30 April 2013

In which Frog and Toad discuss dragons and giants and where my thoughts went from there ~

I don't think it will ever cease to amaze me how God can speak, not just through His Word, but out of the mouths of babes and through words written to entertain those very same babes...

Elsie Mae and I have been working through a treasury of Frog and Toad stories. We read this one just last week.
"The people in this book are brave," said Toad. "They fight dragons and giants, and they are never afraid."
"I wonder if we are brave," said Frog.
Frog and Toad looked into a mirror.


That's one of those age-old questions, isn't it?

Am I brave?

I'd like to think so, 
but...

I don't necessarily believe it to be true. Too much fear inhabits my actions that might appear brave to others, ultimately inhibiting me and inflicting such a great personal cost - sometimes emotionally, sometimes in other ways. 



Bravery in action isn't so hard to spot - intercepting the punch for a friend, risking others opinions and fighting for the underdog, defending your family or country, taking a stand that demands personal and painful cost are a few examples... 

But just what is it that makes men label another man brave? 

Is it that they have no fear in scary situations? 

Or is it that they are afraid, yet keep moving forward into that scary situation? 

Are they brave because they succeed and accomplish something terribly dangerous and risky? Or are they brave because they know something is terribly dangerous and risky and the probability that they will fail is unreasonably high yet they still go ahead and try and fail - and get up to head right back into the fight, with really no personal gain except the satisfaction of obeying God and doing what is right against all odds?


This brief video, put together by part of the team who works with Exodus Road, follows investigators into a brothel in SE Asia. The video was shot using the same technology Exodus Road helps provide for its local partners as they work first to investigate, collaborate and then to rescue young women from such slavery behind locked doors.

These men live heroic.

Those who work for and with them, directly and indirectly supporting and encouraging them, also live brave.

And in my opinion, many of those trapped women live valiant, lifting their heads and continuing for one more day, hoping and trusting that someone, somewhere, keeps working for their rescue.

Today, what can you do?  
What will you do to encourage and support this team?

You may not ever be asked to darken the doors of a brothel, but could you find a way to support and become a part of these efforts or of new initiatives like this, with the goal of preventing women and girls once rescued from tumbling back into this darkness?



You may not always feel brave, but you can choose to do something brave and to support those brave ones...

29 April 2013

Encountering Jesus - When Jesus asks me, what is my response?

Do you, like me, stand stupefied by that liberty and the fact that God still asks and respects the decisions, right or wrong... obedient or sinful... good and bad... 
that we make?

Even a week later, as I've continued to study and meditate on this passage of Scripture, the sentiment expressed above still almost overwhelms. Jesus went to this man, a man who was clearly not whole, a man who clearly wanted to be made whole and was willing to go to desperate... even ridiculous from our perspective today... lengths in seeking that healing...

Jesus asked the man if he wanted wholeness. Do you ever wonder what Jesus would have done if the man had said that he did not? If the man had said he was quite content with his life as is and really rather preferred not to have anyone interfere? It could be a rhetorical question... but I don't think so. One thing I do know - John writes near the end of his account that the he had created this record of the things Jesus did and the signs He performed for a very specific reason: "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

I've been spending time this past week, thinking about that question, wondering about Jesus' motivation for asking it, meditating on what it might have meant, imagining what I might have done had He stood before me and made the same inquiry...

...and realizing that He does, day after day after day...

He stands before me, asking me if I want to be made whole.

After these things there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a multitude of them that were sick, blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the waters stepped in was made whole, with whatsoever disease he was holden. 
And a certain man was there, who had been thirty and eight years in his infirmity. When Jesus saw him lying, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case , he saith unto him, "Wouldest thou be made whole?" 
The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me." 
Jesus saith unto him, "Arise, take up thy bed, and walk."
And straightway the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked. 
Now it was the Sabbath on that day. So the Jews said unto him that was cured, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed."
But he answered them, "He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk." 
They asked him, "Who is the man that said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?" 
But he that was healed knew not who it was; for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in the place. 
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing befall thee." 
The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him whole. (John 5.1-15, ASV)

Commentators give various reasons as to why Jesus chose this time, this man, this question to ask. Here is a smattering of the ideas I've seen as I've read through them:
  • Jesus knew the man's need and his desires, supernaturally;
  • Jesus asked the question to renew hope and an expectation of something different that what the man had known for so long;
  • Jesus hoped to attract the attention of others with His question; and
  • "Jesus only healed as men consented to his healing."
I think we can make an educated guess as to Jesus' reasons - why that time, that man, that question - but a certain response is an impossibility, and I think diminishes the impact and applicability of this story.


I find it compelling, touching, even amazing - the honorable deference Jesus offers to this man. As we find out more of the man's story, it is highly likely that others did not honor him and did not care for him. He essentially says that he has no one... Jesus honors him by asking what he wants instead of assuming. Obviously, it is clear that the best thing for the man is to be healed and at some point in his life, he recognized this or he would not be by these waters, waiting for yet another opportunity. But Jesus didn't storm His way in, hollering "Get ready to be helped! I'm coming to save you!" 

What a contrast between the Lord and the traditional superhero. 

What a contrast between Jesus and the stereotypical evangelical cross-cultural worker - missionary, diplomatic, or developmental.

Jesus asks the man if he wants to be made well. The other obvious choice is to remain lame as he is. That's a pretty weighty question, when I think about it. Then I remember all the times I've mused that the uncomfortable but known present is a better alternative to the perhaps less painful and frustrating but totally unknown, unexpected future. It isn't easy to imagine choosing a known unwholeness rather than risking the possibilities of an unknown wholeness. 

Jesus asks a simple yes or no question. Like the Samaritan woman at the well, though, the man does not answer Jesus' question. Instead he says,  "Sir, I have no one..." It breaks my heart, if I take the time to dwell on that.

I wonder how many times, how many people... feel as though they have no one... no one cares, no hope, no potential for change in their circumstances... Since God created man for relationship, that is a terrible place to be. This human being had been lame for 38 years and by his own testimony, he saw no hope of a change, ever... for there was no one to help him, no one to carry him. God made us to need Him and to need others. We need others and want to depend on them, but the only one who can ever and always be there, who is 100% dependable, is the Savior. All others will as some point, in some way, betray us or let us down. While it seems so sad that this fellow felt so alone, I also think that this question and the man's realization as recounted in his response was a wonderful gift of God. Recognizing my alone-ness and the emptiness of the traditions, practices and surrounding culture frees me to see the One who can heal, can liberate and can end my loneliness, if I will allow Him.

Not only does this man seem to be alone, it appears he might also be the one isolating himself, trapped in a victim's mentality. His responds pitifully - so I have to ask:  Is he really pitiful or does he use this martyr's role to achieve some end? He promptly lists reasons, rationalizations and explanations for why he sees no end to his current predicament. Despondent and despairing - those are the two characteristics that distinguish this man from so many others that Jesus chose to heal. Compare this to the Capernaum nobleman. His faith and immediate obedience clearly stand out. Not this man. He didn't see Jesus... Jesus found him. When asked if he wanted to be made whole, he whined... His faith is so feeble.

Jesus doesn't berate the man for this lack of faith. He looks deeper inside instead. Instead, He simply asks the man to obey. Jesus says, "Stand up, take your mat and walk." When I taught this as a Bible study at church, I asked the women to imagine themselves as this man. For a moment, the ladies (giggling) tried to do just that. Thirty-eight long years he had laid lame, unable to walk...

In his position, I think it highly likely that my response would have been more along the lines of... "But sir, you don't understand. These legs haven't supported the weight of anything for 38 years..." Yet I don't read of any hesitation or questions on the part of this man. He simply obeyed, and as he is enjoying his new ability, Jesus melts away into the crowd and the man walks right into a confrontation with the Pharisees.


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How does Jesus want to make you more whole today? What question is He asking you and how are you responding? 

Does your response match up with the deepest cries of your heart? Why or why not?


-edited post from the archives:
original post

this week's gratitude list

(#'s 3778 - 3802)

great last night for the girls' horseback riding lessons

chocolate thank you gifts

and there's still a way for all three girls to go and show their grandparents what they've learned once Gammie and Gampy get here in June

hard hugs from a sad girl

little munchkins trying to cheer up one of their big sisters

listening to Rebekah sing her little sisters to sleep (in at least three different languages)

someone will take our puppies... even though they aren't puppies anymore. We've found a home for Butterscotch and Beethoven and we are thanking Jesus! 
(now just three cats to go)...

digging in the mud and sand with my littlest guy

biggest guy wandering into my office at school sometimes to beg a Coke, sometimes to get me to do something for him school related... but sometimes just to say "Hi!"(at least I think that's the case)

finally getting some paperwork checked off the to do list... 
now to keep plugging away at the rest

girls creating costumes for the medieval fair

listening to first, second and third graders who really look up to my Anna-girl

yummy, scrummy for scratch tomato soup

company for the weekend

the first day of IGCSE  testing behind them

the end in sight of a challenging honors Arthurian/medieval lit course

plans in place to make blueberry cake donuts and hoping they turn out

quiet sighs and the occasional snore as I listen to my entire family sleeping in one room

jr high girl movie parties, complete with homemade brownies and ice cream

snowflakes (the paper kind) during the middle of hot season

the 2nd season... and looking forward to watching another mentalist download

icy cold water

exercise videos... now to get the gumption to do them despite the heat

unexpected guests :-)

sr high boys hanging out to study together

doughnut dough in the fridge... waiting for the morning

laughing, chattering kids and friends sprawling all over this house




Ten most recent posts in this series: 

28 April 2013

It's taken a whole lot of years and attempts...


...and I won't say I've got it perfected, but?



Homemade, from scratch biscuits that are actually light and fluffy like the refrigerator ones in the grocery store! 



With just a little bit of melted butter on top?
Yay!!!



27 April 2013

You say you really want to be different... to make a difference...

Do you ever stumble across a blog post (or series) that really makes you stop, sit back and just think? And then recognize that you've been going about some things all wrong?

Rebekah at the orphanage she tries to visit every week.
This one did that for me - and I'm not even sure how I happened upon it... 
  1. Listening well as a person of privilege: Recognize that the rules are different for you
  2. Listening well as a person of privilege: Solidarity first, collaborative problem-solving later
Even the titles provoke thought, don't they... like: Why or why not do you identify yourself as a person of privilege?

This blog post as well (written by my very sweet friend), also challenges ideas along these same lines: 
  • Just because I am a person of privilege, does that mean my perspective is better or more right or more valid? 
  • Can I be trying to help and still be motivated by my own selfish desires and agenda?

I'd love it if you took the time to read - 
and share some of your thoughts afterwards.

26 April 2013

Five Minute Friday ~ Friend


Some claim that "friend" became a verb with the advent of Facebook back in the early 1900s.

I'm not finding that to be true.

According to most of the etymological dictionaries I've checked, friend was first used as a verb way back in the 14th century. That's like 6-700 years ago. No wonder Solomon fusses about there being nothing new under the sun! Sadly, though, its original meaning as a verb is now considered archaic. Most dictionaries these days that list friend (v) as simply meaning adding someone to your list of contacts on a social networking site. Nothing more... nothing less. A few sites list friend (v) as an archaic term meaning to befriend (be a friend... get it?) 

Blah... 

Facebook has kidnapped a beautiful word and I think we should steal it back...

I like thinking about the archaic version of friend as a verb because it implies an action. Yes, I understand the beauty of being able to just being... but a friend's significance is that s/he IS someone who DOES.... 

When I "archaically" friend someone, in my mind, I'm committing - and it is no small commitment -  to being and doing (as best I can) a potential whole lot of things determined by what my friend needs and wants, actions such as (not exhaustive and listed in no particular order than how they tumble from my mind, tip-toe through my fingers and materialize onto the screen)

  • listening, 
  • sharing, 
  • believing, 
  • trusting, 
  • helping, 
  • laughing with, 
  • crying with, 
  • forgiving,
  • being forgiven by,
  • inviting, 
  • visiting,
  • cooking meals for and with, 
  • walking beside, 
  • sacrificing for, 
  • being patient with, 
  • enjoying,
  • choosing, 
  • enduring with and for, 
  • caring, 
  • confronting, 
  • encouraging, 
  • freeing from my expectations, 
  • sometimes carrying, 
  • sometimes being carried by, 
  • accepting, 
  • loving... 

Anyone else want to join a covert op with the goal of reclaiming archaic friend (v)?


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If you want to add your voice to this free write conversation, head over to Lisa Jo's, read the rules and start tapping away! Hope to see you there...

25 April 2013

Sometimes, really interesting stuff drops into my in box ~

The other day, I received an email in my inbox with a link to a fascinating discussion... and of course I had to go and read it!

Just what was this discussion all about?



What is it like to be the defense attorney 
of someone you strongly believe
to have committed the crime?

Several lawyers and other legal professionals have responded (at least last time I checked) with answers and motivations that run the entire gamut of possibilities, most of them thoughtful and thought provoking. 

My immediate, initial response was falling back on the on our American right of "innocent until proven guilty" and that guilt must be decided by a judge/jury of peers. Many who entered into this discussion reacted similarly.

Perhaps one of the answers I found most intriguing was an individual who preferred defending the guilty over defending the innocent: he'd rather a guilty man go free as a result of his efforts than an innocent man stand condemned because of his failure to adequately defend him. For that particular defense attorney, the consequences of incarcerating (or worse) an innocent man far outweighed the negatives of allowing a guilty man to go free.

Obviously, one could debate that stance...but that particular statement started my mental wheels spinning. A key premise on which our legal system is philosophically founded, presumed innocence until conclusively determined otherwise, has as its goal the prevention of unjust incarceration and unreasonable restriction of personal liberty. Americans value personal liberty, believing that all men are "endowed ...with certain unalienable Rights... "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness...." 

Since reading that particular discussion, I've been thinking about this alot -

In some ways, this is similar to how God has chosen to deal with guilt in this world, this age. Yes, I do believe there will be an upcoming day of judgement... and no one will be able to duck out. Every man, woman and child who has ever drawn breath will be held accountable. But up until that time, or up until an individual dies, we all walk away guilty (and unaware or unrepentant) from so much - yet God leaves us free (not talking theologically or doctrinally, but rather how it looks and feels, in real life)... 

I think this is one of those stumbling blocks-slash-things that many find offensive about Christianity, and about the Christians that believe this... and although I haven't checked again, I'm sure the lawyer who wrote these thoughts had several respond negatively to his comment. If God really was the all powerful deity we claim Him to be, He wouldn't allow injustice... ever. The truly Almighty would ensure that life is not only just, but it would also be fair - one of those equal-opportunity deals, for everyone. 

It's big talk... but I wonder if we'd really like the completely-all-the-time-1oo% equal opportunity gig? I am very thankful that malaria is no longer endemic to our part of Michigan, where we'll be heading soon... Would it be nice for malaria to be completely eradicated on all parts of the globe with a single word or the snap of divine fingers? I would love that and I know God has that power. Yet how could I reconcile that with other things that God has revealed about Himself... about how there are consequences for sin... about painful realities of living in a fallen and imperfect world that only shares glimpses of the One I worship, rather than reflecting Him clearly... about how all injustice will eventually be righted in a way that does not require God to compromise His very being and essence.

I do sometimes often times get angry with God at the injustice-as-I-perceive-it of it all. I don't understand and perhaps I never will. I know I  can beat that drum of justice and fairness... yet brutal honesty forces me to admit that I'm also usually more than willing to let both or either slide when it feels advantageous to me, or to those I love... or when the alternatives cause too much cognitive, emotional and spiritual dissonance. That, to me, is pretty stiff evidence that I'm disqualified from pronouncing just or unjust, when it come to those matters.

Yeah... all that rumbling around in my head, simply because a bit of spam arrived in my inbox, instead of being filtered out. God challenged Balaam using a talking donkey... guess it shouldn't surprise me in this day and age that He would provoke much needed thought via an email that normally would have been trashed before I ever saw it.

***************************************
Do you ever think about things like this? 
Please share your thoughts and conclusions!


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Today is World Malaria Day... Take a sec and check out what I shared over on our ministry blog.

23 April 2013

Conquering nightmares with dreams


It has been an almost nightly wee hours of the morning occurrence for a few weeks now. Because of the heat and the excessive cost of air conditioning in this heat, we do what many other missionary families choose to do - we all sleep in one room. Yes... all ten of us, mattresses piles on the floor for the kids, furniture pushed up next to the walls, small battery powered lanterns for the biggers who want to continue reading or finishing homework after the lights go out, the thermostat set on 31' C, and many prayers that electricity continues at least mostly uninterrupted during the nighttime hours.


Of course, that means that littlest one stumbles to the bathroom sometime around midnight trips onto our waterbed and begins the slow process of plopping, flopping and kerplopping her way up to the pillows and the middle of the bed. It really reminds me of a fish on the shore trying to find its way back to where it needs to be. She then promptly smashes her nose against my face and I thank the Lord that the fan is still spinning. Otherwise sleep would become an impossibility, at least for me, in this heat with a little one smashed up against me.

Forty-five minutes or so later, I can usually extricate myself from her sweet but very tight grasp, roll over and go back to sleep, at least for awhile...

...until...

She starts kicking and pushing, thrashing about, muttering and crying - real tears. I hear her dad mumble something and throw a pillow over his head in frustration. I turn back towards her to wrap her in my arms and gently whisper her awake. Somewhere around the 5th night this has happened, I finally I make out some words: "big," "ugly," "mean" and "cockroach" clearly articulated... several times. A few nights later, having been able to distinguish those same words (as well as others), it is quite clear that she's developed a persistent cockroach phobia....

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Join me over at Missionary Moms' Companion, where I posted yesterday, if your curiosity is peaked and you want to find out more about littlest one's nightmares...

22 April 2013

Encountering Jesus - An Amazing Afternoon Hanging out at the Pool One Day

We love to hang out at the pool! 

See the photo below of our youngest fishy, 4 years old? She has been swimming for over a year now. In fact, she tends to spend about as much time under the water as on top of it.

Back in the time of Jesus, however, hanging out at the Pools of Bethesda wasn't as clearly a pleasant pastime  Most people were only there because they felt they had no other choice... These folks were mostly people for whom magical waters was their last or best hope...


After these things there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 
Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a multitude of them that were sick, blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the waters stepped in was made whole, with whatsoever disease he was holden. 
And a certain man was there, who had been thirty and eight years in his infirmity. When Jesus saw him lying, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case , he saith unto him, "Wouldest thou be made whole?" 
The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me." 
Jesus saith unto him, "Arise, take up thy bed, and walk." 
And straightway the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked. 
Now it was the Sabbath on that day. So the Jews said unto him that was cured, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed."
But he answered them, "He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk." 
They asked him, "Who is the man that said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?" 
But he that was healed knew not who it was; for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in the place. 
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing befall thee." 
The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him whole. (John 5.1-15, ASV)
Jesus, shortly after healing the nobleman's son, began a journey from Capernaum to the Holy City, a journey of approximately 120 km. Once there, he visited the Pools of Bethesda, located near one of the gates and also not far from the Temple. At the Pools of Bethesda, He found a huge crowd of sick and handicapped people, laying around on the terraces, waiting for their chance at a miracle. According to tradition, every so often an angel would descend, stir up the water and the first person to immerse in the moving water would be healed of whatever was ailing them.

A few years back, the first time I studied this passage in great depth, I was preparing to teach a Bible study for the ladies at the Haro Banda church. Reading the part about angels stirring the waters not only left me feeling a bit unsettled, it also resulted in an interesting discussion among those women. I'm not quite sure how to explain the "greater" reality of the spiritual world, but it is a consistently much more tangible presence living here in Niamey that I ever noticed it to be when I lived in Midland, Michigan. People here - be they Christian, Muslim, or from local tribal religions - our Nigerien friends come from a heritage that assumes a very active, involved and powerful spirit world, where things both good and bad that can not be readily explained are quickly attributed to spirits, and where belief in angels, demons and other spirits is not something only attributed to the weak, uneducated, deceived or foolish. For those from such a background, mixing the Christian faith with traditional religions and cultural practices presents a huge struggle

Why are members of God's chosen people waiting for an angel to magically stir waters, blindly hoping for a cure? 

They were, most likely, those for whom visits to the doctors and/or the priests had not given them the results they were hoping for. They could have been the poor, who perhaps could not afford to give the required recompense to medical professionals or  to compensate corrupt clergy. Perhaps there were foreigners who did not have access to professional care. Maybe they were widows, orphans, abandoned older relatives - anyone set aside by the culture and often without any hope of a better future. At the risk of repeating myself, I'll say it again: It is highly unlikely that any of these folks had come to have a pleasurable afternoon, just hanging-out at the pool. Rather, they were desperate, broken, hurting people.

And just the kinds of people Jesus seemed to seek out...

At Bible study, the women hypothesized that maybe what happened at these pools was of a spiritual nature, but not necessarily from the Lord... Yet because of the proximity of the temple, there were some elements of the Jewish faith mixed in. 

This is dangerous; it can lead away from a pure faith in the Savior, prevents followers from first seeking and then seeing Him, and tempts worshipers to become dependent on something other than the Lord. Some of the women admitted to struggling with this, but it was so encouraging to hear one of the woman testify of how God has strengthened her and provided for her so that she has not had to resort to traditional practices and as a result, all glory for the things He has done and is doing in her life goes to Him unquestionably. Even her Muslim family members remarked time and again about this.

Even though western culture often denies or simply seeks to ignore the power of the spirit world, the temptation to mix local perspective and worldview with Christianity remains. African locales do not have the monopoly on such syncretism. How do you see it practiced in your corner of the world?

Two key players participate in this story: Jesus and the lame man. 

There was another detail that really stood out to me as I have studied this passage. In Nigerien culture, confront an individual with the Gospel message happens rarely. People here tend to make their decisions in groups, working collectively as a group until attaining a consensus. There are some beautiful aspects to that collectivism and unity in a culture. We also clearly read of instances of "groups" coming to know the Lord (i.e. all who heard believed, families being baptized, etc.). Yet in this Jesus encounter, the Lord fixed His gaze on one person and asked him individually, "Do you (singular) want..."

Amazing, isn't it. Jesus seeks us just as we are, right where we are, arrogant, proud and preoccupied with self, engaged in behaviors that will lead to His horrendous death, already knowing what we will say and what will result, He still asks if we desire to be made whole. He still gives us the freedom to choose, to answer "Yes," or "No."

Do you ever marvel at that, and just wonder why?


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African locales do not have the monopoly on such syncretism. How do you 
see it practiced in your corner of the world?

Do you, like me, stand stupefied by that liberty and the fact that God still asks and respects the decisions, right or wrong... obedient or sinful... good and bad... 
that we make?

-edited post from the archives:

this week's gratitude list

(#'s 3752 - 3777)
I couldn't have planned to end on that number if I tried... It just happened! Smile!

amazing freedom granted to men by an Almighty God

a gloriously cooler weekend, thank you Lord!

sleeping snuggled under covers, without the air conditioner

three rains last week

listening as the children played and danced in the rain at the local school next door 

reading Stone Fox with Elsie Mae

finishing a math workbook

piles growing smaller... and smaller... and ever smaller

lists growing shorter.. and shorter... and ever shorter

exchanging emails with a  sweet gal as we discuss Niger

some really great blog posts this week

outgrown Spider-man jammies

cobwebs gone

chattering  with colleagues around the lunch table

things starting to make the final suitcase cut

more and more  "correspondence" with friends and family from home - people seem excited to know that we will be on our way, soon

starting a new exercise regime

fun 2/3rd grade simulation - neighboring cities competing to build the most magnificent cathedral the most quickly

goats gone

big girls involved in worthwhile projects

good friends I can trust to wisely advise and counsel those big girls

littlest one in her bed all night long, two nights in a row and 
the uninterrupted sleep that results

littlest one giggling on my lap as she tells me that I need to keep her forever, just not in a box so she has room to walk around

and the million other funny things kids say EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. around this house

dorm students coming to visit for the weekend, NEXT weekend

the benefits of walking barefoot... since I love to walk barefoot (and often choose NOT to fight the  "Wear some shoes" battle with this tribe of wild Wrightlings


Ten most recent posts in this series: 

20 April 2013

That Boy and THOSE Boots

I bought these LIGHTENING MCQUEEN 
rain boots for Jonathan 
before Mary Michelle was born... 

(Yeah... nearly 4 1/2 years ago.)


He fell in love with them. 

They were the only thing 
he asked for for Christmas that year...


He played back then in the leaves and the rain and the mud 
(with about 4 pairs of socks) and these boots,
loving every second of it!


He still thinks they're awesome 
for playing in the sand and the rain.


I just LOVE making a good investment... 
in both boots and especially boys!



And YES! Niamey friends - 
Can you believe THREE real rains last week... 
seems more than just mango rains, eh?


My not so little little guy was quite delighted 
to give both himself 
and his boots a few soggy workouts!

19 April 2013

Five Minute Friday ~ Jump


We're getting ready to make a big jump... from life in Africa, hanging out on the backside of the desert, speaking usually 3 languages in the course of every day, being part of the minority and looking different from everyone else to life back in the middle of Michigan, with carpeted floors, lots of family, much cooler weather, speaking only English but forgetting and using foreign words all the time because they say it better, and looking like we belong but not really feeling it.


And sometimes the only way for me to make that sort of huge jump is to close my eyes, plug my nose and expect a shock - sometimes pleasant, often exciting, occasionally painful - but undoubtedly unavoidable.


Yes, I do have reason to hesitate... but there really is so much to look forward to.


But that's the greatest part of living life following Jesus. Those jumps may cause all sorts of jitters, but they don't have to incapacitate. I may be very uncertain about the landing, but I can be confident in Who will be there to help me either float or find my footing once again.


Which leaves me free to embrace the exhilaration of launching out into another new unknown, even at my age and stage of life.



So... where's the trampoline????


Anyone else feel like making a faith-leap with me?


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It's another Friday, another link up chez Lisa Jo, and as you can see - today's word was JUMP! Seems like we've done that word before, but I certainly didn't have all the great sand dune leaping photos at my fingertips.

You should jump on in to the fray yourself. Head over to Lisa Jo's, check out the "rules," and join us! Look forward to meeting up with you over there!

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