Monday, November 29, 2010

On our way to Santa Fe

On Thursday, Brad and I are headed to New Mexico. I feel like I've got several blogs swarming (yes, swarming. Because swimming would connote nice even strokes with a predictable pattern. Swarming is what bees do when you've got a diet Coke on the picnic table. They fly around with no patterns or purpose but to interrupt your nice little time in the woods.).

Two amazing families have offered to fly us up to their mountain home in New Mexico. We will land in Albuquerque and search for the Land Rover that is parked at the airport for guests to use. Yes, you read that correctly.

I'm sure we won't have any fun drinking coffee, sleeping in past 4:30, and eating at places that don't have crayons.

Maybe I'll have time to jot down some blog thoughts.

*** On a side note, Makaria's eosinophil count is lowering! That's great news. We aren't out of the clear yet, but will let you know when we talk to the doctors this week.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Selah's Thanksgiving Poem

Here's Selah's Thanksgiving poem:

MY Poem.

The Pilgrims wanted to worship God freely. And even though it was so breezy they got the Mayflower even though it wasn’t so easy!

They were on the ship for 65 days. And on the long journey they gave God some praise!!!!

And when they finally got off the torn ship, that had had many chips, they made friends with some Indians’.
And the pilgrims joined together to become us
“The Americans”

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Date to the Ballet

Daddy daughter time. These sweet girls had a great time with dad a few weeks ago. They went to dinner at Cafe Express and then to a ballet. They had a blast. One of the fun things that we've gotten to do is take our kids on dates to fun places. As in places that aren't KFC. It's a good thing, trust me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

From Shore to Shore

We had a blast with our friends that came a few weeks ago. They are also crazy and have a gaggle of children. That's one of the reasons that we love them. We realized that we've only actually seen each other face to face three times and each of those times has been in a different country.

It's so fun to have a family that understands such a large part of our world. Living overseas, raising lots of young kids, and drinking a gratuitous amount of coffee. They are a huge encouragement to us. They keep us thinking. They keep us striving after the Lord. We love these guys.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My 9 year old

Last week my baby turned 9. I'm not sure who she got permission from to become a young woman, but it was certainly not me.

She picked fettucini alfredo, broccoli, fruit, bread and ice cream sundaes for the meal of choice.

We always go around the table and tell the birthday person what we love about them. People said that she was: "generous, a wonderful servant to her family, loves the Lord and strives to know Him more, creative, and fun." At this point, she says she either wants to be a doctor that trains workers in orphanages how to take care of the kids in Africa, or she wants to write worship music and translate them into "African languages." Since 4, she's been telling us that she'll live in Africa. She is such a delight to have around. She makes me want to be a better mother and wife. I love this girl.

We had some cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents there to celebrate. Earlier in the day they went to a children's festival and craft show. And after dinner, they watched a movie. Needless to say, they were wiped out.

We all had a blast celebrating her last year of single digits. Happy Birthday, sweet girl! We love you!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Slaughter Them Before Me (Luke 19:27) -- Part 3

God's wrath is a grace all Christians look forward to!

Read carefully 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10,

"This [referring to their endurance in persecution/suffering, v. 4] is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering-- 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, coming from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might*, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed."

I could quote a number of Psalms as well. The idea is simple. God's people hate evil. With God, we hate injustice. We look forward to the day of judgment, not for the sake of judgment itself, but because God is granting relief, vindicating us as his, and upholding his glory which is be marveled at forever.

*ESV says "away from", but this rendering is more clear, given the Greek construction and its actually being a quote from Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21, which explicitly refers to God's wrath being poured out due to sin. "Eternal punishment" is NOT merely the absence of God; rather the opposite, it is the full presence of God expressed in wrath.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beat Boxing like Nobody's Business

I want this girl as my babysitter. Or maybe just to follow me and the kids around so that she can beat box while standing in line at Wal-Mart.

EMBED-Cute Girl Has Amazing Beat Box Skill - Watch more free videos

Monday, November 15, 2010

Walmart Bliss

Walmart, oh Walmart what do I say?
The feelings and emotions I want to convey.

Your blue and white sign lure me right
to your front door like a moth to the light.

As I walk I am struck by the people around
the mullets and pajama pants abundantly abound.

I try to focus on the pretzels and bread
but I am distracted by the lady with fruit on her head.

Many people are wearing shorts that are riding
in places where skin should rather be hiding.

The prices are low, the items are cheap
but is it safe for me to enter, is it safe for me to creep?

I like it best to shop fairly late,
Why do your prices all end in 98?

As I walk briskly to my car each Monday
I am escorted by Rick in his security Hyundai.

And my Chinese friends are forever grateful
for the jobs that I realize make Americans hateful.

Walmart, oh Walmart you make my life easy
even if your store makes me feel queasy.

the blog log

A friend of mine is wanting me to look back at our blogs for the last few years. For a reason that I'll mention later. Wow, it's amazing to see what the Lord has done and where He's taken us these past few years. There are blogs of all types:

poetry (trite as they might be)


Biblical truth

family milestones


fears of coming to America

cultural mishaps




The list goes on and on, really. But this blog has been our journal for about 4 years now. As I think of our life in China, there are days that fatigue me to no end. But there are also days where the sky opens and joy fills the entire 24 hours. It's a good exercise for me to look back and reflect. Reflect on the goodness of the Lord. To be reminded that He has been tenderly carrying us through the night and into the day.

It's been a beautiful thing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trust the Sunrise

This is my friend.

Her name is Donna.

You know when you've got these friends that stick with you. Even when you move your family to crazy places like China. And do crazy things like text them your favorite lyrics in "Humpty Dance" while they are leading worship for thousands of people. These are the kind of friends that you want to bottle up to remind you on "those" days that you are loved and not forgotten. Especially when you live overseas. Those friends seem to be few and far between sometimes.

My sister and I just got back from a great night of worship with my friend, Donna. Her heart is connecting girls. Connecting them to a Savior who listens. A Savior who pursues. She wants girls to see themselves as daughters of a King who is infinitely more loving than any earthly father. Her and her husband are faithful ministers to college students in a ministry called Breakaway. Click and listen to him proclaim truth on a weekly basis. It's awesome.

When you get done reading, head over to iTunes and download her album. It's called "Trust the Sunrise:"

This album is filled with Joy, Hope and Jesus. And unfortunately, these have become rare concepts in some Christian music.

Wait, did I say that out loud? Yes....yes I did. She often receives an earful of confusion to me on why "Christian" musicians sing about trivial things. Jesus gives us so much more to sing about. See, I told you, it's usually an earful from me on this topic.

Anyway, her life and her journey are an encouragement to me and my family. We met each other almost a decade ago. We were punks. But thank you Jesus, we are striving together in Godliness. Pursuing holiness. And encouraging each other in our wifeness.

And one day, I'm sure she will call to ask me to sing back up. I'm just sure of it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Sit down and write your spouse this note above. This will truly express the depth of your feelings for them. It's real. It's true. And in order to love your spouse most adequately each day, there must be coffee involved.

I ganked this recipe from a friend. It's funny when you actually write slang words down. Like "ganked" or lame-o" or something very mature and sophisticated such as those. It never looks right.

When you make this coffee, you will want to have a time to sit and enjoy it. This is not the utility coffee that you use in the morning to get your eyes to peel open. This is fru fru coffee. It's the "sit and watch a Hallmark movie on tv and eat bruschetta" girly coffee. My husband mocked me when I made it. I sat is awe. Then, told the kids to go outside and don't come back in for half an hour because mommy was finding a hole to hide in.

And you won't want to waste your time making monkeys out of your froth.

Pumpkin Spice Latte


1 cup boiling Water
1 cup sugar
2 TB Pumpkin Pie Spices (I used 4 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground cloves, 2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg. This gave me a little more than 2 TB, but you can just save it or make more syrup)

1 ts vanilla extract (I skip this when overseas and it is still good!)

~~ Put spices in disposable filter (When overseas, I use a thick paper towel)
Mix water and sugar until dissolved; steep spice packet in water for 5 minutes, stirring often to infuse syrup with spices; remove spice packet and mix in vanilla. Syrup can be stored in fridge.

To Prepare a cup:
Heat 1/2 cup milk and mix with 1/3 cup strong coffee; mix in about 2 TB of syrup (adjust to taste); Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanksgiving webcast

I obviously haven't seen the entire webcast yet, but this sounds like fun. It's a live webcast from Plimoth Plantation (the Pilgrim/Indian settlement that re-enacts life during those times. We went there when we lived up in Boston and loved it.).

It's Nov. 16 and it's free! This should be a great supplement to learning about Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Slaughter Them Before Me (Luke 19:27) -- Part 2

Ironically, God's wrath is the ground on which we love our enemies.

Read Romans 12:17-21, "[17] Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. [18] If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. [19] Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” [20] To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” [21] Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (ESV).

Notice the logic, in particular the transition in verse 19. Paul explains that the reason we can love our enemies (v. 17-19a) is because God promises to avenge (v. 19b). One of the reasons we strike back at people is because we feel indignant at the perceived injustice. If we don't do something, they will just get away with it. Therefore, we want to set things right.

Here, we are reminded that every sin, every injustice, will be punished....whether in hell or at the cross. Every single one in the universe.

The is why we can return evil with good. We don't feel the desperate compulsion to fight back, to defend our name, when we know God will keep his promise and uphold His honor.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Slaughter Them Before Me (Luke 19:27) -- Part 1

Ok, don't tune out after you read the next sentence. This is the first part of a 4 part series on the anger of God. I want to suggest that many or most people (including pastors and theologians) have a very limited appreciation for the wrath of God.

Most people use God's wrath as simply a backdrop for his love, as a contrasting quality, but one that is not good in itself. It is not as attractive or "useful" to us as, say, love and mercy.

However, if we get God's anger wrong, then God gets less glory. We get less joy.

Most people don't associate Jesus with anger and judgment. Notice, in a parable about God's kingdom, of which Jesus is king, Jesus makes a startling statement I bet your pastor hasn't taught on, "But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me" (Luke 19:27). Later, we'll see a similar verse in 2 Thessalonians.

In Romans 9, we get some answers. Verse 22-23 says, "What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—". Verse 17 is similar, regarding Pharaoh.

The purpose of God wrath and even His making people who are prepared for destruction is for the sake of His glory, to show His power and mercy. In this, the fuller revelation of God's character, we will be forever satisfied. In wisdom, God exalts even in His wrath so that God gets more glory and we get more joy.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Nov. 7th Orphan Sunday

Tune in Friday night for a time of worship and teaching about orphans and the Church. This Sunday is Orphan Sunday. I hope and pray that we won't let this Sunday slide by without thinking how we as believers can be a catalyst for change in the orphan crisis.

Why Love Orphans? from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

If the Bible is mainly about God, then why.....? [Pray for your pastor]

If the Bible is mainly about God, then why are sermons typically about people? If our goal is to desire God (positively), then why are most applications merely against sin (negatively)? These questions apply to even the best of sermons. If Christ is better, may we say why! Pray for your pastors.

It's not enough to tell people, "Don't look at pornography, Don't obsess over your appearance and clothes, Don't lose your temper,..." Those desires but be replaced with greater desires. We are better driven for things than simply against things. Pray for your pastors.

And not merely for them, but for yourself. What drives you? Fear or joy? Is being a Christian, to you, more about what you do or Who you seek and savor above all else?

Our problem us not primary one of application but of affections. This should fundamentally shape our view and approach to the Christian life.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I like my hair!

This is especially good for those of us white moms who have struggled and wrestled doing our black children's hair. I love it!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Reformation Day: Martin Luther

We had a blast learning about Martin Luther this Reformation Day! The kids all did some research the week before and then did presentations for the whole fam.

Here's Aiden presenting Luther's flower. He did a fabulous job describing the flower and all the symbolism represented.

Here's Malachi reporting on Luther's early life. He worked really hard on his communication skills this week and he did great!

Selah started from the 95 theses up until his death. Can I tell you how great it is is hear your 8 year old daughter ask the audience: "So, do any of you not know what 'indulgences' are?". She was animated and communicated passionately, the impact Luther has had on not just Christianity, but the world.

The little ones of course wanted to chime in. Kesed told us all the colors of the flower and that there was a cross in the middle of the heart. Way to go, buddy!

Grae gave a riveting speech about.....something. And then waved the chopstick in the air. It was perfect.

Here's the line for "Pin the 95 theses on the Church of Wittenberg doors." We decided that this will be a yearly tradition. Last year it was "Pin the glasses on Charles Spurgeon."

Yes, that's duct tape and goggles.

Aiden won the game!

Makaria was a little confused because she thought they said "Aretha", not "Luther". So she came dressed for some soul music performances. She was a little disappointed when she realized we were celebrating some dead, white guy.

We ate German food and had some cake. Then, it was on to sing "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."

We had a blast. It was fun to rope my sister's family into our celebration this year. Our gears are already turning for next year's person to celebrate.
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