Friday, December 30, 2011

SIX!


To our duct-tape loving, huge imagination having, history-buff in the making, brother loving, great encouraging, crazy story telling, sweet hug giving, never ending talker, mind-blowing memory having, nature loving first born, happy birthday!  Dear one, you bring joy to our days with your questions, explanations and never ending energy.  May God continue to shape you into the awesome man He made you to be.  May your heart be His and your life forever bring Him glory.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Meaningful Digressions

The presents have all been unwrapped and most have survived their first few days of play.  (All but the erector set.  It is not child (or parent) friendly and was taken back apart to be returned to the store.  After spending 2 hours putting it together, one can clearly see why Legos won the battle for supremacy among constructive toys...but I digress.)


The tree stands tall, still very beautiful, but losing more needles daily.  (We traditionally leave it up till New Year's Day, so it will come down next week.  This year, I am a little wistful about that, wondering if this will be our last traditional tree for awhile.  Wondering what ornaments will be packed for long term storage, given to special people, which few will we try to take with us to bring us cheer next Christmas...wondering where will we be next Christmas...but I digress.) 

The boys have played intently with the toys they received.  (This year, we stuck by our guns and really tried to simplify the gifts we gave our boys.  We have talked about the need to do this for a couple of years now.  Actually doing it is MUCH harder than just talking about it.  Up till the very last moment, I worried if it was "enough."  By society's standards, it surely was not.  But measuring the joy we all experienced Christmas morning, it was very much enough...but I digress.)

Christmas has come and gone once more. (If I had one word to describe this Christmas for us, I would say it was peaceful.  We were not running around at the last minute, but enjoyed a restful Christmas eve, a beautiful, meaningful Christmas eve service and a Christmas day spent entirely in PJ's.  We played games, did puzzles, built Lego contraptions (and one frustrating erector set that will go down on the toys of doom list.)  We treasured time with loved ones (albeit some on Skype) and ate some really yummy food...which we burned off the day after Christmas by visiting a local jump house.  Huge inflatables + 2 energetic boys = 2 tired parents...but I digress.) 

Here is to hoping your Christmas was blessed and full of meaningful digressions!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Walk

You slip your hand into my hand as we walk side by side.  How perfectly it fits.  I remember how your tiny fist once gripped my finger, in reflex, in love.  We chat about Christmas coming and you sing "dingle bell, dingle bell" as we walk along.  I look into your deep brown eyes and see pure joy shining.  For a brief moment, I think back to when I first looked into your eyes and fell instantly in love with the baby I held so tightly in my arms.   

My heart flashes to a different mom, a young mom who has just given birth.  Scared, exhausted and overflowing with love, she looks into her baby boy's eyes, pondering what the angel meant.  His tiny fist wraps around her finger and her heart leaps.  She gentle caresses his forehead, running her finger over his perfect nose and sweet little mouth.  For this is her son.  For this is God's son.

And then I can't help but think of that same mom many years later.  When she saw the nails driven into her son's hands, did she remember how he would slip his hand into hers when they were walking?  Does she look into his eyes full of pain and suffering, remembering the way they would crinkle up at the edges when he laughed?  Does she reach out her hand to emptiness as she reflexively seeks to wipe the blood from his battered face?  Does her heart flash back to that stable, that night, that moment she first held her son, God's son?

We have finished our walk, too quickly this time.  I bend down to wrap my arms around your tiny body, engulfing you in a hug that I don't want to end.  Thankful for my son.  Thankful for that long ago mom.  Thankful for her son, God's son.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Africable?

There is a new phrase being bounced around the Richly Supplied household... Africable. 

As we consider what gifts to give to each other this Christmas, the biggest determining factor (besides price) is whether or not we think we will be able to take it with us to Mozambique, Africa.  While the day of our leaving might seem a long ways away now, we do not want to be investing our money in things that will not make the trip with us.   (Our faith goal is to be heading to language school in Brazil by the end of this coming summer.  Nine months to a year later, we should be in Moz.  Of course, all of this is dependent on us raising the financial support to fulfill our budget set by Wycliffe.) 

As we look around our house and consider the things we already have and the things that we might add in the future, we are asking over and over again, is it Africable?

So what determines if something is Africable? 

Size is a big factor.  We will only be taking suitcases with us and will not be shipping a container or anything like that.  Only so many things will fit in a suitcase- though, there is some talk about taking apart bicycles to bring along. 

Weight is another big factor.  Airlines have limits on the amount of weight a bag can carry.  Check that- you can carry as heavy a bag as you want, you just have to pay an arm and a leg if it goes over the weight set by the airline.  I guess my cast iron pans aren't going to make the cut. 

In the end, one of the biggest factors is the emotional tie that we have to an item.  Is it something that will remind us of home when we are desperately in need of that reminder?  Will it bring familiarity, comfort and joy to our boys as their lives get turned upside down?  Will it help to keep them entertained and us sane?  These are the type questions that will really matter the most in the long run as we continue to look around at all our stuff and decide if it is Africable.

In the end, it is all really just stuff and what I am most excited about is that God is working in each of us as a family to make sure that we are all Africable ourselves.  As Nathan keeps asking, "Can I go to Mozambique too?," we can answer, "Yes, buddy, you are most definitely Africable."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Of Two Types

Two very different nativity sets grace the shelf that sits across from my front door- one of wood, roughly carved and one of delicate crystal, radiantly reflecting the lights of the nearby Christmas tree.

The more I think on it, the more these sets represent to me the fullness of Christmas itself.

Jesus, the Word, the Light of the World, Prince of Heaven, Holy, Perfect, Radiant.


Jesus, with us, becoming flesh, a carpenter, who knew hunger, thirst, and pain.


Jesus, inexplicably of two types, but yet the one and only one for which our hearts yearn, the one and only one who will transform our lives, the one and only.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14
 
**This is a favorite Christmas post of mine, originally posted December 2009.**

Friday, December 2, 2011

Joy of What is to Come

As I lay in bed, my eyes were wide with excitement in anticipation of what was to come.  Who could sleep with Christmas morning just a mere hours away?  Visions of toys and treats danced through my imagination as I waited, increasingly impatient for dawn to arrive.

Excitement.  Anticipation.  Joy of what is to come.  The season of Advent is here.  Advent...A time in which we prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the coming of the Messiah, the Word in Flesh, Emmanuel.  Advent...A time in which to ask our souls if they are more excited about the gifts we will receive or the gift that was given long ago.  Advent...A time to share with our families the true meaning of Christmas, the babe in the manger, who grew to be the man on the cross, who is coming again one day.

I confess Advent sneaked up on me this year.  We just made our chain that helps us to count down and anticipate the coming of Christmas.  Each night, we break off a piece of the chain and read the Bible verses listed upon it, talking about what they mean in regards to Christmas.  Each morning, we will do our best to make some type of craft or baking to reflect the season. 

I have another confession to make...I didn't want to do all that this year...the effort, the mess, the preparation...but as I looked in the boys' eyes this morning, I realized once again the importance of Advent.  As I see them get more and more excited about celebrating the coming King, my heart turns toward the manger once again, my eyes wide with excitement in anticipation of what is to come.


"As man longs for a light on a dark night, so God's believing people of long ago waited and looked for the coming Light of the World, Jesus, the Desire of all nations."  
From Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring


Edited to Add: Several have asked where I got the verses I used.  Last year, I got them from here and this year I used most of them from here.  So excited that God is going to use this to turn your hearts to Him this season!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Magic of a Giant Snowman

 There is something almost magical about a giant inflatable snowman. 


 As we drove home from an excellent Thanksgiving with David's parents, we decided to take a (not so quick) detour through the mountains to see if we could find a Christmas tree.

David had a place in mind and while we were driving toward it, Caleb yelled, "STOP! A giant snow man!"  Well, who could ever deny that sweet petition.

We stopped, visited the snowman, looked at some beautiful trees and picked one special tree to make the trek back home with us.

I don't know if it was the magic of the giant snow man or just a long weekend of fun, but both boys zonked out on the way home.  (Note the large puddle of drool that Caleb deposited on his car seat.)

They both woke just as we pulled in the driveway and got the tree inside.  It is now decorated, its' light blinking merrily, whispering of days past with the giant snowman and even more fun days to come this December.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful


Thankful for...
a healthy family,
a wonderful, loving husband,
Caleb's imagination (that is his Thanksgiving parade float above),
Nathan's kind heart,
a chance to grow my faith as God moves us to Mozambique,
sweet tea, pecan pie,
each of you, and
a Savior who loves me (& you) dearly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A New Style


Caleb, 2008
My boys have clothed themselves with some strange attire over the last few years.  Pajamas coordinating with cowboy boots.  Toe-sock gloves and snorkels.  Work goggles and superhero capes.  You might say we have our own unique style in the Richly Supplied household. 

 I couldn't help think about this unique style this morning when I read in Colossians Paul's entreaty for us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and above all love.

How different would my style be if I wore these items daily?

Instead, most days I find myself slipping into the old comfortable, well worn habits Paul lists just above his style suggestions...greed, idolatry, anger, wrath, malice.  These each fit so easily, not crimping my style or my own desires in the least.

Nathan, 2011
Caleb, 2008

As I thought through these verses today, I realized I need a wardrobe adjustment. I need to be aware that God wants more from me than my old comfy, yet sinful, style.

When I am sharp with my kids, I need to see it as Paul saw it- wrath.  (Ouch! No one wants to think of themselves as a wrathful mommy.)

When I am impatient and unkind, I need to see it as the pride and self-idolatry that lies beneath my actions and words. 





 
Changing styles is not an easy task.  It takes a lot of work in our own attitudes, but moreover it takes full surrendering to the Master Tailor Himself.  His love for us must be our motivation for change and His power working through us must be our means for change.

Daily, moment by moment, we must be ready to clothe ourselves with the unique style of God.



Nathan, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ode to Freedom (aka the Gerbinal National Anthem)



video


It goes something like this: 

Would you like to hear the Gerbinal National Anthem?
First we fought for we freedom, we fought for freedom, we fought for freedom.
First Nathan Hale was hanged.
then...then..then the submarine,
then Bunker Hill, then we attacked the Red Coats.
At the end of the war, they surrendered.
The French were allies.
LIBERTY
FREEDOM
AND UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AMEN (?)
Boom, Boom, Bim, Bim, Bim.
Those are fireworks.

Thankful for all those who fought for our freedom today!  Happy Veterans' Day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

There are Tractors in Florida! (Nov. Newsletter)


***This is our newsletter for November.  If you would like to receive our bi-monthly newsletter or monthly prayer requests by email, please stop by the Contact Us page to let us know.*** 


"Mama, there is a tractor!  I didn't know there are tractors in Florida."
"Da, there are cars here! I didn't know there are cars in Florida!"

So were Caleb's comments as we crossed over into the "wilds" of Florida.  Quickly, we realized that somehow in his brain, Caleb equated Florida with the stories that had been told him about Africa and Mozambique.  For him, both "Florida" and "Mozambique" were just words that he had heard and while he had some context for them, he knew little of them in a real sense.

As we recently finished our first step of training with Wycliffe (called 'Equip'), we feel that same reality was true for us as well. We had words that we had come to use- missions, reaching the Bibleless, expanding God's kingdom- all with some context, but only now are these words becoming more and more of a reality.

Our ‘Equip’ training not only put these words into a correct context, but showed us the importance of Bible translation in a very real way.
We learned of the urgent need for Bible translation throughout the world.  350 million people (a number equal to the population of the US and Canada combined) are without the Word of God in their own heart language and have no translation project started as of yet.  Those millions of people represent over 1/3 of the languages found in the world. 
We learned about the vital impact that Bible translation has on communities.  Bible translation not only has a spiritual benefit by introducing the Word of God, but it also is used to improve literacy, health programs and to maintain cultural integrity in distinct language communities.  The impact of Bible translation in a community is far reaching and priceless.

We learned that a team effort is required for the successful translation of the Scriptures.  Bible translation requires a variety of skills and talents- linguists, teachers, translators, accountants, IT… and the list goes on.  Just like in the body of Christ, God uses the distinct gifts He has given individuals to bring about His glory.  The people you see in this picture are just parts of the body that God is using throughout the world for His kingdom.  Our friendships with them continue to inspire, encourage and challenge us.

As we have finished this step in our journey to Mozambique, our prayer is that we will effectively communicate all we have learned about Bible translation.  We thoroughly enjoyed sharing this with the community of Westminster Presbyterian this month at their annual mission conference.  Westminster is a special place for us as it is where David grew up, came to know the Lord and was discipled early on in life.  We
left there truly encouraged and look forward to seeing our relationships with them grow throughout our journey serving the Bibleless in Mozambique.
Mozambique, Africa

We have several more opportunities ahead where we will be able to share all that God is doing in our lives.  We are excited and hope you will join us in praying that God would be glorified in each of these meetings.  We will also be spending a good bit of our next few weeks preparing to put our house on the market.  Please pray that our hearts would be ready to let go of our physical possessions.  It is never fun to give away toys (ours or the boys'!) and that God would bring a buyer in His perfect timing.  (If you would like to receive more monthly prayer requests and updates, make sure you visit http://partner.richlysupplied.com and sign up to be a prayer partner.)

Just as Caleb saw that there are tractors in Florida, God continues to work in us to reveal this journey of faith He has planned for us.  Our hope is that God continues to make Himself more of a reality in our lives and in those around us.  We hope He laughs with us and corrects us as gently as we did Caleb as we learn more about His calling and purpose of our lives...and we hope we are as amazed as Caleb as we learn exciting things like there being tractors in Florida!
Blessings,
David and Wendi Richards




Monday, November 7, 2011

Three!


Where did the last three years go? 

Three years of...

contagious giggles
chubby cheeks I could just eat
bright eyes
loving hugs

When did I blink and how in the world did you go from that tiny, sweet-natured baby in arms to my quick running, belly laughing, cowboy boot wearing big boy?

 You are a treasure, a joy and a gift from God, my Nathan.

Happy Birthday to  you my favorite three year old!  


Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Small Taste

I heard this song on the radio last night...



...and could not help but think this is it

...a small taste of heaven

...and why we want to serve

 ...for the day

...every tribe
...every nation
...every tongue


...can join in saying "How Great is Our God!"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Full to Overflowing


 The past two weeks have left my heart, brain and soul full and overflowing..

My heart is full and overflowing with the new relationships that we were able to build while attending our Wycliffe training in Orlando, Florida.  The passion of the people we spent our days with blows me away.  Their humility, transparency and love for God continues to inspire and challenge me.  The group was from all over the US and will be going all over the world so that the Bibleless people of this world might hear and read the word of God.


My heart is also full and overflowing with the time we got to spend as a family before our training and over our one free weekend.  We have not had a family vacation in three years or so and the time we spent together was priceless. My boys are getting so big and each moment we spend together is to be cherished.

 


My brain is full and overflowing with the staggering needs of Bible translation, the vital impact on the communities within which a translation project works and the team it will take to begin our ministry with the Bibleless of Mozambique.  We spent much of our time in classes learning about the translation process, the history of Bible translation and Wycliffe's goals for the future of Bible translation.  (We are eager to share this knowledge, so please contact us if you would like to know more.)


My soul is full and overflowing with the gracious love of God, who has such a mighty plan for this world and yet chooses to use such a broken vessel as myself.  Paul must have been thinking of me when he said God chooses the foolish things of this world to work out His glory.  I am so thankful that God has and will continue to show me again and again this is HIS adventure and HIS story and that I am just along for the ride.

Photo by Phillip Shipley, a fellow new Wycliffe member
I am excited to see how God will continue to fill and overflow us as we partner with Him on this journey to serving the Bibleless of Mozambique. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Still Here...

We are still here...
still here learning...
still here growing...
still here laughing...
still here being molded...
still here being broken...
still here loving...
still here living...


While things are quiet and still here at Richly Supplied, 
know that we are busy living still here 
and that God is moving still here.

as we are being still here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Will Carry You in my Heart

I will long carry this weekend in my heart.


I will carry the sweet time that I spent with my Lord as I watched His creation come alive with the newness of the dawn each morning. 
   
  I will carry the call of the gulls, the crash of the waves and the splendor of the sun cresting over the pier, so bright, I had to avert my eyes.

  I will carry the tears that flowed in awe of His greatness and His amazing creation that first morning.  I will carry the tears that flowed in awe of His love and His unending forgiveness that second morning.


  I will carry the laughter and love of special time with the amazing women of my family.  I will carry the stories that were told, the hugs that were shared and the memories that were created.  

  I will carry the time spent walking on the beach, searching for shark teeth...everyone seemingly finding one but me...till the last moment!

  I will carry the bittersweet longing
for those who should have been there, but who are no longer with us.


  I will carry the conversations on love, marriage, and life- the wisdom, the encouragement and the inspiration.

  I will carry a part of each of the strong, special women with whom I spent this weekend.  I will carry their joy, their pain, their wit, their wisdom and their love. 

Each of you are a part of me and I will long carry you in my heart.

(All photograph credit to my very talented Aunt Gaye.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Overheard

Just think what you might have overheard while talking to me this past week or so...

On the phone...

"Wait! What is that on your hand?!?  Is that blood?  Why are your hands covered in blood? Oh wait, that is red and brown marker." 

"Get the guns! The British are coming! The British are coming!"



In the car...

"Well, I am going to get a sign that says NO PUNCHING! and hit you with it!!"  (Nathan saying this to Caleb.)


At the dinner table...

"But mama, sometimes we aren't thankful.  Sometimes your food just isn't yummy." (At least he's honest.) 


In the yard...

"Mama, I am stalking him (our neighbor) because he is General Cornwallis or a British spy or a Tory.  I need my gun."

"No, we may not string up our friends or our brother with the rope anymore."

All real comments overheard from my real all-boys. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Get Involved!

We have had several people ask how they can get involved or help with our ministry with Wycliffe.  We are so thankful for each of you!  We fully believe that Paul would not have gone as far as he did without the faithful support of the church at Antioch (See Acts 13).  You are our Antioch and we cannot do this without you!  Please read through the info below- You will also find it on the Get Involved! page above.  Read, pray and then act! 

Join us in regular prayer.  The details are daunting, the task enormous and the work immense.  Please join us by boldly approaching the throne of grace, requesting God's power and will to be done so that we would be open, willing vessels through which His glory works.

Creatively encourage.  Becoming missionaries and leaving our friends and family is a difficult, yet rewarding journey.  Emotions are high and deep.  Drop us a note, send us a silly card, recommend a book, podcast or video.  Be willing to be used by God to remind us of His awesome love through you!

Be a connection.  Help us to spread the exciting news about what God is doing through Bible translation and how regular folk like you and me can be involved!  Maybe you can host a get-together for us to share our ministry with your friends, family or small group.  Maybe you can connect us with your church leadership and invite us to speak with your church in some capacity.

Support us financially.  Our ministry is fully funded by partners such as you.  90% of your gifts go directly into supporting our ministry, while 10% is used to support Wycliffe's administrative needs.  All donations are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt from Wycliffe for your donation.


To give securely online, click here
To mail a donation:  Please do not write our names on the check, but include a note with our names, David and Wendi Richards, and our ministry number, 280090
Checks can be mailed to: Wycliffe Bible Translators, PO Box 628200, Orlando FL  32862


I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.   Philippians 1:4-6

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Want to Go to Africa

I want to go to Africa. 

(That shouldn't really surprise most of you considering we are in the process of joining a ministry and moving there.)

But even the great pull of this emotion surprised me a bit last night.   Last night we had one of the missionary couples with whom I stayed with while in Guinea Bissau speak at our church.  When they showed a video about their work there,

My heart jumped with recognition.  

My soul ached with longing.

And a still small voice whispered to the depths of my being.

I really want to go to Africa.

Now don't get me wrong...we are not moving to Guinea Bissau and I have no idea whether Mozambique will be anything like what I experienced in Guinea Bissau.  But last night, there was a tug, a desire, a dream realized in the familiarity of those pictures.

For David and myself, location was not a big part of our initial calling into missions.  We were willing to go where ever we thought God was going to use David's skills for His utmost.  We both had a desire for it to be an international position, but considered both Southeast Asia and Central Asia before settling on Mozambique. 

I now see God working in our hearts to develop a desire and a love for the people we will work with and serve there.  For me, last night, that desire was as strong as it has yet been.  I am so thankful for Him giving us the opportunity to go to Mozambique...

Because I really, really want to go to Africa.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Memory

From my journal, 9/12/01:

9-11-01
2 planes crash into the World Trade Center
1 plane crashes into the Pentagon
1 plane crashes into PA on its way to Camp David or DC

Lord Jesus,
Here it is the day after--I still don't have words to describe all of this.  Thousands dead in NYC, 250 of them the rescue firemen, hundreds missing or dead in DC.  God this kind of hatred, this kind of death--it breaks my heart. 

I remember the tense moments yesterday- the fear of what's next?  My first day at work- hearing the news, seeing the Pentagon burning on TV- hearing sirens all around us.  Being in downtown DC as things went crazy- people running, streets flooded with traffic- I am glad our office waited- thank you for Joel who gave me a ride home.  I will never forget the scene of desolation as we drove by the burning Pentagon.

Lord, Your ways are above our ways- Your thoughts higher than ours-- You will bring glory to Your name.  People are being saved from the wreckage today.  The media called it a miracle, but I know it is You.  People gathered for prayer all over the nation--and I know it is You.

People are going to call out to you in hate, but You will answer them in love. Let Your peace overwhelm us.  Be with our leaders as they respond to this attack.  Be with our military on high alert.  Be with people trapped.  Give them hope.  Be with the families who still don't know and those that do.  Comfort them.

Be with our nation. Keep us from turning to hate and anger.  Be with those who did this. Change their hearts.  Show them that a God who calls them to kill is no god, but evil.  Lord, I love you and ask for Your guidance today.  I thank You for a day to reflect and regroup.  I love You Lord.

In Jesus' Name, Amen.  

Read here for some more of my memories of that day 10 years ago. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Some Days You Just Have To Laugh

When we were interviewing for Wycliffe one of the question that I clearly remember being asked was "So what do you do on the day when it all goes wrong, David is sick, you are sick, the boys are a mess and everything seems to be falling apart?"  My immediate response was to chuckle a bit and then I said something to the effect of "Well, at some point I think you just have to laugh about it and try to bring some humor into the situation."    I didn't think I would be laughing at life so soon...

Wednesday was one of those days when everything went down hill from the beginning.

It started with waking up to two broken toilets and me leaving the house early and the boys with David so I could take my mom to an eye doctor appointment.  She had some vision issues on Monday, including a couple of minutes of blindness in one eye, so we went off to see what was going on.  The doctor checks her out and quickly states this is not an issue of the eye, but he believes she has had a small stroke stopping blood flow to the eye on Monday and we need to see her doctor immediately.

While this is all going, David and the boys begin to get things working on the toilets and are heading out the door when hie cell phone rings.  Work has imploded and he spends the next couple of hours trying to fix things remotely and taking call after call after call.

Meanwhile, the eye doctor actually gets the regular office on the phone and they say head home and we will call you.  We head home.  They don't call, but we call them.  They say come in, we get there, they say, oh we can't see you now, come back this afternoon.  That isn't going to work, I push a bit and we get in with one of the doctors.  He says he thinks she needs some tests to confirm the stroke, but that is likely what it is.  Go home, rest, we will schedule tests and call you in an hour or so.  They don't call, we call them.  (Sound familiar?)  They say they will call back in 10 minutes.  2 hours later they call saying my mom needs to head to the emergency room since she has had symptoms of a stroke.

On the home front, work settles down a bit, David gets the toilets fixed and he and the boys head to church.  On the way home,  a deer jumps out in front of him, he swerves, almost spins out misses the deer by a a few inches.  A quarter of the mile further down the road, a dog jumps out in front of the car and David swears it must have gone between the front tires because he didn't feel a bump, but there was no way the dog was not in the road when he went by. 

Back at the hospital, I am LIVID by this time and am just praying that God keeps my mouth shut and me from slaying someone in anger.  He did.  We get to the ER where mom is seen fairly quickly but then we wait and wait and wait and 5 hours later she is admitted.  I go home and crash.

Next morning, I get up, take the boys to an amazing, awesome, wonderful, fabulous friend who watches them for the morning and I head to the hospital.  One doctor has already seen mom and told her a neurologist will be in around noon.  We wait and wait.  My brother and his wife drive up for the day (which was such a huge blessing.)  We all wait and wait.  Noon comes and goes.  The nurse say maybe around 4 pm.  4 pm come and goes.  I literally have to leave the building and go walk circles in the parking lot I am so angry at this point and truly think I am either about to burst out in tears or swearing...neither of which is really my style.  (God uses the time to show me some stuff though and I am thankful for the time I got to have with my brother and mom.)

Meanwhile, back at home, David picks up the boys from our friend, brings them home for naps and then decides to take them to the pool.  They get dressed, are super excited, get to the pool and it is CLOSED.  They come home, disappointed, but redeem the time playing in a small pool we have at at the house.

At the hospital, I am no longer seeing red when the neurologist finally shows up at 6:30 pm.  He spends 10 minutes with my mom, confirms what we already know (she had a mini stroke in her eye) and says she can go home.  PRAISE THE LORD for I am done with the hospital.  She is at home now, resting and doing well.  Thank you for your prayers and praise the Lord things were not that bad this time.

And did I happen to mention that this all happened on Wednesday, our 9th wedding anniversary?  David quipped, many more anniversaries like this and neither of us will make it much longer.

Yeah...I guess some days you just have to laugh.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Worship Through Obedience

The Word of God is a funny thing sometimes...you can be listening to someone speaking on a certain subject, read their text and find God shouting at you about something completely different.  As my pastor gave a great sermon on Sunday about when God shows up our focus should not be on ourselves, but on Him,  I read over Exodus 3:10-12 as he asked and God started shouting at me as only He can.

"I will send you"...it is God who initiatives our service to Him. It is so important for us to realize this that He repeats it again just a couple of verses down.  God plans our good works, sets our feet on the path and directs our steps.  For some, like us, He may be sending you to a different country.  For others, He might be sending you to get to know the new neighbors down the street.  For kids returning back to school, He might be sending you to be a friend to that person who never talks to anyone.  God has a plan for each of us and it is as His messenger that we are sent.

At this point, it is vital for me to remember this.  As our family is walking along this path toward serving in Moz,  it is often easy to think of the steps, training and orientations as another task that I have to do.  I must step back, look at the bigger picture and remember that this is God's work, this is God's plan and it is God who is sending me. 

"I will be with you"...God is more than a boss standing at a starting point.  He is the very message that we carry and He is with us where ever He has sent us.  He will never leave us nor forsake us.  Oh how I cling to this on the days when I don't want to leave my friends, my family and my dog!  When I am feeling alone and broken-hearted, God whispers, "I am with you."

"You shall worship"...So what is our response to God's sending us and being with us?  We are to worship Him.  I heard a sermon several years ago linking worship and obedience.  In Genesis 22, when Abraham goes to sacrifice Isaac,  the words worship and obey are used for the first time in Scripture.  Our obedience to God is an act of worship.  It recognizes who He is and His authority in our lives.  It recognizes who we are and our dependence upon Him.

Our response in worship to "I will send you"  must be "I will go."

Our response in worship to "I will be with you" should be "I need you."

Today, you might ask yourself where is He sending you and how do you see Him going with you?

Today, you might ask yourself if am I ready to worship through obedience?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Believe Videos

I saw this video posted last night...


I Believe in Scripture Poem- David Bowden from NORTHchurch on Vimeo.

which led me to this video that totally blew my mind...


I Believe in the Devil Poem- David Bowden from NORTHchurch on Vimeo.

which led me to this video that really says it all.


I Believe in Jesus from NORTHchurch on Vimeo.

3 videos, 10 or so minutes total.  Trust me it is worth the time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One-Liners

Nathan has become quite the little comedian lately with his timely one-liners...and the funniest part may be that he has no idea just how funny he is...


Caleb was sharing that he was very nervous about starting his new school year and class.  Caleb: "Mama, I don't want to go to a new class.  I am scared!"  Me:  "Oh, Buddy, you don't need to be scared."  Caleb:  "But mama, I am scared, very, very scared!"  Me: "What are you scared of buddy?" 
Nathan: "MONSTERS!  Monsters are going to be in his class. Monsters scary!"







While we were driving one day as a family, we were playing a game of "What Would you Be?" when David asked Caleb, "If you were a plant, what type of plant would you be?"  Before Caleb got a word in edgewise,
Nathan shouts, "A TALKING PLANT! Brudder is a talking plant!"
(Those who spend anytime with Caleb know just how true that would be!)












 This morning as I was sharing about the country we would be praying for today (we do this almost every morning using this terrific resource), Caleb and Nathan were just ignoring me and chatting along.  David asked me to stop and started in on Caleb about being respectful and listening.  He asked Caleb if he had heard anything I said. Caleb answered "Yes, Da."  David: "What did Mama say then?"
Nathan: "BE QUIET! She said be quiet!"  (At least he listened to that!)


Gotta love this little one's one-liners and the laughter he brings to our day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Come

To the mom who, cradling her starving child, has walked mile after mile in a desperate search for food.

Come, Lord Jesus.
To the man who has been told he has a rare, fast moving cancer,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the child who is anxious about the new school year,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the all too quiet home that seems so empty after the kids have all left for college,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the excited newlyweds that face a new world together,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the family that doesn’t know how the bills will be paid once again,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the heart that aches over a marriage broken,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the orphan who cries to be held,

Come, Lord Jesus
.
To the child who cries to be heard,

Come, Lord Jesus.

Come now, Lord Jesus, come now into this broken world to heal ever-broken hearts. Come and comfort the grieving, come and bring peace to the anxious, come and love the unloved, come and restore relationships. Come now, Lord Jesus.

And then, Lord Jesus, come then, when Your plan is complete, come THEN and we will see as John did…

…a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them,
and they will be his people,
and God himself will be with them as their God.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,

and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying,

nor pain anymore,

for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said,
“Behold, I am making all things new.”

Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

And he said to me, “It is done!
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the beginning and the end.

To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
The one who conquers will have this heritage,

and I will be his God

and he will be my son.
Come, Lord Jesus, for you have promised

“Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”
and
“Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and
I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, 
the First and the Last, 
the Beginning and the End.”
and
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

Link
~~Originally written for the Summer Session.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Constant

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher who lived 500 or so years before Christ, is quoted as saying, “The only thing constant in life is change.” It seems, on the surface, that he knew what he was talking about. Change. Flux. Transformation. Nothing seems to stand still or stay the same for long in our fast paced world.

Just this month alone, huge life changes are occurring in many families. Children are going back to school. Some, like my oldest son, are heading to kindergarten for the very first time. Older kids are leaving home and heading to college, their parents facing an empty home for the first time in what seems like ages. The days begin to get shorter, the temperature cooler (we can hope!) and Fall seems to making its first peek around the corner.

Change. It is inevitable and there is little we can do to stop it. But it is the only constant? Not in the least.

God, Himself, is the only constant. James 1:17 calls Him the Father of lights, “with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” I love how the author of “The Message” puts it,
“So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.”

James writes that God, as the Father of Lights, has no variations and does not shift like shadows. Unlike God, shadows are constantly changing, shrinking or growing as the sun moves. Shadows serve only to distort and hide what is true. Have you noticed that shadows are formed when the light is blocked off by something else? Go stand out in the sun or put your hand in front of a flashlight. A shadow is cast because a part of you is blocking the light from that area.

Areas of shadow exist in our lives because something is blocking out the light of God from that part of our life. Maybe that something is our own sin or pride, maybe it is a relationship with someone that keeps blocking us from the light. Whatever it is, once the blockage is removed, God’s light pours in and there is no shadow in Him.

God is constant, unchanging, abiding, ageless, changeless, enduring, fixed, immovable, inflexible, invariable, permanent, perpetual, sacrosanct, stable, steadfast, unalterable, and unmodifiable. (Thesaurus.com is a handy tool.)

Currently in my own life, I am going through a tremendous season of change and uncertainty. Often it feels like I am grasping for sand as it pours forth from a large bucket. I find true comfort and peace in the fact that God does not change. I pray today, no matter what changes you are facing, that you find comfort in the one true constant, God.

“Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,
 and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
 They will perish, but You will remain;
 they will all wear out like a garment.
 You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
 but You are the same, and Your years have no end.”
Psalm 102:25-27

~Originally written for the Summer Session

Friday, August 12, 2011

Full Term Missions

It is with great excitement (and a little bit of fear) that David and I would like to announce our membership with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Wycliffe was founded in 1942 with the desire to see the Bible translated into every language in the world. It is estimated that there are 6,800 languages with over 2,000 of them without any portion of Scripture.

Sometime in the next year, David and I hope to be joining along side those working in Mozambique so that more people may hear and read God's word intimately in their own heart language. David will be using his information technology skills to support linguists, translators and others in the field. Wendi's main focus will be to continue to care for our boys, but she might have the opportunity to take up a part-time support position once everyone is settled.

We have both known that some type of big change was in store for our family for several months now. While missions has always been an important part of our faith journey, in May, God began to open our hearts and direct our attention to serving in missions full-time. After much prayer, searching God's word and talking with those closest to us, we feel that this is God's purpose and plan for our family.

This is not an easy decision to undertake. Selling our home and many of our possessions, moving our family half way across the world, and leaving many of you whom we dearly love is not fun. But as David has said repeatedly, it is better to be in the middle of God's will for you than in the finest, safest palace outside of His desires.

So what is next? We will start online training shortly, followed by onsite training in Orlando, Florida in October. After that, we will be seeking to raise up a team of prayer and financial supporters since the position is self-funded. Once support is raised, we will have more training and spend time at language school learning Portuguese before heading to Mozambique.

If you have any questions, please email or leave a comment. We dearly love each of you and each of you has a special place in our lives. Please continue to press and ask us the hard questions. Please continue to pray for us and seek God's will for us. If you are interested in learning more, we would love to talk with you, your small group or your church to share the exciting things God is doing in our lives, in Wycliffe and just how you can join in all the excitement!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Our School Year

Ahhhh!

Did you hear that? Depending on how you read it, it is either the collective sigh of millions of parents or the collective screams of millions of children (and maybe teachers) as school begins again.

I thought I would do a post updating you on our school year...a back-to-school post of sorts, but we aren't going back to school because we haven't stopped doing school. We continue to homeschool here 6 weeks on and 1 week off. This provides us with great continuity of schedule and enough of a break that when I think I can't do it anymore, I get a breather and a chance to recover for a bit.

Someone recently asked Caleb if he was excited about being in kindergarten this coming year and he looked at them with a confused look and said, "Huh?" We have been doing K work for about 8 months now, so no wonder he was confused~ that and I forgot to tell him. We are talking a little more about it these days because although he won't have an official "first day at school", he will be moving up at church and needs to be prepared for that transition.

So what are we doing as we continue our kindergarten year?
  • Classical Conversations starts in a little over a week. We will be studying American history and the human body for this cycle. Last year, I did Sonlight K as my spine with CC stuff added when convenient. This year, I have decided to switch things up and align most of our studies up with what we will cover each week in our CC class. I am hoping this will provide some continuity and meat to the memory work we will be doing.
  • Community Bible Study and 252 Basics from Sunday School will be our basis for Bible work. I am excited that Caleb will be learning the same things that David and I will be teaching on each Sunday and hope to see that make a difference in our home Bible study!
  • History- Caleb has been on a huge Revolutionary War kick recently. He stomps, that is marches, around the house shouting orders to his troops, that is his brother, to prepare arms, that is mostly chase the dog. Liberty Kids and a few documentaries on Netflix and this recording from LibriVox will go a long way in supplementing the reading we will be doing.
  • Science- I was very excited to find a science that I can line up with CC! Elemental Science is a classical based science curriculum and from what I read, it has some excellent reviews. I will be doing the human body part of Biology for Grammar Stage for the first part of the year. If we really like it, I will order Chemistry for Grammar Stage for the next semester and finish up the plant section of Biology in the late spring/summer after CC is done. That is the plan and we will see how it works out!
  • Math- We are half way through RightStart Math A and still loving it. Slow and steady on this is doing us well as Caleb is building a great foundation for math. I have caught him playing math games on his own a couple of times, so we can see it is working!
  • Handwriting- Sticking with Handwriting without Tears for now. We are finishing up the K book and will move on to the next one. I wish there was more practice involved. I know it is a gentle approach, but think he could use a little better reinforcement. I have the teacher's book for A Reason for Handwriting and might look into transitioning to that later on. Hmm. Thinking on that one.
So that is the plan for the coming school year. It looks like it will be fun, full and fantastic! If you are homeschooling, what does your coming year look like?


Friday, August 5, 2011

Dreading It

I knew it was coming and I dreaded this day. Not because it was Monday, but because it was THE Monday- THE Monday on which I had penciled in those dreaded words “Begin Potty Training.” For those of you who do not have children or who have not potty trained a young one in quite a while, you might wonder why I was dreading this day…but for those who are in the thick of parenting toddlers, I am sure you understand why I dreaded this day coming.

As I went to bed the night before, dreams of my former potty training experience danced through my head. It had taken roughly 6 months to get my older son fully trained, so I had plenty of memories to lean upon. One memory stood out among the others-just like it happened yesterday - sitting on the floor of the bathroom, weeping as I tried to nurse my squalling newborn, while my older son giggled as he sat on the potty after he had another accident. That I was dreading potty training again just might be the understatement of the year.

The big morning arrived and I sat down to start my day with some God time before my boys woke up. As I relaxed into the arms of my Father, I could hear Him whisper to my heart,

“If you start the day dreading it, the day will end up being dreadful.”

Really God? My attitude has that much of an impact on it?

“Dreadful.”

But God, don’t you remember before? Me, the floor, anger and tears? Not a pretty sight.

“Your choice.”

Hmm.

Then by His tender grace and all-knowing wisdom, His Spirit led me to read today’s passage, although albeit a couple of days early.

Paul’s prayer for the Colossians is one of my favorites in scripture and is one I have prayed over my life many times:

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:9-12

That morning, part of the prayer jumped off the page, speaking to my heart and meeting me right where I was.

Endurance and patience with joy? I really need that this week, God, with the potty training.

“It is yours for the taking.”

How God? It is definitely not something that comes naturally and it isn’t something I can do on my own.

“Read it again.”

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father…

It is through your strength in me, isn’t it? I can’t do this without you…well I can, but it won’t be pretty and it definitely won’t include endurance, patience, joy or thankfulness.

“It is yours because I am in you.”

God this week, will you fill me with the knowledge of your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding? Help me to walk in a manner worthy of You, even when I am cleaning up the messes that will come. Help me to please you. Will you bear Your fruit in me in this good work which you have given me to do? Teach me more about you through it. Strengthen me in Your power, in Your glorious might that I might have endurance and patience with joy. May I be thankful no matter what happens, because You are in me and You have made me an heir with all of the saints in light.

No matter what you are dreading this week, may this be your prayer and may the God of the Universe do amazing things through it working in your life.

~~Originally written for the Summer Session blog. Can you believe we are almost done?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Can!

I CAN take this...

and this...
and this...
and make this..into this..

and this...I can!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Peachy Keen


A couple of Saturdays ago, we drove up an hour or so north and picked some of the best peaches I have ever eaten.


Two weeks and the two boxes are pretty much gone...some put up in the freezer to help us remember this sweltering summer during our frigid winter.


Hope your day is peachy keen!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

These Boots Were Made For...

These boots...

...and these boots...


...were made for inventing...


...being brothers...


...riding...


...swinging...


...and of course, walking.


Gotta love these boots!
(Even when they are on the wrong feet and 3 sizes too big!)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Living in the Somewhere

A dear friend recently shared with me her favorite new quote, which she had read on her friend’s refrigerator:

“Not somehow, but triumphantly.”

How often in the day to day realities of life do you walk in triumph? At the end of the day, do you ever look back upon it as victorious and full of joyful success?

As for me, I feel like I live most of my days in the “somehow” instead of the “triumph.” Somehow I will have enough time to….enough energy to…enough patience to….Somehow it will all work out, right?

God’s word in 2 Corinthians 2:14 calls us to escape from this “somehow” living and to be lead forth in triumph. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ…” (2 Corinthians 2:14 NASB) God desires for us to live triumphantly, exulting in the joy of His successes in our lives.

That’s all fine and good, but how do we get there? How do go from life in the somehow to life in triumph? Read 2 Corinthians 2:24 again, “But thanks be to God, who always LEADS us in triumph IN CHRIST…”

A life of triumph is always led by God and is always lived in Christ.

For us to live in triumph, we must be led by God. More often than not, I am led by all kinds of things except God. I am led by my own will, desires, and pride. I am led by what others think of me, might think of me or what society defines as normal. No wonder I look back on my day and feel anything but triumphant. The picture Paul paints of those being led in triumph is that of a military parade returning from victory. If we are on parade, but decide to ignore the parade route and turn down a side street, more than likely we will not end up at the victorious life God intended for us.

Furthermore, for us to live in triumph, we must be living IN Christ. He must be our source of hope, energy, strength and power. If we depend on our own meager supply, we will lose heart and never live as triumphantly as God intended. Instead we will be tired and weary, hoping that somehow we will scrape by this time.

I can’t help but pause for a minute and ask what does that triumphant life look like? Is it like some prosperity preachers would have us believe, a life of abundant riches and minimal problems? I don’t think so. The triumphant life has nothing to do with the stuff you possess and everything to do with the attitude that possesses you. The life of victory in Christ can be found in the midst of the slums of Nairobi, the depths of a cancer diagnosis or in your everyday activities.

Each day, I hope to look back and see that regardless of my circumstances, I was being led by God and living in Christ’s power. Each day I pray that we all live not in the somehow, but in triumph.


~~ Originally written for the Summer Session.
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