31 May 2010

Multitude Monday ~ 1000 Gifts

Courage is contagious.
When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.
~ Billy Graham

Trusting you are remembering, thanking and having a wonderfully blessed Memorial Day Weekend!

#126 school's out... and I've got my kiddos home with me (even when "home is our big green van) once again... yippee!

#127 on the road again

#128 friends we've made in Niger that open their home to fellow Niger missionaries who are "on the road"

#129 looking forward to seeing the cousins

#130 looking forward to lunch with one of my most favorite couples in the whole wide world

#131 my grandfather and the sacrifices he made to defend and ensure freedom for our country

#132 weather warm enough that I'm getting sweaty when I work hard or exercise... it is preparation for our return to Niger

#133 looking for plane tickets

#134 a friend who brings an incredible selection of bread to our family ALMOST. EVERY. WEDNESDAY

#135 decluttering

#136 cleaning windows and then looking out the beautifully clean windows

#137 school uniforms folded and put or given away ~ for a long time

#138 watching him watch "Mythbusters"

#139 visiting with someone new at the K4 end-of-the-year class picnic

#140 the family of bunnies that lives in our backyard

#141 oatmeal butterscotch cookies

#142 that moment when your picky eater tries something new and finds out that it tastes pretty good and all the tears to avoid eating it just weren't worth it

#143 reasons to write thank you cards... even when it seems like I'll never get caught up with all of them

#144 finding box and window fans in with our stored stuff

#145 a clean family room - and the fact that it got that way due to the efforts of a 3 year old and a 5 year old!

#146 the smell of freshly cut grass

#147 the world's best pediatrician

#148 sleep - especially when I've not been getting enough

#149 tater tots for dinner

#150 a beautiful day for one of our big girls to visit Mackinac Island, for the first time... and the wonderful friends who surprised and delighted her when they invited her to go

#151 Listening to the bull frogs sing all night in New York's Finger Lakes region

#152 Visiting with a family who has similar parenting priorities... and seeing how God has blessed the results

#152 The rare occasions when the little peanut sleeps soundly all night her first night in a new place

holy experience

29 May 2010

28 May 2010

Traveling...

much these next 10 days or so. We'll be in New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, back to New York, back to Pennsylvania... and then finally on our way home. We appreciate your prayers, and please forgive me if I don't have the opportunity to post quite so much.

And... one more thing... SCHOOL'S OUT!!! YIPPEE!!!!

27 May 2010

2nd Grade Girls are Great!

One of the other moms from Victoria's class snapped these photos the other day... Victoria has had such a great year with this little group of gals and an amazing second grade teacher... She will certainly miss them when we return to Niger in July...

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Photos by Barb Dodge

25 May 2010

Happy Birthday, Rebekah Joy!

She's a beautiful THIRTEEN

years old...

...today!

K-4 Character Award ~ Diligence

"hardworking, doing one's work in a careful, steady way"

"Seest thou a man diligent in his work? He shall stand before kings..."
Proverbs 22:29

...and diligence is very important when handling explosive devices like canons ...or trying to change lightbulbs. Yes, there's a story behind that comment: tonight Jonathan noticed that one of the end table light bulbs had burned out; he took the initiative to go, find a light bulb and then try to replace the non-working one. Unfortunately, he'd grabbed the wrong type of bulb; we saw a flash, heard a pop and the Jon-man was quite startled. Thankfully, he wasn't hurt!

All laughing, sighs of relief and prayers of thankfulness aside ~ we are delighted to see God growing this trait in the character of our sweet and joyful little guy. Not only will it serve him well in each endeavor, but we pray Jonathan will use this conscientiousness and attention to detail to better learn to know, love and glorify God and to serve Him as Lord, forever.

24 May 2010

Multitude Monday ~ 1000 Gifts

#92 hand-me-downs

#93 new-to-her "stuff"

#94 old wrapping paper rolls as imaginary swords, telescopes and shepherd staffs

#95 a yellow and gold striped Pooh and Tigger shirt that all but one has worn - and it will be her turn soon

#96 teachers who visit and stay for dinner

#97 Anne of Green Gables, again and again and again...

#98 anticipating our trip to visit so many dear friends, beginning at the end of this week

#99 the last week of school and then they'll all be home for the summer

#100 watching God unfold His good and amazing plan, even when it wasn't what I thought I'd wanted

#101 trying new foods

#102 trying new recipes

#103 learning how to make my own, good for you, pink lemonade

#104 a friend's laugh - first we were blogging friends, but this furlough year, I've gotten to know her a bit, "in real life," and I appreciate her even more

#105 working in the 1 year old nursery these past months

#106 watching her, a bit unsure and unwilling at first, work in that nursery with me

#107 finding someone who speaks French at one of our supporting churches

#108 anticipating field trips

#109 imagining the look on her face when she finds out she gets to go to Mackinac Island, too

#110 decisions made

#111 two little girls in matching yellow checked dresses with a bright pink flower for accent

#112 new computers... especially when it is a green one

#113 teens and tweens and their late night conversations

#114 homemade granola

#115 baby gibberish sentences that are beginning to make sense

#116 watching God orchestrate details

#117 catching frogs, chasing goats, holding ducks and cuddling bunnies

#118 tubs of clothes to sort through

#119 suitcases... we are beginning to organize for packing

#120 tilapia for dinner, with steamed broccoli and "cheese melted" (as Jonathan likes to say)

#121 turning on the AC so Gammie and Gampy will be comfortable in the house

#123 big and little girls uncontrollably giggling at those creepy "monkey" shoes

#124 the opportunity to share what God has done

#125 watching a video about the book "Already Gone," and hearing Ken Ham say that the ark was so big, not because there were so many animals needing the space, but because our gracious God wanted that space available... for so many more who could have listened, heard and accepted the message of upcoming judgment.

holy experience

22 May 2010

Food for Thought - Stewardship

"There is a lad here,
which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes:
but what are they among so many?
And Jesus said, Make the men sit down.
Now there was much grass in the place.
So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks,
he distributed to the disciples,
and the disciples to them that were set down;
and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
When they were filled, he said unto his disciples,
Gather up the fragments that remain,
that nothing be lost.
Therefore they gathered [them] together,
and filled twelve baskets
with the fragments of the five barley loaves,
which remained over and above unto them that had eaten."
~ John 6:9-13, KJV

I'd love it if you'd meander on over to Kitchen Stewardship and read the article "On Conscious Thought..."

...and share your thoughts. I've often heard the claim that all those little decisions we make throughout our days are neither here or there (what socks you choose to wear, shampoo or baking soda solution to wash our hair, mac and cheese versus potato soup for dinner, etc...) ...well, ...they just don't really impact our world, near or far. Neither do they matter much in the eternal scope of things. This author would not agree with that philosophy. I'd already been meditating on that very thought for several months when I came across her blog post. While I think there are obviously certain decisions that have more eternal weight and significance (salvation, marriage, etc.), I think the Lord has been teaching me that I can't begin to understand the impact or consequences of what seem to be simple and unimportant decisions. That truth impacts enormously daily life as a wife, mama and friend.

What about you? What do you think?

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Painting by Teju Komolafe

20 May 2010

Swimsuit Giveaway

I don't know about your family, but finding cute, modest and wearable swimsuits for all the girls in this house can be a challenge, and this is one of those challenges that is only going to grow right along with them as they get older. My oldest has recently had to move up from the children's department to junior's or women's, depending upon the store, and we spent several hours trying on suits some weeks back so that we could head to the Great Wolf Lodge as a family over Spring Break. When I think of trying to do that times 6...? Oh well, needless to say, it is one of those overwhelming thoughts and I'm glad that THAT reality is still more than a few days down the road!

I stumbled across this giveaway, and decided to take advantage of it. In general, I buy my suits from Lands End and can sometimes find ones that I like at Walmart (but they don't last as long); I'd never heard of Hapari, but looking through their selection, it did appear that there were some very nice possibilities available. Go ahead and take a look, and let me know what suits/combos you'd pick for you or your girls (if you have 'em).

And if you'd like to participate in this giveaway, head on over to "Two of a Kind" to enter.

Prayer Request

Would you please stop and take a moment to pray for a young adult in our church who is very sick right now... on life support and they aren't sure what is making him sick. Please include his family- parents, siblings and others, in those prayers.

Thank you.

17 May 2010

Multitude Monday ~ 1000 Gifts

#58 notes to "I Sing the Mighty Power of God" played accurately at her piano recital... and it was just lov-e-ly!

#59 no accidents, no diapers - ALL DAY LONG... 2nd day in a row!

#60 big bunches of red, seedless grapes

#61 dinner at Grandma's house

#62 being available to babysit two sweet little girls

#63 listening to the thunder and the rain

#64 spur of the moment decision to go watch a softball game - and remembering to bring blankets to shield from the cold west wind

#65 a playground for little ones; big ones who mostly cheerfully supervised little ones on said playground.

#66 banana bread - made with oatmeal

#67 being asked to join in for a field trip; not being able to but seeing the delight when Grandma was asked, said she could go and realizing that that was actually the better plan.

#68 newly "composed" song by a second grader

#69 when God answers my prayers that my kids get caught in their disobedience... even when it is a little embarrassing for the parents.

#70 grocery shopping dreams to laugh about once I'm awake

#71 library books that can be renewed on-line

#72 that other countries are taking the missionary challenge seriously, and reaching the world for Christ when our own country seems wrapped in materialism.

#73 Hearing this statement (somewhere): "The church is God's Plan A. There is no Plan B," and "thankfullerest" that God is providing for our return to W. Africa.

#74 eskimo kisses given and received...

#75 ice cream sandwiches

#76 hot coffee on a cold, rainy afternoon

#77 little voices cheering for their daddy in the morning - 'cause he bought donuts for a breakfast surprise on the 10th last day of school this year

#78 visiting niece and her boyfriend who find Mario Kart almost as entertaining as the little man

#79 grandparents who like to share oreo cookie ice cream with their littlest grandkids.

#80 church youth groups

#81 footballs and frisbees flying

#82 tween-almost-teen looking forward to her first professional manicure

#83 Holy Spirit prompted, surprising ideas to economize

#84 OCM and how it is working

#85 son and daughters who aren't afraid to speak their mind and the opportunity to teach them how to do so... gently, teachably and respectfully

#86 laundry and the time it offers to "think on these things"

#87 potential expectations and the hopeful, while not yet completely sure, anticipation and dreams they encourage

#88 college program that sees itself as a ministry

#89 little girls who like to sit on their mattress in the corner of the bedroom and play with the blankets

#90 all night snuggles with a sweet, sick baby (not that she was sick, but that God brought the occasion to have a long and uninterrupted snuggle that I would not have taken otherwise)

#91 children's wonder at the diversity of God's creation: present marveling includes lightening bugs and arapaima

(original arapaima photo at: Animal Planet, River Monsters page)

holy experience

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