Friday, October 29, 2010

Mission to India

Our little suitcase bank is bulging. Can't wait to rip it open and count it up at the end of next week.

This Passport to India program is amazing. I have been reliving a mission trip that I took there back in 1989. It has been helpful to add to our discussions from personal experience.

Today and yesterday we talked about persecution. Realizing again what a blessing we have to attend church freely, worship God freely, read the Bible freely. At the same time, we all feel the need to do more for those who don't share these freedoms.

Check out this video that will shake the complacency out of you . . .
What? You haven't been following along with Mission to India? It's not to late to jump in.
Another week of videos yet to come, but the first 8 are all up for viewing on the My Passport to India website.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

30 day challenge -- day 2, or 14

I told you I really wasn't up for a challenge . . .

But, I have returned, two weeks later, to the challenge to blog for 30 days. I have a few days that I want to go pick up, but today Katie is looking for some of our favorite photos.

One of my favorites from recent years came 10,000 feet up in Maui. My amazing man and I got some precious time away almost two years ago now. We enjoyed the sunrise while getting windblown and freezing more than any Chicagoan has a right to in Hawaii.

Not the most flattering picture of either of us, but treasured none the less for all that it reminds me of. Spending a week with my best friend in an amazing setting was too good for words.

Another favorite shows me and my oldest daughter from a little over a year ago as well. Just a casual shot at bed time, but love the genuineness of it and the relationship that we continue to foster.

I have lots more favorites, but my little guy is working on getting himself to sleep, so I need to work away from my regular computer with all my photos. But, lots of my favorites include my treasured family, so if you want to catch a few more, check out my "family pictures" label.

Pictures hold such great memories, capture moments that pass too quickly and might otherwise be forgotten if they were not in freeze frame. A gentle reminder to pull my camera out a little more frequently just to catch the everyday stuff.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Verse of the week -- Romans 8:38,39

Nothing, nothing . . . absolutely nothing!

As I sat in church taking a break from the rush of life, God dropped a verse in my lap that I had read and memorized often. But, as the Word of God is alive, this verse had sprouted new leaves and prompted fresh thoughts.

Roman 8:38,39 says, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I had always looked at the big things in this verse. God is stronger than evil, Satan, rulers, extremes, adversity, etc. Nothing, no matter how huge can separate us from His love.

That's great, and I have clung to that promise in the face of trials before. Right now, though, my struggle is just with life. Plain old living. No death or tragedy. No monster in my dreams or waking hours.

As I pondered these words again, I found my situation there -- LIFE. Yes, life is the opposite extreme of death, but it is also where I am right now. And, where God's love continues to hold me.

God's love will penetrate the daily push of life's challenges, even the little ones that pile up.

Nothing can separate me from Him and His love -- even life.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

~Romans 8:38,39~

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

30 day challenge - intro

I'll admit I'm not really up for a challenge. Right now daily life is exciting enough for me, but this intrigued me, so as long as I can squeeze it in here and there, I'm game.

I came across this through Mama Manuscripts, and it finds its home at Katie's Journey. She set out to challenge people to blog for 30 days and she provides the topic. I doubt I'll hit everyday, but we'll see what we can do.

I'm starting off behind, but here is the day one topic: recent picture and 15 trivia bits (aka interesting facts).

Just me. Wife to one incredible man, "Mommy" to three littles and "Mom" to the three bigger ones. ;) Homeschooler, lover of God, explorer of Scripture, who dreams of one day sleeping full nights on a regular basis.

1. I don't like animals, especially when they try to live with me, and yes that includes my dog.

2. I expected to have two or maybe three kids. My husband had a role in convincing me otherwise.

3. Learning foreign languages is something I enjoy, for the first few days at least. I can speak various phrases in about 10 languages. I especially like to learn how to say, "I don't speak _________" in that language.

4. My siblings and I are all named in alphabetical order. I'm the fifth, so my name naturally starts with "E."

5. My biggest claim to fame is that our fourth child was born in the car four blocks from the hospital. My husband delivered her and then drove us, laughing, the rest of the way to the hospital. (The full story on our 7-11 delivery is also on my blog).

6. We spent a year working at a school in the Bahamas in our early years of marriage. Quite a rich year in terms of experience and faith building.

7. I am not remotely a picky eater. I like pretty much everything except: cranberry sauce (canned or fresh), cherry pie, tapioca pudding, and sloppy joes. And, even those I can eat without a twitch if it means I might offend by passing.

8. My husband knew I was the one for him when I yelled at the car driving 40 mph next to us for directions on our first real date.

9. I've been to about 20 countries.

10. Lived in Illinois my whole life except for one year.

11. Never pierced any part of my body.

12. Enjoy writing, but it is pretty low on the priorities right now.

13. For some weird reason, I enjoy public speaking also. Still get ridiculously nervous over it, but enjoy it nonetheless.

14. Used to think homeschooling was a pretty odd way to raise a child.

15. Currently live in a dorm at a residential school where we used to be house parents, and my in-laws live with us as well.

Enough about me. Hopefully the other topics will prompt some encouragement for you as well.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Verse of the week -- Proverbs 31:29

My routine has been a bit off kilter as of late. This morning I grasped a bit of my old normalcy and enjoyed that treasured tea time with my 11 year old.

Right now we are reading through a chapter at a time of Talks to Girls. Some chapters in this "old-fashioned" book hold only slight relevance, but many have blossomed into quality conversations.

Talks to Girls: Classic Teachings on Virtues & Values

Today blossomed into a whole bouquet. It spoke to her, but it spoke most strongly to me.

Am I just living? Just getting by? I am afraid that is my only goal many days, to simply get through. Enjoy the memories along the way, but no real intentionality or forethought to get all I can from these irreplaceable moments. My vision for the eternal has grown a bit hazy.

This verse from Proverbs 31 came to mind as we read, "Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all." Many have done nobly, I don't know that I even fall in that category right now. But, this one spoken of excels even those doing nobly!

Noble deeds speak to excellence, a high standard. Not just getting by.
Vision, goals. Not just putting out fires.
Praise worthy, role model. Not status quo.

Tennyson said:

Drink deep until the habits of the slave,
The sins of emptiness, gossip , and spite,
And slander die. Better not be at all
Than not be noble.
Letting the days pass without taking hold of the reigns and requiring excellence of them is not worth the time God has loaned me. I clearly needed this reminder to get ahead, get God-surrendered control of my days and make them count. Not for getting by, but for eternity.

I cannot squander this week ahead of me. It won't return. There are no "re-dos." I want to fall among those counted as noble. Better yet, as one that surpasses them all. After all that my God has done for me, He deserves my best in return, each day, each week.

For You, Lord!

"Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all."
~Proverbs 31:29~