31 December 2013

~ Best of 2013 ~ The top 15 posts from Our Wrighting Pad these last 12 months... as we wish you a GRACE-FILLED 2014!

A recap of 2013's most popular posts (measured by both number of comments, number of views as well as Facebook response...

Comment... let us know which post/series was YOUR favorite!


Tied for #15:

At the beginning of this school year, my two oldest were given a writing assignment - to describe a space or a place that made them feel "at home." As a parent of TCKs - kids who often, according to the literature, have a hard time defining a place to call home - I was very interested to see what they'd write. I loved this glimpse into their hearts and minds and beings. Their daddy did, too... reading these essays just about brought him to tears, literally.

So, to use a much cliché-ed quote... without further ado here are Brendan's and Rebekah's essays (and a few recent, favorite, pictures)... 


Ever wonder why when they do those introductory - meet and find out about new people - you end up doing things that make some people feel like complete idiots and totally foolish while others just love it and shine once the silliness starts?

I do. Those things, while I can appreciate their purpose and see their validity and effectiveness... drive me crazy.

Don't know if Brendan was thinking the same thing as he played "Dead Bug Tag..."


(Photos of Nadia, Anna and Tori)


Dress codes are one of those things I get and don't get... all at the same time. 

Parents, not schools or other organizations, are the ones responsible for determining a dress code for their own children. As a parent, I also believe that in general, we can't leave teenagers to independently establish a dress standard that the adults in their lives will deem acceptable. It is not, however, the role of the school to come up with a standard of dress that they think every person needs to follow. I do understand that there needs to be some sort of standard or guidelines...


She misses her bro...

Butterscotch and Beethoven...

Climbing her favorite tree...

Even when it meant our not-so-little-anymore-buck-goat-would keep her treed there...


We took our littles to the county fair today/tonight. It wasn't their first visit, but only Victoria vaguely remembers going before - and what she mostly remembers is the animals... and watching the big cat show... from the last time! It's been four years, after all!

After a couple of hours there this morning/afternoon and a yummy-but-way-too-expensive-and-bad-for-your-health lunch with the whole family, we had to bring our biggers home for their sports practices and we decided that we'd return later in the evening, after the midway (i.e. the rides) opened, with just the littles. I figured they'd want to go through the fun houses, play a few games, ride the carousel and the ferris wheel and maybe the kiddie roller coaster. After all, they'd never been to an "amusement park" before in their entire lives.



Is it weird to say that I felt safer with my family...
  • living in W Africa with all the possibilities for disease, injury or illness
  • knowing (as we watched military planes fly up river and then return) that there was a full-fledged war going on just a couple hundred miles up river
  • recognizing that terrorist activity was all around us... and probably infiltrating our "neighborhood" as well
  • driving in developing country traffic every single day...

...than I do living in the developed west?

(A post written for another blog site where I regularly contribute)


There's a definite rhythm to missionary life - goodbye... hello... goodbye... hello...

But then again, in this day and age, this world that we live in, isn't that pretty much the rhythm of all life - from first hellos to final goodbyes?

That doesn't make it any easier, for anyone, in any place, at any time, in any position or "calling."

I strive to do well those hellos...


Some mamas dread this day.

I'm not sure what I'm feeling because it won't be the day
for which I'd been preparing myself.

I had expected our goodbye to take place in a small W. African capital city before he hopped on a plane with his daddy for a vacation in Ireland and then a return to Michigan...



To be... long

Existing for a significant time 
covering a substantial distance

To long... to be

          Wishing, craving, yearning,
aspiring, desiring to be 
present, current, real

To belong

fitting, feeling right, measuring appropriately...
classifying or assigning rightly to a specific place or time...
including, blending, complementing, conforming...


...So many qualify brave as about self... a choosing to set aside my own fear to do something remarkable and courageous, often wonderful and serving; it's a deliberate disregard of all the best reasons why not to stand on the single reason to say... or shout... or even faintly whisper... "Yes..."

Tempting, to let brave become all about me instead of all about others. After all, who doesn't desire to be seen "beautiful and brave?" Does that desire sully the splendor? Cower the courage?

Perhaps. For all in this imperfect world is dulled by the tarnish of sin....


Sometimes dinner at our house is pretty normal. Other times it is anything but.

Sometimes it is hard to actually eat the food due to the conversation. Other times, conversation is child-led strategy to somehow escape eating a less than favorite meal.

For the next 31 days, I'm planning to post about dinner time at our house as part of an annual writing challenge hosted by the nester.

Hopefully, you'll get a humorous... very real... glimpse into life, {um - dinner}, chez les Wrightlings... all 8 {um I guess it is more accurate to say 7 of them since the biggest one will be mostly off at school} - of 'em!

Last night, we ate squirrel soup...


The harmattan haze is here...

It is uncomfortably gusty this year.

Usually, this is my favorite time of the year in Niger, even with the nonstop dusting and removal-of-desert-from-dwelling-place... but this year?

Our relatively calm, overgrown and sprawling village-turned-capital-city has changed dramatically due to political and military events in the land next door. Police checks, bombers and attack helicopters roaring by overhead, car searches where they make sure it really is veggies and not explosives, military escort required to leave the city limits and armed soldiers at the gates of the kids' schools... every single day. The convoy of tanks headed into the thick of things literally passed by within a stone's throw...

Is my family is actual danger? 


(Another post on another site I write for each month...)

I can’t remember the first time we received one of those questionnaires in the mail…

Since that time, many more have arrived – although now it is not  uncommon for a link to show up in our inbox, requesting us to respond to a list of questions at an online site which then tabulates our input  and communicates our replies to whatever agency posted the questions. You would think I would have grown accustomed to this. I haven’t. Instead, I find it harder and harder to keep a good attitude, simply answer the questions and send them back. At the same time, I do understand the motivation behind and the significance of those questionnaires; in theory, I support their validity and see their worth… which makes it hard to argue that they shouldn’t be sent.

So I won’t.

On the other hand those questionnaires never fail to, at very best, discourage me. At worst, I get downright angry – as in sinfully angry...


A series on the kids in preparation for our return to the States last summer... 

Since our home assignment is imminent, friends and family are asking us how to best pray for our children as we prepare to bring them back to our home and plop them in the middle of Mid-Michigan; we do what we can to help them adjust, but basically, we try to trust God as He leads and hope for the best.

Doesn't sound too proactive to write it out that way, does it?

We're open for better ideas, if you have any?

Anyways, I thought I'd dedicate a post to each one of our school children - and maybe it would give you some ideas as to how to pray for these wonderful munchkins as well as the-not-so-much-anymore-munchkins that we commonly refer to as Wrightlings (It really is the perfect term for them, coined by our buddy Ryan! Thanks, Ryan!)

27 December 2013

Christmas 2013

Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.

~Luke 1.12 ~
Zacharias had two responses when he recognized he was in the presence of a heavenly being - he was both troubled and afraid. According to Strong’s, troubled is the Greek word tarássō. Properly, tarássō means put into motion, agitated back-and-forth, and/or shaken to-and-fro;  figuratively it connotes a setting into motion that which needs to remain still or at ease. It can also refer to motion causing inner perplexity or emotional agitation from getting too stirred up inside. Phóbos is the Greek word meaning withdrawal, fleeing because of a feeling of inadequacy or being without sufficient resources. According to commentators, it is a word  commonly used in Scripture – sometimes positively, as in man’s response to God’s presence, but more often with a negative significance, i.e. withdrawing from the Lord and His will.
Later when the angel appeared to Mary, her response was troubled – but there was no mention of fear. That observation has led to several thoughts about the difference between Zacharias’ and Mary’s reactions to God’s unmistakable presence in their lives...

To read the rest of our Christmas prayer letter, 

20 December 2013


When you live on the backside of the desert… in a land that has not traditionally recognized your favorite holidays and special life moments the way you always have…

...it’s easy to feel at a loss as to how to make those moments special.

Which sometimes encourages me to not look forward to those times.

Let me admit right off the bat, guiltily, that I often have dreaded days that should have been, instead, special highlights for me and for those I love. I traditionally think about that a lot during these months. For in a span of 14 weeks, our family celebrates seven birthdays, three big holidays and one anniversary. That doesn’t include any of the smaller local holidays - you know, those ones scheduled according to the lunar calendar?

It is easy to wonder what else to do when you are hot and tired, when you are already all idea-ed out, when there is comparatively very little locally available and when nine-tenths of the even remotely appealing ideas (via Pinterest) require so much work, first to figure out and then to find appropriate substitutes for all that is not available -  but would have been so easy to get… if I could've only gotten myself to a Walmart...

To read the rest, because there's definitely more... 
where I'm posting today.

And please forgive my rather lengthy silence the past few weeks.
We've got lots to tell and share, but it will most likely have to wait until
after we are done traveling for the holidays.

Hopefully, we'll get the camera up and running so I can at least keep you up to date with pictures.

But enough of that... Hope to see you hop on into the conversation - after you read the rest of this post!

06 December 2013

Five Minute Friday ~ Reflect

Reflect is an interesting word.

Studying its etymology - it appears first to have been used in a purely scientific sense:

to cast back (light, heat, sound, etc.) from a surface,
to give back or show an image of, 

to turn or bend back, to divert, to turn aside, deflect, to shine back light rays or images...

Other uses of the word came as the word's use grew and changed ~

  • (of an act or its result) to serve to cast or bring (credit, discredit, etc.) on its performer.
  • to reproduce; show: followers reflecting the views of the leader.
  • to think, ponder, or meditate: to reflect on one's virtues and faults.
I've been reflecting... thinking... pondering... meditating on the following words during the past few days of this Advent season:

Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but He will heal us;
He has injured us
but He will bind up our wounds.
After two days He will revive us;
on the third day He will restore us,
that we may live in His presence.

Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge Him.
As surely as the sun rises,
He will appear;
He will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.
What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your love is like the morning mist,
like the early dew that disappears.
Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets,
I killed you with the words of my mouth—
then my judgments go forth like the sun.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Funny how you can read something... and read it again not even that much later... and notice totally different things. And that is what has happened to me as I've read and reflected... letting God's Word shine and deflect back His light on my thoughts about this passage from Hosea during this time of advent anticipation...

I wondered if the disciples thought back to those words in the first section... after the Crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ... I wondered how sometimes the hard things God brings into our lives aren't so much physical but mental and emotional. Also... how His restoration is for no other reason than that we can live in His presence.

Then there was this: "Let us acknowledge... let us press on to acknowledge..." Sometimes I want to think that those hard struggles should be defeated once and for all... ultimate and final victories. I don't like continually having to struggle and battle. As the Light turns aside my preferences, I see how we acknowledge once and for all... but then have to make that choice continually. Pressing on equals pursuing, chasing...motivated by consuming power equivalent to the force behind one intent on persecuting. It is also the same word scribed by David in Psalm 23, referring to God's lovingkindness and mercy "following" David. It's a persistent, continual stubbornness in my choice to always acknowledging the Lord and His work, His presence, His authority over me and my life - not just with my words but in the very way I live. 

Yikes... lots of conviction as I reflect and ponder on those ideas.

Join up with Lisa Jo for 5MF this week - and then we'll be taking a break for the Christmas season. See you back in 2014!

05 December 2013

We now have FOUR teenagers in this family... officially... as of TODAY!

And I noticed she's a little harder to find photos of... but then she's often the one behind the camera anyways!


Happy THIRTEENTH Birthday, Anna!


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