Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Lesson For the Teacher

Friday afternoons I get to hang out with some pretty cool people for English class.  This class is not required for anyone, for anything, and there is no accountability to be there.   It allows for us to have fun together and does not demand a scope and sequence which makes it fun to teach too!

Recently, in class, I talked a bit about social rules for Americans.   There are many visitors to the mission and probably just as many eager students who want to practice speaking English.  I recall being approached by them when we first moved here and feeling a bit uncomfortable.   Funny enough, I asked two female interns about how they felt because my initial feeling of discomfort are gone and well, this is my normal now.

We talked about "personal bubbles," approaching a man vs. approaching a woman, touching or not touching....just STUFF that is cultural that we don't even think about.   I will confess that sometimes when we discuss American culture, I find myself considering normal things Americans do, being odd. The same is true when we reentry to the states.   For example, while in Florida, when the sun went down, people go out on the beach wearing matching clothing to get their pictures made.  They make pretty pictures.  We have done it but it just looked odd to see it every night.   I giggled with my friend about the color of the night.  Normal stuff, it just looked odd after living in another culture even if I do still live like an American.

In English class, it came up in discussion, that you should ask someone if they have time to speak with you.   If you see someone who is in a hurry, be respectful of their time and assume they can not talk right now.  Arnold, an older gentleman (meaning older than me), raised his hand and attempted to communicate in English but soon gave up and allowed the other students to translate.   His questions were,

"Are Americans really that busy all of the time?  When do they talk to people?"

The interns and I just looked at one another.   They shared with the students that people have coffee together, share a meal together, text one another, or call one another on the phone.   But the question penetrated our hearts.  In this culture, you greet a lady with a kiss.   You ask a person how they are, how their family is, and sometimes you even hear locals asking one another if they have eaten today so to share some food with them.   But, we Americans are so busy getting things accomplished that we ask one another how we are doing while we are walking away!   We don't even stand still long enough to wait for a response.  In fact, when we lived in the states, I no longer allowed myself to say "How are you?" because so many people said it but really did not care of the response.  I wanted to be intentional with what I said.  Even as an American in another culture, I catch myself being too "busy" to stop and chat.  I do have obligations, responsibilities, and time commitments but I don't think the Lord called us to be THAT busy OR THAT obligated. 

The Holy Spirit convicted my heart with each question they asked.  How many times do I work away at home and neglect to "give my face" not just my ears to one of our children or even my husband?   How many times was my visit so short that someone did not feel comfortable getting to what they really needed to talk about?

I am task oriented.   God made me that way but He also gave me two ears to hear, two eyes to see,  the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, and a world of people who need to know Him.   







Wednesday, April 5, 2017

All God!

In February 2014, there was a children's conference in KY.   My heart was heavy the entire weekend. My Dear had taken the children to NC to visit grandparents while I was away.   We were trying to cushion our children during a difficult time but My Dear and I knew I should continue with my plans.

I sat in a seminar and the speaker shared about a child that was a part of her children's ministry.  Shelby had a passion for raising funds so kids in Haiti could go to camp.   I listened to how she walked along side of this child and fostered her passion.

After the session, I waited for the classroom to clear out.   I stepped forward to talk with Missy, the speaker.   My voice began to shake as I held a secret that was wrecking my heart.   My friend Fay was with me and I had already shared my secret with her....in fact, the Lord had spoken to Fay before He spoke to me.  The Lord knew I would need this as one day Fay told me she was praying for me....her sister-in-law had just said the same thing to me but they had not talked to one another.  I thought little of it because they have prayed for me for years.  But this time, it seemed different.   I asked Fay, "What is it that you are praying?"   Her expression became serious.   Fay is a wise woman of faith and difficult times in her life have molded her into a spiritual giant that sits weakly at the feet of Jesus.  Fay spoke, "Do not be afraid."   I knew change was coming for me and this moment was additional confirmation.

Fay walked with me to the front of the classroom but stood back a bit.  She knew my heart battle.  I   I stepped before Missy and mentioned that the camp that the child was giving to was part of Baptist Haiti Mission.   She confirmed that it was.   I then shared with her that the following morning, My Dear would stand before some precious people that we love and that have loved us well and tell them that we are moving to Haiti.   Missy was quick to ask about my prayer needs which I am sure were many.   But I had 2 sad children and 1 that was still a bit young to understand the changes that would lie ahead.

I emailed Missy a few times after the conference just updating her and then life happened and we lost touch.  

UNTIL.....

Last week, Missy made her first trip to Haiti!    I went to introduce myself to her and some other ladies and she threw  her arms open and said, "I know who you are!"    Then I knew who she was too!  I was told a children's minister would be coming and a bit more and realized I had met Missy.  She was THE Missy that I had poured request for my children out to.  She was outside of my world and someone I could trust with this information.  She didn't know me, but she knew I was hanging on with a thread that our obedience to follow Christ would not screw-up our children.  (Frankly, I can mess them up all by myself, I didn't need any more help!)

Missy shared with me, when we talked, that she prays but often doesn't see the answers.   But to see our kids and how well they are doing, she sees the answer to her prayers.    It was such a HUGE dig for my heart!  

Missy had never been to Haiti.  She learned about our ministry at Crossings Camps (the same way we learned about BHM.)   She walked alongside of Shelby with her passion for Haiti, but not until last week was she able to wrap her heart around it.   With that being said, I think I will see Missy again on our island!

Isn't God good to wrap our hearts together!   I steal the line from Twila Paris often, "How Beautiful is the Body of Christ!"

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Day of Rest

I have learned there is no consistency to what my day of rest might look like.   Today's was very different but I can honestly say, it was a good day!

Snoozed the alarm 3 times for church.  You should know that I am not a "snoozer."  This was not a good start.

Instructed the big kids last night to set their alarms.   Fussing to prepare for church is no longer an issue for me.  They do it themselves and if they are not there when it starts, there are consequences in the area of their free time.  THIS is liberating for me!  And big sister woke little sister for me...who had a new dress so you only had to tell her once to get ready.

We came home from church and read a chapter in our book together and prayed.

I put on a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt.  It felt like spring here today but our concrete house is much like a cave.  I have to wear a skirt anytime I leave our housing area.   Few businesses are open on Sunday or at least have limited hours so I rarely go anywhere.  Sunday afternoon is jean day!

We watched a "cheesy Jesus movie" as Billy called it.   It had some pretty valuable points in it about the book of Hosea.  Cheesy? maybe, but we all watched it together and no one really complained about it.

I made a pot of chili and we invited an intern to come over and eat with us.   My Dear has been out all weekend and I was sure he would be hungry when he got home this evening so the chili would work for that too.

I finished reading the book, For Women Only.  I wish I had that book 15-20 years ago.   Valuable information for wives.  I "lucked" upon it when my friend accidently left it here at the mission.  I was repacking it for her and decided I should read it before sending it to her....she agreed!  (Thanks Tracy.)   This is an excellent read for newly married couples and there is a For Men Only as well.  It is suggested that the wife read the book about women and make notes in it for the husband and visa versa.  I can see how truly valuable that would be.   I think at this point in our lives, My Dear could write his own book about living with me.  (He has me pegged!)

I jumped on the trampoline by myself.   My body is neglected in this area.  Our neighbors are close. I have been shy about doing that because I would be seen.  You know what, they don't care.

Electricity came on, so I sucked the little insect wings that cling to the concrete ceiling down.   This sounds like work but when you sit down and they are staring at you....when there is no electricity....yes, it was a PLEASURE to suck'm up!

Washing dishes are usually a burden to me but I do like a tidy kitchen...as rare as it is.   I boiled some water and took care of the dishes and wiped down the counter tops and felt ACCOMPLISHED! 

Laid down to take a nap and had to move the cat over then the dog found me.  We usually keep a critter free bed, but My Dear was gone and well, they are sweet when they are asleep.

Jumped on the trampoline with Miss B and rolled around and hugged, giggled, and played.

Chatted with my neighbor and loved on Baby Harper for a bit.

Watched online as a friend gave testimony of Christ's work in his life.  Thankful for the invitation.  After he shared his story, his brother came before the church to share that he desired a relationship with Jesus Christ.  How about that for awesome!

Today,

I enjoyed my home.

I enjoyed the beautiful weather and cleaned up in the yard a bit.  That was a joy because I was moving around a bit and enjoying the beautiful sunshine.

I spent some time with my kiddos and see now that one got less time than the others. (Gotta get that time in this week.)

I thanked God.

I allowed God to love on me.

I made note of the work He has and continues to do in my life.

I am thankful for a day of rest AND that My Dear arrived home safely, the electricity came on long enough for him to get a shower and he had a wonderful weekend out sharing Jesus. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Word of the Year...finally!

So it is has been a few days....meaning like almost 100 of them, but the time never really came for me to write what the Lord showed me about my word.  As I was writing the other post, it just got longer and I got tired of writing so I knew you would tire of reading.  Speaking of tired, the word the Lord gave me is REST.

I am reclaiming my Sabbath.  The Lord didn't suggest a Sabbath, He instructed it, demanded it.   I have been sinning not following His leadership in this area.  My day is Sunday since we school Monday-Friday and I work on Saturdays.   Resting is not doing that thing that drains you.  For me, schooling and cleaning are draining.  I would much rather read and play games with my family.

You know what I noticed when I rested, I like me.   Not only did I like me, I liked everyone else too!   RESTING has not exactly worked out for me each weekend when I tried.   The first 2 weekends were great!  I had to prepare in advance for my "day off."   It meant sandwiches on paper plates for our meals.   Another week, it meant leaving a pile of dirty dishes for the next day.   As parents, it is hard to take days off.  Our kids are older so it has gotten easier.  I am removing the "work" of my day and replacing it with things that give me pleasure.   The kids and I chatted on this.   We talked about what drains us and what we enjoy doing that "refuels" us.   We try to be mindful of those things.  On the first day, I stood in the doorway of our home and took a deep breath and reminded myself I was to REST!   I laid on the couch and read a book.  The animals loved it, they curled up close to me and took naps.   Naps are a great idea too!  

We are all different so our "refuels" are different.  My Dear likes to cook and bake so he may play in the kitchen for his Sabbath....after his nap and after football if it is football season.   If it seems like work, I try not to do it but if I take pleasure in it, I do it. Dolly loves her animals, mucking a stall is her idea of rest...that totally seems like work to me but it refuels her (cleaning her room...not so much!) 

 I need self-care so that I can serve the Lord with all I have!  I spend 6 days a week splitting my time between serving my family, teaching my kiddos and others and working for Mt. Maid and the mission.   The 7th day, I have got to follow the Lord in what I do with that day too and REST! God created the world and then He rested.  Why would I not need rest?  

I found that when I REST, the week is better.  I am nicer.  More work gets done.   My kids like me!  We all benefit.   I also take time on this day to reflect on things of the Lord and we lead our children to do the same.   We typically go to church together and then come home to read a book together.  We are currently reading, Live Smart:  Preparing for the Future God Wants for You by Dan Dumas.    We all benefit and enjoy this quiet time together.   I read something that leads me to a closer relationship with the Lord, my Bible or another book.   I sing or listen to music while we move about the house.  It is rarely a solo, someone always joins in.   Today, it was 4 of us singing the same song at different times...apparently, that works for us. 

Our Sundays do not usually come with electricity so it is easy to say NO to laundry and vacuuming.  I do spend some time lesson planning for the week, but it doesn't drain me and if I feel like it is, I just get up earlier on Monday to get things set up for the week.  

So, I have neglected for months to write this post but to be honest, it felt like work.  Our time in the states made it difficult to rest because we would much rather be in fellowship with other believers.   But now, we are home and I need to rest.   So when Sunday rolls around again, you might find me laying on the trampoline with a book and Chester the dog.   Even Chester wins when I am obedient to REST!




Saturday, January 28, 2017

Speaking Schedule

We are heading to the states in a couple of days.   We have taken our furlough time the past 2 summers.  BUT as we looked at the calendar, we were asked to submit possible furlough times.   It was difficult to find a time we could go out with our obligations.   There was nothing on the calendar for the month of February.   Of course there is stuff going on but nothing additional to our already busy lives.   My Dear said, "So what about going out in February?"   My response was, "We don't have clothes for that!"  

Well, guess what, we are heading north for winter....we are backward snowbirds!

Nana did some shopping and we have clothes waiting on us!  Billy's suitcase was the funniest...2 pairs of pants.   Hi-waters are not popular I hear!   Thank you God for growing children.

Here is our schedule for our time out.  

Feb. 5th      Murfreesboro morning service
Feb. 19th    Lexington  morning service
                   Paris evening service

If you need more information on the locations, please contact me and I will share more details.  We are looking forward to sharing about the mission, showing off some beautiful Mountain Maid products that can be purchased and hugging necks!

We will not be speaking in our sending church but will spend time in the community our children love the most.  Feel free to message me about details of our time there as well.

Thanks for loving us!  See ya soon!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Shout Out From the Word of the Year!



For almost 10 years,  the Lord has called me to "a word."  It is not a resolution but could be.  What I have learned is, the Lord gives me the word and then leads me through a season of that word.  There have been times that I knew my world was about to turn upside down like 2014 when we would move to Haiti.  The word was CHANGE.   Little in our lives would stay the same.  I knew change was coming....and a lot of it!

Years before that, the Lord called me to LESS....less stuff in our home, less debt, less weight, you get the idea.  I did not expect for the Lord to call me out in other areas like the LESS baggage area when He flipped my heart upside down and called me out on junk I was hauling around in my heart.   It was a year of liberation!    I see how it prepared me for all that would follow.

In 2015, my pal left Haiti.  The Lord called me to SWIM.  Truth is, it was a sink or swim situation.   I was dependent on her for culture, language, and all of the who, what, when, where, and how of living here.   I had no idea of all of the challenges that would happen for our family that year.   A medical diagnoses for My Dear, the surprise to learn we would be new parents in our 40s and after the numbness wore off from that and we began to dream about another child, our son was gone.   Dang it y'all...tough stuff!  I see that the Lord called me to SWIM in depths or waters that I would have NEVER signed up for if I had known, but what rich blesses came from it.   My Disney loving friend would send me pictures of Nemo to remind me to "just keep swimming!"  Right before the dam broke, so to speak, the Lord gave me the word TRUST.   I have never changed a word midyear, but lying in a bunk bed in FL, while my husband was in the hospital, that was all I could do.  Kinda like the hymn, "Trust and swim, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and swim."  Okay, maybe not.

After a time of furlough last summer, I was amazed at the healing that had taken place in my life.   It was like one day, I was going about my life and realized, "Wow, I have come a looong way!"   2016, the Lord called me to THRIVE.   Stop surviving and starting thriving.   The past year had me at survival mode as I was sick with pregnancy for the first trimester and then grieved the remainder of the year.   What good was I to this country that I was called to serve in?   (Believe me, I asked the Lord that very question.)   After serving in Haiti for over 2 years, I am just now in a place where I can serve.   I don't even know how it happened, but I appreciate that the Lord made it happen!  THRIVE happened without we even trying to make it happen.

So this year........

I started to tell ya but realized the post was getting a little long so it will be another post.  But what I do want you to see from this post is the testimony of the Lord.   He is at work and for some reason He chooses to show me every year through one word. 










Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve To-Do-List

What Christmas Eve looked like for me...minus the food preparation and dish washing and basic parenting that just happens.  


1.  Go through the stash of goodies we have collected and outgrown and pick out gifts for our security guards to give to their children for Christmas.   

2.  Listen to a grown man giggle when he is radioed to come to the security gate and to be handed toys for his daughter.

3.  See their love for one another as they radio their coworkers to come and meet us.

4.  See a man smile big with something as simple as 2 small balls.

5.  Go shopping on the street to give our local vendors some holiday cash.

6.  Make your shopping list of who to shop from next so everyone gets some business.

7.  Shop on credit...not a good idea.  "You take it.  You can pay me later."   They will get you every time!

8.  Share jokes, laughter, and love with young men you are beginning to really care about.

9.   Let your 9- year- old bake on her own while you are not at home....she did great!

10.   Put your 12- year- old in charge of the appetizer...so yummy!

11.  Christmas Carol at the hospital while handing out rice, beans, oil, Bibles, and candy canes.  

12.  Watch your children give their Christmas hats and jingle bells away to children they see in the hospital.

13.  Reading the Christmas story with a family as they cradle their newborn son and hear their celebrations as we read about the baby boy who came to save us from our sins.

14.  Watch as your sister in Christ has the perfect opportunity to partake in the ministry she has had on her heart for months.

15.  Serve cold chili you made just for your husband and watch him graciously eat it.

16.  Participate in the reading of Luke 2 with children filling in as shepherds and wise men.

17.   Confess your sins before  communion.

18,   Watch another baby play with your children's Fisher Price Nativity set.

19.  Feast and laugh with folks that work so hard.

20.  Giving "gag gifts" to the ladies I work with.

21.  Wish  Nana a Happy Birthday.  

22.  Facetime gift opening with grandparents.

23.   Watch your children's authentic joy from giving and receiving gifts.

24.  Watch your child use her new roller skates while wearing her new "co-long-nee-ul"  (colonial) costume, while playing the harmonica.

25. Watch your children give of their own possessions to others.

26.  Watch your big ole boy love on his little sisters.

27.   Read from the Advent book as a family.

28.  Have a nice fire in the fireplace.

29.  Message your siblings.

30.  Go to sleep tired but with a smile on your face.