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?


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.
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!

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.

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!