Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2010

I love Christmas Cookies!

We do not have a lot of traditions in our family.  I remember growing up, and it seemed like there were things that we all knew were going to happen at certain times - like going to Gram's house on Christmas Eve and having a venison roast, provolone cheese, a big box of chocolates, and mixed nuts (family excluded!)  I think maybe because we have moved so much in our years of having kids, and because it seems that most years we are in the car traveling (does that count as tradition?) we have not done a lot.  But we DO make Gram's sugar cookies each year!  Even when we were in Malawi, we gathered all the pastor's family and baked and decorated.  Of course, half the cookies disappeared before they made it back into the kitchen (and the other half went just as quickly) but I have great memories of watching the pastor's kids licking their fingers of all the "extra" icing and trying not to think too much about it!  It is a wonderful experience each year, even if it…

Honesty Becomes You

Really?  Because if that were true, wouldn't more people like it when you were honest?  This is an area I have struggled with consistently in my life - especially in my ministry time.  As the pastor and his wife, there is always that underlying idea that we should have it together.  Even though people will say that is not true, and they will acknowledge that we are only human, when the pastor starts to have a crisis in his life, the church becomes uncomfortable.  Suddenly the fearless leader is not so fearless or so full of leadership potential. 
I do this same thing to Shawn sometimes.  Obviously in my head I know that he cannot always be the upbeat, charge-ahead leader I so badly want him to be.  Don't get me wrong - he is strong, godly, and I would not trade him in for anyone else! ;)  However, like all of us he has days of insecurity, doubt, confusion, and depression.  And then I start to feel upset with him for being so vulnerable - the same things that the church sometim…

dirty oven

So I cleaned my oven today, and realized as I was cleaning it (translation:  hitting the self clean button) that I was trying to come up with a good analogy - cleaning out the yuckiness inside where it is hidden?  Burning away the mire?  haha...I can't help it!  This blogging thing gets in my head!  I remember in Malawi whenever I was doing something new (pretty much every day) I was figuring out how I would write it on my blog!  I guess I just like to write!  Or preach.  Or tell stories. 

But I will spare you the oven story and just say that yesterday was a bad day.  One of those "I am grumpy because I want to be grumpy and nothing you can say will make it better so go away" type days.   Fortunately I have a husband who does not go away, and even goes so far as to remind me that it is just a day, a feeling - fleeting.  And those feelings can be deceiving and are not necessarily what or who I am.  And as soon as I was ready to stop being stubborn and listen, and run back…

Thankful for the little things!

If there is one thing I have learned in the last few years, it is that I need to be thankful for the little moments as well as the big ones!  (OK, so I am still learning that in reality - but I AM learning!)  Three years ago we spent Thanksgiving in Malawi since we were living there at the time.  I missed my family (and turkey) - but we had just made some new friends who would turn out to e a life line for us, and they invited us to a Thanksgiving in Zomba with some other ex-pats from the USA.  There was no turkey - but there was ham, chicken, and all the trimmings, as well as a a bunch of people that became friends and family there.  Our kids made friends and laughed a lot that day.  I thought that we would spend many more Thanksgivings with this wonderful group of people (as well as other holidays) but that was not to be.

The next Thanksgiving we were back in the States and we had Thanksgiving at my parent's house.  All the siblings were together with our kids, and even though…

thankful for my mama

Something strange has been happening to me the last several days.  It seems that everywhere around me I hear people talking about their moms.  Many of these people (most?) have been older than me, and their mothers are definitely older than my mom would have been.  And I find my self inadvertently thinking, "Why do you still get to have your mom?" 
I know that sounds childish and bitter. 
Honestly though, when I think it I am not feeling bitter.  In fact I am happy for these people that they can take their moms shopping, call them on the phone, and argue about Thanksgiving dinner with them.  However, the thought still pops in there for a second, until I am reminded of how selfish that is of me!  I know where my mom is-without a doubt- and as much as she loved us, she would not want to come back.  And I don't blame her one bit! 
That doesn't stop the self pity from settling in at times. 
This year in my life marks the year that I have been living away from my parents …

Thankfulness in the unexpected!

Well it's a new week and a new Compelled!  We had a wonderful time tonight with our new church plant.  For the first time we had almost as many women as men! :)
God is working in Troy, and I am happy that he is allowing us to be a part of it.  This church plant is not what I imagined - I never thought that I would be working with 35 college students each week.  But he is faithful, and I am blessed to be allowed to be a part of their lives.  In my small group tonight we had good conversations about the things in our lives that need to be covered in grace.  To my surprise - and delight - people were very open and honest in their talking.
I am also very honored to be a part of the worship band.  This group that is made mostly of college students  is full of a lot of life and excitement!  We are working out the kinks and getting to know each other, but for only playing together a few weeks, things are coming together well.  And it is so fun to watch them takes steps of faith in their …

thankfulness despite...

Well, it has really been a bad day!  Woke up really late because we were exhausted after Compelled last night (Thursday is our new Monday!) Got school started on the wrong foot because we were running late; had to get my own homework done and in to Richard for our skype time tomorrow, so I was grumpy that anyone needed me or my help; I had to go to Sam's with a friend to get stuff for Compelled at 1 and we were still not done with school; by the time I got home I felt under pressure to make the pierogies that I had promised Shawn for his birthday, but apparently my stress was getting the best of me, because Shawn said to forget it because he would rather have less stress, so we got Chinese food-ugh!  And on top of it all, it was gray, rainy, and cold!
I felt like I failed at everything I was supposed to do today.  I am committed to teaching my children in a healthy, good environment for them, and that did not happen.  I want to make my family healthy, delicious meals and not feed …

Compelled Thankfulness

Tonight at Compelled I was a little disappointed at first when I realized that our numbers were down.  But then I had to start looking around.  We have been praying for people from the community to come in - especially some families that are more permanently in the area than college students.  Tonight for the first time there was a couple there from the area - and they have been looking at the church and following the changes on the website since July!  AND he plays the guitar!  Hopefully we did not scare them off!  :)  Also, as we were playing I felt so at ease with this band that I have only known for three weeks!  It went smoothly and was fun tonight - no nerves!  So even though numbers were lower, God is still answering prayers!  I am thankful that he reminds me to look at the big picture and not just the things I can see.

Thankfulness

Our car that we bought from my mom!  (Notice the neighbor ALSO has a two-color car!) LOL!



Today I am thankful for the fact that my husband is much more patient that I am!  On Thursday, when the car started smoking under the hood and refused to run I was done with it!  But the next day it started again, and we decided we could risk it to go to Troy Night Out.  It seemed fine as long as we were going under 40 and only a few miles!  But that would get old fast - not to mention impossible since the next few months has some traveling to see family and for World Harvest stuff! 

Shawn took it to the mechanic today, and it turned out to be something simple - a fuel sensor or something.  $300 later we have a car that runs relatively safely.  It is still a 1993 with many miles, a really tight fit for us, and ugly as all get-out-but hey - we are not stuck at home!  
I am also thankful because our church family gave us a gift last Wednesday (the day before the car died) of $300 for pastor appr…

Life

As we enter into November, I have decided to do my thankfulness thing again this month (I really should do this more than one month a year!)  I am going to try to write each day about one thing I am thankful for - and I am going to try to make it things that are not obvious!  :)  For example, I could write every day that I am thankful for Shawn and the kiddos, but that would get kind of boring to read!  So I am going to look at things in my life that I usually take for granted and be thankful for those things.
For today:
I am thankful for teacher's manuals - it seems I have been using them a lot recently, and it certainly makes my life as a teacher/mom much easier!  I even found out that when the answer is there, it makes sense and I can actually usually explain the problem!  ;)
I am thankful that I can go to the church and play the keyboard tonight!  I love playing, and I miss my own keyboard at home, but it is a blessing that I can go there anytime and play!  (And I do not have …

The New Sudan

Hey Philly-area friends and family!  This weekend there is an opportunity for you to understand better what is happening in Sudan!


Nadus Films will be showing their latest film on the situation in Sudan in the Philly area this weekend. Liberti Church Fairmount, (meeting at the Berean Institute) Oct 30, 8:00pm.

You would also be able to meet the amazing Masso family, some of the missionaries we stayed with in Sudan.  Make sure you tell their daughter, Acacia, happy birthday!

From World Harvest Mission

Hi everyone, We received this prayer request this morning from World Harvest Mission (whm.org) and want to pass it on to you because it echos our hearts:

"I need you to pray for the country of Sudan. The people of Southern Sudan will be voting about whether or not to formally secede from the North on January 9, 2011. Tensions are running high, and there are many questions: will the vote take place on time, and will it be free and fair? Will both sides honor the outcome?

We have ten missionaries and many Sudanese partners doing incredible work. Together, they are building water wells, strengthening the education system, and sharing the Gospel with hundreds of people.

Please pray that these elections are peaceful and that our team will be able to continue its work in the country."

This is serious warfare, people!  I will be continuing to ask you to keep it in the front of your prayers as we get closer to the January 9th date!  Thanks!

Compelled by the love of Christ

Last Wednesday was our very first night of Compelled- our new church plant.  It was wonderful!  Many of you were praying for our kick-off, and we could feel your prayers!  It did not go off without a lot of spiritual warfare, I will tell you that!  Many of our band members were sick, having bad dreams, having guitar strings break constantly, missing practice for one reason or another.  There were sudden meetings that sprang up that were not supposed to happen.  The copier broke and we literally laid hands in it in the name of Jesus so we could make enough music for all 13 people in the worship band!  (It worked, by the way!)  On Wednesday afternoon out of the blue I suddenly had a piercing headache like never before.  It went from my neck into my head and I almost blacked out.  Everything was tight and I thought I was having a stroke.  Shawn prayed for me and the intense pain went away.  As the night wore on I felt 100% better, but it was scary!  There has been nothing since, and even…

It's tonight!

Please be praying!!  Tonight is our kick-off!  See post a few below for details!

Uganda

Before we have our Compelled kick off on Wednesday, I decided I better get all my thoughts about Africa wrapped up!  (Well, not ALL my thoughts, but the ones I am sharing right now! )  ;)
We took our last MAF flight into Bundibugyo along with Robert and Chrissy.  It was amazing scenery - one moment you felt as if you could touch the mountains, then suddenly they dropped out from under us and we looked down into the valley at the beautiful green landing strip!  Did I mention that our plane this time was not a 10 passenger, but a 6 passenger?  It was a little crazy - and loud - but Samuel did a great job navigating it and getting us there safely!
When we stepped out there were hugs all around from the team!  It was a wonderful welcome, and we quickly got in the trucks and drove back to the mission.   From that time on we were pretty busy!  We visited the marketplace on Saturday with Anna and ate some yummy samosas; we went to the health center and watched as Travis did a few ultrasound…

Sudan

To try to put our experiences in Sudan in a blog that would make much sense to read is harder than it seems!  I am glad that I kept a journal throughout the trip, since the emotions and experiences in all the places we visited varied so much!
In those early morning hours that I lay awake in my bed in the safari tent that we were sleeping in,  waiting for there to be enough light to get up and move about without disturbing the rest of the mission,  God gave Shawn and I this verse:  Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast [that word again] because he trusts you. In the night when I woke up full of fear, my mind was not on Him.  It was on circumstances that seemed less than ideal.  It was not trusting in Him, but trusting in my flesh - and in my flesh there is not a whole lot to trust in other than failure, fear, and hopelessness!  
The first night in Sudan we floated off to sleep to the sounds of a party of some sort going on next door!  I do not know if …
Well, a week ago today we were getting ready to get on the plane and fly home from Africa...hard to believe that it has been a week already! We got home a little later then planed due to a few plane issues in Amsterdam, but still made it in time to get a little sleep in before the kids got home! This last week has been busy with missions conference, bonfires, practicing for Compelled (less than two weeks away!), catching up on sleep, and getting the kids back to where they need to be for school. Grandparents tried their best with school, but it is not easy homeschooling 4, and somehow the older kids work never got checked, so I was busy for several hours on Sunday catching up before school on Monday! I think today was the first day life started to feel more "normal" here again!

Many people have asked about our trip, and I am trying to decide how to write about two weeks in two different countries with an amazing array of people, foods, languages, experiences, and fun! I …

Please be praying!

So, we leave tomorrow for a two week trip to Africa - Sudan and Uganda. Here are some things to be praying for:
1. Safety in all our travels.
2. Separation from the kiddos.
3. Clarity in what God wants in our lives and how/if these places are involved.
4. Spiritual protection from discouragement, fear, etc.
5. That we can relax and enjoy the ride!

Thanks! I will update you all and post some pics when we return!

Compelled

Soooooo much happening in our lives in the next few months! I will start with the church here in Troy...
It is no secret that we have struggled as a church. This struggle goes back long before we (and even most of the church members currently involved) were here. This is a church that has been on it's "last leg" for 20+ years. When we came two years ago, it was the last chance for the church to make it. Funny how God works.
Having been in a redevelopment church in Ohio that went relatively well (and developed life-long friendships for us) I guess we felt that we had some experience in this area! The truth is, though both churches were on redevelopment, that is where the similarities end. Kinsman was a country church with a rich history of families being there for generations, and those generations worshiping together. It is a small town with traditional views and life that is a lot slower than here in NY. There were issues in the church, but truthfully, after a …

one week!

A week from now Shawn and I will be on a plane on our way to Uganda and Sudan! We are very excited, and trying to get things in order here before we are gone for 15 days! Getting school in order, church things in place, missions conference (which starts the day after we get back) planned, finances in order, the house cleaned, supplies shopped for, etc., etc., etc.
I just want to thank all of you who are praying for us and who have supported us on this trip. We now have enough to pay for all of our expenses.
Here are a few things you can be praying for:
1. Safety for our family being apart. Satan has hit me hard with this one this time around. I know the kids will be with grandparents who love them, and it will be a quick two weeks for us, but my mind is going into overdrive thinking of every possible bad scenario.
2. Wisdom for us and our future - in Africa, in this church in Troy, or wherever God has for us!
3. For this church - we are starting a new service midweek specificall…

truth hurts

So, for our homework assignment this time Shawn and I were supposed to ask each other the question, "If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?" That was not so hard, and I pretty much already knew the answer. Then an additional assignment was to find others and ask. That is not so easy.
First, finding someone that will tell you honestly is not the easiest thing. Think about it - how many people are in your life that will be that real with you? Since I am the pastor's wife, I knew that I would be putting my church family in a weird position, so I decided to ask a few of my close friends and my sisters.
Receiving the answers has not been all fun.
My sisters gave the same answer. It was something that I was not surprised about, but it still hit home. There was not even complete truth to it, but it was what they all perceived, so it still showed something on my part. I am glad that they were honest with me (as I knew they would be) even though I imm…

Fenelon, Fenelon, and more Fenelon

It seems that everyone I speak to and every blog I read recently is devoted to Fenelon, so when I read this today, I knew I had to post it. I hope it speaks to you as it did to me. (Stolen unashamedly from the Myhre's blog!)

Do not worry about the future. It makes no sense to worry if God loves you and has taken care of you. However, when God blesses you remember to keep your eyes on Him and not the blessing. Enjoy your blessings day by day just as the Israelites enjoyed their mana, but do not try to store the blessings for the future. There are two peculiar characteristics of pure faith. It sees God behind all the blessings and imperfect works which tend to conceal Him, and it holds the soul in a state of continued suspense. Faith seems to keep us constantly up in the air, never quite certain of what is going to happen in the future; never quite able to touch a foot to solid ground. But faith is willing to let God act with the most perfect freedom, kn…

Life and such

life and suchAugust 25, 2010 I haven't updated my blog, even though I promised to keep you all updated with class, church, and Africa...so I decided I better get on the ball and do it! :) Class with WHM has been intense. If I am being honest, we have experienced some of the most intense spiritual warfare that we have ever faced over these last couple of months. God is stripping away so many things, and being so exposed and raw is scarey and frustrating. The last couple of weeks I have felt like I am walking around in a fog. Once again I am going to quote our workbook, because it says it better than I ever could. "When we think about sanctification, we need to keep a number of things in mind. First and foremost, it is God who sanctifies us. The holy Spirit alone has the amazing power to transform our heart, conquer our idols, and cause us to delight in Jesus. We are not however, passive in this process; we are called to live by repentant faith, …

repentance

repentance...July 29, 2010 It has been a stressful couple of weeks for us emotionally and spiritually. I could go into all the details of attempting to buy tickets, kids being sick, doctor's appointments, and all that, but it is not any different than most of you face each day, so I won't bother! The thing I want to write about tonight is our class that we are taking through World Harvest and all the things God is teaching us! Last week's lesson was on repentance. I am learning that repentance is so much more than saying I am sorry. Motivation is a key thing in repentance - and I realized that often my motives were not pure. I wanted to feel better, change a situation, see different results, get out of something - and in my mind I thought that I could manipulate God by saying I was sorry. Of course, it is not like I never understood all of this before - I have been a Christian long enough to know how to word things and seem more spiritual. But in reality…

Steadfast Love

stead·fast also sted·fast (stdfst, -fst)
adj.
1. Fixed or unchanging; steady.
2. Firmly loyal or constant; unswerving. See Synonyms at faithful.

This is the word that I am focusing on this year in my walk with God. Remembering HIS streadfastness in character and his love for me; and in my own self- being steadfast in my trust of him and his love for me, and not always wavering and being swayed so easily by emotions or circumstances.
God is teaching me so much about this already, and though I am thankful, because I know it is ultimately for my own good (as is everything He allows in our lives) it is not an easy lesson. I feel like I have been stretched, prodded, and exposed so many times aready, and I do not like what I see in me.
So burn away the mire, Lord. I expect that it will not be simply unpleasant, but downright painful at times. But I am tired of this "existing" with no understanding of why at times. Reveal yourself to me, Holy Spirit, Create in me a clean heart, an…

sit still, my children

Love this...
5 of 10
Love this...
February 5, 2010
Sit still, my children! Just sit calmly still!
Nor deem these days - these waiting days - as ill!
The One who loves you best, who plans your way,
Has not forgotten your great need today!
And, if He waits, it's sure He waits to proveTo you,
His tender child, His heart's deep love.
Sit still, my children! Just sit calmly still!
You greatly long to know your dear Lord's will!
While anxious thoughts would almost steal their way
Corrodingly within, because of His delay---
Persuade yourself in simple faith to restThat He,
who knows and loves, will do the best.
Sit still, my children! Just sit calmly still!
Nor move one step, not even one, until
His way has opened. Then, ah then, how sweet!!
How glad your heart, and then how swift your feet,
Your inner being then, as then, how strong!!
And waiting days not counted then too long.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
What higher service could you for Him fill?
It's hard! ah yes! But choicest…

Heaven is the face

Heaven is the face...
June 3, 2010
A year ago this month we started our cancer journey with my mom...well she had actually started it much earlier, but just didn't know it yet. By the time we found out, there was not a lot of itme left to spend with her. Last summer was spent driving back and forth, spending a lot of time with mom and my sisters and dad, and just thinking through some of the stuff that was happening around me, as surreal as it all seemed. I have one particular memory of sitting on the porch with her and holding her hand. She was not yet too sick from chemo or jaundiced and worn out, so we could sit and chat for a while. I remember her saying she knew that she was probably not going to get through it. And though I had thought that, it was hard to hear her say it. Yet there was such a peace between us. Even though we were both crying and wishing that we had more time here, and wishing that we had made our time here on earth more precious together, we also real…