What was once the living room area. Now mostly the staging area for all the work going on in the other rooms.
Monday, December 28, 2009
What was once the living room area. Now mostly the staging area for all the work going on in the other rooms.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Front living room. I am standing at the front door.
Master bedroom. Big enough for the bed, which is all we really need I guess!
Main floor bath. What the pictures don't really show is the ick factor. Dirt and mildew. ICK!
The boys room. This is actually 15 feet by 9. It just wasn't a great place to take a picture.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Die to self in a very real way means giving up what I want. It means giving up me. In this day and age I really struggle with that. Would God ask me to give up my dreams? Wouldn’t He want to enable me to accomplish them? Isn’t He there to ensure my happiness and prosperity? He wants me to”be myself” or have goals and dreams, to reach for the stars and grab all of life that I can…..right? The more I think about it the more I realize that God calls me to fill His goals for me. That cannot be a popular thought for most people seeking fulfillment in Christianity. I am a product of my environment which tells me that all God wants is for me to be happy. I know it could stir controversy to say this but I don’t think that is the case. Die to self. To all my hopes and desires. To give them all up in search of something better than I can imagine. I feel like that is what God is saying to me. Give it all up Dianna, so I can do things for you that you can’t even begin to wish for. Things that make your dreams seem puny and watered down. How do I argue with that? How do I tell God that isn’t what I want? That “I’m happy with my little box of dreams God, don’t mess with them, thank you very much, but please just give me the ordinary life I wish for.”
I can’t do that. I can’t tell God I want my very ordinary life instead of His great one. I choose to die to self so that I can have my very best self.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The next few weeks I'm going to post here what I spoke on at the conference in Salina. It will definitely be an abbreviated version! But it will give you the big picture of what God has been working on in me
When we begin to experience painful things in our lives... When bad things start happening and we begin to stumble and fall in our faith... When we start to lose where God is... When we wonder how to put feet to our faith when we can't find our feet OR our faith... We need to ask ourselves a few questions, remembering that a loss of faith is all about me because God hasn't changed a thing about Himself.
Do we have a right attitude about suffering?
Hebrews 12:7-8 says "Endure hardship as discipline. God is
treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are
not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate
children and not true sons." Verses 11-12"No discipline seems pleasant at the time,
but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace
for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms
and weak knees, make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be
disabled, but rather healed."
Sometimes we go through hard times. Sometimes those hard times have to do with sin in our lives. That is certainly where our minds jump when things go bad. Like Job's friends we wonder what we have done to deserve all this pain and suffering! We think that if we were living "right " then God wouldn't be punishing us this way. (which is a whole separate subject really, and this is going to be a long post so I'll save that one for later!)
Sometimes however, we go through tough things because we are being disciplined. If you look at Hebrews 11 or what is known as the "Hall of Faith" in the verses just before these, we see people who endured terrible tragedy, but in that tragedy and hardship were drawn closer to God. Ultimately it wasn't about them, it was about God.
- I know that if we hadn't gone through what we have the past few months. I wouldn't be who I am now. Hardship has changed me, hopefully for the better. I can choose to live mad at God for what has happened, or I can choose to live victorious in the better person he has made me now.
- Sometimes suffering comes with the territory of being a Christian. I'm not sure where the idea came from that if we are true believers that we won't have problems. It certainly didn't come from the Bible! Every person we read about in scripture suffered in their faith. Not one lived a life of perfect bliss after a decision to follow Jesus. Christianity is hard!
- I don't understand how all of these things work together for the glory of God. I don't understand why really painful things happen to people. I know it is not in God's nature to cause us hurt. But I do know that sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own suffering I don't see the big picture. The one God sees. There is where the answer is, in the big picture that only God sees.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
It's kind of crazy that this weekend I am supposed to be speaking on putting feet to my faith in rough times at a conference in Salina. Crazy might be a bad word to use, more like inevitable. That's the way God seems to work in my life. When He asks me to talk about something He certainly gives me the material with which to work in my own life. It happens every time I'm asked to speak, I'm guessing there is a pattern here I should get used to.
This is certainly a subject that is close to my heart, I'm praying that God can use my experience the last few months as usable and glorifying material. Please pray that He does.
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight O LORD my Rock and my Redeemer."
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Anyway, Randy and I met in college at the Baptist Student Union group and fell in love. He was a Christian, and when we met all I could think was that there were Christian guys out there and this one was cute!!!! We dated a long time and married as soon as we graduated. We were pretty blessed then too. Kids started to come along in the prescribed three years or so. We continued to go to church where my dad was pastor by choice. It was a great gift to be involved with many of the same "extended family members" that I had always known, and to raise my kids in the same church their Grandparents attended. We were living what I thought was a Christ centered life. I was doing all the things I knew I was supposed to be doing. Going to church, being a mom, teaching Sunday school, working vacation Bible school etc.I remember being grateful for my "ordinary" life.
I was struck one day by what I think was a Sunday School lesson that talked about the Pharisees of the Old Testament and their inability to see themselves as sinful. I think the lesson talked about the number of Pharisees in the church today. (People that are Holier than Thou in their attitude and actions. People that see themselves as better than the poor sinner without recognizing that they still have sin in their own lives.) Anyway the reason I mention that is because it was a real gotcha moment in my life, or at least the start of one. I remember considering that question as I was driving east on 87th street parkway. I was just crossing Pflumn road (I think its significant that the woman who would forget her head if it wasn't attached remembers all this) and I distinctly remember thinking that I wasn't doing too badly in the sin department. But that if there was sin in my life would God please reveal it to me? Seriously as I read that now I realize what an idiot I was(am) God is good to answer prayer, especially that one and I was laid pretty flat in the next few years recognizing my own sinful nature. I got a well deserved whoopin' from God on that. The log in my eye was very big. I was a Pharisee! It is so easy to judge others, as long as we don't have to look at the same condition in ourselves. I really think that day was the start of my growing and grown up relationship with Jesus.
Isn't it crazy that one conversation with God can impact you forever? It is kind of like praying the sinners prayer (I know I am a sinner and that without Jesus and His sacrificial death for me I have no hope)and really meaning it. When you honestly commit your life to Jesus there is no going back. You are whole-heartedly there with Jesus. When you ask God to reveal your sin to you , there is no going back. It's there laid bare and you are unable to shove it back under the bed from which it was drug kicking and screaming.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
We are all products of our past. Sometimes those are good things and sometimes they aren't. Why one child experiences the pain of abuse and another has loving parents I can't explain. I know its not a condition of what each child is worth or how much they are loved by God, it's a condition of the sinful society in which we live. I know if we were all judged on what we deserved we could never live up to the perfection that is God. That why He sent Jesus. So we would realize it's not about what we do or who we are, but about what HE did.
My father was a pastor in a small Baptist church . My mom was a nurse who worked nights to help make ends meet. I grew up with little in the area of material things. My parents never had much before they got married, and supporting a family on the salary of a pastor isn't exactly living high on the hog. But I had amazing parents who raised me to really know Jesus. He was evident in every part of their lives.They weren't just good people either, they reflected the love of Jesus like he was a very part of who they were. My childhood in church was good too. I don't have horror stories about my life as a pastor's daughter. That certainly doesn't mean it was all easy. We experienced everything that a normal family experiences, but with less money:) And the fishbowl was never too overwhelming for me. I can't speak for my brothers on the issue, but for me church was just an extension of my life. I never felt like I wasn't living normally.
As I've grown I've seen good people who helped build the church and bad people who tried to tear it down. I been part of church growth and the pain of anger dividing. I don't fool myself into thinking I've seen it all , I know I haven't. But taking the good with the bad, my life has been blessed from the very beginning. I didn't say lucky you notice. Not everything has always gone my way. I have experienced the very essence of who Jesus is by the outpouring of His Spirit on my heart, and that essence has flavored my life in such a way that every day is sweeter because He is in it.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Two weeks ago I took the first step in getting my Real Estate license and took a class to prepare me to take the exam. Saturday I passed the exam and next week I will take the follow up class. At that point all I have to do is get my paperwork back from the state and I will be an honest to goodness agent.
Randy has been out of work for the past couple of weeks and I needed to get a job. After much prayer and consideration this seemed to be the best option for a girl without too many marketable skills. (Sadly substituting won't keep us in Cheerios very long.)
Please pray that Randy finds work soon. And I will try to keep up with the notifications:)
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
The last couple of days I've been a little gray. Not just because the weather was dreary but just the circumstances of life right now. Silly I know but there you go:) So with a clean house (there are some benefits to having a house on the market) and a list of things to do like pay bills which was easy to avoid. I sat down with a book that I had just finished for a Bible study. To be completely honest I did a lot of skimming during the study because I let life get in the way. As I re-read the first two chapters I could just hear God saying that He loved me, over and over. How can I be gray inside with that knowledge? The authors words explain it best.
"I'm ashamed to say my heart sometimes listened to Satan's siren song.The
words of doubt and notes of disillusionment echo the frustration and confusion I
feel inside. A counter melody to faith, the mournful tune arises during those
times when God neither acts the way I think He should nor loves me the way I
want to be loved. Like two songs being played in different keys, the dissonance
of what I feel clashes with what I know and threatens to drown out the anthem of God's eternal love."
Joanna Weaver (Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World)
That was exactly what I was feeling, full of pity for me and whiny about all the things I have to deal with. It was encouraging for me to be reminded again that I know God loves me. I got up feeling a little less than gray and walked out the door into a definitely gray and cold day (You other Kansans know what I'm talking about!). When I got in the car and turned on the radio Chris Tomlin's song "How can I keep from singing" was on and that was it, my day was bright again even a little bit sunny inside. I posted the song on this page after some scrambling to figure out how, and it has kept me bright ever since.
I forget so easily that I am loved by the Creator, Redeemer, and Mighty God. I hope you can find some encouragement in that knowledge today. Enjoy the song!!
Monday, March 16, 2009
I took the verse listed as Romans 12:1 off the header for a couple of reasons. One was that it was not an actual translated verse of scripture it was simply a modern version. I struggle with that from a purist point of view. I really do want to know what God's word intends to say, not man's interpretation. But I likes the words in The Message that talked about what it really means to put feet to my faith. The actual going out and doing in my every day life what God requires of me as a believer. And since this blog isn't intended to be a theological mecca I didn't worry about the interpretation.
I like change for the most part. I enjoy doing things different. So here is notice that I will change the verse that goes with my blog from time to time. I might even change the background, maybe even before any of you read this! But the main focus of my ramblings won't change. It is my intent to live my life as a doer of Gods word, not just a hearer. I pray that for all of us as believers. That we live our lives as an open Bible.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
So now I struggle with what to do. Clean the house or read a book? Hmmmmmm
Okay as I think of it the list expands. Grocery shopping needs to be done, and it's nice to do that when Caleb isn't here. Ethan has a play at school late this morning so I need to get ready to go to that. I need to spend my ECB's at CVS. There is a book for Caleb's studies this week that needs to be picked up at the library. I started the laundry last night and didn't have a chance to finish, and the litter box is calling my name. Seriously.
What was I thinking!!
Monday, February 23, 2009
This really all does go together:)
I was reading in Psalms 16 this morning. A book sent me there. A character was stressing about something and someone mentioned Psalm 16 so I went to read it. I'm not sure what the application was for the person stressing, but the application for the person planning was obvious.
"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot
secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have
a delightful inheritance."
Psalm 16:5-6 (NIV)
I know God's plans are better than my own. I don't need to be convinced of that, look at these verses that talk about my inheritance! (Christ Jesus) But still I plan, and then have to really mean it when I say I want God's plan not mine. I want the delightful inheritance He has planned for me not something I dream up on my own. Everything I have is because of the blessings God has bestowed on me, nothing comes through my planning. Today I caught myself early in the process. It was a gentle reminder from God again that it's not about me. Who knew I was so self centered?! (Don't answer that) I love that the inheritance he has planned is much better than my convoluted mind can conjure. I know the boundaries He has established are broader than those I would establish for myself. He stretches me. And you know what? this old stiff unbending body is learning to be pliable!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
On one Sunday recently at church we had a speaker in to talk about marriage. Honestly at the time I thought I was just going to hear someone talk about all the things that I already know and have heard about what the Bible says about marriage. (Not that I had a bad attitude about it. I love it when speakers tell me all the things I'm already doing right!) After 23 years together I was sure I knew my husband pretty well, so when the speaker gave out a list for us to circle the things our spouse needed to feel loved, I was pretty confident that I circled the right items. I was suprised when I snuck a peek and saw that I missed one. I didn't mean to be smug in my assumptions about my husband I really just thought I knew him completely, almost as well as he knew himself. Back when we first started dating I wanted to know everything. Where each little scar came from, why he didn't like coconut,(even though it was in his favorite cookies)what his favorite teams were. After all these years I thought I had asked all the questions, and had answers for each one.When I found out I didn't, I had to change some things I was doing at home. It was good for me to realize was that I can't ever stop getting to know my spouse. Kind of like when they say never stop dating your wife, women never think you have your husband all figured out! Maybe somethings have changed, maybe we just skipped a question all those years ago,or maybe we've just (gasp!) forgotten.I guess that's why we should celebrate Valentines Day, maybe it can jolt us out of the rut we inevitabley fall into with the ones we love the most.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"If the whole body were an eye where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body"
1 Corinthians 12:18-20 NIV
I hope God uses the experiences he gave me in Africa for His glory. I still have lots to say about it, but honestly it has taken a while to process the information. It helped that I spoke about it last week at De Soto Youth Ministry's Thursday night group. It helped me put it in order in my head. Now I feel like I can give an understandable account of all that went on.
I know part of my feet walking here call is in the church in De Soto. I am still excited about all that God is calling us to do there. Before winter rolled in we were getting out in the community to actually do things, knocking on doors picking up trash, just things to serve others. I'm anxious for the weather to warm up so we can get back out and do some more! Actually I am just anxious for the weather to warm up! I thought it would be great to have those 12 days of warm weather right in the middle of my Kansas winter, but I think it made it worse to come back to a winter that was far from over.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The beautiful older woman is GoGo, as all grandmothers are known. It is in her home that the small church meets every week. Please pray for them as they start a Sunday School for the children. There were 11 kids there last week! The supplies so many of you provided were left behind for that purpose.
And the beautiful little one is Nombuelo (I think) I have a list of names that go with faces. She is Gogo's granddaughter, V's daughter.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Kids in South Africa are on summer break right now. So what I have been calling Holiday Bible Clubs are actually just Vacation Bible School for our American ears.
The Holiday Bible Clubs we did were in a community called Snake Park which is part of the bigger area of Soweto. Soweto is short for South West Township which was the area set aside for Black South Africans during Apartheid. This area of Snake Park originated as a Squatters camp and has grown into an area that has actual houses as well as the shacks that squatters put up for homes. A woman who I will call V lives in Snake Park with her mother and is using her home for a small church that Alan Locke is helping to start in this area. There are four adults that attend as well as their children. V is an inspiration in her faith as she works with the people of this area. I can't begin to tell you how much I was touched by her call and dedication. Her life has certainly not been easy, but her purpose she told me was to help the people of her community. We used her yard to hold Bible Club all three days, and she translated for the younger children.
The first day I want to say we had about 70 kids. Honestly that part is kind of a blur, I know we had the most the first day went down the second and back up a bit the third............... I think.........
Anyway it was chaos. There was certainly a learning curve. I don't think we could have planned much different, but we learned from what we did and didn't do and did better the second day. Several of us went to the soccer field and played with the older kids. I use the term played very loosely as what I mostly did was watch as they kicked the ball between my legs. That and struggle to breathe. (I'm sure it was the elevation)....
The soccer field was obviously well used. Packed down and hard red dirt with broken glass scattered over much of it. Some of the kids played barefoot.
V worked very hard to get the kids there that she did. I know she wrote names down in a book to try and keep track of who was there and who wasn't. We had Bible club the next two days much the same.
We did a lot of touring through the area looking at churches. (Again a term I will use loosely because not a lot of worshiping of Christ happened there) And I think we saw other white faces in Soweto only once at a tourist kind of area.
I didn't take my camera on the first day. The Lockes had been robbed at gunpoint in this area so they were cautious about what we should and shouldn't take in. I did take it every day after that. Most of the pictures I took of the area were from the car. I didn't take my camera out as we prayer walked on the dirt paths through the shacks and I didn't take any pictures inside peoples homes. It seemed to me to be very disrespectful to do so.
I did take lots of pictures after that. Can you imagine that? Me taking lots of pictures? I would love to post them, but I am having some trouble with my computer and I am afraid to download them from my camera just yet. We are heading out to get a new hard drive tonight, so my plan is to post some tomorrow.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Last night was kind of a blur. A friend called at 8:15 after I had just gone to bed.(Maybe 10 minutes) and I only vaguely remembered that she called. Nothing about the conversation. I had to call her back and double check that I was even coherent! Today I am cleaning the house, doing laundry, and trying to get an article turned in before tomorrow's deadline. I promise to write more later. Even later today if I get it done!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I leave tonight, 7:30 Joburg time. It's 11:30 am here, 3:30 am at home. I can't wait to see my family! I have missed them a lot the past 12 days as Randy pointed out. It was only ten days on the ground:) Two were spent in the air!
Let me just give you all a brief recap. I'll hit the details later.
We came to the other side of Joburg last Wednesday. I was tired, I think I told you that! So Thursday we spent getting here an in the B & B. Friday we took a tour of Soweto and the area with a nice dinner out with Alan and Beth Locke. (They are the marvelous missionaries that drove us around endlessly and with whom we worked all week.) We had Holiday Bible Clubs Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning. Today we spent the morning visiting with Mamas in the area that might be interested in attending a women's Bible study.
The poverty is overwhelming. What passes as acceptable homes in the squatters camps we visited wouldn't house most people pets in our part of the world. We walked through alleyways to get to homes built of corrugated tin and whatever metal, vinyl, and plastic the people could scrounge together. Most houses are surrounded by a fence. Not an effective fence but a boundary of sorts. Alan and Beth have lived other places here in Africa, (Alan grew up in Nigeria) and he let me know that many people living in the areas we visited would be considered well off by those living in other parts of Africa. Joburg is an area that many people come looking for work.
Security is an issue. I never felt unsafe in Snake Park Perhaps because we were with people who knew what they were doing. But it was certainly an adventure. At this point I am still in possession of my camera and what little stuff I brought with me!
I'll write more later and add pictures! I hope to see you soon!
Thursday, January 1, 2009
So today we check out of the hotel here in Boksburg and head west. I am not sure of the name of the area we will be staying. It's still here in Joburg, all I know is west:) I don't know the availability of Internet service where we will be staying, but I will update as I can.
Yesterday here was a beautiful one. Sunny and hot for me, though a couple of the mks wore sweatshirts to class. This is cold for them! Everyone was very tired, myself included, so the kids were subdued and wanted to just play in the morning. It's remarkable watching these kids, most of whom have only known the mission field as home, and how they relate to each other. They played for an hour and a half in a room with no toys, a couple of tables and the miscellaneous supplies they had made projects out of. No fighting at all, just each other and their imaginations. We also had zero discipline problems. I put one in time out the last 15 minutes we had them! And their spiritual depth and perception is remarkable. When we asked for prayer requests from the kids (remember they are 5 and 6) one child asked that we pray for their family to learn the Portuguese language better so that they could help people more. It was humbling to serve people who give up so much every day to serve others. We had a great time doing it.
Many of these families have a long way to go home. I know some drove 5 days to get here. I spoke to one man who's family flies home to their capitol city, then has to drive two days to get to their own town. Please pray for their safety both on their trip and in their homes.
I will be in Soweto tomorrow through Sunday. We have 4 scheduled Bible club's per day for tomorrow and Saturday. We are expecting up to 100 kids per club. Sunday I am speaking for church. Please pray for the right words to share!