Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012

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When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:10-11

May your Christmas be filled with the awe of the star, the joy of the presence of the king and the wonder of a child!

Blessings to you and your Family

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Stitchy Post

I've actually accomplished some stitching the last couple of months. For my record keeping, I thought I'd go ahead and record them here.

First, Tree's afghan which I never showed off. It was finished before his dedication earlier this year.

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I stitched 4 Christmas ornaments for teachers that I forgot to take pictures of...DOH!

But here are the ornaments I made for the kids. The backs are labeled with their names and the city and year. A nutcracker for Tree to represent Germany, a purple fairy for Jewel because that was the role she danced in Cinderella and an angel with a guitar for Flower because she began learning the guitar this year and was an angel in the church play (Jewel was also an angel).
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And finished this week, Life Lessons by LizzieKate.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Heard in Our House

Overheard in our house:

Unnamed Child singing: "Don we now our gray apparel..."
Me:  "Gay not Gray"
Child:  "Oh, I wondered why they wanted to wear boring clothes at Christmas."


Child:  "Good Tidings we bring to you and your king..."
Me:  "Kin (that is family) not king"
Child:  "That makes more sense, we don't all have a king."


May you and your kin(g) have a lovey holiday...and may your days never be gray.
 
 

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

December Goals

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My November goals were:

1. Stay on track with Daniel study that I finally started last week! yes
2. Actively seek a friendship that could grow into prayer/study partner. working on it
3. Write every week day. Post on blog at least 2 times per week. didn't happen with all three kids having chicken pox during the month
4. Finish ABCs of Life cross stitch. almost
5. Stitch 2 Bride's ornaments. nope, but I did stitch 4 Xmas ornaments so I'm okay with this
6. Update Christmas card list, write letter and get cards ready to send. yes
7. Celebrate Tree's first birthday! yes
8. Christmas shop for the girls whilst they are still in school ;) 75% complete--hard to do when they are home from school sick!

December Goals:
1.  Stay on track with Daniel study
2.  Continue to actively seek a friendship that could grow into prayer/study partner.
3.  Write every week.  Post on blog at least 4 times during December.
4.  Finish ABCs of Life cross stitch.
5.  Stitch 3 Xmas ornaments.
6.  Celebrate Xmas and not lose focus of the season!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

A Tree Turns One

Just yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital:
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This week, you celebrated your first birthday!
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How can that be?  You need to promise to stop growing up so fast.  Okay?

Happy Birthday Little Tree!
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But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
For what you have done I will always praise you
in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
for your name is good.
Psalm 52:8-9

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Learning to Ask for Help

1. Take one fiercely independent woman who hates asking for help.

2. Place her in a location that requires a 10 minute bus ride with 50 other people each morning to get children to school.

3. Add 2 chicken pox covered children who cannot be on said bus infecting the world.

4. Mix in a couple of day trips away from city for Daddy.

5. Leaves a tired mama who has no choice but to ask and accept helping hands.

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Thank you Lord for neighbours who are willing to ferry Flower to and from school and other events. What a blessing!



Sorry, not much writing happening here. But lots of cuddles, swathing with calamine and general malaise. Hopefully back to normal next week.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Marriage Monday


Marriage Monday is back! Our topic this week is Gender Differences in Marriage and you can find some of the suggested prompts for writing here.

I often think that most of the differences German and I have are related to personality. He is the Extroverted Thinker and I'm the Introverted Feeler and that leads to all sorts of fun miscommunications. But now, as the parent of a little man who is oh-so-different from his sisters, I am recognizing more and more that some of the differences are simply gender.

In that thinking, I was most intrigued by the prompt of the differences in how we express our Christian Faith. This could easily be one of the areas that we are most divergent. I as a typical female will find myself caught in the emotion of worship; he will be more focused on particular aspects of the service. I'll leave with tear-streaked face and he'll leave wanting a concordance to check a reference. My commentary will be how something moved me, his will be how it challenged him. I will have noticed those around who seem to be struggling. When pointed out, he will have suggestions of how to meet needs. Diverging responses to the same service.

Neither response wrong.

Both responses needed.

And as we share them together (as we walk along the Rhine River from church to home), we find a completeness. I find the words to analyze and apply. He finds the emotions to express. We round out each other's experience with our own. We find wholeness.

Kind of like God planned it that way all along.

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24

Oh, maybe he did!

November Goals

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It has been so long since I have posted goals, that it is useless to go back and see if I accomplished them. Good thing I use goals as a motivator not a measuring stick, because I would not be measuring up very well. That said, it is time to get back on the goal-wagon.

November Goals:
1. Stay on track with Daniel study that I finally started last week!
2. Actively seek a friendship that could grow into prayer/study partner.
3. Write every week day. Post on blog at least 2 times per week.
4. Finish ABCs of Life cross stitch.
5. Stitch 2 Bride's ornaments.
6. Update Christmas card list, write letter and get cards ready to send.
7. Celebrate Tree's first birthday!
8. Christmas shop for the girls whilst they are still in school ;)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Irish Tour part 2

Continuing our tour of Ireland down to the South.

We visited a toy soldier factory. They make everything from soldiers, to ballet dancers; nativity scenes to "Lord of the Rings" chess sets. Very cool.
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We enjoyed the sights and smells of the English Market in Cork.
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We toured a museum in Cobh regarding the Titantic. Cobh (or then Queesntown)was the last port of call before the fateful voyage. Many of the crew came from this area.

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The Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula are absolutely breath-taking. The sea, the mountains and the lakes. Here the girls are at "Ladies View":
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Here is one of the ring forts that dot the island. These predate castles and would be where the chieftans brought their families for protection.
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This is Muckross house (muck=pig ross=peninsula). Beautiful stately home.
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No trip down south would be complete without a visit to Blarney Castle and kissing the infamous stone!
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That concludes the highlights of our amazing trip. If you ever get the opportunity, visit Ireland! The people are welcoming, the scenery is beautiful. Thanks for traveling with me!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Join Me for a Tour of Ireland

One of the things that we are most committed to doing is exploring whereever we are living.  So to that end, last February/March we set off on a two week tour of Ireland.  We spent a week based in County Antrim exploring the North and then a week based in Killarney exploring the South.  Here is a little taste of what Ireland has to offer if you are so inclined to visit.

A tour from North to South is known as going from Malin Head to Mizen Head:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:


Malin to Mizen most commonly refers to a journey from Malin Head (Ireland's most northerly point in County Donegal) to Mizen Head in County Cork (commonly thought to be Ireland's most southerly point, although nearby Brow Head is approximately 30 feet further south). The journey is most often attempted by cyclists and walkers as a challenge route with the goal of raising money for charities. As the crow flies, the two points are 466 km (290 mi) apart. The shortest road distance from Malin to Mizen is approximately 555 km (345 mi).
 
We did indeed visit Malin Head:
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And we visited Mizen Head (it was off season so it was closed):
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And just for good measure we visited Brow Head as well (not a tourist spot!)
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Whilst in the North, we went on tours in both Belfast and Derry/Londonderry to learn more of the history of the troubles and the north/south divide.  I'll admit, I find it difficult to comprehend the depth of division that is a part Irish history.  But both of our tour guides were excellent and seemed intent on giving a balanced view.
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The Antrim coast is just gorgeous.  Here is the Giant's Causeway:
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The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge goes across a gorge to a small island.  Despite the gale force winds (literally) German and the girls crossed it.  There is a new plumb line for the "scariest thing I've ever done".
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We also visited the W5 science museum in Belfast:
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Drove by the Titanic museum that was not yet opened:
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Carrickfergus Castle:
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and went fossil hunting on the beach:
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Perhaps the highlight for all of us was meeting one of Jewel's (and my) personal heroes. This lady was a missionary in the Congo and has amazing stories to tell. We were privileged to join her for tea in her home and hear her tell some of the stories we had read. Something I'll never forget!
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This post has gotten long and photo-laden, so I'll stop for now. Next up, touring the South. Hope you are enjoying the tour!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Testing...Is this thing still on?

Somewhere along this blogging journey I've lost sight of why I do it.  What started as a place to record memories, share travels, journal life and stitching and feed this passion of a writer became something else entirely.  The attempts at developing my writing voice by participating in a few weekly memes resulted in my writing to a narrow audience.  That was never my intention.  I stopped going deeper and stopped thinking harder.

God has taken me on an amazing journey the last three years.   We came through a painful church non-split/split that left me bruised and broken.  I didn't (and largely still don't) feel able to share the depth of that because of those left behind that I dearly love and who are still hurting.  Now, four moves later, there is much that I have not said about the learning curve that perhaps I should have.

As I just alluded above, we have just completed our fourth move in three years.  This time it is out of most of my comfort zones into huge unknowns.  I have felt very strongly the last few weeks that God is calling us to new wineskins because the old ones won't hold what is in store.  I believe, at least I hope, that writing is part of that.  There are thoughts on women and friendship and marriage dancing in my head looking to find a voice.

I also want to get back to the fun heart of this blog--exploring the world with my amazing family.  So be prepared.  A photo tour of Ireland is coming.  Along with some thoughts of impressions of the London 2012 Olympics.  I might even throw in some stitchy pics and a few kid antics as well (life with a just turned 10 year old, 7 year old and toddling 10 month old is never boring).

To the four or five of you who have hung in there with me, and emailed me and loved me and cared for me, thank you!  I hope that something I have to say will make it worth it.  I look forward to journeying down this path with you.

Blessings!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

In Other Words--Blemish

Welcome to In Other Words!!! I'm so sorry I am late posting. We returned from the States this morning and I forgot to hit publish. *blush* Anyway, welcome and here is the post to link to.

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I follow the lines of the birthmark with my finger. It is soft. It's colours are distinctive. I lean in and kiss it gently. And I smile. This little mark, this blemish if you will, is so much a part of him. It is one of his identifying marks and is unique only to him. I believe that this little blemish is beautiful.

But I know that not everyone would agree. In the past, it might have kept him from entering worship at the temple as it shows a blemish that could be considered unclean. It could have put him in danger from those who saw marks as a sign of evil. Blemishes were dividers, separators and distinguishers. They were anything but beautiful.

When God looks at us, he does not focus on the physical blemishes. He is much more concerned with the spiritual blemishes. And they are anything but beautiful to him. Those things that we hide so well and call blemishes are often the very things that caused his son to have to go to the cross. Things that we may see as quirks that make us who we are, are often spiritual blemishes that are sin. Impatience, perpetual lateness, telling little white lies, procrastination, gossiping, etc are not blemishes that make us beautiful. They are marks of our selfish nature. God calls these things sinful. They mark us as opposed to him.

However, the good news is that he does not see those blemishes when he sees us! When we are covered by the blood of Jesus, he sees that blood. He sees us washed clean. He sees us without the blemishes. What a joy to think that he does not trace his finger around my spiritual blemishes and use them as a definer of me. He defines me by the sacrifice of his son! I do not have to fear his response because it is predetermined.

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel."
Colossians 1:21-23a

What blemishes in your life have you used to define yourself? Let them go. Confess them to God and rejoice that he does not define you by your blemishes but by the sacrifice that covers them. Join me in letting go of definitions that limit us to marred images of who he sees. Let's view ourselves the way God sees us.

Father God forgive me when I define myself by my limitations, quirks and sins. Give me the courage to confess those things as sin and then to move forward. Thank you for seeing me through the sacrifice of Jesus and not the accusations of this life and world. Amen.


Saturday, May 05, 2012

In Other Words host

 I will be hosting In Other Words on Tuesday. Please come and comment on the following words from the Apostle Paul.

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.
Colossians 1:21-23a

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

In Other Words--Out of Doubt...Faith

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“Great faith is often at the end of the search that starts with doubt. We should be thankful for what God has revealed to us. He doesn’t belong in the package we have created for Him.”  
David Jeremiah


I remember clearly looking into the eyes of our newborn daughter and whispering, "I don't think we (meaning I) can do this." He whispered back, "Of course we can, we're bigger than she is." Filled with intense doubts I was looking to him for assurance. No matter the level of his own doubts, he demonstrated utter confidence that we were capable adults who could survive the transition to parenthood. Nine years later he continues to encourage that faith in him as he leads our family as God leads him. My faith in my husband grew immensely that first year of parenting as I watch him take my doubts and trust God with them.

Our faith walk has been much the same. We face things with the doubt that we can go further, and as we see God reveal himself one step at a time, our faith soars. I would much prefer that God just work out my doubts in a quick, easy-to-read manual for life. I want him to conform to my pre-conceived notions of how God should act in this situation when I express a doubt or fear. But he doesn't do that. He gives strength for each moment, guidance or wisdom for each decision, a little light for the next step. Then he does that again. And again. He does that until I reach a point that I wonder how I ever doubted in the first place. Faith has replaced the doubt. Confidence replaces the fear.

We are now a couple of years past the spiritual upheaval in a previous church setting. There were days during that year of crisis that German and I held onto one another with wild fear in our eyes repeating our mantra that "God is Good." I doubted every breath I took there for a while. I doubted that God could possibly care about us if the entire institutional church foundation I was standing upon was quaking. I doubted that I could ever walk into a church setting again with confidence of being vulnerable and authentic. But day-by-day, step-by-step we did survive. We found a new fellowship. We were given glimpses into how others' handle church conflict. We found prayer confidence again. We still held onto one another, but with less fear in our eyes. God continued to give us wisdom. He moved us to another place and another fellowship. He gave us further foundation of fellowship. I was thinking last week how I no longer remember the specifics of the harsh things that were said. The sadness and grief are still a part of me. But the intense hurt and fear have subsided. God has brought us through and we stand with a different, stronger faith than before.

I wanted an easy fix and to not experience the upheaval. But if that had happened, my view of God would not have expanded and deepened. He would still be God in a box of my conception. Instead, he became bigger than that. He revealed aspects of his character that I needed to know. My faith, my trust, is stronger because of the doubts that I screamed at him during that time that he answered. Sometimes our faith can grow in quiet waters. Other times, it develops muscles because of swimming in the choppy water of doubt. It's not my favourite way of developing faith muscles (I want easy), but I know these don't weaken because of troubles. They were borne of troubles. And for them, I am grateful.

Can you think of a time of doubt that God has used to strengthen your faith? Give thanks for the faith muscles that have been strengthened.

Our hostess this week is Karen at In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus. You will find a blessing there.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter 2012


He is not here!

He is Risen!


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CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED!
Happy Easter my Friends!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

In Other Words--Resurrection


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There is so much of life in which we attempt to remain neutral. We hedge our bets, stall making real belief statements and attempt to keep the masses happy by making non-decisions. Our world is so afraid of offending somebody that we take no stands.

We don't have that option when it comes to making a decision about the resurrection. If we choose to not make a decision, in the end it is the same as denying it. If the resurrection is true, that non-decision denial is catastrophic.

For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
~John 3:34-36~


This Easter, I implore that you look at the resurrection and decide for yourself. Do you believe? Then don't be afraid to declare with confidence that "He is Risen Indeed!" If you choose to not believe, be willing to stand with those consequences. But, please, don't be a non-decider. The consequences are too great.



“No one can remain neutral regarding Jesus’ resurrection.
The claim is too staggering,
the event too earthshaking,
the implications too significant
and the matter too serious.
We must either receive it or reject it as truth for us.
To remain indifferent or undecided is to reject it.”
~Mark Driscoll

Loni at The Writing Canvas is our hostess today. Please visit and be blessed!

Friday, March 02, 2012

March Goals

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In February I said:

1. Continue to memorize James 1:22-25--almost
2. Begin Daniel study--not yet
3. Finish Snug as a Bug afghan for Tree--YES
4. Stitch one block on Neighbourhood Sampler--yes
5. Complete taxes and set up 2012 files--Irish taxes done, files done, awaiting US tax planner which is in post
6. Continue to pursue ministry opportunity to begin teaching again--in process

March Goals:

1. Continue to memorize James 1:22-25
2. Begin Daniel study
3. Complete stitching project to help a friend
4. Stitch one block on Neighbourhood Sampler
5. Stitch two Bride's Tree ornaments
6. Catch up Homeschool Tracking software

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Other Words--Scaling the Circumstances

Welcome to In Other Words Tuesday!  I pray that something that you read here today will bless you.  Please, if you have time, write on the passage and add your link at the end of this post.  I would love to read your thoughts.  If you cannot write on the passage, I still encourage you to follow the links.  I am sure you will find blessings in what this amazing group of women write.

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Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.


The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.


Habakkuk 3:17-19

These were my Mom's favourite verses.  She called them the "farmer's wife passage" because so often it felt as if all the work was in vain, but that we were still to trust God.  It was not that the tender of the fields or grapes had not done the work, just that the crop failed.  Sometimes in spite of all of our effort we will not see the results we hope to see.  That does not give us an excuse to stop believing God. Actually it gives us more of an opportunity to demonstrate our faith and trust.

I am not a farmer's wife. I was, in fact, a pretty awful farmer's daughter wanting more security than the dependence on weather and land gave.  But I, too, have learned to love this passage. My "though the's" are quite different, but the end result is the same.

It comforted when we suffered through two miscarriages.
Though the womb remains empty...........I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

Watching events of 9/11 from a foreign land, it provided the refocus.
Though there is an ocean gulf between us, and the world seems to be falling apart around us....I will be joyful.

It gives stability in the ever-changing work field.
Though the job is ever changing and location is not stable....I will be joyful.

It provided strength during a serious crisis.
Though our friends desert us and we stand alone in our beliefs....I will be joyful.

And two years ago this last weekend, it provided the base for celebrating my mother's life. Her favourite passage read at her homegoing celebration.
Though my mother is called home and we experience the sorrow and grief....I will be joyful.

Trusting that God is our strength is a choice.  It is not determined by circumstance.  It is determined by intent in our hearts.  Intent.  We must determine that we will trust no matter what happens. In this year where I am focusing on intent, I am brought back to these verses time and time again.  I will be joyful. Not I am naturally joyful. Not the circumstance brings me joy. No, it is a choice. I choose to be joyful. I choose to trust. I choose to remember that God is sovereign, even when things seem dismal.

And when I make that choice, then I am able to scale the problem (the heights).  Then I am able to have sure-feet. It is my intent to believe that allows me to accept God's strength in the tough times.

Sometimes I need to be reminded of that.

I thought, maybe, some of you needed that reminder as well.

Father thank you for giving me sure-feet to scale the things in my life when I trust in you.  Help me to choose joy in all circumstances. Help me to keep my eyes on the source of my strength and not the source of my problems.  Give me your joy as I trust you more.  Amen.









Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hosting In Other Words Tuesday

Please join me on Tuesday as we discuss one of my Mom's favourite Bible passages:

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:17-19




Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Marriage Monday--At The Kitchen Table




Last week German and I were visiting with a friend from church. He and his wife had been tasked with preaching on the marriage passage in Ephesians 5. He asked us the most interesting question: "What does submission and love look like around the kitchen table?" he went on to explain that he grew up in a church tradition that emphasised submission that was very external but when he visited homes it was obvious 'who wore the trousers' and he found the whole display very hypocritical. He didn't want 'Sunday School answers' but real practicality of how these verses impacted lives.

We had an interesting discussion about collaboration and final decisions and using each others strengths. We used examples of how German truly knows he can accept a job relocation just about anywhere because he knows I will follow, but at the same time he knows some of the places that I would need more time to process or accept. Because of his love for me, I trust that he would give me ample input into those kind of decisions.

Although the discussion was good, or maybe because it was good, it has stayed with me. How does it look at my kitchen table? Several times this week I have wondered if this was really submission as many people would surmise, or if it was going through the motions? I am able to follow German's lead without submitting. Submitting is a heart issue and often I will say and do the right thing and be telling myself that I am right and I am only doing this because I am being a good wife. Just following his direction is not enough. It is about my heart recognising his God-given place as the head of this family. It is about bending my internal thought processes as well as my external actions. It is about not harbouring ill thoughts when his ultimate decision is not my first choice. For me, submission is so much more about intent than action.

I am blessed that I have a husband who truly strives to love me in an Ephesians five way. He does seek my opinion. He values what I have to say. His first priority is to serve God and then to serve his family. That makes submitting to his leadership so much easier. But that does not make it easy. I still have to daily, and some days multiple times, ask God to help me submit to German. I still want my way. I am still obstinate, opinionated, selfish and difficult. Yet through all of that he loves me, and I love him, so we find a way to follow God together.

What does submission look like at our kitchen table? It is healthy discussion. It is sometimes disagreeing. Sometimes there are tears. Often there is laughter. It is not being a simpering yes-wife, nor is it being a constant nag. It is being a supportive help-meet and trusting his love.

So, what does submission look like at your kitchen table?

For others' interpretation of submission in marriage, visit Chrysalis Cafe.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Marriage Monday--Not Becoming Complacent


It is a rare moment where the baby is asleep and all is quiet in our house.

I sigh. "I suppose we have to go finish the taxes."

"Yeah, we do," he replied. "But first..."  There is a slight twinkle in his eye.  He nods toward a closed door. "I think we have time."

We giggle, slip through the door and set up the game.  He comments that this is the first chance we have had to play pool without passing the baby from person to person in weeks.

You may think that playing a game of pool would not be a priority in sleep-deprived parents, but for us it is crucial.  Our nightly games are a chance to reconnect, to discuss things under the cover of noise, to laugh at each other and with each other.  They are a few minutes of  "us time" in the midst of constant busyness.


As I thought about this week's topic of how to keep boredom and apathy at bay in our marriages, this time was what immediately came to mind.  What matters most to us is to keep finding ways to connect.  In the busyness.  In the parenting.  In the work stresses and the moves and the responsibilities.  We must find ways to connect that are fun (outside the serious, decision-making connections that are inevitable). My encouragement to others is have fun together and have rituals together that keep you....well, together.

Your ritual, fun-connection time will probably not be around a billiard table. Maybe it is taking a walk, or going for a drive.  Maybe it is reading the newspaper together whilst having morning coffee.  Maybe it is in pizza and movie night.  Whatever it is, it is important.  Don't neglect to have fun together.  You are less likely to become bored if you are laughing, talking and connecting.

At least, that is what I have found to be true for us.

For other great thoughts on not growing bored, please join the Marriage Monday community at Chrysalis Cafe.














Thursday, February 02, 2012

February Goals

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In January I said:

1. Memorize James 1:22-25 about 50%
2. Begin Daniel study not yet
3. Finish Snug as a Bug afghan for Tree at 90% complete
4. Start art lessons for Jewel and Flower started stitching lessons instead
5. Close out 2011 files and set up 2012 files 2011 closed, but not moved until taxes complete
6. Explore ministry opportunity to begin teaching again in process


February Goals:

1. Continue to memorize James 1:22-25
2. Begin Daniel study
3. Finish Snug as a Bug afghan for Tree
4. Stitch one block on Neighbourhood Sampler
5. Complete taxws and set up 2012 files
6. Continue to pursue ministry opportunity to begin teaching again

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Keeping Peace in the Midst of Change

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“True peace comes from embracing what is,
not from ceaseless striving to change everything around me
to make my life more safe, secure, comfortable.”
Dan Meadows in the Mosaic Bible

We had been in the UK for two years. Our work visa was due to expire. No one could get any confirmation that we would get an extension. I had a newborn. And I knew in my heart that we were not going to be going anywhere--although all the signs pointed to needing to leave. We were not even looking for a job in the US as a "back up plan." Someone at church asked how we could be so calm in the time of the unknown. I answered that it was either faith or denial, but I knew we were staying. I felt totally at peace with all that was happening. I totally celebrated and breathed a prayer of thanksgiving when the extension came through---but I had never lost the feeling of peace. I could have panicked and worried during those weeks, but it would have done me no good. By not striving to change anything while waiting on God's timing we ended up leaving a testimony that I would never have anticipated--one of patience and peace in the unknown.

Nine years later as we were waiting on paperwork to clear for our move to Ireland, and I discovered I was pregnant, I again had a perfect human right to panic and worry about what we were going to do. Instead we took the attitude "it is what it is" and that God was not surprised by the timing of any of it. With that mindset, we were able to remain calm in the turmoil of an international move. We could have waited until the baby came but we would have missed the blessing of the help that God had already prepared for us. We could have fretted and worried, but then the girls would have missed seeing a move as God's plan and began to see it as something that was to be avoided. By embracing the life given with all its crazy timing we were able to demonstrate a level of peace that others noticed.

Our life is often filled with the unexpected timing or humanly unplanned changes. We have chosen to keep an attitude that nothing surprises God and to welcome whatever he throws our way. I can testify that in that acceptance, peace has come that has provided the strength and perseverance to accept the changes. I hope that continues to be my testimony. I pray that it may also be your testimony of peace.

And, if you see me panicking over some unforeseen something in my life, please be my friend and point me back to this post. *smile*

Tami at The Next Step is our amazing hostess this week. Go and visit, I know you will be blessed!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Marriage Monday...Celebrating Women


Today's Marriage Monday is to learn more about the participants as women! Go here to get the prompts and join along.

I am the honoured mom of three (still hard to type that).
I want time to write!
I have great memories of all the places we have been.
I wish I could see the Northern Lights, someday.
I hate bureaucracy.
I miss girlfriends who live in other countries.
I fear something happening to one of the children.
I feel blessed to be in this beautiful place.
I hear happy gurgles of nursing baby.
I smell toast cooking.
I crave a group of women to study Bible alongside.
I search for treasure chest printables for birthday party.
I wonder who I will be when I cease being SAH Mom.
I regret a hard-lost friendship and the reasons it had to die.
I love watching the sea.
I ache when I think of a lost vision from God.
I care for friends and family, near and far.
I always choose chocolate for dessert.
I am not patient.
I believe God forgives my impatience.
I dance when no one is watching.
I sing in my baby's ear but not for others to hear.
I cry when I read poignant moments in stories.
I don’t always have my quiet time.
I fight the clock for enough time.
I write because it is as vital as breathing.
I never dreamed I would be married, or have children, or travel abroad.
I listen to dreams of others knowing God can far exceed them.
I need to stop writing and teach my children..
I am happy with our new life in Ireland.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In Other Words--Why my Mind needs Transforming

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”Without the renewed mind, we will distort the Scriptures to avoid their radical commands for self-denial, and love, and purity, and supreme satisfaction in Christ alone.”
~ John Piper ~


This morning I gave Jewel a couple of chores that I wanted her to complete before we started school. She promptly passed the chores on to Flower, who set off to do them muttering under her breath the entire time. When I asked her what was wrong she said "Jewel makes me do everything." I reminded her (again) that Jewel was not the person in our house who could give her chores...but that if she chooses to take on the chores that Jewel tells her to do she is the only one to blame. Then I called Jewel and reminded her that I told her to do the aforementioned items. She then said to me, "you only said you wanted them done, you didn't say by who."

*sigh*

Why does she have to be so....human.

It seems at times as if it is wired into our human nature to avoid all responsibility. Eve did it in the garden. Saul did it to the sound of bleating sheep. Peter did it by a warm fire. I do it more often than I want to admit. Twist words. Play a semantics game. Push responsibility. Anything but taking Scripture at face value and simply following it.

God knew that we I could not read Scripture and put into action his calls in my original human form. He knew that my instinct would be to say "you said you wanted it done, but you didn't say I had to do it." Radically love? That is for those people specially gifted with patience. Sacrificially give? Must be a command for those folks down the street because I really need to save for (whatever). Tell others about Jesus? Nope, only gifted evangelists must do that. Semantics games to get out of the tough callings. But that is not the intention of God. So, he made a way to change my original form.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

The more I allow Him to transform me, the more I see the world's needs through his eyes. The more I get my eyes on the needs of others, the less I feel like I need to keep for myself. Transformation of my mind is the only way I am able to honestly read, understand and follow his word. and Reading his word and allowing the Holy Spirit to make it a living part of me is the only way to transform my mind. Guess I need to stop playing semantics games and spend more time allowing his word to permeate me. It is the only hope I have of not being so....human.

Father, forgive me when I use excuses to not follow your teaching. Holy Spirit come and illuminate the word to me as I read it. Make it a part of me. Transform my mind to see the world's needs as you do. Amen.


Urailak at Living for God is our hostess this week. Please visit and see what others are saying about this week's quote. Bless you!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

January 2012 Goals

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January Goals:
1. Memorize James 1:22-25
2. Begin Daniel study
3. Finish Snug as a Bug afghan for Tree
4. Start art lessons for Jewel and Flower
5. Close out 2011 files and set up 2012 files
6. Explore ministry opportunity to begin teaching again