16 September 2011

Mullings and Musings...

"We want the bestest, the fastest, the  strongest, the mightiest, the largest, the mostest, the most horse powerest, the most blazing CPU processer-est, and the list goes on and on…Even as I’m typing this on my lethargically slow netbook, I want…I need…I lust…for the new MacBook Air.

But I digress.

Upward mobility never stops because we go through this cycle constantly.


The incarnation is the story of Jesus who gave up the glory of heaven to descend upon this world; he gave up total divinity to be consumed by flesh and bone and to simultaneously assume full humanity.  Born in a manger to commoners, he assumed a simple lifestyle as a carpenter and throughout his life, he owned nothing except the stuff he traveled with.

It’s the story of downward mobility."

  •  "Embodied Theology" (This article goes along so well with one of the devotional/Bible study books I'm presently reading, "Heaven," by Randy Alcorn.)
"I have to affirm creation in its wholeness — undivided body and soul included. My theology is embodied because spirituality encompasses all creation, not just the parts I happen to prefer."

"Khadija never attended college or high school, and only learnt to read in primary school. Like most of the girls in her village, she was married at a young age and spent most of her time at home. Now 42, she does not have children, which she says left her feeling stigmatized in this traditional rural society.

But she wanted to do something more for herself and for the women of the village. In 2008 she set up an NGO, Aleswa-al-hasana (“the good example”)."

  • "A Beautiful Conversion Story" (We saw this video the day after we received word that EBM was closing. It was so encouraging and then the words of the one who shared it, another missionary, were so convicting.)
"This reminds me that no one is too old, famous, or sinful to share the Gospel. I need to open my eyes... and my mouth." (...added by me, for effect!)

“'God doesn’t ask me to be perfect; He asks me to praise.'

I don’t have to have smudgeless windows and empty laundry baskets and gleamy toilet bowls! I don’t have to have a perfect life, all problems solved! I think I hear the Hallelujah chorus!

I simply need have a grateful heart to give Him glory.

Gratitude in all things is the only thing God asks.

Can I take each seeming problem and turn it back to praise?"

11 September 2011

The Deed is Done!



~and except for an electrocuting fridge, everything is going well~

Additional prayer requests:
  1. We need to get the fridge issues figured out sooner rather than later.
  2. We need to get internet access here at the new house - the ditch is mostly dug for the cable and will be finished shortly. However, getting the phone company out here to figure out why we have no dial tone could be another story. Please forgive our temporary absence from the cyber-universe and blogging world for the next few days.
  3. Unpacking... unpacking... unpacking... and patience as we finishe up final details - curtain rods, burgler bars, funiture restoration (some of which has been stored for 2 years... etc.,)
  4. We're hauling filtered water from the studio - not a huge deal, but it will be nice to fill our drinking jugs at the house.
  5. Chris and Diane are now in the midst of a huge push to finish their house in 3.5 weeks. Please pray for safety, hard workers efficiently accomplishing their jobs, and minimal snafus, irritations and "redo-s."

(The house already looks so different - The stucco is mostly finished, the yard is filled...!)


09 September 2011

Mullings and Musings...

  • "Worship Acceptable to God" (It has taken me forever to work through this... I share the link because I believe that anyone who takes the time to work through all of the Scripture referenced in this pose will be blessed and challenged... greatly...)
"It seems that we are all born with a deep desire to worship God.  We are born with a desire, not only to fellowship with Him, but also to humble ourselves before something or someone greater than ourselves, to worship, honor and utterly pour out our lives in service to God.  All over the world, peoples have willingly turned away from the one, true Creator God.  Yet still this desire to worship urges them to worship something, even if it is only a created thing, a heavenly body, an idol made of stone or metal, an idea, or a force.  We all worship.  Sadly, whenever our worship is misplaced, our desire for God remains and eats away within us."

  • "I want my Money!" (Hyperboly-ish... but true... bluntly, convictingly, unescapingly true.)
"...Perhaps it would actually help us to clench our wallets and scream “God, I want my money!” during the offeratory—it might help us understand the true folly of the way we make silly excuses to soothe our consciences for doing less than we could or ought."


"A hilarious letter from a little girl who "ran away" from home is cracking up parents today -- first because of the author's adorable attempt at spelling, and second because of her reasoning. Says the girl "I am runing away becas you think I farted when I dident. PS You are Mean." Go ahead, laugh. I did.

And then stop and think about the way you laugh at your kids. Especially when they're being super serious..."

08 September 2011

Scheduled moving day is...


...lots of progress has been made.
Still lots to do between then and now.
Pray, please!

Tim busy at work
Rebekah passing out the blondies she made to share with the guys working on the house.

Nadia and a friend who joined us in checking out the house.
Everyone enjoyed the brownies!
Great room, looking out the front door

three cheeky monkeys

Jon-man and one of his buddies - they came to help assemble/install fans.

looking out the front door, towards the studio

Tim's office in the new office building

I don't know why she looks like such a little street urchin...???

the boys' bathroom
the girls' bathroom
behind the house - they've started the exterior stucco finish

the loft - Tim is holding the ladder how it will be when finished.

the front door

terrace finish

the first walk-in closet I've every had (Tim says that ceiling access is where we'll hide the "sensitive" stuff!)

master bathroom (at least the shower part)

master bedroom

office/guest room

kitchen cabinets... I LOVE them!

countertop tiles and backsplash tiles

Tim hallucinating about washing dishes at the newly installed kitchen sink (and it will have hot water!)

Aren't they beautiful?

Once the tile work is done, we'll bring in the stove/oven and fridge - appropriate spaces are open, there on the right.

the boys' room

the front of the house... now we can drive up onto the carport, too!

07 September 2011

Not Really Wordless Wednesday - Raspberry Danishes ~ Simply Delightful!

Thanks to my sweet friend, we've enjoyed raspberry danishes minus a chunk of work thrice this summer... she sent me a bag of raspberry filling - all I have to do is squeeze it out of the bag. We finished it up making raspberry-filled donuts last Saturday. These danishes are a favorite - one of the kids (usually Nadia) mixes up the recipe the night before and then I get up early to bake it. The first time, they were drizzled with a cream cheese icing. Don't they look yummy?!!!

The second time, I drizzled them with a chocolate glaze and oh my... Just in case you don't believe me, I really mean that... OH.MY!!!
...needless to say, I didn't get any pictures.

I was too busy making sure my scavengers didn't scavenge 'em all before I even got a taste!

Thanks, Jenny, for loving on our family this way! We do appreciate it!

06 September 2011

Little cuties...

School has started... though not how we'd been imagining...

We thought both of these two pipsqueaks would continue at Ecole Alliance, continuing the three days a week summer program they began in August.

God changed our minds suddenly and abruptly with the closing of our mission... and not having an immediate way to transfer funds and support from the States out here to Niamey... Prayerfully, and a bit sadly, we chose instead to place all of our "old-enough" children at Sahel Academy.

That leaves Mary Michelle as the only one at home in the mornings - and some afternoons. We knew that would be hard for her and was why we originally thought she'd go to the "pre-maternelle" program once Elsie Mae started kindergarten.

Mornings aren't quite so joyful for our "Don't be mad at me! I'm just the baby!" exclaiming one. Please pray that she adusts to being the only one home alone with Mama in the mornings...

Of course, she's convinced she's staying home, just to take care of Mama.

And, after yesterday evening, let me add...

Please keep Elsie Mae in your prayers.

Yesterday afternoon, she fell from a playground platform. According to her account of what happened, she was going to slide down the fireman's pole, she tripped, her hands missed the pole and she fell through the hole, 2 or so meters and landed on her left hip and backside. She seems to only be bruised and sore - it really hurts her hip, thigh and back to bend at the waist - as of last night. Maybe she'll wake up this morning with no complaints. She also has a nice scrape and tender spot over the lower ribs on her left side. Xrays didn't show anything definitive (whatever that means :-), so we are supposed to keep her relatively quiet for a week and see the doctor again next Monday.

Thankful the Holy Spirit prompted me to leave staff meeting early to get home... thankful her older siblings handled the emergency properly... thankful for the medical professionals who checked her out yesterday, spoiled her rotten and gave her lots of attention, which she loved and which cheered her spirits immensely... thankful it wasn't worse because it very easily could have been....

Never, ever a dull moment around here!

05 September 2011

Multitude Monday - 1000 Gifts ~ Uncomfortable, Somewhat Unseemly Grace

Sometimes those Old Testament stories just... just... well? They just about leave me wordless. The death of Jeroboam's boy was one of those accounts...


I dated a guy once who's name began with "J." After he dumped me, at least for awhile in my mind and when talking to my mom, I called him "J- the JERK!" Jeroboam, however, wins that title hands down.

He had so much opportunity - God had exalted Jeroboam, offered him so much, and Jeroboam (because of pride, arrogance, lust for power?) violated the trust God had given him. God’s description of Jeroboam was “You have not been like my servant David… you have done more evil than all who were before you.” Sobering. Instead of serving others, he sought to serve himself, grasping for power; in that grasping, with calculated intent, he deliberately planned a form of idol worship to turn the hearts of the people he ruled far from God. The Bible says he cast God behind his back. He terribly, totally, offended the Almighty – and not as in a “mean you... you’ve hurt my feelings” type of offense. He consciously, volitionally chose to commit grave errors that violated the direct word of God. But isn’t that what all sin is? “He hath told thee, o man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee. But to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” We know what the Lord requires of us and yet we choose to go our own way.

Sadly, consequences for our sins impact those around us, those we love… and we see this in the story...  His wife’s name is never given, but his son’s name is: Abijah. The name Abijah means “the Lord is my Father.” Abijah falls sick, gravely so, and Jeroboam attempts to deceive God by sending his wife in disguise to the prophet to find out what will happen to the boy. God first reveals this attempted deception to the prophet and then the prophet speaks what, to this mama’s heart, must have been terribly hard words to hear. God was about to visit Jeroboam with the consequences for his sinful choices and actions. The message the prophet gives to Jeroboam’s wife is a harsh one – and a severe consequence for her, also. Every male in Jeroboam's family would die - including her child. Their dead bodies would be defiled. Then, she is commanded to return to her husband, knowing that the moment her feet entered the city, her son will die.

I think my response would have simply been: "Fine, then. I'm just not going back, ever. I'd rather never see my boy again than have my action somehow bring about his death." She didn't respond as I probably would have. In the midst of that mind-boggling, heart-breaking prophesy and the envelopping pain it must have caused, God gives her some amazing words to which to cling... the opportunity to see His grace even in the midst of punishment. Her boy WAS the one good thing the Lord found in the house of Jeroboam... and his death would be mourned greatly by all Israel.

Jeroboam was a coward – he sent his wife to do what he should have done; I don't believe he had the courage to face the prophet directly... or he somehow believed the prophesy was like magic and if he fooled the prophet, he could be fooled or bought into giving a good prophecy. I wonder about Abijah's mother. Was she innocent of Jeroboam’s sins, simply a submissive wife to a ruthless, powerful man… was she an encourager and willing participant? We have no clue, but I want to lean towards the first because God preserves her life and gives her hope: her child IS precious to God, the only good found in the house of Jeroboam. I wonder what she thinks and feels, knowing that her return will result in her child’s death? She won’t even have the opportunity to hold him one more time. At the same time, is her heart filled with thankfulness that her child will be spared the horror about to fall on the rest of her husband’s house, the knowledge that God knows all about and loves her precious one, and that He is taking her boy home to a much safer and better place? I wonder about the testimony of this boy. What was it about him that God described him as good?  

In all of my mental wanderings and wonderings, I know I am both astounded and thankful that amidst the deepest darkness and the most awful sin, God will see the good that is present... any heart inclined towards Him. What a reassuring truth.

What, in your life today, seems to be a similar strange combination of blessing and curse? Can you consciously choose to give thanks to God when you see the goodness of His hand but your heart still hurts so very badly?

this week's gratitude list
(#s 1523 - 1552)

challenging thoughts from 1 Kings 14:1-13

that God sees and knows my heart, as scary as that might be

God's goodness wraps itself around any pain He ordains

decisions made

direction given

french fries and brochettes

bright blue envelopes full of encouragement and love

cheese on sale, lots of cheese...

feeling like they are transitioning

the end of Ramadan

good prices bargained for fresh fruit

frozen chicken

Koolaide as a treat

learning from the example of students around me

their joy resulting from a movie night

looking forward to seeing a friend I've not seen for several months

growlie tummies in the morning

how she runs to me and snuggles, even when she is furious at me or even feeling hurt by me

baguettes and peanut butter and honey for breakfast

kids excited about homework

recharging my kindle and a new book

walking laps at night... talking and listening...

bandaids for blisters

cool breezes - always easy to be thankful for those here in Niger

lesson planning ~ and getting a few steps ahead of the game

praying for my children

friends who pray for my children

the reminder that often what seems to big and imminent to me is really nothing in the light of my Savior's nearness and an eternity with him

Internet that blinks back in just as I'm finishing this post

04 September 2011

Thought provoking quote...

"I was in Baghdad in March 2003, where I lived as a Christian and as a peacemaker during the “shock-and-awe” bombing.  I spent time with families, volunteered in hospitals, and learned to sing “Amazing Grace”… in Arabic.

There is one image of the time in Baghdad that will never leave me. As the bombs fell from the sky and smoke filled the air, one of the doctors in the hospital held a little girl whose body was riddled with missile fragments. He threw his hands in the air and said, 'This violence is for a world that has lost its imagination...'" 

I found this quote very convicting... violence - physical... verbal... mental... - most often indicates either an inability or an unwillingness to consider the possibilities... a refusal to imagine a different alternative...

Lord, the next time I feel the anger rising... the desire to say or think something ugly and mean...  the longing to slam a door or roughly throw the folded towels in the closet... wish to fix "someone" with an angry, withering glare... provoke the imagination and plant the seed of what You would rather see me do, and then don't let me rest until I obey.

03 September 2011

30 Days, 30 $s

Why do I have this picture of some family I don't know on our family blog?

Nathan Adair's evening meal consists of two scoops of rice, tomatoes, half a potato and some green peas ”at a cost of about 21 cents”while his 3-year-old daughter, Emerson (left); wife, Lindsay, and even 7-month-old Payton enjoy more typical fare. Adair is spending 30 days living on $1 a day -- ”the lifestyle of one-third of the population in India. (PHOTO/Courtesy of Nathan Adair)

I've posted this picture because I'm intrigued.

Nathan Adair, in order to better identify with people who don't take their daily bread for granted... Statistics tell us that globally, there are more than a billion people who live on the amount of food that they can purchase for less than one dollar a day. I don't think I've every only existed on $1/day. It is a very different sort of fast... and if you are interested in reading more about it, read this article or check out his blog.

Would you ever consider doing something like this? Why or why not?


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