Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Friday, March 3, 2017
|This is a paraphrase of Romans 12:13, but it's a good one, I think|
I feel a bit strange to be writing this, because I'm far from a master housekeeper. In fact, I would say I'm just very average. I prefer an organized, tidy space, but I'm not super fussy about details. But I've had people ask me before how I keep my house mostly clean, most of the time, and I finally decided that maybe an average person can be a good resource for most of us. First of all, routine is super important to having a clean house more often than not. If I get thrown out of my routine, my house is NOT going to stay tidy, and will require a more time and energy intensive cleaning at some point. And those days are not my favorite. So, I mostly try to do the same things on a rotating basis, especially during the weekdays, when my schedule is quite predictable. For me, there's a magical time when I'm most motivated and most productive. I think most of us probably have that period. Mine falls between when I get home from dropping the older kids off at school until lunch time (8:30-11:30). So, that's the time I have to tackle the house, baking, and most of my other chores/responsibilities. Many days I can just dive right in, but on the days I'm lacking discipline, I resort to ye old Timer method. It works for kids, and I think it works for adults too. I force myself to stop the "fun" stuff (whether that's being online or reading) and set my kitchen timer for just 10 minutes, and turn on some music. I start in one corner of my kitchen and work my way around. I can usually finish up the kitchen in that first 10 minutes, but there's something strange about at least getting started to me - more often than not I regain my motivation and finish up a full tidy of my lower level. I might just go for it all at once, or I might do a 10 and 10 minute mashup of rotating cleaning interspersed with 10 minutes of leisure time. And let me tell you, it feels SO good to have that clean-enough house. It's not pristine. With 9 (soon to be 10) people living in this home, and a busy and full life, that's just not even something I particularly desire. But it's homey and inviting, and I'm never ashamed to open my door to an unexpected visitor (which is such a biblical but unWestern concept). I'll share a few photos, taken just today after my morning sweep that shows what I mean in terms of "livable, hospitable tidiness". If I can do it, you can do it too!
Monday, January 30, 2017
Over my 38 years, I've grown to "know myself" a lot better. I know, I know, that sounds mighty corny. But bear with me for a moment. I am an empathetic "feeler". Being an introvert, people might not know that immediately, as I also place a high value on emotional modesty. And that's not all bad. In fact, I think it's often a beautiful thing, and I wouldn't trade it in order to feel less. But the flip side of that is that I'm easily prone to discouragement. And, I'll admit, January's been a month of struggle for me. The weather, the homeboundedness, the political climate, my partner in life being gone for two weeks. Probably the biggest struggle I've met with is spiritual discouragement. Not with the Lord or the Word, mercy no! But the pre-field ministry has been hard this month. I've seen so many great successes by fellow pre-fielders. And that's a glorious thing, praise God! I wouldn't begrudge them that in a heartbeat. But sometimes, in private moments, the smile slips and discouragement seeps into my heart. What are WE doing wrong? What could I do better that would more readily communicate the need to those around me? But that's the trouble right there. I'm spending too much time thinking about me. I must keep my eye on the prize, which is to run the race that's been marked out for me, the course that God mapped out specially for ME before the foundations of the earth were even layed. Although all followers of Jesus Christ share the same end goal of growing in holiness and Christlikeness, my race is not the same as anyone else's race, so why compare? As Teddy Roosevelt (or maybe Dwight Edwards, but that's neither here nor there) famously said, "Comparison is the thief of joy". And it's so true. Here's the best news of all, the antidote to all the discouragement, comparison, and sadness - I don't have to deal with that all on my own and neither do you! Jesus promised us a Comforter. The only true and perfect Counselor - the Holy Spirit.
Monday, December 12, 2016
With full confidence in the Lord's provision, we are hoping to reach our 2016 goal of being 25% funded. If you feel God calling for you to partner in this ministry to the people of Togo, please consider joining our partner team. December can be a tough time of year to find extra funds, of course - did you know that ABWE allows you to commit to monthly support (which counts towards our goal) now with an actual support start date begining in January of 2017, or February, or April, or whenever? God has a great work for his Church in West Africa - a place in desperate need of the gospel: the harvest is ripe! Some he calls to be goers, and some he calls to be senders, but one thing is certain. He calls ALL of his children to carry out the Great Commission, in one way or another, in one place or another. We are so grateful to all of you who remember us in your prayers regularly and lend your support and encouragement of any kind.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
I'm currently doing a 31 day Christmas Scripture writing challenge. Day 3 was too good not to share.
Friday, October 28, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
It's the week of big announcements for The Merry Band of Fife! First we publicly announced that we are blessed to be expecting our eighth baby in April. As if that isn't big enough, we have another huge announcement - we are stepping out in faith and will become full-time missionaries as of October 1st, 2016! We noticed a trend as we returned from Candidate class in July. As much as we were on fire for the Lord in this new capacity of missions, it was just so hard to balance secular jobs, family, and ministry. We weren't getting as much accomplished as we wanted to - we had grand plans to have multiple face-to-face meetings scheduled beginning in August, but we hadn't had time to schedule a single one. And so, the Lord made it abundantly clear to James that he was calling us, not this summer, not in a few months, to full-time ministry NOW. It took me a little bit to process, but now I'm ready to step out with him, hand-in-hand, and we are SO excited to make this next step. If you would keep us in our prayers as we step into deep waters, relying on His providence and guidance, we would sure appreciate it. Our God is a great and mighty god!