them, house them, feed them for a few days, learn to love them and then enjoy patching the holes in the walls when we leave? There are many unknowns in our future, but the one known is God. He has the plan. As we need to know, we know. See my previous MM post, and you will know I am getting OK with this!



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On Being Jalowiec



When I met my husband, I never knew or heard of so many things- things he gladly shared with me!

Like Herkimer, the small valley town in Central New York where he grew up. I had heard of Herkimer Diamonds, though I never knew they were so close to here, and that they were so called because of the town!

I never knew many Polish names use as few vowels as possible. We have had the necessity of going to a few funerals and cemeteries over the years, and we are always amazed at the names. There was one that had 5 consonants in a row, and only one vowel for the entire 8 letter name! We really should have written it down! Think about the Wheel of Fortune that would make... no extra vowel purchases needed!

I now know the name I carry on my drivers license means "juniper". A tree mentioned in the Bible from the time of Job and Elijah. Also, there is a mountain in Poland bearing the same name. Jalowiec Mountain

I have learned of Wigelia. It is a meal eaten on Christmas Eve that has so much tradition steeped in it, one has a hard time keeping up. I only know it has taken me about 15 of the 20 years I have been going to acclimate to the foods. So much dried fruit and carbohydrates, and not a piece of meat to be found! Now I actually look forward to some of the dishes. Others, not so much!

I have experienced a different culture, class and potential cholesterol shock.

I have also experienced deep family love, commitment, and pride in ones heritage.

My father-in-law is a wise and industrious
man. He was in WWII, one of the vets that still walk the soil of this proud land. He instilled in my husband a deep sense of faith and a strong work ethic. There are many things I love about this man, and his Cupie Doll curl on the top of his head is only the beginning!

His wife, my mother-in-law, is a strong and talented woman. She ran her own business for over 50 years, and even after she wanted to retire, continued to work into her 70's. She always finds ways to make even a simple occasion full of memory and excitement. Her sense of style is evident even now as she struggles to breathe because of her failing health. While she does little of what she once could, I pray my children still learn from her. She is from a class of women that are graduating far too few these days!

Why all the nostalgia? I realize with every ring of the phone, we are waiting for "the news". Both are in poor health, and we are feeling the pressure of possible regrets. We should have spent more time, sent more cards, called more often. Mostly, we are very uncertain of their eternal state. Both have listened to the Gospel, both have had our children ask them very point blank questions. Neither have said anything that would lead us to believe they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. All we can do is pray. God knows their need, He knows what their obstacle is. We pray with faith that He will crumble the veneer and rock that years of religion have built around their hearts. We pray their pride will fall away as they face their mortality and realize there is little left between them and the day they will meet their Creator.

Would you pray with us? There is no greater purpose to this life than to bring Glory to God by praying "home" another soul to praise Him eternally!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mission in Progress

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

By "state", I also mean country and continent! While I may wish for our "mission" to start now, or for us to be at the next phase sooner than later, I am regularly reminded how thankful I need to be for where I am right here and now! Just a small example, and really quite trivial in the grand scheme of things...

Here I sit, October 22th, and my kids are outside in shorts playing with skate boards and mowing the lawn. Now in Western NY this is not commonplace! Usually we have had the furnace on for weeks by now, and the bitter chill in the morning makes us move at a snails pace until Mr. Sunshine warms us up around noon! Well, I happened to be checking out some favorite blogs, and look at the link here for the Pitchers!

I am quite content to be here at this time!

On a more spiritual note, I also recognize that I am here to learn some things. I may not even realize the usefulness of the things I experience, but God knows what I will need. The story of the tapestry is very true. God sees the right side of the "fabric of my life". All I see are cut threads that are tied together with others, and strings that seem to push through at odd places. None of the colors are all that vibrant against the dull muted shade of the main piece of cloth... me before the Holy Spirit began its transformation. I keep focused, though, on the one common thread that seems to wind through the whole thing. That scarlet strand, rich and bold, that binds it all together. Let the Blood of Christ be my glory and the truth of the Gospel be my song. I will let God decide how it all looks at the end, when I have run my race and finished my course. I need only worry about it being a job well done.

ps. Thanks Jen for fixing my flowers on top!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Thy word have I hid in mine heart...

Psalms 119:11 This has been a very needful thing, as blurry eyed vision and intermittent dizziness seriously inhibits any kind of reading.

I, unlike one friend I know, have not committed entire books of scripture to memory. My struggle is to retain several verses in a row for any length of time! But that does not let me off the hook if there is any hope of the second half of that verse in Psalms being any part of my testimony. "...that I might not sin against thee."

With all this in mind, I have have had very little input of late with regard to Bible reading. (...Meanwhile my husband is at a conference sitting through am and pm double headers, only to return and again be submerged in a men's conference for two days filled with great worship, fellowship, and preaching. How is a girl to keep up? I worried about being the proverbial "ball and chain" in the worst of all ways... spiritually! )
Back to the post... insecurities will have to be dealt with later!

"But God is faithful"...

The Lord kept prompting me to rehearse verses in my head. Verses of scripture, songs, poetry, anything to keep my mind stayed on Him. There are always going to be times of famine, but like Pharaoh, we have had The Prophet tell us how to survive. Hide it away. Store it up for later. Live richly on his word, spiritual fatness... "thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over." Psalm 23. A chapter on the valleys of life and God's provision in it all.

What do do from here? Store up more! I realized that if I were in a nation that persecuted Christians (?!) I would become anemic very quickly! If my Bible were taken away, I doubt I could fill up an Awana Cubbies book with enough verses to cover a year of material for a 3 year old. That is a sad thought, but the Lord has told us to redeem the time, and there is still time to do it. Work while it is yet day, for the night cometh when no man can work.

I am glad for getting better, and gladder still for the lesson learned. Worthless though, unless I do it!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things I am thankful for when I am sick

Unusual title, I realize, but I am so seldom really sick, that I notice some major things stand out.

1. My children are very good in the kitchen. The place looks just like it always does. No bombs went off, science experiments gone awry, nothing.

2. My family is close, and doesn't mind taking a child now and again. Especially the one that talks. A lot. All day long. 'Nough said.

3. Make-up applied well can look OK the second day.

4. Straight hair, the second day, and the third for that matter, looks OK too. Just don't sniff. No problem for me. I can hardly breathe.

5. My hubby is coming home tonight, and he really won't mind that everything is not perfectly cleaned up. Or that there is no food in the house. (The kids are very good in the kitchen!)

6. Tissues are much softer these days.

7. I can sleep through "Barbie Princess-topia" several times, and S. is OK with that. She is just glad I am sitting with her on the couch!

8. Mostly, I am thankful that I don't get sick too often. This really is no fun.

Blue skies a comin', I can see 'em on the horizon!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A busy seven days makes one...


Week Weak.
And sick.
I have had stuffy-nosed little S. in my bed all week.
She wanted me not to be lonely because Daddy is gone.
She gave me what she had to give.
Thank you sweetie!
My head is yuck, and my eyes are blurry.
I even left work early.
Ugh.
Hopefully this will shake before my hubby returns.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who knew?

Who knew I would have so much fun?

I had a great day-after-hubby-was-gone-for-the-anniversary rescue date with four of the greatest friends on the planet! We went out to P.F. Changs. Thanks Coach Christina for your gentle introduction to the newbies. Then after we were done, which by the way was a few hours in the completing, we went to Eastview Mall which also by the way, is NOT just around the corner from ANYTHING except a cow field!

Let me tell you though, Eastview Mall will never be the same again. On a sleepy Monday night the place was transformed into our own private spa! And for FREE!!

First, we had our hair done in "up-do" fashion by a great girl whose hubby is deployed in Iraq. We wanted to get pictures but there was a copyright law or some other weird thing that prohibited it. Like we were going to scoot right home, and purchase hair that we would then weave onto some attatcher thingy and make our own...! Not likely! Anyhow, no picture! I am totally getting one of those! I can now really have the best of both worlds, speaking of the realms of hair worlds! Cute, shorter, sleak "fashion" do for every day, and then for those more fiesty (aka bad hair) days, clip on the long locks, and years of "growing it out" have been averted!

Then we experienced a complete full body massage. I cannot remember the name of the store, but we filled every chair that offered shiatsu, roll out-in-around, pulse, heat, and squeeze massages! Some all in one chair! I am telling you, the next 4G I have that is not completely earmarked for braces or school curriculum, I am getting one of those, too! I know, that means I will never get one, but last years deluxe model is now only $1700., and I could totally scale down and take that one just fine! (Now you all know the #1 item on my Christmas, birthday, anniversary, Valentines, Columbus day, ... any "gift giving holiday" list! Maybe all y'all can pool the resources...!)

Needless to say, I still missed my hubby. We considered ordering Dan Dan noodles to feel like he was present with us... but the Mongolian Beef won out.

Such a great night, and one I will remember always! Thank you to you all!!! :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thankful thoughts...


Psalms 119-105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

It seems I have known this verse forever, but do I really KNOW it? I have read a few things lately, and they have really challenged me to let the Word of God richly dwell in me, and to let it be my guide and decision making compass for every thing I do! EVERYTHING! Not just what I would deem "the big stuff".

Every night before I go to sleep, I see my husband in his office studying. Every morning when I wake up, I see my husband, again in his office, usually on his knees in prayer. Some days I laugh and wonder if he ever made it to sleep! Most days I am in awe at his faithfulness. What an encouragement to me that I know he is seeking the Lord. Every day. He knows what it means to let the Word be his light and lamp. I am so thankful for his leadership in our family, and for me! I really need to learn more from his example! He tells others he married "over his head"... it is only true because he is such a humble man!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mission InProgress #6

When I was first married, I would many-a-day get so very frustrated with my husband. I had these ideas, tasks, favors, or gifts that I would expect from him. (the list could be endless, and I will stop for sake of a potentially long post!) I would not tell them to him, of course, because that would spoil the "he knows me so well and senses my needs and meets them every time" mentality I had as a new bride. You can only imagine the tendency for these thoughts to blow even the littlest infraction completely out of proportion! After we had children it got worse, and then during hunting season...! Not pretty!

Well, this Sunday we will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. I look back and some very worldly advertising comes to mind. "We've come a long way, Baby!"

Why the change, you may ask?

He smacked me over the head with a 2x4. No, I am only kidding! :-)
(though the thought would have crossed my mind had the roles been reversed! I am not nearly as nice as my hubby)

The truth, I came to some realizations. Some very obvious, and others not so obvious!

First, my dear hubby is not a mind reader. That one was obvious.

Second, some of my "needs" were so fleeting and fickle, I had a hard time keeping up with the changes!

Third, I realized that I was setting him up for failure in my eyes. I had all these unattainable goals that I wouldn't even express to him, how could he possibly reach them? The Lord showed me that I should NOT place any expectation on my husband because he is human, and therefore can only let me down!

WHAT? My mind reeled thinking it was my right as his wife to expect these things from him, and he should be GLAD I was not as high maintenance as ______ or ______!

Alas, I searched the word "expectation" and found that when it was placed anywhere but on the Lord, it was destined for failure, destruction, dashed hopes. Just read a few verses...

Proverbs 11:7 When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.

Proverbs 11:23 The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

Zechariah 9:5 Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. (not sure of all the historical or prophetical application, but regardless, it sounds like not-so-good! )

These had put their expectation in their abilities, hopes, skill. None of them could succeed because the object of their hope was flawed.

Now read what changed my marriage. (Well, one of the things!)

Psalms 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

Proverbs 23:18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

Philippians 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

I needed to place my expectations on and in God. I know from His word and His character that He is the one that is immutable, count on-able! No longer did I have all these dreams that my husband was a perfect, mind-reading, "flash-in-the-pan-needs" sensing man. I know he is human and imperfect, ... just like me! If I really need something from him, I tell him! Shocker how well that works! Please do not think I am at all bashing my man! I have the best husband in the universe. He is very caring, sensitive, and a great provider for our family. He is a 150% kind of person, in every aspect of his life!

How does this qualify as a Mission Monday post? ... It is a very easy transition to have unreal expectations in a ministry, just as I have had in a relationship. I know right up front, I need to count on God for our needs, and for real solid ground under our feet. Not friends, though we need and want them. And not supporters, though we need and want them, too! But, we want to have the friends and supporters that are led by God to be in these positions, really partnering and co-laboring with us. We want to follow the Lord of the vine, and the God of the brook, recognizing all the while that He has given us the vine and the brook for our use and enjoyment. Thank You Jesus!

Some prayer requests:

~ Dan and Kevin leave Saturday 10-13 VERY EARLY to drive to Savannah, GA for a conference. (Just never mind all you that put it together that he will be gone for the afore mentioned 18th wedding anniversary the next day. He clearly realizes there will be some major makin' it all up to me! ... Actually they both realize it! )
~ For our little man, Micah. There are still some anxiety issues after a year of transition. Moving 5 times has been a bit rough on him. At least he doesn't throw up every night anymore!
~ JulieMom and her family. One week til THE MOVE! 10+ huge plastic locker-style totes going with them to South Africa! Three little girls to each carry two! Ha! Pray-pray-pray!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Holiday Recipe Exchange

I found a recipe exchange I will do! I am not comfortable with the "e-mail to 8 friends, delete the first name, add yours on the bottom..." Ugh! But this one is great! A new blog friend, Overwhelmed with Joy, started this last year, and you should go look at the entries! Over 200 recipes!

So here goes! My entry.

I wanted to WOW you all with a beautiful picture, but alas, all cameras in this home are kaput. I know, we live in Kodak country... but they aren't handing out any free ones lately!

...and please realize this is a holiday recipe, so any ideas about it being low fat, low carb or even a little calorie conscious are dreams!

Sweet Potato Casserole...
( that really should go on the Dessert Table!) DELICIOUS!

Base:
2 Large cans sweet potatos OR
4 large fresh, peeled, chopped, and softened (I prefer fresh)
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t salt
1/2 c. evaporated milk

Combine all ingredients, and put into a 9x13 pan.

Topping:
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 c. pecans, chopped
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. flour

combine all ingredients- will be crumbly. Put over base, and bake @ 350 for 35-40 minutes.

As I said, my family eats this for dessert- nothing like it warm with a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream! ENJOY!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My New Friend...

I was given the gift of a new friend this weekend. It will be a love/hate relationship- I already acknowledge this- but it WILL be a relationship nonetheless.

In my ever-desiring-but-never-quite-accomplishing quest to become a runner (term used loosely, for now!), fall has once again arrived. This is the time every year that I employ the "torrential rain and icy wind" excuse for not venturing outside to exercise. I live in Western New York, after all! (...yeah, all that means is there will be great weather until mid January,at which time snow will come unrelenting until sometime around Memorial Day!) Global warming! Blame it for everything! ... What was I talking about?... oh, right. My new friend.

I was given the gift of a treadmill.


I have actually used it.


Three times.


I really like it! Really! What a great excuse to listen to music way louder than I usually do for 25 minutes? (This means I do NOT hear the children calling me for things they really can handle themselves. PLEASE!!! I AM ONLY ASKING FOR A LITTLE TIME HERE! ) sorry for shouting.

There is a verse in 1 Timothy 4:8 "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. "

Focusing on the "profiteth little" part, means it does profit. Little is better than none!

If anyone has ever had a struggle with issues of weight, visit a new friend of mine,Calamity Jane. I have been inspired and motivated by her posts. While we hold very different beliefs on God and faith, I am still very impressed by her life and what she has shared on her blog. She is very transparent, and real. I like that. (For a little more on the differences in our faith visit Here) .

Please don't be afraid to ask how my new friendship is growing. Maybe it will be obvious if it is going well... I hope!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Monday Mission in Progress #5

I have been a part of a ladies prayer group for the Ireland Family for about 6 years now. We meet about once a month to collectively bring this family before the throne of Grace. It is so exciting and amazing to have a part in their ministry, even thought I have never stepped on the soil of Ukraine.
They have been faithful to God on the field for 12 years now, and are seeing amazing things happen there. There are men, nationals, who are beginning to rise up and take the lead in the churches that have been started. Their 7 children have grown to feel like Ukranians in many ways, the most obvious is their love of the people! What a great opportunity to be involved in the most effective and vital part of their ministry- prayer!

The more we are faced with the eventuality of going to Zambia, the more I know we need prayer! It is so humbling to hear people pray for me, and that is where I need to be- humbled, set low, and looking up to God.

About a month ago, my friend and her daughter asked me if I had a prayer group. I said, "yes, that I am in the Irelands"... and she said "No, do YOU have a prayer group for your family?" ... I was floored! WOW!!! God had put in their heart to consider being part of our ministry! At the most important level... right in the very, very beginning! I was so taken back that God was already moving in the hearts of people, my friends, and it made me rest in Him all the more! To know that He is taking care of the details before I even considered them! What a great God I have!~ Psalm 139 is a very familiar chapter, and God proves to me it is true in ways like this.

Some prayer requests!

~ For the Ireland Family!
~ The timing and assembling of our families prayer group
~ For the family that expressed interest in hosting it!

Its October First!!

I love fall and all of the colors, smells, activities... the list is endless! A great friend of mine shares this love of fall with me, and it spoiled her joyous living in Florida for 10 years... because she missed fall! (She lives in Maryland now!! Happy Fall!)

Well, I realize the Fall Equinox already has passed. But for me I don't feel fall-ish until October. Maybe I live in a constant state of "Oh please... not yet", for while I love fall, I still enjoy very much my summer... and it is waning! But, nevertheless, October comes with all of its golden and russet splendor!

October 1st also marks two very memorable events in my family.

First- October 1st, 1988, my niece Sabrina was born. A beautiful baby girl, 8 pounds, gobs of black hair, and an undetected Diaphragmatic Hernia. She had a collapsed right lung, her heart was on the right of her chest, and her left lung had only developed to be the size of a nickel. When she was 5 hours old, the doctors performed emergency surgery and really thought she was not going to make it. They gave her a 5% chance of survival, simply because she had lived through the operation, but figured it was only a matter of hours.

28 days later, my sister brought her home! It was a long road of meds, broviacs, shaving her hair off in patches for IV lines, :( but God was so gracious and even the doctors acknowledged it was only His miracle of giving her life! Today, she is 19 years old! A beautiful girl, with a generous heart, and a passionate love for the same God that spared her life. She is attending Word of Life Bible Institute, and planning a life of dedication to the Lord in whatever capacity He calls her to.
Happy Birthday Beans!


The other event on October 1st, was the death of my grandfather. It is hard to believe that 12 years have already gone by since that day. While he lived in California all of my life, he moved here to NY 1 1/2 years before he died. It was interesting to get to know this man. He had so many stories to tell, and even more crazy phrases for things. He lived a life full with service to our Country, joy in the little things, and a distinguished
air that only Southern Gentlemen really possess! He always wore a hat... that is after he got rid of the hideous toupee!

I remember one story of him primping in the morning. He was a fastidious man, and always made sure he was dressed to the nines. He grabbed The Silver Hair Spray to make "the hair" shine, after which he used the Arrid Extra Dry under arm antiperspirant... only to discover too late he had mixed them up. He met the day with hair that wouldn't sweat, and silver arm pits.
I believe it was shortly after that he accepted his baldness!

While I never really knew him in the sense that I had intertwined my life with his, I still miss what could have been. I never really had a "grandfather" in the cozy, generous, unconditional sort of way. He was a bit of an enigma. He had already lived his entire life when I began to know him. We, his grandchildren, were people he had pictures of in his wallet. Had he left in the ones that came with the wallet when he purchased it, he may have never really known the difference. Except we were much better looking, and had
written "To Popo, love..." on the back. I still loved him. It may have been more an idea that I loved, but at least I have a picture of him in my mind... even if I don't have "To Jan" written on the back!

October first... life ending, and life beautifully storing up for the Spring...

So Happy Fall! Enjoy all of the beauty, cinnamon smelling pies, and cool, crisp evening walks! I know I will!



Monday, September 24, 2007

Mission InProgress #4- Immutable God.

Jeremiah 5:22 Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?

I loves this- I always thought the sea had crushed up so many rocks that it had created the sand borders. God makes it clear in this verse that He made the sand as the bound of the sea. So much force to be contained by such small grains of sand. Oh that I would fear Him more!

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God is such a person of order and pattern. His character is immutable, and because of this trait I can rest fully on who I know Him to be from the Bible. He will never change- and I find great comfort in this!

One way I know God works is in His way of "frame work then fill in". It is a "pattern of process" He uses to make things, to do things, and there are many examples of it.

One example is in the six days of creation. Days 1, 2, and 3 were the frame work and were "filled up" in days 4, 5, and 6.

Day 1-created Light and dark ... Day 4- created sun moon and stars

Day 2- created Heavens and waters... Day 5- created birds and fish

Day 3- created Earth and herbs and grasses... Day 6- created living creatures and man

Another example is the Bible itself. The first books are an over view-the frame work- of such a huge span of time, and the ones following are many of details. The minor prophets fill in the events and stories of the books of history and so on.

So how does this apply to me and my family's mission?

God has given us the framework- our Salvation, the Bible, gifts and talents- and He is teaching us and guiding our steps to places and experiences that will equip us for the accomplishing of the vision he has given to my husband. We are by no means even a little ready for it! This journey wasn't even in the back of our minds, let alone something we discussed as a course for our family. We are learning God's plans and putting feet to them. "Plodding the Course" is what this blog is named for this very reason! We are not the plotters of this path- God is! We are the walkers of it.

(I know if you look up the exact definition of "plod", it seems a little depressing, and not quite an accurate depiction of how we are actually making this journey. It just was a good word twist. Instead of "Plotting the Course" implying we are setting the course, we are walking a course the God is setting. Get it?!)


We are continually learning more of God, His word, His character, and love for us. It strengthens our faith, encourages our spirit, and emboldens us for the proclaiming of the Gospel. We are being given opportunities to practice what we preach! This weekend our family will be going to Naples and helping a the Street's evangelize this little town. They are long time mentors in the faith, and we are so blessed to have this opportunity. Potentially 100,000 people will be there for the annual Grape Festival. Perhaps even one will be reached for the Glory of God! Our children will be side by side with us, working in the fields, tilling, watering and maybe even sharing in the harvest!

This is some of our "filling in" process. It is all part of preparing our family for the mission field of Zambia. We are so excited for the journey, and are enjoying the process. I know we can only become prepared as we allow God to move in our lives, to conform us and make of us vessels fit for His purpose. It is also true that until we are ready, God will not relocate our family! We won't do out of Jerusalem what we don't do in!

Some prayer requests!
~ The trip in Naples to be profitable, that God would go before and prepare the hearts of the people
~ This week as ERM is here ministering to our teens at FBBC. Revival!
~ For the Tsoukalas' as they continue their BIG MOVE PREP!
~ For Dan as institute is in full swing! What a huge course load!