27 February 2014

Big Changes! And our latest prayer letter ~

In our Christmas letter, we indicated that changes were in store, and now we have the freedom to share those with you….

The last few years, God has opened our eyes to the fact that He was changing our direction.

Niger is home. We love living and ministering in that land and we’ve made many special and dear friends. Yet Tim has trained several young men and a few young women to do most of what he was doing at the studio. There are now two Christian radio stations in Niger. One of those stations is now responsible for producing the weekly radio broadcasts as well as for airing Thru the Bible each week day. Several of the other ministries we were helping to oversee are in their final stages of becoming independent of the mission and we began (reluctantly) asking ourselves if perhaps God was prompting us to consider another ministry somewhere else.

Head on over to our ministry web page to read the rest...

24 February 2014

Ever seen a baby lizard dressed in Polly Pocket clothing?

I have. I wish I had a picture… But I don’t. All I have is the memory.

And that memory often gets me thinking about this fact.

Sometimes, we missionary types take ourselves a little too seriously. We want to
  • be effective,
  • impact lives,
  • not just do what we do well but very well – if not perfectly,
  • look good while doing it,
  • maybe garner a few more ministry partners, and
  • have at least a few great stories to share.
We sometimes forget we’re just ordinary folks serving an extraordinary God, often in not-your-run-of-the-mill locations.

My son is off for his freshman year of college. One of the things that so impressed us about the university he is attending was their rather extensive program and system of support in place to help international students and TCKs transition to this new phase of life. During his most recent trip home, I was asking him about his friends, and in particular, if he spent much time hanging out with his fellow TCK-types. His comment went something along the lines of, “Yeah, I do hang out with them sometimes. But sometimes I get tired of being part of a group of people that thinks they are more special and unique than everyone else. Sometimes, I think they’d be more fun if they’d just get over it.”


But back to my lizard story…

of this lizard story as well as my thoughts about ordinary missionaries and tcks.

I'd love for you to jump on in, join the conversation; I so appreciate your input!

06 February 2014

Lovably a "Ruffnut" AND Eleven

We had another birthday this week.


She's ELEVEN... going on THIRTY-FIVE, I think.

People say she's the most like me

(which isn't necessarily a complement).

But perhaps that means that if she had to choose a faction, she'd choose Dauntless...

For on good days, she does say and do things that fit with Tris' character ~
“I have a theory that selflessness and bravery aren't all that different.” 
“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”
“Politeness is deception in pretty packaging.” 
“Who cares about pretty? I'm going for noticeable.” 
“It reminds me why I chose Dauntless in the first place: not because they are perfect, but because they are alive. Because they are free.”
“...there is power in self-sacrifice.”

I often thought "Victoria" as I was reading the book...

It's highly possible that given the opportunity, she'd argue with a fence post, and most likely win!

I now understand why my mom always used to say the same about me...

"And if I were weak and girly, I'd be my brother."
"You know, they say competition is the very essence of life itself."

Tuffnut: Try those songs mom used to sing to us when you were little and afraid of the dark.
Ruffnut: You were afraid of the dark, not me! I was afraid of you!
Tuffnut: Just sing!
Ruffnut: (Sings) Hush little viking, don't you cry...Or the beserkers will come and stab you in the eye...Don't let the enemy see you afraid, or he'll cut you with a rusty blade...

But for all her bravado, she really does have a tender, gentle spirit - when she's willing to share it with others...

That's real bravery instead of mere bravado... and a lot harder to learn in the long run.

Even though she's most like me, 
sometimes I think I understand her the least of all of these Wrightlings...
You know... all those "Why do I do that/say that/act that ways... we're always asking ourselves...

Thus, I find myself asking these well-known questions ~
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
But how do you make her stay and listen to all you say?
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

These oft' sung words describe her, more eloquently than I...

She'd outpester any pest
Drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild!
She's a riddle! She's a child!
She's a headache! She's an angel!
She's a girl!

Because that's not just the way we love her...

it's also the way we really like her, as Ruffnut herself would say, 
a whole stinkin' lot!!!

(Yep... there's a whole lot "borrowed" to construct this post... from 
Divergent, The Sound of Music, and How to Train Your Dragon movie/TV series. 
Also a special thanks to Holley VanDenBerg for sharing the better quality and in focus 
Ruffnut and Ruffnut/Tuffnut photos!)

02 February 2014

A brief but beautiful stop @ Jekyll Island ~

a break from the car and cold, leftover pizza for lunch

fascinated by Spanish moss

wind and waves

We didn't see any... Think the girls look worried?

first glimpse of the Atlantic

Anna, Tori and Rebekah watching the waves.

lots of jellyfish washed up on the shore

My favorite people in the whole wide world...

...and a prize to the first who can correctly identify each one in the picture!
Leave a comment!

01 February 2014

Can Failure Really Become Common Ground?

Recently, I've been reading a lot of young adult fiction... partly because I find I often enjoy that particular genre of literature that doesn't seem to be purely entertainment but also willing to ask good and real questions that don't always have clear and easy answers... and partly because I like to know what my kiddos are reading.

And so, in recent weeks, I read the Divergent Trilogy.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Here are a few quotable quotes... 

I found some wallpapers on line with some of the quality quotes that I'd notes. (In other words, I'm not responsible for any spelling errors.)

So what's the trilogy all about?

Set sometime in a future Chicago, society has divided into five (well, technically six, but more about that in a minute) factions or groups: Candor, Amity, Abnegation, Erudite and Dauntless. Each faction is characterized by a particular trait. You can probably figure out the respective traits by thinking about (or looking up in a dictionary if you need to) the meaning of their respective names. As teens approach adulthood, they are given a test to help them determine their primary trait. With that knowledge, each one then chooses whether they will remain in their family faction - where they've spent their entire life up to this point - or if they will choose a different faction based on the results of their test. Then, as "candidates" for their chosen faction, they go through a period of qualification/initiation: they train for some final "test" at which point they are then welcomed into their faction. Those who do not pass their qualification test become part of that sixth group - identified as factionless and they are the outcasts of society.

The lead character discovers during her test that she does not have a predominant trait... she is what they call divergent, and would be in great danger if the powers that be were to discover this about her...

What should she do?

The choices she makes, the people in her life, the questions with which she wrestles, and the circumstances she lives ARE the story of the trilogy.

The lessons she learns and the person she becomes are worth thinking about.

I also believe these books fit the criteria outlined in Philippians 4 as far as the thoughts with which we are to fill our minds - although a certain level of maturity is necessary to read them. I've encouraged my thirteen and older to read the trilogy; my 11 year old has only been allowed to read the first book.

My favorite book of the series, however, was the second one, Insurgent, probably because it is in this book that I feel readers see the main character grow and change the most.

Here's my favorite quote ~

 (p. 409-410, Insurgentby Veronica Roth)

I love the truth of this quote. We are all unique and different, with different strengths and talents and abilities. But one thing we have in common is failure. Everyone fails. And everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and become someone new as a result of those failures... and when we recognize, confess and move on, allowing our failures to unite us and to spur us on to something better, something powerful happens. That is a large part of the story of this book... 

Have you read this series? If so, how did you feel about the trilogy? What most challenged or most disturbed you about these books?

If you've not yet read the series - do you think you will? What about your young adults? Will you encourage them to read? Why or why not?


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