Some insta-pictures from the last couple of weeks…
Friday, November 21, 2014
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.
“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.
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
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 .
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!
Thursday, November 6, 2014
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.
And 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!
I didn’t get this done yesterday… but our baby girl turned 5 yesterday! I know I already shared about her birthday celebration last week, and some of her personality “quirks” at this age. Here are a couple of pictures from her birthday dinner. She has equisite taste for a five year old. I asked her what she wanted me to cook, and she said, “Mom, I want a Brooklyn pizza.” She already knows it’s the best in the world!
Happy Birthday Elaine!
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Today I just want to share how thankful I am for my in-laws. I know many people do not have a good relationship with their parents-in-law, but I feel very blessed to have gained another set of parents when I married Ben. Visiting them isn’t something I dread, but something I enjoy.
My in-laws live the perfect distance away. Three hours is an easy trip, even with kiddos. We can visit fairly often. But…they aren’t on my doorstep every day. (Just kidding, Sissy!)
Mom & Dad Hamilton have been a particular blessing as we have started deputation. We have dropped in numerous times to split the distance between a meeting and home. We have used them as a “base of operations” as we visit New England churches. Sometimes we call the day of and say, “Can we stop by for supper?” They are always glad to have us, even on short notice.
In fact, the sheets in the guest room are ours, and the pack n plays have remained set up, just waiting for our arrival!
We got to stop by last Friday to celebrate Elaine’s birthday with Grandma & Grampa. We then left all four kids with them so Ben and I could go to our NH meeting alone (which also happened to be our anniversary). Before departing we enjoyed a lovely fall hike at Ashuwillticook Trail.
Liberty enjoyed walking with Grampa – and then she decided to turn into a collector. She actually tried to pick up every leaf from the trail. When she got too many, she shoved them in Grampa’s hands while she collected more. She does like to clean up the toys at home, but I had never seen her like this! She’s going to have a clean house one day!