31 March 2008
29 March 2008
Seven Random Facts
1. One of my dreams is to go to Greece with my hubby for our 20th anniversary.2. I was, once upon a time, a pretty good swimmer. Butterfly was my event and my senior year of high school, I was the state champ. 3. I grew up in Oklahoma. I used to think it was cool to catch tarantulas and scorpions (without actually touching them, of course). Then, we'd take the scorpions, throw them into water where they'd curl up and sting themselves. Now, I think that is just yucky and stupid... "Did I really do that?"
AND now, it is my turn to tag some folks!
28 March 2008
- when teaching about the water cycle of evaporation, condensation and rain;
- when teaching about how and why plants are the foundation of all food chains;
- when teaching that the measure of all three angles in a triangle will always measure 180'; and
- to continually recognize and acknowledge that all wisdom and intelligence comes from God.
The thought from which I could not escape (and I don't know if it really makes sense to anyone but me), however, was that choosing to accept that cost, whatever it may be, and giving God the glory in each and every situation, is just a little way to demonstrate back to Him the fruit of His Spirit: treating Him gently, tenderly and reverently - realizing that it profoundly touches His heart to have His glory unashamedly proclaimed.
27 March 2008
- 3 YEAR OLD LITTLE BOYS;
- and EMAIL!
And, we (as in our whole family... probably my friend's family) ARE laughing about this now!
26 March 2008
25 March 2008
21 March 2008
I'm going to try something I've not really tried before - writing on a particular theme on a particular day of the week. This particular subject is a theme that is near and dear to my heart right now, as I'm participating in a Bible study written by Beth Moore, Living Beyond Yourself, which is a study of the fruits of the Spirit. We are well into the study - I can't believe how quickly these 10 weeks are slipping by. Last week, we studied patience. Patience is one of those qualities we all KNOW we need more of, but very few of us REALLY want to go through the disicpleship lessons necessary that result in God demonstrating His patience through our lives... or at least we joke about not wanting to...
I've been mulling much over the following, from this Bible study. There are two primary words in the New Testament that we, who speak English, associate with patience:
- Endurance/perseverance - or patience in circumstances, motivated by hope.
- Forbearance/longsuffering - or patience with people, motivated by mercy and demonstrated by NOT judging and forgiveness. It is this second type of "patience" that is spoken of in Galatians 5.22,23, when we speak of patience as a characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit.
It is this difference that I've been meditating on and praying about, maybe because I'm continually seeing realizing just how true it is. I can persevere through circumstances because I know, in the long run, that circumstances are temporal and I have a hope that someday, they will cease. And while I don't have to, I can do so in my own strength. I just grit my teeth and keep on keeping on. I cannot, however, forbear and be longsuffering with the people around me, especially in difficult circumstances, unless the Holy Spirit is the one directing my thoughts and actions. I think that I can sometimes, maybe even often, act the right way, but I know and God knows that my thoughts and internal responses to trying people are not what they should be... and that they only will be if I am patience due to His might and His power working in me and through me.
Shopping at the market (hence the above picture) is one of those time that I see this so clearly. When in the States, I can walk into a grocery store, grab my cart and wander through the store searching out the items on my list, check out using the automated checkers and never have to deal with another person. It is not one of my favorite things to do, but I can survive it and I know it is necessary. Shopping in Niger is a whole different ballgame. We do have some grocery stores - but there will always be people with whom I have to interact: the guard at the door, the butcher, the guys stocking the shelves who've taken all the carts so I have to hunt one down before I can use it, the check out lady who wants to go through all the customary greetings and wonders how Elsie Mae is since I've not brought her into the store for several weeks, and the bagger who expects his tip for placing my purchases exactly where I told him I didn't want them... Then, there are the fruit and veggie stands where after you select your produce, you must check and make sure that they totaled everything correctly and barter the price down at least a bit because that is just what is expected... Or the shack around the corner from the house where you've always got a running account going because they never have the right change - and all of that has to be arranged when all you really wanted was to buy a few tablespoons of salt because you ran out before the end of the week... And finally, the full-fledged market experience, where little boys follow you around wanting to carry your packages for you or wanting you to give them a small "gift," the vendors who accost you to try to get you to look at what they have to sell, the never ending price debate game (and it is much more intense in the market), the fact that you are the only "foreigner" shopping that morning - so everyone wanders around to take a look, and of course, trying to understand and be understood in the strange mixture of French and Zarma that I resort to most times I'm at the market. In this last situation, I can muddle through the circumstances and the obvious interactions with people in what appears to be a pleasant attitude and good humor, and do so in my own strength. However, if I want my thoughts and internal responses to be pleasing to God, even a simple thing like buying groceries has to be done, filled by the Spirit.
And all in all, that is just one more little reason I'm thankful to be working and serving here in Niger: I'm dependant on God to even do my grocery shopping the way He'd want me to do it.
And now, after all that, I'm off to do my grocery shopping for next week... ;-)
19 March 2008
- Gas is over $6/gallon. If we want to fill up the Land Cruiser, it costs well over $100. Even filling up our little Toyota Corolla is way too much.
- A friend bought 2.5 lbs of cheese to make pizza for her son's birthday party - and paid $34 for the cheese.
- Last week, I tried to find a 100 lb bag of sugar (we tend to buy in bulk). After talking to a couple of different merchants, what would have cost us $42 a few weeks ago will now probably cost us $57.
- The price of milk has doubled over the course of the last year. When we can find it in town, we buy powdered milk in a 50 lb bag, which will usually last our family about 10 weeks. That works out to nearly $17/week on milk - which we use primarily on cereal or granola, to make bread and to make yogurt.
- Flour, too has shot up, from $.35/lb before Christmas to a current price of $.46/lb.
- A 2 lb jar of jelly costs nearly $6.
- 2 sticks of butter cost $1.80 - $2.20.
- 1 liter of corn oil costs $3.50 - $4.
- 1 lb of ground beef is approximately $3.
- The very cheapest box of cereal (a generic and small box of corn flakes) is $2.50 - unfortunately our kids don't appreciate it because it turns soggy immediately in milk.
Fortunately, there is still a good variety and abundance of fresh produce!
If I sat here and looked at all of this and wondered, "How in the world are we going to do it?" I would become depressed and anxious. Thankfully, He is faithful; we have seen how He has provided in incredible and unimaginable ways, for our children's education, our Land Cruiser... and now we are literally seeing Him provide our daily bread each week. It truly is a privilege to be in this situation of dependance on our Lord!The painting above is: 'Prophet Elijah and the Widow of Sarepta' c. 1630 by Bernardo Strozzi
18 March 2008
16 March 2008
FYI - the picture of the lady above is not my friend - I don't have a recent picture of her, and as mentioned earlier in this post, I don't have batteries in my camera. But the quiet strength, love, care and concern for her baby... and the baby's trust in her mama (see that sweet little hand), made me think of my friend as soon as I saw it. This photo was taken by Finbarr O’Reilly
12 March 2008
10 March 2008
It was saying goodbye to Elsie Mae that triggered those tears. She was sound asleep on our waterbed. I laid down beside her for just a moment to hold her. In her sleep, those sweet little arms reached up and around my neck, she smiled and then giggled softly. Finally, she sighed and snuggled in, her nose touching mine, whispering, "Mama..." She still smelled like the sand she'd played in outside most of the morning, the moussaka that she'd devoured at lunch, and the yummy baby soap that I'd just used to wash her... to try and remove all of that dirt. If it hadn't been for the carload of ladies all waiting on me, I might have changed my mind right then and there.
03 March 2008