Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our day started out like this...


And finished up like this...

 
"Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all His praise?"
Psalm 106:1-2
 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

White Thanksgiving

There is a Nor'easter moving up the coast, so we decided to move our travel plans up a day.  The road from home to Ben's parents in the Berkshires (MA) is a two lane winding road, so we didn't want to drive it in 8-12 inches of snow!  Having arrived around midnight last night, we enjoyed watching the white winter wonderland develop as we made preparations for a "white Thanksgiving".  Here are a few shots from the day...
 

The kids couldn't wait to get outside, so Ben took them out to the parking lot to play in the snow.  He wrote their names in the snow!  I was happy to watch from the window in my PJ's and with my coffee in hand!
 

Giant snowman with not too much snow on the ground yet! 
 
 

Waiting to get out the door!  This is the first snow storm they've really been able to play in...
 

She didn't seem to mind falling very much!
 

Everyone enjoyed playing outside for a while!
 

I thought she was so cute.  This was one of Elaine's winter hats, and she always looked adorable in it too!
 

After playing in the snow they came inside and shut themselves into the dog crate!  {Sans pants because everything was in the dryer!
 
 

Monday, November 24, 2014

I Choose Joy

Something the Lord has really been teaching me lately is about choosing to rejoice even when I don’t feel like it or when my circumstances don’t seem to “deserve” joy.  I shared a little about this here.

Today is Monday, and I don’t know how Monday’s go around your house, but they are usually rough around here.  We are often recovering from a long day in ministry on Sunday (with no naps for the children), and driving home after evening services (sometimes arriving very late).  Then there is the unpacking, the grumpy attitudes to deal with, and the normal to-do list in order the get the week and routine rolling on a good schedule.

But God’s Word tells us that no matter what is going on around us, we can rejoice!

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:  18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

So today, on this Monday, this is what I want to do…

I CHoose Joy jpg

  Click here to download a printable PDF…

Friday, November 21, 2014

iFriday

Some insta-pictures from the last couple of weeks…

Cool Dude!
Nehemiah LOVES to play with the sunglasses!

Crayola Factory
Giant Lite-Brite at the Crayola Factory in PA

Firehouse Subs
Lunch with my little firefighters at the Firehouse Subs while Ben had a meeting with the guys…

Firehouse Subs
Her new smile!

img_2614
Book time in a MA nursery

img_2617   Lick that Reese's!
Picnic on Mommy’s birthday – it was 65 degrees! 
Right – Liberty dug this Reese cup wrapper out of the trash to finish licking clean.  She was very upset I had taken it away!

Nolan and Gretchen
Gretchen.  A red Doberman at our host’s home last week.  Nehemiah was terrified at first, but then he made her into his best bud!

Nolan and Gretchen

The time we got up...
This is how late my kiddos slept on November 1st!  Mommy was soooo glad!

Not a Vacation, but Grateful Still

Someone said to me recently that from my blog posts it seems as if deputation is a big vacation.  I usually just post the sunny side of things, so as not to be a complainer.  The truth is that, like anything, there are very hard moments in deputation.  When I choose to focus on the good parts (and writing a blog post helps me to do that), I can easier choose to be joyfully despite the challenging moments in all of this “fun” travel.

I had a long post written with some of the challenges that I face on each trip.  I thought maybe I should be “real” and transparent.  I thought it might help my praying friends to pray better.  But after sitting on it for a while, I scrapped the post.  I don’t think it would be productive for me to dwell on those challenging things.  I dwell on them enough as it is.  I am learning that “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” means even those dissatisfied, complaining thoughts. 

There is a big part of me that looks forward to Feb. 1, 2015 when we “hit the road” until May 3rd.  Because then I will just be focusing on deputation.  Right now it’s like two full time jobs – wifey/homemaker/mommy from Monday to Friday, and missionary on deputation each weekend.  I want to be able to focus on just one thing.  But that’s not been the plan this far, and I’m learning some things along the way (some easier than others).

One of the books I’ve been reading is a little devotional book by Marjorie Parker called “Bread from my Oven.”  They are very short thoughts with a verse and a poem, but they have been tremendous for me, especially as I’m stretched to the limit and need reminders of the basics.  I thought I might share some excerpts from the ones that have been most helpful to me lately.

“Thank You”

“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Psalm 107:8-9.

“A mature Christian is one who can say “Thank You” to God when her husband fails to get that long-hoped-for raise in salary; or Johnnie brings home an ‘F’ on his report card; or the baby comes down with measles in spite of all precautions.

“When troubles pile up around us we can easily forget that He knows the end from the beginning and that this thing is going to work out for our good, no matter how dark the picture looks at the present time.

“We forget that one must suffer before he can be healed.

“If our gratitude depends on outward circumstances, it does not occupy a permanent place in our lives.  When the winds of adversity blow, and we are in trouble and need help and still can say to God ‘Thank You,’ we have gained spiritually.”

Bread from my Oven by Marjorie Parker, pages 38-39

It seems there is a theme to what God is teaching me lately.  I must be thankful in all circumstances, not just when things go my way.  When I am thankful, then I respond to my children with more love and patience, and I am more flexible in each situation.  Also, the messages at last week’s mission’s conference centered on the theme of being “Laborers Together with God”, with an emphasis on suffering with Christ.  I have been resisting the suffering part (however minimal) of what God has been trying to teach me.  I wanted to learn it without suffering, but I know that it is not His plan.  If Christ was willing to suffer for my salvation, then surely I can be willing to suffer with Him in order to reach others with the Gospel.

download (1)Through several different sources recently I was challenged to begin a Gratitude Journal.  With some birthday money I purchased a simple “line-a-day” journal that covers five years.  Each day I want to record what I am thankful for that day, especially in these deputation and church planting years.  I need to focus on what God has done for me, so that I do not bemoan the difficult moments.

Monday, November 10, 2014

{18} Months

Time flies so quickly!  The twins are over 18 months now.  Life is fun, full, and very tiring!  I think that twins at this age is much more weary-ing that newborns twins and feeding shift during the night!  You would think that with only 800 square feet in our home and two small bedrooms, that it would be easy to “keep tabs” on the twins.  But it not!  I am constantly in a frenzy trying to keep them out of trouble and accomplish anything (like homeschool, dishes, and dinner).  Then once you catch them in trouble, you have to be consistent to correct them.  Soooo much work!

What are the twins like?  They are very alike in some things.  They love to eat.  And if one gets a snack, the other wants one too.  They love bananas, and broccoli, and anything pasta.  The love to hold hands when we say “Time to pray” at the table, and they have half-closed squinty eyes (making sure they don’t lose any food during the prayer Smile.

Nehemiah is a total trouble maker.  He loves to scream, and he loves cars and balls.  He loves the mop, and the vaccum.  He also loves the computer.  He gets disciplined multiple times daily for climbing up and touching the computer.  He’s either going to be a tech-y computer guy, a janitor, or a camp director!  He almost seems to delight in causing trouble so that he can give hugs and kisses to say “sorry.”  He is our friendly guy, shaking hands, giving smiles, and hugging total strangers at every church we visit.

Liberty is still quite the stoic.  She has mastered the poochy lip and sullen face, just like Nolan and Uncle Wesley.  She can be totally expressionless for almost anything except tickles!  She loves to play baby dolls with Elaine, talk on the phone (such a girl).  She seems to have particular affection for shoes and her pink blanket from Gramsie’s friend.  It has literally been drug through the floor all across New England!

The twins are great sleepers and eaters still, and they travel very well considering how much time we spend in the car!  They love to watch movies, and especially Mister Ed the Talking Horse.  They literally do a happy dance as soon as the theme music comes on!  Whenever things get “hairy” at the “witching hour” I just start a Mister Ed episode!

Today was a beautiful day in NYC so we had a spontaneous picnic at the park.  It afforded me to the opportunity to snap some pictures in good lighting without freezing the twins in the process!

Liberty 18 Months   Liberty 18 Months
I was sad these ended up blurry, because they are the best “smile” she gave!

Liberty 18 Months   Liberty 18 Months
The one on the right is the “give me back my paci” look

Liberty 18 Months

Nehemiah 18 Months  Nehemiah 18 Months
Oddly enough, Nehemiah was not a happy camper.  He had fallen several times and was just grumpy.  These were the best I could get!

Nehemiah 18 Months

Nehemiah 18 Months

Twins 18 months
The twinsies ~ 18 months

Twins 18 months

Twins 18 months
Amazing that she kept the bow in this long…

Twins 18 months

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rejoice Evermore

Today I am particularly thankful for my church, and my pastor.  We were able to be in our sending church last night.  It was so nice to sit in the services and just drink in everything!  The text was the shortest verse in the Bible… “Rejoice evermore.”

I didn’t know I would have to apply it so soon. It’s nothing big, but a million little things that interrupted my plans for today.  That changed the flow of how I thought things should work.  Little things that can often derail me or cause lots of frustration.  And thought I was very frustrated at moments today, each time I could hear a whisper in my ear, “Rejoice evermore.”

It’s a counter-cultural message.  Stop thinking about yourself, get your eyes off your circumstances, and rejoice – because of who God is.  Rejoice and be thankful for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He is going to do.  It’s not about us – it’s all about Him.

So when the toilet plugged up, the kids were screaming, the milk got spilled, the day started late, the toddler peed all over his sister’s new toys, the Kindergartener doesn’t understand her school lesson, and the twins run away in the parking lot – rejoice.  When its raining and you have to drag everyone out to mail something, rejoice.  When you’re not packed for the trip tomorrow and the kids aren’t napping, rejoice.

Rejoice. Evermore.

With Mrs. MusgraveAnd I’m also thankful for the opportunity to have seen my former pastor and his wife last week.  They did an Exchange seminar at our church, and we got to be home for two days of it.  Mrs.  Musgrave was my piano teacher.  Pastor Musgrave officiated our wedding.  They were both so influential in my life as a high schooler.  I was glad to get to see them again!

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