Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Last Weekend on...

Whew—only two more weeks left of term 2! This is exam week in my classroom, and it will be interesting to see how the grade 6’s handle their first Miss B exams… I will also be writing report cards this week, but the good news is that they were greatly streamlined for first and second term, so it shouldn’t be quite the herculean labor that it has been in years past.

This was my last weekend on, and it was a busy one as I was in charge of Sunday lunch since the cook headed out for a quick furlough last week. So, that meant that I measured out the dry ingredients for pancakes for super (66 cups of flour), and made a large batch of peanut butter cookies for staff teas (8 cups of flour). I helped finish up Sunday morning dishes, and then I sliced up four large roasts for Sunday dinner. I helped serve up the kids plates and supervised seconds and thirds. After making sure everything was being put away and cleared up, I headed home to finish getting ready for Sunday school. The four grade 9 students were teaching, but I had the singing and a few things to put out for them. Thankfully they were well prepared, because I was called back to the kitchen to get something out that was forgotten while I was there. Then I had a chance to take a walk on the airstrip and have a little time to myself before supper. I had been worrying about it a bit all week, so I was very thankful that things went so smoothly! Yet another new experience to add to my life skills list… Also, the kitchen guys are doing an outstanding job of stepping up and getting things done while the cook is away.

They have been re-thatching one of our chalets this past week, and I have enjoyed watching the process. I find it fascinating to see how they make such great roofs with bark rope and dry grass. Here is a picture of the old thatch and the mat they put over the frame, and then the first layer of thatch going on.

As I go into this week, prayers for stamina would be appreciated. There is a lot to accomplish between now and next Tuesday night when reports are due, and a nasty cold is spreading through the school like…a cold at a boarding school. Also, this past week my shoulder has been acting up more, and all that meat cutting yesterday doesn’t seem to have helped. I’m not in agony, but having a constant discomfort does have an effect on your day.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Short Week

One of the nice things about this last week was that Monday and Tuesday were half-term, so it was a shorter week; and I missed my regular Tuesday—one of my longest days. Ruthie and I did tee-shirt crafts with the grade 5-6 girls—scarves and tee-shirt painting—which was a big hit.

We got to enjoy the fresh fruit Amano brought up with them—apples are a big deal when they are not readily available!

I had a nice weekend off in which I not only got some lovely sleep, fixed a minor plumbing issue, made a very good (and totally seat-of-my-pants) alfredoey lasagna, and got to enjoy some knitting, but I also did quite a bit of marking. Amazing how it continues to pile up… Three more weeks of term!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Sports Day and the second Half-Term

It’s been a busy weekend—here are the highlights!

Sports Day was this Saturday. As the house mistress of Fisher House, I spent most of the day being the official scorer of points, but I was able to cheer my team on in the tug o’ war, and to enjoy some of the fun relays like the wheelbarrow and the sack race at the end. It was a tiring day—being out on the field for several hours, but it was a good day.

The Fisher house mistress, team captain, and vice captain.

Also this weekend, Amano Christian School from Chingola was visiting, so thing were quite busy as we planned activities, did the extra dishes, and enjoyed getting to know some new people. This morning started with me making a gallon of hot chocolate and accidentally breaking one of my ancient thermoses (the vacuum sealed glass kind) for early morning swim. Here they are lined up to take the plunge,

And here they are huddled pathetically around the fire in the chota.

In their defense, it was about 10 degrees Celsius this morning—that’s 50 in Fahrenheit, and the water is heart-stoppingly cold. I’ve been working on catching up on the mountain of marking that accumulated over the weekend, chasing down some delinquent children, and getting a bit of rest after the busy weekend. Tomorrow is our second day of half-term, and then tomorrow is my teach 7 periods to ‘hungover’ students. Ah well, I got to skip my regular crazy Tuesday schedule, so I can’t complain too much!

Parting shot: The path down to the school garden worn by the gardeners going past my house. Now I want to sit under those bougainvillea—maybe on the holiday I’ll have the time!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Oddments

Last week was quite busy; even though I had written my mid-term reports, there were a few tests that needed to be written, given, and marked, and the usual rounds of homework to wade through. I was very tired last week; partially because I am trying to fight off the cold that is going around, partly because I was probably fighting something else off, and partially because I’m a middle school teacher. More progress was made on the shop remodel,

and I got a few things done while I was off this weekend. I transplanted a rose I started from a cutting,

and I went through the carbon removal process and refilled my kerosene heater’s tank using the ingenious siphon it came with. What can I say, I’m easily amused!

Speaking of amused, one of my 6th graders made me laugh for at least two minutes straight by writing this on the first page of her scripture notebook:

Yes, she is a special snowflake…

On Sunday I started to feel nauseous, and I’ve spent most of today being very careful, resting (because it’s my afternoon off and I can!), and trying to get over this bug. Hopefully I’ll be up to full speed tomorrow, as it’s going to be a long day. This week is also a busy one as Sport Day is on Saturday and half-term is next Monday and Tuesday, so there will be a lot of IT MUST BE DONE. Looking forward to some break though!

Parting shot: Happy winter solstice from the southern hemisphere! And why yes, that IS a poinsettia tree!

Monday, June 19, 2017

A fall and a fail

Week six of term was not marked by much; a fairly typical crazy-busy week, except for my falling in a ditch and Ruthie and I taking the 7-9th graders out again on Friday night. It was the week that mid-terms were due, so I was doing a lot of marking trying to get everything I wanted on the report. I didn’t quite get it all done, but there sure is a lot of my work represented by those reports!

The Ditch: On Tuesday night I was heading over to the staff meeting, and as usual I was walking without a flashlight. As I crossed the playground, I saw a line of dirt that indicated they had been digging to lay either a pipe or some cable. Without remembering that that much dirt had to come from somewhere, I took a bit step over it with my left foot…and then my right slid into the concealed ditch and down I went. Luckily I didn’t twist anything and just scraped both legs pretty well, and there may have been some tea flung and a knit kit which had to be returned to me the next morning. I guess if I enjoy walking around at night without a flashlight, I have to be willing to accept those kinds of consequences from time to time!

Friday Night: When we took the seniors out, I made kettle corn for the first time (super easy and very satisfying!), and we had planned an evening of stargazing. I was going to set up the telescope, Ruthie was making hot chocolate, and it was all supposed to be nice and relaxing. Except, we managed to choose the one cloudy evening in dry season, and the kids were WIRED. So, there were lots of games that involved running around in the dark, and I found, surprisingly, that I am not 18 anymore. Let’s just say it’s taken a few days for the soreness to work it’s way out… That being said, the kids had a good time, and we'll just have to try for stargazing another time.

In station news, here is a picture of the workshop remodel; it will be interesting to see what it looks like when it's all done!

Parting shot: The new view on the way down to the river; the underbrush was cleared out to try to give a better view for those on supervision.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Week 5 of term was busy...

There isn’t a whole lot of interest to write about last week; I was busy, busy, busy! Several tests fell during that time, and my kids were pretty ‘hung over’ from half-term, so I had a pretty frustrating few days trying to get them back up to speed. This week I am working towards half-term marks being due, and I continue to fight the battle of fractions and percents.

On Friday, Ruthie and I took the grade 7-9 students ‘out’ for the evening and we watched Pixar’s Inside Out. I was very impressed when I finally got to watch it, and it has already sparked some good conversations with various kids at the table. I hope that it helped someone, and that it will open other doors with the older kids. I made cake mix fudge and Ruthie made popcorn; it was a nice treat to have a relaxed time with the older kids.

On Saturday, I put together a Powerpoint of the pictures we took of the girls on the photo scavenger hunt, and I had the 3-6th grade girls into my classroom to watch it at the start of craft time. They got a kick out of seeing what the different groups did to fulfill the prompts! We are already starting to think about what the next half-term’s activity will be; we want to keep building on and working with this group of girls.

This weekend I filled and fired up my new kerosene heater for the first time; it worked quite well! My cat was intrigued by it, convinced by turn that it was a scary beast when the kerosene gurgled down, and that it was the best invention for cat luxury because of the heat. So, I guess if it’s cat approved, then it is a good thing indeed!

Parting shot: The bougainvillea outside my classroom window is about due for a trim again, and I thought I’d capture the beauty while it’s still there!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Exhausted after a 'break'

Friday and Saturday of last week was our first half-term, and I am exhausted after the ‘break.’ I don’t usually end up being quite so busy, and while it as challenging, I feel like I connected with some kids in important ways over the weekend. So, what was I up to?

On Friday I started the day with early morning swim for the senior seniors at the dam; all 16 who were here came! I had forgotten to ask for a fire, but there was enough ‘hot air’ and I had made a bunch of hot chocolate, so no one got pneumonia (despite the claims!).

I then had a bit of time to work in my classroom before tea, and then I spent most of the time between tea and lunch planning a photo scavenger hunt for the grade 3-6 girls. After lunch I had some time to work on the marking that had piled up alarmingly, and then it was bag supper outside. The board was here having a meeting over Thursday and Friday, so they joined us for meals and got to visit a bit.

After supper I went up to the dorm to watch the second instalment of That Darn Cat with the kids, and then we had a fellowship time with the all the visitors, staff, and board members.

Saturday morning I put the finishing touches on the scavenger hunt, and then from 8:30 till 10 I had these lovely ladies in my company as we found the clues and took pictures together. Due to circumstances just now, it is rare to have such a small group of kids, and I feel that it was not only a lot of fun for the girls, but also a profitable time for them to enjoy some higher quality adult company.

During tea I had a few chores to do, and then it was down to the pool. I supervised silver-candy seal, and laughed a lot as I watched the spirited water fight among the senior students.

I had a brief break after lunch, then it was back down for river time where I surprised this 5th grader enjoying a book in the nook of a tree.

Sunday I had afternoon Sunday school and river duty again, so it was another long afternoon finishing with dishes and evening fellowship. This week was the Sunday when the grade 7-9’s join us, and we got to hear a moving testimony from one of our visitors.

So, it was a very busy weekend for me, but I feel like I made some good connections with different kids. This last week was a bad one for my shoulder, so I’m hoping that being a little less busy and a little less stressed will help that sort itself out again.

Parting shot: I was explaining to a second grader why I wouldn’t have time to do something on a Tuesday because I teach 5 classes, 3 piano lessons, have clean up and prep duty, and had a meeting to go to. To which he burst out, “Why can’t I do that much in a day?” That has had me laughing for the whole last week!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Birthday party, a birthday, and another busy week

Last week was a little intense as it was birthday party (early, I know). That meant that Tuesday, Wednesday (the actual day of), and Thursday were rather thrown off by the pre-cake, cake-day, and post-cakehead syndrome that afflicts our children three times a year. The theme was Russia, so I made a kokoshnik (Russian headdress),

and found time to sneak in and do a balalika birthday cake.

We had a Russian dinner including peroshki (huzzah!), and the kids as always produced some lovely art.

My birthday was this weekend, and as I was off, it was a lovely weekend indeed! Naps! Cooking! Movies with friends! Knitting time! Laundry! This is the stuff bliss is made of… Don’t worry, I didn’t do any marking after lunch on the actual day, but I got caught up this afternoon and evening. I got a few cards and gifts from students including this lovely item lovingly crafted for me by a grade 3. Not sure what to call it, but am tickled with her creativity!

This week will also be a little intense, as it is a four day school week with half-term on Friday and Saturday. So, the phrase that will be on my lips all week as I continue my overcoming inertia efforts will be, “GET IT DONE! Because I CAN and I WILL haul you in here over half-term!” So, prayers for some extra grace for me, and some extra ‘want to’ for my students would not go amiss!

Also, it is board meeting at the school this week, so there will be a lot of traveling and a day of intense discussion of school affairs on the board’s part. Please pray for wisdom for them as they have a difficult issue to discuss.

In just the last few days the weather has noticeably gotten colder at night—yay dry season! I’ve started pulling out socks in the evenings, and soon I’ll be firing up my new heater. Looking forward to what cold weather I can get—hand knits time!

Parting shot: Grade 2’s in music class working on their pictures as we listened to Pictures at an Exhibition.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

May 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

I know it’s been awhile, and a lot has happened since I wrote you last! I am back in Zambia after a wonderful, but very busy five months in the US on a much needed furlough. During those five months I made trips to Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, Delaware, Indiana, Montana, and Canada. I got to go up Pike’s Peak, see Niagara Falls from both sides, and see the Liberty Bell. I had the opportunity to visit with many dear friends and family members, and I was able to find some much needed supplies to bring back to Zambia. I was able to get my shoulder seen to, attend a cousin’s wedding, and finally meet some dear saints who have been sending my supplies in container boxes for the last few years. I had to spend the night in an airport food court after a series of canceled flights, and had the opportunity to do some substitute teaching at a local Christian school. Yes, it was a very busy five months, but it was also a very wonderful five months.

There has been a lot of paper work I needed to do in the last two weeks, and the Lord has given great help. Before heading back up to Sakeji I was able to get my NRC (National Registration Card) so that I can continue the process of registering to teach in Zambia with the ECZ.


I also had to make a visit to immigration in Ikelenge to get my work permit extension stamped into my passport and certified copies made of my documents last week. Thankfully I was able to find the immigration officer, and get those items taken care of. Also, while I was in the States I took the Generalist 4-8 exam and passed it, so I have now added that qualification to my teachers certification. It is a relief to have all those details taken care of—now I should be fine for the next year and a half!

Once I got back up to the school, I had two and a half days to prepare for second term. This whole first week has been pretty intense; picking up old routines, figuring out where things are, evaluating what was accomplished during term 1. I have 11 6th graders to get to know, and 10 7th graders to continue a relationship with. The days continue to be long, but it is good to be back in my own classroom. This term will certainly have its challenges, but I also look forward to having a chance to impact these young lives.

As I go into this new term at Sakeji, here are some specific things you can pray for. Firstly, please pray for me and for wisdom as I settle back into all my routines and responsibilities. Secondly, a praise that my shoulder is much better after some medication and two massages, but prayer that I will be able to manage it wisely and keep it from getting so bad again. Thirdly, pray that I will know the Lord’s will very clearly over these next few months, and that I will be quick to obey His voice.

Thank you so much to all of your who pray for me, and particularly all the people who encouraged me, listened to me, and treated me to some North American luxuries while I was home. Without your support and prayers, I could not continue to serve. Thank you, and may the Lord bless you richly for your kindness to me.

May we be found faithful, wherever we are called to be!

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Teacher has Returned

Well, no matter how well I plan and how good my intentions are, I just can’t seem to manage the last few days of my furloughs as well as I would like! This time I got a grand two hours of sleep before loading up the car for that last drive to Dallas. I had been up late watching a last movie with my family, and then packing my bags and the tubs of my things that needed to be put in storage. I cried when I left my mom to head through security, and I cried when we took off from the state I love. Every time I leave, I am reminded again how deep those pine scented hills and friendly folks are woven into my heartstrings.

While long, my trip to Zambia was pretty uneventful. As usual I had a long layover in Dubai where I was provided with a hotel room so I could do the two things I most wanted in the whole world at that point—take a shower and sleep in a bed. I enjoyed my last Starbucks at the airport, and found the tinniest Nutella jar I’ve ever seen. One of these days I’m going to go out on a tour of Dubai…when I’m not so tired I’m nauseous!

I had two and a half days in Lusaka before heading up to the school, and I spent them with some dear family friends who cheerfully waited for me to get my report order, took me shopping, and treated me to a few last indulgences before heading up country. I am so thankful for their hospitality and kindness. As I have been processing through a lot of emotions and thoughts these last few days, the ‘buffer’ time was much needed. It is also good to be with people who have known me since I was a kindergartener, and who know and love my family.

Now that I’m back up at the school, I have been busy with cleaning in my house, unpacking, getting my classroom straightened out, and sorting through the many details that go into a beginning of term. These are of course compounded because I was away for a term! The students arrived back on Friday, and I spent a large portion of the day in my classroom working through lesson plans and projections. This is my first time with the new term schedule (opening on a weekend), and I’m looking forward to seeing how it works out.

Today was the first real day of classes, and while I could have used an extra half hour or so, it was a good day. I also had to make a run into Ikelenge to run various errands including a stop at immigration, the post office, pick up a basin of tomatoes for the school, and buy a few staple items for myself. All in all it was a productive day; I even got a nap in!

Parting shot: The view towards Kalene--so pretty!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Home...for another week!

I apparently haven't downloaded my pictures from Canada yet, and I didn't take that many because to be quite honest I was far too busy living, but I figured I should do another update on the wild life of Lina. First, a quick run-down of my Canadian trip:

* I was stranded at Laguardia Airport for 28 hours. This meant I spent the night partly on the floor and partly in the food court, and that I now would rather wrestle a yeti than go back there again.

* Beth rescued me, and we got to see Niagara Falls from both sides.
* The Canadian border guards take themselves VERY seriously.
* I got to hold four day old goat kids, drive a tractor, meet some alpacas, drink Timmies, and got a hair cut.
* It was beyond amazing to get to spend some time with Beth again; I have missed her terribly over the 16 months, and we spent a lot of time talking and knitting.

Now that I'm back Stateside, I have just over a week to fit in all the things I need to do before heading back. Sorting through and packing up personal items, buying the last few things on my list, writing a TExES exam to add the Core Subjects 4-8 to my teachers certification, and two more presentations. Prayers for strength and grace (for others and myself) as I process through the many lists, the many emotions, and make decisions about the next few months would be appreciated. The time went far too quickly...

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

So Very Blessed

Once again a whole lot of life has been lived in the past few days. I got to spend almost a week in Montana with a dear, dear friend. She graciously allowed me to visit her while her family was trying to pack up and move, and in the midst of all the crazy that is her life right now, she spoiled me with treats and refreshed my spirit. It's not every friend who you can laugh with as easily as you can cry with, but God is so good and brought our lives together almost fourteen years ago. On this visit I got to know and spend some time with her beautiful little girl, and while I couldn't take all their burdens away, it was a privilege to be able to serve my dear friend and her family in a few small ways.

After some delay I made it to Colorado again and was able to spend my brother's birthday weekend with him. It was so special to be actually there, to meet more of his friends, and see snow! My brother is one of the kindest, most generous people I've ever met, and it was so wonderful to get to spend some more time with him. After having spent some time there, I can see why so many people fall in love with Colorado!

I'm just home for about two days before I head off on my last trip of this furlough; I'm going even farther north to Canada to see my third soul sister. In the midst of getting ready for that I am starting to pack and repack up my things for storage at my parents house. My time in the States is rapidly coming to a close and I know I won't be able to fit in everything I want to do, but I am determined to keep living each day to the full, and making every moment count.

Parting Shot: Going up Pike's Peak on the cog railway was an amazing experience; the views over the snow covered mountains were absolutely stunning. God is an awesome God!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Indiana and Administrivia

This past weekend I took a trip with my mom and youngest brother up to northern Indiana for a cousin’s wedding. Another sister and brother joined us, and we had a great time celebrating the addition to our family, and getting to see aunts, uncles, and cousins that we hadn’t seen for several years. We also had the chance to quickly visit a great aunt that I hadn’t seen since I was a toddler, and who is a faithful supporter of mine. I got to see my first snow plow, and was able to enjoy a little winter before heading back down South where spring is in full swing.

Of all the things I’ve been able to do this furlough, spending time with family and friends has been hands down the best. People are important—so important, and I am so thankful that I have been able to travel and see many of the people who support and encourage me.

This weekend I’m heading out again—this time to Montana to visit a dear friend, and then I’ll swing through Colorado for the next weekend to spend a brother’s birthday with him. This time we’re planning on going up Pikes Peak—an adventure for sure!

There is a lot of work involved in keeping a life running in two countries. I am waiting to hear back about the best way to reunite myself with my work permit for Zambia that I had to leave behind to be renewed when I came home, and today I took a trip down to the DPS to get my US drivers license renewed a little early so I’ll get it back before I leave. When I get back to Zambia I’ll need to renew my Zambia drivers license which will have just expired, and I also need to try again to get my alien registration card. I tried before leaving the country, but the office had just closed so it was a no go. I have to say though, while not my favorite place to go, I’ll deal with the DPS here any day over RTSA!

My other big project for this week is to get my taxes sorted out so that I have time to get them looked over before I have to mail them in. Not my favorite pastime, but render unto Caesar, right?

My shoulder is still a little sore, but as I just spent four days driving that is to be expected. I’m hoping it will work out to get another massage before I head out to make sure that it isn’t knotting back up again.

Thank you to all who have prayed for me, visited with me, and supported me in any way. May the Lord bless you richly for how you have blessed me.

Parting shot: As you can see, I came by my height honestly! These two uncles make me look if not short, at least 'normal.'

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Good Pain

Yesterday I had my first professional massage as the next big step in my shoulder treatment. I had a big knot that needed to be worked out, and I wanted it done by someone who knew what they were doing. While it was a very enjoyable experience overall, there were more than a few excruciating moments while the damage of almost two years was being worked out. I'm still pretty sore today, but hopeful that this will be a big step forward in healing and recovery. I'm taking some medication short term to help with the inflammation, and will be looking up some stretches my doctor suggested to help prevent things from getting this bad again. While it almost seems presumptuous to talk about my non-debilitating injury as chronic pain, it has affected my life almost every day for almost two years, and I am so ready for it to stop. I am also thankful that it doesn't require surgery, and that I have this time to get it sorted out. Also, I had some standard blood tests run when I last say the doctor, and they all came back normal. So, things are looking up!

This past weekend my friend from Delaware came to visit me for a few days. There is pretty much no photographic evidence of our time together, but we each painted a tile at The Mud Hut, we spun on my new spinning wheel together, we talked and laughed A LOT, and we may have spent more than we planned to at Half-Price Books in Dallas. I am so thankful for the time she gave me in the midst of her busy schedule, and so enjoyed a few more days with her. There are many things I miss when I'm overseas, but the hardest are the people I love.

After a few rest days, I'm heading out mid-week for another trip this week. I'll have a few days to catch my breath, and then I'm off once again for a little over a week. It still amazes me how easy travel is in the States. Nothing like living in the bush for a few years to give you a new appreciation for simple things like gas stations and road signs!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Home...for a few days at least!

I've been doing a lot of traveling in the last two weeks--in fact, I have been through 9 states in 10 days. Getting to spend time with so many lovely people has been so healing and so wonderful; it has been absolutely worth all the early mornings and many miles. First I got to spend a few days with my sister in Nashville.

While there I got to have lunch with my lovely great aunt and uncle--another wonderful conversation!

While I didn't get a picture, Mary and I drove over to have lunch with our grandparents and another great aunt. Then, I headed down to Atlanta to see my other grandmother and my aunt. It worked out that I was there for Oma's birthday, and we went out that evening with another great aunt and uncle!

Also while I was in Atlanta, I spent two days with a dear friend who took me to the delightful Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

I drove back from Atlanta, had about 9 hours at home to re-pack, and then I flew up to Philadelphia to visit another dear friend who lives in Delaware. We had a wonderful time visiting, knitting, and seeing the sights in historic Philadelphia.

After all that, I got to spend the afternoon with another friend from LU days, and to pick up some great bargains at Halfpriced Books. So, it has been a very busy last two weeks, but I have been so blessed by the sweet fellowship of friends and family. People are so important, and to spend time with those who know me and can help me work through things has been soul medicine. To all you who let me crash with you for a few days, I am profoundly grateful.

This morning I was able to get in for another doctors appointment, and I now have a name to give to the shoulder pain that has complicated my life for almost two years now. I have some medicine and practical measures to get rid of the massive knot that is causing a trapezius muscle spasm as well as to hopefully prevent it from getting this bad again. Again, I am so thankful for a diagnosis, for help, and for the hope of getting this under control. God is good!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Connections...

Today I was able to share a little about what I'm doing in Zambia to witness relationally to my students at a Life Group at LeTourneau University. The opportunity came up because I had gone to speak to an old professor last week, and what was meant to be a quick hello became an hour and a half of talking with Dr. K and his wife. They are both lovely people, and it was a rare treat to have such an intelligent conversation about missions and evangelism. Also out of that visit, I read the book Questioning Evangelism this weekend; very thought provoking, and well worth it.

On Sunday I went to the early service at a local church and ran into an old family friend. At first I thought God was just being nice and putting a friendly face in the doorway for me, but I ended up having a wonderful conversation with this dear lady that blessed me immensely. We both were amazed at how God orchestrated our mornings so we would have that time to be together; His constant care of the details in my life is amazing!

I am preparing to take the first of my big trips--this month is the Nashville/Atlanta visit, and I'm still working on March. Prayers for safety as I drive would be appreciated, as well as for health in the face of all the seasonal ills!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Colorado

Over the weekend I took a quick trip to Colorado to help one sister drive her car up there, and to help a brother move. I was stunned by the beauty of God's creation in New Mexico and Colorado, and in the midst of all the miles and the moving boxes, I had some great time with my siblings. I am so thankful to actually have been on the right side of the ocean to practically help for once--God is good.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lake Day

This lake girl was very thankful to spend a few quiet minutes in a Cyprus forest this afternoon! And yes, we went to the lake in January. Because temperatures went from the 30's to the 70's overnight.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Courage and Hope

While Christmas was rather complicated this year by the death of a friend's brother and a cousin, I am so blessed to have been able to be home at this time. I have missed my family so much, and while Christmas was a little crazy, I savored each moment. Even having to turn on the window unit and a fan while my sisters and I got Christmas dinner ready!

As I look back on last year, the word I would use to sum up the year would be "courage." This year took more courage to face and live than any other year of my life. There were several personal and work related challenges to overcome, I was already exhausted and discouraged when the year began, and even more so by the time I started on my journey home. While I would never want to relive the pain of this past year, it drove me to the Lord in ways that I had never been driven, and I wouldn't trade that for the world. 2015 and 2016 have left some deep scars on my soul, but I serve a God of healing, and He is redeeming those tears into something beautiful. So, for now, the word for 2017 is Hope. I have hope for continued strength, hope for healing both physical and emotional, and hope for better things. I have hope that the lessons I learned in the dark valleys of the last two years will not be forgotten, and that the Lord is not finished with me yet. So, 2017, I am ready to walk the adventure you have for me.

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh...And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 4:7-11, 12:9-10.