Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just time for a quick note

It's Tuesday afternoon here about 1:25pm my time. I have exactly 20 minutes before I have to run back to my classroom for our afternoon session. I'm sorry for the short update. Hopefully I will get more time tomorrow.

This morning I had my 5 and 6 year olds for 4 and 1/2 hours on 1 and 1/2 hours worth of curriculum. We spent a lot of time outside:) They are really excited to be in class and seeing friends they only get to see a couple of times a year. The missionaries are very appreciative of our willingness to be here. Someone told me that this time for them is so important because they get to worship with others like them in their own native tongue. It's one thing to participate with others that you lead in their language and another to worship in your own. I have this kids for another 4 hours this afternoon we have swimming on the list of things to do, so that will help fill some of the time. Dinner is at 6pm and then we have babysitting for those families who would like it. They were so excited that we were willing to babysit tonight. I don't think it happens often for some of them.

Seeing as I haven't quite adjusted to Africa time (I was up at 4:30 here wide awake!) I am tired, so please pray for my stamina. There is a lot of day left!

and on top of all this Randy e-mailed and told me we have someone interested in our house. They are making a decision between us and two others. Please pray for that too. They will want to move quickly I've been told, so we would have to move fast if they chose our house.

I am missing everyone there, but enjoying the sunshine. I knew it was supposed to rain all this week from weather.com, but apparently it's a lot like Florida where it can rain every day and still be beautiful for most of it. I am already sunburned from a mere 30 minutes yesterday out and about!!

Thanks for your prayers. I am praying for you too!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Here

So I made it to Johannesburg, South Africa. It was an eventful and boring trip all at the same time. (Long lines to stand in, and lots of sitting.) The conference center we are staying in is beautiful. There are summer flowers blooming everywhere and the temperature is around 70 degrees. The sun is shining and warm though. The flight was 17 hours long. Not much sleeping happened, though I saw a few movies I hadn't seen yet and finished a good book.
Today we meet with our missionary leaders and set up classrooms for Bible school. The kids come at 4pm for our first classes. I have 7 five and six years olds. I can't wait to meet them! My prayer request for today is that we are able to really serve these missionaries who work everyday for the cause of Christ in Africa. This is supposed to be a refreshing retreat for them so please pray that they be rejuvenated and joyful.
I write more as I get the chance. Thanks for your prayers and support.

Friday, December 26, 2008

On My Way

This Christmas season has been a full one. We have had a lot on our plate as a family and it has not always been easy. I have been making lists like crazy and even writing things down I've already done just to be able to cross something off my list. Then I lose the list and have to start another one which includes things I missed on the first list but leaves other things off. Then of course I find the first list and lose the second. And then I find myself looking at three separate lists to make sure I have covered everything on all three! did I confuse you? Now you know how I feel. So about the time that I think everything is under control and I start feeling smug about all I have accomplished. I walk downstairs with a suitcase in my hand to have Randy say, oh by the way we are showing the house at 10am tomorrow. At that point after I pick myself up off the floor I have to laugh. It's all just too funny!
So it's now time for me to go. I am sitting in front of the computer with bags packed. I still need to finish putting together my carry on bag and my very large"purse" Randy is the best packer ever! With a 50lb limit per bag he managed to get 48lbs in each bag! I have two suitcases full of markers, glue sticks, paper, puzzles, books and every good thing imaginable. All of my friends and family have been absolutely amazing to provide so much stuff to take. On my own I could never have provided all the good things they got for the kids in Africa. Thank You Thank you Thank you to all. You know who you are! I will send more specific thank yous and pictures when I get back.
I know many of you reading this will be checking up on me while I travel. I think I will have a computer available the first four days, but after that I really don't know. Those will be the days that I am in Soweto and probably the days I will need the most prayer. From what we have been told the area we are heading is not a good one. But people there need so much of what God has to offer.
The hardest part of this putting feet to my faith across an ocean and so far away is knowing that my family is here without me. I want to be safe and come home soon, but I also know that whatever God has called me to do is the best possible result. I want to be willing to do whatever He wants. Not my version of what is good, but His. So with that in mind I am stepping out in faith to walk where He has called me to walk. I am sure it's going to be hard work at times, but I am equally sure the blessings will far outweigh the hardship. So please pray for God to be glorified in everything that we do this week. That our presence will be a testament to Him. That our mouths will speak as if we speak His very words and that our lives be a reflection of His love. It's not about me, it never is.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Night out with Mom

Ethan and I had a night out last night. Randy had some things going on after work and the older two had a youth event at the Plaza, so we went out for dinner and to do a little Christmas shopping. I look at him and wonder where time went. I know its such a cliche to say that, but really! When the kids were little and I felt like I was never going to get to leave the house again, I would have argued when people told me that. (Actually I think maybe I did) I knew in my heart that time would go quickly and one day they would be all grown up, but there were days that it just couldn't come fast enough.

I had such a good time with him. After fajitas at Chilli's we went to Borders and picked out a CD for his teacher. It had to be just right, so we spent a lot of time looking for what we thought might be good, then listening to the demo to check it out. Then more time picking out a gift for his brother and sister. (His idea and money, not mine.) I snuck in a gift for him, then sent him on an errand when it came time to pay. Unfortunately he has gotten too old to fall for that so when we got in the car he asked which book I bought him. When I asked what made him think I actually bought him anything he just smiled and said it was too convenient for me to have sent him to find something when I was paying. I remember the days when I could take the kids to Walmart, buy their presents, and they wouldn't have a clue! He took the remainder of the fajitas for lunch today. It was mostly onions and peppers left, I bet he is going to smell really good after lunch. Thank goodness, for everyone's sake, its a half day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finally some Christmas spirit!

I know that's a terrible thing for me to say. Christmas is never about the commercialism and that's not exactly what I mean. But I've had a hard time getting excited about the season this year. That's unusual for me. I love Christmas; the decorating, the family,the gift buying , especially the meaning. Not just baby Jesus and the miracle of His birth, but the promise of the cross.
This Christmas I just haven't been into it, I don't know if it's because I've had too much to do to really think about it, or if it's just an off year.I think one reason it's harder this year is because we haven't been able to do anything for other families. Usually God brings someone up to us who needs help. We don't go looking for it, it just happens. This year it hasn't happened, probably because we aren't in a position to help anyone!
The snow this morning and driving to Target to buy some stocking stuffers for the kids finally did what nothing else had done to this point. I was listening to Christmas music taking Ethan to school (driving around people who simply lose what little sense they have when it snows) and it came to me! Boom just like that. A desire for Christmas. It helped when I checked out and the woman behind the register asked how I was. I said "Marvelous", and she said "Me too!" instead of looking at me like I was completely nuts. And now that I am snug and warm in my house, enjoying the snow from the inside it's even better.
God is so good. He has provided for our every need. I know that, I've known it all along, I just have this tendency to doubt, to take my eyes off of Him like Peter walking on water.To get distracted from God miraculous working and look at the circumstances in which I find myself. To rely on my own abilities instead of on God's plan. To doubt God's sufficiency. I've always known I had a lot in common with Peter. (Obviously I am talking about the Peter pre-Pentecost.) I only pray that God can make me into someone who vaguely resembles the Peter who lived the rest of his life committed to God.
I know, I know, right now you are wondering how I started out talking about Christmas and ended up with Peter. But that's how God works at this time of year. Making the connections for me that give me Hope and Joy and Peace. The Christmas season for me isn't just about the birth of Christ but about the promise of the cross. The promise of hope.
I love this time of year!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow Days

I am working at Ethan's elementary school this week. Usually the dropping barometer and snow mean crazy kids but yesterday the kids weren't crazy at all. The teachers on the other hand!!!!! As it started sleeting and snowing the we began to see small groups of teachers discussing the weather conditions. We all knew the schools wouldn't let out early, that never happens anymore. But the question was would it stay bad enough to warrant a snow day tomorrow?

Oh the memories! We laugh when we think about the days as kids when we got up on snowy dark days only to have mom or dad say"Snow day, no school" Did that mean we went back to bed? absolutely not. We had a whole day filled with the anticipation of the unknown. Nothing on the schedule. No place to be but on the couch in our pj's as long as we wanted to be! As an adult though I think the anticipation of a snow day is even better. The thought of not having to drag out early to scrape and scramble; of spending an unexpected day home with no time taken from our pool of meager sick days. That is almost too much for our happy hearts to handle!! As the day progressed it was pretty obvious that the snow day wouldn't occur, but that first bloom and spark of excitement, the "what if......" it was fun to relive those memories.

Until Emma crawled in my bed this morning wanting it to be a snow day, only to be disappointed. I told them last night it wouldn't happen, but they didn't believe me! I guess that will just make it that much more fun when it does happen!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's not about me. Again

I just read back through the previous post, it sounds a little high and mighty and I certainly didn't mean for that! I have found in the last couple of years the more God asks of me, especially the more speaking I do, the more He has a tendency to beat me up about things! I guess that's so I will have something to talk about!

I have been struggling to come up with what to say when I speak at the church in Johannesburg. It feels a little strange to me to think about talking and sharing with people who's situations are so different than mine. Not that I don't think all Gods children are the same no matter what continent we live on, but that our life circumstances are so different. I find it hard to offer comfort to a woman with several children, no job or income, very little in terms of material goods, no male support and little food or money. Will she look at me and think"who are you to speak to me about hope?" During church on Sunday morning though a thought came to me that Jesus offers peace in all circumstances. Not peace necessarily in life events, but peace of heart. Paul says in Philippians 4:12-13

" I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."NIV

Maybe that's where my focus should be in terms of how I share. I can't offer them financial security or physical safety, but the God I know can offer peace that comes in all circumstances. And He is more than able to offer joy that comes with that peace. No material thing I take can offer that.

So I am back again in my life to the statement that its not about me. You'd think I would have learned that by now! Nothing I have to offer people accomplishes anything! But the God I serve? He can accomplish all things!

Friday, December 5, 2008


"I will thank the LORD with all my heart; I will declare Your wonderful works. I will rejoice and boast about You, I will sing about your name Most High"
Psalm 9:1-2

I was reading these verses this morning, and I was challenged by them. How often in my prayer do I thank God? I mean I know I thank God, but it's usually mixed in with requests and praise, not simply thanks. So in my prayer time today I prayed those verses and just started writing a prayer thanking God. Starting with the basics. Thank you for my family, my children their health and happiness etc. I found myself though, having to stop from adding the request to bless them, or to draw them nearer to Himself. Not that I don't want them blessed, but I really felt like God was just asking me to thank Him.
Things are crazy at home. We have been working hard to put our house on the market. That terrifies me! I am trusting that we are acting in Gods timing and will. I don't know where we are going if we sell. We are struggling financially, Randy is working, but at a temporary job that pays a lot less than we are used to. I am getting ready in a little more than three weeks to go halfway around the world to South Africa. My oldest is in his first year of homeschool and I have had to go back to work. There is a lot zipping through my head!! But today I am going to simply thank God and rejoice in who He is. I will sing about His Most High name. I will boast about Him. No requests, no supplication just thanks